The NAD Tithe Misappropriation Policy
The situation in Adventism is becoming
At the rate things are going, soon there will
only be two classes of Advent believers: those who obey the General
Conference and those who do not.
Yet that is not what Seventh-day Adventism was
supposed to be all about! It was intended to be a people united by the
faith of the Three Angels, the historic beliefs bequeathed to our
people, who served the God of heaven alone!
As you may know, there are three classes of
semi-independent institutions among us.
First, there are those groups and
organizations which carry on the work outlined in the Bible and Spirit of
Prophecy, regardless of whether or not it pleases the General Conference,
local unions, conferences, or pastors. These groups are fully independent.
They receive all their donations from individuals, and carry on their
work, irrespective of whether or not they receive church approval. They
refuse to be pressured into surrendering the funds sent in for one
purpose, to another organization to be used for a different purpose.
Second, are those groups and
organizations which are also trying to serve God, while, at the same
time, attempting to please leaders of the church on various levels and
remain submissive to ever-changing
policy decisions of church committees. These groups are partially
independent, in the sense that they receive their donations from
individuals, yet they are still trying to conform to ever-strengthening
Third, there are those groups and
organizations which are trying to do the best they can, but their boards
are directly under the control of denominational leaders. These groups are subsidized by the denomination, but also
solicit and receive donations from individuals.
We admire and appreciate all these groups for their
sincere, earnest efforts.
Some may say that the first group are foolish for
trying to press forward, in spite of a lack of official church approval.
Some will consider the second group foolish in trying to keep working with
leaders who have officially rejected some key Adventist beliefs and
standards. Some will conclude the third group are captive to the whims of
But, be it as it may, there is no doubt in our mind
that these various groups are trying to do the best they can, in spite of
the limitations they must work under. And each one, obviously, works under
severe, but very different, limitations.
For several years, church leadership has tried to stop
independent groups in the first category. This is a well-known fact.
But now we are shocked to learn that church leaders,
in their anxiety to control and obtain all the funds they can for
themselves, are deliberately willing to destroy the other
quasi-independent organizations as well!
Leadership is trying to do this by cutting off their
funds. But, instead of requiring outright that they no longer accept
donations or return them (which would be the honest thing to do), it is
cleverly requiring that they accept the funds on false pretences, thus
implicating them in the plot. Yet that scheme will only work to their own
destruction as Advent believers gradually learn of the duplicity that is
Under the relatively new policy, those organizations
willing to submit to that policy must hand over certain funds to the
local conference, which in turn is assigned the task of dividing and
sharing them with the headquarters of the local union, the North American
Division, and the General Conference!
First, that is a sneaky operation. It is
not a method that simple, humble-hearted Christian folk would lower
themselves to requiring of others.
Second, it is highway robbery. It is not only
obtaining, on false pretenses, money sent in by laymen, but it is stealing
funds sent to those ministries. The semi-independent organizations are
required to dig their own graves by giving away their money to men it
was not supposed to go to.
Third, it is an insult to the Holy Spirit. It
is the Spirit which guides and motivates men to send the needed funds for
the support of these various ministries, and when a small clique of men in
one committee (NAD) in Silver Spring, Maryland, have the power to cast a
great net and pull away massive amounts of money from a great number of
church entities, that little group of men act as if they were God.
Consider the plight this places the laymen in. Shaken
by the deepening apostasy in the church in standards, doctrines,
finances, and worship services, an Advent believer, in fullest sincerity
of heart, prayerfully selects a ministry he wishes to send a contribution
But when the donation arrives at that ministry, the
deception required by the new North American policy begins. The
contribution is duly receipted and mailed to the layman. He believes his
donation will be used for the purpose he specified in his letter or on the
check. Please note: The donation receipt comes to him from the
organization he sent the money to!
But, next, a new check is written and that donation,
along with many others, is sent to the local conference office. The check
is banked there, and then divided up in accordance with a predetermined
percentage plan, and portions are sent to the union, the North American
Division, and the General Conference. And what do those four church
headquarters do with that money? Since that policy is silent, they can do
anything they want with it! It can be used to pay the salary of new
theology pastors. It can help subsidize a meditation retreat or a
Celebration training seminar. It can be sent to Loma Linda, instead of the
money the church is required by a different policy to send to Loma Linda.
But that is not where the donors wanted that money to
As for the hapless donor, because he receives a
donation receipt from the organization he sent his donation to, he thinks
the funds he sent in good faith really went to the organization he sent
Truly, this is a terrible situation. It is just not
honest. Frankly, it is horrible to think our leading men in Silver Spring,
Maryland, who control the finances of our church dreamed up such a
fraudulent scheme. What other financial frauds are they devising?
Someone will say that we are only complaining because
it involves us. We are not involved, because we refuse to send on to any
other organization donations sent to us, unless so specified by the donor
in writing at the time the donation is sent. We are a totally-independent
Why must worldly, policied leaders try to put such
pressure on kindly, hard-working folk, who are trying to do the best they
can where they are? What right does church leadership have to require
submissive church entities to misuse incoming funds?
Some of our readers will recall our earlier warning
about this practice, when it was initiated in 1992. That warning is now
out of print, but this present, larger information sheet will provide you
those, and many more, salient details.
Of the three types of organizations, mentioned
earlier, the third category of institutions involved, would
include all church-owned and/or church subsidized organizations.
Church-owned institutions would include Loma Linda
University, Andrews University, etc.
Church-subsidized institutions receive support from
the church, in the way of a yearly collection in every denominational
church. Each one amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition,
each of these institutions is directly controlled by the church. This is
due to the fact that over 51 percent of their board members are church
Church-subsidized institutions include Voice of Prophecy,
It Is Written, Faith for Today, Breath of Life, Hour of Prophecy, etc.
The second category of institution would
be those organizations which do not receive subsidies from the church and
do not have 51 percent of their boards controlled by church leaders.
However, they are still willing to submit to and obey the ever-changing
church policies which are handed down.
Such institutions include Quiet Hour, Amazing Facts,
Adventist Pioneer Missions, E-VAN-gelism, etc.
Some organizations in this second category refuse
certain donations, while others will be receipting it and passing it on to
their local conference office.
The first category would be those
institutions which are totally independent: They do not receive subsidies
from the church, their boards are not controlled by church leaders, and
they do not yield to policy decisions made by the denomination. This
position should not be interpreted as rebellion or disobedience. It is
simply a matter of authority. Gods people are to obey the Bible and
Spirit of Prophecy rather than policy when it conflicts with the Inspired
The North American Division ruling was handed down in
1992, and organizations, structurally or emotionally dependent upon church
leadership, were immediately required to implement it. Quietly, they were
to immediately begin sending certain donations on to their local
A believer, for example, sends a special donation to a
church-controlled southern California missionary project, so the world
will hear the third angels message. But the donation is sent by the
quasi-independent project to the Southern California Conference, which
uses it to pay pastors salaries and hold a meditation retreat.
Obviously, this strange North American Division policy
conflicts with the Word of God, violates the faith of the trusting donor,
compromises the integrity of the organization which passed it on, and
brands the conference office as receiving property which does not belong
How much confidence would you place in an organization
that received stolen property? How much would you place in that
organization, if it required that the property be sent to it so it would
But immense pressure was applied (note the remarks
by Russell Standish, quoted on page four of this report, about the
pressure applied to just one of those organizations.)
As I write this, within a few days the new ruling will
go into effect.
Over the years, there have been faithful men in these
organizations who have tried to resist the encroachments of church
takeover. Great pressure has been brought to bear on those who have tried
to carry on their work, while seeking in vain for that point in which they
might fully please church leadership, yet without being absorbed as a
controlled organization, and without disobeying Gods Word.
As you might guess, this has been a difficult
balancing act. The pressures to conform never seem to cease, and the quasi
organization teeters one way and then totters the other. On one side is
the chasm of complete denominational takeover; on the other is the abyss
of being ostracized, in warning letters, from conference headquarters to
pastors and members.
As some of you may know, the brethren were opposed to
the work of H.M.S. Richards, Sr., and wanted to stop his broadcasts. It
was not until the late 1930s or early 1940s, when denominational leaders
were given 51 percent control of the VOP board, that they accepted it.
Henceforth, it became a subsidized church institution.
Later, in the mid-1970s, the VOP was forced to move
from its own Glendale quarters to those Grecian-style buildings in
Thousand Oaks, California solely because a committee in Washington,
D.C., headquarters said it had to be done.
If possible, there is a fact in all this which is even
If Amazing Facts which receives no church
subsidies and does not have its board controlled by church leaders can
no longer resist the pressure, you can know that there is no other
Seventh-day Adventist entity, approved by leadership, which has withstood
Well then, How can you tell whether a given
semi-independent organization has yielded to the pressure to obey church
policies? The simple fact that it is still approved by the
What does this mean?
It means that every independent ministry which is not
opposed by church leadership, will henceforth be sending certain funds
received from donors, on to their local conference offices to be shared
with the union conference, North American Division, and General
Yet that is not what those funds were sent for!
We still respect Amazing Facts, but deplore their
submission to this NAD ruling. When the accounting department of an
organization crumbles before pressure, can the doctrinal presentation bear
up against the continued pressure? We surely hope so, but we see this as a
great crisis in our midst.
First, as stated before, Amazing Facts has been
fully self-sustaining, (dependent on donations alone) for twenty years. If
it cannot withstand the pressure, who can? Consider Quiet Hour, Adventist
Pioneer Missions, E-VAN-gelism, or any other quasi-independent
organization you wish to name which, to date, retains official church
approval. Every such organization will have to cave in and send certain
funds on to the conference for the four-way split. This is
heart-wrenching. (A few brave ones may, instead, just send the tithe back
with a note: We do not accept tithe.)
Second, church leaders are obviously trying to
gain control of every denominational entity they can, and ostracize and
ban each one which refuses to bow to their demands, regardless of how
dishonest those demands might be. The criterion of acceptance is not souls
won to Christ, but submission to leadership.
Third, the demands never cease. As the
organizations bow to one demand, another is being formulated in committee.
By this time it is quite clear that there are church leaders who do not
want simply to gain more control, they want to change our doctrines, our
standards, our very way of thinking. We have found they are even willing
to resort to hypnotic procedures to do it.
Think not that control of the money is the only
objective. Control of beliefs is another.
1. This policy was approved by the North American
Division in 1992.
2. This policy applies to any approved and subsidized
church-controlled organization (such as Voice of Prophecy, It is Written,
Faith for Today, Breath of Life, Hour of Prophecy, etc.), or to any
approved, but not church subsidized, quasi church-controlled organization
(Quiet Hour, Amazing Facts, etc.).
3. This policy requires that all known tithe, which is
sent in to such organizations from Seventh-day Adventist believers, MUST
be forwarded to the local conference office.
4. This policy requires that a receipt for the tithe
money is to be issued by the organization to the donor who sent it, but
that the money itself is to be used by church entities to which it was not
5. This policy requires that the local conference,
upon receiving such funds, is to carefully divide it, retaining a portion
to use locally, and sending on the other three portions, as follows:
69% - goes to the local conference.
10% - goes to the union conference.
11% - goes to the North American Division.
10% - goes to the General Conference.
goes to the organization the donor sent the contribution to.
We ask: What is dangerous about being honest
with the people, and letting them send their donations where they want to
send them? What is wrong with letting their money be used for those
purposes which the contributors prayerfully have decided it should be used
for? What is evil about letting the Holy Spirit have some say in the lives
of the people?
I say it is wrong of the General Conference, working
with the North American Division to enact such a policy, then require it
of all trustfully dependent church entities, and then, brazenly, to
declare that it would be dangerous for the peoples money to be
used for the purposes they specified!
At the heart of many corrupt church policies, is the
notion that church members have no sense, and church leaders must think
for them. But that is a Romish principle. Read again chapter 37 in Great
Such high-handed policy irregularities with funds need
reproof. If the General Conference and North American Division make
regulations such as these, how can we trust that they will be honest with
other funds handed over for other purposes the donors want them used for?
Is this some kind of game we are playing? Is it imagined that the church
members are stupid enough they cannot see through policies and detect
the false-hearted accounting procedures they are based on. Is this just
another manifestation of the new theology principles which have been
accepted by leadership, as stated in the Review and Ministry
magazine and in these new doctrinal books? If men believe they can sin and
still be saved, they are ready to enact policies that cause subordinate
organizations to sin also. There seems to be no stopping point. It goes on
If the General Conference, working through the North
American Division, can enact a deceptive, misleading, property
theft which is what this policy is, then they must be doing other
dishonest things also.
The North American Division takes the property
belonging to others, and blackens the name of those who refuse to be
accomplices in the fraudulent operation.
Nathan, the prophet, told him the story of a wealthy
man who stole his poor neighbors lone sheep, instead of getting one
from his abundant herds. The story fits, my friend, the story fits!
Write the General Conference, and every other church entity you can think
of, and express your disgust with this monstrous disfigurement of tithe
When David heard the story, he said the man ought to
die. The Bible says it is wrong to steal (Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19; Matt
19:18; Luke 18:20; Rom 13:9).
Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely . . Thou
shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him. Leviticus 19:11,
It is wrong for church leaders to hand over goods
which are neither their property, nor were donated to them.
When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with
him. Psalm 50:18.
God does not speak lightly of such activities.
The bands [binding policies] of the wicked have robbed
me. Psalm 119:61.
These men take the lone sheep of others, in order to
avoid using their own sheep.
Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his
soul when he is hungry; but [even] if he shall be found, he shall restore
sevenfold. Proverbs 6:30-31.
It is terrible to use stolen donations, and call it
the Lords work.
For I the Lord love judgment; I hate robbery for burnt
offering. Isaiah 61:8.
Such activities will bring shame to the participants.
Indeed, all of us will be ashamed that our church will be doing this.
As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the
house of Israel ashamed. Jeremiah 2:26.
If continued, it will lead to final destruction.
The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them.
Will leaders of the church steal dedicated funds, ruin
the reputation of those who resist, unite with those holding false
doctrine, and bow down to other churches, and then declare that they
have a right to do this because they are church leaders? Read this:
Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and
swear falsely, . . and burn
incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come
and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We
are delivered to do all these abominations? Jeremiah 7:9-10.
Gods Word speaks stronger than we do.
Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and
robbery. Nahum 3:1.
Is it not written, My house shall be called the house
of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. Matthew
21:13 (Luke 19:45-46).
Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your
brethren . . Nor thieves, nor covetous, . . nor extortioners, shall
inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:8, 10.
If a bigger boy at school taunted a smaller boy, and
told him he was going to take his lunch tomorrow, we would call that
bullying. If he took it from him the next day, we would call that
stealing. But if the General Conference does it to a little
missionary group of Advent believers, the evil deed is whitewashed
with the name, policymaking.
But church leadership, hearing about it, tells them,
No, don't do that; send the money over to us to spend! Why do they
say that? Because church leadership does not want to lose money which does
not belong to them!
Wait a minute! That is why people go to gambling
casinos! to get money that does not belong to them! That is why people rob
We have here a very serious violation of the law of
God. God will judge for these things, and He wants the facts set before
many minds. If men, unless they repent, are going to burn in hellfire for
defrauding an entire church, should they not be warned about it? Should
you not be warned also? Moses cried to the people, Get away from the
tents of those men! Beware, beware, the wrath of God is coming.
Elder G.F. Watson became president of the Colorado
Conference in the year 1900. In 1905, Ellen White sent an important letter
to Elder Watson. Here is the background of the letter:
Several self-supporting workers began a project in the
southern states which church leaders in Battle Creek did not like. The
workers were evangelizing blacks, as well as carrying on other projects
which were not under the control of Battle Creek or its subsidiary
entities. Therefore, church leaders considered them an enemy.
Ellen White wrote many letters to those
self-supporting southern workers, encouraging them to continue their work.
Indeed, she was the one who had encouraged them to start a self-supporting
work. (You will find many of those letters in the Unpublished
Testimonies, also known as the Spalding-Magan Collection. A
copy of that book may be obtained from us for $27.50, hardcover, or
$13.50, paperback, plus postage and handling. That, is the current price.
By the way, this book is not unpublished; the present writer bought
his first published copy of it in the mid-1950s. It has been in print for
In addition to encouraging them to continue on with a
work which should be done, which the church leaders would not do, she
urged them to tell the people of their needs, since the leaders refused to
provide them with any financial help. Ellen White had a way of knowing
things, and she told them that donations sent to them through regular
church channels would not be sent on to them. (Sound familiar? Now it is
reversed; donations sent to the quasi independents must be sent on to the
So, following her instructions, the workers in the
south decided to bypass the leadership and take their needs directly to
the Advent believers.
They began writing letters of appeal and mailing them
out. That brought in some funds, for which both they and Ellen White were
thankful. In addition, in late 1904 several of them traveled as far west
as Colorado. They spoke of their needs and appealed for funds. Among the
donations they received was tithe money. Returning with the funds to their
area, they spent them.
They were working in accordance with Spirit of
Prophecy counsels, and deserved encouragement and support which church
leaders did not wish to grant them.
When Elder G.F. Watson, the Colorado Conference
president, heard about this, he wrote a letter to the workers and demanded
that they send the tithe back. His logic was exactly that of the NAD
policy, enacted in 1992: The tithe belongs to church leadership, and no
one else can spend it. However, that viewpoint is not supported either by
the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy.
It is church teaching that tithe must go through
the regular channel, But Ellen White declared that claim to be
Appeal to the people . . Have this money come direct
to your destitute portion of the vineyard. The Lord has not specified any
regular channel through which means shall pass. Spalding-Magan
(Unpublished) Testimonies, 498.
As usual, Ellen White knew what had happened. The
workers had already spent the money and did not know what to do. She
encouraged them to keep pressing forward.
But, in addition, Ellen White wrote to the Colorado
The Watson Letter, as it is called, is printed on
pages 214-215 of the book, Unpublished Testimonies. It is
also printed in a special two-part tract set, available from us, entitled,
The Tithe1-2 [PG41-42]. That tract set contains a great
wealth of Spirit of Prophecy quotations on this topic. You will value it
(1) Workers from not partially but totally
independent ministries, who were carrying on a necessary work, told the
believers of their work and their needs. / Self-supporting organizations
today controlled, subsidized, subservient, or totally independent are
doing the same.
(2) Tithe money was, and continues to be, given to
(3) The conference president demanded that the tithe
money be returned to the church. / The North American Division demands
that the tithe money be returned to the church.
(4) Ellen White told the conference president that it
was perfectly alright for church members to give tithe directly to totally
independent ministries, that it need not be returned, that she herself
regularly did it, and that she commended others who did it. / It is not
difficult to guess what her letter to the NAD would say.
1 Elder Watson should not oppose the giving of tithe
money to independent workers, and, in fact, should be quiet about the
entire matter (paragraph 1).
2 Ellen White had herself not paid tithe into the
church for years, but instead had given it to independent and retired
workers. She did it because it was right to do, and because God instructed
her to do it (paragraphs 2, 4-5).
3 She had done this for years, and could testify
that it was a proper method of paying the tithe (paragraphs 2, 5).
4 In addition, she did not discourage or dissuade
others from doing this also, that is, directly supporting self-supporting
workers with their tithe (paragraph 5).
5 The standard reply by church leaders to the Watson
Letter is that Ellen White could do this because she was a prophet, but
no one else should do it. Yet, in contrast, in this letter we find her
commending the faithful believers who were also paying their tithe
directly to independent workers. She also said that God has appointed
others to pay their tithe in this way, as well as her (paragraph 5).
6 She commended those who had given their tithe
directly to independent workers, because it was being used where it is
most needed to help to do a work that is being left undone (paragraph
7 According to her statement, there are activities
and fields that have been robbed of needed means, and this lack
should be supplied by sending tithe directly to independent workers (paragraph
8 She never reproved others for doing as she did in
this matter, but rather commended them (paragraph 5).
9 When others asked her opinion, as to whether they
too should give their tithe direct to independent workers, she advised
them that it was an acceptable practice, if they were so convicted by God
to do so (paragraph 5).
10 But she also cautioned that no one should make a
practice of trying to gather up the tithe; that is, asking that
others give it to them (paragraphs 6, 13). It is a basic Spirit of
Prophecy principle that each person should decide for himself where his
tithe should go, and then send it there. No one is to make that decision
for him. It is a decision between him and God, just as is worship and the
choosing of ones religion. It is wrong for any individual or
organization to say that the tithe must go to them! Beware of anyone
who comes, asking for your tithe! They may present their needs, but
they should not be asking for your tithe. It is your sacred responsibility
to decide that, and no coercion is to be applied. No one, including church
leaders, are to try to gather up the tithe; that is, get it
exclusively coming to them.
Yet that is exactly what the North American Division
policy is trying to do.
11 Those believers who are convinced that they
should place their funds with self-supporting workers, rather than with
the conference and its salaried workers, should do so (paragraph 6).
12 Neither the officers of the church, nor its
salaried workers, should seek to dissuade them from paying their tithe
outside its own committee-approved channels, nor should it in any way
threaten or penalize those who are convicted by the Spirit of God to do so
(paragraphs 1, 3, 5, 6, 7).
13 When the
conference brethren learn of instances in which believers are
giving their tithe to independent workers, they should hold their
peace and be quiet about the matter, not seeking to oppose it (paragraph
14 But (and this is important) only those should pay
their tithe outside the regular channels who are convicted they should do
it (paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6). The One who impresses the heart to pay
tithe, will guide His people where they are to pay it. No one else is to
decide it for you. We should pray over our tithe, just as we pray over the
proper utilization of all our other talents.
15 The ones who should be supported by paying the
tithe directly to them, rather than paying it through regular church
channels, are only to be those who are doing the right work, and who are
not officially funded by the church in carrying on that work (paragraph
16 Tithe given directly by believers to independent,
self-supporting workers is not withheld (paragraph 4).
Throughout the Spirit of Prophecy, the consistent teaching is that tithe
is withheld when it is not paid out at all, and that tithe is not
withheld when it is paid out.
17 Tithe so given goes directly into the Lords
treasury (paragraph 4). This is a very important point. It is
alleged, by the leaders, that only that tithe which is paid into the
conference offering plates goes into the treasury. But, according
to paragraph 4, tithe paid directly to self-supporting workers or
organizations also goes into the treasury.
18 There is a special factor in considering where
the tithe should be sent: where it is most needed to help to do a work
that is being left undone (paragraph 5). Is it a work which God
wants done, which is not otherwise being done either by the official
church, its entities, or workers.
19 The tithe of the believers may be given to
independent organizations and workers, simply because of a loss of
confidence in the main church, its leadership, the direction they are
headed, and how they are misappropriating the tithe given them (paragraph
alter cases. This is also wise counsel. Only through continual
prayer can you know what you are to do in this matter. One missionary
project is not as another, and changes often occur. The privilege of
paying tithe is to be a thoughtful blessing, not a unthinking routine.
21 In summary of the entire matter, Ellen White
stated: 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.
Here now is the complete text of the Watson Letter:
Mountain View, California
January 22, 1905
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 tithe that has been appropriated to the
most needy and most discouraging field in the world, the more sensible you
It had 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 to 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 of 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 to this; and as the money is not withheld from the
Lords 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.
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 left undone; and if this matter is given publicity, it will
create 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.
I send this
matter to you so that you shall not make a mistake. Circumstances alter
cases. I would not advise that any 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 this example.
(signed) Ellen G. White
heartfelt sympathies are with the captive organizations. Surely, they need
our prayers! Please pray for Amazing Facts, and all the ministries tied
closely to the North American Division and General Conference. The lines
of control are becoming stronger every day.
are we headed? How long before Jesus returns? From every indication we can
obtain, determined efforts will be made at the forthcoming 1995 General
Conference Session to greatly strengthen (1) conference control over
members, and (2) General Conference control over divisions, unions, and
conferences. Yet it is the General Conference which is working urgently to
promote Celebration worship services, mid-week cell groups, variant
doctrinal books, and conference-level disfellowshippings.
brother, my sister, stand true. We are near the end. Please, Lord Jesus,
please, come quickly!
has done and continues to do its best to carry on a worthwhile
evangelistic work. This study is not about Amazing Facts, but about the
determination (and, unfortunately, the success) of the General Conference
in bringing all ministries willing to be organizationally linked to it,
under ever-stricter leadership controls.
lament this effort to establish a kingly power in our denomination. Read
again our Spirit of Prophecy compilation, Confederation and
Consolidation Part 1-3 [RS17-19], now in section two
of our Medical/Publishing Tractbook.
is not to be a central power, controlling every aspect of the worldwide
church, dictating what is and what is not to be done. Consider this
know what a confederacy is, a union of men in a work that does not bear
the stamp of pure, straightforward, unswerving integrity.
29, 1911 (4 Bible Commentary, 1142).
Consolidation means that all institutions are to be merged into the Battle
Creek institutions. For years something of this kind has been proposed by
one and another. But according to the light I have had, the plan is wrong.
Letter 4, 1895.
It would be dangerous to consolidate all our institutions under one head
at Battle Creek, and let one institution control all the others. This
would prove a curse. The Lord has not designed that Battle Creek should
control all these instrumentalities. Manuscript 11,
pray for the many ministries which are trying to carry on in spite of
felt terribly disheartened yesterday when I received the Amazing Facts
letter, announcing their decision to send the tithe on to church leaders.
Then, yesterday afternoon, a friend in southern California telephoned. She
said she was convicted to call and read me something over the phone. It
helped explain the problem I was puzzling over. Here it is:
was forthright in his witness. Books such as Creeping Compromise
and Reaping the Whirlwind did not mince words against the rampaging
apostasy in our midst. This did not endear his ministry to many church
administrators . . The opposition to his godly ministry escalated in
proportion to the growing apostasy in our church. Yet Joe strove ever to
work with the administrators of Gods church. His board chairman
remained the president of the Chesapeake Conference. Joe was deeply
grieved by the recent publication by the Review and Herald of the
book, The Nature of Christ, written by one of the associate editors
of the Adventist Review. This book attacked Joes Bible-based stand on
the human nature of Christ and named him and others, including Ralph
Larson, Ron Spear, Robert Wieland, Donald Short, Colin Standish, and
myself many times.
accommodating to the needs of the organized church, Joe found that more
and more ecclesiastical pressure was exerted upon his ministry as time
progressed. What had commenced as a sweet relationship between a
self-supporting ministry and the church organization developed into a near
battle to resist total control.
great love for, and admiration and support of, the work of fellow
self-supporting ministries such as Hartland and Hope International were
sources of consternation to some church administrators. Joe ever kept a
close personal contact with these ministries by telephone and in person.
But little by little he was pressured to resign from the board of Hartland
Institute [which he did] in 1992, and the same year to present his final
messages at the Hartland camp meeting. Joe found that cooperation with the
organization was becoming coercion. Articles for Our Firm Foundation
written by Amazing Facts evangelists had to be published under pseudonyms,
and when the latest graduates from Hartland joined his team, Joe faced
stern opposition which he courageously resisted. But he was forced to make
no mention of the faithful college which had prepared them for service.
The four Hartland graduates in his evangelistic team were unable to return
to their alma mater to present requested weeks of prayer because of
conference bigotry. These and other pressures weighed heavily on the heart
of Joe, as did the pressure exerted upon him to cease his 25-year practice
of receiving tithe for his valid ministry. Russell Standish,
Joe Crews was recuperating well from a coronary problem when, on the
morning of October 10, 1994, he died suddenly in a Seventh-day Adventist
the 1889 General Conference Session, the leadership of our denomination
was pushing earnestly to make the Seventh-day Adventist Church into a
great business corporation, with all entities and workers answerable
directly or indirectly to the General Conference headquarters, which at
that time was located in Battle Creek, Michigan.
idea of placing all institutions under a single general manager seemed
like a good idea. President O.A. Olsen said it clearly in a keynote
address to the Session on October 28:
work as a whole is all one. Why should not our various denominational
enterprises be managed by boards, elected by the General Conference?1891
General Conference Bulletin.
added that the good work should begin by placing all North American
publishing houses under General Conference control. On Monday, November 4,
a 21-member committee of top leaders was appointed to consider the matter.
Two days later, the committee presented a lengthy recommendation, which
included this item:
steps be taken at once to form a corporation for the purpose of taking
entire control of all our publishing interests, thus bringing the work
under one general management.
decision was deferred to the 1991 General Conference Session, at which
time the committee said its recommendation was that the work as a whole
would be simplified if a single entity (the General
Conference) had wide-ranging control of the work and the
Ellen White counseled strongly against it, the matter was again put off;
this time to the 1895 Session. In the interim, Ellen White sent out
I have little faith in the large or small confederacy that is being
formed. It looks dark and forbidding to me. There is need of great care
and wisdom in carrying forward the work. Letter 71, 1894, GCB, 18.
spite of her warnings, mailed from Australia, the leaders voted to bring
all publishing work under Battle Creek control. By 1895, they wanted to
take over all other branches of the work as well. But the warnings
To my brethren at Battle Creek, I would say, You are not in any condition
to consolidate. This means nothing less than placing upon the institutions
at Battle Creek the management of all the work, far and near. Gods work
cannot be carried forward successfully by men who, by their resistance to
light, have placed themselves where nothing will influence them to repent
or change their course of action. Letter 81,