DATE OF PUBLICATION: 1995
Another look at
Principles that can provide solutions
of the most difficult perceived problems confronting Gods faithful
children at this time is the relation they should sustain to the church.
this is one of the most controversial subjects among historic Advent
believers! In order to arrive at a working solution which will meet with
Gods approval, we need to establish correct premises and then build
upon them. In this paper we will try to do that.
First, we should state an overarching principle, which stands above all others: Obedience to Gods Inspired Writings should stand highest in the attention of Gods people, and in their messages to others, whether in the denomination and out of it. Gods Word, Gods law, the necessity of obedience to both, and the means by which this can be done—this is the special message entrusted to the remnant. It is the Third Angels Message (Revelation 14:12).
present discussion is concerned with church relationship, so we will now
turn our attention to it.
Fundamental to the entire matter is the identity of the church. What is the church?
the word has a variety of meanings, which is part of the reason why there
is so much confusion as to how we should relate to it.
world churches, Babylonian churches, false churches, apostate churches,
counterfeit churches, worldly churches, captive churches, and compromising
churches. There is also a true church.
At this juncture, let us consider more closely the true church:
What is the
true church? This
is another subject for controversy! Yet the answer is not complicated.
church is the church approved by God. This church, Gods church, is
defined in the Spirit of Prophecy as the commandment-keeping people of
God. (See page 10 of this study for Spirit of Prophecy statements.)
That definition should be simple enough. And it is! It is clear and
accurate. Indeed, it is the key to unraveling the whole mystery of the
definition opens to us two other factors, both of which flow out from it:
personal relationship and obedience.
Each person in
the true church has a personal, surrendered relationship with Jesus
Christ. Each person in the true church submits to the authority of Gods
Written Word and is obedient to it. Lacking those two, regardless of the
profession, one is not in the true church.
We need next to see how that definition fits in with other churches we find in the world around us. However, let us first consider a few related definitions. Keep in mind that it is confusion over the word church which underlies much of the controversy. The problem is that humans tend to have chunky languages. The words are like a child's building blocks; many have different definitions etched on each side, with each word representing quite different things. In this study (as the present writer frequently does in his other articles and reports), replacement synonyms which is more narrowed and accurate will be used for the word church. In the following definitions, the replacement words are indicated by italics. (When discussing the church with others, if you will also use them, you will find that your conversations are more intelligible.)
- This is a body of
adherents; that is, people. People, not organizations or buildings! When
speaking about the true church (as in much of this present study), it
refers to the commandment-keeping people of God.
- In this study, the
Seventh-day Adventist Church. Similar phrases are the organization
and the structure.
Catholic Church is a denomination; the people in it are the church.
The organization or structure is not the church, even though it is
commonly called that. Neither are its buildings. It is important that we
maintain a careful distinction in this matter. Religious organizations are
denominations, not churches. In correct, divinely-given terminology, the
church is the people, not the organization. The believers may have an
organization, but the organization is not the people; it is not the
church. Contrary to much popular Adventist opinion, organizations are not
saved or redeemed. Belonging to an organization saves no one. No atonement
was paid on Calvary or is being applied today in the Sanctuary above for
organizations, committee meetings, policy books, office equipment, or
plane trips. It is being made, we are told, for those who are pleading
with God for forgiveness, protection, and help.
A congregation, local church body, local church
is a group of believers in a specific locality which meets for weekly
worship services, and may be a denominationally delegated or controlled
congregation (normally meeting in a denominationally-owned building), or
it may be an independent congregation, not under the control of
- This is the
governing body at the local church, which should be answerable to the
whole body. It is not the church.
building, or worship center
- The place of worship
in which the congregation gathers for worship. A building is not the
- Those in the
denomination exercising authority. They hand down decisions as coming from
the church. Although frequently giving the impression they
are the church, this assumption is erroneous.
Each of the
above is frequently called the church. However, referring to them by
their correct names immediately clears up much of the confusion.
The church voted this last night. They should say the church board
or the constituency voted it.
It is said
You must remain loyal to the church. By this is meant that you
should remain loyal to the organization and its leaders. (Few ever speak
about remaining loyal to our historic beliefs or the Bible-Spirit of
It is easy to
say Let's go to church. Other possibilities would be Let's
worship with the believers, or Let's go to the fellowship
meeting. Meetings, buildings, and worship centers are not churches.
Only the people are.
The church has said this. They really mean a committee, small or
large, said it.
may say, I was baptized into the church, meaning into the
denomination. (What they should say is that they have been baptized into
Christ, who is the head of the church, His people, who are the body.)
Other questions still remain, so let us turn our attention to them:
But did not
Ellen White say that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the true church,
or some such words?
commandment-keeping people of God are the true Seventh-day Adventists.
They alone constitute Gods true church.
are tares in the church; what about them?
of the wheat and the tares is an important one. Throughout human history
there have been both wheat and tares in the church. Yet, according
to the definition found in the Spirit of Prophecy, only the truly obedient
constitute the true church. This would appear to be a puzzle. How can
the church only have the faithful in it, yet contain tares?
There is a
solution. Although the wheat is the true church, Satan has sown tares in
among it. In every gathering there may be tares, but they are not part of
the true church. They may be present and they may even be on the books,
but they are not part of the true church.
then does it say Both wheat and tares are in the church?
It is the
simplest way to say it. The tares cannot be part of Gods approved,
accepted, true church. There can be no question about that. Yet it is too
complicated to say both wheat and tares are in the church, but the
tares are not really accepted by God as part of His true church, even
though they may be on the denominational roles.
If you buy a
bushel of seed wheat, in order to plant a field, some other seeds will
accidentally be included. But it is still a bushel of seed wheat; the
tares in the sack do not count.
expressions are often used by humans, and they are found in Gods Word.
For example, both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy very frequently say
that only the obedient are accepted by God, and only
the obedient will be saved. Although correct, we recognize both are
incomplete statements. They are incomplete, in that they do not explain
the entire process. In human language, we just do not say everything in
each sentence. The mind of the hearer and reader could not bear it.
here is more on this: Only the obedient are be accepted by God, but only
God can make them obedient. They cannot even want God until He prompts
them by His Spirit to come to Him; then prompts them by His Spirit to obey
His Word and even empowers them by the enabling grace of Christ to
render that obedience. In accordance with our willingness, God not only
moves us to seek forgiveness, but gives the strength and desire to obey.
At each step in the redemption process, from beginning to end, God must
initiate and empower. Apart from His help, we can neither come to Him nor
obey Him. Obedience to Gods law by enabling faith in His Son Jesus
Christ is the Third Angels Message. Thank God for this glorious truth!
So there is more to the matter than simply saying, Only the obedient
will be saved. This incomplete thought, while true, could be
interpretated as meaning that one could be saved by obedience, apart from
any connection with or help from God.)
In the same
way, both wheat and tares are in the church. A more complete
statement would be this: The wheat is the church and the tares tag
along. They want to be in the true church, yet are never willing to
submit to the conditions for truly being part of it. So they are never
really in the true church. The requirements are submission to Christ and
obedience to the Word of God by faith in His Son, and that is something
they do not care to do. As a result, the tares cause innumerable problems,
as did the mixed multitude to the Israelites.
But do we
not have to belong to the church in order to be saved?
We have to
belong to Christ in order to be saved, The true church belongs to Christ.
The true church are the faithful. The faithful are not saved by belonging
to the faithful. They are saved by belonging to Christ.
But do we
not have to be on the church books to be saved?
That is papal.
Nowhere in Scripture (Bible or Spirit of Prophecy) do we find such a
But is not
the Seventh-day Adventist Church the true church?
As we already
noted, the true church is composed of the commandment-keeping people of
God. That is the pure wheat which, if they continue faithful, God will
erelong take to heaven. But Satan has planted tares in among the wheat.
Unless the tares are converted, they will be lost.
But is not
the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with its organization, the true church?
If so, its
policy books, committee decisions, current publications, and all the rest
are true church status. It is only people which are in the true
church. The church policies have not been anointed with holy water; only
Gods Word is reliable.
the Seventh-day Adventist Church IS the true church? Your description,
just above, fits it! There are true believers in it and there are false
believers in it.
Think of two
concentric circles; a smaller one inside a larger one. In one are all the
commandment-keeping people of God. In the second, smaller circle are those
commandment-keepers holding membership in the Adventist denomination. Just
because some in the smaller circle are in the true church, does not mean
that those in the larger circle are not. The larger circle includes some
in the smaller circle, plus more elsewhere.
sense, several circles intersect but are not concentric. One circle is the
true church. The others are denominational circles. Those in the other
churches who are faithful commandment-keepers, are also in the true church
So the true
church includes faithful commandment-keepers in the Seventh-day Adventist
denomination, plus more faithful outside of it?
true church is the larger of the two. (Indeed, it also includes all the
faithful in unnumbered worlds above; but they are not in the process of
being redeemed, so we will not discuss them here.)
should I remain in the Adventist denomination? Should I leave; why should
I leave, and, if not, why should I not leave?
intermediate views, there are two primary positions on this matter:
I am convinced that I should remain in the denomination.
I am convinced that I must leave the denomination.
considering each possibility, let us first review several basic
1 - The true
church is the commandment-keeping people of God. Implicit in this truth is
personal relationship and obedience:
2 - Each
person in the true church has a personal, surrendered, direct relationship
with Jesus Christ. It is an individual relationship. It is a direct
3 - Each
person in the true church submits to the authority of Gods Written Word
and is obedient to it.
always a major issue in any discussion of denominational relationship! God
and His Written Word must always be the prior, ultimate authority. Since
the early 1930s, the fellowship test handed to whistleblowers has been
Will you submit to duly authorized church authority? As anticipated,
the faithful generally flunk that requirement, and therefore are
disfellowshiped, because the requirement is unscriptural. The primary
authority is Gods Word, and mindless, absolute submission to church
say-so would place another authority higher than Scripture.
4 - Christ is
the head of the body of the church, and the faithful are members of that
body. Heaven would prefer that the leaders lead and the people follow.
Order and organization are good in their place, and we know there will be
perfect order and organization in heaven. But a problem occurs when
leadership permits or mandates error and worldliness, and reproves the
faithful when they object. Then the higher authority, Christ and His Word,
must be appealed to, defended, and obeyed.
5 - The
primary authority in all meetings and deliberations of the
commandment-keeping people of God is the written, inspired Word, which,
for those who know about it, includes not only the Bible but the Spirit of
Prophecy. To ignore the Spirit of Prophecy, while piously declaring that
the Bible only is to guide our various decisions, is really to
It is an
interesting fact that those among us who reject the Spirit of Prophecy,
generally use the Bible for little more than a take-off for their own
theories and fancies. The precision accuracy of the Spirit of Prophecy is
a standing rebuke to their errors.
fundamental beliefs are to be taught to nonbelievers out of the Bible.
But, among believers, both are crucial to our faith and practice. Why?
Because both are fully inspired, and the Spirit of Prophecy provides one
hundred times as much detailed, Divine guidance.
6 - The
purpose of church association is protection, instruction, and evangelism.
Gathered together, Gods people find fellowship, encouragement, and help
in ministering to others. If a denomination no longer protects its members
from error (or, instead, teaches that error!), then a fundamental reason
for corporate fellowship is greatly weakened.
this, we should note this fact:
people, the church is their local congregation. It is the
only human church on earth that they know. Apart from their family,
it is where they find a great deal of their human fellowship. Yet local
congregations vary greatly on a broad spectrum between Godly to worldly.
In one locality the faithful are happily fellowshiping with likeminded
Christians, while in other areas they are being ejected for their beliefs.
The condition of their local congregation is highly significant to many,
as they try to determine their future status with the entire denomination.
principles involve these: Where is your ministry needed? Where are you
able to help? Where is your encouragement and counsel not wanted?
And there is
yet another factor, not the least in importance: Where are your children
the safest? Where are they spiritually helped?
question is what about their future? What course should you take which
will be for their best good in the years ahead?
from the denomination now may be the best for your children spiritually.
But in future years, what will they do when they grow up? Will they cling
to your faith, because you have carried them with you in thoroughly loving
your faith, or will they go out entirely, with part of the reason being
that they were not in the habit of attending meetings?
In light of all that we have discussed, let us now consider each of two very common viewpoints:
1 - I am
convinced that I should remain in the denomination. or
2 - I am
convinced that I must leave the denomination.
If either is
your conviction, then be certain at each step that you are obeying Gods
Word first and foremost, and not subtly compromising it in order to be
accepted by others, or to conform to human standards, either of the church
or of independents, or your own stubborn will.
to God, and determined to please and obey Him! Maintain continual
study of His Word, and seek in every way to fulfill His plan for your
entire matter carefully:
for the spiritual welfare of your children, spouse, parents, and loved
ones. What can you best do to help them? You have a powerful influence on
others. What should you do for their and your own best spiritual
just go to church as the door turns on its hinges. Is that what you are
doing, or are you trying to earnestly help others at church?
Do they want
your help, or do they now consistently refuse it?
family members best helped by your being there, or by your not being
there? If your children are in youth classes, mother and father, you do
well to be there also. Not necessarily every week, but at least rotating
here and there as you see best. If the mother has only one child, she does
well to help out in that class very frequently or, better yet, all the
But maybe you
would do better to teach your children at home. In that case, as noted
earlier, where will they go when they grow up? These are all weighty
issues to keep in mind.
is certain: Educate
your family as to the issues! Teach the true doctrines and the true
standards. Warn them against the false ones. Win them and carry them with
you in your instruction; do not just command. If all you do is forbid and
command, they may throw out everything later on. Teach them to be
self-reliant and think for themselves, but always, only in relation to
Gods Word. Win them to want your God, and to share in your obedience to
His blessed Writings.
Some find a half-way point which, for some is quite successful. They stay at home once a month, or every other week, and have a feast on Gods Word. The other Sabbaths they attend the meetings where they receive little food (and perhaps are restricted from doing much to help in the main service or the divisions) and occupy themselves with doing what they can to help and bless others.
You might say that I have not told you what to do. It is not my place to tell you that. Only God can give you that counsel. The situation you are in your home and your local congregation will be different than most others. Your personal home experience will be a factor also. You may be entirely alone, and craving some kind of weekly fellowship, even if not much is offered. You may have children with needs which only you alone, in prayer, can decide how best should be met. As you plead with God for help, and earnestly give heed to His holy Word, you will know what to do!
No man can
make the decision for you, just as no man can tell you where you are to
pay your tithes and offerings. These are matters between you and God.
Others can point out principles and issues, but you must decide for
Yet is not the Seventh-day Adventist Church the only gateway to heaven? We must do whatever it takes to remain in it. Otherwise we will be lost!
If you take
that position, you may be lost in it. Obedience to the Word of God
comes first, not enrollment on church books anywhere.
problem with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination is that far too many
members let the leaders carry them gradually into worldliness, while they
meekly refuse to speak up and protest. It is the obedient meek which shall
inherit the earth; not the craven meek.
may find yourself in life, at home, at work, in your local
congregation, stand for the right and let the chips fall where they may!
Refuse to be putty. God needs your help. Come up to the help of the Lord
against the mighty, or you will receive the curse of Meroz.
Well, I see
it differently. I believe everyone must get out of the Adventist
denomination. It is in total apostasy. From top to bottom it is corrupt.
How should we
relate ourselves to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination? There is no
doubt that some must leave, or are forced to leave, not through wrongdoing
on their part. My brethren and sisters, we live in a very difficult time.
Faithful souls are forced to leave, through no fault of their own. Here
are several points to consider:
1 - Is the
Seventh-day Adventist denomination totally corrupt?
is the people. At the present time, not all those in the denomination are
corrupt. But the situation keeps worsening.
First, not all
the members are in total apostasy. Many still love the Lord. We find some
in most every local church body. Unfortunately, we also find many
worldlings there also.
all the leaders are in apostasy. I know of some who are not. You may also.
They are there, but I carefully avoid naming them lest they get in
trouble. They are working quietly where they are, as best as they can,
trying to hold back the tide of worldliness which is steadily rising.
There are faithful pastors and faithful administrators.
Third, not all
the doctrines and standards are corrupt. Oh, yes, gradually they are being
twisted and perverted, yet many are still in place. You will call to mind
a number of them which have not been radically transformed.
it is the Spirit of Prophecy and Bible which keeps correcting the faithful
in the right course, in spite of the worldliness that the liberals urge.
Gods Word is the salt which preserves so much truth in the
denomination. Satan knows that separating the people from the Spirit of
Prophecy will bring darkness faster than anything else. But there are
young people keep growing up who decide to put Scripture first in their
lives. Older people are converted and determine to stand true.
2 - Who is
to decide when a person should leave the denomination?
That is a
matter which each must pray and study through with God. Information can be
presented, but each must decide for himself. Some have to leave. Some are
still able to attend locally and fellowship with other true believers.
Each sincerely does the best he knows.
(1) It is a
very significant fact that the denomination is not static! It keeps
changing, it keeps moving downward.
(2) I believe
we can all agree that we want to be part of the true church, which is
composed of Gods commandment-keeping people. As part of that church,
our first concern must be to study Gods Word, and live in conformity
with it, wherever we may find ourselves. That must be an initial
requirement in associating yourself with any group.
(3) We must
also seek for ways to reach others about us and influence them to want to
unite in the body of Christ. You should be able to win souls wherever you
may find yourself. Fortunately, this is one of the few things men cannot
stop you from doing.
(4) Yet those
who may need your help might still include some in the local congregation.
If you separate from it, are there those you could have helped by
the situation in your local congregation has developed to the point where
no one seems to be helped any more by your presence, and you need to leave
in order to save your loved ones. In Matthew 10, Jesus said, If no one
wants you there, then leave.
obviously difficult times. Only prayer and trust in God can carry you
through it in the best way.
We fully agree
that a massive apostasy is gradually rolling into the denomination. But at
what point can we say that every person in that denomination has passed
the point of no return, that all have committed the unpardonable sin?
throughout this discussion, the matter of people is paramount, not church
On one hand,
church leaders may decree and print a variety of improper statements about
doctrine and standards, but what about the people? Can they still be
Do I stop
attending a congregation because of the decrees of denominational leaders,
or because I can no longer help the members I am able to contact? This too
is a decision each must work through on his own.
But is it not the decrees of leadership which determine when the people in a church are too far in apostasy and efforts should no longer be made to reach them?
In the time of
Paul the leaders of the denomination had officially, and totally rejected
Christ. They had done this in their private meetings and public
statements. They openly disfellowshiped any who accepted Christ as the
Messiah. In fact, they even went so far as to demand His death, and coerce
government authorities to carry it out!
Yet, for a
number of years, Paul kept going to Jewish synagogues. He did this to
reach the people, explain to them the facts in the case, and urge them to
accept the true interpretation of Scripture. He was not trying to save the
denomination, but individuals in it. And he did this after 34 A.D., when a
very important prophecy about the Jewish nation had terminated.
Then there was
Ellen Harmon and her parents. They kept attending their local Methodist
congregation and witnessing until told to leave.
did not write and publish the first Adventist sermon on the second
angels message, until the denominations were casting out Advent
believers in large numbers.
direction of God, Jeremiah remained with a totally apostate denomination
in his day.
But keep in
mind that none of the above had underage children.
we have a very fluid situation in the denomination at this time. The
apostasy today will be different tomorrow. It keeps getting worse!
But can we do missionary work on our own, without church approval?
To stop doing
missionary work because a representative of the denomination disapproves,
would be as wrong as to no longer keep the Sabbath because they
disapproved. Even religious leaders are fallible men. Gods Word has
Baptist obviously carried on missionary work independent of approval by
any of the religious authorities. There is no evidence that he ever
received their approval. The same with Jesus. All the prophets in the Old
Testament encountered the same difficulty with the religious
establishment, with but a very few exceptions. (The prophets at the time
of Zerubbabel, for example, would be an exception.)
It is obvious
that Paul worked at times without General Conference approval. Other
examples could be cited.
Well, what about the future of the church?
In the midst
of a world in sin, the church militant fights the ongoing battle of
yielding implicit obedience, by enabling faith in Christ, to the law of
God. Soon it will become the church triumphant. How thankful we can be for
this. We are on the winning side!
about the Seventh-day Adventist denomination? Where does it fit into this
picture of futurity?
The matter is
covered in some detail in the present writers End Time Series,
which provides an in-depth presentation of Spirit of Prophecy statements
on final events from just before the National Sunday Law enactment, on
down to the final end of sin and sinners, and eternity beyond.
But here are a
few pointers to consider:
1 - It is far
more important that you be certain that you are counted among the
commandment-keeping people of God, than that your name be on or off the
books of the Seventh-day Adventist, or any other, denomination or group.
Future events make that certain.
2 - When the
National Sunday Law occurs, it will be illegal to be a Sabbath-keeper. This
will not be a minor persecution, but a total attack by the devil through
his agents. At that time, one of three things will happen, and either of
them fulfills the prediction in Testimonies to Ministers, 300:
a - The
Seventh-day Adventist organization will be totally eliminated. The
organizational structure will be annihilated, and probably most or all of
its real estate will be confiscated. There will be no more organizational
structure, but only individuals or little groups, under the direct leading
b - The
organization will have to go totally underground, with results essentially
the same as the above paragraph. For practical purposes, there will be no
organized Adventist denomination.
c - A majority
of the key organizational leaders will apostatize, and carry the
denominational structure into Sunday worship. This is not inconceivable,
for it has happened at times in other nations. The situation in Hungary
has been a close parallel.
there will be no more leaders to think for you. There will only be little
individuals and little groups, going out giving Bible studies, giving
natural remedy treatments, and distributing literature.
3 - From the
best we can tell in the Spirit of Prophecy writings, there will be no
denominational administrative offices or hospitals after the Sunday Law is
passed. But the writings indicate that smaller print shops may continue.
Check it out
for yourself, and see what you find.
But isn't the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination special?
It surely is!
In the eyes of God, it numerically stands in the vanguard of those
organizations which, before time ends, should be preaching the importance
of obeying the law of God.
unfortunately, a growing number of influential leaders and teachers in its
administrative offices, hospitals, publishing houses, academies, colleges,
universities, and local congregations are new theology in viewpoint.
They do not
believe it is necessary to obey Gods commandments, and they are
teaching their antinomian theories to all with whom they come in contact.
These men and women declare that it is impossible to put away sin and obey
Gods law in this life. They say it would have been impossible even for
Christ, while on earth, to obey it if He had taken the nature of Adams
Morris Venden has provided a good explanation of why he and his fellow
liberals find it necessary to maintain that Christ took the nature of Adam
before his fall. They do not want to consider the possibility that God
requires obedience of anyone that will be saved. So they theorize why it
is not necessary or possible for us to obey the Ten Commandments.
following statement, Venden says he accepts the error that Christ did not
take our nature—because otherwise he, Venden, would have to accept the
fact that we could be enabled to perfectly obey Gods law. (Regarding
the nature of Christ, all agree that He never once sinned.)
There doesn't seem to be any question that the definition of sin, and the nature of Christ, and perfectionism are a package. I think that the contention is quite valid that if a person defines sin primarily in terms of transgression of the law—in legalistic terms and understandings—that he is going to need to have a Saviour who has struggled with all of his same temptations to transgress the law. In the process one ends up with perfectionism and a behaviorally oriented Christianity.
Now, if you go back to define sin in terms of relationships—in in terms of living a life apart from God—you don't need to have a Savior exactly as you are. In fact, His very difference indicates that He could have lived independently, but He chose to depend on God. I feel that His dependence upon the Father is the essence of Christ's example to us. After all, He did say, Without Me you can do nothing. Allowing a difference between our nature and Christ's nature prevents us from getting bogged down in perfectionism, because that's not where the issue lies, anyway. Perfection of character must be seen in terms of relationship, not in terms of spelling out ethical and moral options. Morris Venden, Morris Venden Talks to Insight, Part 1, Insight magazine, May 8, 1979, pp. 7-11.
You will find
the above quotation, and many more, in the present writers study, Morris
Venden and the New Obedience Part 1-9 [FF401-409], now in Part 3
of our Publishing Tractbook. That study is a compilation of well
over a hundred statements from Venden's books and articles denying a
variety of our historic beliefs and standards.
that the above quotation is instruction written to our young people, and
published by our largest publishing house. Venden rejects the first
package, which is obedience to God through the enabling grace of
Jesus. He heartily recommends a second package, which he elsewhere
explains includes the teaching that sin is not the transgression of
Gods law, but only a damaged relationship (restoring the relationship
removes the sin). With this definition of sin, he explains, we do not need
a Saviour who was like us. We do not need His example of obedience, but
only His example of dependence, for it is the relationship that is
important, not the obedience. Because Christ did not have our nature, we
need not concern ourselves with living clean lives. Indeed, Venden teaches
that character perfection occurs spontaneously, with no resistance of sin
on our part, when our relation with God is restored. Concern with ethical
and moral principles, or trying to teach them to our children, only hurts
us and them, and shuts us away from God. (Read the tractbook for more.)
That is an
example of the pit toward which many of our influential pastors and
teachers are leading us! It is a serious matter, but few seem to be
Seventh-day Adventist denomination is important to God! But far too many
are exchanging the truths of Gods Word for cheap trinkets which
modernists in our church claim to be far better.
There is still one other question. How do we reconcile statements that this people will go through to the end, with other statements that they might be set aside?
A quotation on
one side is found in Christ's Object Lessons. A series of eight
chapters in that book (212-319) deals with judgment hour issues. In The
Lords Vineyard, an application is directly made to Gods
denominated people in the last days. The final section of that chapter
(296-307) carries the subtitle, The Church of Today, and is
obviously referring to us. Comparing us with the Jewish church in the time
of Christ, it climaxes with this statement:
The Lord says, Shall I not visit for these things? Jer. 5:9. Because they failed of fulfilling Gods purpose, the children of Israel were set aside, and Gods call was extended to other peoples. If these too prove unfaithful, will they not in like manner be rejected? Christ's Object Lessons, 304.
statements on the other side are to be found, for example, in the
statement, The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not
fall. It remains. Maranatha, 32.
first two chapters of Testimonies to Ministers (15-23).
What are the
answers to this apparent conflict?
denominated church in every age could be set aside because of increasing
apostasy—and almost always was! The only exceptions occurred when
repeated persecution caused the group to return in repentance to God.
Israel during the time of the Judges would be an example. If you read the
history of the Waldensians, you will note that, for centuries until modern
times, every 50 to 80 years the Waldensians were persecuted.
In view of
this sorry history, we should fully expect that the Advent people will go
into total apostasy, like the religious groups which preceded them. Under
normal conditions it would be a certainty.
Yet we have
the predictions that this will not occur. But a careful examination of the
passages reveal that the predictions of ultimate victory concern the
Advent people, not a denominational structure or organization.
And there is
closely at the Testimonies to Ministers statements (15-23), we find
that they consistently define this group which will not fall as those who
are keeping, defending, and proclaiming the law of God.
we have that oft-quoted statement,
The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains. Reflecting Christ, 226.
How do we
reconcile the fact that all earlier religious groups eventually went out
(including the Waldensees since 1850), and our people will not?
The answer is
people today live at a unique time in history. Only the church in the time
of Noah paralleled it in sheer extremity.
In the year of
the Flood, everyone had turned against Noah and his call to repent and
obey God. By that time, most of the faithful had been laid to rest.
It could truly
be said of the church in Noah's time, It appeared as about to fall,
but did not fall. Noah and His family boarded the ark and passed on
into a new world, while the wicked perished.
So it will be
in the end time.
writer has told people for years that the does not fall passage
would have to refer to the National Sunday Law crisis.
preparing his 18-book End Time Series, a compilation of classified,
in-depth Spirit of Prophecy statements on final events, he searched for
the context of that quotation, and eventually found it (see section
reprint at the back of this present three-part tract set).
not fall passage is in the heart of a discussion on the National Sunday
So we can see why the Seventh-day Adventist people in our time are different than all other religious groups which have preceded them (with the exception of Noah).
before us eventually went into apostasy and were supplanted by new groups
which God raised up. But, according to the prediction, our people will
have a different end:
Yes, as did
their counterparts in earlier centuries, they will continue a predicted,
downward trend into total apostasy. They may appear as about to
fall. About to fall! The degree of apostasy is drastic, and
their total separation from God (the final spiritual collapse) is
But then, as
suddenly as Noah's lightning and rainstorm from heaven, the National
Sunday Law is enacted—and the entire situation changes!
This is what
will make the group longetivity of Seventh-day Adventists longer than that
of the Baptists, Methodists, and Lutherans before them. A crisis of
stupendous proportions will burst upon the world and, very likely within a
few weeks, every false and apostate Sabbathkeeper in America will fully
join the enemy forces. Not long after that, the Sabbathkeepers throughout
the world will be purified.
Sabbathkeepers will split into two groups. One will consist of the tares
who have been living and teaching apostasy. Most of the lukewarm who liked
their skeptical ideas will go out with them.
The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains.7 Bible Commentary, 911.
(a majority of those in the denomination) fully fall, but the church
does not, showing that the tares were never actually part of the
Advent people do not fall, but, in the strength of God, resist the Sunday
Laws enacted throughout the world.
There is victory at the end!
Can you now
see why we have that accurate prediction—that Gods faithful ones in
these last days will not fall?
But it is
obvious that this victory does not apply to the Seventh-day Adventist
denomination as a whole, nor to its organizational structure or real
estate. The victory will only be for the commandment-keeping people of
God in the last days; whoever they may be. We pray that it might
include all Adventist church members, but that will have to be an
It is of interest that, in the National Sunday Law crisis, a remarkable event will have occurred: Gods people will have no tares troubling them from the inside. They will only have enemies from without. There will no longer be multiple circles intersecting into the one true church. Instead, there will only be the one true church. All other religious groups will be on the devils side.
Oh, my friend,
we must stand true; we must stand true! Help is coming! After the storm
there will be a warm spring and summer in heaven with Jesus for a thousand
years! We dare not miss it.
This study has provided you with three basic principles, none of which need be considered new:
1 - Obedience
to Gods Word is the crucial issue today, and more important than church
2 - The true
church defends, obeys, and promotes the law of God.
3 - The
Seventh-day Adventist people are part of the true church, only to the
degree that they keep Gods commandments.
In view of what is ahead, which church should you be in?
you are in Gods commandment-keeping church! If you have to stop keeping
Gods commandments in order to continue in fellowship with any
congregation, then you had better warn others and leave with your loved
serious times in which we live. Let us not rest satisfied with surface
thinking. Dig deeply into Gods Word, and be certain you are in the
center of His will—every day.
the best of our knowledge, our book End of Time is the most
complete, classified collection of Spirit of Prophecy statements on final
events, beginning with just before the National Sunday Law and going on
down to beyond the final destruction of the wicked.
Here is a
portion of the chapter, The Shaking and Sifting. As with all
the books in this series, this one includes crucial topics, such as the
final separation of the wheat from the tares in the church, the forsaking
by the majority, the departure of many leaders, the many who will enter.