The Primary Authority
Part One What is the highest authority in the Seventh-day Adventist Church?
Part Two Is there salvation outside the Church?
is the basic, the highest authority in the church? This is a bedrock issue
which, if the truth is accepted and obeyed, is able to return the
Seventh-day Adventist denomination to the faith of its fathers. It can
change the live of every member; it can quicken our evangelism and hasten
the Second Coming of Christ.
disconcerting trend has been developing in recent years. It is openly stated
that the highest authority in the denomination is that of the church.
we learn that the church consists of the decisions of committees on
various levels, culminating in those of the General Conference in Silver
Spring, Maryland and, ultimately, in the General Conference in Session.
for our fifth year General Conference Sessions, in theory, these could be of
high-level importance in decision-making. But, in reality, those Sessions
make few of the decisions in a five-year period of the denomination. The few
consists of those on a prearranged agenda by a small committee at Silver
Spring. In addition, over 90% of the delegates to the Session are church
employees who rarely vote contrary to the positions advocated by their
as with a Democratic or Republican convention, each delegation is required,
during voting hours, to sit in its own block of seats and every raised hand
is noted by leaders sitting in back. The delegates are locked into obedient
quinquennial (fifth year) Session, which only lasts ten days and spends less
than 25 hours on business meetings, cannot deliberate on many issues. And
the only ones it is presented with are a preselected few. Session delegates
do, indeed, have legal authority to broach any issue and take any action.
Yet, because they are employees, they know better than to do that.
levels below the Session level consist of board meetings or executive
decisions. In nearly all instances, one man or a small coterie of men makes
on various levels of the denomination, a great variety of decisions are
being made, many of which are in conflict with clear statements in the Bible
and Spirit of Prophecy. Yet this is not viewed with alarm by leadership,
since the sentiment now prevails that the highest authority in the
church's that of the church. If the church decides to do it, it must be
all right. This is why so many Pentecostal, and even vaudeville, techniques
of the other churches are adopted. Celebrationism, women ministers, clown
evangelism, and barbecue sales; all are acceptable because there is no
objection by the highest authority, which are the church leaders.
is why so many unscriptural practices are current in our churches.
Worldliness is considered to be all right, because the church decided to do
it! The church is becoming a law unto itself.
long as nothing is said criticizing leadership, any church publication or
committee decision which runs counter to the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy
appears to be acceptable. We can all do what is right in our own eyes, as
long as we do not question the authority of those who make the decisions.
I am here today to question the church as the highest authority. On my side
are the clear words of Inspiration. The church does have its sphere of
legitimate authority, no doubt about that. But it must always be subservient
to the Word of God.
God of heaven has not transferred His authority to the church. Although
ignored in many circles, He is still in command. His directives have been
given us in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Whether or not any of us like
it, they are the highest authority in the church.
the matter is even deeper than that: Those Books are also your highest
authority! What are you to do? What decisions are you to make? Who are you
to obey? Which principles have transcendent authority over your conscience
and your actions? It is Gods Inspired Writings which are to rule your
life; it is not the saying of men. We may counsel with men, but we are to
place mans words above Gods words is to Romanize our lives! Church
leaders who maintain that the church is the highest authority are
unthinkingly heading down the path which, in ancient times, the bishop of
Rome called upon all Christians to follow.
sorry results are clearly stated in the history books (and in chapter three
of Great Controversy). Strange new teachings; pagan errors; worldly
customs; and, eventually, the persecution of dissenters. I present to you
the primary authority in the church and in your life. You can accept or
reject it, but you will suffer the consequences later if you make a wrong
PART ONE THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY
AUTHORITY OF GOD AND
Lord God of heaven ruleth. He alone is above all authority, over all
kings and rulers. Temperance, 53.
has established immutable principles, which He cannot change without a
revision of His whole nature. If the Word of God were faithfully studied by
all who profess to believe the truth, they would not be dwarfs in spiritual
things. Those who disregard the requirements of God in this life would
not respect His authority were they in heaven. 4 Testimonies,
was establishing a kingdom on different principles. He called men, not to
authority, but to service, the strong to bear the infirmities of the
weak. Desire of Ages, 550.
is too often the case that those who are looked up to are not what they are
supposed to be. Often sin lurks in the heart, and wrong habits and deceptive
practices are woven into the character. How does our heavenly Father regard
this? His counsel is always reliable, and He has evidenced His great love
for the human race, and He looks on with sadness when His children are
encouraged to turn away from Him and place their dependence upon finite men,
whom they know not, and whose judgment and experience may not be reliable.
But this has been done, and God has been made secondary.
the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I beseech the people of God to depend
upon the Lord for strength. Beware how you place men where God should be.
We are not safe in taking men as our authority or our guide, for they
will surely disappoint us. Individually, we are to work out our own
salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Testimonies to
Word of our God shall stand forever. All His commandments are
sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and
uprightness. Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 111:7, 8. Whatever is built upon the
authority of man will be overthrown; but that which is founded upon the rock
of Gods immutable Word shall stand forever. Great
law must be exalted, His authority maintained; and to the house of Israel
was given this great and noble work. God separated them from the world,
that He might commit to them a sacred trust. He made them the depositaries
of His law, and He purposed through them to preserve among men the knowledge
of Himself. Thus the light of heaven was to shine out to a world enshrouded
in darkness, and a voice was to be heard appealing to all peoples to turn
from idolatry to serve the living God. Prophets and Kings, 16.
we then allow any consideration of earth to turn us away from the path of
truth? Shall we not challenge every doctrine and theory, and put it to
the test of Gods Word? We should not allow any argument of mans to
turn us away from a thorough investigation of Bible truth. The opinions
and customs of men are not to be received as of divine authority. God
has revealed in His Word what is the whole duty of man, and we are not to be
swayed from the great standard of righteousness. He sent His only-begotten
Son to be our example, and bade us to hear and follow Him. We must not be
influenced from the truth as it is in Jesus, because great and professedly
good men urge their ideas above the plain statements of the Word of God.
of Christian Education, 127-128.
was contention among the angels. Satan and his sympathizers were striving
to reform the government of God. They wished to look into His
unsearchable wisdom, and ascertain His purpose in exalting Jesus and
endowing Him with such unlimited power and command. They rebelled against
the authority of the Son. All the heavenly host were summoned to appear
before the Father to have each case decided. Early Writings,
so many rank themselves under the banner of the prince of darkness, will
Gods commandment-keeping people swerve from their allegiance? Never! Not
one who is abiding in Christ will fail or fall. His followers will bow in
obedience to a higher authority than that of any earthly potentate.
While the contempt placed upon Gods commandments leads many to suppress
the truth and show less reverence for it, the faithful ones will with
greater earnestness hold aloft its distinguishing truths. We are not left
to our own direction. In all our ways we should acknowledge God, and He will
direct our paths. We should consult His Word with humble hearts, ask His
counsel, give up our will to His. We can do nothing without God. 2
Selected Messages, 368-369.
The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them
forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the
words of this life. We see here that the men in authority are not
always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be teachers of Bible
doctrine. Testimonies to Ministers, 69.
issues for the world were at stake. Those who had accepted the reformed
faith met together, and their unanimous decision was, Let us reject this
decree. In matters of conscience the majority has no power. Merle
dAubigne, History of the Reformation, b. 13, ch. 5. This principle we
in our day are firmly to maintain.
banner of truth and religious liberty held aloft by the founders of the
gospel church and by Gods witnesses during the centuries that have passed
since then, has, in this last conflict, been committed to our hands. The
responsibility for this great gift rests with those whom God has blessed
with a knowledge of His Word. We are to receive this Word as supreme
authority. We are to recognize human government as an ordinance of
divine appointment, and teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, within its
legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God,
we must obey God rather than men. Gods Word must be recognized as above
all human legislation. A Thus saith the Lord is not to be set aside
for a Thus saith the church or a Thus saith the state. The
crown of Christ is to be lifted above the diadems of earthly
potentates. Acts of the Apostles, 68-69.
masses of the people turn away their ears from hearing the truth and are
turned unto fables. The apostle Paul declared, looking down to the last
days: The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.
2 Timothy 4:3. That time has fully come. The multitudes do not want Bible
truth, because it interferes with the desires of the sinful,
world-loving heart; and Satan supplies the deceptions which they love.
Terrible have been the results of rejecting the authority of Heaven.
Controversy, 36. [Read the entire page.]
opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or
decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are
the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority not
one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point
of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should
demand a plain Thus saith the Lord in its support. Great
foresaw that the undue assumption of authority indulged by the scribes and
Pharisees would not cease with the dispersion of the Jews. He had a
prophetic view of the work of exalting human authority to rule the
conscience, which has been so terrible a curse to the church in all ages.
And His fearful denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees, and His warnings
to the people not to follow these blind leaders, were placed on record as an
admonition to future generations. Great Controversy, 596.
Roman Church reserves to the clergy the right to interpret the Scriptures.
On the ground that ecclesiastics alone are competent to explain Gods
Word, it is withheld from the common people. Though the Reformation gave the
Scriptures to all, yet the selfsame principle which was maintained by Rome
prevents multitudes in Protestant churches from searching the Bible for
themselves. They are taught to accept its teachings as interpreted by the
church; and there are thousands who dare receive nothing, however
plainly revealed in Scripture, that is contrary to their creed or the
established teaching of their church.
the Bible is full of warnings against false teachers, many are ready thus
to commit the keeping of their souls to the clergy. There are today
thousands of professors of religion who can give no other reason for points
of faith which they hold than that they were so instructed by their
religious leaders. They pass by the Saviors' teachings almost unnoticed,
and place implicit confidence in the words of the ministers. But are
ministers infallible? How can we trust our souls to their guidance unless
we know from Gods Word that they are light bearers?
lack of moral courage to step aside from the beaten track of the world leads
many to follow in the steps of learned men; and by their reluctance to
investigate for themselves, they are becoming hopelessly fastened in the
chains of error. They see that the truth for this time is plainly brought to
view in the Bible; and they feel the power of the Holy Spirit attending its
proclamation; yet they allow the opposition of the clergy to turn them
from the light. Though reason and conscience are convinced, these
deluded souls dare not think differently from the minister; and their
individual judgment, their eternal interests, are sacrificed to the
unbelief, the pride and prejudice, of another. Great Controversy,
It should be mentioned here that Great Controversy, chapter 37 (The
Scriptures, a Safeguard) was included in all three editions of that
book. The chapter stands unique, for it is in the middle of the final
chapters while presenting principles for those who must face that future
crisis. God had that chapter placed there as a warning to us about these
are those among us who declare that men wrote the 1888 and 1911 editions of Great
Controversy. That is not true; God protects His Inspired Writings. If
unscrupulous men had tampered with any of those three editions, they would
have omitted chapter 37! Read it for yourself (593-602).
Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in the place of
God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of
theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn
their duty for themselves. Then, by controlling the minds of these leaders,
he can influence the multitudes according to his will. Great
truth and the glory of God are inseparable; it is impossible for us, with
the Bible within our reach, to honor God by erroneous opinions. Many
claim that it matters not what one believes, if his life is only right. But
the life is molded by the faith. If light and truth is within our reach, and
we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually
reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the
ways of death. Proverbs 16:25. Ignorance is no excuse for error or sin,
when there is every opportunity to know the will of God. A man is traveling
and comes to a place where there are several roads and a guideboard
indicating where each one leads. If he disregards the guideboard, and
takes whichever road seems to him to be right, he may be ever so sincere,
but will in all probability find himself on the wrong road.
has given us His Word that we may become acquainted with its teachings and
know for ourselves what He requires of us.
When the lawyer came to Jesus with the inquiry, What shall I do to
inherit eternal life? the Saviour referred him to the Scriptures, saying:
What is written in the law? how readest thou? Ignorance will not
excuse young or old, nor release them from the punishment due for the
transgression of Gods law; because there is in their hands a faithful
presentation of that law and of its principles and claims. It is not enough
to have good intentions; it is not enough to do what a man thinks is
right or what the minister tells him is right. His souls salvation is at
stake, and he should search the Scriptures for himself. However strong
may be his convictions, however confident he may be that the minister
knows what is truth, this is not his foundation. He has a chart pointing
out every waymark on the heavenward journey, and he ought not to guess at
is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the
Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others
to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently,
weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture. With
divine help we are to form our opinions for ourselves as we are to answer
for ourselves before God.
truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and
darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach
that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not
apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers.
more he searches the Bible, the deeper is his conviction that it is the Word
of the living God, and human reason bows before the majesty of divine
revelation. Those are blessed with clearest light who are willing thus to
accept the living oracles upon the authority of God. If asked to explain
certain statements, they can only answer: It is so presented in the
Scriptures. They are obliged to acknowledge that they cannot explain the
operation of divine power or the manifestation of divine wisdom. It is as
the Lord intended it should be, that we find ourselves compelled to accept
some things solely by faith. 5 Testimonies, 700-701.
the divine Ruler bears long with perversity, He is not deceived and will not
always keep silence. His supremacy, His authority as Ruler of the universe,
must finally be acknowledged and the just claims of His law
vindicated. 9 Testimonies, 94.
the testing time shall come, those who have made Gods Word their rule of
life will be revealed. In summer there is no noticeable difference
between evergreens and other trees; but when the blasts of winter come, the
evergreens remain unchanged, while other trees are stripped of their
foliage. So the false-hearted professor may not now be distinguished from
the real Christian, but the time is just upon us when the difference will be
apparent. Let opposition arise, let bigotry and intolerance again bear
sway, let persecution be kindled, and the halfhearted and hypocritical will
waver and yield the faith; but the true Christian will stand firm as a rock,
his faith stronger, his hope brighter, than in days of prosperity. Great
AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH
it does so on the basis of Gods Word, the church on earth is authorized
to settle matters of dispute and discipline its members.
Verily I say unto you, Christ continued, Whatsoever ye shall bind
on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth
shall be loosed in heaven. This statement holds its force in all ages. On
the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ's stead. It is
Gods instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among
His people. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all
questions respecting its prosperity, purity, and order. Upon it rests
the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy,
who by their unchristlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth.
Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given
in Gods Word, will be ratified in heaven. Gospel Workers,
the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but
gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you. The disciples were to teach what
Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through
all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human
teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for mans theories
and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by
ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of
these are Christ's servants to teach. The law and the prophets,
with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to
the disciples to be given to the world. Christ's name is their watchword,
their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their
course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not
bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom. Desire
of Ages, 826.
Lord does not sanction arbitrary authority. 7 Testimonies, 179.
who did not search the Scriptures for themselves were content to accept
conclusions that were in accordance with their desires. By argument,
sophistry, the traditions of the Fathers, and the authority of the church,
many endeavored to overthrow the truth. Great Controversy, 455.
men give evidence of fallibility in very many ways; they work upon
principles which the Word of God condemns. That which makes me feel to
the very depths of my being, and makes me know that their works are not the
works of God, is that they suppose they have authority to rule their
fellowmen. The Lord has given them no more right to rule others than He
has given others to rule them. Those who assume the control of their
fellowmen take into their finite hands a work that devolves upon God alone.
Testimonies to Ministers, 76.
spirit of domination is extending to the presidents of our conferences. If
a man is sanguine of his own powers and seeks to exercise dominion over his
brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the
ruling power, the best and only safe course is to remove him, lest great
harm be done and he lose his own soul and imperil the souls of others.
All ye are brethren.
disposition to lord it over Gods heritage will cause a reaction unless
these men change their course. Those in authority should manifest the
spirit of Christ. They should deal as He would deal with every case that
requires attention. They should go weighted with the Holy Spirit. A
mans position does not make him one jot or tittle greater in the sight of
God; it is character alone that God values.
goodness, mercy, and love of God were proclaimed by Christ to Moses. This
was Gods character. When men who profess to serve God ignore His parental
character and depart from honor and righteousness in dealing with their
fellowmen, Satan exults, for he has inspired them with his attributes.
They are following in the track of Romanism. Testimonies to
THE BASIS OF SALVATION
second trend that is developing in our denomination is the concept that
salvation is only in the church. This is the teaching that a person
can only be saved if he is registered on the church books. (While writing
this tract set a friend called and, learning its topic, said that his
conference president in the Northwest regularly tells audiences, To be
outside the church is to be outside of Christ.)
agree that every faithful child of God who knows the Advent truths, given us
through the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, is quite content to be a member of
the church, there to enjoy its blessed fellowship when a majority of the
members of the church are also living in harmony with our historic beliefs.
problem occurs when, for one reason or another, faithful believers have
become separated from the church through no fault of their own. Although
they love the Lord and are trying to do the best they can, they are then
told that they cannot be saved unless they are on the church rolls. There
is no salvation outside the church, is the message.
does history and the Word of God tell us about this matter?
is an interesting fact that the power of Rome over men's souls came from
its decree that there is no salvation outside the church. This effectively
tied the members to obedience to whatever church leaders told them was
is a relationship between authority and salvation. If the highest authority
belongs to God and His Word, then we must come to Him and obey His Word in
order to receive that salvation. But if the highest authority is the church,
then its leaders soon proclaim that no one can be saved outside the church.
does the Word of God teach on this matter?
SALVATION FROM THE CHURCH
OR FROM GOD?
familiarity with the Word of God is our only hope. Those who diligently
search the Scriptures will not accept Satan's delusions as the truth of
God. No one need be overcome by the speculations presented by the enemy of
God and of Christ. We are not to speculate regarding points upon which the
Word of God is silent. All that is necessary for our salvation is given
in the Word of God. Day by day we are to make the Bible the man of our
counsel. 1 Selected Messages, 228.
which God required of Adam before his fall was perfect obedience to His law.
God requires now what He required of Adam, perfect obedience,
righteousness without a flaw, without shortcoming in His sight. God help us
to render to Him all His law requires. We cannot do this without that faith
that brings Christ's righteousness into daily practice . .
is not to be baptized, not to have our names upon the church books, not
to preach the truth. But it is a living union with Jesus Christ to be
renewed in heart, doing the works of Christ in faith and labor of love, in
patience, meekness, and hope. Every soul united to Christ will be a living
missionary to all around him. Letter 55, 1886; 2 Selected Messages,
at ___ will not consent to be saved in Gods appointed way. They will not
take the trouble to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
The latter they do not experience; and, rather than be at the trouble of
obtaining an experience through individual effort, they will run the risk
of leaning upon others and trusting in their experience. They cannot consent
to watch and pray, to live for God and Him only. It is more pleasant to
live in obedience to self. 2 Testimonies, 397.
have been too liberal with your means, for the very reason that you have
thought this was to obtain salvation for you and buy you a position in
the church. No, indeed! it is you that is wanted, not the little means you
possess. If you would be transformed by the renewing of your mind and be
converted, deal truly with your own soul. It is all that the church
require. 2 Testimonies, 86.
salvation that could be bought with money was more easily obtained than that
which requires repentance, faith, and diligent effort to resist and
overcome sin. Great Controversy, 128.
great house represents the church. In the church will be found the
vile as well as the precious. The net cast into the sea gathers both
good and bad. 7 Bible Commentary, 918.
message of salvation is communicated to men through human agencies. But the
Jews had sought to make a monopoly of the truth which is eternal life.
Desire of Ages, 36.
not only tells Nicodemus that he must have a new heart in order to see the
kingdom of heaven, but tells him how to obtain a new heart. He reads the
inquiring mind of a true seeker after truth, and presents before him the
representation of Himself: As Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Good news!
good news! ring throughout the world! For God so loved the world, that
He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life. This lesson is one of the greatest
importance to every soul that lives; for the terms of salvation are here
laid out in distinct lines. If one had no other text in the Bible, this
alone would be a guide for the soul. Testimonies to Ministers, 370.
matter who you are or what your life has been, you can be saved only in
Gods appointed way. You must repent; you must fall helpless on the Rock,
Christ Jesus. You must feel your need of a physician and of the one only
remedy for sin, the blood of Christ. This remedy can be secured only by
repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 5
are you to know that you are accepted of God? Study His Word prayerfully.
Lay it not aside for any other book. This Book convinces of sin. It
plainly reveals the way of salvation. It brings to view a bright and
glorious reward. It reveals to you a complete Saviour, and teaches you that
through His boundless mercy alone can you expect salvation.
not neglect secret prayer, for it is the soul of religion. With earnest,
fervent prayer, plead for purity of soul. Plead as earnestly, as eagerly, as
you would for your mortal life, were it at stake. Remain before God until
unutterable longings are begotten within you for salvation, and the sweet
evidence is obtained of pardoned sin.
The hope of eternal life is not to be received upon slight grounds. It is a
subject to be settled between God and your own soul settled for
eternity. A supposed hope, and nothing more, will prove your ruin. Since
you are to stand or fall by the Word of God, it is to that Word you must
look for testimony in your case. There you can see what is required of you
to become a Christian. Do not lay off your armor, or leave the
battlefield until you have obtained the victory, and triumph in your
Redeemer. 1 Testimonies, 163-164.
great principles of the law, of the very nature of God, are embodied in the
words of Christ on the mount. Whoever builds upon them is building upon
Christ, the Rock of Ages. In receiving the Word, we receive Christ. And
only those who thus receive His words are building upon Him. Other
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1
Corinthians 3:11. There is none other name under heaven, given among
men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12. Christ, the Word, the
revelation of God, the manifestation of His character, His law, His love,
His life, is the only foundation upon which we can build a character that
will endure. We build on Christ by obeying His Word . .
consists in doing the words of Christ; not doing to earn Gods favor, but
because, all undeserving, we have received the gift of His love. Christ
places the salvation of man, not upon profession merely, but upon faith that
is made manifest in works of righteousness. Doing, not saying merely, is
expected of the followers of Christ. It is through action that character
is built. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of
God. Romans 8:14. Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not
those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the
Spirit, are the sons of God.
you desire to become a follower of Christ, yet know not how to begin? Are
you in darkness and know not how to find the light? Follow the light you
have. Set your heart to obey what you do know of the Word of God. His
power, His very life, dwells in His Word. As you receive the Word in faith,
it will give you power to obey. As you give heed to the light you have,
greater light will come. You are building on Gods Word, and your
character will be builded after the similitude of the character of Christ .
every building erected on other foundation than Gods Word will fall.
He who, like the Jews in Christ's day, builds on the foundation of human
ideas and opinions, of forms and ceremonies of mans invention, or on
any works that he can do independently of the grace of Christ, is
erecting his structure of character upon the shifting sand. The fierce
tempests of temptation will sweep away the sandy foundation and leave his
house a wreck on the shores of time. Mount of Blessing, 148-151.
repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of
Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a
principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct.
Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life
to the indwelling of the principles of heaven. Desire of Ages,
to the law is essential, not only to our salvation, but to our own happiness
and the happiness of all with whom we are connected. 1 Selected
cannot earn salvation, but we are to seek for it with as much interest
and perseverance as though we would abandon everything in the world for it. We
are to seek for the pearl of great price, but not in worldly marts or in
worldly ways. The price we are required to pay is not gold or silver,
for this belongs to God. Abandon the idea that temporal or spiritual
advantages will win for you salvation. God calls for your willing obedience.
He asks you to give up your sins. To him that overcometh, Christ
declares, will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also
overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. Rev. 3:21.
Object Lessons, 117.
is salvation for you, but only through the merits of Jesus Christ.
to Ministers, 97.
concluding this study, we should briefly consider why faithful souls ever
conscientiously separate from the church.
they are desperately searching for ways to increase membership, leaders
would do well to consider why the cream keeps separating.
the Fall in the Garden, down to the Second Advent, there will always be
tares in the church. What then are the conditions that, in every age, causes
the faithful to start leaving the church? Let me describe it this way:
the 1940s, although there were tares in our church, the majority adhered to
our historic beliefs and standards. But, by the late 1980s, a shift had
occurred and, led by their pastors, the majority in many of our local
congregations were abandoning crucial beliefs and standards. Separation
reason for a church's existence is to provide fellowship, encouragement in
the faith, shelter from worldliness, plus opportunity for proper worship and
missionary work. When these break down, and the majority scorns the minority
pleading for reform, eventually the minority are either crowded out or
choose to depart, to save their children and their own faith.
is no mystery here. The causes are quite obvious. The solutions are just as
obvious. In any age, it is not wrong to choose God and His Word instead of
deepening apostasy. We are thankful for those who remain in their local
churches and try to help others individually find their way back to historic
Adventism. Unfortunately, others find they can no longer remain in their
particular congregations, lest they and their children be swept downward by
the onrushing current of error. It surely is a time to pray that God will
awaken our leaders to what they are permitting to take place.