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Sparks .Authority In God's Church by Vernon C.
2009 by Vernon Sparks Published by DIGITAL INSPIRATION 1481 Reagan Valley Road Tellico Plains.com . 2004.2 Authority In God's Church Copyright © 1990. TN 37385 www.vsdigitalinspiration.
P REFACE ......................................................................................................... 5 I NTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... 9 C HRIST ’ S R EPRESENTATIVE ON E ARTH ...................................................... 1 5 T HE N EED FOR O RGANIZATION .................................................................. 2 1 L EADERSHIP ’ S R ELATION TO A UTHORITY .................................................. 2 9 H OW L EADERS A RE TO D O T HEIR W ORK .................................................. 3 7 U NITY I N THE C HURCH ............................................................................... 5 5 W ORKING A GAINST
C HURCH ............................................................. 6 7
C HURCH D ISCIPLINE ................................................................................... 7 1 C ONFLICT .................................................................................................... 7 7 G OD ON THE T HRONE —H E GUIDES ......................................................... 1 0 5 G OD ’ S D IRECT G UIDANCE W ILL I NCREASE ............................................. 111 I NDEPENDENCE F ROM A UTHORITY ............................................................ 1 2 1 C OUNSEL T OGETHER ................................................................................ 1 2 7 O BEDIENCE TO G OD ’ S A UTHORITY .......................................................... 1 3 1 T HE R ESULTS OF O BEDIENCE TO G OD ’ S A UTHORITY .............................. 1 3 7 U SURPATION OF G OD ’S A UTHORITY .......................................................... 1 4 3 T HE R ESULTS OF U SURPING GOD ’ S A UTHORITY ...................................... 1 5 3 G OD ’ S R EPROOF OF HIS C HURCH ............................................................. 1 7 5 THE R ESPONSE TO R EPROOF ..................................................................... 1 8 9 EXAMPLES OF R ELATIONSHIP TO A UTHORITY ........................................... 1 9 9 APPENDIX A ............................................................................................... 2 1 9 A PPENDIX B ............................................................................................... 2 2 1
4 Authority In God's Church .
At the same time anarchy is seeking to sweep away all law. Inspiration tells us that at the time of the French Revolution. under a profession of reverence for the Bible. but human. avowed war upon the word of God. the world-wide dissemination of the same 5 . ended in 1798. of riot and bloodshed. the combinations of the poorer classes for the defense of their interests and claims. T Now that the Scriptures were in the languages of the common people. As they were approaching the termination of their work in obscurity. The Great Controversy. the vast combinations for the enriching of the few at the expense of the many. Satan turned from the Papacy “to another power” as his principle means of combating the truth and authority of God's Word: “When they shall have finished [are finishing] their testimony. (All emphases supplied unless otherwise noted). Those teachings are still with us today and have proved very successful in accomplishing Satan's plans. Satan could no longer depend upon the political powers of the earth to enforce the dogmas of the Papacy and therefore he turned to certain “teachings” in order to divert mankind from God's truths. 268. the spirit of unrest.” The period when the two witnesses were to prophesy clothed in sackcloth. It had been Rome’s policy. 269.5 PREFACE HE FINAL conflict of the Great Controversy is over whom man will obey. The centralizing of wealth and power. Eternal salvation will be determined by whether we obey the commandments and the will of God or the commands and the will of man. not only divine. Under her rule the witnesses prophesied “clothed in sackcloth. to keep it locked up in an unknown tongue and hidden away from the people.” In many of the nations of Europe the powers that ruled in church and state had for centuries been controlled by Satan through the medium of the papacy. war was to be made upon them by the power represented as “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit. The whole world will be brought to this test. But here is brought to view a new manifestation of satanic power.” But another power—the beast from the bottomless pit—was to arise to make open.
Tragically. And this in the representative assembly of the nation. and kindred. the majority of even Christians place their own opinion.” They place reason above the authority of Holy Scripture. and tongue. But the same teaching that human wisdom is capable of discovering or determining truthhas become very pervasive even among the majority of those who profess to believe in God. In doing so. and by its highest civil and legislative authorities! The Great Controversy. having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth. There is no God. and give glory to him. and the sea. After France had renounced the worship of the living God. “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity. in the person of a profligate woman. The principle teaching that Satan has resorted to in order to combat God's revealed will is “The fool hath said in his heart. by the worship of the Goddess of Reason. Left only with human reason (humanism) to guide. and to every nation. Fear God. Saying with a loud voice. 275. and earth. above a clear “thus saith the Lord. The leaders of the revolution turned officially to worship a harlot as a symbol of the Goddess of Reason. During the French Revolution.6 Authority In God's Church teachings that led to the French Revolution—all are tending to involve the whole world in a struggle similar to that which convulsed France.” Psalm 14:1. 228. or the opinion of others. Revelation 14:6-7. As those in the French Revolution turned from the authority of the Bible they were left only with the wisdom of human reason to guide them. This teaching was also instrumental in the development of atheistic communism and evolution which are directly atagonistic to the first angel's message: And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven.” it was only a little time till she descended to degrading idolatry. mankind has been very gullible for evolution and communism as mentioned above. and people. this teaching led to the overthrow of all spiritual as well as civil authority . they place human reason above the authority of a clear “thus saith the Lord” and are allowing the teachings of Satan's “beast from the bot- . Even many in God's remnant church tend to pick and choose among the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy. Education. for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven. and the fountains of waters.
We are siding with Satan in placing our own opinions and those of other men in the rulership of our lives and of God’s work. Nothing must be done untimely. Rightousness is right-doing. The purpose of this book is to help bring to the attention of Laodicea the instructions from the Lord of how we ourselves must cease from following and obeying man rather than God before the Lord can use us to carry this final message to the world. Selected Messages. Time and trial have not made void the instruction given. The instruction that . nothing is ignored. When we operate our institutions and programs contrary to the Spirit of Prophecy.” we are preparing ourselves to stand on the side of the great apostate in the exaltation of Sunday sacredness and against God’s Word for the sacredness of the seventh day. but through years of suffering and self-sacrifice have established the truth of the testimony given. Because of lack of faith or trust in God’s expressed will we are unrighteous. too often we practice unrighteousness by lack of faith. Some may be disturbed by the large number of quotations from the 1888 era of our church. we are unrighteouness.Preface 7 tom pit” to divert their loyalty away from God's revealed will. Some matters must be withheld because some persons would make an improper use of the light given. but time and place must be considered. If we are placing our personal desires and opinions above a “thus saith the Lord. 57. When we disobey God’s express will in how to live and work for Him. Some will say that time and place have changed and thus the counsels of the Lord are not applicable to our day: Regarding the testimonies. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy have spelled out what is right-doing for God’s remnant people. book 1. although we speak of righteousness by faith. nothing is cast aside. The three angels’ messages have been given to warn the world against following and obeying the dictates of man. we are in rebellion. Every jot and tittle is essential and must appear at an opportune time. They may feel that the strong counsels from the Lord at that time when we failed to understand and accept the righteousness-by-faith message are not applicable in this day of such strong emphasis of that doctrine. Unfortunately. They call men to obey and yield to the authority of God.
we must also know it and obey it. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” is the backbone of knowing what is truth. Laodicea has been vacillating too long in her decision as to whether she is going to serve God or man. . Selected Messages. book 1. The Lord has made it possible for every person to afford the possession of “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. White Writings CD-ROM from the Ellen G. are founded on the concept of “here a little and there a little” in the Word of God. Time is running out. All humanity will soon have to make a decision on this issue for themselves. “Here a little and there a little” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is an essential tool in the study of the Spirit of Prophecy just as it is in the study of the Bible. however. Authority—it is a life and death matter. fearing that removal from the context has changed the meaning. The beliefs of Adventism. As of July 2009. 41. We encourage the reader to study these topics for themself. Others may be uncomfortable with compilations of the Spirit of Prophecy. But it is not enough to possess the Lord’s counsel. White Estate may be obtained from your local Adventist Book Center for an amazing low price. The Comprehensive Reseearch Edition of the Ellen G.8 Authority In God's Church was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days.” Matthew 4:4.
John 1:1–3. A Since the fall of Adam all communication from God to man has been through Christ the Creator—“The Word:” After the transgression of Adam. channels of His own choosing: In the beginning was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him. When we understand why God created and why He sustains. of God’s authority. Thus all authority is derived from or permitted by Him. Channels of Authority: As in any well-ordered organization. Authority in the universe is derived from one source—God (Father. Thus the words authority and power are in many ways and in many instances interchangeable. 1977 edition. There is no other being capable of comparison with God’s immortality. and without him was not any thing made that was made. and omniscience.9 INTRODUCTION Definition and Basis of Authority: UTHORITY is the “power to influence or command thought. This love will be the theme of the study of the redeemed throughout eternity. the Lord spoke no longer directly with man. unconditional love is the undergirding basis of God’s kingdom and thus the basis of His authority. we will better know the basis of His authority. Disinterested. omnipresence. the basis of His authority in the truest sense is unchallengeable. and the Word was God. Son. and the Word was with God. omnipotence. By reason of His creatorship and His continual sustenance of all the universe and of every living creature. God uses channels for His authority.” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. God has a well-defined chain of command. There is however an even greater basis and better definition. the human race was given into the hands of 9 . and Holy Ghost). opinion or behaviour. though less comprehended.
The written Word of God is the revelation of God’s power and authority which is to measure all other manifestations of power and authority. 237. All other power and authority is to be measured by this Word. and when ye turn to the left. the Holy Spirit was sent as a special emissary to this earth. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee.” Christ demonstrated this fact during His temptation in the wilderness. that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. direct revealing of God’s will is always in harmony with God’s Word. (See 1 John 4:1 and Isaiah 8:20.10 Authority In God's Church Christ.” John 17:17. is come.” Isaiah 30:21 The Holy Spirit works to bring man into harmony with God’s will as expressed in the law and the testimony. when ye turn to the right hand. He can give further guidance only to those who show a .” John 16:13. Christ was appointed Mediator to win sinful man back to voluntary obedience to divine authority as based on God’s character of love. The Holy Spirit is the next channel of authority. he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself. the Spirit of truth. All authority relating to this earth is vested in Christ. This personal. and all communication came through Him to the world. This is the way. walk ye in it. That which is in harmony with His Word is an extension of His power and authority and is to be related to as such. He also gives understanding and guidance to the individual. First in the chain of command under Christ is His written Word— the Scriptures—the Holy Bible. When Christ quoted scripture Satan was forced to recognize the supreme authority and power of God’s Word. Christ has revealed and recorded God’s will and ways in His word. To the query “What is truth?” (John 18:38) comes the reply “Thy word is truth. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word. but whatsoever he shall hear. The power and authority of God is in His Word—“the law and the testimony. it is because there is no light in them. Christ has appointed a chain of command under Himself to be channels of His will and ways. To the receptive heart.” Isaiah 8:20.) When Christ ascended. He is “next” in the sense that His counsel and guidance are to be tested by His previously given instruction as found in the Scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy. Christ Himself is their Author. Fundamentals of Christian Education. “Howbeit when he. the Holy Spirit transmits power to overcome inherited weakness and developed evils. saying.
.” Counsels on Health. but mortal man defies natural law at his own peril. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word. enabling man to see that in order to live a perfect life he must obey the natural laws which govern his being. The natural laws are channels of the Creator’s power or authority. . Revelation 19:10. it is because there is no light in them. “A continual transgression of nature’s laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. they are also a channel of His authority. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s. Thus they are a delineation of God’s will for His remnant people and being in harmony with the Scriptures. The testimonies are a written expression of God’s speaking to man.” Isaiah 8:20. The Spirit of Prophecy is another channel of divine authority.Introduction 11 willingness to follow His previous guidance. Those who expect His blessing in spite of their disobedience to Him regarding the counsels given in the law and the testimony are trying to work the Holy Spirit rather than their being worked by Him. And the dragon was wroth with the woman. The power of God’s authority exercised by the Holy Spirit can countermand the laws of nature in a “miraculous” form. 20. Christ’s followers are to obey the civil powers in those areas delegated to them. and unto God the things which be God’s. They are a measure of truth and right-doing (righteousness) for this remnant of time. God has administered this earth with a separation between the religious powers and the civil powers. which keep the commandments of God. and He permits light to shine. . . and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. For over a century the presence of “the testimonies”—the “Spirit of Prophecy. God’s love is still extended to the race. and went to make war with the remnant of her seed. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” the divinely inspired writings of Ellen G. Let no man join together that which God has put asunder.” Luke 20:25. Revelation 12:17. Another channel of divine authority is in Christ’s created works. From the time that Israel rejected the theocratic form of government and chose a king. White—in the Seventh-day Adventist movement has been evidence that this is the remnant church.
God has placed individuals in His church to administer His corporate body. son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground. “If they speak not according to this word. Last but not least in God’s chain of command is the individual follower of Christ. He [Satan] desired to usurp the throne of God.12 Authority In God's Church And God hath set some in the church. Ellen G. governments. God has assigned His followers the task of carrying His gospel of salvation “to every nation.” They are channels for His authority. The Sev- . 1 Corinthians 12:28. it is because there is no light in them. for much truth and little error is more misleading than total error. White Comments. diversities of tongues. in deception.” Isaiah 14:12–14. then gifts of healings. Usurpation of Authority: There is a great controversy today as to who has the right to rule in this universe. but is delegated to them by God. thirdly teachers. Those who live and speak according “to the law and to the testimony” transmit God’s will to those around them.” Isaiah 8:20. secondarily prophets. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation. first apostles. The authority and power which they administer is not their own. after that miracles. to usurp his place in the hearts of men.” Commensurate with this humanly impossible task. to appropriate the adoration that belongs to God alone. in crookedness. O Lucifer. in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. kindred. He has made available to His people the supernatural power and authority of His Word and the Holy Spirit to carry out that commission. The person wholly surrendered to divine power and authority will be used of the Holy Spirit as a “chosen vessel” (see Acts 9:15) or channel of divine authority. He has delegated them to administer His work in harmony with “the law and the testimony. helps. “How art thou fallen from heaven.” “Spirits” and other powers and individuals are to be measured according “to the law and to the testimony. which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart. He or she is to obey all others in the chain of command only as they themselves are in harmony with those above them in the chain. Failing in this. All “Christs. he has worked in darkness. I will be like the most High. tongue and people. He has set up his throne between God and man. I will ascend into heaven.” It is an allor-nothing measurement.
It is manifested by a desire to be served rather than to serve. thus usurping God’s authority. and then only through the forbearance of God) he led one third of the heavenly host and Adam and Eve to join him in his rebellion against the legitimate Supreme Ruler of the universe. or traditions of man rather than those of God. falsehoods. 6. methods. When they lead others to follow or carry out the plans. . 1119. By their example and words in disobedience to God they are leading others to disobey. They have set up their throne and that of Satan between God and man. discord. vol. they are installing man in the place of God. Those who utilize the principles of his kingdom will in the end be found to have been promoting that kingdom. Those powers or individuals who do not live or speak in harmony with “the law and the testimony” have self on the throne of their lives. His kingdom is based on disobedience to truth (God’s authority). self-will. and force. coercion. 13 Although Satan has no basis for authority (the only things he has created and sustains are sin. They are following the path of Romanism and the great usurper.Introduction enth-day Adventist Bible Commentary. disease and death.
14 Authority In God's Church .
15 Chapter 1
Christ’s Representative on Earth
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:7–9.
ROM the time that Adam and Eve disobeyed God, losing their dominion over the earth to Satan, the fruits of rebellion have persisted. Sin, depravity, disease and death have reigned on this planet. Christ came to destroy the usurped power and authority of Lucifer over mankind and to restore the human race to willing obedience to the authority and kingdom of God. The Gospel Commission
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19. Among those to whom the Saviour had given the commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19), were many from the humbler walks of life—men and women who had learned to love their Lord and who had determined to follow His example of unselfish service. To these lowly ones, as well as to the disciples who had been with the Saviour during His earthly ministry, had been given a precious trust. They were to carry to the world the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The Acts of the Apostles, 105–106.
Authority In God's Church
The Saviour’s commission is given individually to each one who believes:
Those who stand as leaders in the church of God are to realize that the Saviour’s commission is given to all who believe in His name. God will send forth into His vineyard many who have not been dedicated to the ministry by the laying on of hands. Ibid., 110.
Christ has appointed different responsibilities to different persons within His church:
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:28.
Just as His Father’s kingdom is based on service to His creation just so Christ established His kingdom on earth on service to its subjects. Those who are greatest are to be servants of the body:
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11.
The work of the church is to direct sinners in the way of life:
Thus Jesus gave sanction to the authority of His organized church and placed Saul in connection with His appointed agencies on earth. Christ had now a church as His representative on earth, and to it belonged the work of directing the repentant sinner in the way of life. Ibid., 122.
The commission to the church, leaders and lay members, is to teach all nations that which Christ has taught them. Their sole authority is to be “It is written” and “To the law and to the testimony:”
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:20. In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man’s
Christ's Representative On Earth
theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach. “The law and the prophets,” with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ’s name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom. The Desire of Ages, 826.
God’s commissioned individuals are to look to Him for their guidance and direction:
We are God’s property. In Jesus Christ we are to behold a pattern of what we should be. Every soul should be educated to look not to his fellow men, but unto Christ. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Let no man think it his place to point out to others in a compulsory manner their duty. This God forbids. All are to be guided in the path of duty, by the plain word of God. Manuscript Release No. 311, 33. Let man now cease to trust in man. While they should respect God’s plan for unity of action, let all remember that the Holy Spirit is molding and fashioning the human agent in the divine similitude. The life that is hid with Christ in God is revealed through men. We are now living in the closing scenes of this world’s history. Let men tremble with the sense of the responsibility of knowing the truth. The ends of the world are come. Proper consideration of these things will lead all to make an entire consecration of all that they have and are to their God. There should be no boasting, no seeking for the highest places; but all should be ambitious to do with fidelity, with an eye single to the glory of God, the sacred work which it is our exalted privilege to engage in. The eye should not be so constantly looking to man, studying the plans which men devise; but rather seeking for a knowledge of the plans which are determined by the Source of all wisdom. Then there will be no danger of having plans for the work contaminated by flowing through impure human channels. Look to God; pray to God; wait and watch and pray to God; work for God. Review and Herald, vol. 3, 276 (July 23, 1895).
There are four supposed reasons for human authority in God's church on earth:
His expression “this rock. They declare the conditions upon which men are received or rejected. The word “Peter” signifies a loose stone. That thou art Peter. 5. even Christ. not human legislation. 1. and upon this rock I will build my church. 2. are the keys of the kingdom: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 1095. Christ. not human leadership is the foundation of the church: The apostles were to remain on an equality with their brethren: But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master. Theirs is a mission weighted with eternal results. These words have power to open and to shut heaven. “The keys of the kingdom of heaven” are the words of Christ. have claimed to be his successors. and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. God’s words. On the church has . Matthew 16:18. Only what the church does in harmony with God’s Word is ratified in heaven: Verily I say unto you. The Desire of Ages. Matthew 18:18. Matthew 16:19. Nothing in the life of Peter gives sanction to the claim that he was elevated above his brethren as the vicegerent of the Most High. Those who. Thus the work of those who preach God’s Word is a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. 194–195.18 Authority In God's Church And I say also unto thee.” applied to Himself as the foundation of the Christian church. 413–414. Ellen G. 3. If those who are declared to be the successors of Peter had followed his example. All the words of Holy Scripture are His. as popes. This statement holds its force in all ages. and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. and all ye are brethren. The Acts of the Apostles. vol. Matthew 23:8. Christ did not refer to Peter as being the rock upon which He would found His church. have no scriptural foundation for their pretensions. they would always have been content to remain on an equality with their brethren. White Comments. and are here included.
263. they are remitted unto them. vol. 7.Christ's Representative On Earth been conferred the power to act in Christ’s stead. the church has a duty. “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. It is God’s instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among His people. 17. they disown Christ. saying: “Whose soever sins ye remit. to warn. delegated power unto His church. “with all long-suffering and doctrine. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity. they are retained. Those who hold responsible positions in the church may have faults in common with other people and may err in their decisions. 19 4. Toward those who fall into sin. to instruct. stealing. and whose soever sins ye retain. Testimonies. Many do not realize the sacredness of church relationship and are loath to submit to restraint and discipline. the judgment you have declared from God’s Word is pronounced upon them in heaven. 4. Deal faithfully with wrongdoing. and if possible to restore. Warn every soul that is in danger.” Galatians 5:21. but notwithstanding this.” Testimonies. Their course of action shows that they exalt their own judgment above that of the united church. the church of Christ on earth has given to them an authority that cannot be lightly esteemed. and every other evil. If they persist in sin. In the Sermon on the Mount He forbade this. But on the church in its organized capacity He places a responsibility for the individual members. they are retained. Upon it rests the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy. exhort. Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God’s Word will be ratified in heaven. after His resurrection. “Reprove. Call sin by its right name. vol. the church must show . and order. who by their un-Christlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth. purity. Christ. In choosing to sin. Leave none to deceive themselves. John 20:23.” the Lord says. Christ here gives no liberty for any man to pass judgment upon others. and whose soever sins ye retain. It is the prerogative of God.” 2 Timothy 4:2. Declare what God has said in regard to lying. they are remitted unto them. Only when the church says what God says about sin and deals the way God says to deal with sin are her actions ratified in heaven: Whose soever sins ye remit. Sabbathbreaking. rebuke. and they are not careful to guard themselves lest they encourage a spirit of opposition to its voice. idolatry.
The Desire of Ages.20 Authority In God's Church that she does not sanction their deeds. . or she herself dishonors her Lord. and her action is ratified in heaven. He who despises the authority of the church despises the authority of Christ Himself. She must say about sin what God says about it. 805–806. She must deal with it as God directs.
System and order are manifest in all the works of God throughout the universe. and hence to be feared as popery. By some. is in the very air we breathe. The spirit of pulling away from fellow laborers. in harmony with the judgment of God-fearing counselors. and light was given by His Spirit that there must be order and thorough discipline in the church—that organization was essential. We sought the Lord with earnest prayer that we might understand His will.21 Chapter 2 The Need for Organization Church order ordained of God Order is Heaven’s first law. that they are amenable to no man. and most of the Seventh-day Adventists entertained the same ideas. how Satan would rejoice if he could succeed in his efforts to get in among this people and disorganize the work at a time when thorough organization is essential and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings and to refute claims not endorsed by the Word of God! We want to hold the lines evenly. for in this course alone lies our safety and strength. 101. The first-day Adventists were opposed to organization. that there shall be no breaking down of the system of 21 . Otherwise God cannot work with us and by us and for us. Herein lies a grave danger to the prosperity of our work. These deceived souls regard it a virtue to boast of their freedom to think and act independently. Order is the law of heaven. They declare that they will not take any man’s say-so. all efforts to establish order are regarded as dangerous—as a restriction of personal liberty. Testimonies to Ministers. and it should be the law of God’s people on the earth. 26. I have been instructed that it is Satan’s special effort to lead men to feel that God is pleased to have them choose their own course independent of the counsel of their brethren. We must move discreetly. the spirit of disorganization. Oh. sensibly. Counsels on Health.
Testimonies. and then the angels of God can co-operate with them. Gospel Workers. that subjection and perfect discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. All who desire the co-operation of the heavenly messengers must work in unison with them. and church to church. disorganization. angels. vol. and union of action. the more successful will be the efforts of these heavenly agents in our behalf. . . and prevent successful action. 443–444. He places His servants in close connection with His church. They turn away in grief. and through it He communicates His purposes and His will. never will these heavenly messengers place their endorsement upon irregularity. The more closely we imitate the harmony and order of the angelic host. distraction. and disorganization. Thus the human instrumentality will be enabled to co-operate with the divine. Satan well knows that success can only attend order and harmonious action. while the church—Christ’s body—is left in darkness. But never. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order. to destroy our courage. discipline. 9. who are thoroughly organized and move in perfect order. cannot work for us successfully. Neither does He give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church. 257– 258. Christian shall be united to Christian. careful labor. Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit. It is his studied .22 Authority In God's Church organization and order that has been built up by wise. undisciplined. and all the believers will be united in an organized and well-directed effort to give to the world the glad tidings of the grace of God. . All these evils are the result of Satan’s efforts to weaken our forces. He does not give to one of His servants an experience independent of and contrary to the experience of the church itself. and disorder. for they are not authorized to bless confusion. If we see no necessity for harmonious action. and greater confidence in others whom He is leading out to advance His work. License must not be given to disorderly elements that desire to control the work at this time. and disorganized in our course of action. Those who have the unction from on high will in all their efforts encourage order. Angels work harmoniously. Perfect order characterizes all their movements. In His providence. in order that they may have less confidence in themselves. God has made His church on the earth a channel of light. and are disorderly. The Lord in His wisdom has arranged that by means of the close relationship that should be maintained by all believers.
its purposes are multiple: As our numbers increased. and to remain especially distinct from bodies of Christians who are united and are laboring to establish discipline and harmony of action. Ibid. a restriction of rightful liberty. God has blessed our united efforts. Systematic benevolence was entered into according to the Bible plan. Perfect harmony is achieved by each person when directed by the hand of God: . for the publication of the truth through the press.The Need For Organization effort to lead professed Christians just as far from Heaven’s arrangement as he can. organization was indispensable. . Let none of our brethren be so deceived as to attempt to tear it down. 27 (1901) . that we know God has answered. our system of organization has still proved effectual. . The system of organization has proved a grand success. through much sacrifice and conflict. To provide for the support of the ministry. Let none entertain the thought that we can dispense with organization. for carrying the work in new fields. for we have few wealthy men among us. All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous. for holding church property. 26–28. The mustard seed has grown to a great tree. Testimonies to Ministers. The body has been “compacted by that which every joint supplieth. for you will thus bring in a condition of things that you do not dream of. that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course. to erect this structure. 23 Organization is indispensable. Organization has been a grand success as a result of obeying God’s directions: Our work was not sustained by large gifts or legacies. It has cost us much study and many prayers for wisdom. for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members. What is the secret of our prosperity? We have moved under the orders of the Captain of our salvation. and hence are feared as popery. . The truth has spread and flourished. and the work would not be carried forward successfully. Institutions have multiplied. It has been built up by His direction.. 28–29. and for many other objects. therefore he deceives even the professed people of God and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality. it was evident that without some form of organization there would be great confusion. Ibid.” As we have advanced.
heart to heart. too much out of their methods and plans. all seemed intricate and unexplainable. He is not pleased when you depend on each other for light and wisdom and direction. vol. works in perfect harmony with every other wheel. but the Captain of the Lord’s host is leading the armies of both heaven and earth to battle. 3. Heart and flesh would fail in the round of ceremonies. realizing that he is battling in full view of the invisible universe. they will find themselves influenced by the Holy Spirit to work the works of God. 272 (July 16. you are individually to lean your whole weight on God. Testimonies. Then let every man stand at his post of duty. I have been shown that human instrumentalities are liable to seek after too much power and try to control the work themselves. life to life. 188. Every wheel. the appearance of living creatures connected with them.24 Authority In God's Church To the prophet the wheel within a wheel. and in the carrying out of our plans. and perfect order is the result of its work. We must not withdraw from Him to make flesh our arm: But while you are to love as brethren. vol. the Mighty Worker. System and order will fail if human plans are followed: System and order are highly essential. To Him . 3. they are marching on to a glorious victory. Individually we must know that He is our sanctification and our redemption. God in His providence is preparing a way so that the work may be done by human agents. but none should receive the impression that these will do the work without the grace and power of God operating upon the mind and heart. directed by the hand of God. God is to be the greatest over all. The Lord must be our wisdom. Victory will be achieved when the Lord’s army obeys orders: The great General is not only leading a few soldiers. 1895). If the Lord’s army will obey orders. and think soul to soul. 9. and do not trust to Him everything in regard to the advancement of the work. 259–260. without the power of God to inspire and give courage to perform. Review and Herald. He will be your support. They leave the Lord God. vol. Testimonies. No one should for a moment fancy that he is able to manage those things that belong to the great I AM. But the hand of Infinite Wisdom is seen among the wheels. and fight courageously. to act his part for this time and know that God is his instructor. Every soldier is to put on the whole armor of God.
Whatever your duties in the various lines of work may be. You must not withdraw from Him to make flesh your arm. The Desire of Ages. Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law. when it is evident that the managers are themselves controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. They themselves did not practice their own teaching. But you must know that you are guided by the principles of the Word of the living God. Review and Herald. 2. The Great General of armies. We must not put our dependence in man: Brethren. and do not. God’s Word is to be obeyed even if expounded by faulty leaders: “The scribes and the Pharisees. then it is time to consider that you are safe in accepting what they may say. 29.The Need For Organization we may look. we must not put our dependence in man. He will be to us a present help in every time of need. 26. vol. They are to be guided by His Word and the Testimonies. 25 Managers are to be obeyed under God when they are under the control of the Holy Spirit: When the power of God is manifest in the church and in the management of the various departments of His work. when there is a fountain in the mountain. Ellen G. The rank and file are to hear God’s voice. whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” You must hang your helpless souls upon Jesus. under God. As such they claimed from the people the utmost deference and obedience. 1901 General Conference Bulletin. in Him we may trust. but not to follow their example. 1890). that observe and do.” He said. It does not become us to drink from the fountain of the valley. 368 (February 18. remember that God is the general over all.” The scribes and Pharisees claimed to be invested with divine authority similar to that of Moses. White. let us come to the higher springs. 311. 612. but do not ye after their works: for they say. They assumed to take his place as expounders of the law and judges of the people. Let us leave the lower streams. Manuscript Release No. the Captain of the Lord’s host. is our leader. “Cease ye from man. They are not to be divided by any human wisdom or devising: . “sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe.
or of a small group of men. It is to have authority and respect: I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. And I must call upon the people of God to recognize His authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man. in a General Conference. 74. sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God’s work. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth. We must not be broken up by any human wisdom or devising. I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence. and in the Testimonies He has sent to His people. At times. mixed-up sentiments of man. God has outlined His plan in His Word. the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised. when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have. represented by these few men.26 Authority In God's Church God’s voice is to be heard. contrary to the decision of the general body. A duly appointed session of the General Conference is the highest earthly authority in the organization. when assembled in a General Conference. shall have authority. . God’s authority is to stand supreme in its moral dignity and power. private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed. representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. Man’s authority bears the signature of man. the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans shall be followed. Battle Creek Letters. an authority which bears the evidence of its divine origin. in the name of the General Conference. But when. as the voice of God. and which is commendable and acceptable in the sight of His children on the earth and in the whole heavenly universe. His wisdom is to guide us. but surrendered. We are not to permit the rank and file of our people to come under the generalship of the weak. Every soul is called upon to connect himself inseparably with God’s authority.
. Do you obey the commandments of God? Are you one with God? Are you sanctified by the Spirit of God? Those who fill positions in the Conference must have the righteousness of Christ. 260–261 See Testimonies. will work for God. . . . ordained by Him as guides of His people. 9. But what we want is God’s traditions. but position does not make the man. vol. You may be exalted to heaven as far as position is concerned. you will realize that you are to mold and fashion minds after the divine similitude: and then those in the different institutions here. Testimonies. Are you under the control of God? Do you see your responsibility to him? If you do realize this responsibility. for the enemy would hope that through his mind he could affect many others. There are those here that have traditions. . . vol. Let us give to the highest organized authority in the church that which we are prone to give to one man or to a small group of men. You have built up barriers against the principles which should have been carried into every part of the Lord’s vineyard. Ibid. 27 Matters of grave import are to be decided by the whole church under the guidance of God’s ministers: Matters of grave import come up for settlement by the church. This gives a man a power in his work. “You are to stand by the old traditions. to hold up the stan- . vol. and he is invested with the authority to be judgment for other minds. the voice of the General Conference is not to be taken as the voice of God for His church if the leaders are not following Christ: Many of you have been educating yourselves to talk with human beings instead of talking with God. which God has placed in the church. In harmony with the concept that Christ is the Head of the church. . who are being trained and educated to become workers.” they say. after doing their part. 3. then the true Bible order is changed.The Need For Organization When this power. compassion and tenderness are correct principles. 7. . yet in their own line of practice they cling to the old traditions. 492. . are to submit the whole matter to the church. Satan’s efforts upon such a man’s mind would be most subtle and sometimes well-nigh overpowering. is accredited wholly to one man. God’s ministers. You have no right to manage. Notwithstanding they may say that unity and love. unless you manage in God’s order. that there may be unity in the decision made. . 263–264. and they stand just as the Pharisees stood.
1901 General Conference Bulletin. that is past. as we once believed the General Conference to be. to deal with human minds. Ellen G. .28 Authority In God's Church dard of righteousness. my very soul is drawn out in these things! Men who have not learned to submit themselves to the control and discipline of God. Oh. 24–25. White. are not competent to train the youth. It is just as much an impossibility for them to do this work as it would be for them to make a world. That these men should stand in a sacred place. to be as the voice of God to the people.
thoughts or words but only those of His Father. . but whatsoever he shall hear.” Any variance from this commitment is a misuse of their position and is to put human opinion before that of God. He also was not to communicate His own thoughts. White 1888 Materials. Christ on this earth was the special emissary of God the Father. and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me. is come. he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself. and nothing but the truth.” John 14:10. “Howbeit when he. The Ellen G. the Spirit of truth. How much more should mere mortals. as emissaries of Christ. but are to look constantly to Jesus as their Captain and Pilot: I was shown that the follies of Israel in the days of Samuel will be repeated unless men have greater humility and less confidence in themselves. that shall he speak: .” John 16:13–14. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine. He did not communicate His own opinions. T Leaders are not to put confidence in themselves alone. 934. words or opinions. and greater confidence in the Lord God 29 . be very careful to not communicate by example or word any personal thoughts or opinions that might be interpreted as being an expression of God’s will! As ambassadors of Christ we must transmit faithfully only those messages that we have received from Him whom we represent: We must obey the orders from above. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father.29 Chapter 3 Leadership’s Relation to Authority HOSE in leadership roles are sworn in by Christ to “tell the truth. and shall show it unto you. . the whole truth. The Holy Spirit became the special emissary to man upon Christ’s ascension.
but what God can do through finite men who are teachable. God has given minds and talents to men only in trust. It works by love. The desire of each institution must be to be guided by God’s unerring counsel: This. There is altogether too much self-confidence and self-sufficiency. and men must not lift up themselves in their own finite wisdom.. unless the divine power co-operates with the human. and every man in office where sacred responsibilities are involved must enquire at every step. and put not confidence in themselves alone. and maintain principle at any cost. “Is this the way of the Lord?” See Judges 2:22. unselfish. the Ruler of His people. to test and prove them to see if they will work in His way and do His will. without giving glory to God. and by great caution in their position and movements. Thus thought the inhabitants of the world destroyed by a Flood. When they fully decided that .. as did ancient Israel— take themselves out of the hands of God. we must accept Him as a Ruler. by Christian politeness and genuine courtesy to all people. for it is a working faith. it will be evidenced by meekness. altogether too much pride of heart and self-esteem. by love. Ibid. We have then the genuine ring in our faith. 919–920. humble. Thus we evidence our allegiance to God. These men will show that they have the mind of Christ. and give evidence that they have a firm platform of solid. When men make God their trust. so will the church make shipwreck amid the perils of these lasts days unless the holy Captain of her salvation shall not only serve as Captain. He must look constantly and continuously to Jesus for His guidance. One leak will sink the mightiest vessel that ever rode the proud ocean. . oh. this is what is needed in the hearts of all our institutions! It is the knowledge of God. Ibid. on trial. Christ cannot be our Redeemer unless He is also our Ruler: Let this point be fully settled in every mind: If we accept Christ as a Redeemer.30 Authority In God's Church of Israel. They will reveal dependence upon God. We have a living Head. We cannot put the least confidence in human ability. . 823. but Pilot. and sanctified. uncontaminated principle beneath their feet. and think in their human wisdom and supposed smartness they can do much better when left to their own imaginings. by much prayer. . It is not what finite men can do. We cannot have the assurance and perfect confiding trust in Christ as our Saviour until we acknowledge Him as our King and are obedient to His commandments.
777.Leadership's Relation to Authority they had no need of God. No duties that God presents before us should cause us to work at cross-purposes with Him. and how to seize them quickly. He revealed his determination and firm reliance upon God. Even if they have to walk as did Enoch—with God alone—His children must separate from those who do not obey Him. They are drilled in making a charge against the enemy. . Any deviation to follow human devising or planning disqualifies them for being trustworthy. Elisha might exercise his reasoning ability on every other subject but the one that would admit of no reasoning. who show that they are not in vital connection with Him. This lesson is for us to study carefully. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. Elisha had put his hand to the plow. 1037. and he would not look back. They are taught how to stack their arms. 5. and they and all their wicked works perished in the waters of the Flood. 1905). 31 His representatives are to always be fully obedient to the divine directions: The greatest qualification for any man in a position of trust is to obey implicitly the Word of the Lord. and place them quickly in position again upon the person. Those who follow the Lord are to be firm and straightforward in obeying His directions. The Word of God is to be our counselor. Thus the drill goes on. Ellen G. White Comments. Review and Herald. “Shall I not judge for these things?” God asks. and are trained in all kinds of maneuvers. soldiers are drilled to disencumber themselves of their knapsacks. then the Lord decided He had no need of them. 2. Those in responsibility are responsible for the mistakes of those they lead astray: Those in positions of responsibility who follow their own way are held responsible for the mistakes of those who are led astray by their example. We are in no case to swerve from our allegiance. He was to obey the Word of the Lord at all times and in all places. preparing men for any emergency. O God. vol. make us to know Thy ways and to choose to be led and guided by Thy unerring counsel! Ibid. vol. 167 (September 14.. Obedience must be learned before leaders are fitted to command: For hours. It is only those who render perfect and thorough obedience to God that He will choose.
The Ellen G.32 Authority In God's Church And should those who are fighting the battle for Prince Emmanuel be less earnest and painstaking in their preparation for the spiritual warfare? Those who engage in this great work must take part in the necessary drill. He who would lift himself up in His presence must first prostrate himself at the foot of the cross of Calvary. A man cannot safely be entrusted with the control of others. and in their own strength or lift their heads before Him in their own righteousness. Every soul must be under discipline to God. that testify to the value of a man. Then can men be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. His ways seem right in his own eyes. that the will of the Lord many be at all time plainly manifested to us. Gospel Workers. Hereditary traits of character need to be overcome. He asks that they submit their judgment to His control. Self is put out of sight. but he cannot be commander in institutions where God presides. He has been commander so long that it is very difficult for him to submit to be under the discipline of God. 1232. be not afraid. But to the contrite and penitent and humble He says. stand before Me. To stand before the Lord means to desire His way above all things: The Lord casts down all who dare present themselves before Him on their own footing. and who behold Him and serve Him in their own way. that . To occupy an exalted position is not always evidence that the Lord has placed an individual in that position. unless he shall first learn to obey. we are to watch for any tokens from the Lord. 75. not position. The Lord looks with pitying tenderness upon Brother Eldridge. 275. and be clothed with Christ’s righteousness. The Paulson Collection. A man cannot be entrusted to control others until he himself is under the control of the Holy Spirit: The Lord sends His messages to correct the erring. unless he himself is under the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Lift thyself up. however highly they may regard themselves. according to their own ideas. His directions and His reproofs and commands. and that we may do nothing from moment to moment but what shall please Him and promote His glory. listen attentively with our mind and heart to hear His voice. They must learn to obey before they are fitted to command. behold My face with comfort and assurance and with joy. White 1888 Materials. It is the works. What is it to stand before the Lord? It means to desire His way above all things.
This brings in disjointed and inharmonious action. 33 Those who will not listen to God’s will are not to be placed in holy office: Place not men in positions of holy office who will not listen to God’s counsel concerning His way and His will. There are influences working mightily against the very work God requires to be done. The Paulson Collection. and to encourage righteousness. and who would not be turned aside by those who were deficient in faith. If they do not constantly live as in the presence of God.. This is walking with God. and this is standing before the Lord. . and he has too much at stake lightly to lose their influence. They were following their own counsel and judgment. . The messages of pure and unadulterated truth are in danger of being trampled under feet by self-willed. for men cannot be trusted.and forbidden paths. for the enemy is seeking through unconverted men in positions of trust to mold the work. . Divergence from following the Lord to following one’s own wisdom may be almost imperceptible: It is not safe to place men in the position God should occupy. we may expect to encounter opposition. I was instructed that the only way to counterwork this evil was to have placed in positions of trust men who would be guided by the counsel of the Lord. and were imperiling the cause of God. you are not fit to be a teacher. I was shown that human power is constantly working to weave itself into the work of God. . unless you are daily a learner in the cause and work of the Master. There were strong men in Southern California who stood decidedly against the light the Lord was giving His messenger regarding the work to be done. 298–299. In our efforts to secure consecrated leadership. have humble ideas of yourself. 23.Leadership's Relation to Authority we may know the way of His commandments. There is danger that the teachings of men who are not soundly converted may lead others into by. 589. 714. . if they do not walk humbly before . Let self die in you. Ibid. unconverted men who work to destroy confidence in the warnings that God would speak to the hearts of His people to correct error. Men who repudiate the teachings of the Spirit of God are not the proper persons to be placed in office as leaders in the church. . Manuscript Release No.
We must keep the way of the Lord to do His will. Who shall enter the kingdom of heaven? Christ says. 57. In response to the question. God changes not. God calls for obedience. notwithstanding the plain command of the Lord to regard it with fear and trembling. “Not every one that saith unto me. He had to be removed from the Lord’s work. Trusting to their own wisdom. 327. Only the “whole-souled obedience” of Christ is acceptable to God: Nothing can take the place of obedience to a “Thus saith the Lord. our own plans and ideas. Those who close their eyes to the Testimonies are not qualified to be ministers or administrators. and think it wisdom to walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling. they have not taken counsel from the Source of all wisdom. must be the whole-souled obedience that Christ ever offered to the Father. The Ellen G. Lord. but rather to self-exaltation and self-sufficiency. Lord. for they would spoil the church: If men close their eyes to the testimonies God has been pleased to give. Testimonies to Ministers. It is destructive to the spiritual life of those who cherish it. Obedience. Today He is just as desirous as in the days of Uzzah that men shall know His ways. from the straight line of God’s work. and that they shall rever- . Ibid.34 Authority In God's Church God and their brethren. is opposed to practical godliness. Uzzah meddled with the ark. may not be such as God can approve. shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. 506–507. and then in faith work away from self. 81 Every soul must keep the way of the Lord to do His will. it will spoil the church.. Such men are not qualified to become either ministers or presidents of conferences. Their ideas become so confused that they offer strange fire before the Lord.” Knowledge that does not lead to a practice of self-denial and self-sacrifice. True faith leads away from selfish plans and from the self-pleasing life. means great injury to the work of God.” (Matthew 7:21) Ibid. exercised in a family or institution. and to keep it sacred. Self-sufficiency. Every soul should now be distrustful of self. and by slight degrees. but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. they will deceive themselves and their fellow men. making Him our counselor. Our own ways. in order to be acceptable to God. to a daily walk in the footsteps of Christ. they will diverge almost imperceptibly. White 1888 Materials..
If we disregard them. vol. wake up. should be heeded.Leadership's Relation to Authority ence the methods He has outlined for their guidance. 324. God has spoken to us through his Word. and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy. in persevering energy. White 1888 Materials. and spirit. Every one who has a knowledge of the truth should awake. brethren. When men feel that it is unimportant to obey a “Thus saith the Lord” in carrying forward His work. We must follow the directions given in the Spirit of Prophecy. In every effort to advance the interests of His work. we must lose sight of self. He has spoken to us through the Testimonies to the church. Review and Herald. precept upon precept. will give you position and will make others appreciate you. Wake up. they thereby evidence unfitness for any position of trust in his cause. what excuse shall we offer? Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. soul. in purity. in devoted piety. and keep in view God’s glory. We must love and obey the truth for this time. They are to carry out the plans He has devised. 35 One of the greatest curses is to seek for the highest place: The greatest curse among our people today is seeking for the highest place. under the discipline of God. The Ellen G. line upon line. We must be wide-awake. 167 (September 14. White. . 200 What excuse shall we offer if we fail to follow the directions given in the Spirit of Prophecy? Perilous times are before us. We must put on the whole armor of God. 1905). 5. The warnings that have been given. we do not feel our need of the constant grace of Christ to work with all our efforts. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. but that their own plans should be followed. on our guard against him. and place himself. body. The enemy is on our track. Full of self-importance and self-esteem. Whatever you are in character.
36 Authority In God's Church .
53. even among Seventh-day Adventists. The Paulson Collection. 835. and be braced for duty and for trial by the truth of God’s Word. Leaders are to be guided by a “Thus saith the Lord:” Let us go to the Word of God for guidance. “Put not your trust in man. every jot of strength and illumination from other minds whom God has blessed. no entreaty. Battle Creek Letters.” Look to God. however lofty his position. God has given men reasoning minds and He will not hold them guiltless if they trust in man or make flesh their arm. Search the Scriptures for yourself. 82. to guide. Let us seek for a “Thus saith the Lord. but that is not enough. let not the smiles. or the rewards of any man. awake to your God-given responsibilities. induce you to swerve from the path in which the Lord would lead you. Brethren. Regard as a sin the practice so common.” We have enough of human methods. The Ellen G. neither make flesh your arm. They must go to the Fountainhead for themselves. no influence. Ministers are to let no human authority come between them and God: There is to come no authority from human minds that will in the least degree interpose between him and God’s authority to lead. and you will never be led astray. the confidence. Trust in His infallible wisdom. and to dictate. True shepherds repentant over past poor performances will look to God and not self for wisdom to devise and plan: 37 .37 Chapter 4 How Leaders Are to Do Their Work L EADERS are to put their trust in the Lord rather than to be an echo of other men: God says to every man to whom He entrusts responsibilities. Listen to the voice of the great Shepherd. Let no friendship. of becoming the echo of any man. White 1888 Materials. The ministers of Christ should gather up every ray of light.
loving Him supremely and obeying His Word. Under the threat of Sunday laws God’s people are to seek guidance from God and not be directed by human decisions: Let all be careful what they say and what they do. They will be given the knowledge of Heaven to impart to others. but of Him who never makes a mistake. He is ever to keep before him the fear of God. to be kept pure from all contamination. . Leaders are to work in harmony with God’s instructions: Those today to whom the Lord has given great light will find their only safety in walking in the way of the Lord. Make no resolutions as to what persons in different states may do. Its possession lays upon every one on whom it is bestowed a peculiar obligation to glorify God by blessing his fellow men. Our work is soon to close. and we are now to place ourselves in working order in God’s way. Let not anyone make any proud boast either by precept or example to show that he is defying the laws of the land. The most valuable knowledge that we can obtain is the knowledge of God. and with a sense of his weakness. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. “Is this the way of the Lord?” Ellen G. inquiring at every step.. 2. 833. be careful to move in God’s order. Let nothing be done to lessen individual responsibility. He will be sick and sore over his past poor performances and inefficient experience. our wisdom. for it will soon be too late to work for Him: I have had much to write in regard to the shortness of time.. not taking counsel of themselves. Wisdom is God’s gift.38 Authority In God's Church The true shepherd of the sheep will humble his heart before God with the burden of the great responsibility in his position of trust. Keep step with the Captain of the Lord’s host. Our safety. God will do large things for those who will learn of Him. will be blessed with wisdom. Ibid. vol. Ibid. To their God they must stand or fall. 1032. and with the fear of God before him. He will not trust to his own finite intelligence or to his own wisdom to devise and plan. Those who walk humbly before Him. We are not to link ourselves up with those who are not wise to discern what is the will of God. is in recognizing and heeding God’s instructions. 480. his deficiencies. or may not do. We must be working in God’s way. he will cry unto God with all his soul for divine enlightenment before he makes a move in any line. White Comments. placing themselves where He can carry out His will through them.
domineering. They must not seek for power that they may lord it over God’s heritage.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work We are to come out from among them and be separate. White 1888 Materials. .” The Paulson Collection. They must give all the glory to God. Only those under the rule of Satan will seek to lord it over God’s heritage: Those whom God has placed in positions of responsibility should never seek to exalt themselves. he is to have authority. and because of this God cannot do the work He desires to do through them. It is His pleasure that A. The authority of leaders is to be hid in the meekness and lowliness of Christ: It is the pleasure of God that Brother A. A spirit of anger is stirring the nations. Every conceivable deception will be brought in. and the enemy will work with masterly power.T. The Kress Collection. True. those who reveal this spirit make manifest what they would be in heaven if entrusted with responsibility. The work of Moses. an authority that is hid in the meekness and lowliness of Christ. Jones should serve this Conference another year as president. 1595. 196. but it is to be just such an authority as Jesus had. they had no authority to legislate for the nation. This was. 39 Leaders are to enforce the laws of God. or to turn the attention of men to their work. 603. Stronger and stronger will be his efforts. The Ellen G. 37. was simply to enforce the laws that God had given. Jones should put away all appearance of a magisterial. The end of all things is at hand. and it will soon be too late to work for the Lord. and the message of warning must be given. until in heaven it is said. of the rulers and judges. This spirit is cherished and revealed by some in responsible positions. “It is finished. he has arbitrary authority. authoritative manner. not to legislate: The government of Israel was administered in the name and by the authority of God. By their course of action. of the seventy elders. He is not to think that by virtue of his position as president of the conference. From age to age men inspired by God were sent to instruct the people and to direct in the enforcement of the laws. Patriarchs and Prophets.T. for only those who are under the rule of Satan will do this. the condition of Israel’s existence as a nation. and continued to be. But the rule-or-ruin system is too often seen in our institutions.
Every man is to bear his own burden. If nine tenths of the effort that has been put forth for those who know the truth had been put forth for those who have never heard the truth. 414. lest the enemy shall obtain an advantage over their minds—an advantage that in time would react upon himself. .” This relationship we should recognize.40 Authority In God's Church Leaders are to do their task without interfering with the work of others: By means of one agency. God has mysteriously linked all men together. trying to take it in hand himself. even as we endeavor to bear our appointed burdens. but in no case is he to discourage and enfeeble them. than it has to be done over again. Church members that are thus looked after and labored for become religious weaklings. Ye “are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry. . and hope to his fellow workers. for he would so handle it that he would spoil it. It weakens those who know the truth for our ministers to expend on them the time and talent that should be given to the unconverted. ye are God’s building. To no man has been assigned the work of interfering with the work of one of his fellow laborers. He may speak words of encouragement. No sooner is this work done. . Of us He says. To no man has been appointed the work of being a ruler over his fellow men. how much greater would have been the advancement made! God has withheld His blessings because His people have not worked in harmony with His directions. To one God gives a work different from the work that He gives another. apparently. faith. See The Desire of Ages. If we are bound up with Christ. To every man He has assigned some special line of service. he may help them to bear their special burdens by suggesting to them improved methods of labor. and we should be quick to comprehend that we are to guard against leaving the work given us in order that we may interfere with other human agencies who are doing a work not precisely the same as our own. Christ Jesus. In many of our churches in the cities the minister preaches Sabbath after Sab- . Testimonies to Ministers. we shall constantly manifest Christlike sympathy and forbearance toward those who are striving with all their God-given ability to bear their burdens. Leaders will train the people to depend on God rather than on them: God has not given His ministers the work of setting the churches right. By the cords of tender love and sympathy the Lord linked all men to Himself. 494–495.
high or low. It is God that scrutinizes every talent. 41 Leaders are to plan and counsel rather than to rule: Men whom the Lord calls to important positions in His work are to cultivate a humble dependence upon Him. 7. They have not worked during the week to carry out the instruction given them on the Sabbath. Let there be no such oppression of conscience as is revealed in these meetings. not on the ministers. White 1888 Materials. and to depend on Him. Leaders are not to ply the oars unless they are under divine direction: Through the power of the Holy Spirit. He must not ply the oars unless he is under divine direction. Every worker alike is to hold himself amenable to the requirements and instructions of God. Let us seek to understand our privilege of walking and working with God. Man must place himself under the control of the eternal mind. So long as church members make no effort to give to others the help given them. They are not to seek to embrace too much authority. 9. vol. The greatest help that can be given our people is to teach them to work for God. Ibid. but to plan and counsel with their fellow laborers. The gospel. 18–19. great spiritual feebleness must result. 94. whose dictates he is to obey in every particular. and made to witness for the Lord. though it contains God’s expressed will. He who bears to his fellow men the remedy for sin. He has not laid this work of judging upon any man. every work of God’s appointment is to be elevated and ennobled. Let them learn to work as Christ worked. for man’s judgment would be biased by his peculiar traits of character. he cannot carry . God has not committed to any finite man the work of judging others. Testimonies. rich or poor. Let them join His army of workers and do faithful service for Him. vol. they have mistaken their calling. and it is He who will judge every man’s work. He cannot work effectually. Finite man has not been given the work of judging others: Let there be no lording it over God’s heritage.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work bath. 270. must first be worked himself by the Spirit of God.. and Sabbath after Sabbath the church members come to the house of God with no words to tell of blessings received because of blessings imparted. unless they place themselves in subjection to God. There must be no exalting one’s self above others. for God has not called them to a work of ruling. is of no value to men. The Ellen G.
and let man walk softly and humbly with God. Never close the door of the heart by sharp words and unkind criticism. No one can stand in our place and do our individual work. 311. when tremendous interests are being enacted among God’s people. The power that he receives from the great Teacher is the power to educate others. not from human sources. Do not cast burdens upon any class that He would have them released from. constantly advancing. Leave God something to do. Manuscript Release No. and educate in love: You must be constantly learning. White 1888 Materials. unless he finds out. Take them by your side. 1906). no masterly authority. Let the love of God rule in your own hearts. Lift no burdens from God’s people that He would have them to bear. 231 (July 26. accept help. not the power to order or dictate. Let the hand of God appear in molding and fashioning men’s minds and character. 485–486. bear patiently with them. The love of God. Leaders are to learn. The Ellen G. The Kress Collection. Leaders are not to cast human burdens upon God’s people. educate them. but from Infinite wisdom. in a healing. that God is pleased with his plans. You who have had more experience must teach those of less experience how to work. 19. You must receive help through any channel by which God may send it. no domineering.42 Authority In God's Church out the will of God in harmony with the divine mind. get in the place of God before the people. Do not hinder the workings of God for His people in this important period of time. Jesus bore the cruel cross to Calvary. is to flow through the life. and dictate how every other one shall labor. The spirit and words and deeds of every worker are to show that he realizes that he is acting in Christ’s place. life-giving current. Let God work human minds. Enough of this kind of work has been done. . neither are they to lift burdens God would have His people bear: We say to our brethren. He is to come to Christ as one who desires to know how to teach and help others. Leaders are to educate and not to rule: There is to be no ordering. Do not in your human wisdom fix up things too much bearing the human imprint. Do not for Christ’s sake. and be communicated to your associate workers. There is no such thing as making a groove for certain brethren to move in. no minister can embrace the work in his finite arms. Pacific Union Recorder. 18.
The right of man as man. but to service. Leaders are to serve rather than rule. Those that guide others contrary to what the Lord has said are doing wrong: Day by day we are to learn by searching the Scriptures that God does not exalt one man for the purpose of controlling the minds and the practices of another. “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God. decide. the lower were to obey and serve. was a matter of authority. education. . no compulsion of manner. placed their possessor under the greater obligation to serve his fellows. Religion. The people were supposed to exist for the benefit of the ruling classes. will think that they should put the yoke upon their fellow men. Everything that is done to direct people to follow the sayings and observe the customs of men. 5. The people were expected to believe and practice as their superiors directed. should understand that these very men need to be guided by that voice which has said that there is to be no lording it over God’s heritage. Those who think that their position gives them this authority. was wholly unrecognized. In Christ’s kingdom there is no lordly oppression. God gives to every soul freedom to think. and rule. the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak. No one is to control another’s mind. like all things else.” No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another. 550–551. We have need of broad-minded. to judge for another. The end [purpose] of all government was beautifully set forth by the Lord in the symbol of a tree . or to prescribe his duty. enjoy. Influence. The Desire of Ages. In all matters where principle is involved. . because they are in positions of trust. To even the lowliest of Christ’s disciples it is said. In matters of conscience the soul must be left untrammeled. He called men.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work 43 Leaders are to remember that authority in Christ’s kingdom operates through service without compulsion or oppression: In the kingdoms of the world. had better become Bible students. “All things are for your sakes. The higher classes were to think. were so many means of gaining control of the masses for the use of the leaders. position meant self-aggrandizement. talent.” 2 Corinthians 4:15. is wrong. Power. in opposition to what the Lord has said. Christ was establishing a kingdom on different principles. education. Those who dare to take the guidance of men.” Romans 14:12. but we do not need men who. “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. not to authority. to think and act for himself. deep-thinking men. and to follow his own convictions. . position. wealth.
and lords it over God’s purchased possession. Special attention should be given to the study of God’s plans: As a people we should study God’s plans for conducting His work. . . but will seek earnestly for light and intelligence as to what is the best manner of conducting their business. He takes upon him that which was never given him. lest he should move unadvisedly. . the commander of Israel. His requirements. we should carefully consider how to regard His expressed will. Leaders are to follow the example of Joshua in the seeking of God’s will: The greatest of all deceptions is for a man to think that he can find a better guide through difficulties than is found in the Word of God. . Wherever He has given directions in regard to any point. though short. 342. He regarded everything that came from Christ. and say. Those holding the positions of counselors should be unselfish men. The Paulson Collection. it will be a blessing to you in this life and the inheritance of life eternal. . Testimonies to Ministers. . men of faith. “You shall. as of sufficient importance to be sacredly cherished. If you heed the requirement. searched the books dilligently in which Moses had faithfully chronicled the directions given by God. men of prayer. allotted to you for repentance and improvement. reproofs. He meditated day and night upon the words which had been spoken to Moses. not your own. It is the worst kind of policy to leave the Lord out of your councils and put your confidence in the wisdom of men. Every man is accountable to God for his actions. 407. He calls for an entire consecration of yourselves to him. 14–15. or his own wisdom.44 Authority In God's Church that gave shelter to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the air. There is now a precious period. men that will not dare to rely upon their own human wisdom. . Joshua was afraid to trust his own impulses. Manuscript Release No. who was enshrouded with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. But the man who thinks it is his prerogative to command his fellow men. Joshua.” and. and restrictions. We are to do His work according to His plans: God calls upon you who are connected with his instrumentalities. This work should have special attention. “You shall not. to do his work according to his plans.” is entirely out of his place. 1010.
nothing wavering. They are not to devise and put in practice methods and plans to bring every individual under their jurisdiction. to take the work out of God’s hands into your own finite arms. 3. 45 Leaders are not to devise means to bring everyone under their jurisdiction: None are to exercise their human authority to bind the minds and souls of their fellow men. shalt thou make thy way prosperous. and he was commanded by God to study and meditate upon all the directions which had been given: “For then. but made God his counselor and guide. 275. to confuse. and upbraideth not. Then let all. which every soul may take. God’s will.” Here is marked out a straight path to the world’s Redeemer. White. If the servants of God will patiently instruct them by precept and ex- . It is not a desirable job to be engaged in. and thou shalt have success. Ministers are to direct souls to Christ for direction and guidance: The ministration of Christ is ever to be kept before the minds of the people. 376–377. “If any man lack wisdom. even amid his accumulated cares and responsibilities. Review and Herald. Ministers in word and doctrine are not to seek in human wisdom to supply the necessities of these souls. be directed to the source of all efficiency and power. and it shall be given him. they educate the flock of God to depend on human beings who are liable to err. It is not safe for any one to attempt to be conscience for God’s people. to get things into a tangle that is hard to straighten out. By precept and example God’s servants are to direct His people to God for direction: Satan’s work is constantly to perplex. His efficiency is that to which they should ever be directed. Christ has promised to be our wisdom. By doing this. 416. they are not to direct and guide. he dared not trust to his own finite wisdom. experienced and inexperienced. to mix up things. But let him ask in faith.” The secret of Joshua’s victories was that. our righteousness. Joshua desired to know and to do. our sanctification and redemption. that giveth to all men liberally. let him ask of God. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. vol. The Paulson Collection.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work the servant of God. Christ tasted death that every man might be partaker of the blessings of the gospel. It is best for all parties concerned to leave the people of God in God’s hands for Him to impress and teach and guide their consciences.
that giveth to all men liberally. “let him ask of God. The Ellen G. or fame. will obtain wisdom to know how to work in a way that meets divine approval: Those who today occupy positions of trust should seek to learn the lesson taught by Solomon’s prayer.46 Authority In God's Church ample. But they are to see in every difficulty a call to prayer. The higher the position a man occupies. but instead of striving for the supremacy.” James 1:5. the man whom God has endowed with discernment and ability will not manifest an eagerness for high position. They will approve that . neither will he seek to rule or control. The God whom we serve is no respecter of persons. Position does not give holiness of character. to understand their own duty as God would have them. the greater the responsibility that he has to bear. good from evil. White 1888 Materials. they will be enabled to stand firm against unholy influences and to discern right from wrong. and we must pray to Him without ceasing for light and knowledge. that God is our only trust and wisdom. the wider will be the influence that he exerts and the greater his need of dependence on God. to faith. So long as he remains consecrated. 486. power. he will not be disappointed. rather than position or greatness. and to look to God for themselves. He is to stand before God in the attitude of a learner. It is by honoring God and obeying His commands that a man is made truly great. Never are they to fail of consulting the great Source of all wisdom. to discern between good and evil. and upbraideth not. Ever should he remember that with the call to work comes the call to walk circumspectly before his fellow men. to patience. “If any of you lack wisdom. He who gave to Solomon the spirit of wise discernment is willing to impart the same blessing to His children today. Teach man to ask wisdom of God. The path of men who are placed as leaders is not an easy one. then many. and it shall be given him. Of necessity men must bear responsibilities. in trying circumstances would obtain a rich experience in the things of God. When a burden bearer desires wisdom more than he desires wealth. Strengthened and enlightened by the Master Worker. Leaders in positions of trust who seek divine wisdom to discern between good and evil.” His word declared. he who is a true leader will pray for an understanding heart. Such a one will learn from the Great Teacher not only what to do. There should be precept and example in lessons given. but how to do it in a way that will meet with the divine approval.
with unshaken determination carrying out God’s plans. Leaders are to preach the straight testimony in order to draw a line between those who serve God and those who serve Him not: God calls for a straight testimony to be given to those who claim to believe that we are living in the last days of this earth’s history. Those who take this view. and who in an emergency endorses questionable moves. It is not the man who drifts with circumstances. Review and Herald. stands firm against evil who commands respect. A line of distinction must be drawn between those who serve God. 5. If leaders fail to guide the people aright.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work which God approves. When in body. and spirit they will dedicate themselves to God. Those who occupy positions of responsibility should know what saith the Lord. who wins the respect of his fellow men and the approval of Heaven. 30–31. soul. and they should then stand unflinchingly for the right. and those who serve Him not. 167–168 (September 14. White. ends the desire for divine enlightenment. and this thought. because they will not become illuminated by the Sun of Righteousness. But you . if entertained. which is the only possible thing that can make men great. stemming the tide of evil. like a rock meeting the tide. and will strive earnestly against the introduction of wrong principles into His cause. 1905). when many are not fully decided as to the right course. they incur the displeasure of the Chief Shepherd: You wanted to please and not incur displeasure. Those who know what saith the Lord and stand firm against evil command respect: Those who bear responsibilities must be wide-awake. It is the man who. God calls upon His people to put away self-pleasing. His power will be revealed in a remarkable manner. as soon as they are placed in sacred positions of trust. regard themselves as great men. extinguish all chance of true greatness in them. White 1888 Materials. 47 Only divine enlightenment can make man great: Some men. The Ellen G. 1599. is the one who wins confidence as a man fit to command. 1901 General Conference Bulletin. Prophets and Kings. vol. 25. Ellen G. the one who moves steadfastly in the path that God has marked out. In a crisis.
The Word of the Living God is to be our guide. Each one is to realize his dependence upon Him whose he is by creation and by . 23–24. in division there is weakness and defeat. every advance will be more carefully studied. Every plan will be more liable to be viewed from all sides. Trials will come that will humble all hearts that are lifted up. “Look unto Me. What can be done in this matter? What can be done? Will the ministers awake? Will the presidents take the “testimonies” of mercy which God has given them? Will they do something. the people rise no higher than the minister or the president. as did the scribes and Pharisees. 50. and not their own: The first work is to be done for the shepherds of the flock. not on human beings. but with several minds enlisted there is greater safety against his wiles. losing self and selfish interest in Jesus Christ. or in making man his trust. Ibid. depending on them for strength and guidance. 714. . Shepherds are to teach God’s words. that they may be warned not to teach their own words instead of God’s words.48 Authority In God's Church have incurred the displeasure of the Chief Shepherd. White 1888 Materials. for you have. 31.. .” . both by precept and example. Leaders are to receive wisdom from the Lord and not be in bondage to human devising: I am instructed to say that we must not look to any human being for power or experience. We must depend upon Him. . In union there is strength. Leaders are to seek broad counsel: Satan may move through one man’s mind to warp things out of their proper channel. . Let no one feel that he is safe in following his own way. if we depend on human beings. 311. allowed the people to do wrong. so that no enterprise will be so likely to be entered upon which will bring confusion and perplexity and defeat to the work in which we are engaged. If he is a devoted man. He may succeed with two who view things in a similar light. his example will have a telling power in that direction on the people. we shall be brought into bondage. “I sanctify myself that they may be sanctified”? Generally. It has been most distinctly presented to me that as a people we must walk and work as men and women accountable to God. Christ says. . Manuscript Release No. and do it now? Will they heed the prayer of Jesus. for. The Ellen G.
. . 49 True leaders will seek counsel more from God than from man: Oh.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work redemption. and pointing them to the Lord Jesus. are turned away from God. . To look to human wisdom is to lean on a broken reed: For a long time I have seen the danger that was coming into our ranks in the tendency to look to human wisdom and to depend on human guidance. leans on a broken reed. how little men. 1614. who wait to do the will and command of God. The Lord’s agencies. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. 363. there must be a decided change. No man is to be conscience for them. The Lord wants men who know how to do the work of God to labor in His vineyard. Are you representing Christ? Have you broken away from the spirit and influence of worldly policy plans and from human devising? Are you eating daily of the bread of life? Pray that those who have been entrusted with the management of the work of God shall not allow worldly plans to gain the pre-eminence. They greatly dishonor Him when they trust in human devising as assurance. 414. and send their petitions to Battle Creek. We are to lean upon the arm of God. their strength. . See Selected Messages. to make flesh our arm. White. not the arm of flesh: It is dangerous business to exalt man. White 1888 Materials. even presidents of conferences. God is waiting to help all who look unto Him. But what opinion can the angels. They are to see Him distinctly as their sufficiency. erring men. book 2. asking counsel of human. The Ellen G. . and the voices that should be heard in supplication with thanksgiving to God. . humble worker who puts his trust in God and does not place men as counselors in the place where God alone should be. Shall we not have a change in these things? Verily. to come to the help of His work in every place. know of the power and helpful strength that God gives to the earnest. God’s servants are amenable to Him. This will always prove a snare to souls. or to lean upon man. warning my fellow workers against it. have when they see that the faces that should be uplifted to God. are individually to receive wisdom from Him. The Kress Collection. and I am bidden to lift the danger signal. and that is the . The man or woman who leans upon the wisdom of the human mind. the men of His appointment. 132–133. What we want is to lean upon the arm that has been stretched out for us to lean upon.
He will discern and lay bare the peril there is in looking to human agents instead of to God. Let all desire on the part of any to have a controlling power be put away. that they should go to God in earnest prayer.” Give the Lord room to work human minds. and in Him we may trust. Let the Lord do this work. 564. and walks humbly with Him. . White 1888 Materials. 1894). and will encourage them to do as Jesus has instructed His children to do—go to God for knowledge. for it is his privilege. . The education that should be given to all is that they should exercise faith. To meet difficulties and plow through them by the help of God is a lesson of the highest value. . The guidance from leaders will be to direct their brethren to go to God for wisdom. which was also in Christ Jesus. in order that His human agent may be able to guide his brethren who would look to him for counsel as to their duty. In a clear and forcible manner he will point them to a Source that is untainted and pure from the defects and errors that are so apparent in humanity. Give the workers abundant freedom to work out the plans of God in harmony with their brethren.50 Authority In God's Church Lord God of Israel. The Ellen G. 175 (August 14. 3. All the gifts and talents of the church are to be set to work. and grace. ye are God’s building. power and grace: While brethren should counsel together at special seasons. refuse to be brains and conscience for his brethren. It may be argued that the Lord gives special wisdom to those to whom He has entrusted grave responsibilities.” Re- . power. If the human agent. Encourage your brethren to connect with you in your labors. and learn to think for themselves. yet they should individually seek for higher counsel than that heard in the assembly. wisdom. Let the strong traits of character that would lead to the control of others be subdued by the grace of Christ. The Lord does give special wisdom to him who has sacred trusts. Review and Herald. “We are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry. He may tell them with softened heart that he goes to God for supplies of wisdom and grace. and guide His own servants. He may. There has been danger with some of marking out exactly what this or that man should do. “Let this mind be in you. vol. makes God his only helper. This will save much overwork for the few. God will then give light and knowledge and wisdom. moment by moment. and that the Lord will give liberally to all who ask Him for wisdom. Leaders will leave room for the Lord to guide human minds: To all our ministers I would say.
but because they cannot do otherwise. 1908). The Lord has placed no man as judge either of the pen or the voice of God’s workmen. for its prosperity much depends upon the quality of this food. be sure that you act wisely in feeding the flock of God. they are to rescue men and women from impending destruction. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. There are men whose character and life testify to the fact .” There is a wide field for the elders and the helpers in every church. Australian Record. thoroughly winnowed from the chaff. the poisonous mixture of error. Chosen of God. 942. “Feed the flock of God which is among you. You who have any part to act in the church of God. vol. but willingly. Leaders are not to control the pen or voice of God’s workmen: When man. 1912). 408 (April 23. no. In trumpet tones their voices are to be lifted. 7. vol. No. uncertain note. because they realize that there is a woe upon them if they fail to preach the gospel. Leaders will strive diligently to feed the sheep only with pure provender: God is not glorified by leaders in the church who seek to drive the sheep. Not for wages are they to labor. but being ensamples to the flock. 5. White Comments. sealed with the blood of consecration. seeks to bring the minds and talent of the Lord’s human agents under his control.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work view and Herald. not for filthy lucre. taking the oversight thereof. 482–483 (May 20. 51 God’s watchmen are never to sound the trumpet with an uncertain note: It is the privilege of the watchmen on the walls of Zion to live so near to God and to be so susceptible to the impressions of His Spirit that He can work through them to tell men and women of their peril and point them to the place of safety. neither as being lords over God’s heritage. At no time may they relax their vigilance. but of a ready mind. and faithfully are they to safeguard the interests of the church. and never are they to sound one wavering. in any line of God’s work. he has assumed a jurisdiction over his fellow men that he cannot maintain without injustice and iniquity. Ellen G. They are to feed the flock of God with pure provender. Theirs is a work requiring the exercise of every faculty of the being. Faithfully are they to warn them of the sure result of transgressions. not by constraint.
and run the risk of losing His own life in the conflict. this way and that as dumb animals. and expect to be led and controlled by it. God is our chief. bringing down . perishing souls. because every idea does not coincide with that which they suppose to be truth. even engaged to do the work. far less putting forth the finger and speaking vanity.52 Authority In God's Church that they are false prophets and deceivers. God is our instructor. will do to their fellow men. We must ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance. and think to rule and coerce and oppress the souls of God’s purchased possession. John was instructed to write the things which he had seen. Oh. The church organization is to be respected. and He has not appointed men with human. When these words are practiced by those who claim to have wisdom to guide the sheep of the Lord’s pasture. White 1888 Materials.” When these words are heeded and obeyed in the spirit and in the letter. 1604. How then should men regard their fellow men? Christ has demonstrated the way. as I have loved you. and to Him we must look. exercises authority over them as if they were to be led by lines. “A new commandment I give unto you. by virtue of his position. but it is not to be made in any way a galling yoke. to pass judgment and reject their work. and the seven golden candlesticks. far less boasting. The Ellen G. that men would revere the great Head of the church. to be dependent on man. claiming at the same time to be representatives of Jesus Christ. the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand. He sold all that He had to come into possession. One man. Christ has found His pearl of great price in lost. shortsighted judgment to criticize and condemn. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. and not hearers only. God has not directed in this way. they have far less selfishness. But those whom God is using are under His control. These we are not to hear or tolerate. All Heaven is indignant at what men. we will be doers of the Word. with complacency. and would manufacture less human methods. but to uphold Christ as Head of His church: Men are educated to look to men. Jesus is to superintend all events in the present and future of His church. that ye love one another. and the things which are and the things which shall be hereafter. that ye also love one another. They too often represent the spirit and character of Satan. Men are not to assume the prerogative of God. Those in positions of trust in the church are not to rule and coerce. He says.
White 1888 Materials. defective as it is. When you have a clear perception of the work the Lord would have done. But the church. and ye shall find rest unto your souls. He has promised to come personally into the midst of His church. is the only object on earth upon which He bestows His highest regard. God has been left out. Learn of me. For my yoke is easy. He says to everyone holding a position of trust. irrespective of imaginary consequences. 53 Be decided and firm in doing what the Lord would have done: It is your privilege to draw nigh to God. which Christ owns as if done to Himself. and enfeebled with so much chaff. and my burden is light. It is not doing the work for suffering souls. for I am meek and lowly in heart. He understands all about the mistakes of the past. God has given us a work to do in saving souls from the companionship of Satan. . never tread over the same ground. never. take no divided or neutral course. and He will help you.How Leaders Are to Do Their Work spirituality to the very dust with human inventions. In His estimation. and put your entire trust in Him. but do that work in the fullest sense. 1895. and the church is not prepared to advance to the conflict under the banner of Jesus Christ. You have done a sad work. and to let their tongues. no license to be oppressive. Manuscript Release No. and help the great adversary in his work of discouraging souls. which should be sanctified. 43. 1621. the church in heaven and the church on earth are identical. be firm. Be decided. but do not repeat it. speak words which will open a door of temptation. The Ellen G. Men in official position must realize that their position give them no license to be unkind or discourteous. But wherever you may be.
54 Authority In God's Church .
the same authority: And his gifts were that some should be apostles. We shall approach one another just in proportion as we approach the Center. The secret of unity is union with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:4–6. 301. for building up the body of Christ.55 Chapter 5 Unity In the Church U NITY is the result of equal belief in. RSV. for the equipment of the saints. Ephesians 4:11–14. to vindicate the law of God. RSV. The Ellen G. we shall surely be united with our brethren in the faith. to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. and equal submission to. and there are varieties of working. some pastors and teachers. 15. by the cunning of men. When we are one with Christ. who have borne the heat and burden 55 . United with Christ. God has divinely appointed agencies— men whom He is leading. tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. a church on earth. some prophets. we shall be one with His followers. to mature manhood. 1048. The secret of unity is unity with Christ: The cause of division or discord in the church is separation from Christ. but superior to all in their facilities to teach the truth. for the work of ministry. We are to unite with those who are advancing the kingdom of Christ: God has a distinct people. so that we may no longer be children. Unity in diversity is a characteristic of Christ’s church: Now there are varieties of gifts. by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Manuscript Releases. but the same Spirit. White 1888 Materials. second to none. Christ is the great Center. until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. and there are varieties of service. but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. vol. but the same Lord. some evangelists.
Let all unite with these chosen agents. and have the faith of Jesus. and by true medical missionary work prepare the way for our coming King. How earnestly should the professed followers of Christ seek to answer this prayer in their lives! Testimonies. that they may all be one. God has not given to any man the power that some. Pacific Union Recorder. even as thou. by word and act. 106 (December 17. seek to claim. Christian unity means for every man to stand free of human control following the directions of the Word: We are now to unify. our ignorance with His wisdom. God requires every man to stand free. None of us can occupy a neutral position. 58. who are as frail as ourselves. and be found at last among those who have the patience of the saints. Individually we are to be united with Christ. our influence will tell for or against. Testimonies to Ministers. our unworthiness with His merit. John 17:20–23. nor does it mean that the mind of one is to be led and controlled by the mind of another. who keep the commandments of God. True conversion . 17. But let us remember that Christian unity does not mean that the identity of one person is to be submerged in that of another. that they also may be in us. 4. that they may be one even as we are one. 1903). so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.56 Authority In God's Church of the day. for our precious Saviour has invited us to join ourselves to Him and unite our weakness with His strength. Father. and I in thee. We should not wait for our brethren. to help us along. I in them and thou in me. vol. and to follow the directions of the Word. We are active agents for Christ or for the enemy. We either gather with Jesus or scatter abroad. art in me. We will then have a unity of faith on the platform of eternal truth: We should all feel our individual responsibility as members of the visible church and workers in the vineyard of the Lord. so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. God’s people are to be one: I do not pray for these only. that they may become perfectly one. who are co-operating with heavenly instrumentalities to advance the kingdom of Christ in our world. but also for those who are to believe in me through their word. RSV. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them.
48. The love of Christ is the golden chain which is to bind us to one another and to God. Every individual is striving to become a center of influence. Subordination to God brings harmony and unity: When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church. Christian unity is not Free Masonry. but not confederacy and Free Masonry: Among the people of God there is to be co-operation but not confederacy. God designs that His people should all come into the unity of the faith. zealous of good works. . . The work is not to be bound about by bonds. . The Lord in His wisdom has arranged that by means of the close relationship that should be maintained by all believers. vol. Manuscript Release No. “the whole multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. 57 There is to be cooperation and unity. 4. 16–17. that they may build up instead of tear down. limitations. Christian shall be united to Christian and church to church. God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth.” The Spirit of Christ made them one. they will not see that subordination to God is the only safety for any soul. and all the believers will be united in an organized and well-directed effort to give to the world the glad tidings of the grace of God. for all who are assimilated to Christ will be in harmony with one another. Christ gave Himself to the world that He might “purify unto Himself a peculiar people.” This refining process is designed to purge the church from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention. We have need of divine illumination. This is the fruit of abiding in Christ.Unity In the Church is a radical change. 119. The Holy Spirit will create unity. and concentrate their energies on the great work before them. Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit. 164. The Acts of the Apostles. or restrictions. Testimonies. His transforming grace upon human hearts will lead to unity that has not yet been realized. Thus the human instrumentality will be enabled to co-operate with the divine. 311. The very drift of the mind and bent of the heart should be turned and life become new again in Christ. The Kress Collection. and until God works for His people. God hears the prayers of individuals but there are special blessings for .
and you will walk safely. that one teaches . God hears the prayers of individuals. the union of purpose. 8. to walk in unity with their brethren. Those who are sanctified by the precious blood of Christ will not become the means of counterworking the great plan which God has devised.” Manuscript Release No. purchased with infinite cost. 311. but the petition was to be the earnest desire of several minds centered on the same point. Great importance is attached to the united prayer. The Kress Collection. “Press together! Press together! Be of one mind. even in our desires for a given object. but on this occasion Jesus was giving especial and important lessons that were to have a special bearing upon His newly organized church on the earth. those who are in union with at least two or three: It is those who are not worked by the Holy Spirit that mar God’s plan of unity for His church: God has united believers in church capacity in order that one may strengthen another in good and righteous endeavor. 17. The clean heart and the right spirit are the gifts of His Son.58 Authority In God's Church Our Saviour follows His lessons of instruction with a promise that if two or three should be united in asking anything of God it should be given them. vol. that we are disunited. that God may be your Leader. Do not seek to give to the world occasion to say that we are extremists. 3. It is those who are not worked by the Holy Spirit that mar God’s plan. We are to be united in our message: I urge those who claim to believe the truth. of one judgment. liable to deception. They will not bring human depravity into things small or great. Testimonies. 429. There must be an agreement in the things which they desire and for which they pray. Another spirit takes possession of them. We are to “press together” as we follow Christ: The angel of God has said to me again and again. Follow His footsteps. It was not merely the thoughts and exercises of one mind. The church on earth would indeed be a symbol of the church in heaven if the members were of one mind and one faith. They will not do anything to perpetuate division in the church. Christ here shows that there must be union with others. and they help to strengthen the forces of darkness.
1. 57–58. in place of standing at the wall seeking to make a breach. The Kress Collection. See Selected Messages. 3. but their relations to one another. Let everyone be on guard. 417. 434–435. Unity is to be achieved by bringing everything to the law and to the testimony: But though we have an individual work and an individual responsibility before God. book 2. if hearts are teachable. there will be no divisions among us. then. each acting his part. God’s workers are to counsel together. It is the duty of ministers to respect the judgment of their brethren. 5. they are laborers together with God. Review and Herald. This remedy is not one influence among many influences. 488. Let all be careful not to make an outcry against the only people who are fulfilling the description given of the remnant people who keep the commandments of God and have faith in Jesus. God presents a remedy. vol. vol. fearing that if you put yourself on an equality with them. 102. vol. Thus the Lord desires to bind His followers together. Those who work for the gospel should be elevated and sanctified: for they are dealing with God’s great principles. for this course would lead to disorder in the church. should be brought to the test of the law and the testimony. you will not be able to do all that your own judgment might suggest. Evangelism. Ministers. vol. we are not to follow our own independent judgment. 539. and on the same level with them: it is an influence above all influences upon the face of the earth. Testimonies to Ministers. Yoked up with Christ. who are exalting the standard of righteousness in these last days. as well as the doctrines they teach. and one another.Unity In the Church one thing. that they may be a power for good. yet all cherishing the sacred principle of dependence on the great Head. 374. We are not to fear to unite with those who have given evidence that they are led by the Holy Spirit: Do not refuse to unite with your brethren. Testimonies. 18. 1884). 1. and ennobling. corrective. 59 The remedy for our terribly shaken unity is for the gospel workers to be yoked up with Christ: The unity of God’s chosen people has been terribly shaken. uplifting. 431 (June 3. regardless of the opinions and feelings of our brethren. or directors are . physicians. Avoid dissension. and be careful to be found standing in the gap to make up the breach.
But we may unite in seeking help and favor from Him who has said. leading every man to unity and peace and strength in his endeavors.60 Authority In God's Church walking in false paths when they regard themselves as a complete whole. Connected with the service of God. pleading for the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Let our requests be mingled with praise and thanksgiving. binding heart to heart and soul to soul. watching spirit. and were thus enabled to speak and plan and act wisely and understanding. we shall not . We are to seek the unity. The Lord calls for men who are willing to yoke up with Christ and with their brethren. We must be willing to take advice and caution from our fellow laborers. “Ask. knock. It is a mistake to withdraw from those who do not agree with our ideas. in faith believing that they will receive. who have been led by the Lord. learning what it means to have a waiting. Human help is feeble. Then let us come to God. seek. and it shall be opened unto you. Unless we humble our hearts before God. when they feel no need of counsel from men of experience. 485. Medical Ministry. God confers honor on those who come to Him and ask Him for help. The Lord desires His workers to counsel together. This will give wonderful help and courage. 46–47. and to heed their advice. We are to seek their counsel. It is our duty to counsel with our brethren. as they have moved forward in self-denial to advance the work. and ye shall find. and when they give it. We must seek wisdom from God. This will not inspire our brethren with confidence in our judgment. have given evidence that they were led and controlled by the Holy Spirit. united effort under divine leadership. as if they were our enemies. and it shall be given you. Our strength lies in taking our burdens to the great Burden Bearer. we are not to cast it away. counsel and advice of the brethren: Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in the wisdom of our brethren. not to move independently. we must individually realize that we are parts of a great whole.” Divine power is infallible. who. Those who are set as ministers and guides to the people should pray much when they meet together. and to go to our Saviour when tired and depressed. We are to unite in seeking divine leadership: The solemn work in which we are engaged demands of us a strong. Let our united prayers ascend to the throne of grace. Testimonies to Ministers.
. this helps unite the flock: The organization of the church at Jerusalem was to serve as a model for the organization of churches in every other place where messengers of truth should win converts to the gospel. When all God’s workers do this. The Lord will never place one man as a controlling power over another man. True conversion will lead to Christian unity: Those who are truly converted will press together in Christian unity. Ibid. 9. With each standing in his lot.. will the work be a complete. we close the door of our usefulness as counselors to them. vol. and not till then. The meekness of Christ is to appear in all that is said and done. word. Battle Creek Letters. Moreover. Let us be determined to be in unity with our brethren. exerting a right influence in thought. Let there be no division in the church of God. 147. and the deacons were to be “men of honest report. no unwise authority exercised over those who accept the truth. 32. the work will be a symmetrical whole: It is not a great number of institutions. Thus they would have a uniting influence upon the entire flock. When our primary desire is to be like Christ and to win souls. . This duty God has placed upon us. We shall make their hearts glad by following their counsel. 500. if we feel that we do not need the counsel of our brethren. one with one another. The Acts of the Apostles.” These men were to take their position unitedly on the side of right and to maintain it with firmness and decision. and judgment. as wise shepherds. their life hid with Christ in God. then we will be as one: . 91. a people chosen by God and precious. and make ourselves strong through the influence that this will give us. and wonderful display that God requires. were to “feed the flock of God. 61 As the leaders stand unitedly on the side of right. Those to whom was given the responsibility of the general oversight of the church were not to lord it over God’s heritage. Every man is to stand in his lot and in his place. . symmetrical whole. being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2–3). but. but the harmonious actions of a peculiar people. full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. Testimonies. large buildings.Unity In the Church know His will.
Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance.” We should keep in mind this holy relationship and do nothing to bring dishonor upon our Father’s cause. We should be His faithful representatives on earth. The weak shall be as David. but they cannot quench it and establish perfect agreement. Testimonies to Ministers. the prayer of Christ is answered. another that. nothing but kindness and love in my heart . We should move unitedly with the third angel: While it is true that the Lord guides individuals. but we cannot force the mind and will. As Christians we are made depositaries of sacred truth. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third angel is leading out and purifying a people. 51. 4. 311. 16. 1092. These resolutions may conceal the discord. and we are not to keep the truth in the outer court. contention is at an end. vol. and thus root out disagreement. White 1888 Materials. does not make one a Christian nor ensure salvation. working in unison with Him. and sanctified by the truth. Testimonies. We must not neglect the work God gives us for the sake of harmony: I have nothing. not a few separate individuals here and there. and they should move with him unitedly. We cannot secure a title to heaven by having our names enrolled upon the church book while our hearts are alienated from Christ. The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions. although an important and necessary act. One question will be all-absorbing—Who shall approach nearest the likeness of Christ? Who shall do the most to win souls to righteousness?—When this is the ambition of believers. and David as the angel of the Lord.62 Authority In God's Church Those who profess to believe the special truths for this time need to be converted. Manuscript Release No. “Beloved. The Ellen G. 488. one believing this thing. it is also true that He is leading out a people. We are to work in unison with Christ: Uniting with the church. Only Christlike forbearance can perfect unity in the church: We cannot then take a position that the unity of the church consists in viewing every text of Scripture in the very same light. but bring it into the sanctuary of the soul. now are we the sons of God. Then the church will possess divine vitality throughout.
412 We are to unify. we are to go forth to proclaim the message. We must press together. uniting with their halfpagan companions. and inspired them to persecute those who remained true to God. but I must do the work that God has given me to do. None understood so well how to oppose the true Christian faith as did those who had once been its defenders. a sin-stained soul. Battle Creek Letters.” But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith. Testimonies to Ministers. to see with their eyes. White 1888 Materials. 63 We are not to unite with those who are departing from the faith: We have a testing message to give. and I am instructed to say to our people.Unity In the Church towards you. . and to understand with their perverted senses. directed their warfare against the most essential features of the doctrines of Christ. There is no time now to range ourselves on the side of the transgressors of God’s law. giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. I long for perfect harmony with my brethren. unify. and there can be no union between their followers. Satan exulted that he had succeeded in deceiving so large a number of the followers of Christ. to hear with their ears. “Unify. they entered upon a path which led further and further from the truth. no longer bring a polluted offering to the Lord. 471 There is to be no union with the followers of the prince of darkness: But there is no union between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness. Let those who profess to be servants of the living God no longer bow down to the idol of men’s opinions. He then brought his power to bear more fully upon these. 242. We must labor to become a unit. and these apostate Christians. but not on a platform of error. 111. The Ellen G. book 3. When Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted from paganism. With our hearts sweet and kind and true. to be holy in life and pure in character. even if it separates me from my brethren and friends. no longer be slaves to any shameful lust. giving no heed to those who lead away from the truth. Selected Messages. We are not to unite with those who worship at the idol of men’s opinions.
White 1888 Materials. Christ alone can harmonize the disagreeing elements. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness. criticizing. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls. and its upholders were hated and proscribed. and falsehood were all blended in them. Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance. These resolutions may conceal the discord. who declares Himself to be meek and lowly of heart. and even war. There will constantly be threats to unity: Things will be constantly arising to cause disunion. It does not produce unity. then let there be difference.64 Authority In God's Church It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church. Christlike forbearance rather than human resolutions will bring unity: The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy. 45– 46. passing judgment on others. Christ says that if we learn of Him. the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. After a long and severe conflict. but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. This questioning. and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children’s children. dishonesty. denouncing. but they cannot quench it and establish perfect agreement. and thus root out disagreement. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God. Then let every soul sit down in Christ’s school and learn of Christ. but we cannot force the mind and will. The Ellen G. to draw away from the truth. worries will cease and we shall find rest to our souls. Such work has been carried on in the past by persons claiming to have wonderful light. is not an evidence of the grace of Christ in the heart. Heresy. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people. The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith. 1092. Satan can sow discord. . The Great Controversy. when they were deep in sin. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the Word of God.
and when we see.. When their eyes are all fixed upon Christ. but who prefer to walk in ways of their own choosing. Ibid. book 2. Purification will result in final unity: As trials thicken around us. We know God has not sent them. they will yield to tempta- . 3. Selected Messages. not an individual here and there. their hearts will be united in love. but young girls. and all who do not accept their erratic ideas are denounced as warring against the Spirit of the Lord. White 1888 Materials. we are afraid of them. they will be one with each other. 65 Disunity is prophesied: A new life is coming from Heaven and taking possession of all God’s people. united to resist the confederacy of evil: When the people of God are one with Him. yet they ran. leaving them with their satanic inventions far behind. and they will have strength for a battle that cannot be seen by the natural eye. both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks. Those not willing to obey the Testimonies bring in disunity: Some who are not willing to receive the light. 1046. Their unity and love will testify to the genuineness of their union with Christ.Unity In the Church The present is a time of great peril to the people of God. The wheat and tares grow up together for the harvest. but the work of God will go forward while there are now and ever will be those who work directly against the prayer of Christ. Some who are now ready to take up weapons of warfare will in times of real peril make it manifest that they have not built upon the solid rock. God is leading out a people. But divisions will come in the church. The Ellen G. crying out against the church. 79. 114. will search the Testimonies to find something in them to encourage the spirit of unbelief and disobedience. He has a church on the earth. The Paulson Collection. that abide in the truth. When we are one with Christ we will be one with each other. All such things are in Satan’s line. not only men. Thus a spirit of disunion will be brought in. Two parties will be developed. They will then stand shoulder to shoulder to resist the confederacy of evil. The work will advance. for the spirit which leads them to criticize the Testimonies will also lead them to watch their brethren to find in them something to condemn.
66 Authority In God's Church tion. with its present numbers and lack of unity. the less power will the church have for good in the world. or believers will be misled by those who attach themselves to the work. conversions will be experienced. will. In view of the common peril. 6. they will be taken in the delusions of the enemy. vol. and who will be converted. they will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. inharmonious element. on the other hand. When leaders are converted to following God’s Testimonies. The more there is of the divided. there will be no disputing as to who shall be accounted greatest. Testimonies. Not having received the love of the truth. men who will learn from the Testimonies of His Spirit where they have not been in harmony with the Lord’s will. but have not improved them. 5. The Paulson Collection. vol. Then decided changes will be made. would have a far greater power upon the world than has the entire church. then we will be united with God in building up His kingdom: The cause of God in Oakland. The Lord desires to work through men of clean purposes and decided experiences. Testimonies. and our people will be preparing to stand firmly and unitedly with God to build up His kingdom in the earth. But. and will depart from the faith. go out from us. Unity will greatly increase the effective powers of the church: Ten members. who fear God and take counsel of God. Those who have had great light and precious privileges. and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. 299. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front. 400– 401. . and the surrounding places needs men of solid Christian character. 119. when the storm of persecution really breaks upon us. strife for supremacy will cease. who were walking in all humbleness of mind. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost. and who desire to guide and control according to human judgment and plans. the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd’s voice. The perils threatening the work will be seen. under one pretext or another. San Francisco.
67 Chapter 6
Working Against the Church
ANY false tests will arise, but we will be measured by the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy:
Very many will get up some test that is not given in the Word of God. We have our test in the Bible, the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.” This is the true test, but many other tests will arise among the people. They will come in in multitudes, springing up from this one and that one. There will be a continual rising up of some foreign thing to call attention from the true test of God. 190l General Conference Bulletin, 267.
Christ attempts to correct the imperfect church by means of the Laodicean message:
I tell you, my brethren, the Lord has an organized body, through whom He will work. There may be more that a score of Judases among them, there may be a rash Peter who will under circumstances of trial deny his Lord. There may be persons represented by John whom Jesus loved, but he may have a zeal that would destroy men’s lives by calling down from heaven fire upon them to revenge an insult to Christ and the truth. But the great Teacher seeks to give lessons of instruction to correct these existing evils. He is doing the same today with His church. He is pointing out their dangers. He is presenting before them the Laodicean message. Manuscript Release No. 311, 12–13.
Others attempt to label the church Babylon:
Beware of those who arise that have a great burden to denounce the church. The chosen ones who are standing and breasting the storm of opposition from the world, and are uplifting the down-trodden commandments of God, to exalt them as holy and honorable, are indeed the light of the world. How dare mortal man pass his judgment upon them, and call the church a harlot, Babylon, a den of thieves, a cage of every unclean and hateful bird? . . .
Authority In God's Church
It seems almost impossible that anyone who had a genuine experience in the faith, should suggest such erroneous applications of Scripture as applicable to God’s commandment-keeping people. Supposing this spurious message is the one every one must hear for this time, “Come out of her, my people.” Where shall we go to, where shall we find the purity, goodness and holiness where we shall be secure? Where is the fold where no wolves will enter? Ibid., 12.
Others turn weapons of warfare against the church:
In the place of turning the weapons of warfare within our own ranks, let them be turned against the enemies of God and the truth. Echo the prayer of Christ with your whole hearts: “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” The Bible sets before us a model church. They are to be in unity with each other and with God. When believers are united to Christ the living vine, the result is that they are one with Christ, full of sympathy and tenderness and love. Manuscript Release No. 311, 13.
Some weigh the church in human scales, then proceed to tear the church to pieces:
When any are drawing apart from the organized body of God’s commandment-keeping people, they begin to weigh the church in their human scales and begin to pronounce judgment against them. Then you may know that God is not leading them. They are on the wrong track. . . . There are opportunities and privileges to help in the church those who are ready to die, and inspire the church with zeal but not to tear the church to pieces. There are plenty of opportunities in the church to walk in Christ’s lines. If the heart is full of zeal to press on to a deeper sanctification and holiness, work in that line in all humbleness and devotedness. The church needs freshness and the inspiration of men who breathe in the very atmosphere of heaven, to vitalize the church, notwithstanding the tares are among the wheat. Ibid., 13.
Mistakes of the church that have been recognized and corrected are not to be made public. Those who do so are counted as criticizing and condemning Christ:
Let not fellow soldiers be severe, unreasonable judges of their comrades, and make the most of every defect. Let them
Working Against the Church
not manifest satanic attributes in becoming accusers of the brethren. We shall find ourselves misrepresented and falsified by the world, while we are maintaining the truth and vindicating God’s down-trodden law; but let no one dishonor the cause of God by making public some mistake that the soldiers of Christ may make, when that mistake is seen and corrected by (the) ones who have taken some false position. . . . God will charge those who unwisely expose the mistakes of their brethren with sin of far greater magnitude than He will charge the one who makes a misstep. Criticism and condemnation of the brethren are counted as criticism and condemnation of Christ. Manuscript Release No. 311, 38.
There will be criticism even of those who are grounded in the message of the third angel:
There are little companies continually rising who believe that God is only with the very few, the very scattered, and their influence is to tear down and scatter that which God’s servants build up. Restless minds who want to be seeing and believing something new continually are constantly rising, some in one place and some in another, all doing a special work for the enemy, yet claiming to have the truth. They stand separate from the people whom God is leading out and prospering, and through whom He is to do His great work. They are continually expressing their fears that the body of Sabbathkeepers are becoming like the world, but there are scarcely two of these whose views are in harmony. They are scattered and confused, and yet deceive themselves so much as to think that God is especially with them. Some of these profess to have the gifts among them; but are led by the influence and teachings of these gifts to hold in doubt those upon whom God has laid the special burden of His work, and to lead off a class from the body. The people, who, in accordance with God’s Word, are putting forth every effort to be one, who are established in the message of the third angel, are looked upon with suspicion for the reason that they are extending their labor and are gathering souls into the truth. They are considered worldly because they have an influence in the world, and their acts testify that they expect God yet to do a special and great work upon the earth, to bring out a people and fit them for Christ’s appearing. Testimonies, vol. 1, 417–418.
Elijah was accused of troubling Israel:
And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said
70 Authority In God's Church unto him. Ye know nothing at all. see Battle Creek Letters. Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered. said unto them. being the high priest that same year. John 11:49–51. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year. Human perceptions may be misleading. named Caiaphas. he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation. 63. Christ Himself was thought to be destroying the church: And one of them. and that the whole nation perish not. nor consider that it is expedient for us. and thou hast followed Baalim. but thou. . For further counsels on the topic. that one man should die for the people. in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord. I have not troubled Israel. 1 Kings 18:17–18. and thy father’s house.
God has provided means to correct the erring: yet if those who err choose to follow their own judgment. The church does injustice to God when it allows to exist as part of itself elements that are bringing dishonor upon His cause. “shall be rooted up. “Every plant. vol. Christ has given plain instruction regarding the duty of the church toward those who. . . which My heavenly Father hath not planted.” God has commanded that those who prove themselves unworthy of church fellowship shall be separated from His body. and himself take the place of the Most High. To those who will listen to his words. He failed in this purpose. neither let them criticize the action of the church when this painful task becomes necessary. 417. and despise the means which He has ordained to correct them and unite them upon the truth.” He says. is to be faithfully administered: Let none speak lightly of the duty of the church to administer censure and rebuke. Testimonies. though painful. ye that work iniquity. It was Satan’s purpose in heaven to dethrone God. they will be brought into the position described by the words of our Lord quoted above. If we reject His means. The one who first brought temptation into the courts of heaven is constantly working against the peace and prosperity of the church on earth. because it seeks to free the members from corrupting influences. I never knew you: depart from Me. Discipline. He will reject us: And then will I profess unto them. while professing to be loyal members.71 Chapter 7 Church Discipline G OD HAS provided means to correct the erring. Those who speak against the exercise of this authority. are bringing dishonor to the cause of God by their course of action. and was cast out from the heavenly courts. 1. . speak against the authority of Christ. and since that time he has tried to instill in the hearts of men and women the belief that God is arbitrary and harsh in His dealings with His creatures. Satan represents the authority of the church as harsh and lacking in sympathy. 71 .
and there should be those in the church who in the fear of God will act with justice and righteousness and faithfulness in administering reproof.” You are to do nothing that will provoke the erring to anger. 312. And even when a worker’s unfaithfulness is clearly proved. The Ellen G.72 Authority In God's Church In the responsibilities God has laid upon His church. “You were harsh. Australasian Record Articles. or it will be received by many with mockery and contempt. Do not make charges that may be cruelly unjust. and then. These are entirely uncalled for. Prophets and Kings. and who take sides with the tempter and his sympathizers. you may drive souls to perdition. Authority must be maintained by a firm severity. Manuscript Release No. and there should never be reason for it to be interpreted as harsh: In our work there is to be no lording it over those with whom we are connected. White 1888 Materials. under the power and name of the General Conference. With this object he leads men to feel that it is their privilege to control the consciences of their fellow men according to their own perverted ideas. the enemy would clog the wheels of progress. you are not to deal with him in a manner that will give him excuse for saying. dictatorial words are to be spoken. 1527. By such a course. Do not bear down on believers or unbelievers in a way that arouses the worst feelings of the heart. Discipline should be based on unmistakable evidence. with encouragement to draw upon the wisdom of God for help. they invent regulations through which they compel men to be ruled by their own ideas and not by the Holy Spirit. Discipline is confirmed in heaven when the Bible rule is followed: . He gives to each individual a part to act. But there are those who depart from the way of the Lord. 714. Do not treat the workers as if you could not trust them. 39. Never treat those with whom you work as unfaithful unless you have unmistakable evidence that they are unfaithful. 236. The enemy works by inventing regulations based on men’s ideas rather than on the Holy Spirit’s: If it were possible. No sharp. They dismiss the Holy Spirit from their counsels. and prevent the truth of the gospel from being circulated everywhere. Firm severity may be needed: Even kindness should have its limits.
God wants a change to be made. When man’s mind is allowed to become the controlling power. vol. and charged Him who made the Sabbath. But one man is not given the same sort that is given to another.” Thus even the heavenly authority ratifies the discipline of the church in regard to its members when the Bible rule has been followed. Oh. this should not cause difference and alienation. for it is contrary to His plan. who was the Lord of the Sabbath. God accepts the effort. Each has his individual work to do. “By their fruits ye shall know them. Wherever this principle has been brought in. 3. . After He has given explicit directions as to the course to be pursued. both parties are injured—the one who allows himself to be conscience for another. Judgment that is human and not based on a “Thus saith the Lord” is fallible: Men can become just as were the Pharisees—wide-awake to condemn the greatest teacher that the world ever knew. and the one who permits himself to be controlled by human wisdom.Church Discipline The world’s Redeemer has invested great power with His church. Manuscript Release No. but if the labor is conscientiously performed. If a worker does not follow the plan of work that another thinks is right. The manner of accomplishing the work may not be precisely the way in which another would do it. 73 At times commendation rather than hard judgment was warranted: We are not all required to do exactly alike in the work. He says: “Verily I say unto you. Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever [in church discipline] ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. In their counsels they venture to pronounce judgment upon the . . and the results of the efforts made will testify to the virtue of the worker. Testimonies. Christ gave unmistakable evidence that He was sent of God. God asks for the performance of good works. 39–40. the foolishness of men! the weakness of men! There are those who are today doing the very same things. In many cases hard judgment has been measured out when encouragement and commendation should have been given.” . with being a Sabbathbreaker. We are in the world for work. earnest spiritual work. for the results of the work done have shown that the blessing of God was upon it. 311. He states the rules to be applied in cases of trial with its members. Spiritual life will lead to unity. 428. yet the Jewish rulers took upon themselves the work the enemy prompted them to do.
clothes him with a power over the consciences of others that is the least degree oppressive.74 Authority In God's Church work of God. they will find that God will not sustain their action. I testify that they have undertaken a work in criticizing and pronouncing unsound judgment which I know is not right. Do they take the position that all they advance is infallible? that there is not a shadow of an error or mistake in their productions? Cannot other men who give just as much evidence that they are led and taught of God catch at an expression in their work which they do not entertain as their views in every particular. Will not God teach them and guide them as well as yourself? You are not even to allow yourself to think unkindly . Your position binds you under the most sacred obligations to be very careful what kind of spirit you entertain towards your brethren. . take the responsibility of placing our stakes. Before the light of God’s truth let human opinions and ideas and human wisdom appear as they are in the sight of God—as foolishness. Suppose the statements of others do not agree with our ideas. 4:7–8. We must treat others with Christlike courtesy. 1 John 2:9–11. They are but finite men and. He must respect the rights of all. lest the wrath of God shall break forth upon them. for they have become trained in doing that which the Lord has never required them to do. and command them to cut it out? Has not our past experience in these things been sufficient? Will we ever learn the lessons which God designs we shall learn? Will we ever realize that the consciences of men are not given into our command? Testimonies to Ministers. and all the more because he is in a position where others will pattern after him. being befogged themselves. and saying. But these men who presume to judge others should take a little broader view and say. This shall not appear in print? If they still persist in clinging to their own opinions. . uninspired men. 3:16–18. Let no man feel that his position as president. Definite counsel is to be followed before a brother is presented as a heretic: We must not crowd and push one another because others do not see just as we see. for God will not sanction anything of this kind. and keep their hands off the ark of God. either of the General Conference or of a state conference. suppose that other men are in error. . They would better humble their own hearts before God. 294–295. They are acting a part in God’s cause as well as yourself. even if they differ with us. Matthew 5:43–48. for if God has ever spoken by me. shall we for this pronounce them heresy? Shall we.
and in a kindly spirit weigh every argument that he presents. They act as though every individual must acknowledge their sway. without help or support. do not misinterpret his words and wrest them of their true meaning. you will do only that which is your duty and the duty of every minister of Jesus Christ. 97–98. becomes an agent of Satan. When you do this without unkind feelings. Do not present him before others as as heretic. and acting as though God in person had spoken by them. when you may be yourself.. If he will not come under their control they crush him out or treat him with indifference. he is not to be crushed out or treated with indifference: These men are carrying on their counsels. more deserving of censure than they. 75 If one is unsubmissive. If a brother differs with you on some points of truth. taking the Scriptures text by text in the spirit of Christ to show him what is truth. and use his ability and talent as they may direct. White 1888 Materials. 30. Differences between brethren are to be settled by the authority of the church: Christians should not appeal to civil tribunals to settle differences that may arise among church members. This is not conscientious argument. much less to climb upon the judgment seat and censure or condemn your brethren. 1371. when you have not with him investigated his positions. The Ellen G. and those who do not submit to their jurisdiction are left without sympathy. and you cannot clearly define your own position. You do not yourself really know the evidence he has for his faith. let him die. and show him by the Scriptures if he is in error. making sport of them. They consider it is an abomination to be unsubmissive.” Ibid. do not stoop to ridicule. be he minister or layman. in many respects. to do his work. or by the church. in har- . Take your Bible. Those who seek to compel or control bear the mark of Cain: Any man.Church Discipline of them. Your work is bearing the inspection of God. “If he dies. Such differences should be settled among themselves. do not place him in a false light or misconstrue his words. They bear themselves loftily toward the purchase of Christ’s blood. who seeks to compel or control the reason of any other man. They say by their spirit and action. The Paulson Collection. and in the sight of the heavenly universe he bears the mark of Cain.
Lawsuits between brethren are a reproach to the cause of truth. The Acts of the Apostles. They are wounding Christ afresh and putting Him to open shame. 305–306. Christians who go to law with one another expose the church to the ridicule of her enemies and cause the powers of darkness to triumph. Even though injustice may have been done.76 Authority In God's Church mony with Christ’s instruction. they show contempt for God. . the follower of the meek and lowly Jesus will suffer himself “to be defrauded” rather than open before the world the sins of his brethren in the church. By ignoring the authority of the church. who gave to the church its authority.
every word and every decision not in harmony with God’s will is a manifestation of usurped authority. The greater tragedy is that the tendency to put self in the place of God’s authority is passed on from generation to generation by inheritance. He chose to obey his own wisdom and will rather than the will and ways of God. 20) of God. Any manifestation of self in the control of one’s own life or the lives of others is the working of usurped authority. This inborn conflict between usurped authority and divine authority tends to be manifested in all of man’s activities. In heaven Lucifer rebelled against God. wants. Each person is born with self on the throne. Man is not to place human wisdom and counsel between God and His workers and people. without the grace of God. and ways equal to and even above those of God. This usurpation of authority by the fallen human nature. Every action. Adam and Eve tragically decided also to doubt God. a manifestation of self rather than God upon the throne. He permitted pride in personal opinion and selfish desires to separate him from loyalty to God. They learned also to place their opinion. Every natural-born son and daughter of Adam is a separate king on an independent throne.77 Chapter 8 Conflict The human and divine authority conflict: A LL AUTHORITY and power reside with God. wisdom. To place human authority where God’s authority belongs is to follow the example of Satan.” Isaiah 14:13: 77 . In the Garden of Eden. All influence not in harmony with or directly based on “the law and the testimony” is a reflection of Satan’s desire to exalt his throne “above the stars (ministers—Revelation 1:16. will. is in constant natural conflict with divine power and authority. the father of the fallen human nature. Satan was successful in leading one third of the heavenly host to follow him. To compound the problem Satan and his demons are always present to encourage rebellious self to remain upon the throne.
White Comments. Ellen G. vol. and no kings in any Conference that is formed. 8. in crookedness. 39. vol.. God has not put any kingly power in our ranks to control this or that branch of the work. There are to be no kings here. The Ellen G. 69. when by so doing they will discard the counsel of God. whether it is with men who walk with God and who believe and trust Him. White. 1119. Ibid.. There is danger that men will receive the counsel of men. take back your forbiddings. You know not but Satan is using your controlling power to cut off the light from some soul to whom God would have it come. I am bidden to say to conference presidents: Do not interpose yourselves between God and His servants. Manuscript Release No. Ellen G. 236. Ibid. Now I want to say.78 Authority In God's Church He [Satan] desired to usurp the throne of God. Failing in this. to usurp his place in the hearts of men. It makes every difference whom we company with. White 1888 Materials. to appropriate the adoration that belongs to God alone. 1069. There is to be no kingly power: We want to understand that there are no gods in our Conference. walking in the sparks of their own kindling. and let the oppressed go free. he has worked in darkness. 1413. or with men who follow their own supposed wisdom. The work has been greatly restricted by the efforts to control it in every line. He has set up his throne between God and man. but upon Christ: We say decidedly. You who feel that you are empowered to tell God’s messengers where and how they shall labor. because there is . Do not take upon yourselves the responsibility of permitting or forbidding. in deception. 26 See Testimonies. 1901 General Conference Bulletin. 714. Break every yoke. This is not a time to turn from the living and true God to be taught of men. Dependence must not be upon human leaders. every minister of Jesus Christ must bind himself to the Source of all light and power and he must not follow in the shadow of any other living man. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. 6.
what to do. Some who think that they preach the gospel are preaching other men’s ideas. God’s authority is to stand supreme in its moral dignity and power. God has outlined His plan in His Word. failed of understanding the value of personal responsibility and took upon them- . in them. an authority which bears the evidence of its divine origin. We must not be broken up by any human wisdom or devising. White 1888 Materials. His wisdom is to guide us. and in the Testimonies He has sent to His people. They are not to be arbitrarily told where to go. . We are to labor as men and women who have a living connection with God. His intelligence is to go no farther than that of those who are leaders. taught by the church of Rome. his individuality. This doctrine. looked to men for guidance. Let not such conditions exist as we found in some places when we returned to America. . and what his father or some great and good man in past generations. and sinks himself. and men to whom had been committed sacred and holy trusts in the carrying forward of the work. See The Desires of Ages. not man’s: God’s voice is to be heard. God will instruct His workers. Through some means they have come to the decision that it is no part of a minister’s calling or duty to think diligently and prayerfully. Judgment must be controlled by other men’s ideas. mixed-up sentiments of man. 834. We are not to permit the rank and file of our people to come under the generalship of the weak. or say: In his labors each worker is to look to God. and which is commendable and acceptable in the sight of His children on the earth and in the whole heavenly universe. Man’s authority bears the signature of man. 79 God’s voice is to be heard. and he should not bind his heart to any human being and let man do his thinking for him. is entire dependence upon the leaders. He accepts what other men have taught without asserting his individuality. Battle Creek Letters. The individual’s conscience is not his own. 74. Every soul is called upon to connect himself inseparably with God’s authority. And I must call upon the people of God to recognize His authority. in which individual church members.Conflict Christ to whom he must become attached. has done. 354. He is not filling his position in society or in the world if he simply accepts what his father has said. instead of realizing their responsibility. . The Ellen G.
been committed to our hands. 529–530 If one’s heart is right with God. It is treachery to allow the world to influence our actions: The beauty of holiness is to appear in its native luster in contrast with the deformity and darkness of the disloyal. 26. there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts. and say. and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of Jehovah. and you must do this. You must go here. . and treachery to the kingdom of Christ. . We are to recognize human government as an ordinance of . God will vindicate you. those who have revolted from the law of God. Fundamentals of Christian Education. Ellen G. you need not depend upon the sanction of any minister or any people. 1901 General Conference Bulletin. Do not allow any man to come in as an arbitrary ruler. Thus we acknowledge God. His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world. in a humble way doing what you can to teach the truth. and recognize His law. and you must not go there. The responsibility for this great gift rests with those whom God has blessed with a knowledge of His Word. Testimonies to Ministers. These are things that God will not allow in His work. . and you have faith in God. has. in this last conflict. We ought to obey God rather than men: This principle we in our day are firmly to maintain. He will put His burdens upon His burdenbearers. Let me tell you. what he shall say. The banner of truth and religious liberty held aloft by the founders of the gospel church and by God’s witnesses during the centuries that have passed since then.80 Authority In God's Church selves the work of ordering and dictating what their brethren should do or should not do. and you must not do that. the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext. 16–17. if the church waver here. Every individual soul has a responsibility before God. We are not to put confidence in the counsel of men and assent to all they shall say unless we have evidence that they are under the influence of the Spirit of God. the foundation of His government in heaven and throughout His earthly dominions. We are to receive this Word as supreme authority. no human sanction is needed to do His work. If in defiance of God’s arrangements the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions. if your heart is in the work. if you go right to work in the name of the Lord. and is not to be arbitrarily instructed by men as to what he shall do. White. and where he shall go.
but when it comes to laying down the rules and commands. and they are strengthless. They go when men say go. Erratic movements will be made. according to present appearance. Methods and plans will be devised to hedge about the work that should be done. They ought to look to God. .Conflict divine appointment. 3. Men have become feeble by looking to men. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God. God’s ministers should look to Him for their directions. 467 (May 25. You have bidden and directed too much. . 68–69. and making flesh his arm. and trusting in men. we must obey God rather than men. 1897). 81 It is a mistake to trust in man rather than in Christ: A great mistake has been made by man’s trusting in man. The Acts of the Apostles. and do according to your bidding. . Those who follow other men’s plans become simply machines: The Lord is to be allowed to use the talents and minds of those He chooses: . White. God’s Word must be recognized as above all human legislation. This is not the line in which you are called to work. A “Thus saith the Lord” is not to be set aside for a “Thus saith the church” or a “Thus saith the state. Your plans were not God’s plans. . and handicap none of God’s servants because they did not come to you for counsel. and not according to the mind and will of God. it is all a mistake. Men trust in human strength. and yield up their own will and judgment to follow their counsel. 61–64. and teach obedience to it as a sacred duty. Had your brother come to you for instruction. No man whom God has chosen to do His work is to be under the control of any other man’s mind. . Distinct plans must be laid. Men become feeble by following men. When the one giving it has not more wisdom and faith than themselves. you would have discouraged or misdirected him. but they must not be of that character that will place man under the control of men. vol. leave that for the Lord to do. Do not handicap those who seek not your counsel: The Lord is not pleased when men go to men.” The crown of Christ is to be lifted above the diadems of earthly potentates. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. . and do not come to Christ. within its legitimate sphere. Review and Herald. Keep all at work in their own line. Men may converse as equal men. and trust to Him for wisdom. All must stand in God.
placed them where God should be. no influence. letting another man search the Scriptures for them. looked up to them. neither make flesh your arm. and they have become copies of men. who are not such. you have disconnected from him as one that could not be trusted. vol. They have allowed others to tell them precisely what to do. . Give the Lord a chance to use men’s minds. Trust in His infallible wisdom. Testimonies to Ministers. Regard as a sin. Search the Scriptures for yourself.” Look to God. and yet that man. but let the Lord work by whom He will. They are simply machines to be moved by another man’s thought. and differed with you. of becoming the echo of any man. “Put not your trust in man. whom they depend on and trust in. Men become copies of men: It is a deplorable fact that men have connected with men. We are losing much by our narrow ideas and plans. however lofty his position. Now do not think that these men who do follow out your ideas are the only ones that can be trusted. men to be depended upon. Take your hands off the work. Their minds are narrow. even among Seventh-day Adventists. the practice so common. If anyone exercised his own judgment. in order that the cause may grow. and do not hold it fast in your grasp. You have sometimes thought that because they do your will to the letter. Give the Lord room to use the talents He has entrusted to men. 724–725. The Paulson Collection. or the rewards of any man. 5. Let no friendship.82 Authority In God's Church There are men who today might be men of breadth of thought. 303. and accepting his decisions as authority. they were the only ones in whom you could place dependence. You are not the only man whom God will use. and they have become dwarfed in intellect. induce you to swerve from the path in which the Lord would lead you. and you will never be led astray. the confidence. They do not lead out. and they cannot comprehend the needs of the work. They are dwarfed in their religious experience. because they have been educated to follow another man’s plan. Do not stand in the way of the advancement of the work. their interpretation of Scripture inspired. They are letting other men be brains for them. Followers of men become their echo: God says to every man to whom He entrusts responsibilities. 53. might be wise men. let not the smiles. and be braced for duty and for trial by the truth of God’s Word. regarded their words and works as inspired. Listen to the voice of the great Shepherd. no entreaty. See Testimonies.
holding forth the words of life. as though God was not able to care for His sacred symbols. He has not placed upon men the power to say. You shall do this. to diffuse light. 836. No man or council is to take His work into their hands: The Lord has not placed any one of His human agencies under the dictation and control of those who are themselves but erring mortals. But there is a power exercised in Battle Creek that God has not given. The Ellen G. . Do not depend on any erring man to define your duty. It is right that brethren counsel together. Without the best of evidence that one understands heavenly and eternal things. 83 God is to rule His work. 347–348. Unsanctified hands and brains have had altogether too much power entrusted to them. and his defects really are regarded to be virtues to be copied. and He will judge those who assume this authority. and very unwise moves have been made. nigh and afar off. God’s own property. . and you shall not do that. The great work for this time demands that men shall go everywhere. into the highways and hedges. White 1888 Materials. for power and success in the work can be attained only through the co-operation of the human and the divine. he should not be authorized to minister in matters connected with the work that concerns the salvation of souls for whom Christ has died. Every church member should understand that God is the one to whom to look for an understanding of individual duty. They have somewhat of the same spirit that led Uzzah to lay his hand on the ark to steady it. as though the workers. No man is a proper judge of another man’s duty. Has God laid upon one man or a council of men to take this work into their hands.Conflict is compassed with the same human infirmities and weaknesses. Far less of man’s power and authority should be exercised toward God’s human agencies. that are not in accordance with the will and ways of God. were to be under their control? The business connected with the work of God in any and every branch requires men who are working in harmony with God. leave God to rule. Brethren. but when men arrange just what their brethren shall do. . Spirituality is lost when the counsel of brethren is permitted to step between the person and the duty God has pointed out to him: Again and again I have been instructed to say to our people: Let your faith and trust be in God. let them . Testimonies to Ministers.
Had they been laid upon the table. out of God’s order. One year ago resolutions were brought into the Conference for adoption that. and not of the divine.. It is the devising of men that leads to injustice and oppression. that never should have received the consent of the Conference. and what shall not be. would have bound about the work of God. giving to man his confidence and accepting him as guide. voting what shall be. making laws that God has never made. 7. All this bears the stamp of the human. inexperienced ones. Testimonies. There are to be no oppressive plans: Men who through selfishness have become narrow and shortsighted feel it their privilege to crowd down the very ones whom God is using to diffuse the light He has given them. for those who presented them were in darkness and not in the light. then he steps from the true platform to a false and dangerous one. nor will He serve with the least selfishness or overreaching. vol. workers who should stand free in God have been trammeled with restrictions by those who were only their fellow laborers. 9. has created principles which should not prevail among us. To Him all such practices are abhorrent. 179. As reformers. Ibid. it would have been far more in accordance with the will of God because all these many resolutions. 279–280. and that would have created a condition of things that would have been detrimental to the progress of the work. It seeks to gain no advantage by depriving the members of His family of their individuality or of their rights. are not after God’s order. If some resolutions that were accepted had not been proposed. it would have been better. Man’s permits and nonpermits tend to make laws that God has never made and to bind about the work of God: I am afraid of these many resolutions. Human traditions and permits and nonpermits have been of a character that would have bound them about with restrictions that were wholly unnecessary.84 Authority In God's Church answer that they have chosen the Lord as their counselor. instead of growing and developing. if we . had they all been accepted. The Lord does not sanction arbitrary authority. Such a man. But when one man allows another to step in between him and the duty that God has pointed out to him. vol. will lose his spirituality. and shall not do. Those who will humbly seek Him will find His grace sufficient. Some resolutions were urged by young. What this man shall do. Through oppressive plans. The cause of God is free from every taint of injustice.
The Lord inquires of them. . in Christ’s day. if followed. in the exercise of their own spirit. which. White 1888 Materials. until mercy and the love of God were entirely lost sight of in their work. 85 Excessive resolutions follow the pathway of the Jewish rulers in not leaving God a chance to work: The Jews. With outstretched arms men are seeking to steady the ark. My brethren. Leave God a chance to do something for those who love Him. 114–115. To control what they speak and write will result in deadly evils: God has not given men power to interfere between a human being and his conscience. brought in rigid rules and exactions.. and what shall be repressed. Man is led to fear man rather than God. of self-exaltation. To say what the Lord’s servants shall do or not do is to restrict their religious liberty. and so took away all chance for God to work upon minds. Your very many resolutions need to be reduced to one-third their number. which our Saviour condemned.Conflict had less talk and more of Christ. and the anger of the Lord is kindled against them because they think that their position entitles them to say what the Lord’s servants shall do and what they shall not do. It was this which caused rulers to lay upon the people the heavy burdens of which they justly complained. Do not follow in their track. Men are striving for the control over their fellow men. God is displeased and dishonored. Ibid.” . We are living in perilous times. The Ellen G. there would be far greater modesty and humility and we would do far more good. 472. that is to be rooted out of all council meetings and board meetings. will leave them destitute of the grace of God as were the hills of Gilboa. The question of religious liberty needs to be clearly comprehended by our people in more ways than one. . There is an evil. “Who has required this at your hand? Who has given you the burden of being conscience for My people? By what spirit are you guided and controlled when you seek to restrict their liberty? I have not chosen you as I chose Moses—as men through whom I can communicate divine instruction to My people. I have not placed the lines of control in your hands. and great care should be taken as to what resolutions are framed. has not the word of God been dismissed from . and do not impose upon them rules and regulations. a great evil. without dew or rain. They think themselves competent to decide what shall be brought before God’s people.
All these preferences. There must be no circles of influence encouraging consulting with each other rather than with God: There must be no deifying of human beings. deadly evils would be the result. Scheme after scheme that is unjust will be planned. men are to be under the control of human beings. He has not given them the right to say what their fellow men shall do and what they shall not do. and He has not put into their hands the power that belongs alone to Him. The power possessed over minds leads you to look to and trust in each other rather than to trust in the living God. Let not men take on themselves the responsibility of controlling the words and actions of their fellow men. . 18. oppression will result. 359–360. Those who do not know God. to take all their decisions and plans to Him for approval. for this is highly displeasing to God. will stand with cord in hand. . It is an injury to all parties. . when you yourselves were standing under the censure of God? Take your hands off your brethren. . 223–224. Should the principle obtain sway that in speaking and writing. It leads you to strengthen each other to find things you can question and construe in a way to encourage your unbelief. vol. another will supply with his suggestions. If men are permitted to control the judgment of their fellow men. God knows the characters of men. who refuse to hear His voice or to be ruled by Him. God calls upon men to act under His supervision. for one thinks he is bound to stand by him who is his fast friend. They are not to be under the control of any man or set of men. are not after God’s order. Let God place restrictions on His workers. these ardent attachments for individuals. Manuscript Releases. . ready to bind the Lord’s workers and trammel them in their efforts. But let my brethren consider. There must be no rings of men to unite together in unholy fellowship to strengthen each other in ways and ideas that are opposed to the Spirit of God. White 1888 Materials. but let man beware how he places restrictions where God places none. . He sees their weakness. . The cause of God will be bound about. What one man would not think of by himself. . . Men are not to league together to bind their fellow men by rules and restrictions. It leads you to consult with each other when you should be on your knees pleading with God. to accept His standard.86 Authority In God's Church your councils? Have not the words of men had too much power? Has not religious freedom been excluded from your assemblies? Have you not censured your fellow men. The Ellen G. . Is this a sanctified union? I know that it is not. the mighty Counselor.
Ibid. in oppression. God wants both pupils and teachers to look to Him for light and knowledge. Christ is always sending fresh and profitable messages to those whose minds and hearts are open to receive them. have lessons to learn as to what liberty in Christ really is. Ibid. To promote men’s plans and rules rather than God’s will is to offer strange fire: But strange fire has been offered in the use of harsh words. while there are many who are far more acceptable then these men in the sight of One who is infinite in wisdom and who never makes a mistake.Conflict Religious liberty means more to us than many take it to mean: The time will come when it will be the duty of Christ’s ambassadors to declare God’s will in plain terms. but instead look to God for wisdom: You have special union with those who consider your work and your way of doing it all right. It is not for the Lord’s delegated ministers to look to other minds to plan and devise for them. to let men know that they are God’s workmen to be led and taught of God. in self-importance. in self-righteousness. confide in. in fact. The Lord has marked the oppression that has been practiced. in restricting the liberty of God’s people. in self-exaltation. make themselves little less than machines. 89–90.. but upon whom you look with suspicion because they do not feel obliged to receive their impressions and ideas from human beings [who] act only as they act. 87 We are not to look with suspicion upon those who do not feel obliged to look to men. For years we have proclaimed the message that men cannot deal with the purchase of the blood of the Son of the infinite God on the plan of worldly wise men. 1358. How does the spirit of self-exaltation and grasping for arbitrary authority compare with the spirit and example of Christ? Our people. binding them about by your plans and rules. and that they must carry out their elevated mission as He shall dictate. which God has not framed. Religious liberty means more to us as a people than many take it to mean. They seek your favor. in domineering. 1372.. talk only as they talk. ibid.. in arbitrary authority. and work to sustain you. who talk of religious liberty. think only as they think and. and make God the center and source of all their wisdom. neither have they come . They must use the ability God has given them.
Satan’s methods tend to make slaves of men: Let no plans or methods be brought into any of our institutions that will bind minds or talents under the control of human judgment. and lead man to look to man. 366. . Do not accept the words of any man. 1558. 1338. and no greater dishonor can be done to God than for one finite agent to purchase from men their God-given talent. in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered.88 Authority In God's Church into His mind. In such arrangements one man’s mind is ruled by another man’s mind. The message of 1888 on righteousness by faith—the third angel’s message—was given to counteract the tendency to look to man rather than Christ: Now. are the result. 1. because if you do. unless you can see that he is conformed to the divine image. Behold Him. ibid. All these things are strange fire. And when this is done. or the product of such talent. which is the third angel’s message in clear. and are a continual misrepresentation of His character. See Manuscript Release No. unacknowledged by God. Satan’s methods tend to one end.. and trust to man. White 1888 Materials. The Ellen G. it has been Satan’s determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus. you sustain him in doing wrong. but not looking to Jesus.. We are not to accept the words of those not conformed to the divine image: God gave Christ to our world to save us from eternal death. even though the benefits of the same be used to the advantage of the cause. to make men the slaves of men. you sustain him by asking his counsel and following his directions. See ibid. and exposed to temptations. White 1888 Materials. jealousy and evil surmisings. distinct lines. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man. and be educated to expect help from man. behold Him! Keep looking upon Him till you reflect His image. The Ellen G. 1528. 357–358. confusion and distrust. Testimonies to Ministers.. 1435 See Testimonies to Ministers. The Upward Look. 159. God has given to men talents of influence which belong to him alone. for this is not in God’s order. and the human agency is separated from God. 365. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus. 360–361. to be absolutely under his control. Ibid. 112.
speaking in praise of His excellence. 1437. They exalt themselves as men of superior judgment. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Moral influence and personal responsibility are trodden underfoot. We are safe only as we exalt Christ. The voice of command must no longer be heard. 363. vol. they employ Satan’s methods to justify their own principles.” Isaiah 9:6–7 Testimonies. to order it. See Review and Herald. The everlasting Father. The Ellen G. The government is to be upon Christ’s shoulders: When men educate others to rely on them and trust in them. The devisings for forcing men to follow the prescriptions of other men are instituting an order of things that overrides sympathy and tender compassion. when. and they have stood as representatives of God. by pen or voice. that blinds the eyes to mercy. vol. 714. 497. and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. Manuscript Release No. Isaiah says: “Unto us a child is born. The Lord has among His workers men of humility and discretion.Conflict Satan’s methods create false gods: In order to reign and become a power. justice. He calls for a decided change to be made. 89 The Bible does not support rules and resolutions to force the will of others: Those who are enjoined to represent the attributes of the Lord’s character. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. they dictate to others as to what they should do. 8. to give glory to human beings rather than to God. Counselor. 145–146. The mighty God. they are teaching others to make flesh their arm. These are false gods. White 1888 Materials. unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful. 3. step from the Bible platform. and upon his kingdom. The Prince of Peace. . upon the throne of David. Testimonies to Ministers. from these should be chosen men who will conduct the work in the fear of God. 39. There is to be no voice of command: God will have nothing to do with the methods of working where finite men are allowed to bear rule over their fellow men. and the love of God. and in their own human judgment devise rules and resolutions to force the will of others.
He seeks to encourage dependence upon men. when Jesus is ever near to help those who are needy and distressed. When minds are turned away from God. See Testimonies. 1553. Look not to men in high position of responsibility as evidence of God’s special power. take into their finite hands a work that devolves upon God alone. and makes me know that their works are not the works of God. will leave them destitute of the grace of God as were the hills of Gilboa. In all His dealings with human beings He recognizes the principle of personal responsibility. which. Look not to other men to see how they conduct themselves under the conviction of the truth. and thousands of dollars are needlessly expended in transporting finite men from one place to another. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials. Excess regulations leave man destitute of the grace of God: Leave God a chance to do something for those who love Him. Satan works to thwart this purpose. The Lord has given them no more right to rule others than he has given others to rule them. Those who assume the control of their fellow men. 477–478. without dew or rain. He seeks to encourage a sense of personal dependence and to impress the need of personal guidance. The Ellen G. in order that they may settle little difficulties. The right to rule devolves upon God alone: Our churches are weak because they look to man: Let me entreat our state conferences and our churches to cease putting their dependence upon men and making flesh their arm. is that they suppose they have authority to rule their fellow men. 9. Testimonies to Ministers. Testimonies to Ministers. Our churches are weak because the members are educated to look to and depend upon human resources. Your very many resolutions need to be reduced to one-third their number. . 146. or to ask them for aid. 115.90 Authority In God's Church That which makes me feel to the very depths of my being. and great care should be taken as to what resolutions are framed. White 1888 Materials. if followed. vol. He desires to bring the human into association with the divine. When our dependence is upon men we turn from Christ and come under the tempter’s rule: God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself. that men may be transformed into the divine likeness. and do not impose upon them rules and regulations. 380.
Never take the responsibility of becoming conscience for another. This aroused the enmity of the rabbis. My brother. you can counsel together. When Christ came. with the results that followed. As brethren. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. the priests and elders denied His right to interpose between them and the people. The method of men looking to man to learn his duty is not to come into God’s work “while time shall last:” When men engage in labor for the souls of others. 304–305. seek first. He is dishonored. they were responsible. They would not. 413. but you are not to seek to direct another regarding his duty. 91 Jewish leaders caused their nation’s ruin by placing human teaching above God’s Word: The law of God unmixed with human tradition was presented by Christ as the great standard of obedience. God lives and reigns. and not to any human being. They would not accept His rebukes and warnings. and regard as of first importance. sacrifice the pride of reason and the praise of men. But when His laborers. and pray together. they are not to be made amenable to the will of their fellow laborers. They had set human teaching above God’s Word. They would not give up their man-made commandments in order to obey the requirements of the Word of God. The method of sending one minister to another minister to learn his duty is a plan of working that should not be encouraged. and had turned the people away from His precepts. instead of calling upon Him. God forbids that this spirit shall again come into His work while time shall last. Let all work of this character be done away. . and seek instruction from the Source of all wisdom. for the truth’s sake. the counsel and advice of human minds. He can control humanity. The Ministry of Healing. and they set themselves to turn the people against Him and to compass His destruction. presenting to the nation the claims of God.Conflict the tempter can bring them under his rule. White. God is well able to direct the course of action of those who work for Him. Greater evils will result from such a course than finite and erring man can foresee. Encourage them to carry their burdens to the Lord. Let your brethren have the right of way to the footstool of Christ. A nation’s sin and a nation’s ruin were due to the religious leaders. Christ’s Object Lessons. 242–243. For the rejection of Christ.
says the great Merchantman. when they dictate to others what they shall do. People receive from men only such help as men can give: The people of God have lost much by not maintaining the simplicity of the truth as it is in Jesus. that thou mayest be clothed. they should have grown in .92 Authority In God's Church When men educate others to rely upon men. by pen or voice. they are educating their brethren to make flesh their arm. The Ellen G. Looking to man takes glory away from God: Looking to man ruins both parties and weakens the church: It would not be right for them to act toward you as they have acted toward Elder Butler. standing in front of every soul temple. have ruined their own religious experience. to look to and to trust in men.” The gold He offers is without alloy. that thou mayest be rich. Boastful self-sufficiency and complacent selfrighteousness have masked and concealed the beggary and nakedness of the soul. and by so doing. for it is faith and love. Open your doors. and white raiment. It is I. Those to whom God has entrusted sacred truths should be far in advance of what they are. and transact your business with Me. Christless. but with God all things are naked and manifest. and the church was becoming strengthless. and the oil for anointing is the oil of His grace. 1412. and cries. 966. proclaiming. more precious than that of Ophir. and to give glory to humanity rather than to God. This simplicity has been crowded out. to trust in men. Ibid. the possessor of spiritual riches. “Buy of me gold tried in the fire. The white raiment He invites the soul to wear is His own robes of righteousness. and have also ruined Elder Butler. and knock.. because they glorified men when every jot of glory should be given to God. your Redeemer. “I stand at the door. He opens His treasures. Yet Jesus is going from door to door. and what they shall not do. who counsels you to buy of Me. and forms and ceremonies and a round of busy activities in mechanical work have taken its place. White 1888 Materials. that He may distinguish between the workings of the Spirit of God and the spirit of the enemy. Pride and lukewarmness have made the professed people of God an offense in His sight. which will give spiritual eyesight to the soul in blindness and darkness. Men have placed him where God should be placed.” As a heavenly Merchantman. and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.
they have laid their burdens upon human souls. with fidelity. so that those with whom they have associated have no real sense of the times in which they are living. unless you become humble in heart. and have looked to human beings and human counsels. and to make flesh their arm. for God removes His wisdom from men who are looked up to as God. “I will be glorified in My people:” but the selfconfident management of men has resulted in putting God aside.Conflict grace and in the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. I bear this message: Break the bands and fetters that have been placed upon God’s people.” Unless you cease the work of making man amenable to man. as men and women who are. they had borne their burden. “Come unto me. and I will give you rest. let us be open to receive it. because I have been shown that ministers and people are tempted more and more to trust in finite man for wisdom. 1894). The people of God have educated themselves in such a way that they come to look to those in positions of trust as guardians of truth. immediately recognizing the Voice that says. and in faith. If as brave soldiers of Jesus Christ. We are to treat one another as brethren. All who practice the truth will be bright and shining lights amid a crooked and perverse nation. and they have received accordingly. because their character and work have not corresponded to the light that God has given them. To conference presidents. 3. 173 (August 7. God declares. . When perplexities have come upon them. Review and Herald. Whatever light God sends us. “Buy of me. with us. and yourselves learn the way of the Lord as little children. and have received only such help as man can give. “Break every yoke.” but instead of carrying their perplexities and difficulties to Jesus. and by their attitude have lulled the people to sleep. they have gone to human sources for help. vol. To you the word is spoken. and men in responsible places. They have misrepresented the truth. Christ has sounded the invitation.” Great weakness has been brought upon the church which He has blessed with great light. doing their work with courage. instead of seeking God. seeking for light and understanding of the way of the Lord. 93 Those who persist in making flesh their arm are in danger of being divorced by Christ: I write thus fully. and have placed men where God should be. all ye that labor and are heavy laden. they would have received great blessings. and who are jealous for His glory. the Lord will divorce you from His work. as He has told them to do. as fellow laborers.
Testimonies to Ministers. taking the place assigned to the Holy Spirit. Many things will appear distinctly as truth which will not be acceptable to those who think their own interpretations of the Scripture always right. He asks that change be made. He has never placed man as a ruler over His heritage. Man ruling man imperils the souls of both: As soon as man begins to make an iron rule for other men. If you allow this to continue. and He wants no power set over them that will restrict their freedom in His service. True Bible religion will lead to self-control. He wants His people to be molded and fashioned. The Lord has given them no more right to rule others that He has given others to rule them. 480–481. That which makes me feel to the very depths of my being. 9. not after man’s ideas. They should seek the Lord by fasting and prayer. Christ wants no power to restrict His flock in His service: It is time now for men to humble their hearts before God and to learn to work in His ways. Most decided changes will have to be made in regard to ideas which some have accepted as without a flaw. This is not their work. Man is not to rule in the place of the Holy Spirit: Finite men should beware of seeking to control their fellow men. vol. God is in every place. Those who assume the control of their fellow men take into their finite hands a work that devolves upon God alone. Let not men feel that it is their prerogative to give to the world what they suppose to be truth.94 Authority In God's Church and accepting the devisings of men. He appreciates His flock. 76. is that they suppose they have authority to rule their fellow men. and in humility of soul. they work upon principles which the Word of God condemns. . your faith will soon become extinct. Christ in His earthly life gave an example that all can safely follow. Let those who have sought to rule their fellow workers study to know what manner of spirit they are of. Testimonies. and makes me know that their works are not the works of God. and refuse that anything should be given contrary to their ideas. beholding the conduct of the people who profess to represent the principles of His Word. Testimonies to Ministers. not to control of one another. These men give evidence of fallibility in very many ways. 275–276. but after the similitude of God.
Do that. and to learn their duty from him. is in a dangerous position. It is not wise to lay so much responsibility upon an officer that he will feel that he is forced to become a dictator. you made a mistake. and it would be done just after your idea.” The Holy Spirit of God alone can do this. no domineering. their pay from the conference would be withheld. and the souls of his brethren. in the healing. God has appointed no man to be conscience for his fellow man. and to another. 1434 Man receives from God the power to educate. 95 Only the Holy Spirit can manage men: There is no man or set of men that can manage men. . The power that he receives from the great Teacher is the power to educate others. There is to be no ordering. Those who should be wise helpers may become kings and rulers instead: A strange thing has come into our churches. Men who are placed in positions of responsibility that they may be wise helpers to their fellow workers have come to suppose that they were set as kings and rulers in the churches. and needs to learn what responsibilities are really comprehended in his office. 477. not to rule. to another. There have been places where the workers have been told that if they did not follow the instruction of these men of responsibility. Sometimes a man who has been placed in responsibility as a leader gains the idea that he is in a position of supreme authority. Testimonies to Ministers. is to flow through the life. The spirit and words and deeds of every worker are to show that he realizes that he is acting in Christ’s place. but that man who endeavors to lead his fellow workers to seek his individual counsel and advice regarding the details of their work. When you. White 1888 Materials. 124. Do this. not the power to order or dictate. Gospel Herald. “All ye are brethren. to say to one brother.Conflict as soon as he begins to harness up and drive men according to his own mind he dishonors God. Be sure to labor in such and such a way. because of your position. White 1888 Materials. supposed you could say the word. The love of God. The Ellen G. 1476. He is to come to Christ as one who desires to know how to teach and help others. It is right for the workers to counsel together as brethren. The Ellen G. and imperils his own soul. life-giving current. no masterly authority.
God is dishonored by every such display of authority and self-exaltation. The soul is accountable to God alone. No man standing in his own strength is ever to be mind and judgment for another man whom the Lord is using in His work. while others are cast down. forsaken. was found by Christ. is charged against you as inflicted upon Jesus Christ. that closes the lips that God has opened: Self-esteem and self-exaltation are prevailing evils. Let each work in the line which God may indicate to him by His Holy Spirit. Instead of acting as a wise counselor. We should be afraid of a spirit that places restrictions on the work of others. be careful how you treat the Lord’s “peculiar treasure. which these souls suffer at your hands. all pain. Laws and rules are being made at the centers of the work that will soon be broken into atoms. Let man be warned. Men are not to dictate. But it is the duty of the leaders to lend a helping hand to all who are in need. 275. It is not for those in places of authority to employ all their powers to sustain some. No one is to lay down man-made rules and regulations to govern arbitrarily his fellow laborers who have a living experience in the truth. therefore let human hands be withheld from restraining His servants who feel the burden to enter His vineyard to labor. he assumes the prerogatives of an exacting ruler.. Ibid. and left to perish. vol. must first come to him for permission to do that which they feel should be done. And some who realize the responsibili- . Such a man is in a dangerous position. The pearl. the precious human pearl. Neither are any to feel that they can handle roughly the precious pearls for which Christ gave his life. 491–492. Let God work with His own chosen agents by His Holy Spirit. before making advance moves. nor made any man conscience for another.96 Authority In God's Church and that all his brethren. 3. No human being is to sit in judgment upon His brother. They are not to be treated in a lordly. ignored. No man is appointed guide: God has not appointed any man guide. Who can say how many avenues of light have been closed by arrangements which the Lord has not advised nor instituted? Review and Herald. He has lost sight of the work of a true leader among God’s people.” All discourtesy. all neglect. God calls upon those who have exercised undue authority to take off from His workers every dominating hand. commanding manner. and because of this there is manifest a spirit of criticism. where no such thing should exist.
Those who have in the past allowed such a spirit to control them have sadly hurt the work. We should ever be afraid of a spirit that would lead us to place restrictions on the work of others. We would better seek God with the whole heart. 311. Testimonies to Ministers. but will only destroy. lest we hinder the advance of the message of truth. To compel others to be ruled by man’s ideas clogs the wheels of progress: . but will do their appointed work in a spirit of humility and in the fear of God. turn away and are lost. else it will prove a physician that cannot heal. for the Holy Spirit cannot work with them while they refuse to acknowledge His counsel and control. for the great chief Worker is left out of the question in the care of His own heritage.. He cannot use the men who employ the trust He has imposed upon them as an oppressive power to close the lips that He has opened. and lay down self-importance. and who would go forth with the message of warning. 34. and men are called for who will not misinterpret their responsibilities. They need to repent and be converted. for “all ye are brethren. Manuscript Release No. seeing the inconsistencies of those who profess to believe it. and the regulations and definite specifications as to how each shall labor? The wisdom that prescribes for us must be supernatural. The time thus spent is all the while making the work more complicated. . The wisdom that prescribes must be supernatural: But when there is.Conflict ties resting upon them. . how can we expect that brethren will heed the commandments of finite men. They think that they must be constantly inventing something to make men do things which they suppose these persons ought to do. are prevented by the forbiddings of those who feel that it is their prerogative to control the actions of their fellow workers. 97 The work is more difficult when it is controlled with finite hands: Men make the work of advancing the truth tenfold harder than it really is by seeking to take God’s work out of His hands into their own finite hands. . so manifest a disregard of Christ’s express command that we love one another as He has loved us. and if possible he will continue his working until souls who are convinced of the truth for this time. on the part of the laborers.” Ibid. 192. Tremendous responsibilities are ours. Thus Satan is working to close the lips of some to whom God has given His message to the world. 191.
The Lord does not sanction arbitrary authority. It seeks to gain no advantage by depriving the members of His family of their individuality or of their rights. and like exercising arbitrary authority to compel them to receive our ideas. and not of the divine. nor will He serve . 277. Those who are placed in authority should constantly cultivate self-control. the enemy would clog the wheels of progress. But a greater danger than this has been revealed to me in the feeling that has been growing among our workers that ministers and other laborers in the cause should depend upon the mind of certain leading workers to define their duties. 37–38. when men who have depended upon our judgment conclude the Lord would lead them to act and judge for themselves. under the power and name of the General Conference. and prevent the truths of the gospel from being circulated everywhere. they invent regulations through which they compel men to be ruled by their own ideas and not by the Holy Spirit. The cause of God is free from every taint of injustice. No one is to define another’s duties: No one human mind is capable of carrying the many and varied responsibilities of a conference embracing thousands of people and many branches of work. One man’s mind and judgment are not to be considered capable of controlling and molding a conference. 1527. and then. White 1888 Materials. The Ellen G. we should not feel like censuring. It is the devising of men that leads to injustice and oppression.98 Authority In God's Church If it were possible. vol. 9. We are not to compel others to accept our plans: When our schemes and our plans have been broken. Those who are diffusing light from God are not to be trammeled with restrictions: Men who through selfishness have become narrow and shortsighted feel it their privilege to crowd down the very ones whom God is using to diffuse the light He has given them. Counsels to Writers and Editors. All this bears the stamp of the human. They dismiss the Holy Spirit from their counsels. Testimonies. workers who should stand free in God have been trammeled with restrictions by those who were only their fellow laborers. Through oppressive plans. With this object he leads men to feel that it is their privilege to control the consciences of their fellow men according to their own perverted ideas.
1895). they question. 179. Not one who desires to labor for the Master is to be refused a place.Conflict with the least selfishness or overreaching. working in and through every soldier by the agency of the Holy Spirit. vol. Ibid. Every one has his responsibilities to bear in the cause of Christ. Some in responsible positions have felt that nothing should be done without their personal knowledge and approval. Christ Himself is the renewing power. Men exalt themselves beyond measure when they seek to restrict others: Men who know little of the working of the Spirit of God upon their own hearts have exalted themselves beyond measure . under the plea of caution. They will not walk by faith. but move by sight alone. 7. and the carriage wheels of progress in entering new fields have been made to move heavily. 99 Be careful not to interpose the rulings of men between the soldier and his Captain: The work of God is retarded by criminal unbelief in His power to use the common people to carry forward His work successfully. that frail men would realize that it is the General of the armies of heaven that is leading and directing the movements of His allies on earth. To Him all such practices are abhorrent. Therefore efficient workers have been sometimes delayed and hindered. doubt. how careful every officer in the Lord’s army should be that he does not interpose the commandments and rulings of men between the soldier and his Captain. 3. Therefore. and hesitate. Instruction has been given to open new fields. 273 (July 16. Every individual is to become an instrument in His hands to work for the salvation of souls. The Paulson Collection. The efficiency of the Spirit of God will make effective the labors of all who are willing to submit to His guidance.. 69. Efficient workers may be hindered by jealous fear in regard to the use funds: For years the work in the cities has been presented before me and has been urged upon our people. Because men cannot see every step forward distinctly marked out before them. Oh. vol. Review and Herald. There has sometimes been a jealous fear lest some one who wished to enter new fields should receive means from the people that they supposed was wanted for another work. if he is a true follower of Christ.
“Cry aloud. Through these oppressive plans. The Lord has raised up messengers and endued them with His Spirit. but when a man is controlled by another spirit. There are those who regard no man’s judgment as superior. lift up thy voice like a trumpet. It is the coldness of heart. or even equal to their own. men who should stand free in God are trammeled by restrictions from those who are only their fellow laborers. They are narrowing the work by disregarding the suggestions of men of experience. that keeps the churches in feebleness. The Ellen G. to put away strife after supremacy. spare not. that man receives power from on high. At the same time these very ones are not willing for others to exercise their independent judgment. that they may unite harmoniously with the messengers whom He shall send to accomplish the work that He designs they should. and God sees that our leading men have need of greater light. Battle Creek Letters. and the house of Jacob their sins. A great work is to be done. God will raise up messengers against the transgressions of His people. and show My people their transgression. The message of God will come to the people. and has said. White 1888 Materials. When a man is not guided by God his wisdom is to be regarded as foolishness: When God is with a man.100 Authority In God's Church in undertaking to force others to accept their terms and come under their control. the unbelief of those who ought to have faith. I call upon every minister to seek the Lord. who would bar the way that greater light shall not come to the people. Evangelistic labors of a minister are not to be directed by another minister: . 375. the very stones would cry out. his wisdom is to be regarded and treated as foolishness. 1357–1358. and humble the heart before God. Counsels to Writers and Editors. and if there were no voice among men to give it. Plans are set on foot for restricting the liberty of the workers. to put away pride. Let no one interpose between the people and the message: The rebuke of the Lord will be upon those who would be guardians of the doctrine.” Let no one run the risk of interposing himself between the people and the message of Heaven. and can guide and direct. because these ideas do not coincide with their own plans. 38 See Testimonies to Ministers. 38.
This is after the practice of Rome. and confine the workers to a certain course of action. 256. They are not to be confined to certain places. . the angels of God guard the interest. and to do His work in harmony with His revealed will. The work of exalting men as rulers is a dangerous work. or upon any board of men. Letter 342. Mistakes have been made in this line. and this spoils their religious experience. “God hath given to every man his work.Conflict 101 Man is not to be made amenable to his fellow men. . and how long to work in a given locality are not to be decided for the workers by any one man. They must not be confined to certain places. . Whenever an earnest effort is made to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth. or directed as children as to how or when the work shall be done. .) Loma Linda Messages. and the man is led to place himself where God alone should be. and is to guide our experience.” The fact that a man has been selected to be the president of a conference does not mean that he shall have authority to rule over his fellow workmen. He has never laid upon any one the burden of making rules of action which will bind about and restrict the work. the fountain of wisdom. The decision of this point must be left to the judgment of the workers. The only course that can be pursued by the worker is not to look to or depend upon any man. but to look to Jesus. Those who do the work . I am bidden to write decidedly regarding this matter. They are to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. Finite men are to stand aside in order that the Holy Spirit may direct His delegated workers: One who spake with no uncertainty laid his hand upon Elder ______’s shoulder and said. The Word of God is to be the man of our counsel. Will you please leave God room to work with His individual workers? He has not left this burden of work upon your hands. He has never placed upon one man. It is not consistent to prescribe how much time shall be given to work in certain localities. 1907 (p. and it cannot be tolerated. the burden of entering into the minutiae in regard to how workers shall carry on their work. 5. for it educates the workers to look to human agencies instead of looking to God. . when. . . for it restricts religious liberty. Their minds are diverted from the true Source of their strength. The minutiae of how. The workers for God should inquire of Him. EGW & Constituency meeting. in regard to their labors. I have been shown that the evangelistic labors of the gospel minister are not to be directed by a fellow minister. . .
102 Authority In God's Church know better concerning these matters than anyone outside. If necessary those working in destitute fields are to draw their means from the people: There are to be no kings in our work. Manuscript Release No. and God has instructed me to tell those who are working in destitute fields to go to the people and tell them their necessity. when but little time should be devoted to them. When we decide that Jesus Christ will not do as He has said He will do. “You cannot go there. The minutiae and detail of how they are to work is not to be laid down by human minds. 41–43. Workers for God are to look to a higher Source for direction than to human minds. God calls for the finite to stand aside. 714. It is necessary to drop out other things that have occupied much time. for this would restrict his intelligent freedom. 1736. 274–275. But we would encourage faith in those who give themselves to the work of God. When this manner of action comes in among our people. . God moves upon human minds to work according to His will and according to His purpose. White 1888 Materials. . We would inspire them to believe that God is not unmindful of their labors and trials. . . “Lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world. men are pursuing a similar course to that of the Roman Catholics. in order that His delegated workers may be operated upon by the Holy Spirit. . . The Ellen G. . . . In following a course of this kind. there is need of a protest. They are to draw from the people means to build up the work in the field where they are. let every workman treat his fellow workman with peculiar delicacy. In view of this fact. God has not laid upon any living man the burden of jealously guarding the movements of his fellow men.” when we decide that God has not power or has not time to notice His workmen. God does not purpose to have one man prescribe how his fellow workmen shall perform His work.” “We!” What have they to do with the supporting? Is the means of support theirs? The money comes from the people. See Paulson Collection. we will not support you if you go there. . He values His human agents and appoints divine agencies to work with them. then it might be more consistent to plan out every detail of the work. no man who will put out his hand and say to God’s workmen. “Ye are laborers together with God.” It is necessary to carefully consider many things that have been left without due thought.
Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. When the Lord impresses the mind of one of His servants that he is to go to a certain place to labor. It is our privilege as laborers to pray together and to counsel together. White. 415. but we are individually to seek God to know what He would have us do. that man is not under obligation to go to a human being to know if it is right for him to do this.Conflict 103 We are to seek direction from God rather than man as to whether or not we are to go to a certain place to labor: Never should a worker encourage one who is in need of instruction and help to go first to human agencies for an understanding of his duty. .
104 Authority In God's Church .
self must be displaced from the throne of the will. and carry it 105 . and contrite heart. and it is our privilege to look to Him for counsel. As obedient children we shall receive and cherish the precepts He has given. because Jesus has forgiven our sins. and kindness. For a person to be part of Christ’s kingdom. White 1888 Materials. they will not be in bondage to men nor to satanic agencies. 218. a man of humble. oneto-one basis. Those who are Christ’s disciples will take the work where He left it.. In the Lord is wisdom. Such a one receives guidance and direction directly and indirectly from the Holy Spirit which is always in harmony with the written “law” and “testimony. teachable spirit. We are not left to trust in human wisdom. and consultation with other such persons and groups: The Lord will give understanding to every one who will fully connect with His work. association. gentleness. Christ’s obedient children will follow none but Him: When we are truly Christ’s. The Ellen G. and shall attend to the ordinances He has instituted. harmony. We shall be seeking constantly to obtain a knowledge of Him. His example will be our rule of life.” He will be in unity. and He will give to each the wisdom necessary to perform his own appointed work. God has given to every man a certain work to do.105 Chapter 9 God on the Throne— He Guides G OD RELATES with His people primarily on a direct. 1320. The Paulson Collection. Ibid. Workers who possess this character will not creep and grovel in earthliness. Those in communication with God will not be in bondage to others: God wants every man who is connected with His sacred work to be a man with whom He can communicate. 12. and God’s Word and will must reign supreme. our hearts will be full of meekness.
the spirit. but God is the only specific Being that must authorize any move: It is wrong education to teach our people to lean on human aids. strength. 509 (August 4. the practices. The people are not to be instructed differently. But those who follow their own wisdom. 415. just what course to pursue. God’s people are to meet together in counsel. after presenting their case before Him. can be but a hindrance to the work He desires to be performed. so we may do if we will take hold of the Strong for strength. and wait for them to tell us what to do. Among those who heed His instruction He will raise up men and women to act as His agents. 2. Review and Herald. White. We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. will know. God’s people are to be educated to counsel together. His will is their law. but strength. Whatever was given to Christ— the “all things” to supply the need of fallen men— was given to . They will copy the words. But we are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. 1891). Power for obedience. that minds might become obscured. Christ will instruct those with a teachable spirit: Christ will instruct those who manifest a teachable spirit. Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God. for service. and power: As Christ lived the law in humanity. Their eye is upon the Captain of their salvation. And they will receive not only wisdom. as Christ has promised. Those who bear responsibilities in the work are to co-operate with heavenly angels in teaching men and women to look to God as the source of their strength. will be imparted to them. instead of going to the Lord in prayer. The Paulson Collection. of none but Him. fearing to walk in harmony with the revealed plans of the Lord. but no leader or worker is to take the position that God’s children are to make no move until he is first consulted. vol. Christ will teach men their duty and provide their wisdom.106 Authority In God's Church forward in His name. He will speak His mysteries to us personally. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. The enemy of souls has been the instigator of this. If we come to Him in faith. 11.
He understands His own work upon the human heart. But one will say to such. if you follow the leadings of the Spirit. go to another. It is of vital importance to us that we allow no one to come between us and our God. See Testimonies. we receive of him. And “whatsoever we ask. 463. Angels of God will go with you. and is acquainted with the circumstances of every experience of life. White 1888 Materials. follow the directions of the Holy Spirit. 175. “Go work today in My vineyard. vol. We should take no man for our pattern.God On the Throne—He Guides 107 Him as the head and representative of humanity. and to follow the control of human minds. We should not accept any man’s opinions and ideas unless through careful searching for ourselves. Our petitions are to reach higher than erring man—to God. Manuscript Release No. The Ellen G. vol. This influence is diverting the mind from God. 8. and needs not that any man should . When you have done your work in one place. 419–420. whether the conference will pay your expenses or not.” 1 John 3:22. 478. God does not confine Himself to one place or person. let God impress the soul. 582. for we are to see and know for ourselves what is truth. and go. 5. because we keep his commandments. 374. “Pray to God for guidance as to where you shall go. He sees their perplexities. In the false experience that has been coming in. He looks down from heaven upon the children of men. We are to work where God sends us whether man supports us or not: There are among our church members faithful souls who feel a burden for those who know not the truth for this time. God does not confine Himself to one place or person: This message is spoken to our churches in every place. To such souls I would say. a decided influence is at work to exalt human agencies. It is of the greatest importance that we individually open our hearts to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Testimonies to Ministers. for guidance. The Desire of Ages. and to lead some to depend on human judgment. We are to look to God. Let God speak to us through His Word. 668. not man. God forbid that any such experience should deepen and grow in our ranks as Seventh-day Adventists. and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. Review and Herald. 3. we find that they bear the credentials of Heaven.” Christ commands. The conference will not support you if you go here or there.
108 Authority In God's Church direct the workings of His Spirit. we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. God has never designed that one man should be crushed under the burden. that they may act their part in the work of communicating light to the world. doing our appointed task to the full measure of our entrusted capability. and the adviser in all . that. When men place the president of the Conference in the place of God. “This is the confidence that we have in Him. if we ask anything according to His will. and make him the depositary of all their difficulties. The president of the Conference is not to do the thinking for all the people. When Jesus went away. He has not an immortal brain. He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us. one man’s mind and one man’s judgment must not be the controlling power. the bearer of all their burdens and troubles. We must do our work through a diligent use of the intellect which God has given. Men must not be educated to look to men as to God. While it is necessary that there be a counseling together and a unity of action among the laborers. and have been invested with the goods of heaven. whatsoever we ask. No living being can do our work for us. Each is responsible to his own Master: It is a mistake to make men believe that the workers for Christ should make no move save that which has first been brought before some responsible man.” God has appointed the angels that do His will to respond to the prayers of the meek of the earth. and to guide His ministers with counsel and judgment. waiting for command and direction from his Leader. On our part there should be a faithful execution of duty. 483–484. should be loaded down with various kinds of work as a cart pressed beneath the sheaves. We are the responsible agents of God. gaining in knowledge and efficiency as we make progress in our work. and we should have an eye single to the glory of Him who has called us. but has capabilities and powers like any other man. And to every man God has given his work. while we leave our mental powers to rust through inaction. God never designed that another should do our thinking. while another should go free of all burden and responsibility. for which he is responsible to his own Master. and that work he is expected to do with fidelity. and every true follower of Christ has some work to do for Him. Testimonies to Ministers. He entrusted to men His work in all its varied branches. Heavenly agencies are constantly seeking to impart grace and strength and counsel to God’s faithful children.
If you do. 3. 1894). how are you occupying a safe position? Jesus bids you come to Him. God knows how to direct His own work: God has brought His people together in church capacity in order that they may reveal to the world the wisdom of Him who formed this organization. thinking that the Lord tells him that which He refuses to tell you. who is head over all the institutions that God has established. Accept not the work he does as without a flaw. and learn of Him. and because of the influence it . Adherence to these plans will enable them to testify of the divine authorship of God’s great plan for the restoration of the world. Every human ambition is to be submerged in Jesus Christ.” and there is no excuse for shunning responsibilities. The efficiency of the Spirit of God will make effective the labors of all who are willing to submit to His guidance. The Ellen G. and you should find rest to your souls. 174 (August 7. 2 (April. White 1888 Materials. Since it is possible for every one to have the heavenly unction.God On the Throne—He Guides 109 their plans and in all their perplexities. Testimonies to Ministers. He communicates ideas to man when he is diligently searching God’s Word: The Lord wants ministers of the gospel to search the Scriptures. Those who take part in God’s work are to be led and guided by God. they are doing that which is exactly opposite to what Christ has told them to do. Do not let him do the work God has told you to do. He knows that the cross must occupy the central place. vol. Let no man stand between your soul and Jesus Christ. Make no living man a channel. working in and through every soldier by the agency of the Holy Spirit. “ye need not that any man teach you. no duty should be unwelcome. 836. no obligation evaded. The Holy Spirit is to be our teacher and guide: God can teach you more in one moment by His Holy Spirit than you could learn from the great men of the earth. He knows how to set in operation His own agencies. 119. the great Teacher. Australasian Record Articles. because it is the means of man’s atonement. 1898). Review and Herald. God knew what plans to outline for the efficiency and success of His people. Christ Himself is the renewing power.
God’s will becomes his will. If man so consents. we are only carrying out the impulses of our minds. All such will not possess an unsanctified. understands the methods that should be invested with power over human minds. determined zeal for the glory of God. The Kress Collection. and understands how the varied agencies should be related to one another. The Upward Look. . ready to carry out their own wills. The Lord Jesus.110 Authority In God's Church exerts on every part of the divine government. 187. When merged into the will of other men. If the human agent consents. 100. . . His authority replaces man’s authority in the control of his life: The will of the human agent is not to be given into the control of any other man. that when obeying His will. it is misleading. who has been through all the history of our world. selfish disposition. but will have a jealous. They will not want to do anything in their own strength. . God can and will so identify His will with all our thoughts and aims. and will guard strictly against the danger of promoting self. earnest. so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His Word. He knows the importance of every agency.
the scribes and Pharisees. was given to those who realized their own ignorance. but the revelation of the significance of that which had been taught from the beginning. who had not been members of the Sanhedrin. that sacred and vital truths 111 . but there was found no place for the truth in those wise and prudent men. who had never sat in the schools of the prophets. and the Life. and made fishermen and unlearned believers the heralds of His truth to the world. He chose new bottles for His new wine of doctrine. or give a forced meaning to His utterances. it was in fact not a new doctrine. but the priests and rulers. and take His disciples from unlearned fishers and men of humble rank. Jesus knew that He could do the scribes and Pharisees no good. link after link. whose hearts were not bound about with their own ideas—these He took and educated for His own use. afterward taught by the apostles of Christ. It was His design that His disciples should take the plain. The chain of truth. And yet. Christ. unadulterated truth for the guide of their life. unless they would empty themselves of self-importance. These were the babes to whom the Father could reveal spiritual things. and to unfold the truth which He Himself had spoken through prophets and apostles. and were willing to learn of the great Teacher. They were not to add to His words. and draw from theological stores to build up some man-made theory. though His doctrine seemed new to the people. who claimed to be the depositaries of knowledge. the Way. had to pass by the self-righteous Pharisees. He could make them as new bottles for the new wine of His kingdom.111 Chapter 10 God’s Direct Guidance Will Increase CHRIST had to find new bottles “for His new wine:” The work of Jesus was to reveal the character of the Father. the Truth. They were not to put a mystical interpretation upon the plain teaching of the Scriptures. could give no room for the principles of Christianity. It was through putting a mystical meaning upon the plain words of God. These who had never been to the rabbis.
they will find many doors opened before them. If they do not have this. Remove the stumbling blocks that have been placed before the people. and that they rejected the commandment of God. 9. 368. 106–107. 137. It was in this way that men were led to teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Those doing the Lord’s work will follow Him fully even if it be over the heads of ministers and presidents: . they are hindered. vol. and angels will work with them. and there is a great work to be done. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time. while the theories of men were made prominent. Testimonies to Ministers. and no man can shut it. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. vol. “I have set before thee an open door. Review and Herald. 11. 3.” Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth. if they will work in the fear of God. Ellen G. He has said. because of the want of co-operation in this line. vol. . 45. . . . See Testimonies. Special Testimonies. 1088–1089. 467. The Lord will not tolerate this. and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people. 5. Human methods and plans will hedge up the work. . or weighing evidence. The work for God’s people will be done with or without the consent of leadership: The Lord says to the presidents of conferences and to influential brethren. have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make.112 Authority In God's Church were made of little significance. but God will raise up Spirit-led workers: The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men and making flesh their arm. No. White Comments. Those who are doing medical missionary work should have the full sanction and co-operation of the church. 366. . It is not God’s plan that there be two churches in Battle Creek. No one should claim that he has all the light there is for God’s people. they will advance. that door will still remain open. 311. How much better it is to seek for unity of action! If the medical missionary workers will carry this line of effort into the churches everywhere. Nevertheless. Time is short. Series A. if these leading brethren do not accept them. Manuscript Release No. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves. that they might keep their own tradition.
many will be stirred by the Spirit of God to break every shackle. The truth. if men continue to bind their fellow laborers closer and closer to the commandments of men. Multitudes will receive the faith and join the armies of the Lord. and assert their liberty in Christ Jesus. If the cords are drawn much tighter. for it will go onward and upward to the end. 3. 369. When . Children are impelled by the Spirit to go forth and declare the message from Heaven. and. Many such will be seen hurrying hither and thither. vol. constrained by the Spirit of God to bring the light to others. Some will go out from among us who will bear the ark no longer. Those who know the truth are to be worked by the Holy Spirit. Many. filling them with a burning desire to enlighten those who sit in darkness. and exhort us to put away our errors. even among the uneducated. if the rules are made much finer. vol. casting off all man’s machinery. In the past God has raised up men. The Spirit is poured out upon all who will yield to its promptings. men who have not become insensible to the bright rays of light through so long contemplating the light of truth. his binding rules and cautious methods. vol. 3. Testimonies.God's Direct Guidance Will Increase 113 There is enough wealth in your conference to carry forward this work successfully. they will declare the truth with the might of the Spirit’s power. 1895). vol. 275 (July 23. now proclaim the words of the Lord. and refusing to make any improvement or advancement therein. the Word of God. 5. and shall the prince of darkness be left in undisputed possession of our great cities because it costs something to sustain missions? Let those who would follow Christ fully come up to the work. is as a fire in their bones. 1895). 275 (July 23. even if it be over the heads of ministers and president. Walls of restrictions will be as untempered mortar: Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us. But these cannot make walls to obstruct the truth. 7. and He still has men of opportunity waiting. Review and Herald. See Testimonies. and not themselves to try to work the Spirit. prepared to do His bidding—men who will go through restrictions which are only as walls daubed with untempered mortar. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God. 26–27. Review and Herald. Man’s binding rules will be cast off: God will move upon men of humble position in society.
The messengers of heaven are to be seen running to and fro. and presenting the glad tidings of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. We will not keep silent. and shut away the light that God would have come to His children. The church must be roused. 2 (April 1898). Like the Jews. 507. they will lift up their voice like a trumpet. 376.. They will show the people their transgressions. Men professing godliness have despised Christ in the person of His messengers. He will seek in every possible way to interpose himself between the people and God. . Testimonies to Ministers. who will give the note of warning. The Ellen G. Australian Record. Ibid. They entertain ideas that men may be saved by their own merit. The truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands. God will warn His people through agents of His own choosing: Light must come to the people through agents whom God shall choose.114 Authority In God's Church God puts His Spirit upon men. and the house of Jacob their sins. seeking in every way possible to warn the people of the coming judgments. a legal religion. We will secure halls in the cities and put out handbills and the people shall be enlightened. At the great heart of the work Satan will use his hellish arts to the utmost. . He is sending out messengers that they may give the warnings in every locality. . . . and those who respond to its influence will become lights in the world. they will work. as they did after the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They will proclaim the word of the Lord. Everywhere they are seen going forth to communicate to others the light they have received. that none may be in ignorance of the purposes of God or the devices of Satan. When false religion comes in among us the church must be aroused by independent labor if need be: Many are ignorant of the deception which palms off falsehood for truth. . And as they let their light shine they receive more and more of the Spirit’s power. The Spirit of God is moving upon men’s hearts. The earth is lighted with the glory of God. 411. they reject God’s mes- . The earth will be lighted with the glory of God: God is moving upon every mind that is open to receive the impressions of His Holy Spirit. A false religion has come in among us. White 1888 Materials.
Men may not be able to understand why God sends this one or that one. but the strength of the mighty General of armies. whose power is of old. But the Lord will not ask any man by whom to send. and it is a very solemn. It would be impossible for . [God’s people] to state just how this additional light would come. . would better let the Lord manage and take care of the safety of His own ark. and to shape their testimony after His own order. God will not satisfy this curiosity. May 12. 1896. His work may be a matter of curiosity. Series A. you will be disappointed. It is not wise to follow plans of your own devising. Special Testimonies. and His Word will not return unto Him void. God works by whom He will. 3. If you mark out ways whereby you expect God to work. The work of men is to obey the voice of God. . He will send by whom he will. The Lord would use men of intelligence if they would permit Him to mold and fashion them. and whose ways are past finding out. Review and Herald. Men high or low. . God will work in ways least expected: You are not to limit the Holy One of Israel. You are to leave God to work in His own way. . . God has a work to be done. not by sight. God will send additional light in unexpected ways: I stated [at the 1888 General Conference Session] that . He takes those whom He pleases to do His work. but by faith. God will use men who are willing to be used. Ibid. vol. . and you must walk. and He does not consult those to whom He will send His messenger as to what are their preferences concerning whom or what manner of person they would like to bring the message of God to them. 1897). is to be continually under the discipline of God. Whoever has a connection with the work and cause of God. God will work in ways least expected.. The Jews asked regarding Christ. The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation. It is not your own strength that will turn the battle against the enemy.God's Direct Guidance Will Increase 115 sage. and the whole earth was to be lightened with his glory. another angel was to come down from heaven with a message. . So today the agencies that God sends are not what men have looked for. learned or ignorant. It might come in a very unexpected . 492 (August 17. “Who is this? Is not this Joseph’s son?” He was not the Christ that the Jews had looked for. who works for His own name’s glory. sacred work. 247–248 (Leaves of Autumn edition).
1889). Testimonies to Ministers. During the latter rain God’s own channels will operate at times beyond the bounds of human authority: Under the showers of the latter rain the inventions of man. No one then will watch to see if the sentences are well rounded off. in a way that would not agree with the ideas that many have conceived. and that there will be resistance from the very ones we expected to engage in such a work. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits—because it is truth. the boundary of man’s authority will be as broken reeds. vol. There will be resistance to the ways of God’s choosing: If we are to bear a part in this work to its close. and the Holy Spirit will speak through the living. The Ellen G. 1024.116 Authority In God's Church manner. and the wonderful activity in the courts above. We must be careful not to reject light because it does not come through expected channels: We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come. It is not at all unlikely. 106. The Lord often works in a manner which is not in accordance with the ideas of the men who . or contrary to the ways and works of God to send light to His people in unexpected ways. God uses unexpected channels to see whether we will accept truth upon its own merits: The Lord often works where we least expect Him. He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice. White 1888 Materials. 327 (August 27. Review and Herald. The Lord often works differently from what leadership thinks He would: I wish that occasionally the curtain could be rolled back and all could see the manner of the Lord’s working. human agent with convincing power. the human machinery. will at times be swept away. The Paulson Collection. White 1888 Materials. 102. 1889). 239 (Letter 22. The living water will flow in God’s own channels. we must recognize the fact that there are good things to come to the people of God in a way that we had not discerned. instead of rejecting it because it does not come through the channel from which we expected it. The Ellen G. while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. if the grammar is faultless. 2.
and we have reason to thank Him that these men have carried forward the work with faithfulness. White. God has chosen the very men He wanted. The Lord Jesus takes those that he finds will be molded and uses them for His own name’s glory. but their influence was exerted to counteract the Lord’s message. but as the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity. who might have received the richest blessings. White 1888 Materials. 1245. Why it is that He has not chosen the men who have been long in the work? The reason is that He knew that these men who had had long experience would not do the work in God’s way and after God’s order. in lofty independence through those who will be worked by Him. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. Every jot and tittle of this will . others may devise and plan how this one and that one shall work. And if they refuse the message. when the Lord has other work for these men to do. other places where He wants them to till in as His agents. Self-willed leaders sometimes necessitate God’s choosing special messengers: Some have not been reconciled with the providence of God in selecting the very men which He did select to bear this special message. They might have been God’s instruments to carry the work forward with power. The speculations and calculations of human minds are not always in wisdom of God. They will be a hindrance in the place of a blessing. they can never regain that which they have lost through their wrong course of action. He lays the foundation. and erects the structure. 65. Again. The work will go forward. but will accomplish that whereunto it is sent. He sees material that others would pass by. and have been the mouthpiece for God. but these brethren. will meet with eternal loss. and their caution is a defective spoke in the wheel. for though they should repent and be saved at last.God's Direct Guidance Will Increase 117 are in responsible positions. They ask. the men whom God designed should hold the same relation to the younger workers as did Moses to Joshua. to make the work appear questionable. His plans are not built on any foundation that is laid by man. Hindrance to God’s message will have to be repented of: God will send by whom He will. Some move altogether too slowly. will fail of doing the work the Lord designed they should do. The Ellen G. keeping it from rolling. and works all who will be worked. His message will not return unto Him void. to meet His own spiritual conception.
He was a perfect character. then one great advance will have been made toward letting the light shine upon the world. but with men and women who are not too learned or too wise to believe the word of God. not as men plan.. 79.” Copy the ways of the Lord Jesus. White 1888 Materials. but these are not necessarily through the minds of any particular man or set of men. and they will not recognize that which comes in any other way. 113. responsible men stand in the way of God. Those who have worked according to their own wisdom and have not followed God’s counsel will be passed by: The Lord does not ask permission of those in responsible positions when He wishes to use certain ones as His agents for . Do not many turn from this work to trample down the growth springing from the same seed today? The old cry is repeated.” John 9:29. 1128. When all shall take their appointed places in God’s work. nor as men wish. are very unreasonable. because they do not coincide with our private ideas? God has appointed channels of light. “We are laborers together with God. The great leaders of religious thought in this generation sound the praises and build the monuments of those who planted the seed of truth centuries ago. but “in a mysterious way. and not allow others to mold them at will. Christ’s Object Lessons. we know not from whence he is. Ibid. As in earlier ages.118 History is to be repeated: Authority In God's Church have to be repented of. May the Lord place this matter before you as it is. Are these men infallible? Has God appointed them supreme judges of how light shall come to His people? I answer. the special truths for this time are found. “We know that God spake unto Moses. The efforts made here to close every avenue to light and truth which is supposed to disagree with the opinions of some leading men. God works. His wonders to perform. The Ellen G. By failing to accept channels of light of God’s appointing. because they think that the work must be done and the blessing must come in a certain way they have marked out. not with the ecclesiastical authorities. as for this fellow [Christ in the messenger He sends]. They usurp His authority over His people: The Lord has presented before me that men in responsible positions are standing directly in the way of the workings of God upon His people.” Why treat God’s ways as worthless. No.
you exert the same influence which they exerted. But He will use whom He will use. as truth. “If the light that is in thee be darkness. which has been light and precious truth and meat in due season to the hungry. But can you bear this responsibility? The Ellen G. light which is the very message for this time. Many who have some talent think that they are necessary to the cause of God. White 1888 Materials. how great is that darkness!” Prejudice is prejudice whether indulged by those who claim to believe that the Lord is soon coming. or by those who refused the light in the days of Christ. you may misinterpret it. to be filled with their own doings. Meat in due season. but this you cannot do. and He will use others who are thought by these supposedly wise ones to be wholly incompetent.God's Direct Guidance Will Increase 119 the promulgation of truth. you may interpose yourself as you have done between God’s working and the people. every one that you have made to resist light and the impressions of the Spirit of God. vol. You may misrepresent it. that it must be error and delusion. starving flock of God. as food. God will have His light come to the people. Review and Herald. the very message for this time. You have had opportunity. but you would not acknowledge it as light. men who feel capable and sufficient to work in their own wisdom. you would do so. but your efforts. Let them beware lest they stretch themselves beyond their measure. and it may be that souls will hang on you as in the days of Christ souls hung upon their leaders. 438. you use the same arguments and excuses that they used. and the Lord shall leave them to their own ways. God will take the reins into His own hands and work contrary to any human planning: Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things. and in a . He will pass by men who have not followed His counsel. 3. If you could prevent it from coming to the people of God. Poor deluded souls will be led to think that because Elder Smith does not accept the light and the message which has come to His people. you have had the privilege of accepting the light. you declare to be darkness and error. 275 (July 23. will come to God’s people in spite of opposition such as Christ Himself faced: Light and truth which I know to be thus. and you cannot prevent it. have been an extra step farther and farther from the light and from the Lord. You are passing over the very same ground as the rejecters of Jesus Christ passed over. 1895).
When a message came in. get out of the way. or God will move you out of the way. Now it is just exactly as in the days of the Jews. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God. 300. clear the King’s highway. I tell you that God calls for men to come up to the help of the Lord. If you have interposed between the people and the light. that it should not have access to the people. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. but they are to push with all the might and energy that God has given them. . to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. White 1888 Materials. We are to push and not pull back: Now. they are not to put their weight against the chariot so as to pull it back. Clear the King’s highway. I say. Testimonies to Ministers. They are not to pull back. The Ellen G.120 Authority In God's Church way that will be contrary to any human planning. brethren. to the help of the Lord against the mighty. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. for your soul’s sake. 541. why all the power of the leaders was put against it.
121 Chapter 11
Independence From Authority
OD GIVES us definite counsels regarding independence. If one works independent of God according to his own wisdom he can expect defeats and losses:
In the work of the laborers there should be a counseling together. No one is to strike out on his own independent judgment, and work according to his own mind, unless he has a treasury of his own from which to draw. Our heavenly Father careth for His children, and His grace is sufficient in every time of need. But if we consider ourselves sufficient to manage the work of God, and depend for success on our own individual wisdom to plan and execute, we may expect defeats and losses; for they will surely come. Review and Herald, vol. 1, 571 (December 8, 1885).
There has been too much uninspired independent judgment:
There has been altogether too much reliance placed upon independent, uninspired judgment. Self-sufficiency and selfesteem lie at the foundation of the greatest trials and discords that have ever existed among the people of God. Manuscript Release No. 311, 8.
There will be those who will move independently of the teachings of God’s Spirit, whose unsanctified human judgment will tend to tear down that which God is building up:
God is teaching, leading, and guiding His people, that they may teach, lead and guide others. There will be, among the remnant of these last days, as there were with ancient Israel, those who wish to move independently, who are not willing to submit to the teachings of the Spirit of God, and who will not listen to advice or counsel. Let such ever bear in mind that God has a church upon the earth, to which He has delegated power. Men will want to follow their own independent judgment, despising
Authority In God's Church
counsel and reproof; but just as surely as they do this, they will depart from the faith, and disaster and the ruin of souls will follow. Those who rally now to support and build up the truth of God, are ranging themselves on one side, standing united in heart, mind, and voice, in defense of the truth; while those who do not labor in harmony of purpose and action, who choose their own unsanctified human judgment as perfection of action, are ranging themselves on the side of Satan, and are defending his cause. Satan will become their leader, and they will join him in his constant endeavors to tear down that which God is building up. None of these discordant elements will be able eventually to thwart the purposes of God in the preparation of a people to stand in the great day, and in the final completion of the plan of salvation. . . . It is a delusion of the enemy for anyone to feel that he can disconnect from agencies which God has appointed, and work on an independent line of his own, in his own supposed wisdom, and yet be successful. Although he may flatter himself that he is doing God’s work, he will not prosper in the end. We are one body, and every member is to be united to the body, each person working in his respective capacity. Men must be like-minded with God— pure, holy, sincere; not one is to be shut up to himself, to live for himself. Ibid., 8–9.
Those who are doing the will of God are to draw together:
Some have advanced the thought that as we near the close of time, every child of God will act independently of any religious organization. But I have been instructed by the Lord that in this work there is no such thing as every man’s being independent. The stars of heaven are all under law, each influencing the other to do the will of God, yielding their common obedience to the law that controls their action. And in order that the Lord’s work may advance healthfully and solidly, His people must draw together. Testimonies to Ministers, 489.
Good soldiers will not work independently of those obeying the Supreme Leader:
The field around Maitland and Newscastle is so large that we could use twenty workers, all working in concert under one supreme leader. The Lord will work with every sincere, devoted soldier of the cross. But no man can be a good soldier who thinks he must work independently of his fellow worker, who regards his own judgment as the best. God’s workers must blend together, one supplying what the other lacks.
Independence From Authority
God has given to his church a diversity of gifts. . . . Those who will obey will find that the Lord knows what is best for them. The people of God are to work as a perfect whole. The Kress Collection, 130.
Independence is to be measured by the Word of God:
Oh, how Satan would rejoice if he could succeed in his efforts to get in among this people and disorganize the work at a time when thorough organization is essential and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings and to refute claims not endorsed by the Word of God! We want to hold the lines evenly, that there shall be no breaking down of the system of organization and order that has been built up by wise, careful labor. License must not be given to disorderly elements that desire to control the work at this time. Testimonies to Ministers, 489.
We are to avoid the extremes of depending upon men and following one’s own judgment:
Last night these words of instruction were spoken to you: “Counsel with your brethren. Your plans need the careful consideration of other minds.” Warnings have been given in regard to depending upon men and trusting in their wisdom. The tempter aims to lead men astray by persuading them to cease looking to Jesus for strength and efficiency, and to make flesh their arm. This has been done in many cases. Satan has laid his trap to catch men and win them to his side by trying to prevail upon them to depend upon their finite, erring fellow men. But when a reproof is given upon this point, the enemy takes the counsel given, and presents it in such a perverted light that those who desire to follow their own judgment feel at liberty to plan and devise important measures without counseling with their brethren. Thus another error strives for recognition. Men go to an extreme in one direction, and if corrected, go to an extreme in the opposite direction. Ibid., 313–314.
We are not to be separated from those who are communicating God’s will:
It will be Satan’s studied effort to separate you from those who are as channels of light, through whom God has communicated His will and through whom He has wrought in building up and extending His work. . . . Your fear of being led by men is too great. God uses men as His instruments and will use them as
Authority In God's Church
long as the world shall stand. The angels who fell were anxious to become independent of God. They were very beautiful, very glorious, but dependent on God for their happiness and for the light and intelligence they enjoyed. They fell from their high estate through insubordination. Christ and His church are inseparable. To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to lead out and to bear the responsibilities connected with His work and with the advancement and spread of the truth is to reject the means which God has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. To pass these by and think your light must come through no other channel than directly from God places you in a position where you are liable to deception and to be overthrown. Testimonies, vol. 3, 418–419.
Man is to seek his directions from God:
It is not the work of any man to prescribe the work for any other man contrary to his own convictions of duty. He is to be advised and counseled, but he is to seek his directions from God, whose he is, and whom he serves. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1269.
The perishing flock of God are to turn from their pastors and teachers to God for food:
The flock of God is in need of help from heaven, and the sheep and lambs are perishing for food. But let those who would have a deep and living experience in the things of God cease to depend upon men, even upon their own pastors and teachers, and put their trust wholly in God, using their God-given ability to His glory. Ibid., 1028.
Workers are to pull together; on the other hand, the Lord leads some workers to do a special work:
The spasmodic, fitful movements of some who claim to be Christians are well represented by the work of strong but untrained horses. When one pulls forward, another pulls back, and at the voice of their master one plunges ahead and the other stands immovable. If men will not move in concert in the great and grand work for this time, there will be confusion. It is not a good sign when men refuse to unite with their brethren and prefer to act alone. Let laborers take into their confidence the brethren who are free to point out every departure from right principles. If men wear the yoke of Christ, they cannot pull apart; they will draw with Christ.
Instead of isolating themselves. Unless they do this. In no case should we demerit the gift and work God has given another. take hold of it in a little different way from that in which these responsible men have tried to do it. 108. they should be very careful not to hinder these helpers. .Independence From Authority 125 Some workers pull with all the power that God has given them. their activity will work at the wrong time and the wrong way. Then when those whom God is qualifying to assist in the work. and thus hindering the advancement of others. why should they say just how that work should be done? Those who do not discern and adapt themselves to the increasing demands of the work. Let us not disappoint the Lord by an improper use of the talents entrusted to us. Wheels are not to be blocked. advancement not to be hindered: There are some minds which do not grow with the work. or to circumscribe the work. Manuscript Release No. but they have not yet learned that they should not pull alone. In no case are we to demerit the work God has given another: The positions and offices of those in God’s work are appointed by Christ. vol. Testimonies. 258– 259. 9. Let them not fear to trust another’s methods. Since they did not see the work in all its bearings. they are retarding the advancement of the Lord’s cause. and they find themselves tired and worn before they comprehend the circumstances. Let us not fail to recognize the position and capabilities God gives to another. 311. Be not envious or suspicious as your brother uses his gifts to do something for the honor of God. Ellen G. Let them never suppose that every plan should reflect their own personality. but allow the work to grow far beyond them. On the other hand. and thus their work is worse than wasted. and did not have the burden which God has specially laid upon others. All our talents are His gifts. the leaders among God’s people are to guard against the danger of condemning the methods of individual workers who are led by the Lord to do a special work that but few are fitted to do. Let brethren in responsibility be slow to criticize movements that are not in perfect harmony with their methods of labor. let them draw in harmony with their fellow laborers. 36. for by withholding their confidence from a brother laborer who. with humility and consecrated zeal. should not stand blocking the wheels. They will often work counter to that which God would have done. White 1888 Materials. is doing a special work in God’s appointed way.
.” None who showed themselves in any way friendly to Christ were to be repulsed. that can lightly speak evil of me. exclusive spirit. and unless it is realized and put away. and accepted the reproof of Jesus. “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name. The fact that one does not in all things conform to our personal ideas or opinions will not justify us in forbidding him to labor for God. they began to see that they were jealous for their own.” he said. and he followeth not us: and we forbade him. “Forbid him not:” John was led to question whether in one case his action had been right. but manifest the same far-reaching sympathy which they had seen in their Master. If there is another who we imagine does not look with favor on our way of doing things. a spirit of prejudice and alienation will mar the work of God. There were many who had been deeply moved by the character and the work of Christ. we are not to judge or to command. They acknowledged their error. The Holy Spirit is grieved with such a selfish religion as this.126 Authority In God's Church To demerit another’s work grieves the Holy Spirit: There is too much selfish love among us. and thus intercept the rays that He would have shine to the world! The Desire of Ages. they must not indulge a narrow. “we saw one casting out devils in thy name. and whose hearts were opening to Him in faith.” when the pattern is not correctly represented. Every soul whom God has made willing is a channel through which Christ will reveal His pardoning love. who could not read motives. When Jesus was no longer personally among them. 39. With the spirit of a child he laid the matter before Jesus. “Master. and the work was left in their hands. we withdraw from that one and seek to demerit his work. must be careful not to discourage these souls. because he followeth not us.” James and John had thought that in checking this man they had had in view their Lord’s honor.. then we esteem that brother above others. If there is a brother who encourages all we do and suggest. Ibid. God is dishonored when His people do not “love as brethren. and learn of Him. Christ’s response regarding one working separately but in His name was. but in humility each is to sit at the feet of Jesus. Christ is the Great Teacher. and the disciples. How careful we should be lest we discourage one of God’s light bearers. 437–438. as right.
Christ has said concerning His disciples. and that you believe that they are taught of God as much as you yourself are taught of God. in spirit. The greatest should be the servant of all: As brethren located where you must be more or less connected. and another. and show them that you have confidence. Open your plans before them. . 311. and another will be free to speak. let them be free to read their articles to their brethren. One will be free to speak.127 Chapter 12 Counsel Together A LTHOUGH God can and does communicate directly with each one. and let them receive any kindly word or caution that the brethren may see fit to offer in the spirit of brotherly kindness and love. . . “All ye are brethren. and without having the fear of criticism before them. in your association. The same line of work is not to be given to each worker. but He teaches one. Manuscript Release No. God does not open everything to one mind. . and for this reason you 127 .” Every one is to give an account of himself to God. You should gather into your confidence not only your ministering brethren. and they may call your attention to some things that you had not thought of before. The cautions which God has given are to be regarded. Do not lay down any specified rules or prescribe any details as to how God’s agents shall do their work. and still another. Confidence and faith will beget confidence and faith. He also uses other persons to give us understanding. 31. if you would have them link up with you. you must draw closer together in your councils. He works in such a way that we receive the maximum benefit when we counsel together: Link up with your brethren. After they have written their thoughts. . . they are to speak as God shall give them utterance. but those with whom you are brought in contact. One man among you is not to be made the counselor for all. and in all your works. and give you their confidence. and to write as God shall dictate. Men are to stand in God.
and who are true to the interests of His cause. meaningless efforts. 28–29. but often the result is of little value. God would have the greatest cherish that humility that will lead him to be the servant of all. if duty thus orders. Ibid. It is your privilege to do this. A limited number united under one head. . All must pull in one direction in order to render efficient service to the cause.” has been repeated to me by the heavenly angels for the past forty-five years. one man’s judgment. and understand for yourselves . They must learn to forgo their own wishes and preferences for the good of others. Consultation so that all pull in one direction will render efficient service: An army could do nothing successfully if its different parts did not work in concert. the army would soon become disorganized. Ibid. Whatever good qualities a man may have. all obeying orders. . “Counsel together. Unless you do go to God for wisdom. and frequently the end shows more mischief than good. Occasionally good may be done. then they are gone. counsel together. . We are to seek counsel of God and with brethren who are true to the interests of His cause: Of yourselves you have not wisdom to bear responsibilities. 25. When you respect each other. . will accomplish more than ten times the number if they are drawing apart. attract attention. Should each soldier act without reference to the others.128 Authority In God's Church need to counsel together in that freedom and confidence that should exist among the Lord’s workmen. and expending their strength on many things at the same time. God requires of his soldiers concerted action. disconnected. and flash out brightly. . They make a show of doing something. you will respect Jesus Christ. he cannot be a good soldier if he acts independent of brotherly counsel. . . and you should feel it such. . At every step of the way you must seek counsel of God and of your brethren who have had experience. All the workers in ________ need counsel from those who are governed by the truth. Do not fail to seek wisdom from God. One person must not suppose that his wisdom is beyond making any mistake.. Instead of gathering strength for concentrated action. self-restraint is essential. Some of you do not feel right when anything you do is called in question.. One man’s mind. But this is wrong. and in order to have this in the church. it would be wasted in desultory. is not to be a controlling power. At the same time you must constantly feel the need of higher counsel. .
and will work in unity with their brethren. Serve no man through fear of what that man can do to you that is disagreeable. and whom He will use. . you will not be able to understand things clearly. 1592. His servants are to be circumscribed by no man or council of men unless they have decided evidence that the men or council of men are worked by the Holy Spirit. One will supply another’s lack.Counsel Together 129 the way of the Lord. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. You must have the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit to give you clear views of Jesus and His love. The Ellen G. Christians you cannot be if you depend on any other man’s conscience. exalted as being in every degree superior but every mind has its own peculiar weakness. freedom to exercise their God-given ability.. 24. by some. not to be bought. but to reveal a Christian fortitude. not to be sold. The peculiar weaknesses and strengths of different minds require that brethren work and counsel together to supply another’s lack: I am pained to see the little value placed upon men whom the Lord has used. 66. Christ died to give men moral independence. White 1888 Materials. Ibid. but to God. and are given encouragement to look. But if all work in the one harness. they will develop under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. One man’s mind may be. One man’s mind will supply another man’s deficiency. not to men to know their duty. God forbid that men’s minds shall follow in the channel of another man’s mind. White. Let every man stand in God. and its peculiar strength.
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to managers. withdrawing from all allegiance to the world. There is before the church the dawn of a bright. My Life Today. God’s instructions are unchanged: During the night we were in a council meeting. 259–260. 952. “Everything that has been given to ministers. 277. . to teachers. to the different conferences. We must work earnestly to bring this instruction before the people. and is afraid to walk according to his own finite judgment. If she will be true to her allegiance. to men in responsible positions. The soul that is submissive to God is ready to do the will of God.” Battle Creek Letters. 3. obedient to His commandments. No soldier can be said to follow his commander unless he obeys orders.. 1304. there is no power that can stand against her. because Satan is now doing a special work to make of no effect the testimonies that come from God. : The church of Christ is God’s agency for the proclamation of truth. there will dwell within her the excellency of divine power. if she will put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness. 131 . and if she is loyal to God. he diligently and humbly seeks to know that will.131 Chapter 13 Obedience to God’s Authority We must obey the orders that come from above. Prophets and Kings. The church will prosper if—if—if . One of authority stood up and said. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials. trying to decide what we were going to do. The forces of the enemy will be no more able to overwhelm her than is the chaff to resist the whirlwind. Ibid. . He accepts discipline. Following Christ means obedience in all His commandments. she is empowered by Him to do a special work. glorious day. is to be repeated and repeated.
The word of the Lord comes to us all who have not resisted His Spirit by determining not to hear and obey. Testimonies. 5. the light may be withdrawn. nothing is ignored. vol. lest its promptings cease and will and impulse control. 57. It requires earnest attention from us to distinguish the voice which speaks from God. vol. 41]. and we left in darkness. in counsels.132 Authority In God's Church Regarding the testimonies. is in recognizing and heeding God’s instructions. our wisdom. It is the Lord’s message of light to His people. placing themselves where He can carry out His will through them. This voice is heard in warnings. Not one word of human devising is to be permitted to subvert minds or to add unto or to take from the message that God has given. but through years of suffering and self-sacrifice have established the truth of the testimony given. The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days. The most valuable knowledge that we can obtain is . 342 (July 18. not taking counsel of themselves. Nothing must be done untimely. Our safety is in heeding God’s instructions: Those today to whom the Lord has given great light will find their only safety in walking in the way of the Lord. when there are other voices all around us urging us to pursue an opposite course. Every jot and tittle is essential and must appear at an opportune time. We know that in the past the truth has been demonstrated by the Holy Spirit. Some matters must be withheld because some persons would make an improper use of the light given. 1907) [Selected Messages. in reproof. We must resist and conquer inclination. Not one of the words which God has spoken must be allowed to fall to the ground. Review and Herald. 517. 4. Our safety. and obey the voice of conscience without parleying or compromise. We are to obey without parleying or compromise: The Lord requires us to obey the voice of duty. vol. Selected Messages. 5. 200. 69. but time and place must be considered. Testimonies. God will do large things for those who will learn of Him. book 1. but of Him who never makes a mistake. book one. The Paulson Collection. nothing is cast aside. Time and trial have not made void the instruction given. If we wait for louder calls or better opportunities.
“Is this the way of the Lord?” God desires to have upon this earth righteous representatives. is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard. every emotion will be brought into captivity to the will of Jesus. through whom He can communicate to His people His peculiar favor. and you will come forth from the molding process a vessel unto honor. These representatives are to be men who honor God by keeping His commandments—wise. It will take. God bestows His supreme regard upon the church. No authority is to be known in it but His own: I testify to my brethren and sisters that the church of Christ.” Close the door so that Satan will not thus accuse and dishearten you. 514. Say. White Comments. 2.” and you will find that you are triumphant in God. Ellen G. Those who walk humbly before Him. will be blessed with wisdom. my brethren and sisters. “I will give my will to Jesus. and I will do it now. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary.” and from this moment be wholly on the Lord’s side? Disregard custom and the strong clamoring of appetite and passion. . You will then find your feet on solid rock. Consider. “I will believe. a . inquiring at every step. He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition. Wisdom is God’s gift. to be kept pure from all contamination. true men. By steadfastly keeping the will on the Lord’s side. showing to the world the meaning of true loyalty to God. every particle of will power which you possess. . walking circumspectly. He is ever to keep before him the fear of God. Its possession lays upon every one on whom it is bestowed a peculiar obligation to glorify God by blessing his fellow men. Give Satan no chance to say: “You are a wretched hypocrite. They will be given the knowledge of heaven to impart to others. . who can act as leaders. enfeebled and defective as it may be. and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church. vol. Testimonies. Our feet will be on solid rock if we keep our will steadfastly on the Lord’s side: Will you not without delay place yourself in right relation to God? Will you not say. 1032. that the Lord has a people. I do believe that God is my helper.Obedience To God's Authority 133 the knowledge of God. loving Him supremely and obeying His Word. While He extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved. but it is God that is working for you. at times. vol. 5.
In the last days of this earth’s history the voice that spoke from Sinai is still saying to men. Testimonies to Ministers. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. but it cannot evade the obligation. 15– 16.134 Authority In God's Church chosen people. revolted world. which He holds in a revolted world. The Desire of Ages. God calls His people to their posts of duty. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress. The Kress Collection. but His own. and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. Profound theories and speculations may abound. To them He has revealed His will.” Matthew 4:10. “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. and of them He requires obedience. 324. Thus the will of the infinite God was revealed to a people who were called to make known to every nation. His own fortress. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. no laws be acknowledged by it. which He holds in a sin-stricken. and thus do away with the law of God: but stronger and still stronger will the Holy Spirit bring before them the command. kindred. God’s messengers will have their feet firmly planted on the words “It is written:” There is need of a higher grade of spirituality in the church. There is earnest work to be done. and He intended that no authority should be known in it. Of His people in this generation God requires obedience: The words were written on tables of stone by the finger of God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. To the same work He has called His people in this generation. and tongue the principles of His government in heaven and in earth. There is need of heart purification. and Him only shalt thou serve. to be His own. Upon their knees men are to seek God in faith.” Exodus 20:3. 12. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ. we shall be dominated by the wicked one. but he cannot silence this word of command. may try to set science in opposition to revelation. His church. The human mind can never fully comprehend its obligation to the higher power. He calls upon them to purge themselves from that which has been revealed as the bane of the churches—an exalting of the men placed in positions of trust. Man has set his will against the will of God. .
3. His beloved Son. 5. and I will take possession of it. but to the utter ruin and misery of man. without violating one principle of His government: “Yield yourself up to Me. they plant their feet firmly upon the words. to become a sacrifice for sin. man may take any path that suits his fancy. and he has ever since been working in man to will and to do of his own pleasure. then I can work in you to will and to do of My good pleasure. your will becomes as His will. vol. and their words and works promote spirituality. Their way may be entirely wrong. Review and Herald.Obedience To God's Authority 135 and then go forth to speak the word with power sent down from on high. Such men come before the people direct from the audience-chamber of the Most High. take it from the control of Satan. enables Him to say. 1897). 4. vol. When they come in contact with wrong principles. But there is only one true way. that you may understand the secret of pleasure and joy in the Lord.” When He gives you the mind of Christ. 447 (March 16. . vol. was at the Fall given into the control of Satan. and take up his cross. A transformation of the natural man’s will enables him to obey God’s authority: You need to drink daily at the fountain of truth. Obeying God’s authority is the only path to heaven: It makes every difference with the future eternal well-being of men whether they follow God’s way or their own way. and your character is transformed to be like Christ’s character. But the infinite sacrifice of God in giving Jesus. This will.” Testimonies. 1900). Are there many paths to heaven? If so. Is it your purpose to do God’s will? Do you wish to obey the Scriptures? “If any man will come after Me.” Review and Herald. and follow Me. give Me that will. “It is written. 515. let him deny himself. that forms so important a factor in the character of man. But you must remember that your will is the spring of all your actions. 243 (December 4.
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. and led them through the wilderness into the Promised Land. 932. although you have not had experience your faith will lay hold on Jesus’ power. Obedience leads to God’s favor. refusing to be drawn from their allegiance by any ambitious projects. and will receive distinguished marks of His favor. Only thus can they receive the rich blessings that will fit them to receive His commendation. With Him there is no danger of failure. 81. not thinking or consulting as to what the world will say. White 1888 Materials. Review and Herald. Loma Linda Messages. and if we are obedient to God’s commands. then. The Ellen G. of having an eye single to the glory of God. 167 (September 14. Often they refused to follow God’s plans. vol. 1905). 1477. 5. They must hold fast to the truth until the end. The Israelites were often suggesting their own plans. and this always led to failure and defeat. is our leader today. we shall be in perfect safety. Ibid. what motives they will attribute to our work. what the world will think. Disobedience brings failure and defeat: He who gave the Israelites instruction from the pillar of cloud. There is no danger of failure to those who obey Christ to the letter: When you see to a man the necessity of putting self out of sight.137 Chapter 14 The Results of Obedience to God’s Authority Obedience is the first price of eternal life. 137 . Obedience will lead to God’s commendation: Those who would be acknowledged by God in the day of judgment must here listen to His counsels and be governed by His will. We are under divine guidance. but following your Leader. keeping step with the Captain of your salvation. keeping your senses wide awake to catch His orders and to obey them to the letter.
Faithfulness in duty. If they will obey orders. and placing the divine secondary. Battle Creek Letters. the Lord God of heaven. and fight courageously. If they pay no heed to these warnings. All territorial lines. God will break down the partition walls. 58. Every soldier is to put on the whole armor of God. He who trusts in this Leader will never know defeat. Defeat comes in depending on human methods. Testimonies. 2 (April 1898). the Lord’s army will find themselves influenced by the Holy Spirit to work the works of God. If you follow your own ambitious projects. 6. Atlantic Union Gleaner. There is danger of your placing yourself and others in harmony with worldly plans. Obedience will lead to working the works of God: The Great General is not only leading a few generals. all man-made distinctions. and they are marching on to the glorious victory. When there is obedience to the voice of our Leader. vol. He will widen before us the circle of our influence. 1906). Those obedient to the Testimonies will be safe: The leaders in our medical work should now be considering the testimonies that for years have been coming to them. 140. . but by simple obedience to the highest General. The battlefield is glorified with the light shining from the cross of Calvary. Obedience was the lesson that the Captain of the Lord’s host sought to teach the vast armies of Israel—obedience in things in which they could see no success. disappear before His teaching. and you will be safe. trust in God at every step—this is your safety. As we work in Christ’s lines all man-made distinctions disappear: As we work in Christ’s lines. realizing that he is battling in full view of the invisible universe.138 Authority In God's Church Simple obedience to our Leader will never know defeat: Obedience to every word of God is another condition of success. Victories are not gained by ceremonies or display. you will go where Jesus has given you no liberty to go. Leading us to the mount of Beatitudes. human inventions. Obey the Word of God. Australasian Record Articles. the Lord cannot co-operate with them as He desires to. 293 (February 21. but the Captain of the Lord’s host is leading the armies of both heaven and earth to battle. He will strengthen our vision by presenting before us truths of the greatest importance. Christ will conduct His battles in ways that will surprise the greatest powers of earth.
and let every hand as well as heart be engaged to do the work. Self must be placed at the disposal of the Spirit of God. else the work will be marred and spoiled by their preconceived ideas. No man. The individual believer reaches the individual sinner. When men go to God for themselves and look less to men. 31. for He never makes a mistake. and are not educated to look to and trust in man. they will have a greater work for souls: How can a Christian sleep in such an age as we are now living in? . The work of saving souls will be the first great work. must take the place of the Spirit of God. When we work with all the sanctified ability God has given us. This must be recognized as the working agent. and if we trust in Him implicitly. and not in our own capabilities. the human. we must lean wholly upon a power out of and above ourselves. Battle Creek Letters. When men and women go to the Lord Jesus Christ for their individual selves. Men and women will understand thoroughly their personal responsibilities and the important results of personal effort. 34. can use the Holy Spirit. They need to practice the principles laid down in the Word. knowing that our Lord has promised to undertake the work entrusted to Him. there will be fewer and fewer committee meetings. The Lord is infinite. when self is crucified day by day. we shall walk softly and reverently before Him. We move forward in faith. The Holy Spirit is to use us. if our advance is one of safety. when we put aside our will for the will of God. and that lamp filled with the golden oil emptied from the heav- . for all will be instructed of God. however much he may desire it. then actual results are seen. we can be used of the Holy Spirit: At every step that we advance. and have less and less confidence in human capabilities. and that He will accomplish it. There is a work to be done. We shall all kindle our tapers from the divine altar. Nothing in the way of barriers will be erected to keep men from their fellow men. God will accomplish His work when man’s will is surrendered to Him: There are those who are in danger of bringing into the work the objectionable sentiments received in former education. . The Kress Collection. He has all resources at His command. All have a lamp. Nothing of the natural. to mold the man. and to teach him all things. .The Results of Obedience To God's Authority 139 If we trust in the Lord rather than in our own capabilities.
If He says to one. The Kress Collection. “Every man to his work. each to do his best. will shed the most precious. The laborer together with God must live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. clear rays of light on the sinner’s pathway.140 Authority In God's Church enly witnesses that stand before the throne of God. Gather up the rays of light that have been slighted and rejected.” Special Testimonies. and may the Lord help you to do it even if self is crucified. . There will be no failure when every plan is in harmony with God’s expressed will: There must be no failure in God’s work. The word is given from the throne of God. This is your only safety. 369. and with fear. must be in harmony with God’s expressed will. No. but to take a . He is to be the first. There must be no careless disregard of God’s expressed will. 61. . our Counselor. The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. You have a work to do to come into harmony. earnest belief in the truth. Series A. 38. We are to follow the very lines of work God has laid down. . Every worker in God’s cause should strive to become more and more efficient. our Redeemer. It is never difficult to do what we love to do. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps. strong. and then obey. Gather them up with meekness. and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them. with trembling. Man’s only safety is constant. . and last and best in everything. Battle Creek Letters. . Let us individually draw nigh to the mount that we may understand what the Lord commands. He is our Creator. This is an individual work. He sends His angels with His servant to protect him till his work is done. Every thought. every plan. Unity in the church will result when believers are united with Christ by dethroning self and by obeying God’s slighted and disregarded will: All I can say to you is: Take up the light which God has given you and follow it at any cost to yourselves. . Angels will protect those who are following God’s directions: God will be with His people just as long as they follow His directions. pure. and warn the inhabitants of that wicked city of their danger. Go to Nineveh.
” The time has come for the renunciation of all self-confidence. Review and Herald. refined. The tabernacle to be borne from place to place in the wilderness.The Results of Obedience To God's Authority 141 course directly against our inclinations is lifting a cross. He is waiting for us to repent and turn to Him with humble confession. God has been particular as to the design and the accomplishment of His work. 93–94. 5. in an elevated. . The time has come to follow the Lord’s way. and He is pleased with those who in their service carry out His design. were built in accordance with special directions from God. He has given instruction for all who will be guided by Him. Testimonies. God calls upon those who have walked in paths of their own choosing to return to Him. The Lord will pardon those who repent of following their own counsels: The Lord is infinitely merciful and gracious. When self-will is renounced in reference to matters there will be a union of believers with Christ. 112. vol. Throughout the ages. This unity is the credentials of Christ to the world that God sent Him. Only those who. thus answering as far as possible the prayer of Christ for unity in His church. Christ prayed that His disciples might be one as He was one with the Father. and the temple at Jerusalem. Have mercy on us and save us. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. O Lord: we will no longer walk in the way of our own counsels. obey implicitly the Lord’s commands. the Lord gives wisdom. feeling their own inefficiency. vol. saying. This all should pray for and work for determinedly. who have faith in His Word and courage to go forward. and those who have erred in following a path not cast up for the ransomed of the Lord.” Isaiah 55:6–9. He has given His people much light and instruction in regard to how His work is to be carried forward. The Kress Collection. can be retained in His service. conscientious manner. In this age. Those who obey implicitly can be retained in the Lord’s service: To all engaged in His service. 167. 5. “We will take thy way.
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Ezekiel 33:31. neglect. all entreaties. at least in this thy day. Christ saw the city beleaguered. with words. because of the contempt manifested by the men who give proof in their lives that they reject all warnings. This rejection of the revealed will of God and all sin is usurpation of authority: And they come unto thee as the people cometh. Lord. Lord. I know that the same spirit that existed in the days of Christ exists today. In a voice full of tears He exclaimed. Those who by word or action make light of the Testimonies are passing over the same ground trodden by the Jewish leaders: The cloud of divine wrath was gathering over Jerusalem. rejecting the warnings against a course of wickedness. the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. all efforts for their salvation. The ground trodden by the Jewish leaders is being trodden today by those who have made light of the warnings from heaven. but their heart goeth after their covetousness. with gesticulations.143 Chapter 15 Usurpation of God’s Authority To disobey. He saw it lost. I have heard the ridicule of the warnings sent them and refused by them.” I present this feeble representation of a terrible picture to those who today are going over the same ground. but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love. And why call ye me. even thou. and they hear thy words. and they sit before thee as my people. or reject God’s expressed will as in the law or in the testimony or in the wooing of the Holy Spirit is to negate the rightful function of His authority in our personal or corporate lives. 143 . with looks. “If thou hadst known. and do not the things which I say? Luke 6:46. The blessings that the Saviour longs to bestow He is forced to withhold. refusing the messages of the grace of God.
White 1888 Materials. Following our own way rather than God’s way is Baal worship: There has been a departure from God among us. Light from Heaven has been slighted and refused as strange fire: You think you are standing at your post of duty. White 1888 Materials. but I cannot forbear] refused it as strange fire. “Is this the way of the Lord?” The Lord wants men who will feel their need of drawing strength from an unseen force. which becomes incurable and ends in destruction. but let these restraints be removed. which were once believed. Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this. and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion. The command is. but you have slighted and [shall I say it? Painful it is to me. I will be your front-guard. and the glory of the Lord shall be your rearward. and the . “Go forward. 1138. “Is this the way of the Lord?” External restraints of men of experience will for a time hold in check unsanctified inclinations. but God has not told you to stand where you are. 4. Disbelief in the Testimonies leads to rebellion and ends in destruction: It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies. The Paulson Collection. then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures. firm as rock. I will go before you. and I will be with you. the pillars of our position. There are those who have not inquired at every step. Testimonies. 11. When the Testimonies. vol.” The richest beams of light have been shining from the throne of God directly upon you. 211. They despise the evidence of God’s working. and the sad facts appear that those who are occupying important positions of trust are not men who have made God their fear and inquired at every step. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith. Testimonies. and then the downward march to perdition. The Ellen G. 923.144 Authority In God's Church They know not the day of their visitation. Those who disregard the requirements of God in this life would not respect His authority were they in heaven. vol. are doubted and given up. 4. and history is being repeated. which is God. The Ellen G. 312.
But few are heartily devoted to God. Men have dishonored God by failing to appreciate His sufficiency. has not been followed. No one knows how great the mercy that has been exercised toward us. Men act as if counsels had never been given. 21.Usurpation of God's Authority 145 zealous work of repentance and return to our first love essential to restoration to God and regeneration of heart has not yet been done. Infidelity to God has been making its inroads in our ranks. vol. like the stars in a tempestuous night. but no one can say how long this will continue. Depending upon men has been the great weakness of the church and also of ancient Israel: Those who act a part in God’s great cause are not to follow the example of worldlings. The cry of the heart has been. Testimonies. And when I read the published Testimonies that were given in the early seventies and even before that time. 444. I saw that at present we are under divine forbearance. The voice of God is to be heeded. The way so plainly specified to manage our institutions has not been followed: For many years it has been presented to me again and again that a worldly policy has been coming into the management of many of our institutions. all over the field.” Baal. He who depends upon men for strength and influence leans upon a broken reed. because they love their own way. I am surprised to see how clearly our dangers in this matter have been pointed out. and forsake the way of the Lord. for it is the fashion to depart from Christ. so plainly specified. and how plainly the right way has been outlined from the beginning. and give place to skepticism. We are under divine forbearance for our unbelief in the Testimonies: I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies has been steadily increasing as the people backslide from God. There are only a few who. Thus Israel be- . by coveting the influence of men. But few know what our churches are to experience. Baal. The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel. “We will not have this man to reign over us. 5. and yet we expect the Lord to uplift us and to do great things for us! Manuscript Release No.. But the way. It is all through our ranks. Ibid. 76. is the choice. Depending upon men has been the great weakness of the church. 56. shine here and there among the clouds.
however learned. have been acted upon. Special Testimonies. We cannot put confidence in any man. rather than by the divine. They used common fire. they would tremble before God. All . invisible power that till then had led and guided them. . Those who ask God’s blessing upon human plans and methods are attempting to harness the Holy Spirit: Those who know the truth are to be worked by the Holy Spirit. They desired to be guided by human power which they could see. and unsanctified propositions. I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me. Those who follow God’s will are worked by the Holy Spirit. and drive it in their way. and they died before the Lord. the sacred work of God has been mingled with common ideas. They placed themselves in a position where they could not distinguish between the sacred and the common. if they could know what it means to turn things upside down. No. 57. and the result was seen in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the nation. and had given them victory in battle. and they offered strange fire before God. “This is it that the Lord spake. 10. unless he holds the beginning of his confidence in God firm unto the end. . the sons of Aaron. Many of those who are professedly followers of the Lord at the present time do not submit themselves to the guidance of His Spirit. But the senses of Nadab and Abihu were beclouded with wine. and not themselves to try to work the Spirit. but try to harness up the Holy Spirit.146 Authority In God's Church came weak. however elevated he may be. The people wanted to be like the other nations of the world. Human opinions have been brought to the front. 337. Series A. and they asked for a king. After they were slain. . born wholly of self. This has cheapened the truth. do not stop to think of the consequences of their actions. The word of God had given specific direction that sacred fire only was to be used in the service of God. They made their own choice. Thus it was with Nadab and Abihu. The Kress Collection. which God had commanded them not to use. saying. Those who follow human opinions and ideas are offering the “strange fire” of Nadab and Abihu: Those who become careless and reckless and self-indulgent. Moses said to Aaron.” How often the actions of these men have been repeated! In a careless manner. If those who have done this could see the result of their work.
I have plain testimonies for you to bear. they will find that their weak ideas. and will not yield to His guidance. Instead of doing their duty. in their ignorance. Manuscript Release No.Usurpation of God's Authority 147 such must abandon their self-sufficiency. 416–417. 304. There are many who are not under Christ’s rule: There are many whose names are on the church books. and yield themselves unreservedly to the Lord. they strive to bring everything into harmony with their own narrow views. I have repeatedly received such warnings as these: “Beware of men in high places. Because their influence is not a savor of life unto life. are of no honor with God. 43. their prescribed rules and regulations which they have felt to be necessary to the work. Those who choose their own ways rather then God’s plans are in rebellion against Him: Those who claim to be children of God. Do not tie your hands by any decisions you may be urged to make. God calls for the finite to stand aside. White 1888 Materials. Review and Herald. There will be those in high places who will not receive the testimonies: Since my husband’s death. 1895). They will not receive the testimonies of . therefore they are doing incalculable harm. 275 (July 23. vol. that His purpose may be accomplished. 3. opposing His plans. Instead of bringing their will into subjection to God. in order that His delegated workers may be operated upon by the Holy Spirit. Christ’s Object Lessons. for there will be those who do not understand the way of God’s working. When men undertake to work the Holy Spirit. working against Him. rebelling against His providence. that He may work out His good pleasure in and through them. Therefore they are under the control of the enemy. are. and refusing to do the work that He has placed upon them. they choose their own rebellious ways. They are not heeding His instruction or doing His work. but who are not under Christ’s rule. 714. You must not be bound. Do not place yourself in the power or under the control of men. They are doing no positive good. The Ellen G. Too often selfishness will control the mind and judgment of men. it is a savor of death unto death. but the men who know not God and the sanctification of His Spirit will mislead.
” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials.. and God would disappoint them and move in His own mysterious way His wonders to perform. Men were almost devoid of love. Through envy. Ibid. because their souls are not riveted to the eternal Rock. How is the money which we put into the treasury being used? The Lord desires that a close search be made.. 314. through resistance of the Spirit of God they will give heed to the suggestions of Satan. Substituting human wisdom for the help of the Holy Spirit is similar to substituting the golden calf for Jehovah: The churches must arouse. They will cherish jealousy. to advance the interest of my kingdom. and will make it very hard for you to do the work I have given you to do. The storms of temptation come and it falls. Men were trusting in men. They shaped the work to go in their line. Are all satisfied with the history of the work for the . Those who highly esteemed their capabilities were getting above the simplicity of the work. and God’s ways would not be seen and acknowledged by those who had brought in their own spirit to take the place of the Spirit of God. because it is not built upon the Rock. than of those who diligently hear and are doers of His words. Ibid. who are represented as hearing the sayings of Christ and doing them not.148 Authority In God's Church the truth. Those who praised and glorified them. and not be hindered by the judgment and decisions of men who do not make it their study to know the mind and will of God. [A self-sufficient spirit] was cherished by young men in responsible positions. I have placed you so that you shall have influence and means in trust to establish my work. They do not endure temptation. God will move in mysterious ways to disappoint those whose selfsufficient spirits reject the wisdom from above: I was shown that there was coming into the ranks of Sabbathkeepers a self-sufficient spirit. 1260. 181. they will not be corrected. they would praise and glorify in return. The majority of Laodiceans are hearers and not doers of the Word: There is a larger number who profess to believe the truth for this time. A worldly wisdom was taking the place of the wisdom from above. They are hearers and not doers of the Word. Their religious faith is represented by the house built on the sand. The members must awake out of sleep and begin to inquire. Form and ceremony were taking the place of true piety.
All is not well. they substituted a golden calf for Jehovah. are more to be trusted than the truth of the Bible. and unworthy of an intelligent mind. Have we not seen enough of human wisdom? Shall we not now seek God in earnestness and simplicity. The prevailing spirit of our time is that of infidelity and apostasy—a spirit of pretended illumination because of a knowledge of the truth. There is a spirit of apostasy among us. upon close examination. There is a spirit of idolatrous exaltation of mere human reason above the revealed wisdom of God. but before Moses had been forty days away from them. 120. or John is considered old-fashioned and insufferable at the present day. The great sin which has been entering the ranks of Seventh-day Adventists is the sin of exalting man. mystical. or the testimonies of the Holy Spirit. Things are far from being what the appearance would indicate. It is pronounced absurd. But it is in vain to deceive ourselves. so called. 5. and placing him where God should be. not in man. when they began trusting in man and making flesh their arm. though much would still remain to be done for us. God has shown me that these men are Hazaels to prove a scourge to our people. will be found full of deformities. Christ is all and in all. an exaltation of human authority over that of God: If all of those who come together for meetings of edification and prayer could be regarded as true worshipers. The Kress Collection.Usurpation of God's Authority 149 past fifteen years? Where is the evidence of the co-working with God? Where has been heard throughout the churches the prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit? Dissatisfied and disheartened. They are wise above what is written. Peter. Testimonies. Appearances are deceiving. The church of Christ must depend on the source of all power for its efficiency. but in reality of the blindest presumption. From a distant view much may appear beautiful which. and serve him with heart and mind and strength? The children of Israel beheld the awful semblance of God’s presence in the mount. Such a faith as that of Paul. Things similar to this have been done among us as a people. we turn away from the scene. Let us now return to God in penitence and contrition. There are men among us in responsible positions who hold that the opinions of a few conceited philosophers. There is a spirit of opposition to the plain Word of God and to the testimony of His Spirit. The Ellen . then might we hope. Our churches and institutions must return to where they were before the backsliding commenced. 79. Let us trust in Him. vol.
has been shown. or let them stand out of the way that others may have an opportunity of receiving the truth. are doing their utmost to make the message of God of none effect. that after the wonderful dealings of God with them.” They lusted for the leeks and onions there. Said the angel. that they might worship Him without hindrance or restraint. The . After the wonderful dealings of God with them and their deliverance so many times. I was pointed back to the children of Israel after they left Egypt. 1619. God in mercy called them out from the Egyptians. 406. like the Jews. Their language was: “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt. He proved and tried them by bringing them into strait places. He wrought for them in the way by miracles. 128–129. but very little of the spirit which leads men to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him. We have done “worse” than ancient Israel: What has come over the professed peculiar people of God? I saw the conformity to the world. Ibid. 1. “Ye have done worse than they. White 1888 Materials. they should be so ungrateful as to forget what He has done for them. questioning ones either receive the light of the truth for this time. they murmured when tried or proved by Him. Men are taking the place of God by seeking to assume authority over their fellow-men. Murmuring reflects a lack of submission to God’s will. It is a grievous sin to place oneself between God’s people and His message for them: It is a grievous sin in the sight of God for men to place themselves between the people and the message that He would have come to them as some of our brethren are now doing.150 Authority In God's Church G.” Testimonies. Human inventions and human plans are eclipsing sacred things. There are some who. and excluding divine instruction. I saw a great lack of submission to the will of God. the unwillingness to suffer for the truth’s sake. Let these doubting. I saw that many who profess to believe the truth for these last days think it strange that the children of Israel murmured as they journeyed. vol. that the wrath of God may not come on them because they are Bodies of Darkness. Human inventions and plans are taking God’s place: Much pride and loftiness and a spirit which desires to rule has been manifested.. when He desires them to be Bodies of Light.
1526.Usurpation of God's Authority Ellen G. .. have despised the very men whom God has used to present light and truth which His people needed. . counterworking them by every means they dared to use. 1558–1559. or an experience under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Principles have been born that should never have seen the light of day. Please consider what virtue there can be in the wisdom and plans of those who have slighted God’s messages. and. Ibid. like the scribes and Pharisees. It is an offense to God that His work should be restricted by human beings. Finite men have been warring against God and the truth and the Lord’s chosen messengers. . White 1888 Materials. . 151 Finite men have slighted and warred against God’s messages and messengers: There has been an effort to bring God’s servants under the control of men who have not the knowledge and wisdom of God.
152 Authority In God's Church .
that are set at nought. 1905). They are not particular to follow exactly the path that God has marked out. His reproofs and counsel. 147–148. in so doing he renders to God enmity for love. 5. and when Satan tempts them to follow worldly principles. they yield. When we reject God’s faithful servant. In their self-confidence they suppose that their way is the way of wisdom. 267. It is God’s words. White 1888 Materials. Abel’s offering was accepted because he complied with God’s requirements. making crooked paths for their feet. we reject His authority: Those who despise and reject the faithful servant of God show contempt. not merely for the man. The inexperienced follow where they go. The Kress Collection. Selfish motives and purposes take possession of the mind. Cain’s was rejected because he followed his own human inventions. No man can choose his own way without deep ingratitude to God. they lead others astray. vol. and when we refuse to render obedience to Him. When we choose our own way we rob and defraud our own souls: We owe to God our life. The inexperienced are led astray when leaders reject God’s rule: Often the professed followers of Christ are found with hearts hardened and eyes blinded.153 Chapter 16 The Results of Usurping God’s Authority To follow human inventions rather than God’s requirements is to follow Cain’s example: Cain and Abel both offered sacrifice to God. because they do not obey the truth. and all that makes life desirable. we rob and defraud our own souls. Patriarchs and 153 . but for the Master who sent him. Review and Herald. it is His authority that is rejected. supposing that the judgment of Christians so experienced must be wise. The Ellen G. They declare that circumstances alter cases. and. 167 (September 14.
to prepare them to stand in the last days. making them the sport of sinners. will stand the test of those who are now arraying themselves on the side of the enemy and bracing themselves against the message of God. they have sneered at and scorned. and he will finally lose all desire to be reconciled to God. who would draw the soul away from Christ. he can find no hope or pardon. We are acting the part of Aaron when we sneer at and scorn the messages of heavenly origin: Some are acting the part of Aaron. 605. The Ellen G. to help on the work of apostasy. Persistence in rejection leads to the unpardonable sin. We offer insult to the Prince of life. Those who choose disobedience will receive the sentence of ancient Israel and of Jerusalem: These words should be as distinctly stamped upon every . The messages of heavenly origin that God has sent to His people. The Paulson Collection. So long as one does this. and they have rejected the light given through the Testimonies because it did not agree with their own opinions. Authority In God's Church God will not work a miracle to convince those who put their opinion above the Testimonies: The minds of many have been engrossed with contentions. In rejecting Christ the Jewish people committed the unpardonable sin. 505–506. 139. 324–325. He has given sufficient evidence for their faith. They have been weighed in the balances.154 Prophets. White 1888 Materials. and compel them to acknowledge His message. God will not work a miracle to convince these rebellious ones of the truth of the Testimonies. but that they will betray the interests of the cause of God. and have been found wanting. The Desire of Ages. and are proving that they are not to be trusted. and instead listen to the agents of Satan. and put Him to shame before the synagogue of Satan and before the heavenly universe when we refuse to listen to His delegated messengers. Men are spoiling their record. and it is only the stubbornness of the natural heart that prevents them from acknowledging the light. we may commit the same error. But the evidence we have had for the past fifty years of the presence of the Spirit of God with us as a people. and by refusing the invitation of mercy.
that by obtaining a perfect experience in His service they may be qualified to stand before the heavenly universe and before the fallen world as overcomers. If we follow our own impulses rejecting God’s instructions.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 155 soul as though written with a pen of iron. God never exalts His people. Our present course of action is deciding our destiny for eternity. The Lord brings His people by ways which they know not. but they were too proud to accept His overtures of mercy. even as Jerusalem. 149–150. Her people chose Barabbas. by her own course of action. . . and to carry out the purposes of their unsanctified hearts. and as a result the protection of God’s heavenly intelligences was withdrawn from them. disobedient course. . and God left them to their choice. . Those who choose to disobey will surely receive sentence according to their works. . A people who have had great light and every evidence of truth are turning away from the light. Here we decide what our eternal destiny will be. They would not submit to God’s way. The instruction God has given in the record of His people in early days is not regarded. Christ warned the Jews of their danger. . When Christ predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. He humbles them. and He permitted them to have their own way. In His dealing with ancient Israel God has given us an illustration of the result that will follow an unrighteous. They persisted in a course of rebellion. God has given His people positive instruction and has laid upon them positive restrictions. The mistakes and sins of His early people are being repeated in His people today: warnings and admonitions given in that day are not being . I present these things before you that ye may know and understand. and entreated them to return to God. . disobedience its retribution. This world is our place of proving. He predicted also the destruction of the world. He will punish all who make His glory to be reproached. . even as He punished the children of Israel. and following their own impulses. The Kress Collection. that He may test and try them. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled. . This is indeed a solemn thought. the Holy Spirit will be removed from us and we will fight on the side of the enemy: As a people we need to study this portion of sacred history: for these experiences are being brought into the lives of the people of God in these last days. . Obedience brings its reward. was humiliated and brought low. for He saw that till the end of this earth’s history men would continue to refuse God’s mercy. that His will may be wrought in them. . .
They choose to entertain their own ideas and to follow the suggestions of their own minds. The Ellen G. Those who follow their own wisdom and judgment will be separated from God: I wish prosperity to my brethren.” saith the Lord. and point sinners to the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.156 Authority In God's Church heeded in this.” It is the most difficult thing in the world to convince men who do not want to be convinced. they see not their danger. 427–428. One act of disobedience stops the blessings of the Holy Spirit: One act of disobedience weakens the power to see the sinfulness of the second act. White 1888 Materials. whose breath is in his nostrils. “Shall I not judge them for these things. and he is removing His Spirit from them. and fight on his side. and receiving impressions one from another that is wrong. White 1888 Materials. The Ellen G. They have trusted in human help until they stand under the displeasure of God. following their own wisdom and their own judgment. every one of them. Those who place their own opinions before a “Thus saith the Lord” will almost hope and pray that those working to save a backslidden church will be unsuccessful: We deplore the fact that men idolize their own opinions. Satan beclouds the perceptions. One little disregard of a “Thus saith the Lord” is sufficient to stop the promised blessing of the Holy . The Lord is greatly dishonored by their course. and hardens the heart so that men will not give up their own ways that they may work for the salvation of a back-slidden church. 263. and almost hope and pray that those upon whom the Lord has laid the burden will not succeed. they hold back. which I know will lead them into difficulties and separate them from God. 39. Notwithstanding all the warnings that have been given. 78–79. but join the ranks of the enemy. Battle Creek Letters. “unless they repent?” The Paulson Collection. For if success crowns the efforts of the burden-bearers. but I tremble for their souls when I see them.” Instead of engaging heartily in this work. it will prove these doubters to be in the wrong. that they are willing to be governed by their own preconceived ideas rather than by a plain “Thus saith the Lord. Those who trust in human help are under the displeasure of God: God help His servants to cease from man.
by less talking and much more praying. The beauty of His holiness is eclipsed by their unsanctified words and acts. Again and again I have been shown that the people of God in these last days could not be safe in trusting in men. but make God their trust. and making flesh their arm. My brethren and sisters. by the exercise of caution in their plans and movements. but who have changed leaders. White 1888 Materials. Manuscript Release No. it will be made manifest in every instance by meekness of spirit. They have no union with Him. that they have the mind of Christ. . Some in Laodicea have changed leaders. 953. the Lord will certainly cast away from Him those whose spiritual condition is so objectionable.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 157 Spirit. If it be ignored. When men lean no longer on men or on their own judgment. and some. but many have been beguiled. 21–22. Satan takes charge of the mind and the soul and God is greatly dishonored. There are leaders who. the Ruler of the people. and led back to God. they will perish: There are some who in the past have had a correct experience.” Their works are opposed to the holy principles of God’s Word. as a message from Heaven. If they persist in their own way. To the ones so full of self-sufficiency He says. Some have already done this. unless there is greater humility. Such men will reveal the fact that their dependence is in God. They are strangers to God. less confidence in self. The Laodicean message must be given with earnestness and power. The Ellen G. will you take heed to the word of the Lord? Will you listen to His rebuke? If. Not all. “I know thy works. after men in positions of responsibility have been warned and reproved by the Lord. will never break the spell that is upon them. before God can own and accept them. without severe chastisement from God. Christ declares that pretentious piety is nauseating to Him. Those leaders and teachers who refuse to follow Christ place themselves under the guidance of the evil angels. By disobedience the light once so precious becomes obscure. It is only as divine power is combined with human effort that the work will abide the test. must first be converted. and more trust in the Lord God of Israel. that thou art neither cold nor hot. If we make flesh our arm we are in danger of repeating the follies of Israel in the days of Samuel: I was shown that the follies of Israel in the days of Samuel will be repeated among the people of God today. 81.
Series B. 5. for God will not be trifled with. vol. 1568. Will men hear the word of the Lord. and by whomever it is exercised. We are not to follow the example of those who apply strictly the law to others. but reason away required obedience for themselves: When it was for their [the Pharisees] interest to do so. Usurpation of power results in loss of confidence of the people in even faithful management: The highhanded power that has been developed. White 1888 Materials. The people are learning that men in high positions of responsibility cannot be trusted to mold and fashion other men’s minds and characters. and will surely perish in their sins. vol. This lording it over God’s heritage will create such a distrust of man’s jurisdiction that a state of insubordination will result. The result will be a loss of confidence even in the management of faithful men. and assent to plans which they do not understand. Where is the voice. knowing that it comes from the true shepherd? The Ellen G. See Testimonies.158 Authority In God's Church they continue to follow their own way. It is a curse wherever. to whom the people may listen. not for a moment. they are left to their own course of action. 1444. through yielding to temptation. refusing to listen to the voice of God. If the people understood they would not assent to the plans of leaders walking in the light of their own kindling: If the people in our churches understood the management of the men who walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling. If they utterly refuse to repent. Many of the people are in a lethargic. from whence will it come. If men are overcome by the enemy. it will be because they have hardened their hearts. Sufficient light and evidence will be given to every soul. Ibid. giving them opportunity after opportunity to repent. affliction will come upon them. listless. and ought to cause fear. God chastens them. refuse to hear until it becomes impossible for them to discern between good and evil? Special Testimonies. they made the requirements of the law very exacting. and are determined to listen to the sophistries of the enemy. apathetic condition. No. but when obe- . or will they. Signs of the Times.. would they respect their decisions? I answer. I have been shown that the people at large do not know that the heart of the work is being diseased and corrupted at Battle Creek. 1. as though position had made men gods makes me afraid. 31 (Leaves of Autumn edition). 76–77. 207.
that every lukewarm professor could realize the clean work that . Many will fail because they have not learned to obey the Captain’s orders without question: Many who ought to obey their Captain’s orders in this time of emergency are unfaithful. and the more rigid they grew. by cunning sophistries they reasoned away the force of God’s precepts. When God’s requirements are departed from.” Many. book 1. God is now testing you. 386–387. The Ellen G. And I saw that the Lord was whetting His sword in heaven to cut them down. and do not. not stopping to reason about the matter. your selfishness. they sought to supply the place of that which they had lost. The only right thing to do is to obey the Captain’s orders without question.” Matthew 23:3. your vain and empty conversation. They begin to inquire and question and make propositions. Your pride.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 159 dience was required from themselves. when the foe is gaining every advantage. or to quibble over some minor point. Of them Christ declared. 426. or to make suggestions. Selected Messages. They know not what it is to be renewed by the grace of God. and soon the word that was given concerning Eli’s house will be spoken to the angels of God concerning you: Your sins “shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever. Oh. who have not a single ray of light from Jesus. and miserable. they are at times replaced by more rigorous man-made requirements: When they [the Pharisees] departed from the requirements and commandments of God. and making more rigorous demands than had God. and blind. 278–279. They have no living experience for themselves in the things of God. They cannot be depended upon in the day of peril. White 1888 Materials. for they say. While evil is increasing and taking deep root. “Do not ye after their works. Christ’s Object Lessons. Those who are self-willed and lukewarm will be cut down: Young and old. We see thousands upon the very brink of ruin. and the weight of evil is fearfully against you. the less of the love and Spirit of God they manifested. You are poor. and prompt action and this alone will avail to save the souls of many. and naked. are all put in the scale. by multiplying their own requirements. were flattering themselves that they were good Christians. You are deciding your own eternal destiny. it is choking the good seed which has been sown in the heart. I saw. your love to follow the fashions of the world.
This sin has not been repented of by some of our people. Testimonies. Even the messages and testimonies were made of none effect through the influence of the words and ideas of Elder Butler. for ministers are not as God. 581. You cannot deceive God.” The third angel is leading up a people. are not in harmony with truth and righteousness.. He says. vol. We weaken our faith and experience when we carry out or sanction the decisions of men contrary to God’s will: I call upon God’s people to open their eyes. “My sheep hear my voice. Looking to man causes delay and weakness: I hope there will never be the slightest encouragement given to our people to put such wonderful confidence in finite. 1336. 189–190. 1002. White 1888 Materials. and too much reliance has been placed upon Elder Butler in the past. Ibid. you weaken your own faith and lessen your relish for communion with God. This has gone on until the many resolutions made have become a hindrance rather than a help to the work of God. do not deceive yourselves concerning your condition. and put their whole trust in the living . What a bewitching power comes upon human minds to do contrary to the oft-repeated will of God. Dark hours of trial are before the church because we have not followed the Shepherd’s voice: Dark hours of trial are before the church because they have not obeyed the warnings and reproofs and counsel of God.. In this wisdom they have framed resolutions and laid plans that do not bear the endorsement of God. At every step they will be tested. step by step.160 Authority In God's Church God is about to make among His professed people! Dear friends. erring man as has been placed in Elder Butler. Resolutions based on human wisdom hinder rather than help the work of God: Men have been trusting to their own wisdom. 1. and they will have to go over the ground again and again unless they cease from man. when Jesus is calling to them to hear His voice. higher and higher. and close the eyes and stop the ears.” The Ellen G. as you know. Ibid. Says the True Witness: “I know thy works. When you sanction or carry out the decisions of men who.
The Ellen G. Much that has appeared on the surface as merely the design of men has had its origin in the schemes of the great Master worker of evil. Testimonies. As a people we are not what we should be because we have depended upon the wisdom of mortals. Let men seek not to men. White 1888 Materials. . will continue to act and react. neither are your ways my ways. and unable to to stand at their post of duty as faithful sentinels for God. and that. . but God has not planned with you. to be conscience for them. White. 1507–1508. . and have been determined to carry out your plan. . that they are now so inefficient. in the outcome. when by so doing they will discard the counsel of God. be compelled to acknowledge that. so are my ways higher than your ways. allowing no one to interfere in matters pertaining to their relation to God.” Isaiah 55:8– 9. Institutions managed by man’s plans rather than God’s plans are unacceptable in the divine scales: . what lessons all must learn before they will understand that God seeth not as man seeth.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 161 God. 412. Ibid. Unless there is a decided reformation among the people of God. . He will turn His face from them.. It is because men have been encouraged to look to one man to think for them. The Lord says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts. Whenever you try to carry out a policy contrary to that which God has specified. Much time has been lost: Much precious time has been lost because man-made rules and restrictions have been sometimes placed above the plans and purposes of God. but to God for wisdom. For as the heavens are higher than the earth. It is a scheme of Satan whenever God’s plans are replaced with man’s plans: You and others have planned according to your own will. God will turn His face from those who discard His authority for that of men: There is danger that men will receive the counsel of men. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. and my thoughts than your thoughts. 8. vol. a power is at work that is not under the control of men. Oh. once set in operation. . and have not made God our dependence and trust. whatever you or those connected with you may do. 146. 975–976. you will.
2. But men must get out of the Lord’s way. God cannot endorse any institution unless it teaches the living principles of His law and brings its own actions into strict conformity to these precepts. their influence corrupting. 164. They must not by their devising hinder His purpose. “Unaccepted. God will correct the error of those who get in the way of His work by their human plans and devisings: The Lord’s servants are merely stewards at work. for they do not follow the principles of righteousness. If the workers get in God’s way. For years the Lord has had a controversy with His people because they have followed their own judgment. Those who transgress a “Thus saith the Lord” stand under the banner of the prince of darkness. while they dishonor God by misrepresenting His character. weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. If His plans and devisings are regarded as inferior to plans of men. Those who do this mislead the ignorant.” Medical Ministry. Upon those institutions that are not maintained according to His law He pronounces the sentence. The Lord’s part of the work is to do that which is entrusted to Him when His followers surrender themselves to Him to be worked by the Holy Spirit. They are not lights in the world. saying. When by faith men place themselves in the Lord’s hands. They are continually perverting pure principles. He does that which is entrusted to Him. The temple of the Lord. He looks upon these institutions as of no more value than the institutions established and conducted by worldlings. They claim the promises given to the obedient. “Here am I. They set up a standard which God has not given. send me. thinking that their own . hindering the advancement of the work. There is no greater treachery toward God than the setting up of false waymarks through the transgression of a “Thus saith the Lord:” Not one tittle of God’s holy law is to be treated lightly or disrespectfully. and have not relied on divine wisdom.162 Authority In God's Church Our health institutions are of value in the Lord’s estimation only when He is allowed to preside in their management. Men cannot show greater treachery toward God than by disregarding the light He sends them. Their example is misleading. in rebellion against their Maker and their Redeemer. by doing the very things He has told them not to do. the temple of the Lord are we.” He undertakes this work. saying. Manuscript Release No. 1133. for they set up false waymarks.
Unbelief is finding an entrance in our churches. Had He done more for us. God has a purpose in leaving men in their weakness when they turn from Him to follow the dictation of human minds.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 163 power is sufficient for the planning and carrying forward of the work. . and to stand in the strength of Israel’s God. Battle Creek Letters. By His divine Spirit He disciplines and trains every worker. He wants his people to learn lessons of faith and trust in Him. if they would make room for the Lord to plan and work. He is grieved because of the error that has come in. trimming down their superfluous plans. who would bar the way that greater light shall not come to the people. vol. pruning the vine so that it will produce fruit. if they would not exalt their judgment as the all-controlling influence. If men would only humble themselves before God. the Lord will correct their error. cutting off the branches that would entwine around this and that undesirable object. in our sanitariums. A great work is to be done. keeping the churches in feebleness: The rebuke of the Lord will be upon those who would be guardians of the doctrine. and in our publishing houses. He shapes His own providences to carry forward His work according to His mind and judgment. He will purify His workers from all selfishness. 1894). Review and Herald. 31. remember that our weakness and inefficiency are largely the result of looking to man to do those things for us that God has promised to do for those who come unto Him. God’s rebuke is upon those who bar the way to greater light. 294. 3. the Lord would use the qualifications He has given them in a way that would glorify His name. they are weak when they should be strong. human beings would have taken to themselves the glory that should be given to God. 175 (August 14. This is the reason that God has not wrought more mightly for His people. plans that are not after the order of the Lord. He wants them to learn where only true light and wisdom dwells. The Lord pities our weakness. because of the education that has been given to believers to look to men for wisdom and help. The Paulson Collection. and because of this. There are some who have committed the error of turning away from the source of their strength to follow devices and plans of men. Our weakness and inefficiency are largely the result of looking to man: Let us then.
164 Authority In God's Church and God sees that our leading men have need of greater light. The Publishing Ministry. The angel of the Lord presented this matter to me in symbols. When we conform to the world a thief steals away the identity of the work: It is conformity to the world that is causing our people to lose their bearings. Those unfaithful sentinels who place human judgment and knowledge above God’s wisdom and guidance are slipping the bolt for Satan’s entrance into the fort: Satan has gained marked advantage in _______ because the people of God have not guarded the outposts. These men who have been trusted to keep the fort have well-nigh betrayed it into the hands of the enemy. “Cry aloud. The perversion of right principles has not been brought about suddenly. the very stones would cry out. The message of God will come to the people: and if there were no voice among men to give it. and humble the heart before God. and show my people their transgression. Review and Herald. and the house of Jacob their sins. The very men whose labors God has signified that He would accept if they were fully consecrated have been the ones to be deceived. 2. It is the coldness of heart. vol. who has sought to destroy them. 169. as it seemed an extenuation of their past neglect. It seemed as if a thief were stealthily moving closer and still closer and gradually but surely stealing away the identity of God's work by leading our brethren to conform to worldly policies. and has said. which made it a necessity to call for others to fill the posts of respon- . to fail in their duties. to put away pride. I call upon every minister to seek the Lord. 586 (July 26. Some have been glad to see this. that they may unite with the messengers whom He shall send harmoniously to accomplish the work that He designs they should. and to prove a terrible burden and discouragement. The Lord has raised up messengers and endued them with His Spirit. the unbelief of those who ought to have faith. They have opened the gates to a wily foe. spare not. 1892). lift up thy voice like a trumpet.” Let no one run the risk of interposing himself between the people and the message of heaven. that keeps the churches in feebleness. Men of experience have seen stealthy hands slipping the bolts that Satan might enter. instead of the help and blessing that they should have been. to put away strife after supremacy. yet they have held their peace with apparent indifference as to the results.
The desolation and ruin following lie at the door of the unfaithful sentinels. and manipulate things as he pleases. then shall the end come. . .The Results of Usurping God's Authority 165 sibility that they had abused or neglected. but when is that time? When the truth to be proclaimed for these last days shall go forth as a witness to all nations. . and in the leadings of Providence in our work. Like Solomon they should earnestly pray for faith and light. 211–212. The third angel’s message is to be sounded by God’s people. The time of preparation will be prolonged if Satan gains entrance to the temple of God: The Lord is indignant at men who set themselves up to rule their fellow men. It is to swell to the loud cry. Men in responsible positions should seek wisdom and guidance of God. vol. If the power of Satan can come into the very temple of God. 1525–1526. become agents in the hands of the adversary to win souls to destruction. White 1888 Materials. and to carry out plans which the Holy Spirit has condemned. The Ellen G. The Lord has a time appointed when He will bind off the work. These persons do not realize that God holds them responsible for every advantage gained by the foe who is admitted to the fort. and finally went so far as to betray his Lord. are acting out the part of Judas: Those who have been seeking to undermine the confidence of our people in the testimonies that God has given for their benefit. he lost ground. to bring their reason and their talents under human jurisdiction. seeking to exercise authority over their brethren. the time of preparation will be prolonged. and not trust to their own judgment and knowledge. 4. They have sought to rule minds. will some day be revealed as having acted a part similar to that acted by Judas. corrupting principles into the work of God. This lack of watchfulness on the part of these newer incumbents seemed to excuse the former for their own want of faithfulness. There must be no concealing of the principles of our faith. Testimonies. . by their neglect. as it showed that others were fully as derelict in duty. and God will give them freely of His abundant supply. but not rising above his temptations and trials. Judas was tempted and tried. Men in responsible positions have manifested the very attributes that Satan has revealed. The natural heart is not to bring its own tainted. . who. . Christ permitted him to go with the other dis- . Those who follow their own wisdom.
some who are walking in the same path as did Judas. This spirit. He sought to exercise authority over his brethren. These take away the key of knowledge. freighted with light for the time. who are hastening the second advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Leaders in God’s temple who try to control what the people should have will be unable to perceive light from darkness and will go out from us: In the very courts of the temple scenes will be enacted that few realize. 11. clear. that He may discern between him that serveth God. He talks with them as he talked with His disciples before leaving them. and what they should not have. but he often manifested a spirit of superiority. He speaks to the people He is purifying. will shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day. undimmed by the furnace. they will some day be numbered among the open enemies of God’s work for this time. opened the way for the enemy to work upon his mind and heart. All who now occupy responsible positions should be solemnly and terribly afraid lest in this time they shall be found as unfaithful stewards. Vengeance will be executed against those who sit in the gate. until at length he went so far as to betray his Lord and Saviour with a treacherous kiss. Satan has come down with great power. There are today. the abounding iniquity. They refuse to enter in themselves. Truth. The Spirit and power of the coming One will be imparted in large measure to those who are preparing to stand in the day of God. To these faithful ones Christ gives special communications. The Paulson Collection. Straight. But Satan is ever on the alert to make these words of counsel of none effect. and him that serveth Him not. will be given. deciding what the people should have. He seeks to close every av- . should call the faithful ones to the front. decided testimonies. and those who would enter. These bear not the seal of the living God. There are those who listen with open ears and quickened understanding for the words of reproof and encouragement addressed to them. among the professed people of God. God’s people will be proved and tested. which chills the faith and constancy of many. Through His appointed agencies. unchecked and unrestrained. The continued apostasy. they hinder. God has lines of communication with the world today.166 Authority In God's Church ciples on their evangelistic tours. knowing that his time is short. warning and encouraging them. Unless they are converted. The Spirit of Truth will guide them into all truth.
The Ellen G. where the true light shines. even that which they have.” (1 John 2:19) The Paulson Collection. thinking to bring about wonderful results. a tried people. Those who are so engrossed with their work that they cannot find time to press their way to the throne of grace and obtain counsel from God. like Saul. if the eyes are closed to the light which God flashes into the pathway. but the people will be a humble people. the light previously received is so mingled with supposition. there is no self-glorying in it. Those walking in the sparks of their own kindling will have the experience of King Saul: Now is the time of trial. and darkness. It is a narrow path. will suffer as he did. and given heed to seducing spirits. Many follow their own wisdom rather than obtain counsel from God. God has a people. in deed. they would no doubt have continued with us. and finally the loss of the soul. that light cannot be distinguished from darkness. But many will forsake this path. for if they had been of us. but from those that have not. But if they would depend on God and not on themselves. When man goes contrary to a “Thus saith the Lord” he separates from God: . uncertainty. They are under the guidance of the Holy One in thought. The truth of God places us in a path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. and they arrange things according to their own judgment. they would receive heavenly wisdom. “They went out from us. Can any of us find a path more pleasant than that in which the Eternal One leads the way? Self must die. and in our union with one another. There are those whom we have loved in the faith who have turned from it. 55. but they were not of us. shall be taken away. Those who. will surely turn the work into wrong channels. If the ears are dull of hearing. and thus turn the work into wrong channels: Many regard their own wisdom as sufficient. Our strength lies in our union with God through His only begotten Son. and they will be a field. 1034–1035. 58.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 167 enue through which people receive truth. White 1888 Materials. in word. of proving. and will walk in the sparks of their own kindling. But they went out. that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. Unto those that have shall more be given. will persist in having their own way. loss of honor. The Kress Collection. of test.
those who have faltered and who would ignorantly lead in unsafe paths will reveal this before the real vital test. except thou repent. oh. comes.168 Authority In God's Church The mind of man has taken the place that rightfully belongs to God. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen. Those who falter and would lead in unsafe paths will be discredited in order that what they say will be recognized as not the voice of the true shepherd: Before the great trouble shall come upon the world such as has never been since there was a nation. The Ellen G. or else I will come unto thee quickly.” But it is becoming more and more customary for men to separate from God. . the necessary purity . and will remove thy candlestick out of his place. so that whatsoever they may say will not be regarded as voicing the True Shepherd. . the last proving. than is given by their refusal to let their light shine upon those who are in darkness. We may stand close to the side of Jesus. and do the first works. 1002. Let none in his pride of self-opinion shirk one hard lesson or lose the blessing of one hard discipline. and devoting their time and energies in celebrating forms and ceremonies. sad picture! those who do not submit to the influence of the Holy Spirit soon lose the blessings received when they acknowledged the truth as from Heaven. warn all that they do not in stubbornness choose their own way and act like undisciplined. 169–170. Humble yourselves under the hand of God. and give it to others who will appreciate it. untrained children. spiritless formality. Man is not to permit God's work to be carried on contrary to a plain “Thus saith the Lord. The candlestick—the Holy Spirit—will be taken from those who reject God’s wisdom for man-made authority: But. they have “left their first love. Thoughts of the inner work.” He will take His Holy Spirit from the church.” And Christ says unto them. White 1888 Materials. They fall into a cold. thinking that it is their privilege to go forward in their own way and according to their own ideas. and repent. There is no greater evidence that those who have received great light do not appreciate that light. The time of our educating will soon be over. . The Publishing Ministry. they lose their interest in perishing souls. We have no time to lose in walking through clouds of doubt and uncertainty because of uncertain voices.
The Ellen G. jesting. 3. for they have a spirit of mockery and disgust at My word. that I should heal them. 1895). and have not made God their dependence. except thou repent. and joking are daily practiced.” What effect have these words had upon the church? Have the professed people of God understood the import of the words. and repent. except thou repent”? When warnings come no more to the people of God. and unless they repent they shall lie down in sorrow. the true witness. They would not that God would manifest His Spirit and His power. 1055. Lightness. “I have somewhat against thee. 1068. Ibid. They have obscured their spiritual eyesight. saying. Christ. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen. careless. they will be left to kindle their own fire. They have set themselves in stubborn self-will. goes out. filled with spiritual negligence].The Results of Usurping God's Authority 169 of heart. and unless every soul shall repent of this their sin. the candlestick has been removed. They walk in the sparks of their own kindling. are not entertained. They have not set their hearts to seek Me. vol. or else I will come unto thee quickly. will venture into the marriage feast with only a robe of self-righteousness: It is a sad fact that many of our people have leaned upon others. They have shown contempt for the word of the Lord. The humility. and will remove thy candlestick out of his place. The absence of harmony with God becomes apparent. and to walk in the sparks of their own kindling. and do the first works. White 1888 Materials. The light grows dim. and will remove thy candlestick out of his place. trifling. I will remove the candlestick out of his place except they repent and be converted. because thou hast left thy first love. There is much exercising of man-made authority by those to whom God has not given His wisdom because they did not feel the need of the wisdom from above. Those set in stubborn self-will. when tender admonitions from the Spirit of God are silent. 273 (July 16. this unsanctified independence that is doing insult to the Spirit of God. they will walk in darkness. addresses the church at Ephesus. “I will come unto thee quickly [when you are at ease. has not been attractive to them. Satan has blinded their eyes and perverted their judgment.. when the candle of heavenly illumination shines no longer upon their pathway. Review and Herald. and un- . the meekness and lowliness of Christ.
to the last. The Holy Spirit’s working is not agreeable to them. and will do the greatest dishonor to Him who has invited them and prepared for them the spotless robe. 1041. and seem to accomplish so little to change the order of things. for it seems as if my efforts are of none effect. as it is represented in the parable. and do not reform existing evils. and they will be led by another spirit. The testimonies borne bring upon me a great burden of soul. have been most afflicting. calling darkness light.. and do all they can to shut it out. I am reined up to speak plainly and strongly in regard to matters. deplorably ignorant. cherish traits of character that will unfit [them] for seeing and understanding the working of the Spirit of God. and they attribute its manifestations to fanaticism. imperiling the cause of God: The men who close their eyes to the divine light are ignorant.170 Authority In God's Church less there is a decided change in their attitude.. they will. Darkness is called light and light darkness. Ibid. When present at such meetings.. for I dare not do otherwise than to tell the truth. 1603. which spoils those who receive them for the proper duties of life. They rebel against the light. Ibid. They are cherishing a love for darkness. and just as long as these Christless souls are retained in positions of responsibility. Others follow the example of those in positions of trust: There are those who are not in harmony with the Testimonies because men in positions of trust are not in harmony with them. so that they shall be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. for they do not coincide with their opinions. I most decidedly dread to attend either camp meetings or Conferences. Ibid. they will venture into the marriage feast. the cause of God is imperiled. and light darkness. Having on their citizen’s garments. Those who entertain this belief do not know what they are about. 1599. The burden that comes upon me at such times is very heavy. The experiences I have passed through in attending meetings since returning to America. both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. The testimonies are speculated upon. Faithful workers are discouraged when leading brethren do not accept the Testimonies to correct existing evils: At present. They will fail to obtain the experience essential for them. They complain that the teachings of Christ cause undue excitement and fanaticism. Since the Fresno camp . Just now my courage is not the best.
Therefore I am convinced that my place is at home. vol. God has never made the flock wholly dependent upon human instrumentalities. testing time will be disclosed to view. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. . They are selfsufficient. The Paulson Collection. In the shaking many a self-sufficient star will go out in darkness: God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. Testimonies. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand. . . The Lord has faithful servants. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind. I long for retirement. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. God will have a people pure and true. I can continue to write. . Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. I have lost confidence in some of these men as being taught and directed of God. independent of God. 5. for it seems useless. And these burdens come upon me whenever I attend a meeting where there are men whom I know are not walking in the counsel of God. I have carried the burden of the Southern field in direct opposition to the plans of leading brethren. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Those who have trusted to intellect. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. If they are thus taught and directed.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 171 meeting. and I mean to have it. if it be the Lord’s will to give it to me. . if I avoid the crushing burdens that overwhelm me. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. 80–81. The final contest is between the authority of God and the authority of men. genius. . I care not to face such matters any longer. or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. and He cannot use them. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. who in the shaking. They did not keep pace with the light. and He will thoroughly purge His floor. I am not teaching the way of the Lord. . 124–125. But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace.
should themselves be separated from the work . Those who do not repent of believing that God’s plans can be improved upon will see the utter failure of their lifework: There are those who think that they can improve upon the plan that the Lord has given. Unless they repent. they should be separated entirely from the work. but look in a large degree to the men they have set before them in the place of God. Review and Herald. God does not need the influence of such men. choosing the things that be of men. vol. Now a greater burden falls upon me. and they will have no part in its triumph. and follow their own way. for I dare not rely upon the wisdom of my brethren. 454 (December 23. your influence is needed. Those who love and fear God with all their hearts are the only men that God can trust. “We want you at our meeting. is a dangerous element. the time will come when they will look upon the utter failure of their lifework. harden their hearts against God’s leading. 5. 1890). Review and Herald. that they can mark out for themselves a course better than the course He has marked out for them. Man’s wisdom. 2. 1905). vol.172 Authority In God's Church Those who venture to have their own way will have no part in the triumph of the work: All who venture to have their own way. for it is time that things were called by their right name. Those who will not hear God’s voice or do His will are to be separated entirely from the work: If those connected with the work of God will not hear His voice and do His will. Sister White. exercised without Christ’s guidance. 354. I speak plainly.” I should not consult my choice or my feelings but would arise by faith and try to act my part and leave the Lord to do the work that was essential to be done. The wisdom of men who look to men in the place of God is not to be relied upon: I had felt that when a call came to me. The Ellen G. will be passed by. From this time I must look alone to God. The work will go forword to victory without them. who do not join the angels who are sent from Heaven with a message to fill the whole earth with its glory. White 1888 Materials. But those who have separated their souls from God. 167 (September 14. I see they do not always take God for their counselor. Such ones.
flattering themselves that God cannot accomplish His work without their especial aid. turn unto the Lord. for the encouragement of persons in responsible positions. and show to them their true condition. . vol. and the Lord permits them. to reveal the weakness and folly of the natural heart. the Lord gives us up to spiritual blindness: This has been the danger of the people of God in all ages. and lose sight of their frailties and weaknesses.The Results of Usurping God's Authority 173 of God. and hardness of heart. God in mercy gives them a testimony of favor. and especially is this the danger of those living near the close of time. perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Paul plainly states that “all these things happened unto them for ensamples. Spirit of Prophecy. and repeated sins of the Hebrews. blindness. White 1888 Materials. The Ellen G. in His own time. they frequently become lifted up. in these last days of peril. and in His own way. which is so solemn and so important. They trust in their own wisdom. 1573. We are cited by the apostle to the unbelief. and by confession and sincere repentance. If they will accept the humiliation. If we persist in our own ways. as a warning. for a time. 52–53. bring down the pride and folly of these deceived ones.” If. But if they shut their eyes to their own sins. 2. He will renew His love to them. But the Lord will. upon whom the ends of the world are come. as did the Jews. and they are written for our admonition. rebellion. to apparently prosper. the Lord will give them up to blindness of mind. that they cannot discern the things of the Spirit of God. and rely upon their own judgment. and choose their own ways.
174 Authority In God's Church .
175 Chapter 17
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The great sin which has been entering the ranks of Seventhday Adventists is the sin of exalting man, and placing him where God should be. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1619. Oh, how sad it is that man will allow himself to be so wrought upon by the enemy that he will dare venture to exalt his finite judgment in opposition to God’s plans and purposes! Battle Creek Letters, 73. Oh, how terrible it is to treat the Lord with dissimulation and neglect, to scorn His counsel with pride because man’s wisdom seems so much superior. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1626.
Walking in the sparks of our own kindling, we plan and execute without God:
They have been faithless, and have dishonored God. They have clung to their own habits, ideas, and practices, in the face of the reproof of the Spirit of God, whose office it is to reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. The members of the church have not walked in the light, but have chosen to walk in sparks of their own kindling. . . . The reason Seventh-day Adventists have not more power is that many of them have got above the simplicity of the work. They plan and execute without God. The Lord is ready to give us light; He is to shine before the world. “There is no searching of his understanding.” But men darken counsel by words without knowledge. Ibid., 984.
The church has been looking to man and not to Jesus:
Now, it has been Satan’s determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus, and lead man to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered.
Authority In God's Church
Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel’s message in clear, distinct lines. Ibid., 1338.
Laodicea’s lukewarmness is a result of her incomplete submission to God’s authority (as expressed in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy), and to the leadings of the Holy Spirit:
The message to the church of the Laodiceans is a startling denunciation, and is applicable to the people of God at the present time. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by ministers whom He has called to warn the people is not a peace-and-safety message. . . . What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct. Testimonies, vol. 3, 252–253.
By following men in positions of trust many are getting where the Lord can do nothing for them:
There are many getting where the Lord can do nothing for them. They will not recognize the spirit or voice of God, but treat His words as idle tales. Many have breathed the atmosphere that has surrounded the souls of men in positions of trust, who have not only thought in their hearts but expressed with their lips, “My Lord delayeth His coming” and their acts reveal the sentiment. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1485.
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Heaven waits while men get in the way with their own plans and methods:
The Lord’s work is to be done, and He calls upon the members of His firm to act their part as obedient servants. . . . But there are many men and women who are not daily converted to God. They weave self and their own plans into the sacred work, and they are hindrances. God could bless consecrated human instrumentalities who are willing to let the divine influences use them to encircle the world, yet Heaven waits while men get in the way of His work with their own plans and methods. God says, Take up the stumbling blocks; make room for Me to work; prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight. Ibid., 1705.
Men are to hear and obey. They are not to mark out how the Holy Spirit is to come:
This is the danger to which the church is now exposed, that the inventions of finite men shall mark out the precise way for the Holy Spirit to come. Though they would not care to acknowledge it, some have already done this. And because the Spirit is to come, not to praise men or to build up their erroneous theories, but to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, many turn away from it. They are not willing to be deprived of the garments of their own self-righteousness. They are not willing to exchange their own righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth. The Holy Spirit flatters no man, neither does it work according to the devising of any man. Finite, sinful men are not to work the Holy Spirit. When it shall come as a reprover, through any human agent whom God shall choose, it is man’s place to hear and obey its voice. Ibid., 1541.
The Testimonies have been made of little meaning:
My brethren have trifled and caviled and criticized and commented and demerited, and picked and chosen a little and refused much until the testimonies mean nothing to them. They put whatever interpretation upon them that they choose in their own finite judgment and are satisfied. Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 65–66.
Rejection of Ellen White’s work virtually says “We do not want God’s ways, but we want our own ways:”
Authority In God's Church
I have just that confidence in my brethren that those who have had every evidence God saw fit to give them, that His spirit and power was with me, and yet turned from it all to walk in the sparks of their own kindling, and have shown a wonderful blindness, want of perception and knowing the things that be of God, and in their resistance to light and evidence in their choosing the darkness rather than the light, have virtually said, “We do not want God’s ways, but we want our own ways.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 649.
Pointed testimony must live in the church:
The people of God must see their wrongs and arouse to zealous repentance and a putting away of those sins which have brought them into such a deplorable condition of poverty, blindness, wretchedness, and fearful deception. I was shown that the pointed testimony must live in the church. This alone will answer to the message to the Laodiceans. Wrongs must be reproved, sin must be called sin, and iniquity must be met promptly and decidedly, and put away from us as a people. Testimonies, vol. 3, 260. See also page 269.
The people are to be undeceived about those who are in rebellion:
My message will become more and more pointed, as was the message of John the Baptist, even though it cost me my life. The people shall not be deceived. I have been instructed that there are in Battle Creek men who are or have been connected with our institutions, who have rejected light, and chosen their own perverse way. Unless these men are converted, they will become Satan’s decoys, to lead souls away from the truth. At times they will work to undermine the confidence of those in whose minds they can plant the seeds of doubt and questioning. They hate the testimonies of reproof sent them, and refuse to follow the light given by God to direct their feet in the right way. Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, 22–23.
Those who maintain false plans in contempt of God’s management are to hear the whole counsel of God that they might repent and escape destruction:
God has important lessons for His people to learn. Had these lessons been learned before, His cause would not be where it is today. One thing must be done. The truth is not to be withheld from ministers or men in positions of responsibility for fear of
God's Reproof of His Church
incurring their displeasure. There are to be connected with our institutions men who with meekness and in wisdom will declare the whole counsel of God. God’s wrath is kindled against those who in carnal security and pride have shown contempt for His management. They are endangering the prosperity of the cause. Every false way is a deception, and if sustained, will in the end bring destruction. Thus the Lord permits those who maintain false plans to be destroyed. At the very time when praise and adulation is heard, sudden destruction comes. There are those who, notwithstanding they know of the reproof received by others, because of unfaithfulness, turn away from admonition. These are doubly guilty. They knew the Lord’s will and did it not. Their punishment will be proportionate to their guilt. They would not take heed to the word of the Lord. The Kress Collection, 105–106.
Words of rebuke and warning will come. A woe is pronounced upon those who turn to the arm of civil power against the messenger:
Does anyone suppose that the messages of warning will not come to those whom God reproves? The ones reproved may rise up in indignation and seek to bring the law to bear upon God’s messenger, but in doing this, they are not bringing the law upon the messenger, but upon Christ, who gave the reproof and the warning. When men endanger the work and cause of God by their own wrong course of action, shall they hear no voice of reproof? If the wrongdoer only were concerned, and the work reached no farther than him, he alone should have the words of warning; but when his course of action is doing positive harm to the cause of truth, and souls are imperiled, God requires that the warning be as broad as the injury done. The testimonies will not be hindered. The words of rebuke and warning, the plain “Thus saith the Lord,” will come from God’s appointed agencies; for the words do not originate with the human instrument; they are from God, who appointed them their work. If a suit is instituted in earthly tribunals, and God suffers it to come to trial, it is that His own name may be glorified. But a woe will be upon the man who gives himself to do this work. God reads the motives, whatever they may be. I pray that the Lord will teach our brethren to be straightforward, and make no compromise in the matter. The cause of God has been bruised and wounded by any such men connecting with it, and the sooner they are separated from it, the better. Selected Messages, book 2, 152–153.
The testimony is to become more pointed as we near the end:
Only those who sigh and cry for the abominations done in Jerusalem receive the seal of God: The true people of God. will ever view sin in . and set things in order. Notwithstanding all the warnings that have been given. vol. The instruction God has given in the record of His people in early days is not regarded. . 1. God will turn and overturn those who have presumed to plan for God’s people: You who are finite.” saith the Lord. “Shall I not judge them for these things. The mistakes and sins of His early people are being repeated in His people today: warnings and admonitions given in that day are not being heeded in this. have supposed that God’s children were put under your jurisdiction. 321. erring. with unquestioning faith and obedience. important work is before them. Let it no longer be regarded as your privilege to control God’s heritage. Some have very high ideas of the importance of their own individuality. A responsible. just before Christ is to come the second time. God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. and by their headstrong course are saying. and he is removing His Spirit from them. The Lord Himself will turn and overturn. It is hard for the ambitious heart to receive God’s ideas and plans. It is hard for men to learn their real weakness and ignorance and inefficiency. and unsanctified. . but join the ranks of the enemy. . White 1888 Materials. and those who speak smooth things. He has the responsibility of His own work. God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. We want not God’s way. The Ellen G. We are following after God’s wayward people of the past: A people who have had great light and every evidence of truth are turning away from the light. 1367. 78–79. who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart. they see not their danger. and bring them to your terms. The Lord is greatly dishonored by their course.180 Authority In God's Church In this fearful time. They choose to entertain their own ideas and to follow the suggestions of their own minds. “unless they repent?” The Paulson Collection. and following their own impulses. Testimonies. and fight on his side. for you to plan for them. A fearful woe is upon them. and He has not entrusted the management of His people to unsanctified human hands. but our own way.
“And the Lord said unto him.. represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons. . represented by a mark by the man in linen. Go through the midst of the city. is described in the order to the five men with slaughter weapons: “Go ye after him through the city. Those who take their stand against those that reprove sin will not receive the seal of God: Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God and who murmur in their hearts. vol. in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God. sinful character. Especially in the closing work for the church. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked. will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. are those “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done” in the church. that they are represented as being in agony. both maids. But the general slaughter of all those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness. they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. if not openly. 267. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such. . Mark this point with care. with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. and little children. and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young. 266–267. 3. through the midst of Jerusalem. and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of God and receive the mark. . and begin at my sanctuary.” . wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost. and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. Testimonies. against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No. and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abomination that be done in the midst thereof. One man among them was clothed with linen. and smite: let not your eye spare. . . indeed! Unless they repent. and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark.God's Reproof of His Church 181 its real. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. . even sighing and crying.” Ibid. Those who receive the pure mark of truth.
refuses to receive evidence unless it comes in his own way. . God has a controversy with those who reject His authority in worshiping their idols of opinion: The Lord has seen our backslidings. that it should not have access to the people. Their pride. God gives sufficient evidence. and He has a controversy with His people. are manifest in His sight. and is in harmony with their disposition and will. They have no disposition to give up their own will for God’s will. If they will bow their proud will.182 Authority In God's Church Those who interpose themselves between God and His people are instructed to get out of the way: Now. There is in the soul of man an obstacle which he holds there with stubborn persistency. and which interposes between his soul and God. testimony which God has not given them in His Word. If you have interposed between the people and the light. Many gather darkness about their souls as a garment. It is unbelief. They will acknowledge the evidence of divine authority. They have been ready to accept testimony which is weak and insufficient. 541. These souls are in great peril. I say. I tell you that God calls for men to come up to the help of the Lord. if they will with humble. When a message came in. . with his unsanctified will. . . but which pleases them because it agrees with their ideas. “We want not a knowledge of thy way. . get out of the way. White 1888 Materials. contrite hearts seek for the light. They are not to pull back. but they are to push with all the might and energy that God has given them. all the power of the leaders was put against it. . to favor his own ideas. they are not to put their weight against the chariot so as to pull it back. Why is it that men do not believe upon sufficient evidence? Because they do not want to be convinced. or God will move you out of the way. brethren. and put it on God’s side of the question. then they will see light. their opening of the mind to doubt and unbelief.” These are the things that separate the soul from God. Now it is just exactly as in the days of the Jews. for your soul’s sake. . because the eye is single to discern the light which comes from God. and grieve His heart of love. The Ellen G. O God. to the help of the Lord against the mighty. why. We need to have a correct estimate of the value of our own . we choose our own way. . but man. and virtually say. their selfishness. . believing that there is light for them. clear the King’s highway.
By the mouth of His servants He predicts the dangers of disobedience. 2. It is the fashion to depart from Christ. having our eyes steadfastly upon Him. Prophets and Kings. 948. Baal will be the purpose. He sounds the note of warning and faithfully reproves sin. and do not love God and obey His Word. 1890). By choosing our own way we have departed from God and are worshiping Baal: There has been a departure from God.” Luke 19:14. and walk in truth. then we would not be as reckless in regard to our course of action as at present. we would work in an opposite direction from selfishness. yet He cannot always stay His hand. Review and Herald Extra. His people are kept in prosperity only by His mercy. and do His will. For a time He may withhold His retributive judgments. Our Creator and our Commander. to forsake the Lord and accept skepticism. 426. there is disagreeable work to be done in reproving sin. “We will not have this man to reign over us. and our constant prayer would be that we might have the mind of Christ. seeks by every means to bring men to see and repent of their sins. The Ellen G. that we might be molded and fashioned after His likeness. vol. no hardship turn aside from the path of duty—men who will never forget their sacred commission as servants of the Most High. that we become changed into His image. We would seek most earnestly to know God’s way. the faith. 453 (December 23. Infidelity has had a large place among us. as in ancient times. because they choose their own way instead of God’s way. God predicts the dangers of disobedience: Surely God’s authority should be held in as much greater reverence as He is holier than man.God's Reproof of His Church 183 souls. the religion of a sorrowful number among us. The Lord calls for men to act promptly. who worship their idols of opinion. and there has not as yet been zealous work in repenting and coming back to the first love. In this work. through the vigilant watchcare of chosen instrumentalities. God uses men as His instruments—men of determined purpose. White 1888 Materials. But those who love their own way. He will give grace to all that keep His way. will continue to walk in darkness. infinite in power. He cannot uphold and guard a people who reject His counsel and despise His reproofs. terrible in judgment. . whom no threat or peril can intimidate. God uses men to tear down the evil that has usurped His place: In our day. It is in looking to Jesus and beholding His loveliness.
and he is gaining victory after victory.184 Authority In God's Church with the courage of heroes. to carry light into darkened homes. and who are partakers of the great salvation purchased for us through our precious sin-bearing. He would have His laborers present the truth for this time. Signs of the Times. “cast into the depths of the sea:” Let no one depreciate those who have been chosen of God. God has inspired no man to reproduce their mistakes. The Lord has been trifled with by His people. We can learn from a study of King Jehoiakim’s example what men will do when they pass the boundary line. A terrible influence for evil is exerted when men turn from the right way to follow selfish devisings. But today as of old these messages of warning have been repeated. The Lord has not laid the burden upon men to revive the mistakes and errors of the living or the dead. The great want of this age is men fitted to do God’s will—men who will listen with praying hearts for God’s words. and to a church composed of many who are weak in faith. Some in the experience of the past few years have virtually repeated the act of king Jehoiakim in burning the messages of the Spirit of God. and meet the armed force of wrong on battlefields. 80. God wants men whom He can use to His own glory. 1881). The Paulson Collection. The time that should have been devoted to repentance and reform has been spent in criticism and in following man-formed opinions and ideas. vol. Speak not of the errors . We are not to speak of the errors of our brethren that have been repented of. . who have fought manfully the battles of the Lord. But in all this there is no excuse for any to indulge in harshness or severity to gratify their own wrong feelings. who have woven heart and soul and life into the cause and work of God. who have died in faith. to speak peace to the troubled soul. and the firmness and faith of martyrs. and point the sinner to the pardoning love of Christ. or. . and to present their errors to a world that is lying in wickedness. We see it in the persecution and suffering that Christ endured at the hands of wicked men. either to bear reproof and execute justice. We see it in the treatment that the Lord’s faithful servants in every age have received. . to tear down the idolatrous images that have usurped His place in the minds of men. 207 (January 6. 1. with a heart full of piety and benevolence. Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men. sin-pardoning Saviour. and will hasten to obey His voice.
The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. but instead of warring against principalities and power. be afraid of them. and for the souls of those whom Christ has purchased with His own blood. No. however important the personage may be who ventures to sin. Series A. He wounds only that He may heal. 1901 General Conference Bulletin. vol. claiming to have a message from God. They would tear down that which God would restore by the Laodicean message. exercising its consecrating influence. White. John was the forerunner of those who are to cry aloud and spare not: John was called to do a special work. not cause to perish. White Comments. and be silent as to the mistakes of the dead. I would say. 22–23. Sin and iniquity will not go unrebuked. The less that is said by those who profess to believe present truth. 1148. 521 (November 30. 4. He chastens. See Ellen G. Review and Herald. Special Testimonies. Human restrictions as stumbling blocks interfering with the leadings of the Holy Spirit are to be removed: To those who have placed stumbling blocks in the way of their brethren. 4. They do not bear the divine credentials. who have felt it their solemn duty to hold back men who have the truth. Testimonies to Ministers. Take your hands off quickly. and the rulers of the darkness of this world. vol. cast into the depths of the sea. Holy Spirit-led agents will rebuke all who venture to sin: When the Holy Spirit works through the human agents. Let their mistakes and errors remain where God has put them. but it is only that He may restore and approve at last. he was to prepare the . and who could give the trumpet a certain sound. Ellen G. they form a hollow square. 1897). the better it will be for their own souls.God's Reproof of His Church 185 of your brethren who are living. He rebukes. and turn the weapons of warfare against the church militant. 3. 268. The Laodicean message wounds that it might heal: When men arise. The Lord lays upon no man a message that will discourage and dishearten the church. 10. they will not seek to evade His obligations in regard to the souls perishing around them. in regard to the past mistakes and errors of the servants of God. God has not given them any such burden of labor. He reproves.
we are near the end of time. for Christ’s sake let us cry aloud and spare not. God did not desire him to have the mold of the priests and rulers. slippered feet: The truth is the truth. and carefulness of speech should ever be cultivated and manifested. 1147. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord. slippered feet. moderation. of the truth will alienate the hearts of those who have been brethren. But this would not be if self and self-esteem. that cuts both ways. The Lord gave him his message. and the message is. It is not to be wrapped up in beautiful adornings. . selfcontrol. 58:1) Ibid. God’s messengers to Laodicea will cultivate patience. The word is a two-edged sword. to make straight His path. make straight in the desert a highway for our God. The teacher is to make the truth clear and forcible to the understanding and to the conscience. Truth does not tread as with soft. Did he go to the priests and rulers and ask if he might proclaim this message? No. and shew my people their transgressions. that the outside appearance may be admired. We are exhorted to “cry aloud. lift up thy voice like a trumpet. . Ellen G. White 1888 Materials. White Comments. but at the same time they will cry aloud and spare not: Misunderstanding. He was called to do a special work.. and carefulness of speech. moderation. This is the very message that must be given to our people. 421. misapplication. Patience. 5. selfcontrol. that he might learn of nature and nature’s God. The people must be awakened. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary.” (Isaiah. Says the Word of God.” The Ellen G. and show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. vol. were not disturbed by the message of truth. and the house of Jacob their sins. Clear the King’s highway. But while we show these commendable traits of character. It does not tread as with soft. It is no time now to cry peace and safety. if customs and traditions. spare not. raise up a standard for the people. “Lift up thy voice like a trumpet. .186 Authority In God's Church way of the Lord. God put him away from them that he might not be influenced by their spirit and teaching. 534. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. He took him away from the assemblies of men to the desert. God brings us over the ground again and again until we cease from . The Lord did not send him to the school of the prophets and rabbis. gather out the stones.
As a people we are not what we should be because we have depended upon the wisdom of mortals. for ministers are not as God. carry your work intelligently. which arouse the combative spirit among brethren. are devices of Satan to divert minds from the great and fearful issue before us. The Paulson Collection. falsehood and error must be made to appear in their true character. allowing no one to interfere in matters pertaining to their relation to God. It is because men have been encouraged to look to one man to think for them. 224. sin must be denounced. when will the people of God learn to love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves? The Ellen G. True peace and unity will come only after the false peace is disturbed: Evil must be assailed. and unable to stand at their post of duty as faithful sentinels for God. A mistake has been made in the past by leaning upon the guidance of men. The mold which has been given to the work through the influence of Elder Butler has caused the labor of many toilsome years that it might be effaced. that they are now so inefficient. erring man as has been placed in Elder Butler. and too much reliance has been placed upon Elder Butler in the past. Oh.God's Reproof of His Church man and look to Him for directions: 187 I hope there will never be the slightest encouragement given to our people to put such wonderful confidence in finite. The true peace will come among God’s people when through united zeal and earnest prayer the false . We are to correct the mistakes of looking to man for guidance rather than to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy: Brother Burden. Let men seek not to men. for this Word is very precious to the worker in the cause. This sin has not been repented of by some of our people. and the testimony of every believer in the truth must be as one. White 1888 Materials. Seek to correct this mistake. and put their whole trust in the living God. but by earnest prayer seek the wisdom of God. 975–976. even consulting the Word of God. Do not seek the counsel of men. and they will have to go over the ground again and again unless they cease from man. All your little differences. Even the messages and testimonies were made of none effect through the influence of the words and ideas of Elder Butler. Study the messages that God has sent to His people for the last sixty years through the Spirit of Prophecy. to be conscience for them. and have not made God our dependence and trust. but to God for wisdom.
311. Now is the time to manifest your soldierly qualities. . 48. Now there is earnest work to do. .188 Authority In God's Church peace that exists to a large degree is disturbed. . . let the Lord’s people present a united front to the foes of God and truth and righteousness. Manuscript Release No.
” Will not the people turn to their God? Ibid..189 Chapter 18 The Response to Reproof TIME for repentance is short: God calls upon you who are connected with His instrumentalities to do His work according to His plans. and He will direct our paths. 368–369. and I shall be saved. There is now a precious period. not your own. While the contempt placed upon God’s commandments leads many to suppress the truth and show less reverence for it. 1665. and cry to God in sincerity. They would not be convinced even by this evidence. O Lord. White 1888 Materials. Not one abiding in Christ will fail: Not one who is abiding in Christ will fail or fall. for those who reject the law and the prophets so harden their hearts that 189 . Those who reject the law and the prophets will reject all light: Those who heed Moses and the prophets will require no greater light than God has given. Oh. We can do nothing without God. though short. the faithful ones will with greater earnestness hold aloft its distinguishing truths. “Heal me. and fail to appreciate the opportunities granted them. and I shall be healed. If you heed the requirement. ask His counsel. that all who have made flesh their arm and man their trust would even now in this their day realize their position. His followers will bow in obedience to a higher authority than that of any earthly potentate. Selected Messages. that all might repent who have made flesh their arm: Oh. for Thou art my praise. allotted to you for repentance and improvement. it will be a blessing to you in this life and the inheritance of life eternal. We should consult His Word with humble hearts. 1365. and give up our will to His. save me. We are not left to our own direction. book 2. they would not hear if one from the dead should come to them with a message. In all our ways we should acknowledge God. He calls for an entire consecration of yourselves to Him. but if men reject the light. The Ellen G.
there are other influences at work to counteract the working of God through His appointed agencies.190 Authority In God's Church they will reject all light. They do not work in the very line marked out as perfect.” The Ellen G. but calm. God’s reproof has not been half heeded: I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed. But at the very time when He is thus empowering men by His Holy Spirit to cry aloud. White 1888 Materials. There are those to whom this scripture is applicable: “They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly. This testimony must work deep repentance. if not entirely disregarded. because they do not exactly meet our ideas. barricade the way. 270 When God says “Cry aloud and spare not” other voices say “Peace. to lift up his voice like a trumpet. Then begins the dissecting of character and the gath- . Manuscript Release No. 265. Be careful what influence you exert at this time. saying. Peace. to spare not. Those who tend to cry peace and safety need to be careful to not suppress the message of truth: Those who are under the influence of the Spirit of God will not be fanatical. 50. many begin to present difficulties. that they may be aroused and convicted of their sins and be led to repent and reform. when there is no peace. Peace. peace:” In all ages He has wrought through human instrumentalities to give decided messages of warning to His people. Be careful how you make the first move to suppress the message of truth. But let all who have had the light of truth shining clear and distinct upon their pathway. 1004. Early Writings. 311. steadfast. and show His people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. all who truly receive it will obey it. and be purified. and in place of leaving them with God. for His Spirit to work with them. be careful how they cry peace and safety. free from extravagance. Those who want their own way will do everything possible to discredit God’s messengers: God may choose instrumentalities that we do not accept. and cherish a grieved feeling because they see that they are doing a work that has not been done. Christ’s Object Lessons.
Testimonies. Some make it a point to question and doubt and find fault because others do the work that God has not laid upon them. 1091 See Review and Herald. 2. 4. Their sensibilities are blunted by their unbelief. men who profess to be followers of Christ seem to think that they are at liberty to receive or reject the servants of the Lord at pleasure and that they will not be called to an account for so doing. 233–234. God manages His own work. and we will always be weak unless this narrow order of things is changed. 3. will have an account to settle with God that they will not be pleased to meet. Unbelief and darkness lead them to this. 680 Let them not stand in the way of those who have the duty to correct error among God’s people. We will be held accountable if we reject the servants of the Lord: In this age of darkness and error. that are on dangerous ground. and woe to the man who puts his hand to the ark of God. 604. vol. let them not stand in the way of those who have this duty to do. White 1888 Materials. To disregard light is to reject it.The Response to Reproof 191 ering up of tidbits of complaints. Those who claim to know the truth. This has been done in the church until we are weak. vol. and faultfinding and slander and magnifying of little occurrences and events into grave sins. Ibid. The Ellen G. ibid. . To disregard light is to reject it: It is not alone those who openly reject the Testimonies.. The Ellen G. 3. vol. These stand directly in the way to hinder those upon whom God has laid the burden of reproving and correcting prevailing sins in order that His frown may be turned away from His people. without reservation. 603. Testimonies. and yet lay every obstacle in the way so that light shall not come to the people. White . Those who are commanded to bear a message must move out although obstacles of a forbidding character are in the way. vol. Let not such hinder those who have the burden of this work upon them. . or who cherish doubt concerning them. There are many who do not have the discretion of Joshua and who have no special duty to search out wrongs and to deal promptly with the sins existing among them. Those who lay obstacles in the way of God’s messengers have an account to settle with God: God speaks to whom He will to carry His message. They must declare the message He gives. .. 5. 270. vol.
as it surely will. They are inclined to be ever on the side of wrong. And when the call is made for those who will be on the Lord’s side to . It needs something besides theory to reach hearts now. They see no necessity of straight testimony. although they may relieve the cause of God. But their confessions are too late and are not of the right kind to benefit themselves. and let them show that they are no better prepared to stand free from all rebellion and sin than before their confessions were made. It needs the stirring testimony to alarm and arouse. 2. 283–284. Cutting truths must not be shunned. God may give this class another test. and God speaks in behalf of His people. Such do not make their confessions because of a conviction of their true state and a sense of how displeasing their course has been to God. 1031–1032. They wish smooth things spoken unto them. And if the wrongs of individuals are touched. Tragic will be those whose confessions are too late. that will stir the enemy’s subjects. There has been and still is with some a disposition to have everything move on very smoothly. “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” they are ready to look with suspicion and doubt upon those who bear the plain testimony. When the church depart from God they despise the plain testimony. those who have sinned.192 1888 Materials. When they are called to vindicate truth they will be very passive. and then honest souls will be led to decide for the truth. Opposition has risen in the church to the plain testimony. those who have been a cloud of darkness and who have stood directly in the way of God’s working for His people. they complain of severity. like Achan. not claiming to be on either side: When a crisis finally comes. Authority In God's Church The lukewarm church tends to shun the plain testimony: By some there is a shunning of the living testimony. Spiritual Gifts. It is a sad evidence of the lukewarm state of the church. and like Ahab overlook the wrong which made it necessary for reproof and rebuke. and complain of severity and harshness. Some will not bear it. and sympathize with those in the wrong. and. Sins exist in the church that God hates. becoming terrified. another proving. vol. may become alarmed at the length they have gone in murmuring and in bringing discouragement upon the cause. but they are scarcely touched for fear of making enemies. As Ahab inquired of Elijah. they may acknowledge that they have sinned.
vol. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.The Response to Reproof 193 make a decided move to vindicate the right. 1578. he could convert them. they will manifest their true position. From the beginning of his work as president of the General Conference. They will not claim to be on either side. he perverted his spiritual eyesight. 281. 3. it is not because they have a clear sense of the right. they have converted him. for to a large degree. If they do not take a determined course on the wrong side. Testimonies. instead of standing firmly as a faithful guardian for those holy trusts which would keep the great heart of the work pure. If God abhors one sin above another. The power of Satan has so long held them that they seem blinded and have no inclination to stand in defense of right. Trying to occupy both sides injures discernment between right and wrong: When Elder Olsen linked himself with these men. vol. God has no use for two-sided men: God calls for men of decided fidelity. they remained neutral. Testimonies. but thought that by uniting with them. in this fearful crisis. 153. but because they dare not. his clear discernment between right and wrong has been injured. in the presence of the idolatrous priests and the apostate king. he has tried to occupy a position of both sides. book 2. “This is not according to the will of God. at any apparent expense or financial loss. Elder Olsen’s policy has been a mistake. Those who have been nearly all their lives controlled by a spirit as foreign to the Spirit of God as was Achan’s will be very passive when the time comes for decided action on the part of all. White 1888 Materials. Instead of upholding that which he knew to be according to the law of God. He wants men who will lay their hand upon a wrong work and say. He has no use in an emergency for two-sided men. The result has been contrary to this. 271–272. it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. and saw things in a strange light.” Selected Messages. He knew that they were resisting the Spirit of God. The Ellen G. 3. God abhors neutrality: And now. of which His people are guilty. .
Many love their way too well to surrender. Brethren. therefore they avoided it. they virtually sustain and justify the sinner. . and in humility of soul. He appreciates His flock and He wants no power set over them that will restrict their freedom in His service. God bids us speak. and to learn to work in His ways. They hope to avoid confession of sin: Will the people of God heed the voice of warning. and the cry that has been raised of harshness and severity. . and deferred to do the work of humbling their hearts and confessing their sins. vol. If wrongs are apparent among His people. It is time to humble our hearts and to work in God’s ways: It is time now for men to humble their hearts before God. They should seek the Lord by fasting and prayer. Testimonies. In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. simply because they shunned to discharge a plain scriptural duty. . 3. and we will not be silent. He has never placed man as a ruler over His heritage. The Paulson Collection. .194 Authority In God's Church Those servants who fail to reprove wrong are alike guilty: The prejudice which has arisen against us because we have reproved the wrongs that God has shown me existed. not to control of one another. They hoped to get out of difficulty in some easier way than by confession of sin. Many have been convinced that they have grieved the Spirit of God by their resistance of light. 285. but they hated to die to self. and cultivate love? . The task was not agreeable to their feelings. are unjust. . Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition. As a people we need a larger measure of the Holy Spirit. Christ in His earthly life gave an example that all can safely follow. that we may bear the solemn message that God has given us without exaltation. True Bible religion will lead to self-control. 265–266. Teach the flock of God to look to Christ. keep your words of censure for your individual selves. and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God. . and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them. not to erring man. for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty. Let those who have sought to rule their fellow workers study to know what manner of spirit they are of.
and tempted them. 4. and history is being repeated. even thou. But the appeals and warnings given have had no more effect upon their hearts than the messages of Christ had upon the Pharisees. with words. 1029. manifesting the same exacting and intolerant spirit. .. Those who refuse God’s messages are repeating the history of the Jewish leaders: The cloud of divine wrath was gathering over Jerusalem. I fear that the same judgments will fall upon them because they have rejected the Lord’s reproof. with gesticulations. 165–166. all efforts for their salvation. I have heard the ridicule of the warnings sent them and refused by them. The blessings that the Saviour longs to bestow He is forced to withhold. and I greatly fear in their behalf. Men are in danger of rejecting Christ when they reject His messages: God’s servants have no tame testimony to bear at this time. In a voice full of tears He exclaimed. The ground trodden by the Jewish leaders is being trodden today by those who have made light of the warnings from heaven. White 1888 Materials. He saw it lost. The Paulson Collection. refusing the messages of the grace of God. the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. Christ saw the city beleaguered. The Ellen G. Unless these men are converted. at least in this thy day. all entreaties. I know that the same spirit that existed in the days of Christ exists today. as did the ruling Pharisees. Ibid.The Response to Reproof 195 and Satan has kept hold of them.” I present this feeble representation of a terrible picture to those who today are going over the same ground. They despise the evidence of God’s working. they will be separated from the work. 11. See Testimonies. and they have had but feeble strength to resist him. and have set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their eyes. 1368. rejecting the warnings against a course of wickedness. with looks. Those who scorn reproof and hate counsel are seriously warned: The time is near when God by His providence will make manifest what principles have been cherished by the men connected with the management of His work. “If thou hadst known. They know not the day of their visitation. lest they shall continue to walk in the same path. because of the contempt manifested by the men who give proof in their lives that they reject all warnings. vol.
only it will be as much greater as our light is greater in this age than was their light in their age. He who rejects the light and evidence God has been liberally bestowing upon us. rejects Christ. We have also their example. cherish the same spirit. or make light of. 1565–1566. He is sending the spirit of truth to you. they hated the Prince of life because He laid bare their evil ways. Review and Herald. Though they could not convict Him of sin. if we refuse to walk in the light. Many say. will today be tested. the warnings and reproofs that were presented to them. They did not have before them the example of a nation that had suffered retribution for their unbelief and disobedience. then our guilt will be greatly augmented. they would not do as did the rejecters of His mercy.196 Authority In God's Church whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. and for him there is no other Saviour. Those who declare that if they had lived in the days of Christ. we travel over the same ground. Those who live in this day are not accountable for the deeds of those who crucified the Son of God. “If I had only lived in the days of Christ. who separated themselves from Him. and our sin and its retribution will be the greater. because God . the light of His truth. though they could not fail to see their own hypocrisy. and rejected the Prince of life. refuse to receive reproof and warning. The Ellen G. the warnings. I would not have rejected and crucified Him as did the Jews”. Those who reject God’s messengers of reproof will seek to take away the light from others: Those whom God has sent with a message are only men. 1893). But we have before us the history of the chosen people of God. but if with all the light that shone upon His ancient people delineated before us. or falsely interpreted His instruction. but that will be proved by the way in which you deal with His message and His messengers today. you accept of Jesus. I would not have wrested His words. White 1888 Materials. When He sends His messages of mercy. The Lord is testing the people of today as much as He tested the Jews in their day. 3. 37–38 (April 11. In our day greater light and greater evidence is given. and if you accept the message. vol. Those who reject reproof today will have more guilt than those who rejected and crucified Christ: There is less excuse in our day for stubbornness and unbelief than there was for the Jews in the days of Christ. but what is the character of the message which they bear? Will you dare to turn from. and the condemnation that fell upon them will fall upon us.
They will rise up against it. Ibid. The work that might have been done. are too much in earnest. A shaking will result from the reproof of God’s people: I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. God will make manifest that He is God. 2. Some will not bear this straight testimony. is. but who have walked directly contrary to the light. Christ has registered all the hard. There is a spirit of wickedness at work in the church that is striving at every opportunity to make void the law of God. 1890). 397 (May 27. because of their unbelief. the light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light by those who refuse to walk in its advancing glory. and the message that would bring healing and life and comfort to many weary and oppressed souls. They have too much zeal. speak with too much positiveness. The third angel’s message will not be comprehended. The Lord will make the punishment of those who will not receive His admonitions and warnings as broad as the wrong has been. and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people.. God has raised up His messenger to do His work for this time. while they have secretly worked against the purposes of God. Those who continue in their rebellion will do the work of false watchmen: I am instructed to present these words before those who have had light and evidence. to stand out of the way of God’s people. Truth will be vindicated. sneering speeches spoken against His servants as against Himself. in a measure. who will cry aloud and spare not. 270. because they do not speak the message of truth with all the grace and polish desirable. vol. Early Writings. will be left undone by the rejecters of truth. While . proud. will be fully revealed. Some have turned from the message of the righteousness of Christ to criticize the men and their imperfections. and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver. will they seek to take away the ray of light from those who have been longing and praying for light and for vivifying power. We entreat of you who oppose the light of truth.The Response to Reproof 197 did not consult you as to what would be preferred? God calls men who will speak. excluded for just in proportion as men of influence close their own hearts and set up their own wills in opposition to what God has said. The purpose of those who have tried to cover their wrong.
While the past confederacy of evil is arrayed against them He bids them to be brave and strong and fight valiantly for they have a heaven to win. and to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 60. does not conceal the stern conflict which they will experience. the mighty General of the armies of heaven. the mighty General of armies leads on the armies of heaven. and they have more than an angel in their ranks. for the promise is unto you and your children. As on the occasion of the taking of Jericho. but the Captain of the Lord’s host planned the battle in the greatest simplicity. . will then take full charge of His followers and direct them onward to a victory in which only He and not man will be exalted: Our Lord is cognizant of the conflict of His people in these last days with the satanic agencies combined with evil men who neglect and refuse this great salvation. A long-continued resistance of truth will harden the most impressionable heart. but their refusal to accept all the light God sends will after a time place them where they will do the work of a false watchman. Our Saviour. Men’s weakness shall find supernatural strength and help in every stern conflict to do the deeds of Omnipotence. Sufficient evidence is given to every soul regarding what is truth and what is error. that the Lord alone should receive the glory and man should not be exalted. For a time they may continue to teach some phases of the truth. He encourages all to take up the weapons of their warfare and expect the heavenly host to compose the armies to war in defense of truth and righteousness. With the greatest simplicity and candor. not one of the armies of Israel could boast of exercising their finite strength to overthrow the walls of the city. the mighty General. But the deceptive power of evil upon some is so great that they will not receive the evidence and respond to it by repentance. our Saviour. 202. . . Those who reject the Spirit of truth place themselves under the control of a spirit that is opposed to the word and work of God. the light will never again shine with such convincing power upon the stubborn opposers of truth. and perseverance in faith and perfect trust in God will ensure success. God has promised us all power. The Paulson Collection. Sons and Daughters of God.198 Authority In God's Church the Lord may not punish unto death those who have carried their rebellion to great lengths. .
to supply with loving solicitude the wants of the young lambs and the necessities of the old and feeble. .199 Chapter 19 Examples of Relationship to Authority MOSES The education received by Moses. He became united to. . Moses supposed that his education in the wisdom of Egypt had fully qualified him to lead Israel from bondage. to seek patiently after the straying. as the Egyptians understood wisdom. and proved himself unfit to represent the God of mercy. This wisdom is learned from the great Teacher alone. but now he was to learn a different lesson. submerged in. as the king’s grandson. love. . Was he not learned in all the things necessary for a general of armies? Had he not had the greatest advantages of the best schools in the land? Yes. he felt that he was able to deliver them. the Holy One of Israel. Nothing was neglected that was calculated to make him a wise man. In this he manifested the spirit of him who was a murderer from the beginning. As these phases of his character were developed. . and tenderness. Moses had been taught to expect flattery and praise because of his superior abilities. He believed in the great God. reverence for sacred things. He first set about his work by trying to gain the favor of his own people by redressing their wrongs. The lessons of Christlike meekness. He held communion with the Father through humble prayer. . He made a miserable failure of his first attempt. He looked to the Highest for an 199 . lowliness of heart. A knowledge of the attributes of the character of Christ Jesus cannot be obtained by means of the highest education in the most scientific schools. was very thorough. to nurse the sick. . Moses was taught to care for the afflicted. are taught nowhere effectively except in the school of Christ. He killed an Egyptian who was imposing upon one of his brethren. he was drawn nearer to his Chief Shepherd. to bear long with the unruly. As a shepherd of sheep.
that he might be led to understand his utter helplessness. so was he to be a willing instrument to be worked by the hand of Jesus Christ. and put his trust in God. God was able to manifest His great power through Moses because of his constant faith in the power and in the loving intentions of their Deliverer. and not in the ways of men. Those persons who refuse to move forward until they see every step plainly marked out before them. if left to themselves. so did he. Moses was called to labor in co-partnership with the Lord. realized his own helplessness. until he was willing to obey God’s commands whether they seemed to his human reason to be proper or not. and it was through his firm faith and abiding trust in the Lord that so many blessings reached the children of Israel. until he lost his self-confidence. and his inefficiency without being upheld by the Lord Jesus. He works through man for the uplifting and salvation of His chosen. and it was the simplicity of his character. The rashness of Moses in slaying the Egyptian was prompted by a presumptuous spirit. Even as the rod was simply an instrument in his hand. rebellious people. When they relied upon Him. He delivered them from many difficulties from which they could never have escaped. that constituted him such a representative man. to leave his flock of sheep to take the leadership of more than a million idolatrous. the weakness of human strength. All the learning of the wise men could not make him a channel through which the Lord could labor. His life became so closely linked with heaven that God talked with him face to face. will never accom- . Moses was selected to be the shepherd of God’s own people. Faith moves in the strength and wisdom of God.200 Authority In God's Church education in spiritual things. and for a knowledge of his duty as a faithful shepherd. In the very height of his human glory the Lord permitted Moses to reveal the foolishness of man’s wisdom. The Lord Jesus seeks the co-operation of such men as will become unobstructed channels through which the riches of heaven may be poured out upon the people of His love. however. combined with a practical education. Thus prepared. the mighty General of armies was faithful to Israel. he was ready to heed the call of God to exchange his shepherd’s crook for the rod of authority. By simple faith Moses was enabled to press through difficulties. and overcome obstacles which seemed almost insurmountable. It was this implicit faith in God that made Moses what he was. According to all that the Lord commanded him. But he was to depend upon the invisible Leader. not trusting to their own power.
enjoyed far greater privileges. to all human appearances it was a most hopeless undertaking. Moses became a sanctified channel through which the Lord could work. In their efforts to qualify themselves to be colaborers with God. he did it without stopping to consider what the consequences might be. but an ever-abiding faith. He gave God credit for wisdom to know what He meant and firmness of purpose to mean what He said. although there was nothing ahead for his feet to tread upon. men who will . but the Lord wants men to appreciate the privilege of being laborers together with God. but his faith puts to shame their manifest unbelief. He did not permit himself to make use of his education by showing the unreasonableness of God’s commands. he placed a very low estimate upon his own qualifications to complete successfully the great work which the Lord had given him. God permitted these lonely travels through the wilderness so that they might obtain an experience in enduring hardships. for obtaining a knowledge of God.Examples of Relationship to Authority 201 plish much. an unflinching faith. day by day. a faith that did not fail under the most trying circumstances. At the command of God. but he confided in Him with whom all things are possible. will become a successful workman for the Master of the vineyard. Moses advanced. Thus they are not found bearing. and the impossibility of obeying them. His work is not to wait while His servants go through such wonderfully elaborate preparations as our schools are planning to give. It was not the teachings of the schools of Egypt that enabled Moses to triumph over all his enemies. and that thus they might learn to know and to trust God. Many in our day have had far better opportunities. and so that when they were in peril. No. More than a million people were depending upon him. men frequently place themselves in such positions as will completely disqualify them for the molding and fashioning which the Lord desires to give them. in untried ways. God is not seeking for men of perfect education. When God commanded Moses to do anything. even though it did lead in strange paths. He did not hesitate to change his way for the Lord’s way. the divine similitude. but every man who shows his faith and trust in God by willingly submitting himself to Him. they might know that there was relief and deliverance in God alone. as did Moses. than did Moses. By submitting to God’s discipline. When he started on his commission to deliver the people of God from their bondage. and therefore Moses acted as seeing the Invisible. enduring the divine discipline imposed. and to serve Him with a living faith. but he led them forward step by step.
thus usurping His authority. As the condition of the people began to open to His mind. “Thus saith the Lord. however. .” He would not sanction the mingling of human requirements and divine precepts: From its earliest years the Jewish child was surrounded with the requirements of the rabbis. Men were departing from the Word of God. He therefore is our Example. and our Saviour. But Jesus did not interest Himself in these matters. Jesus had come to teach the meaning of the worship of God. and exalting theories of their own invention. He longs to reveal His salvation to the children of men. but when reproved for His own . and live wholly sanctified to the service of God. They placed human opinions and laws on a level with. 342–346. . our Pattern. If they will not faint at the rebuke of the Lord.” were ever upon His lips. . and God was not in full control of their lives. Christ was in total submission to “It is written” and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. There is no limit to the usefulness of those who put self to one side. and if His chosen people will remove the obstructions. The religious leaders of His day had received delegated authority from God to preserve and promulgate His word. He saw that the requirements of society and the requirements of God were in constant collision. . and He could not sanction the mingling of human requirements with the divine precepts. totally surrendered self. They had not. and even above. He measured everything by a “Thus saith the Lord. He will pour forth the waters of salvation in abundant streams through the human channels. Fundamentals of Christian Education. enduring the necessary discipline imposed by the Lord without complaining or fainting by the way. and the words. . He was in total. . and become hardhearted and stubborn. God’s Word. make room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts. He did not attack the precepts or practices of the learned teachers. From childhood He acted independently of the rabbinical laws. the Lord will teach both young and old. The Scriptures of the Old Testament were His constant study. CHRIST Throughout His life on this earth. continuous submission to divine authority. day by day. hour by hour.202 Authority In God's Church honor Him by rendering implicit obedience to His requirements regardless of previously inculcated theories. Christ acted independently of man-made rules.
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simple habits, He presented the Word of God in justification of His conduct. The Desire of Ages, 84–85.
As our example He seemed to know God’s Word from beginning to end:
They urged Him to receive the maxims and traditions that had been handed down from the ancient rabbis, but He asked for their authority in Holy Writ. He would hear every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; but He could not obey the inventions of men. Jesus seemed to know the Scriptures from beginning to end, and He presented them in their true import. Ibid., 85.
When Christ was confronted by the great usurper himself, in the wilderness, He did not attempt to resist his temptations with human wisdom or reason. His victory over sin resided in the divine authority of “It is written.” “Writhing with humiliation and rage, he [Satan] was forced to withdraw from the presence of the world’s Redeemer.” Ibid., 130 Thus we see that usurped authority is subservient to and must always submit to a “Thus saith the Lord.” PAUL On the road to Damascus, Saul the persecutor of Christ’s church, came face to face with the authority of the church. In regard to that authority he inquired “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” He was directed to Christ’s church for a further knowledge of duty. The church is empowered to serve as a channel of communication of God’s authority—His truth:
Many have the idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent of His acknowledged followers in the world. But this is condemned by Jesus in His teachings and in the examples, the facts, which He has given for our instruction. Here was Paul, one whom Christ was to fit for a most important work, one who was to be a chosen vessel unto Him, brought directly into the presence of Christ; yet He does not teach him the lessons of truth. He arrests his course and convicts him; and when he asks, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” the Saviour does not tell him directly, but places him in connection with His church. They will tell thee what thou must do. Jesus is the sinner’s friend, His heart is ever open, ever touched with human woe; He has all power, both in heaven and
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upon earth; but He respects the means which He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men. He directs Saul to the church, thus acknowledging the power that He has invested in it as a channel of light to the world. It is Christ’s organized body upon the earth, and respect is required to be paid to His ordinances. In the case of Saul, Ananias represents Christ, and he also represents Christ’s ministers upon the earth who are appointed to act in Christ’s stead. Saul was a learned teacher in Israel; but while he is under the influence of blind error and prejudice, Christ reveals Himself to him, and then places him in communication with His church, who are the light of the world. They are to instruct this educated, popular orator, in the Christian religion. In Christ’s stead Ananias touches his eyes that they may receive sight; in Christ’s stead he lays his hands upon him, prays in Christ’s name, and Saul receives the Holy Ghost. All is done in the name and authority of Christ. Christ is the fountain. The church is the channel of communication. Those who boast of personal independence need to be brought into closer relation to Christ by connection with His church upon the earth. Testimonies, vol. 3, 433.
Paul and Barnabas were publicly ordained by the church in order that they would be above challenge. They had both received their commission direct from God. The church acted in harmony with the guidance of the Holy Spirit:
God foresaw the difficulties that His servants would be called to meet; and in order that their work should be above challenge, He instructed the church by revelation to set them apart publicly to the work of the ministry. Their ordination was a public recognition of their divine appointment to bear to the Gentiles the glad tidings of the gospel. Both Paul and Barnabas had already received their commission from God Himself, and the ceremony of the laying on of hands added no new grace or virtual qualification. It was an acknowledged form of designation to an appointed office, and a recognition of one’s authority in that office. By it the seal of the church was set upon the work of God. Gospel Workers, 441–442. The circumstances connected with the separation of Paul and Barnabas by the Holy Spirit to a definite line of service, show clearly that the Lord works through appointed agencies in His organized church. Years before, when the divine purpose
Examples of Relationship to Authority
concerning Paul was first revealed to him by the Saviour Himself, Paul was immediately afterward brought into contact with members of the newly organized church at Damascus. Furthermore, the church at that place was not long left in darkness as to the personal experience of the converted Pharisee. And now, when the divine commission given at that time was to be more fully carried out, the Holy Spirit, again bearing witness concerning Paul as a chosen vessel to bear the gospel to the Gentiles, laid upon the church the work of ordaining him and his fellow laborer. As the leaders of he church in Antioch “ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. Ibid., 443.
There were times when Paul had to stand alone for truth against human opinion. Through his faithfulness to revealed truth he brought freedom to the churches:
The work of the apostle Paul was a wonderful work. The Holy Spirit wrought on his mind, showing him that the gifts of God come straight from God to all who seek Him with a whole heart, the circumcised and the uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, bond, and free. Paul held to His inspired truth, and taught it to others, opposed as he was by the apostles, who ought to have upheld him. He took his position against Peter, who was one of the pillars of the church, and his companion in labor, and against Barnabas, the first one to honor him with the right hand of fellowship, when all his Christian brethren were afraid of him, and questioned and doubted his fitness for the work, because be had persecuted the church. But the Lord had worked for Paul, and had given him increased light. He who had persecuted Christ in the person of His saints was touched and made tender by the Spirit of God. The work done for him by God placed him under the control of God. He realized that he must himself be taught by God, and then firmly resist any approach to bind unnecessary burdens upon the Gentile Christians. Paul’s brethren withstood him. Those whom the Lord had used as His witnesses protested against him, and declared that he was advocating theories that were contrary to the fundamental principles which they had been taught. But Paul firmly held his ground. He had dedicated himself and all his powers, his talents, and his ability, to God, and by God he was taught the truths of the gospel, which are able to make men wise unto salvation. Today those human, living agencies who have a vital con-
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nection with God are not to be reproved and handicapped by the prejudices of their fellow men. The events which concern Christ’s kingdom on this earth are not to be under the control of any human power. The salvation of man is to be achieved. The traditions and maxims of men must not be cherished as golden grains of truth. Paul was compelled to stand alone, looking constantly to God, and obtaining his orders from Him. He was to make no concessions. The burden was heavy, but he brought freedom to the churches. It was no longer considered duty to teach and practice painful rites. Review and Herald, vol. 3, 467 (May 25, 1897).
In his final trip to Jerusalem Paul compromised with the brethren in following human ideas and reasoning, without the approval of the Holy Spirit. This compromise precipitated a crisis leading to a premature separation of Paul from his work:
In the earlier years of the gospel work among the Gentiles some of the leading brethren at Jerusalem, clinging to former prejudices and habits of thought, had not co-operated heartily with Paul and his associates. In their anxiety to preserve a few meaningless forms and ceremonies, they had lost sight of the blessing that would come to them and to the cause they loved, through an effort to unite in one all parts of the Lord’s work. Although desirous of safeguarding the best interests of the Christian church, they had failed to keep step with the advancing providences of God, and in their human wisdom attempted to throw about workers many unnecessary restrictions. Thus there arose a group of men who were unacquainted personally with the changing circumstances and peculiar needs met by laborers in distant fields, yet who insisted that they had the authority to direct their brethren in these fields to follow certain specified methods of labor. They felt as if the work of preaching the gospel should be carried forward in harmony with their opinions. . . .These prejudices strengthened with the passing of the years, until some of the leaders determined that the work of preaching the gospel must henceforth be conducted in accordance with their own ideas. If Paul would conform his methods to certain policies which they advocated they would acknowledge and sustain his work; otherwise they could no longer look upon it with favor or grant it their support. These men had lost sight of the fact that God is the teacher of His people; that every worker in His cause is to obtain an individual experience in following the divine Leader, not looking to man for direct guidance; that His workers are to be molded
they gave him counsel which showed that they still cherished a feeling that Paul should be held largely responsible for the existing prejudice. . even of those who had been doubting. . they would work constantly to counteract his influence. But he was not authorized of God to concede as much as they asked. When we think of Paul’s great desire to be in harmony with his brethren. He felt that if by any reasonable concession he could win them to the truth he would remove a great obstacle to the success of the gospel in other places. . while numbered among those who were in charge of the work at Jerusalem. Paul “declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. But the advice now given was not consistent with that decision. the brother of the Lord. saw Paul’s ministry in a new light and were convinced that their own course had been wrong. Paul realized that so long as many of the leading members of the church at Jerusalem should continue to cherish prejudice against him. . They did not stand nobly in his defense. . After the presentation of the gifts.” They felt that the methods of labor pursued by the apostle bore the signet of Heaven. endeavoring to show the disaffected ones where they were wrong. “When they heard it. by following the course suggested. it was the fruit of cowardice. The men who. not after man’s ideas. the conviction that the blessing of Heaven had accompanied his labors. The brethren hoped that Paul.Examples of Relationship to Authority 207 and fashioned. . But instead of uniting in an effort to do justice to the one who had been injured. might give a decisive contradiction to the false reports concerning him. but after the similitude of the divine. and that at times they had erred in permitting the reports of his enemies to arouse their jealousy and prejudice. had urged that arbitrary measures of control be adopted. they glorified the Lord. This was the golden opportunity for all the leading brethren to confess frankly that God had wrought through Paul. and for James. . The Spirit of God did not prompt this instruction. . They assured him that the decision of the former council concerning the Gentile converts and the ceremonial law still held good. . his reverence for the apostles who had been with Christ. The liberal contributions lying before them added weight to the testimony of the apostle concerning the faithfulness of the new churches established among the Gentiles. his tenderness toward the weak in the faith. but sought to effect a compromise by counseling him to pursue a course which in their opinion would remove all cause for misapprehension.” This recital of facts brought to the hearts of all. and his purpose to become all .
Ellen White attended several camp meetings with Elder A. You know I told you that the people gave an invitation by a rising vote for me to attend the Iowa camp meeting. Iowa. The Acts of the Apostles. she wrote a letter to her son expressing her willingness. but I think they have got a good start at these meetings. She later wrote to the leaders of the Iowa conference about attending their meetings. Jones could go with me to Iowa? We could go without the waiting for these blind shepherds to signify their wishes to have us come. She had a great concern for the people of the Iowa Conference because of the negative attitude of their leaders at the 1888 session. Many of our brethren expect me to attend the Illinois camp meeting. Could not the camp meetings be arranged so that Brother A.T. I am in distress for the poor sheep in Iowa. decided course that he had hitherto followed. If it can be so managed. and resulted in separating him from his brethren. it is less surprising that he was constrained to deviate from the firm.208 Authority In God's Church things to all men so far as he could without sacrificing principle—when we think of all this. At a previous meeting in Des Moines. and bringing sorrow to Christian hearts in every land. depriving the church of one of its strongest pillars. On April 7. because of the great need of the people. where they know nothing of our labor. but because I feel that the poor sheep need the very help that we can give .T. If this can not be arranged. those attending had signified their interest in her being at their camp meeting. to go to the Iowa camp meeting even if not invited by the leaders: Willie. What have they done that they must be left unvisited? The sin of the shepherd should not be visited upon the sheep. I am pained at heart to think of those who are laboring for the churches in Iowa. hastened his predicted sufferings. 400–406. and that we could go elsewhere. ELLEN G. I will go if it can be arranged so that Brother Jones can accompany me. 1899. But instead of accomplishing the desired object. but she never received an invitation from them. please state the same. Jones in an attempt to take the messages direct to the people. I have not thought of this because anyone has proposed it. his efforts for conciliation only precipitated the crisis. WHITE After the 1888 General Conference session in which many of the leading brethren turned from the messages of righteousness by faith. let me know at once.
She was to spend nearly nine years laboring in Australia. “Resolved. 11–18. we find “the rest of the story”—the real reason for her going to Australia: I have not. if her own judgment. then president of the General Conference. and the light she may have in the matter. 4. In November 1891. White personally had not desired to leave America. and she felt that she could probably help more people where there was no negative resistance: As not one word came from Iowa I had no chance to know that there had been any change of their feelings. We should ever seek to use our ability where we can accomplish the most good. Ibid. Mrs.” The Australian Years. it being understood that W.. that we hereby invite her to do so. shall be in accordance with this request. Michigan. White and three assistants. Mrs. where souls feel their need and are willing to be helped. or at least according to guidance from the Lord. Perhaps you may never fully understand the .A. and I decided it could not be my duty to place myself in the atmosphere of resistance and doubt and opposition when there were urgent entreaties for me to attend meetings of those who would receive the testimony given me of God and profit by it because they had not shrouded themselves in an atmosphere of unbelief and proud resistance to the light God had permitted to shine upon them. Olsen. In the end she went to Australia as the brethren had invited.C. 290–291. The invitation stated. (See The Australian Years. White sailed for Australia in company with her son W.C. White shall accompany her on this visit. White went to Australia at the call of the General Conference Foreign Mission Board in a meeting in Battle Creek. Thus it would seem that she went to Australia based on her own decision. but in an 1898 letter written from Australia to Elder Olsen. White 1888 Materials. She had sought direct guidance from the Lord but had received none. vol. presided over by O. I cannot believe it to be the will of my heavenly Father for me to tax my strength and lift burdens when those for whom I labor feel no responsibility to lift with me.Examples of Relationship to Authority them. 4. but feel at liberty to criticize if they think they can do so. I think revealed the entire workings that led me here to Australia. Mrs. vol. 363.) However. The Ellen G. 14. as soon as the coming autumn. 209 It apparently turned out that the dates for the Iowa meetings and the Pennsylvania meetings conflicted.
his mother. and returned. The result is before you. I cannot bear these responsibilities alone. or I dare not stand in this position. I opened my lips to no one. This is the reason I have written you. Had you stood in the right position the move would not have been made at that time. telling you that it was God’s design that we should stand side by side with you. There was so great a willingness to have us leave. I must have you. But when the Lord presented this matter to me as it really was. White. I wrote to you. Those who were weary of the testimonies borne were left without the persons who bore them. but He let you all move after your own imaginings. Elder Olsen had not the perception. for He had set us to stand at the wheels of the moving machinery at Battle Creek. the courage. You were not discerning. nor was there any other man prepared to do the work the Lord had purposed we should do. the great heart of the work. to move with you. you would never have consented to the movements made. Our separation from Battle Creek was to let men have their own will and way. relief was felt by many. and said. He did not reveal that it was His will that I should leave Battle Creek. If even then you had discerned the matter. The Lord was not in our leaving America. because I knew that no one would discern the matter in all its bearings. we would have responded. to advise you. and the Lord was displeased. 1894. the force. Elder Olsen. Such great responsibilities call for the continual counsel . to counsel you. But the Lord reads the hearts of all. But the Lord saw the inward workings of matters. When we left. The Lord did not plan this. and thus you revealed that the Lord’s ways were miscalculated and overlooked. which they thought superior to the way of the Lord. to carry the responsibilities. and her workers remain in America. you were willing to have the strong experience and knowledge that comes from no human source removed from you. This in now in the past. that the Lord permitted this thing to take place. The Lord would have worked for Australia by other means and a strong influence would have been held at Battle Creek. I could not get one ray of light to leave America. but not so much by yourself. and He permitted you to discern that your own strength was not sufficient. but I wrote you in explanation of the letter written to you while we were in Granville. There we should have stood shoulder to shoulder.210 Authority In God's Church matter. We were needed at the heart of the work and had your spiritual perception discerned the true situation.C. It was not the Lord who devised this matter. The Lord would have had W. we would have answered the call. creating a healthful atmosphere to be felt in all our conferences. Had you said.
maybe not so apparent to human eyes but open to the eyes of God who can perceive “what might have been. I thought I ought to tell you. that they may be carried forward in a right way. Because of the moves that have been made. that we should have easy access to these institutions that we might counsel together. and its figures are before you. That the people of Battle Creek should feel that they could have us leave at the time we did. written in 1894. The sum of the matter is proved. I know they would not wish me to do this. And yet I am here in Australia with funds low. and straining every nerve and muscle to establish the work here. for there would be so much work to do there that it would not be wisdom for me to go. was the result of man’s devising. I do not yet feel inclined to go to America. she stated how she usually related to calls from the conference to guidance from the Lord: I have not the slightest inclination to go to Europe or to visit Africa. I am willing to go wherever the Lord indicates my duty. but I am not willing to go at the voice of the Conference unless I see my own way clear to do so.Examples of Relationship to Authority 211 of God. But this counsel was not considered a necessity. The Lord designed that we should be near the publishing houses.” In another letter to Elder Olsen. I shall be seventy years old next November. and I have not one ray of light that I should go. and through their neglect of the Testimonies the brethren were usurping the authority of God in the direction and guidance of His people.. We are here. so that you would . I will remain here for further orders from the Lord to bid me how to move. White went to Australia “guided” by the brethren but without guidance from the Lord. 1622–1624. As a result the work suffered. Through their self-confidence leading them to feel no need for God’s guidance. many publications that should have been issued before this have been retarded. I never expect to visit Africa I desire quietude. and not the Lord’s. The Battle Creek matters have been laid before me at this great distance. Thus Mrs. Ibid. I do not suppose I shall ever revisit America. the great amount of writing that has been necessary in order to communicate with America has hindered this work. and the load I have carried has been very heavy to bear. The Lord permitted her to go because He saw that the brethren wanted their own wills and ways and not the messages He had been sending them through His messenger.
Professor Sutherland. The position they take is not of God. and we will get hold of an attorney and we will get him to draw up the papers and take it to the state authorities and get the institution incorporated. 1986 edition. Professor Magan. The counsels of the Lord through Ellen White can be of great assistance in clarifying how the authority of the church and its organization is to relate to Spirit-led “self-supporting” special ministries of our day: Now I want you to know that I have been shown how this school should be organized. when I do not feel that it is my duty. The Lord did not design that this should be. neither owned or controlled like them. Ellen White was led of the Lord to be instrumental in its establishment. Madison College. Magan Diary as quoted in A Compendium on Outpost Evangelism. MADISON COLLEGE The history of Madison College which operated at Madison.supporting institution is not well known to many present-day church members. During her long years of service to the church she was a board member of only one institution. I knew their situation. James and David Lee. Ibid.212 Authority In God's Church not be thinking I would go. James and David Lee. I want you. The Southern Union Conference is not to own or control you. Take all the donations you can get. 157. 27 as quoted in A Compendium on Outpost Evangelism. Tennessee. Golden Anniversary Album of Madison. The money belongs to the Lord and not to those men. 156. and when many of the leading men in our conferences ignored them. 1986 edition. You cannot turn things over to them. Elder Percy T. to go North and see if you can get enough money to make the first payment on this place [about $5. The circumstances were such that the burden bearers in the Madison school could not bind up their work with the conference. 1263.. for several decades as a Seventh-day Adventist self. I want you. It is not to be organized like our older schools. and I will stay here until we get that done and then I will go to California. organization and operation. because they did not place their school under con- .000] and we will attend to the organization down here. to go with me.
they have worked far beyond their strength. and let the oppressed go free. and in their labors at Madison. amenable to Him. not as men who have had no valuable experience. But under the direction of the Lord they are capable of doing a good work. and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” Isaiah 60:1. to work out His plans. 4–5. They had better remain as led by God. Manuscript Release No. It was presented to me that this was a place where an all-round education . 582. was because special light was given to me that this place was well adapted for the educational work that was most needed there.” I am bidden to say to church members. The world is our field. I was shown that they would not be helped by making themselves amenable to the conference. some of which need never have come into the work. They have not exacted their just dues. Brethren Sutherland and Magan made many sacrifices. and I am bidden to proclaim the message: “Break every yoke. They had many obstacles and difficulties to meet. Let justice now be done. A great mistake has been made in the exercise of human authority in God’s work. shine. The reason these brethren were persuaded to purchase the place now occupied by the Madison school. and they might have been years in advance of where they now are. They might have had a sanitarium and suitable buildings. they were to adapt themselves to the work in Madison. I would say. They will give to the students who come there an education altogether different than what has been given in Washington during the past years. but as men who have in the past accomplished a great and good work. and who have suffered privations for the cause of God. “Arise. They will not only labor to impart an education in book knowledge and manual work. God’s children who feel a burden for the work of the message are to be allowed to work where the Spirit directs them. but they will endeavor to teach the students to do justly. Let God accomplish His work through the agencies that He chooses. In their change from Berrien Springs. there would be a different record. with limited means.Examples of Relationship to Authority 213 ference dictation. for thy light is come. These teachers should be regarded. Had some of their brethren been better able to reason from cause to effect. It was quite a problem with Brethren Sutherland and Magan and their faithful associates as to how. The restrictions by which their hands have been tied are not pleasing to the Lord. and to walk humbly with God. to love mercy. But this matter need not be blazed abroad. The Lord counseled them where to go. Let not a forbidding power be exercised to restrict them in their work. Tennessee.
Our brethren must guard themselves against the repetition of such experiences. Let us seek to understand the situation. Let us be careful. its work might now be in a far more advanced stage of development. The Lord will continue to bless and sustain the workers so long as they follow His counsel. Brethren Magan and Sutherland have been hindered unnecessarily. and this is why I am now compelled to speak so plainly. who have worked beyond their strength. these workers have not failed nor become discouraged. and is leading the teachers who are associated together in bearing the burdens of the work. The Lord does not set limits about His workers in some lines as men are wont to set. If proper aid had been given to the school enterprise at Madison. The work that has been done there is approved of God. But the reasons why this school was not owned and controlled by the conference have not been duly considered. and so delay the sending forth of the gospel message. In their work. and they have been enabled to accomplish a good work in the cause of God. and He forbids that this line of work shall be broken up. it was not placed under the control of the conference. In what has already been accomplished by the Madison school. under great disadvantages. brethren. Brethren Sutherland and Magan are as verily set to do the work of the Lord at Madison as other workers are appointed to do their part in the cause of present truth. In some things the finite planning and devisings of men have worked counter to the work of God. is decidedly wrong. This has been done.214 Authority In God's Church could be given advantageously to students who should come from the North and the South for instruction. and yet. The Lord does not require that the educational work at Madison shall be changed all about before it can receive the hearty support of our people. The light given me is that we should help these brethren and their associates. Means have been withheld from them because in the organization and management of the Madison school. The lack of interest in this work. the Lord is making it manifest that He is blessing the work carried forward there. lest we counterwork and hinder the progress of others. by some who should have valued it highly. These obstacles were not placed there by the Lord. and see that justice and . Many obstacles have been placed in the way of the pioneers at the Madison school of a nature to discourage them and drive them from the field. The work at Madison has made slow advancement. in spite of the obstacles and hindrances.
The Lord’s money is to sustain them in their labors. They should be given a proportionate share of the means that comes in for the furtherance of the cause. compared with the needs and importance of the work. to open up the school work in this place. in order that a small sanitarium may be connected with the school. Let us not leave these men to work under present disadvantages. They have a right to share the means given to the cause. Ellen G. 11. and to perform other useful labor. far beyond their strength. that they erect a chapel and school building. to build houses. Special Testimonies. and the need for trained workers in the South is so great. and have laid plans for such an education as is essential to prepare workers to teach the ignorant. which is of the Lord’s appointment. White Letter to a Conference President: February 5. No. and to explain the Scriptures. More must be done in their behalf by their brethren. and possesses great advantages for school work. Special Testimonies. 11. 1907 Dear Brother. when time is so precious. 30–32. Brethren Sutherland and Magan have worked diligently. 22–23. Shall we allow these workers to be burdened beyond their strength. At the present time they should have five thousand dollars to enable them to provide suitable facilities for the work.Examples of Relationship to Authority 215 mercy are not forgotten in the distribution of funds. carrying forward almost alone a work in which they should receive the hearty co-operation of their brethren? I appeal to our brethren in —— to help in this emergency. Besides the study of books. and should be relieved from the great anxiety that has rested upon them. because of a lack of means with which to do what must be done to provide suitable conditions for a successful school. and still more should be provided. But the leaders in this work are carrying too heavy a burden. The location of the Madison school is excellent. They have worked hard. Series B. . They have endeavored to establish a school that would fit young men and young women to act as missionaries in the Southern field. Series B. The leaders in the work of the Madison school are laborers together with God. and make a liberal gift to the Madison school. So far they have received very little help in this enterprise. I write to ask you to interest yourself in the school at Madison. No. the students are taught to till the soil. Such a building should have been provided for them long ago.
. confusion is likely to result from several persons soliciting donations through the different conferences for various enterprises at the same time. If Brethren Sutherland and Magan have promised not to draw students to their school from the Southern States. It is in God’s order that some shall be of service in one line of work. . and another gift upon another. There is an important work to be carried forward in Nashville and vicinity. White Letter to the Southern Union Conference Committee: February 24. Series B. It will strengthen unity and mutual love. and a decided interest should be manifested in this field. The Lord guided them in the selection of a location for the school.216 Authority In God's Church Ellen G. pride. unless care is taken. I have a message to bear to our people in the Southern field. Had a small sanitarium been established in connection with the school. . and. all working under the self-same Spirit. and these two institutions would have been a mutual help. This has not yet been done. The May 14. but our brethren in Madison need not be discouraged. issue of the Review and Herald contained the follow report: The Council of the General Conference Committee Fourth and Last Report The following action regarding the soliciting of funds for special enterprises was taken: Whereas. God dispenses His gifts as it pleases Him. 26. let there be no restriction laid on the Madison school to limit its work in the field of its operation.— Whereas. The recognition of this plan will be a safeguard against carnal emulation. there are many demands for financial aid in building up institutions in our weaker conferences and mission fields. I would say to our brethren in the Southern field. He bestows one gift upon one. Such a promise should never have been asked or granted. and. and others in other lines. 24. 1907 Dear Brethern. Special Testimonies. there- . No. It is in harmony with the leadings of God’s Spirit that Brethren Sutherland and Magan and their associates have begun a work at Madison. 11. this would have been in the order of God. but all for the good of the whole body. the request is often made that persons representing these enterprises be permitted to solicit donations in our stronger conferences. envy. 1908. or contempt of one another. they should be freed from any such restriction.
and that satisfactory arrangements be made. I can but feel sad. rather than to the placing of yokes upon the necks of God’s servants. And that any person sent out to solicit such donations first receive suitable credentials from the Union Conference from which he comes. I was sorry for the many restrictions. Break every yoke that would prevent the message from going forth with power to the cities. After reading the above reported action. This morning I could not sleep after midnight. The prohibitions that have been bound about the labors of those who would go forth to warn the people in the cities of the soon coming judgments. Let the workers receive their directions from God. with the Union and local Conferences in which he wishes to solicit before he enters upon his work. None are to be hindered from bearing the message of present truth to the world. 162. Representations have been made to me of a work that does not bear the divine credientials. Break every yoke that would hinder or limit the power of the third angel’s message. that the heavenly anointing is not upon them. When the Holy Spirit impresses a believer to do a certain work for God. to the officers of the General Conference: When I read the resolutions published in the Review. they give evidence that they need clearer spiritual eyesight. We have had enough of the spirit of forbidding.— Resolved.Examples of Relationship to Authority 217 fore. Ellen White penned the following in a letter dated May 26. placing so many restrictions upon those who may be sent out to gather funds for the building up of institutions in needy and destitute fields. leave the matter to him and the Lord. When the officers of the General Conference allow such restrictions to be made. for unless the converting grace of God comes into the conferences. The calls that have been made for large liberality. that any special enterprises for which donations are solicited from the people should first receive the sanction of the General Conference and the Union Conference in which such enterprise is undertaken. . 1908. a course will be taken that will bring the displeasure of God upon them. James and David Lee. certified in writing. which have been responded to so nobly by our people. should every one be removed. 1986 edition. should lead to feelings of confidence and gratitude. I awoke bearing this message to our leading men. I am instructed to say to you. Let your requirements ever be dictated by the Holy Spirit of God. A Compendium on Outpost Evangelism.
It is your privilege to work for souls on every occasion. You shall not go to such a place? Let us rather say to those who desire to labor. 160–161. James and David Lee. . but it will also bring in means.218 Authority In God's Church This work of proclaiming the truth in the cities will take means. 1986 edition. A much greater work would have been done if men had not been so zealous to watch and hinder some who sere seeking to obtain means from the people to carry forward the work of the Lord. A Compendium on Outpost Evangelism. Is man to be a dictator to his fellow man? Is he to take responsibility of saying. and to make earnest request to God in their behalf. The Lord’s mercy and love are misrepresented by a policy that would hinder the message of His grace from going to any part of the world.
in a manner to give room for the Holy Ghost to act as Judge. Christ’s ministers are shepherds of the flock. . They surrender their own judgment and will to Him who has sent them. in harmony with the written word. Neither can any man properly represent Christ who surrenders his judgment to his fellow man. and generally remain settled. commences on this wise: “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.” In the case of difference of opinion that arose in some of the primitive churches relative to circumcision and the keeping of the law of Moses. . . the apostles and elders at Jerusalem acted us counselors. or any one whose ministry has been marked with serious imperfections.” And the brethren which were from among the Gentiles in Antioch. or one in authority in the church. and even grave mistakes should exalt his opinion above his brethren. . We wish it distinctly understood that officers were not ordained in the Christian church to order. the bishop. . to be sent out and directed in his ministry. and leaders of the people in a subordinate sense. and “to lord it over God’s heritage. 219 . . The report of that blessed meeting at Jerusalem to settle a festering difficulty. the president. and from the teaching and practices of the early Apostles.219 Appendix A T HE FOLLOWING are excerpts from a four-part series on leadership by James White: In the discussion of the subject of leadership. . And. under the plea that Christ is his leader.” Differences settled in this way frequently seem more than settled. . the minister who submits his ministry to a superior. while those disposed of by the exercise of mere church authority are seldom really settled at all. and turn away his ear from their entreaties and admonitions. or to command the church. attended by the Holy Spirit. on the other hand. we propose to bring out evidence from the words of Christ. . recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Acts. No man can be Christ’s ambassador until he has made a complete surrender of his right to private judgment to Christ. that Christ is the only authorized leader of His people. and Syria and Celicia. “rejoiced for the consolation. Christ leads the Christian church through the ministration of angels. we do not mean that a young minister. But when we say that the ambassador for Christ cannot yield his judgment to any but Christ.
” Our living Head leads the way. Christ never designed that human minds should be molded for Heaven by the influence merely of other human minds. “My sheep hear my voice. and has proved a failure. and all ye are brethren. . and to mold. . James White. and calls His people to follow. the world would have believed. 25. 11. June 4. and again—“that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. . . it must not come in to take the disciple from the hands of the great Teacher.” Between the two extremes we find the grand secret of unity and efficiency in the ministry and in the church of God. and as a protection from imposture. And the reason why it should exist is given in words which may be repeated again. “The head of every man is Christ. 1874. .220 Authority In God's Church cannot in the fullest sense. and I know them. and to secure harmony of action. Christ does not drive His people. July 9. Organization was designed to secure unity of action. It was not the design of God that any system of organization should exist in the Christian church that would take the leadership from Christ. . Signs of the Times. Human creeds cannot produce unity. for the protection of the people of God. but.” His part is to lead. rather. It was never intended as a scourge to compel obedience. The oneness of the Father and the Son is mentioned as the rule of Christian unity for all time. He calls them.” Had the church come up to the standard of unity given in this prayer of our Lord. However important organization may be for the protection of the church. and they follow me. even Christ. Church force cannot press the church into one body. . be Christ’s ambassador. This has been tried. and to stamp His own image upon the heirs of eternal glory. Again we repeat the golden text: “One is your Master.
The following are excerpts from a sermon by A.T. Jones given at the 1901 General Conference Session following a call from the Lord by Mrs. E.G. White for a General Conference reorganization:
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:14–15. Now here is true reorganization, and there is no other: “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” There is reorganization, and there is no other: there is no other way. Any organization that does not come from Jesus Christ is no organization at all. Note that this organization—this reorganization comes from the HEAD. Organization does not come from the members; it comes from the Head. Let me read that again now, and I will read another verse with it. “Speaking the truth in love,”—this body of Christ,—“Speaking the truth in love,”—these members,—“may grow up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ:” from whom?—from Christ—“the whole body“— that is, all the members. “The whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,”—this from the Head,—“maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Then do you not see that this is organization in the church of Christ? All reorganization must come from Christ himself. He can do it; only He can. Turn to Colossians, to the corresponding verse that I call your attention to in connection with this. (Colossians 2:18-19): “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with
Authority In God's Church
the increase of God.” It says, then, that this body is built from the Head; and that those who do not hold the Head are beguiled of their reward. Oh, yes, they humble themselves, and they work, and they pray, and all this thing; but what does it amount to? It is all simply works. And all this is because the Head is not recognized: “Not holding the Head.” So then the body is organized from the Head. The life energy, flowing from the Head to all the members, each member actuated from the Head, each member guided by the will that resides in the head. That is perfection of organization, and the human body is the same. That is the illustration. Here is the human body—many members, but it is all one body, each member of this body of ours which God has given us. . . . You simply cannot have schism in the body which God has organized from the head. So then, since God calls for reorganization, let not a soul here be afraid that there is going to be confusion, or schism, or anything of the kind. There is no danger whatever—except among those who hold not the Head. Who is the church?—Those who look to the Head; those who seek the Head; those who are joined to the Head. Then there is no difference how many members there may be, though we are only one on one side of the earth, and another on the other side of the earth, we two members will move together, and act together, because the Head, Christ Jesus, the Lord, is organizing both, his will actuates both, he is the One who is doing that in both. Then we come to this: There must be reorganization. God calls for it. In this reorganization now, God calls for an additional thing to what he called for before, and that is a change of men. Those other men that God calls for, and whom God will call—let me say that again, whom God will call,—these must come from this company. They must come from ourselves, must come from the church of God somewhere. Then that throws upon you and me, upon each soul of us, the Heaven-sent responsibility that each one of us shall be reorganized from heaven by the direct agency of the Head. Then these coming men must be chosen to places. The Scripture says, has said it all the time. “Look ye out men.” In the looking out of these men, what are we to look for? How are we to look, and how are we to proceed to know the proper man to fill that place? We must ask God to open our eyes, and anoint our eyes with the heavenly eyesalve that we may see the men whom God has already called. That is the true way of “looking out of men.” Nothing short of that can be the looking out of men. These must be men looked out from among us, God has them. He has
prepared them. They are already prepared. He has told us so. Then what are we to do is to ask that our eyes shall be opened, that God shall anoint them with the heavenly eyesalve, so that we shall be able to see and know that there is the man whom God has called to that place, to that work. It can be so. God does not do things in a corner, or under a cover, but openly before the eyes of all. All whose eyes God shall open and anoint, will see. Then this also must be considered; that position, place, never gives authority. Authority qualifies for the place. I will say it again; it must be a watchword for every one in this conference: Position never gives authority. Whomsoever God has called to be the president of the General Conference the next term, when he shall have been chosen, and shall stand before us here elected, will have no more authority than he has right now—and we do not yet know who he is. Place, position, never bestows authority. No authority is derived from the place. But authority that a man already has from God, which God has put upon him, will qualify a man for the place to which God calls him: and if he has not that authority before he enters the place, he has not the authority when he is in the place. The view that place gives authority is precisely the principle of papal infallibility. The pope is not infallible before he is elected. Nobody claims that. He is only a cardinal before he is elected; but as soon as he is elected, then he is infallible; then he is inspired by the Holy Ghost, because he holds His place. That is the Papacy. Christianity is that God clothes men with authority, and whether they have any place or position, or not, it is all right; they have authority, anyhow. Look at it:‘ Jesus Christ was in this world, truly saying, “All power [and that is “all authority” in the Revised Version] is given unto me in heaven and in earth;” and He had no place at all, not so much as to lay His head. He had no position at all. The Pharisees, the priests, the scribes, the lawyers, the hypocrites, had position; they had place; and they could lord it over Him, and set Him before them, and sit in judgment upon Him. Where was their authority?—They had none; and so He told the people: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do,”—because, as they sat in Moses’ seat, they read the words that Moses had written. All right; that is the word of God, but “do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” With Moses in the seat, there was authority from the seat: but with a scribe and a Pharisee in the seat, in the place of Moses,
And if he is in the highest place of responsibility on this earth. Therefore Jesus said: “The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them. only that measure of authority he has wherever he is. all true and right authority in this world. that that word lived in Him. Where was Jesus’ authority. When we shall find a man in this world who has as much of the truth of God as Christ had in Him. And it rested upon the hearts of those men with comfort. And that is the life with which God wishes to clothe every one in this whole assembly and throughout the world. he has no authority. The measure of the truth that a man has.” What do the . when He did not have any position or any place? How could He have authority?—It was in the truth which He preached from God. and so they must put Him out of the world to save our place. All the authority he can ever have in that place is the truth that is in him. of those who heard. because he has all the truth in heaven and earth. which is a part of him. it was with weight that impressively struck the ears. and brought them joy. and rested upon the hearts. that He was but the expression of the word which He spoke: and when the word was spoken.” Precisely. and he is safe. All the world has gone after Him.224 Authority In God's Church there was no authority except from God in the word which the man happened to read. for his place is with Jesus Christ. and the Pharisees who did not have it. and they that are great exercise authority upon them. “he taught them as one having authority. under the wings of the Almighty. everybody knew that what He said was not borrowed. If we do not. the man who serves God. and everybody would know that it was borrowed. we will lose our place. we shall find a man who has all authority in heaven and earth. grew so jealous of Him that they could not stand Him any longer. so far as any connection that they had with it was concerned. but was substance. for it was alone. and not as the scribes. if he has no truth.” And why?—Oh. comes to him through the truth of God which he receives. the man who lives in Jesus Christ. But it shall not be so among you. can never lose his place. and which was altogether independent of him and apart from him. and the people knew it. that it was of Himself. All man’s authority. But when Jesus Christ spoke the same words that the Pharisees and scribes had said. The man who is connected with the Head. But it is said of Jesus: They all “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. All that the scribes could speak was borrowed. Thus Jesus Christ had the authority. and that is the president of the General Conference.
So now I will read the passage over that we have read: “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. It is not my territory. for the work of the ministry for the building up. for the perfecting of the saints. for we are princes of God. though he never have any place). so that no one is greatest. whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Yet speak with authority. It is God’s Conference. Only there lies our authority. and it exercises itself. by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness. and of the knowledge of the Son of God. and that we never exercise authority. not knowing where we are. So. There is no dominion.—that this is my Conference. when he ascended up on high. There is none of that kingly spirit which was described to us. of the body of Christ. but only one is Master. That is the difference between the princes of the world and the princes of God. evangelists. Wherefore he saith. but he must have authority before he is there. Authority qualifies for the place when God calls man to a place. The princes of God have authority.” And he gave some apostles (and he who has the gift of apostleship will have the authority of the apostle. then. and carried about by every wind of doctrine. or reorganizing. tossed to and fro. then. “till we all come in the unity of the faith. Now God has never given to any man in His church authority to exercise authority. the princes of God have authority. and all of us are brethren. and that is enough to suit them. he led captivity captive. So. And when that is done then he has authority. The princes of God.Appendix B 225 princes of the world do?—They exercise authority. to be no more children—that we be no more children. pastors and teachers. the princes of this world exercise dominion. not knowing whether we are on . have true authority but exercise no authority.” Remember that we were called today to put away childish things. Then there is no dominion among the princes of God. let us see that we be organized from the head. some. and some. unto a perfect man. and God takes care of the rest. So we put now another proposition: Place never gives authority. exercise authority. and gave gifts unto men. unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children. It is God’s. So. The princes of the world exercise authority. No. there are no territorial boundaries among the princes of God. exercise authority. Let us see that our authority shall come from God. this is the course of organization. There is no lordship. because the authority is in the truth which we speak. The princes of the world who have no real authority. tossed to and fro.
That is what God proposes to do with us. out of itself to build up itself from the Head. He will use us in joining us together. even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth.226 Authority In God's Church solid ground. Come. can do that. but in knitting it is only one thread. can select a worker here and another there. We are joined—knitted—together. always each stitch holding to all the others. which makes man free. You know in weaving the threads are held side by side. the Head. what set of men. Only Christ. God wants us to build upon the foundation.—not weaving. and across. and fitly join them together? And well it has been expressed that this work of conducting the cause of God is the most delicate in the universe. let us be organized: let us be reorganized. In and in. in and in. “No more children tossed to and fro. with the life of God? Only God can do that. whereby they lie in wait to deceive. and cunning craftiness. the truth. but speaking the truth in love. into the building up of the body itself. 1901 General Conference Daily Bulletin. 40-42. and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. knitting. . and compacted by that which every joint supplies. which is the head. that they shall hold. That is reorganization.” What man. and so makes the increase of the body. and which we know is the truth. but knitting—us together. Then will not we fear though the earth be moved out of her place. That is organization. may grow up into him in all things. because it deals with minds. and carried about with every wind of doctrine. brethren. How can we fitly join together living souls in spirit. by the sleight of men.
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