Did the leaders of the Adventist Church reject the 1888 message?
I don’t know of such a statement from Mrs. White’s writings. I will copy for you portions of Arthur L. White’s summary of this matter from Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years 1876–1891, volume 3 of his six-volume biography of Mrs. White (pages 394–397).
Minneapolis, and the ministerial institute that preceded it, brings to mind a matter of great importance—the message of righteousness by faith and the considerable resistance that met its presentation. . . . [C]ertain points of background and developments should be considered. . . .
5. . . . [T]here is very little by way of a day-by-day record, for the practice had not yet been adopted of reporting all meetings. . . .
7. As to establishing positions, no official action was taken in regard to the theological questions discussed. The uniform witness concerning the attitude toward the matter of righteousness by faith was that there were mixed reactions. These were described succinctly by [A. T.] Jones in 1893: “I know that some there accepted it; others rejected it entirely. . . . Others tried to stand halfway between, and get it that way.”—GCB 1893, p. 185. Ellen White and others corroborate this. It is not possible to establish, from the records available, the relative number in each of the three groups.
8. The concept that the General Conference, and thus the denomi-nation, rejected the message of righteousness by faith in 1888 is without foundation and was not projected until forty years after the Minneapolis meeting, and thirteen years after Ellen White’s death. Contemporary records yield no suggestion of denominational rejection. There is no E. G. White statement anywhere that says this was so. The concept of such rejection has been put forward by individuals, none of whom were present at Minneapolis, and in the face of the witness of responsible men who were there. . . .
14. The Minneapolis session and its problems did not become a topic to which Ellen White would often refer. It was one event among others in her life experience. She was not obsessed with the matter. She did occasionally refer to the loss to individuals and the church because of the attitudes of certain ones there. To Ellen White it was a matter of picking up and pressing on, not losing sight of the vital truths reemphasized at the session.