Church Organization and Gospel Order for Leaders and Gospel Workers

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[Church Organization and Gospel Order for Leaders and Gospel Workers]

Introduction

This short paper is compiled for guidance on simple Gospel Order and Organization. It is my hope and belief that though not exhaustive, it will help with the sketch work for the aforementioned subject. For comprehensive work on this Subject, visit Gospel Sounders Website and download the following Files

 

Organization-1 – Representative form a Church Organization

[https://gospelsoundersministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Organization-1-Representative-form-a-Church-Organization.pdf]

 

Organization-2 – The True Theocratic Organization

[https://gospelsoundersministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Organization-2-The-True-Theocratic-Organization-1.pdf]

 

Organization-3 – Forbid them Not

[https://gospelsoundersministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Organization-3-Forbid-them-Not.pdf]

 

Organization-4 – Why Has Christ not Returned

[https://gospelsoundersministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Organization-4-Why-Has-Christ-not-Returned.pdf]

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction. 1

Table of Contents. 2

Subject 1: Avoiding two extremes (No order, and Order by human creeds) 3

Subject 2: Does God ordain independent self-working. 23

Subject 3: Early experiences in establishing Gospel order 24

Subject 4: Use of Tithes and offerings. 29

Subject 5: Hovering Ministers. 38

Subject 6: How to build a Place of Worship. 42

Subject 7: Accountability on the part of Faithful Tithers and Offertory Givers. 44

Subject 8: Miscellaneous Statements of Gospel Order and Organization. 45

Subject 1: Avoiding two extremes (No order, and Order by human creeds)

 

SUBMISSION VERSUS CREED POWER AND FORCE

 

“NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph.2:19-22. {1907 JNL, COOD 72.1}

 

After the church has been fitly framed together; that is, after it is properly organized, each person filling his or her appropriate place in the body, its growth is assured by each so following the Lord’s counsel as to retain the continued indwelling of his Spirit. This growth is thus beautifully expressed: “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.” Eph.4:16. Some of the instruction given for developing such growth is found in the following words: “Be kindly affectioned one toward another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” Rom.12:10. “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Eph.5:20, 21. {1907 JNL, COOD 72.2}

 

Demeanor toward Leaders

 

Having stated how all members of the church should care for each other, the apostle proceeds to speak of their demeanor toward the leaders in the work: “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourself unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” 1Peter 5:5. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Heb.13:17. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” 1Tim.5:17. To all the flock instruction is given, showing how to proceed in case faults appear in members of the flock, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Gal.6:1. {1907 JNL, COOD 72.3}

 

Not to be Proud of Position

 

The apostles seemed to recognize the fact that when that deference and respect due to those who were really acting as “the Lord’s anointed” – filling responsible places in the church – should be shown, there would be a liability, on the part of such (if self in them was not fully surrendered to God), of becoming lifted up with pride, as though they, of themselves, were superior to their brethren. To guard against this they received cautions, of which the following are samples: “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that can not be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Titus 2:7, 8. “Be thou an example to the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. . . . Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” 1Tim.4:12, 16. {1907 JNL, COOD 73.1}

 

A late Testimony says: “He who is chosen to fill the office of elder is not, because of this, to become self-exalted. Let him remember that the office does not make the man, but that before angels and before man he is to honor his office.” – Review, April 26, 1906. {1907 JNL, COOD 73.2}

 

Who Are the Greatest?

 

The apostles saw that with one selected as elder there would be a conflict of self-denial and self. Even among themselves, when personally accompanying Christ, there was a “strife among them which of them should be accounted the greatest.” So in the church, after his ascension, there might be a desire for power with some of those chosen as “overseers” of the church. The first advice in genuine service to God is, “let him deny himself.” We read of Christ’s mission to earth, when acting as our example, that he “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.” {1907 JNL, COOD 74.1}

 

Theudas [Acts 5:36] and Diotrephes [# John 1:9]

 

The apostles had a knowledge of the fate of Theudas, who had risen up “boasting himself to be somebody.” What had been seen in Jewish times was just as likely to develop from human hearts in Gentile times. As Paul at Miletus met the elders from Ephesus he said to them, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:29, 30. About thirty years after this, in John’s time, there was a striking manifestation of this self-exalted work, in the domineering course of Diotrephes, of whom John said: “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not [it seems he took the liberty to withhold John’s wholesome epistle from the church]. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” 3 John 9, 10. {1907 JNL, COOD 74.2}

 

The Apostasy Predicted

 

In writing to the church in Thessalonica, Paul called their attention more fully to the manner in which this self-exaltation, and love of power, was to be developed in the apostasy of the church. Speaking of Christ’s second coming and events to precede it, he said: “that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2Thess.2:3, 4. {1907 JNL, COOD 75.1}

 

We see in this case that the outgrowth of self-exaltation was to result in this great apostasy in the church. The exaltation in the individual dethrones God from the heart, bringing the man directly under the dominion of self, sin, and Satan. As predicted in this scripture, the toleration by the church of self-exaltation of the leaders in the church resulted in placing in the temple of God (the church) a head who declared himself as God upon earth to rule the Lord’s people. {1907 JNL, COOD 75.2}

 

The Five Steps of Apostasy

 

In setting up of this “abomination that maketh desolate” (Dan.12:11), we see that five distinct steps were taken:- {1907 JNL, COOD 76.1}

 

  1. Forming a creed, expressing their faith in man-made phrases instead of adhering to the word of the Lord. {1907 JNL, COOD 76.2}

 

  1. Making that man-made creed a test of fellowship, and denouncing all as heretics who would not assent to the exact wording of their creeds. {1907 JNL, COOD 76.3}

 

  1. Making the creed a rule by which all heretics must be tried. Many were thus declared sinners whose faith was more in harmony with the direct statements of the Bible than that of those who decreed against them. {1907 JNL, COOD 76.4}

 

  1. Constituting themselves a tribunal for the trial of heretics, and excluding from their fellowship all who would not assent to their creeds. Not content to debar such from church privileges in this world, they declared them subjects for the lake of fire. {1907 JNL, COOD 76.5}

 

  1. Having thus kindled a hatred in their own hearts against all who did not conform to their creeds, they next invoked and obtained the aid of the civil power to torture, and kill with sword, with hunger, with flame, and with beasts of the earth, those whom they had declared unfit to remain in the world. {1907 JNL, COOD 77.1}

 

Then appeared on the stage of action one class of professed Christians with a head over them, actually declaring that he was “God on earth,” persecuting another class of Christians who were conscientiously following the Lord and his Word, – a class of whom it might be said, in the light in which God views them (as was said, of the ancient worthies), “of whom the world was not worthy.” Heb.11:38. {1907 JNL, COOD 77.2}

 

ANARCHY OR ORDER, WHICH?

 

The course of the churches in circumscribing everything to just the tenor of their creeds, led the mass of those who separated from them to look with disfavor on any form of organization. Even some of their teachers favored such conclusions. The following from the pen of Geo. Storrs, one of the earnest Advent laborers will serve as a sample of that teaching: “Take care that you do not seek to organize another church. No church can be organized by man’s invention but what it becomes Babylon the moment it is organized. The Lord organized his own church by the strong bond of love. Stronger than that can not be made; and when such bonds will not hold together the professed followers of Christ, they cease to be his followers, and drop off from the body as a matter of course.” {1907 JNL, COOD 87.2}

 

An Address of Caution

 

An address, signed by William Miller, Elon Galusha, W. N. Whiting, Apollos Hale, and J. V. Himes, cautioned against the danger of “yielding to a spirit of revenge against the churches on account of their injustice toward us, and of waging an indiscriminate warfare against all such organizations.” This advice was given a few weeks after Elder Storr’s statement against any form of organization. It seemed designed of the Lord to hold the people from assuming too ultra ground on the subject of church order and organization. {1907 JNL, COOD 87.3}

 

While we can recognize the hand of the Lord in bringing out a people by the second angel’s message, free from the power of creeds, and placed in condition where they could search for and accept his truth, this liberty was not a permission to run into anarchy and confusion. It was just as true then that liberty did not mean license, fanaticism, or confusion as in the days of the apostles, when it was said to the Galatians, “Brethren, we have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Gal.5:13. {1907 JNL, COOD 88.1}

 

After the close of the prophetic period, – Oct. 22, 1844 – and until the Adventists should get an understanding of the real event to transpire at the “end of days,” they were like sheep without a shepherd. It could be said of them as in olden time, “There was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” {1907 JNL, COOD 88.3}

 

The Situation after the Seventh Month 1844

 

Elder James White said of the situation in the autumn of 1844, and following: “After the time passed, there was great confusion, and the majority were strongly opposed to any organization, holding that it was inconsistent with the perfect liberty of the gospel! Mrs. White was always opposed to every form of fanaticism, and early announced that some form of organization was necessary to prevent and correct confusion. Few at the present time can appreciate the firmness which was then required to maintain her position against the prevailing anarchy.” – Note in “Supplement to Experience and Views,” page 12. {1907 JNL, COOD 88.4}

 

First-day Adventists in 1849 and Onward

 

The writer [John Norton Loughborough], being privileged to hear the first angel’s message in December, 1843, witnessed to some extent the conflict between the churches and the Adventists, and having united with the latter by baptism in the spring of 1849, has a distinct recollection of the situation among that people from the time of his association with them up to September, 1852, when he heard the third angel’s message, and united with those of this faith. During the three and one-half years of his connection with First-day Adventists he preached the advent doctrine. As a body they were opposed to any form of church organization. No church records were kept, not even a list of members. If a person was sincere in his faith, and was baptized, his name was considered enrolled in the “Lamb’s book of life;” it being held that that “was record enough.” During this period of three and one-half years no mention was made of needing church officers, and no ordination of any kind took place, except that of one preacher, who, in 1851 urged that according to the New Testament plan, those going forth to preach and baptize should be ordained. To some of the leading ministers he mentioned and urged his own ordination. They reluctantly consented to it, but instead of its being a solemn and impressive ceremony before the body of believers, the ministers waited until the congregation had left, when one of the ministers offered a dry, formal prayer. There was no laying on of hands, and no charge was given. {1907 JNL, COOD 89.2}

 

Neither had that people any system of raising money for the support of their work. If any one felt disposed to give to the ministry, he gave to the minister direct. If special fancy was taken to a particular minister, he received many gifts. Another might be just as efficient, perhaps more consecrated, but if retiring in his manner and diffident about pleading his own needs, he might be left to largely support himself by manual labor. {1907 JNL, COOD 90.1}

 

As we “call to remembrance the former days” of relaxed ideas of order which prevailed among the early advent believers, it makes it clearer now why it required years of patient labor and prayerful study to develop and perfect the system of order that now exists among Seventh-day Adventists. {1907 JNL, COOD 90.2}

 

DEVELOPMENT OF ORDER

 

“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: 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.” Eph.4:14-16. {1907 JNL, COOD 91.1}

 

If the growth of the body of Christ – the church – is a growth in “all things,” then in that growth there will be seen a system of order such as is essential for the harmonious development of the church. It may be a matter of interest to note the introduction and practical working of the “order and system” which, in the providence of God, have aided in the successful rise of the third angel’s message. The following, from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White, found in “Christian Education,” published about 1894, states some interesting facts relative to church order:- {1907 JNL, COOD 91.2}

 

The Lord Led in Establishing Order

 

“I am sure the Lord has wrought in the organization that has been perfected, and the fact that there are discouraging features in the work should not be thought a sufficient reason for disorganization. Much light was given to us in reference to the organization of churches, and yet we had a hard battle to fight in perfecting organization; but the victory was gained at last, and now shall the church be disorganized because of indifference, formality, and pride? Shall we go back to disorder because unconsecrated members of the church have placed upon the work the mold of man, and sought to fashion the church to meet a popular standard?” – Pages 135, 136. {1907 JNL, COOD 91.3}

 

The word perfect is used as applying to the system and plan of organization, and not to perfection in the working with those plans, for it clearly states the mold of man had been put upon the work, not because the system of order was imperfect, but because of indifference, formality, and pride, – following a form merely as a form, without the vitalizing power of godliness. {1907 JNL, COOD 92.1}

 

Necessity of Order

 

In a Testimony found in the General Conference Bulletin of Jan. 29, 1892, the same writer says: “It is nearly forty years since organization was introduced among us as a people. I was one of the number who had an experience in establishing it from the first. I know of the difficulties that had to be met, the evils it was designed to correct; and I have watched its influence in connection with the growth of the cause. At an early stage in the work, God gave us special light upon this point; and this light, together with the lessons that experience has taught us, should be carefully considered. {1907 JNL, COOD 92.2}

 

“As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying on the work in new fields, for protecting both the church and ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for other objects, organization was indispensable.” {1907 JNL, COOD 92.3}

 

God Erected the Structure

 

As we “consider the light and experience” in the development of organization, it will lead us to note the difficulties that had to be met, and how the order established met the difficulties. In the Bulletin of 1893, we read still further respecting organization: “All this was missionary work of the highest order. Our work was not sustained by large gifts and legacies: for we had few wealthy men among us. What is the secret of our prosperity? We have moved under the order of the Captain of our salvation. God has blessed our united efforts. The truth has spread and flourished. Institutions have multiplied. The mustard-seed has grown to a great tree. The system of organization has proved a grand success. {1907 JNL, COOD 92.4}

 

“Let none entertain the thought, however, that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study, and many prayers for wisdom, that we know God has answered, to effect this structure. It has been built up by his direction through much sacrifice and conflict. Let none of our brethren be so deceived as to attempt to tear it down, for you will thus bring in a condition of things that you do not dream of. In the name of the Lord, I declare to you that it is to stand, strengthened, established, and settled. {1907 JNL, COOD 93.1}

 

Disorderly Men Not Needed Now

 

From an unpublished Testimony of July, 1894, we quote these words: “Now, just now, is the time when the perils of the last days are thickening around us that we need wise men for counselors, not men who will feel it duty to stir up and create disorder, and who can not possibly give wise counsel, but who can organize and arrange that every stirring up shall bring order out of confusion, and rest and peace in obeying the word of the Lord. Let every man be found in his true place, ready to do some work for the Master, according to his several ability. None should be left to drift to make a vast amount of trouble and confusion.” {1907 JNL, COOD 93.3}

 

Satan a Disorganizer

 

In a Testimony dated Jan. 14, 1894, we read: “O how Satan would rejoice 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 regulation and order. In this way license shall not be given to disorderly elements to control the work at this time. We are living in a time when order, system, and unity of action are most essential. And the truth must bind us together like strong cords in order that no distracted efforts may be witnessed among the workers. If disorderly manifestations appear, we must have discernment to distinguish the spurious from the genuine. Let no messages be proclaimed until they have borne a careful scrutiny in every jot and tittle.” {1907 JNL, COOD 94.1}

 

Again we see that it is the system of organization that is recommended. Disorganization would, of course, tend to throw matters in the condition they were in before the system was established. We see also that the object to be gained by the system of order is that of unity and harmony in carrying forward the work. So the danger pointed out, should we now disorganize, was the apparent danger when organization and a system of working was brought to the attention of this people at the first. {1907 JNL, COOD 94.2}

 

Counsel versus Independence

 

In “Testimonies of the Church,” No. 33, page 62, these words are found: “One point will have to be guarded, and that is individual independence. As soldiers in Christ’s army, there should be concert of action in the various departments of the work.” {1907 JNL, COOD 94.3}

 

“The laborers should counsel together. No one is to strike out on his independent judgment, and work according to his own mind, regardless of the counsel of those connected with him. If we think ourselves sufficient to manage the work of God, and depend for success on our wisdom to plan and execute, we may expect defeats and losses; for they will surely come.” – “Gospel Workers,” page 355. {1907 JNL, COOD 95.1}

 

A Critical Position

 

It can readily be seen that a people who had been thrust out from organized bodies, and placed where each had to think and act for himself, and who had become accustomed to a sort of independence in thought and action, would be in danger of confusion in labor under the third angel’s message, unless some system were established for the promotion of harmony of action. This is the object that was first presented, and which has been kept in view as the different phases of the work have been developed. It is not a plan calculated to prevent people from searching for truth and seeking divine guidance for themselves; but is an arrangement which should promote unity among a multitude of thinkers. {1907 JNL, COOD 95.2}

 

General Conference the Highest Authority

 

The matter of private judgment and union with the body is plainly stated in “Testimony for the Church,” Vol. III, page 492, published in the year 1875: “I have been shown that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man, but when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority God has upon earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered.” {1907 JNL, COOD 95.3}

 

These words are not be understood that a conference of men who were led by human wisdom and had the “mold of men,” was the “highest authority of God on earth.” Nay, verily; for such assemblies have been declared “not the voice of God.” It is rather an assembly of representatives of the work, “gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ” with them (1Cor.5:4, 5), whose decisions are ratified by the Lord. {1907 JNL, COOD 95.4}

 

I am thankful that there is to be a time when the mists will be cleared away. I hope that this time has begun here. We want the mists here to be cleared away. I want to say that from the light given to me by God, there should have been years ago organizations such as are now proposed. When we first met in Conference, it was thought that the General Conference should extend over the whole world. But this is not in God’s order. Conferences must be organized in different localities, and it will be for the health of the different Conferences to have it thus. This does not mean that we are to cut ourselves apart from one another, and be as separate atoms. Every Conference is to touch every other Conference, and be in harmony with every other Conference. God wants us to talk for this, and he wants us to act for this. We are the people of God, who are to be separate from the world. We are to stand as representatives of sacred truth.  {GCB, April 5, 1901 par. 3}

 

“NOW I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1Cor.1:10. This scripture clearly shows the Lord’s desire for unity and harmony among those who give instruction to his people, that they be not themselves instigators of confusion. {1907 JNL, COOD 97.1}

 

Confusion After 1844

 

After the close of the prophetic period in 1844, until the light of the third angel’s message was seen, there was confusion among the believers. This confusion, to some extent, existed until they saw the real “present truth,” and became settled in the belief of it. The Lord was, meanwhile, manifesting the true gift of prophecy in connection with the unfolding light of the third angel’s message. Those who were willing to accept his guidance, now had the privilege of coming into that “unity of the faith” which the true gifts of the Spirit are designed to promote. Eph.4:11-16. {1907 JNL, COOD 97.2}

 

Confusion at Volney, N. Y., in 1848

 

To illustrate the difficulties to be overcome, brought about by the confused ideas of those who had just accepted the Sabbath truth, we refer to the first general gathering of our people in central New York. In August, 1848, they requested Elder and Mrs. White and Elder Joseph Bates to come from Massachusetts to give them instruction in the truths of the message. Concerning this meeting we read that “about thirty-five were present, – all that could be collected in that part of the State. But of this number hardly two were agreed. Some were holding serious errors, and each strenuously urged his own views, declaring that they were according to the Scriptures” – “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. I, page 86. The Lord, through the gift of prophecy, instructed this people respecting the truth in contrast with their errors, and when that series of meetings closed they were a united company. {1907 JNL, COOD 97.3}

 

As to the kind of instruction given at that time to correct prevailing errors and save the ranks from confusion, we read in “Experience and Views,” pages 53, 54, published 1851: “Such subjects as the sanctuary, in connection with the 2300 days, the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, are perfectly calculated to explain the past advent movement and show what our present position is, establish the faith of the doubting, and give certainty to the glorious future. These, I have frequently seen were the principal subjects on which the messengers [ministers] should dwell.” {1907 JNL, COOD 98.1}

 

Cause of the Confusion

 

We read in the same book of the necessity of harmony among the teachers: “Some who have formerly run deep into fanaticism would be the first now to run before God sends them, before they are purified from their past errors: having error mixed with the truth, they would feed the flock of God with it, and if they were suffered to go on, the flock would become sickly, and distraction and death would follow.” – Ibid., page 53. {1907 JNL, COOD 98.2}

 

This being the situation we can readily see that the very first thing “wanting” in establishing “order” among the Seventh-day Adventists was some regulation by which the flock might know who were approved ministers, who – not thus approved – were liable to teach them “pernicious errors.” About the year 1852, the Lord gave the following instruction, which was first published in “Supplement to Experience and Views,” in the summer of 1853:- {1907 JNL, COOD 98.3}

 

“Those men who are not called of God, are generally the very ones that are the most confident that they are so called, and that their labors are very important. They go into the field, and do not generally exert a good influence; yet in some places they have a measure of success, and this leads them and others to think that they are surely called of God. It is not a positive evidence that men are called of God because they have some success; for angels of God are now moving upon the hearts of his honest children to enlighten their understanding as to the present truth, that they may lay hold upon it and live. And even if self-sent men put themselves where God does not put them and profess to be teachers, and souls receive the truth by hearing them talk it, this is no evidence that they are called of God. The souls who receive the truth from them, receive it to be brought into trial and bondage, as they afterward find that these men were not standing in the counsel of God.” – Pages 13, 14. {1907 JNL, COOD 99.1}

 

Church Decides on Teachers

 

“I saw that the church should feel their responsibility, and should look carefully and attentively at the lives, qualifications, and general course of those who profess to be teachers. If unmistakable evidence is not given that God has called them, and the ‘woe’ is upon them if they heed not this call, it is the duty of the church to act, and let it be known that they are not acknowledged as teachers by the church. This is the only course the church can take in order to be clear in this matter; for the burden lies upon them. {1907 JNL, COOD 99.2}

 

“I saw that this door at which the enemy comes in to perplex and trouble the flock can be shut. I inquired of the angel how it could be closed. Said he, ‘The church must flee to God’s word, and become established upon gospel order, which has been overlooked and neglected.’ This is indispensably necessary to bring the church into the unity of the faith.” – Ibid., page 15. {1907 JNL, COOD 99.3}

 

Ordination of Ministers

 

After speaking of how the apostolic church was troubled with false teachers, and of the course they pursued to remedy the difficulty, the Testimony continues in these words: “I saw that we are no more secure from false teachers now than they were in the apostle’s days; and, if we do no more, we should take as special measures as they did to secure the peace, harmony, and union of the flock. We have their example, and should follow it. Brethren of experience and sound minds should assemble, and, following the word of God and the sanction of the Holy Spirit, should, with fervent prayer, lay hands upon those who have given full proof that they have received their commission of God, and set them apart to devote themselves entirely to his work. This act would show the sanction of the church to their going forth as messengers to carry the most solemn message ever given to men.” – Ibid., page 16. {1907 JNL, COOD 100.1}

 

 

 

Present Need of Order

 

Another statement is found in “Supplement to Experience and Views,” page 12, which says: “The Lord has shown that gospel order has been too much feared and neglected. Formality should be shunned: but, in so doing order should not be neglected. There is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon earth, and after his departure, order was strictly observed among his apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing his children into the unity of the faith there is more real need of order than ever before; for, as God unites his children, Satan and his evil angels are busy to prevent this unity and to destroy it.” {1907 JNL, COOD 100.2}

 

Cards of Recommendation

 

By comparing dates, it appears there was two years from the time “Experience and Views” was published until the “Supplement” appeared – from 1851 to 1853. The latter called for action. The delay to act was that all might understand the subject. The fear was the course those would pursue who claimed “freedom to go, with no restraint.” From 1853, the plan adopted was that of giving the ministers who had proved their gift, and were evidently approved of the Lord, and in harmony with all the work, a card recommending them to the fellowship of the Lord’s people everywhere, simply stating that they were approved in the work of the gospel ministry. These cards were dated, and signed by two of the leading ministers, known by our people to be leaders in the work. The one given to the writer, in January, 1853, was signed, “In behalf of the church, – “JAMES WHITE, “JOSEPH BATES, “Leading Ministers.” {1907 JNL, COOD 100.3}

 

Liberty Demanded

 

Of course those who claimed “liberty to do as they pleased,” to “preach what they pleased,” and to “go when and where they pleased,” without “consultation with any one,” failed to get cards of commendation. They, with their sympathizers, drew off and commenced a warfare against those whom they claimed were “depriving them of their liberty.” Knowing that it was the Testimonies that had prompted us as a people to act, to establish “order,” these opponents soon turned their warfare against instruction from that source, claiming that “when they got that gift out of the way, the message would go unrestrained to its ‘loud cry.” {1907 JNL, COOD 101.1}

 

Withdrawal of the Discontented

 

Our people stood faithfully at their work, following the light the Lord had given, leaving the opposers alone, and the result is seen, as given in the Review and Herald of Dec. 6, 1854, where Elder James {1907 JNL, COOD 101.2}

 

White speaks of the situation as follows: “There never has been such strong union as seems to exist with the remnant at the present time, and there seems to be a general waking up to the work of God. The late ‘scourge,’ to which some refer in this number [meaning the opposition party], will prove one of the greatest blessings to the cause. It will put the people of God on their guard in their future course, and free them from some who have been a burden to the cause, and whom they could not reform.” And so with the establishment of point number one in church order, we could see, in one year, the blessed fruit predicted in the union of the flock. {1907 JNL, COOD 102.1}

 

Design of Organization

 

“Organization was designed to secure unity of action, and as a protection from imposture. It was never intended as a scourge to compel obedience, but, rather, for the protection of the people of God. Christ does not drive his people; he calls them. {1907 JNL, COOD 124.3}

 

“Christ never designed that human minds should be molded for heaven by the influence merely of other human minds. ‘The head of every man is Christ.’ His part is to lead, and to mold, and to stamp his own image upon the heirs of eternal glory. However important organization may be for the protection of the church, and to secure harmony of action, it must not come in to take the discipline from the hands of the Master. {1907 JNL, COOD 124.4}

 

“Those who drafted the form of organization adopted by Seventh-day Adventists, labored to incorporate into it, as far as possible, the simplicity of expression and form found in the New Testament. The more of the spirit of the gospel manifested, and the more simple, the more efficient the system. {1907 JNL, COOD 125.1}

 

The Supervision in the Established Order

 

“The General Conference takes the general supervision of the work in all its branches, including State conferences. The State conference takes the supervision of all branches of the work in the State, including the churches in the State. And the church is a body of Christians associated together with the simple covenant to keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. {1907 JNL, COOD 125.2}

 

“The officers of a local church are servants of that church, and not lords, to rule over it with church force. ‘He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.’ Matt.23:11. These officers should set examples of patience, watchfulness, prayer, kindness, and liberality, to the members of the church, and should manifest a good degree of that love to those they serve, exhibited in the life and teachings of our Lord.” {1907 JNL, COOD 125.3}

 

Ministers’ Credentials

 

The Michigan Conference is the session of Oct. 6, 1861, decided that its ministers should carry papers of recognition, consisting of a certificate of ordination, and credentials signed by the chairman and secretary of the conference, which credentials should be renewed annually. {1907 JNL, COOD 125.4}

 

Liberty Pleaders Called Order “Popery”

 

One of the principal claims made by those who warred against organization was that it “abridged their liberty and independence, and that if one stood clear before the Lord that was all the organization needed,” etc. Upon this point, when church order was contested, we read: “Satan well knows that success only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. He deceives even the professed people of God, and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality; that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course. All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery.” – “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. I, page 650. {1907 JNL, COOD 122.1}

 

The Spirit of Independence [MANUSCRIPT READ BEFORE THE DELEGATES AT THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, WASHINGTON, D. C., MAY 30, 1909.]

 

Before leaving Australia, and since coming to this country, I have been instructed that there is a great work to be done in America. Those who were in the work at the beginning are passing away. Only a few of the pioneers of the cause now remain among us. Many of the heavy burdens formerly borne by men of long experience are now falling upon younger men.  {9T 257.1}

 

This transfer of responsibilities to laborers whose experience is more or less limited is attended with some dangers against which we need to guard. The world is filled with strife for the supremacy. The spirit of pulling away from fellow laborers, the spirit of disorganization, is in the very air we breathe. By some, all efforts to establish order are regarded as dangerous–as a restriction of personal liberty, and hence to be feared as popery. These deceived souls regard it a virtue to boast of their freedom to think and act independently. They declare that they will not take any man’s say-so, that they are amenable to no man. 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.  {9T 257.2}

 

Herein lies a grave danger to the prosperity of our work. We must move discreetly, sensibly, in harmony with the judgment of God-fearing counselors; for in this course alone lies our safety and strength. Otherwise God cannot work with us and by us and for us.  {9T 257.3}

 

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.  {9T 257.4}

 

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.  {9T 258.1}

 

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 can not pull apart; they will draw with Christ.  {9T 258.2}

 

Some workers pull with all the power that God has given them, but they have not yet learned that they should not pull alone. Instead of isolating themselves, let them draw in harmony with their fellow laborers. Unless they do this, their activity will work at the wrong time and in the wrong way. They will often work counter to that which God would have done, and thus their work is worse than wasted.  {9T 258.3}

 

An army in battle would become confused and weakened unless all worked in concert. If the soldiers should act out their own impulsive ideas, without reference to each other’s positions and work, they would be a collection of independent atoms; they could not do the work of an organized body. So the soldiers of Christ must act in harmony. They alone must not be cherished. If they do this, the Lord’s people in the place of being in perfect harmony, of one mind, one purpose, and consecrated to one grand object, will find efforts fruitless, their time and capabilities wasted. Union is strength. A few converted souls acting in harmony, acting for one grand purpose, under one head, will achieve victories at every encounter.  {SpM 121.1}

 

Some may say, “I love the Lord, but I can not love my brother as I should.” The brother may have ways that are very trying, he may do things that are unwise; but if his brethren who have had longer experience and a more even, well-balanced judgment, shall refuse to connect with the one who grieves and tries their souls, they reveal that they are not followers of Christ. They make manifest that they do not follow the example of Him who clothes his divinity with humanity that by laying aside his glory and his kingly honor, he might reach humanity. Christ might have remained in heaven, and retained all his outward glory and majesty; but he did not do this. In order to bless humanity with his presence and his example, he came to earth as a man, He came that he might call humanity to unite with him in his work, to become members of the firm in the great plan of salvation. In this work there is no such things 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 which controls their action. And, in order that the Lord’s work may advance healthfully and solidly, his people must draw together.  {SpM 121.2}

 

God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. Success can only attend order and harmonious action. God requires order and system in His work now no less than in the days of Israel. All who are working for Him are to labor intelligently, not in a careless, haphazard manner. He would have his work done with faith and exactness, that He may place the seal of His approval upon it.  {PP 376.1}

 

I am thankful that there is to be a time when the mists will be cleared away. I hope that this time has begun here. We want the mists here to be cleared away. I want to say that from the light given to me by God, there should have been years ago organizations such as are now proposed. When we first met in Conference, it was thought that the General Conference should extend over the whole world. But this is not in God’s order. Conferences must be organized in different localities, and it will be for the health of the different Conferences to have it thus. This does not mean that we are to cut ourselves apart from one another, and be as separate atoms. Every Conference is to touch every other Conference, and be in harmony with every other Conference. God wants us to talk for this, and he wants us to act for this. We are the people of God, who are to be separate from the world. We are to stand as representatives of sacred truth.  {GCB, April 5, 1901 par. 3}

 

August 3, 1861, I was shown that some have feared that our churches would become Babylon if they should organize; but those in central New York have been perfect Babylon, confusion. And now unless the churches are so organized that they can carry out and enforce order, they have nothing to hope for in the future; they must scatter into fragments. Previous teachings have nourished the elements of disunion. A spirit has been cherished to watch and accuse, rather than to build up. If ministers of God would unitedly take their position, and maintain it with decision, there would be a uniting influence among the flock of God. Separating bars would be broken to fragments. Hearts would flow together and unite like drops of water. Then there would be a power and strength in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers far exceeding anything we have yet witnessed.  {1T 270.2}

 

There must be reorganization. Supreme power must not be vested in a group of men connected with a few large institutions. At the General Conference of 1901 the light was given, Divide the General Conference into union conferences. Let there be fewer responsibilities centered on one place. Let the work of printing our publications be divided.  {SpM 302.4}

 

The division of the General Conference into district union conferences was God’s arrangement. In the work of the Lord in these last days there should be no Jerusalem centers, no kingly power. And the work in the different countries is not to be tied up by contracts to the work centering in Battle Creek, for this is not God’s plan. Brethren are to counsel together; for we are just as much under the control of God in one part of the vineyard as in another. Brethren are to be one in heart and soul, even as Christ and the Father are one. Teach this, practice this, that we may be one with Christ in God, all working to build up one another.  {SpM 311.5}

 

Bitterness and Dissension from Satan

 

“Followers of Jesus Christ will not act independently one of another. Our strength must be in God, and it must be husbanded, to be put forth in noble consecrated action. It must not be wasted in meaningless movements. In union there is strength. No strife or variance should exist among the workers. The work is one, superintended by one leader.”. {1907 JNL, COOD 60.1}

 

Again, “Union is strength; division is weakness. When those who believe present truth are united, they exert a telling influence. Satan well understands this. Never was he more determined than now to make of none effect the truth of God, by causing bitterness and dissension among the Lord’s people. The world is against us, the popular churches are against us, the laws of the land will soon be against us. If there was ever a time when the people of God should press together, it is now.” – “Testimonies for the Church,” No. 31, page 232; Vol. V, page 236. All this is in harmony with the words of the psalmist, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Ps.133:1. {1907 JNL, COOD 60.2, 3}

 

“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.”  {1907 JNL, COOD 50.4}

 

The following was published in 1858: “God is leading out a people, not a few separate individuals, here and there, one believing this thing, another that. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly. Some run ahead of the angels that are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead. . . . But some restless spirits do not more than half do up their work. As the angel leads them, they get in haste for something new, and rush on without divine guidance, and thus bring confusion and discord into the ranks. They do not speak or act in harmony with the body.”. {1907 JNL, COOD 115.2}

 

“The Word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body. There have ever been individuals of independent minds, who have claimed that they were right, that God has especially taught, impressed, and led them. Each has a theory of his own, views peculiar to himself, and each claims that his views are in accordance with the Word of God. Each one has a different theory and faith, yet each claims special light from God. These draw away from the body, and each one is a separate church of himself. All these can not be right, yet they all claim to be led of the Lord. The word of inspiration is not yea and nay, but yea and amen in Christ Jesus.” – Ibid., pages 428, 429. {1907 JNL, COOD 51.2}

 

In “Christian Education,” page 50 (1894), we read: “Evil does not result because of organization, but because of making organization everything, and vital godliness of little moment.” {1907 JNL, COOD 141.1}

 

This mode of Satan’s scheming was seen anciently. When the Lord had given the people sacrifices to keep fresh in their minds the offering of Christ that was to be made for them, Satan led them to “trust in the sacrifice and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon him to whom they pointed.” {1907 JNL, COOD 141.2}

 

We read again in “Christian Education,” pages 134, 136, that “when form and machinery take the pre-eminence, and a laborious task is made of carrying on the work that should be done with simplicity, evil will result, and little will be accomplished in proportion to the effort put forth. The object of organization is just the reverse of all this; and should we disorganize, it would be like tearing down that which we have built up. Evil results have been seen, both in the Sabbath-school work and in the missionary society, because of making much of machinery, while vital experience was lost sight of.” {1907 JNL, COOD 141.3}

 

A Form of Organization Order

 

Before pressing forward into new territory, Paul and his companions visited the churches that had been established in Pisidia and the regions round about. “As they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”  {AA 205.4}

 

“Where bodies of believers are brought out on the truth in new places, we would not recommend the immediate formation of a church. In such cases let a leader be appointed (this can perhaps best be done by the evangelist when he raises up the church), and let social meetings be continued till such time as the individuals become thoroughly acquainted with each other, and ascertain with whom they can have fellowship, and who are qualified for the important duties of officers of the church. As to the particular manner of organizing a church, when the proper time comes, we shall be allowed to avail ourselves of the experience of several ministers who have already adopted the following plan, and testify that it works well. {1907 JNL, COOD 126.3}

 

“Let the minister request all those who propose to enter into church order, to stand upon their feet, till it is ascertained whether perfect fellowship exists among them. 1 If it does not, let those between whom the difficulty lies, immediately retire and confer together in order to an understanding. If this can not be arrived at, we know of no other way, but that the accused should remain outside, until the church is prepared to take action in his or her case. It having been ascertained who are prepared to enter into church fellowship, let their names be attached to the following:- {1907 JNL, COOD 126.4}

 

 

 

Church Covenant

 

“We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together as a church, taking the name Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus Christ. {1907 JNL, COOD 127.1}

 

Reception of Members

 

“Let all candidates for admission to the church after its organization, be received by unanimous vote of the church, unless the opposition to their admission comes from those who are at the time subjects of labor or under the censure of the church. {1907 JNL, COOD 132.2}

 

Church Officers

 

“The members being thus enrolled, they are prepared for the election of church officers. The following classes of rulers and officers of the Christian church are brought to view in the New Testament: apostles, evangelists, elders, bishops, pastors, and deacons. These we would divide into two great classes: those who hold their office by virtue of an especial call from God, and those selected by the Church: the former embracing apostles and evangelists; and the latter, elders, bishops, pastors, and deacons. {1907 JNL, COOD 127.2}

 

THE following form of organization, and questions used in organizing the North-side Swedish church in Chicago, has been considered by some of the General Conference Committee as a suggestive form of questioning to be used in organizing a church, and so we introduce it here. {1907 JNL, COOD 174.1}

 

After speaking a few minutes concerning the principles of Seventh-day Adventists, the elder said he would take three persons who were desirous of entering into church fellowship, and question them closely concerning the principles to be recognized in entering into church fellowship, and he desired all the others who wished to enter into the organization to note closely every point, for as they should present their names they would be asked if they endorsed these principles, without, on this occasion, asking each one the separate questions. Three persons were then selected to be questioned, who were to constitute the nucleus, or beginning of the church organization. {1907 JNL, COOD 174.2}

 

The elder then said, “Instead of forming a creed in which is expressed every item of our faith, those entering into church fellowship attach their names to a church covenant which reads as follows: ‘We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together as a church, taking the name Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.’ In a covenant of this character we endorse the entire Bible as a rule of faith, and leave room for the Spirit of God to enlighten us in regard to the truths of his Word, not being bound down by any creed.” {1907 JNL, COOD 174.3}

 

The following questions were asked the three candidates for membership, who answered each question heartily in the affirmative:- {1907 JNL, COOD 174.4}

 

  1. Do you accept the Bible as the rule of your faith and practise? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.1}

 

  1. Will you study to learn the truths of the Word, and practise those truths in your lives? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.2}

 

  1. Do you understand the doctrines taught by the Seventh-day Adventists, and do you believe them? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.3}

 

  1. Have you confessed your sins to God as far as they have been made known to you, and have you on your part, as far as in you lies, tried to make matters right with your fellow men? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.4}

 

  1. Do you claim by faith in Christ that God for Christ’s sake has forgiven our past sins, and that he is yours, and you are his? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.5}

 

  1. Do you recognize the fact that as truly as God claims the seventh part of time as his, so he claims one tenth of all our income as his for the support of his work in advancing the glorious gospel of Christ, and will you faithfully render to his his own – the tithe? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.6}

 

  1. Will you submit to the decisions of the body of the church in matters of church discipline? In other words, will you seek the peace, harmony, and unity of the church, rather than press an individual opinion to cause confusion in the church, which is in harmony with Volume V of the “Testimonies,” page 107? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.7}

 

  1. Will you besides this contribute of your substance as God may prosper you, for the upbuilding of the various branches of his cause? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.8}

 

  1. Will you seek to build up the interests of the church by attendance upon its meetings, ordinances, and adding your influence to extend its work, while the church, on their part, exercise their watch-care over you? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.9}

 

  1. Do you understand the principles of Christian temperance as taught by the Seventh-day Adventists, and will you carry out those principles, abstaining from the use of liquors, tobacco in all its forms, coffee, tea, and swine’s flesh? In short, will you truly study the subject of Bible temperance, and practise it in your life? {1907 JNL, COOD 175.10}

 

  1. In the matter of dress will you follow the Bible rule of plainness of dress (1Tim.2:9; 10; 1Peter 3:3, 4), abstaining from plumes, feathers, banging the hair, and the wearing of gold as ornaments, and “costly array,” as taught it Volume VI, page 97? {1907 JNL, COOD 176.1}

 

  1. Do you believe the Bible doctrine of “Spiritual Gifts,” and do you understand the nature of the gift of prophesy which has been manifested through Sister E. G. White, and which has been connected with the message from its very commencement? And as far as you understand the instructions from that source, are in harmony with them? {1907 JNL, COOD 176.2}

 

  1. You of course recognize all ten of the commandments as spoken from the Lord from Mount Sinai as still binding, and by God’s grace will you keep those commandments, the fourth with the rest, rendering to the Lord as his sacred time the seventh day, by the world called Saturday? {1907 JNL, COOD 176.3}

 

  1. By submission to Christ and his grace, will you seek to grow in grace as well as in the knowledge of his truth? {1907 JNL, COOD 176.4}

 

  1. Have you been immersed (baptized) in the likeness of Christ’s death, and so now walk in the new life, having been raised to the likeness of his resurrection? {1907 JNL, COOD 176.5}

 

  1. Are you three in Christian fellowship with each other, and do you each by uplifted hand accept the other to constitute the nucleus of this church? {1907 JNL, COOD 176.6}

 

At this point each of the three persons were voted upon by the others, and were then declared a church, ready to receive other members. The others one by one were asked to endorse the questions which had been propounded, and were voted in by the first three and others who were accepted. {1907 JNL, COOD 176.7}

 

Letters of Commendation

 

“That the churches in different places may not be imposed upon by false brethren coming into their midst, to whom they are strangers, it seems necessary that brethren moving from place to place, should carry letters of commendation from the church with which they were last connected. As a form of such letter of commendation we suggest the following: ‘This is to certify that ———– ——– is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church of ———–, in good standing, and one whom we can recommend to the brethren where his (or her) lot may be cast. ” ‘By order of the church at ——-. ” ‘——,Church Clerk. ” ‘Dated———, ———.’ {1907 JNL, COOD 132.3}

 

“This step we regard as strictly in accordance with Rom.16:1; 2Cor.3:1. All of which is prayerfully submitted in behalf of the ministers of the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.” {1907 JNL, COOD 133.1}

 

Signed by nine members of the committee. {1907 JNL, COOD 133.2}

Subject 2: Does God ordain independent self-working

 

Please request or download “Order for Gospel Order 4-22 – Church Organization” [http://gospelsoundersministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Gospel-Order-4-22-Church-Organization.pdf]

Subject 3: Early experiences in establishing Gospel order

 

Please request or download “Gospel Order 19-22 – The True Theocratic Organization, A Summary of the Series” [https://gospelsoundersministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Organization-2-The-True-Theocratic-Organization.pdf]

 

DOINGS OF THE BATTLE CREEK CONFERENCE, OCT. 5 & 6, 1861

 

THE Conference convened for business purposes, evening after the Sabbath, Oct. 5, at 6.30 P. M. Elder Joseph Bates was chosen chairman, U. Smith secretary. Meeting opened by prayer by Bro. White. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 148.4}

 

Brn. White, Loughborough, Cornell, and Hull, having consulted together in regard to the business to be brought before the Conference, Bro. White proposed that if the Conference would accept them as a committee to present business to the meeting, they were ready to report. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 148.5}

 

On motion of Bro. Gurney these brethren were accepted as the business committee of the Conference. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 148.6}

 

The First Business: Organization of Churches

The first business presented was the organization of churches. Bro. Loughborough said: I consider it proper and necessary to consider here the organization of churches, as the subject has been agitated among us, especially for the last six months; and in order to bring the matter before the meeting, I move that we consider the proper manner of organizing churches. Seconded by Bro. White. Carried. Bro. White then presented the following resolution: {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 148.7}

 

Resolved, That this Conference recommend the following church covenant: We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together, as a church, taking the name, Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus Christ. Seconded by Bro. Hull. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.1}

 

The vote not being full, Bro. White said: I hope that matters of so much importance will not be passed by without discussion, if any are disposed to question them. Nothing hurt my feelings more than the non-committal position of some at last fall conference. I hope therefore that these subjects will have the benefit of a full and free discussion, and that the sisters will take part in the vote, and that the action may be unanimous. I would be in favor of trying this vote again. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.2}

 

Moved by Bro. Loughborough that we re-consider the last vote. Carried. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.3}

 

Bro. Hull said: I have but very few words to say on this subject. The covenant proposed is very nearly such a one as I have several times written out for churches who were about to organize. The need of some such covenant has been seen and felt. I believe it is according to apostolic custom to have our names signed to something; and this must be something written out. We pledge ourselves only to do one thing, to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. There can be nothing more in Christianity. We pledge ourselves to help each other along in the Christian journey. No one can call this a creed or articles of faith. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.4}

 

BRO. BYINGTON. If we carry out this matter, not only merely covenanting to do, but practically doing it, then it can be said of a truth, Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.5}

 

BRO. WHITE. If there is no one to raise any objections to this step, I have almost a mind to raise some myself, so that the subject may be discussed. Circumstances have driven me to an examination of this subject somewhat, and it is a very clear one to my mind; but perhaps it might be objected to on this ground: It will look like patterning after the churches around us; and what will be the influence? I would like to hear remarks upon this point. It will certainly be doing like those around us; and certain individuals will say that we are following after Babylon; and this may be an objection in their minds. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.6}

 

BRO. LOUGHBOROUGH. It may with equal propriety be said that we are patterning after the churches in building meeting-houses. We call the churches Babylon, not because they covenant together to obey God. I am still of the opinion I advanced sometime since through the Review: The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is, to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And, fifth, to commence persecution against such. I plead that we are not patterning after the churches in any unwarrantable sense, in the step proposed.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.7}

 

BRO. CORNELL. The point in the covenant is to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. I never heard of a people making such a covenant, and hence cannot consider that we are patterning after the churches in such a covenant as that. Again: We have Bible-classes, and Sabbath-schools just like the churches, but no one accuses us of patterning after them in these respects. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.8}

 

BRO. WHITE. I am convinced: not by what the brethren have said: for I was convinced before. I wish to say a word now in favor of the resolution. I prefer that the brethren should be uniform in this thing. This would tend to unity in the church. Let us set a right example here, and let it go out from this meeting. This is one reason why I would vote for this covenant. On the subject of creeds, I agree with Bro. Loughborough. I never weighed the points which he has presented, as I have since I began to examine the subject for myself. In Eph. iv, 11-13, we read, “And he gave some apostles, and some prophets,” etc. Here we have the gifts of the church, presented. Now I take the ground that creeds stand in direct opposition to the gifts. Let us suppose a case: We get up a creed, stating just what we shall believe on this point and the other, and just what we shall do in reference to this thing and that, and say that we will believe the gifts too. But suppose the Lord, through the gifts, should give us some new light that did not harmonize with our creed; then, if we remain true to the gifts, it knocks our creed all over at once. Making a creed is setting the stakes, and barring up the way to all future advancement. God put the gifts into the church for a good and great object; but men who have got up their churches, have shut up the way or have marked out a course for the Almighty. They say virtually that the Lord must not do anything further than what has been marked out in the creed. A creed and the gifts thus stand in direct opposition to each other. Now what is our position as a people? The Bible is our creed. We reject everything in the form of a human creed. We take the Bible and the gifts of the Spirit; embracing the faith that thus the Lord will teach us from time to time. And in this we take a position against the formation of a creed. We are not taking one step, in what we are doing, toward becoming Babylon. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.9}

 

BRO. CORNELL. I think we have many examples in the Scriptures of the people of God entering into a covenant. It is always proper to covenant to do right; and there can be no more appropriate covenant than to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. [Reads 2Chron.xv, 12, and says] Here it seems the people of God were at one time together, and all entering into a covenant to do what the Bible commanded them to do. I think, in the step we propose, we are only entering into a covenant to do what the Lord commands us to do. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.10}

 

BRO. BYINGTON. A covenant I understand is a promise or vow. The Bible requires us to pay our vows unto God. We could not pay them unless we had made them. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.11}

 

BRO. WHITE. The 19th chapter of Exodus shows that there was a covenant entered into between God and the people to keep the commandments of God. God promises that if they would keep his commandments he would be their God; and the people say, All the words that the Lord has spoken will we do. Read also 2Kings xxiii,3. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.12}

 

BRO. LOUGHBOROUGH. The greatest objection that rests in the minds of individuals, I presume, is having this thing set down in writing. I do not know as I ever went into a meeting, but there were some to express the determination to renew their covenant. Now there is the covenant; but to just put that down in writing, seems, in the minds of some, to be Babylon. You see at once that here is where the difficulty lies; for when I state a thing I endorse it; and all the difference there is between that and what we now propose, is that one is set down in writing and the other is not. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.13}

 

The question was called for, and unanimously carried. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.14}

 

The Second Business: Proper Manner of Organizing Churches

The next question being in regard to the proper manner of organizing churches, after some remarks by different individuals, the following resolution was presented by Bro. White: {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.15}

 

Resolved, That we refer this subject to the ministers present, instructing them to hold a Bible class on it, and write an address to the brethren, to be published in the REVIEW. Unanimously adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.16}

 

The Third Business: Organization of Conferences

On this subject the following resolutions were presented by Bro. White: {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.17}

 

Resolved, That we recommend to the churches in the State of Michigan to unite in one Conference, with the name of The Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.18}

 

Resolved, That the conference be composed of ministers and delegates from the churches. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.19}

 

By Bro. Loughborough

Resolved, That the officers of this Conference consist of a Chairman, Clerk, and a standing committee of three. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.21}

 

Resolved, That our present Chairman and Clerk, act as officers of this Conference for the coming year. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.22}

 

By Bro. White

Resolved, That John N. Loughborough, Moses Hull, and M. E. Cornell, be the Conference committee. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.24}

 

Resolved, That the first session of the Michigan State Conference of Seventh-day Adventists be held at Monterey, Mich., Oct. 5-8, 1862. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.25}

 

The Forth Business: Ministers’ papers

On this subject the following was presented by Bro. Cornell: {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.26}

 

Resolved, That our ministers’ papers consist of a certificate of ordination, also credentials to be signed by the Chairman and Clerk of the Conference, which credentials shall be renewed annually. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.27}

 

By Bro. Hull

Resolved, That this Conference give credentials to the ministers of this State who are in good standing. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.29}

  1. Interests of Publishing Association. Resolution presented by Bro. White: {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.30}

 

Whereas, There are heavy debts upon the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, therefore   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.31}

 

Resolved, That we recommend to the brethren scattered abroad to remember in their liberalities the wants of the Association. Adopted.   {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.32}

 

Adjourned to 8 o’clock in the morning. {October 8, 1861 UrSe, ARSH 149.33}

Subject 4: Use of Tithes and offerings

 

Please request or download “Gospel Order 18-22 – Tithes and Offerings its Use” [https://gospelsoundersministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Gospel-Order-18-22-Tithes-and-Offerings-Its-Use.pdf]

 

DANGERS OF WITHHOLDING TITHE AND OFFERINGS

I was shown that the recording angel makes a faithful record of every offering dedicated to God, and put into the treasury, and also of the final result of the means thus bestowed. The eye of God takes cognizance of every farthing devoted to His cause, and of the willingness or reluctance of the giver. The motive in giving is also chronicled. Those self-sacrificing, consecrated ones who render back to God the things that are His, as He requires of them, will be rewarded according to their works. Even though the means thus consecrated be misapplied, so that it does not accomplish the object which the donor had in view,—the glory of God and the salvation of souls,—those who made the sacrifice in sincerity of soul, with an eye single to the glory of God, will not lose their reward. — Testimonies for the Church Volume 2 pages 518, 519 and Christian Service page 221 paragraph 2

 

Tithes and offerings must not be withheld by givers even if they are not in harmony with what the Conference does.–You who have been withholding your means from the cause of God, read the book of Malachi, and see what is spoken there in regard to tithes and offerings. Cannot you see that it is not best under any circumstances to withhold your tithes and offerings because you are not in harmony with everything your brethren do? The tithes and offerings are not the property of any man, but are to be used in doing a certain work for God. Unworthy ministers may receive some of the means thus raised, but dare any one, because of this, withhold from the treasury, and brave the curse of God? I dare not. I pay my tithes gladly and freely, saying, as did David, “Of thine own have we given thee.” A selfish withholding from God will tend to poverty in our own souls. Act your part, my brethren and sisters. God loves you, and He stands at the helm. If the Conference business is not managed according to the order of the Lord, that is the sin of the erring ones. The Lord will not hold you responsible for it, if you do what you can to correct the evil. But do not commit sin yourselves by withholding from God his own property. “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently,” or deceitfully. —Sermon and Talks Volume 2 pages 74, 75 {also Pamphlets page 260 paragraph 2}

 

You who have been withholding your means from the cause of God, read the book of Malachi and see what is spoken there in regard to tithes and offerings. Cannot you see that it is not best under any circumstances to withhold your tithes and offerings because you are not in harmony with everything that your brethren do? The tithes and offerings are not the property of any man, but are to be used in doing a certain work for God. Unworthy ministers may receive some of the means thus raised, but dare anyone, because of this, withhold from the treasury and brave the curse of God? I dare not. I pay my tithe gladly and freely, saying, as did David, “Of Thine own have we given Thee.” A selfish withholding from God will tend to poverty in our own souls. Act your part, my brethren and sisters. God loves you, and He stands at the helm. If the conference business is not managed according to the order of the Lord, that is the sin of the erring one. The Lord will not hold you responsible for it if you do what you can to correct the evil. But do not commit sin yourselves by withholding from the Lord His own property. “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully” or negligently. {2SAT 74.4} When persons declare that they will not pay their tithes because the means is not used as they think it ought to be, will the elder of the church or the minister sympathize with the sinners? Will he aid the enemy in his work? Or will he, as a wise man endued with knowledge, go to work to correct the evil and remove the stumblingblocks? Let those who are dissatisfied state plainly their grievances to the ones who they think have erred instead of talking the matter over with others and thus fanning the flame of discontent. {Sermon and Talks Volume 2 page 75 paragraph 1}

 

And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit…That speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, when ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tithe part of the tithe. {Numbers 18:21-26}

 

My brother, I wish to say to you, Be careful how you move. You are not moving wisely. The least you have to speak about the tithe that has been appropriated to the most needy and the most discouraging field in the world, the more sensible you will be. It has been presented to me for years that my tithe was to be appropriated by myself to aid the white and colored ministers who were neglected and did not receive sufficient properly to support their families. When my attention was called to aged ministers, white or black, it was my special duty to investigate into their necessities and supply their needs. This was to be my special work, and I have done this in a number of cases. No man should give notoriety to the fact that in special cases the tithe is used in that way. In regard to the colored work in the South, that field has been and is still being robbed of the means that should come to the workers in that field…..If there have been cases where our sisters have appropriated their tithe to the support of the ministers working for the colored people in the South, let every man, if he is wise, hold his peace. I have myself appropriated my tithe to the most needy cases brought to my notice. I have been instructed to do this, and as the money is not withheld from the Lord’s treasury, it is not a matter that should be commented upon, for it will necessitate my making known these matters, which I do not desire to do, because it is not best. Some cases have been kept before me for years, and I have supplied their needs from the tithe, as God has instructed me to do. And if any person shall say to me, Sister White, will you appropriate my tithe where you know it is most needed, I shall say, Yes, I will; and I have done so… I commend those sisters who have placed their tithe where it is most needed to help to do a work that is being left undone. If this matter is given publicity, it will create a knowledge which would better be left as it is. I do not care to give publicity to this work which the Lord has appointed me to do, and others to do. I send this matter to you so that you shall not make a mistake. Circumstances alter cases. I would not advise that anyone should make a practice of gathering up tithe money. But for years there have now and then been persons who have lost confidence in the appropriation of the tithe, who have placed their tithe in my hands, and said that if I did not take it they would themselves appropriate it to the families of the most needy ministers they could find. I have taken the money, given a receipt for it, and told them how it was appropriated. I write this to you so that you shall keep cool and not become stirred up and give publicity to this matter, lest many more shall follow their example. –Letter 267, 1905, pp. 1, 2. (To Elder Watson, Jan. 22, 1905.) {Manuscript Releases Vol. 2, Page 99 – 100.3}

 

STOREHOUSE AND TREASURY – THE SAME

If all the tithes were brought into the storehouse, God’s treasury would not be empty Pacific Union Recorder October 10, 1901

 

“Bring ye all the TITHES into the store-house, that there may be meat in mine house;” that is, a surplus of MEANS in the treasury, to amply sustain the work of God in its various branches. Review and Herald February 9, 1886, paragraph 18

 

REVENUE OF THE GOSPEL

Voluntary offerings and the tithe constitute the revenue of the gospel. Of the means entrusted to man, God claims a certain portion,—the tithe. He leaves all free to say whether or not they will give more than this. Review and Herald February 2, 1911, Article B, paragraph 14

 

Jesus is the True Storehouse

(T)he Lord Jesus is a never-failing storehouse from which human beings may draw strength and courage. Gospel Workers Page 265

 

Satan outgeneraled them. He was more shrewd than they, and he managed to get their means into his ranks and thus deprive the cause of God of that which should have been used to sustain it in extending the truth and saving souls for whom Christ died. They lost all they had invested, and robbed God of that which they should have rendered to Him. Testimonies for the Church Volume 2 page 665

 

NOTE:  The Storehouse is seen as rendering into God’s Treasury to support the cause of God for the extending of the truth and saving of souls….

 

VINDICATING USE OF TITHES AND OFFERINGS AND HONORING THE NAME OF THE LORD

 

The ELDERS OF OUR CHURCHES AND THE MINISTERS have not been as branches of the Living Vine, drawing nourishment from Christ. They are not rich in spiritual knowledge and heavenly wisdom, but are dry and Christless. Man’s words they speak in the desk may be good in themselves, but they are powerless because the heart of the speaker has not been transformed by grace. The churches would be far better without such elders and ministers. Money is drawn from the Lord’s treasury to support those who are UNCONVERTED and need that one teach them the first principle of the gospel, which is Christ formed within, the hope of glory. When the laborers who are so lacking in spirituality believe in Christ, it will be manifest that they possess the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The words of Paul to the Corinthians should be heeded by all who labor for the Master: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Corinthians 16:13, 14). For the last fifteen years the deplorable condition of the Michigan Conference has from time to time been presented before me. I have felt anguish of soul as I have seen the true state of things. There are dishonest men in our churches; there are licentious men. In this large conference there is declension in the place of constant advancement to a higher, holier standard. And there is little of the proper labor done by ministers in the churches, because many do not carry the burden of the souls for whom they labor. The truth has not sanctified their own hearts. {Sermon and Talks Volume 2 page 73}

 

Those who are truly converted are called to do a work that requires money and consecration. The obligation that binds us to place our names on the church roll holds us responsible to work for God to the utmost of our ability. He calls for undivided service, for the entire devotion of heart, soul, mind, and strength. Christ has brought us into church capacity that He may engage and engross all our capabilities in devoted service for the salvation of souls. Anything short of this is opposition to the work. THERE ARE ONLY TWO PLACES IN THE WORLD WHERE WE CAN DEPOSIT OUR TREASURES–IN GOD’S STOREHOUSE OR IN SATAN’S, AND ALL THAT IS NOT DEVOTED TO CHRIST’S SERVICE IS COUNTED ON SATAN’S SIDE AND GOES TO STRENGTHEN HIS CAUSE. {Testimonies for the Church Volume 6, Page 447 paragraph 2}

 

I have had special instruction from the Lord that the tithe is for a special purpose, consecrated to God to sustain those who minister in the sacred work, as the Lord’s chosen to do His work not only in sermonizing, but in ministering.   They should understand all that this comprehends. Manuscript Releases page 187

 

LIGHT HAS BEEN PLAINLY GIVEN THAT THOSE WHO MINISTER IN OUR SCHOOLS, TEACHING THE WORD OF GOD, EXPLAINING THE SCRIPTURES, EDUCATING THE STUDENTS IN THE THINGS OF GOD, SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY THE TITHE MONEY. This instruction was given long ago, and more recently it has been repeated again and again. Testimonies for the Church Volume 6 page 215

 

Some utterly fail to realize the importance of missionaries’ being also medical missionaries. A gospel minister will be twice as successful in his work if he understands how to treat disease. Continually increasing light has been given me on this subject. SOME, WHO DO NOT SEE THE ADVANTAGE OF EDUCATING THE YOUTH TO BE PHYSICIANS BOTH OF THE MIND AND OF THE BODY, SAY THAT THE TITHE SHOULD NOT BE USED TO SUPPORT MEDICAL MISSIONARIES, WHO DEVOTE THEIR TIME TO TREATING THE SICK. IN RESPONSE TO SUCH STATEMENTS AS THESE, I AM INSTRUCTED TO SAY THAT THE MIND MUST NOT BECOME SO NARROWED DOWN THAT IT CANNOT TAKE IN THE TRUTH OF THE SITUATION. A minister of the gospel who is also a medical missionary, who can cure physical ailments, is a much more efficient worker than one who cannot do this. His work as a minister of the gospel is much more complete…. Medical Ministry page 245

 

The tithe should go to those who labor in word and doctrine, BE THEY MEN OR WOMEN.—Manuscript 149, 1899. Also in Evangelism page 492

 

True Responsibility in Stewardship

The churches must arouse. THE MEMBERS MUST AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP AND BEGIN TO INQUIRE, HOW IS THE MONEY WHICH WE PUT INTO THE TREASURY BEING USED? The Lord desires that a close search be made. Are all satisfied with the history of the work for the past fifteen years? Where is the evidence of the co-working with God?  Kress Collection page 120

 

As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, so there are woes for those who receive and maintain the unsanctified in the position which they cannot fill. If the Spirit of God has not sanctified and made pure and clean the hands and heart of those who minister in sacred things, they will speak according to their own imperfect, deficient experience, and their counsels will lead astray from God those who look to them and trust in their judgment and experience. Testimonies for the Church Volume 2 page 552

 

WHAT IS THE STOREHOUSE

THERE ARE ONLY TWO PLACES IN THE WORLD WHERE WE CAN DEPOSIT OUR TREASURES—IN GOD’S STOREHOUSE OR IN SATAN’S, AND ALL THAT IS NOT DEVOTED TO CHRIST’S SERVICE IS COUNTED ON SATAN’S SIDE AND GOES TO STRENGTHEN HIS CAUSE. Testimonies for the Church Volume 6 page 447

 

DIRECTLY SENT TO WORKER (As ABRAHAM did) –IT IS NOT WITHHELD FROM STOREHOUSE

I HAVE MYSELF APPROPRIATED MY TITHE TO THE MOST NEEDY CASES BROUGHT TO MY NOTICE. I have been instructed to do this, and as the money is not withheld from the Lord’s treasury, it is not a matter that should be commented upon, for it will necessitate my making known these matters, which I do not desire to do, because it is not best. Some cases have been kept before me for years, and I have supplied their needs from the tithe, as God has instructed me to do. And if any person shall say to me, Sister White, will you appropriate my tithe where you know it is most needed, I shall say, Yes, I will; and I have done so. I commend those sisters who have placed their tithe where it is most needed to help to do a work that is being left undone. If this matter is given publicity, it will create a knowledge which would better be left as it is. I do not care to give publicity to this work which the Lord has appointed me to do, and others to do. Manuscript Releases Volume 2 Page 100.

 

DIRECTLY TO WORKERS IN THE WORK

DO NOT WORRY LEST SOME MEANS SHALL GO DIRECT TO THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO DO MISSIONARY WORK IN A QUIET AND EFFECTIVE WAY. ALL THE MEANS IS NOT TO BE HANDLED BY ONE AGENCY OR ORGANIZATION. There is much business to be done conscientiously for the cause of God. Spalding and Magan page 421

 

Help is to be sought from every possible source. THERE ARE MEN WHO CAN DO THE WORK OF SECURING MEANS FOR THE CAUSE, AND WHEN THESE ARE ACTING CONSCIENTIOUSLY AND IN HARMONY WITH THE COUNSELS OF THEIR FELLOW-LABORERS IN THE FIELD WHICH THEY REPRESENT, THE HAND OF RESTRAINT IS NOT TO BE LAID UPON THEM. They are surely laborers together with Him who gave his life for the salvation of souls. Spalding and Magan page 421

 

Brethren Sutherland and Magan should be encouraged to solicit means for the support of their work. It is the privilege of these brethren to receive gifts from any of our people whom the Lord impresses to help. They should have means—God’s means—with which to work. The Madison enterprise has been crippled in the past, but now it must go forward. If this work had been regarded in the right light, and had been given the help it needed, we should long ere this have had a prosperous work at Madison. Our people are to be encouraged to give of their means to this work which is preparing students in a sensible and creditable way to go forth into neglected fields to proclaim the soon coming of Christ. Spalding and Magan page 422

 

TO THOSE IN OUR CONFERENCES WHO HAVE FELT THAT THEY HAD AUTHORITY TO FORBID THE GATHERING OF MEANS IN CERTAIN TERRITORY I NOW SAY: THIS MATTER HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO ME AGAIN AND AGAIN. I NOW BEAR MY TESTIMONY IN THE NAME OF THE LORD TO THOSE WHOM IT CONCERNS. Wherever you are, withhold your forbiddings. The work of God is not to be thus trammeled. God is being faithfully served by these men whom you have been watching and criticizing. They fear and honor the Lord; they are laborers together with Him. God forbids you to put any yokes on the necks of his servants. It is the privilege of these workers to accept gifts or loans that they may invest them to help in doing an important work that greatly needs to be done. This wonderful burden of responsibility which some suppose God has placed upon them with their official position, has never been laid upon them. If men were standing free on the high platform of truth, they would never accept the responsibility to frame rules and regulations that hinder and cramp God’s chosen laborers in their work for the training of missionaries. When they learn the lesson that “All ye are brethren”, and realize that their fellow-workers may know just as well as they how to use in the wisest way the talents and capabilities entrusted to them, they will remove the yokes that are now binding their brethren, and will give them credit for having love for souls and a desire to labor unselfishly to promote the interests of the cause. Spalding and Magan 422

 

You ask me what you shall do in view of the fact that so little help is given to that department of the work in which you are working.  I would say, “Trust it with the Lord. THERE IS A WAY OPENED FOR YOU IN REGARD TO SECURING HELP FOR THE SOUTHERN FIELD. APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE. THIS IS THE ONLY COURSE YOU CAN PURSUE, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.  SEND NO STATEMENT OF THE SITUATION THROUGH OUR RELIGIOUS PAPERS; BECAUSE IT WILL NOT BE HONORED. SEND DIRECT TO THE PEOPLE. GOD’S WAYS ARE NOT TO BE COUNTERWORKED BY MAN’S WAYS. THERE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE MEANS, AND WHO WILL GIVE LARGE AND SMALL SUMS. HAVE THIS MONEY COME DIRECT TO YOUR DESTITUTE PORTION OF THE VINEYARD. The Lord has not specified any regular channel through which means should pass. Spalding and Magan 498

 

“Present to the churches the true state of the long-neglected field, the long-neglected portion of My vineyard. There are hearts that will be touched and will respond. CALL FOR MEANS TO COME DIRECTLY TO THE WORKERS IN THE SOUTHERN FIELD. I will impress hearts.” “These instructions have not been revoked, and are still in force.” Gospel Herald April 1, 1905, Article B, paragraph 2

 

POINT OF CLARITY ON THE MEANS TO BE SENT

Institutions that are God’s instruments to carry forward His work on the earth must be sustained. Churches must be erected, schools established, and publishing houses furnished with facilities for doing a great work in the publication of the truth to be sent to all parts of the world. THESE INSTITUTIONS ARE ORDAINED OF GOD AND SHOULD BE SUSTAINED BY TITHES AND LIBERAL OFFERINGS. As the work enlarges, means will be needed to carry it forward in all its branches. Those who have been converted to the truth and been made partakers of His grace may become co-workers with Christ by making voluntary sacrifices and freewill offerings to Him. And when the members of the church wish in their hearts that there would be no more calls for means, they virtually say that they are content that the cause of God shall not progress. Testimonies for the Churches Volume 4 page 464

 

SELF SUPPORTING WORK

The Lord does not set limits about His workers in some lines as men are wont to set. In their work, Brethren Magan and Sutherland have been hindered unnecessarily. MEANS HAVE BEEN WITHHELD FROM THEM BECAUSE IN THE ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE MADISON SCHOOL, IT WAS NOT PLACED UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE CONFERENCE. But the reasons why this school was not owned and controlled by the conference have not been duly considered. Special Testimonies Series B Number 11 page 31 paragraph 3

 

The Lord has instructed me that, from the first, the work in Huntsville and Madison should have received adequate help. But instead of this help being rendered promptly there has been long delay. And in the matter of the Madison school, THERE HAS BEEN A STANDING OFF FROM THEM BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT UNDER THE OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF SOME CONFERENCE. This is a question that should sometimes be considered, BUT IT IS NOT THE LORD’S PLAN THAT MEANS SHOULD BE WITHHELD FROM MADISON, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT BOUND TO THE CONFERENCE. THE ATTITUDE WHICH SOME OF OUR BRETHREN HAVE ASSUMED TOWARD THIS ENTERPRISE SHOWS THAT IT IS NOT WISE FOR EVERY WORKING AGENCY TO BE UNDER THE DICTATION OF CONFERENCE OFFICERS. THERE ARE SOME ENTERPRISES UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, THAT WILL PRODUCE BETTER RESULTS IF STANDING ALONE. When my advice was asked in reference to the Madison school, I said, Remain as you are. THERE IS DANGER IN BINDING EVERY WORKING AGENCY UNDER THE DICTATION OF THE CONFERENCE. THE LORD DID NOT DESIGN THAT THIS SHOULD BE. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WERE SUCH THAT THE BURDEN BEARERS IN THE MADISON SCHOOL COULD NOT BIND UP THEIR WORK WITH THE CONFERENCE. I KNEW THEIR SITUATION, AND WHEN MANY OF THE LEADING MEN IN OUR CONFERENCES IGNORED THEM, BECAUSE THEY DID NOT PLACE THEIR SCHOOL UNDER CONFERENCE DICTATION, I WAS SHOWN THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE HELPED BY MAKING THEMSELVES AMENABLE TO THE CONFERENCE. THEY HAD BETTER REMAIN AS LED BY GOD, AMENABLE TO HIM, TO WORK OUT HIS PLANS. But this matter need not be blazed abroad. Manuscript Releases Volume 8 page 202.

 

The Lord’s church is composed of living, working agencies, who derive their power to act from the Author and Finisher of their faith. They are to carry forward in harmony the great work resting on them. God has given you your work. BUT HE HAS OTHER INSTRUMENTALITIES, AND TO THEM HE HAS GIVEN THEIR WORK, that all may become, through sanctification of the truth, members of Christ’s body, of His flesh and of His bones. Representing Christ, we act for time and for eternity; and men, even worldly men, take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and have learned of Him. Testimonies for the Church page 174

 

THOUGHT QUESTIONS

Do these statements contradict the oft quoted statement in Testimonies for the Church Volume 9 page 247 “Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work.”

 

Only if taken out of context….notice in the next few paragraphs she clarifies the statement and explains tithe use.

 

“One reasons that the tithe may be applied to school purposes. Still others reason that canvassers and colporteurs should be supported from the tithe. But a great mistake is made when the tithe is drawn from the object for which it is to be used—the support of the ministers.” Testimonies for the Church Volume 9 page 248

 

Can we be true stewards and guiltless while we ignore the Lord’s counsel in regard to tithe and its use?

 

IT WOULD BE POOR POLICY TO SUPPORT FROM THE TREASURY OF GOD THOSE WHO REALLY MAR AND INJURE HIS WORK, AND WHO ARE CONSTANTLY LOWERING THE STANDARD OF CHRISTIANITY.” Testimonies for the Church Volume 3 page 553.

 

“There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who CONSENT TO RECEIVE AND MAINTAIN THE UNSANCTIFIED TO MINISTER TO THEM IN WORD AND DOCTRINE.” Testimonies for the Church Volume 1 pages 261-262.

 

“As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, SO THERE ARE WOES FOR THOSE WHO RECEIVE AND MAINTAIN THE UNSANCTIFIED IN THE POSITION WHICH THEY CANNOT FILL.” Testimonies for the Church Volume 2 page 552.

 

“God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself. EVERY MAN HAS BEEN MADE A STEWARD OF SACRED TRUSTS; EACH IS TO DISCHARGE HIS TRUST ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTION OF THE GIVER; AND BY EACH AN ACCOUNT OF HIS STEWARDSHIP MUST BE RENDERED TO GOD. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO INVEST THIS MEANS OURSELVES.” Testimonies for the Church Volume 7 pages176-177.

 

“Do we individually realize our true position, that as God’s hired servants we are not to bargain away our stewardship? WE HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY BEFORE THE HEAVENLY UNIVERSE, TO ADMINISTER THE TRUST COMMITTED US OF GOD.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers pages 361-362

Subject 5: Hovering Ministers

 

There is need of a great reformation in our ranks. The ministers who are drawing pay from the conference need to ask themselves the question, Am I a faithful worker? Am I a spiritual help to the church? There are those who demand high wages for their labors, but who bring few souls into the truth to stand steadfast and true to its principles. It is time for our ministers to humble their hearts before the Lord, and bear a straight, convincing testimony to the people. It is time for them to labor earnestly to increase the membership of the churches, leading all to a thorough understanding of the truth, for this time. The Lord wants living members in his church, men and women who will encourage one another in faithful service. {SpM 437.3}

 

One of the jobs of the minister is to train the member as he is raising up the church so that when he leaves it in the hands of an elder, it is a strong functioning church. This work should be mostly accomplished before an elder is put in place. This does not negate the fact that ministers will still stop in occasionally to give messages and counsel as well they need a place to worship on Sabbath after all. Hovering takes place after the church has been raised up and organized and the pastor continues to put most of his time in that church as its easy lazy work. The ministers of such time as this have to move in the fields rather than baby-sitting adults who can feed themselves.

 

“An American business man, who was an earnest Christian, in conversation with a fellow worker, remarked that he himself worked for Christ twenty-four hours of the day. “In all my business relations,” he said, “I try to represent my Master. As I have opportunity, I try to win others to Him. All day I am working for Christ. And at night, while I sleep, I have a man working for Him in China.” In explanation, He added: “In my youth I determined to go as a missionary to the heathen. But on the death of my father I had to take up his business in order to provide for the family. Now, instead of going myself, I support a missionary. In such a town of such a province of China, my worker is stationed. And so, even while I sleep, I am, through my representative, still working for Christ.” ….. “Are there not Seventh-day Adventists who will do likewise? Instead of keeping the ministers at work for the churches that already know the truth, let the members of the churches say to these laborers: “Go work for souls that are perishing in darkness. We ourselves will carry forward the services of the church. We will keep up the meetings, and, by abiding in Christ, will maintain spiritual life. We will work for souls that are about us, and we will send our prayers and our gifts to sustain the laborers in more needy and destitute fields.”–Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 29, 30.”

 

As long as churches rely upon laborers from abroad to strengthen and encourage their faith, they will not become strong in themselves. They should be instructed that their strength will increase in proportion to their personal efforts. The more closely the New Testament plan is followed in missionary labor, the more successful will be the efforts put forth.  {GW92 52.3}

 

I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work. The work of a minister is to minister. Our ministers are to work on the gospel plan of ministering. It has been presented to me that all through America there are barren fields. As I traveled through the South on my way to the Conference, I saw city after city that was unworked. What is the matter? The ministers are hovering over churches, which know the truth, while thousands are perishing out of Christ. If the proper instruction were given, if the proper methods were followed, every church member would do his work as a member of the body. He would do Christian missionary work. But the churches are dying, and they want a minister to preach to them. They should be taught to bring a faithful tithe to God, that he may strengthen and bless them. They should be brought into working order, that the breath of God may come to them. They should be taught that unless they can stand alone, without a minister, they need to be converted anew, and baptized anew. They need to be born again.  {GCB, April 12, 1901 par. 21}

 

God has given all something to do. Those who are willing to work in self-denial and self-sacrifice will find their place. But those who seek only a safe and easy place need to be converted. Until their hearts are renewed, their purposes changed, God has no use for them in His work. By an unreserved consecration we are to prepare ourselves for His service. Our ministers are not to hover over the churches, regarding the churches in some particular place as their special care. And our churches should not feel jealous and neglected if they do not receive ministerial labor. They should themselves take up the burden, and labor most earnestly for souls. Believers are to have root in themselves, striking firm root in Christ, that they may bear fruit to His glory. As one man, they are to strive to attain one object,–the saving of souls.  {AUCR, August 1, 1902 par. 7}

 

Upon all who believe, God has placed the burden of raising up churches. The express purpose of the church is to educate men and women to use their intrusted capabilities for the benefit of the world, to employ the means God has lent, for His glory. He has made human beings His stewards. They are to employ His intrusted talents in building up His work and enlarging His kingdom. Our churches, large and small, are not to be treated in such a way that they will be helplessly dependent upon ministerial aid. The members are to be so established in the faith that they will have an intelligent knowledge of true missionary work. They are to follow Christ’s example, ministering to those around them. Faithfully they are to fulfil the vows made at their baptism, the vow that they will practise the lessons taught in the life of Christ. They are to work together to keep alive in the church the principles of self-denial and self-sacrifice, which Christ, His divinity clothed with humanity, followed in His work as a missionary. It is imparting the knowledge of Christ’s love and tenderness that gives efficiency to all missionary operations.  {PUR, August 1, 1901 par. 7}

 

Ye are laborers together with God. Where are the churches? My heart ached when I was in California. There are young men traveling around and around in the churches, but where is the power, where is the power to open the fields for them, and to say, Here we are, not to stay with the people that know the truth, here is a field that knows nothing about it, and this field is to be converted and educated, as far as they will yield to the truth. But the seeds of the truth must be sown. Lift up your heads, for the fields are all ripe with the harvest. But he wanted them to look at it; and he wanted them to see; and he wants everyone of you to see it and to fill your hands full. But these who travel from place to place, and from place to place, to look after the churches, God help you by giving you the spirit of the message, that your souls shall yearn after other souls, and you will not let go until they are converted. This is the work we want to see done, and until that spirit comes in and takes hold of every mind in every conference that they are conducting, that they are elevating the very light that should be elevated,–health reform – that they are elevating by their self-denial and self-sacrifice.  {SpM 168.3}

 

No Settled Pastors

 

We have no settled pastors over our churches; but our ministers are all missionaries, as were the early ministers of Jesus Christ, consequently they are most of their time deprived of the blessings of home. For Christ’s sake, and for the salvation of their fellow-men, they sacrifice the society of dear ones at home, go forth into a cold, selfish world, and wear out their lives in preaching unpopular Bible truth. God bless them! But they must be sustained, and God has made it the duty of the church to support them, as they go on their mission of love. . . While a great work is before the church, the time that remains in which to accomplish it must be short. The last events of prophecy are being fulfilled, and the last warnings for the church are being given. Our ministers must be regarded as very economical in their expenses, and abundant in their labors. Most of them preach from two to three hundred discourses in a year. And it is a painful fact that they often suffer hardships, care and deprivation for want of means.” James White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 9, 1859, page 21

 

The Signs of the Times, a witnessing magazine, was published from 1874 through 1979. In the December 17, 1874 issue, Uriah Smith wrote an article titled “The Seventh-day Adventists. A Brief Sketch of their Origin, Progress, and Principles.” In explaining how the Seventh-day Adventists organized their local churches as they were planted, he wrote “This is exceedingly simple. A body of believers associate together, taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, and attaching their names to a covenant simply to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The Bible is their only creed. A clerk is chosen to keep the records of the church, and an elder, elected by vote of the church, is ordained to look after its spiritual interests. If the church is large, its temporal affairs are assigned to one or more deacons chosen by vote of the church for this purpose. . . None of the churches have pastors established with them. They maintain their worship without the aid of a preacher, only as one may occasionally visit them, leaving the ministers free to devote almost their whole time to carrying these views to those who have never heard upon them.” Uriah Smith, The Signs of the Times, Volume 1, Number 11, December 17, 1874. page 84.

 

In 1886 she wrote, “Do not, my ministering brethren, allow yourselves to be kept at home to serve tables; and do not hover around the churches, preaching to those who are already fully established in the faith. Teach the people to have light in themselves, and not to depend upon the ministers. They should have Christ as their helper, and should educate themselves to help one another, so that the minister can be free to enter new fields. An important work is to be done in the world. New fields are to be opened; and the zeal and the missionary spirit that Christ manifested are greatly needed. Oh that the power of God would set the truth home to every heart! Oh that all might see the necessity of having a living connection with God, and of knowing and doing his will from day to day!” Ellen White, Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists: (Basie: Imprimerie Polyglotte, 1886,) 139.

 

We have not settled our ministers over churches as pastors to any large extent. In some of the very large churches we have elected pastors, but as a rule we have held ourselves ready for field service, evangelistic work and our brethren and sisters have held themselves ready to maintain their church services and carry forward their church work without settled pastors. And I hope this will never cease to be the order of affairs in this denomination; for when we cease our forward movement work and begin to settle over our churches, to stay by them, and do their thinking and their praying and their work that is to be done, then our churches will begin to weaken, and lose their life and spirit, and become paralyzed and fossilized and our work will be on a retreat.” A. G. Daniels, Pacific Union Recorder, Volume 11, Number 01, April 4, 1912, paragraph 2

 

Now when I entered upon the ministry, I never expected to do anything else but preach the message in new fields. I had not the remotest idea of anything else. It never entered into my head nor heart, nor was it a desire. I had one thought, and that was to go out and preach the third angel’s message to people who did not know it. I did not think of anything else for a long time. As any man of any reason would do, I began to study how to do that work most successfully. That led me to study methods of labor, policies, ways of working; and. I will say, brethren, that for a dozen years, or thirteen I think it was, my whole time was spent in what we may call the field work, evangelistic, endeavor. I had no conference responsibilities, nothing in the way of administration. I was just plowing, plowing, plowing, all the time, in new fields.” A. G. Daniels, Pacific Union Recorder, Vol. 11, No. 01, April 4, 1912, paragraph 6

 

“The genius of our work is that we are convert conscious. A woe is upon us if we preach not the gospel. Onward, ever onward, is the overpowering Adventist pre-possession. We cannot settle down, we cannot think in terms of appointing full-time ministers to care for little flocks. Their job is to provide an outreach to lead the people themselves into a witnessing program. They are not to settle down like mother hens over little chicks and warm the people with their presence. They are to teach the people how they can warm their own hearts through experiences in soul-winning work. Nevertheless, elders are to be appointed in every church. Laymen are to be the ones in charge. Delafield, D. A., Letter to Pastor Jere Webb, May 15, 1980, Ellen G. White Estate, Washington, DC.

Subject 6: How to build a Place of Worship

 

In many places where the message has been preached and souls have accepted it, they are in limited circumstances and can do but little toward securing advantages that would give character to the work. Often this renders it difficult to extend the work. As persons become interested in the truth, they are told by the ministers of other churches–and these words are echoed by the church members: “These people have no church, and you have no place of worship. You are a small company, poor and unlearned. In a short time the ministers will go away, and then the interest will die down. Then you will give up all these new ideas which you have received.”  { Testimonies for the Church Volume 6 page 100 paragraph 3}

 

“Some men or councils may say, ‘THAT IS JUST WHAT WE WISH YOU TO DO. THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE WILL TAKE YOUR CAPITAL, AND WILL APPROPRIATE IT FOR THIS VERY OBJECT.’ BUT THE LORD HAS MADE US INDIVIDUALLY HIS STEWARDS. WE EACH HOLD A SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY TO INVEST THIS MEANS OURSELVES. A PORTION IT IS RIGHT TO PLACE IN THE TREASURY TO ADVANCE THE GENERAL INTERESTS OF THE WORK; BUT THE STEWARD OF MEANS WILL NOT BE GUILTLESS BEFORE GOD, UNLESS, SO FAR AS HE IS ABLE TO DO THIS, HE SHALL USE THAT MEANS AS CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL REVEAL THE NECESSITY. We should be ready to help the suffering, and to set in operation plans to advance the truth in various ways. It is not in the province of the Conference or Any Other Organization to relieve us of this stewardship. If you lack wisdom, go to God; ask him for yourself, then work with an eye single to his glory.

 

BY EXERCISING YOUR JUDGMENT, BY GIVING WHERE YOU SEE THERE IS NEED IN ANY LINE OF THE WORK, YOU ARE PUTTING OUT YOUR MONEY TO THE EXCHANGERS. IF YOU SEE IN ANY LOCALITY THAT THE TRUTH IS GAINING A FOOTHOLD, AND THERE IS NO PLACE OF WORSHIP, THEN DO SOMETHING TO MEET THE NECESSITY. BY YOUR OWN ACTION ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO ACT, IN BUILDING A HUMBLE HOUSE FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD. Have an interest in the work in all parts of the field.

 

“While it is not your own property that you are handling yet you are made responsible for its wise investment, for its use or abuse. God does not lay upon you the burden of asking the Conference or any council of men whether you shall use your means as you see fit to advance the work of God in destitute towns and cities, and impoverished localities. If the right plan had been followed, so much means would not have been used in some localities, and so little in other places where the banner of truth has not been raised. We are Not to Merge Our Individuality of Judgment Into Any Institution IN OUR WORLD. We are to look to God for wisdom, as did Daniel.” 1888 MESSAGES pages 1442-1444

 

Wherever a company of believers is raised up, a house of worship should be built. Let not the workers leave the place without accomplishing this.  {Testimonies for the Church Volume 6 page 100 paragraph 2}

 

The house where God is worshiped should be in accordance with His character and majesty. THERE ARE SMALL CHURCHES THAT EVER WILL BE SMALL BECAUSE THEY PLACE THEIR OWN INTERESTS ABOVE THE INTERESTS OF GOD’S CAUSE. WHILE THEY HAVE LARGE, CONVENIENT HOUSES FOR THEMSELVES, AND ARE CONSTANTLY IMPROVING THEIR PREMISES, THEY ARE CONTENT TO HAVE A MOST UNSUITABLE PLACE FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD, WHERE HIS HOLY PRESENCE IS TO DWELL. They wonder that Joseph and Mary were obliged to find shelter in a stable, and that there the Saviour was born; but they are willing to expend upon themselves a large part of their means, WHILE THE HOUSE OF WORSHIP IS SHAMEFULLY NEGLECTED. How often they say: “The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” But the word of the Lord to them is: “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?”  { Testimonies for the Church Volume  5 page 268 paragraph 3}

 

The house where Jesus is to meet with His people should be neat and attractive. If there are but few believers in a place, put up a neat but humble house, and by dedicating it to God invite Jesus to come as your guest. How does He look upon His people when they have every convenience that heart could wish, but are willing to meet for His worship in a barn, some miserable, out-of-the-way building, or some cheap, forsaken apartment? You work for your friends, you expend means to make everything around them as attractive as possible; but Jesus, the One who gave everything for you, even His precious life,–He who is the Majesty of heaven, the King of kings and Lord of lords,–is favored with a place on earth but little better than the stable which was His first home. Shall we not look at these things as God looks at them? Shall we not test our motives and see what kind of faith we possess?  {Testimonies for the Church Volume 5 269 paragraph 1}

 

There are some cases, however, in which a young church may not be able at once to bear the whole burden of erecting a house of worship. In these cases let the brethren in other churches help them. IN SOME CASES IT MAY BE BETTER TO HIRE SOME MONEY THAN NOT TO BUILD. If a man has money, and, after giving what he can, will make a loan, either without interest or at a low rate, it would be right to use the money until the indebtedness can be lifted. But I repeat: If possible, church buildings should be dedicated free of debt.  {Testimonies for the Church Volume 6 page 101 paragraph 2}

 

In localities where believers are few, let two or three churches unite in erecting a humble building for a church school. Let all share the expense. It is high time for Sabbathkeepers to separate their children from worldly associations and place them under the very best teachers, who will make the Bible the foundation of all study. {Testimonies for the Church Volume 6 page 109 paragraph 3}

Subject 7: Accountability on the part of Faithful Tithers and Offertory Givers

 

The churches must arouse. The members must awake out of sleep and begin to inquire, How is the money which we put into the treasury being used? The Lord desires that a close search be made. Are all satisfied with the history of the work for the 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, we turn away from the scene. {The Kress Collection, Page 120 paragraph 3}

 

“Every convert to the truth should be instructed in regard to the Lord’s requirement for tithes and offerings. As churches are raised up, this work must be taken hold of decidedly and carried forward in the spirit of Christ. All that men enjoy, they receive from the Lord’s great firm, and He is pleased to have His heritage enjoy His goods; but all who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel are to acknowledge their dependence upon God and their accountability to Him by returning to the treasury a certain portion as His own. This is to be invested in missionary work in fulfillment of the commission given to His disciples by the Son of God: All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.” Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. {Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, page 447 paragraph 1}

 

THOSE TEACHERS IN THE CHURCH OR IN THE SCHOOL WHO DISTINGUISH THEMSELVES BY THEIR ZEAL IN POLITICS, SHOULD BE RELIEVED OF THEIR WORK AND RESPONSIBILITIES WITHOUT DELAY; FOR THE LORD WILL NOT CO-OPERATE WITH THEM. THE TITHE SHOULD NOT BE USED TO PAY ANY ONE FOR SPEECHIFYING ON POLITICAL QUESTIONS. EVERY TEACHER, MINISTER, OR LEADER IN OUR RANKS WHO IS STIRRED WITH A DESIRE TO VENTILATE HIS OPINIONS ON POLITICAL QUESTIONS, SHOULD BE CONVERTED BY A BELIEF IN THE TRUTH, OR GIVE UP HIS WORK. His influence must tell as a laborer together with God in winning souls to Christ, or his credentials must be taken from him. If he does not change, he will do harm, and only harm…. {Gospel Workers, Page 393 paragraph 1}

Subject 8: Miscellaneous Statements of Gospel Order and Organization

 

ALL FUNDS NOT THROUGH ONE INSTITUTION

 

The matter was laid before me, which I was trying to present before the brethren. There is altogether too much responsibility imparted to a few men in Battle Creek, and these men need the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, else they will lead God’s heritage in false paths. The conferences are watching every move made at the center of the work. The different conferences have been led to look to the leading men at Battle Creek, feeling that no important move can be made without their approval. This tendency has been growing stronger, until it is a serious hindrance to the advancement of the work. This arrangement should never have been. The Lord would have His people under His jurisdiction. They should look to God, inquiring of Him in faith, and follow on to know the working of His providence. The arrangement that all moneys must go through Battle Creek and under the control of the few men in that place is a wrong way of managing. There are altogether too many weighty responsibilities given to a few men, and some do not make God their counselor. What do these men know of the necessities of the work in foreign countries? How can they know how to decide the questions which come to them asking for information? It would require three months for those in foreign countries to receive a response to their questions, even if there was no delay in writing. {Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers pages 320-321}

 

True Gospel Order and what is a Church of God

The Lord has not placed any one of His human agencies under the dictation and control of those who are themselves but erring mortals. He has not placed upon men the power to say, You shall do this, and you shall not do that. But there is a power exercised in Battle Creek that God has not given, and He will judge those who assume this authority. They have somewhat of the same spirit that led Uzzah to lay his hand on the ark to steady it, as though God was not able to care for His sacred symbols. Far less of man’s power and authority should be exercised toward God’s human agencies. Brethren, leave God to rule.  {Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers page 347 paragraph 3}

 

Some of our leading men are inclined to indulge the spirit manifested by the apostle John when he said: “Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.” Organization and discipline are essential, but there is now very great danger of a departure from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. What we need is less dependence upon mere form and ceremony, and far more of the power of true godliness. If their life and character are exemplary, let all work who will, in any capacity. Although they may not conform exactly to your methods, not a word should be spoken to condemn or discourage them. When the Pharisees desired Jesus to silence the children who sang His praise, the Saviour said: “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Prophecy must be fulfilled. So in these days, the work must be done. There are many departments of labor; let everyone act a part as best he can. The man with one talent is not to bury that in the earth. God has given to every man his work according to his ability. Those to whom larger trusts and capabilities have been committed should not endeavor to silence others who are less able or experienced. Men with one talent may reach a class that those with two or five talents cannot approach. Great and small alike are chosen vessels to bear the water of life to thirsting souls. Let not those who preach the word lay their hands upon the humblest worker and say: “You must labor in this channel or not work at all.” Hands off, brethren. Let everyone work in his own sphere, with his own armor on, doing whatever he can do in his humble way. Strengthen his hands in the work. This is no time for pharisaism to control. Let God work through whom He will. The message must go.  {Testimonies for the Church Volume 5 page 461 paragraph 2}

 

It is not in the order of God that any man, or any class of men, should assume that God has made them conscience for their brethren, or put forth their finite hand in a patronizing manner to control the Lord’s delegated workers, thus endangering the safety of the Lord’s heritage as well as their own, and retarding the work of God. God does not confine Himself to one man, or to a set of men, through whom to accomplish His work, but says of all, Ye “are laborers together with God.” This means that every believing soul should have a part to act in His sacred work, and every individual believer in Jesus Christ is to manifest to the world a symbol of Christ’s sufficiency, to represent to His church the higher laws of the future immortal world, and in obedience to the mandates of Heaven that are without a parallel, they should reveal a depth of knowledge independent of human inventions.  {Testimonies to Minsters and Gospel Worker page 208 paragraph 2}

 

The people have lost confidence in those who have the management of the work.  Yet we hear that the voice of the Conference is the voice of God.  Every time I have heard this, I have thought it was almost blasphemy.  The voice of the Conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not, because some in connection with it are not men of faith and prayer, they are not men of elevated principle.  There is not a seeking of God with the whole heart; there is not a realization of the terrible responsibility that rests upon those in this institution to mold and fashion minds after the divine similitude.–Manuscript 37, 1901, p. 8 (April, 1901, Talk by Mrs. E. G. White in the Review Chapel regarding the Southern work). {Christian Leadership page 20 paragraph 4}

 

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, to say to one brother, Do this; to another, Do that; and to another, Be sure to labor in such and such a way. THERE HAVE BEEN PLACES WHERE THE WORKERS HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT IF THEY DID NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTION OF THESE MEN OF RESPONSIBILITY, THEIR PAY FROM THE CONFERENCE WOULD BE WITHHELD.  {Testimonies for Ministers and Gospel Workers page 477 paragraph 2}

 

The true Seventh-day Adventist church is a group of equal sons and daughters of the King of heaven, heirs equal. Church force cannot produce true unity but has caused divisions. And has given rise to sects and parties innumerable. And there are not a few professing Christians who reject church organization on account of the use that has been made of creed and church power. The remedy for these deplorable evils is found in the proper use of simple organization and church order as set forth in the New Testament…. [The] minister who submits his ministry to a superior, a bishop, a president, or one in authority in the church to be sent out and directed in his ministry, cannot in the fullest sense be Christ’s ambassador (James White, “Leadership,” Review and Herald, December 1, 1874).

 

God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.  {Upward Look page 315 paragraph 5}

 

Where two or three are present who love and obey the commandments of God, Jesus there presides, let it be in the desolate place of the earth, in the wilderness, in the city enclosed in prison walls. The glory of God has penetrated the prison walls, flooding with glorious beams of heavenly light the darkest dungeon. His saints may suffer, but their sufferings will, like the apostles of old, spread their faith and win souls to Christ and glorify His holy name. The bitterest opposition expressed by those who hate God’s great moral standard of righteousness should not and will not shake the steadfast soul who trusts fully in God. {Upward Look page 315 paragraph 6}

 

Brethren, if you continue to be as idle, as worldly, as selfish as you have been, God will surely pass you by, and take those who are less self-caring, less ambitious for worldly honor, and who will not hesitate to go, as did their Master, without the camp, bearing the reproach. The work will be given to those who will take it, those who prize it, who weave its principles into their everyday experience. God will choose humble men who are seeking to glorify His name and advance His cause rather than to honor and advance themselves. He will raise up men who have not so much worldly wisdom, but who are connected with Him, and who will seek strength and counsel from above.  {Testimonies for the Church Volume 5 page 461 paragraph 1}

 

BLESSINGS

 

 

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