The Celebration Church
(First compiled and published in 1990, this counsel is more important for us today than it was even then!)
In this study we will view several important topics, which are central to the modernistic celebration-type worship services, which are rapidly entering our local Seventh-day Adventist churches. Key aspects of the celebration pattern would include the following:
(1) Music that is frequently loud, and accompanied by the strong beat of drums and the sliding notes of guitars.
(2) An emphasis on entertainment instead of worship. Novel theatrical skits, and dramatic musical performances are center stage much of the time during the service.
(3) An atmosphere of excitement is fostered by the use of clapping during the musical performances and congregational singing, and applause after each performance- including the sermon and even routine announcements.
(4) The raising of hands and swaying of bodies by performers and audience during musical activities.
In the following study we will try to bring you definitive statements to guide you so that you and your local church board can make a wise decision when your local pastor, backed by the conference president, attempts to urge you to adopt celebration-type services into your church. This will be an important decision, for once you transform your Sabbath morning services Into this type of Pentecostal entertainment, It will be difficult to reverse the decision later. And the results of your decision may affect your children and loved ones for years to come.
We live in an era when men, women, and children are searching for excitement. As each level becomes tame, they try something more exciting, until many end up with alcohol and hard drugs, devil worship and insanity.
In quietness of heart and dedicated obedience we shall possess our souls. It is not living to see how much entertainment we can get for our poor selves that counts; it is living for God and the service of man that is needed in these last days. That is where you will find genuine happiness. At the heart of it, Celebration worship services attract the curious; appeal to entertainment seekers, and engrain the soul in living for self.
THE RAISING OF HANDS
At this point, it is well to discuss a special point: What about the raising of hands? There is hardly anything on this in the Spirit of Prophecy, so it must not be of great significance. Celebration pastors declare that it is Biblical, and cite 1 Timothy 2:8 as their reference. That is because it is the outstanding verse on the subject. Here is the passage:
"I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting" 1 Timothy 2:8
Here is the verse after it:
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." 1 Timothy 2:9.
1 Timothy 2:8-9 teaches us this: (1) When you come God in most earnest prayer, pleading for help, it is well to lift up your hands along with your verbal petitions. The very intensity of the heart is reflected in the lifted hands. In contrast, let it not be a form--merely to raise your hands when other people are praying, thinking that this is the thing to do. It is the earnestness of the heart that is to push those hands up, not a formality to raise them when in prayer. It is an effect of earnest prayer, not a provoker of earnest prayer. It is a movement of the hands that may all unconsciously accompany prayer. Let it never degenerate to a mere form; something that is always done because it has to be done, or something that is done as an evidence in the eyes of others that you are very dedicated in your prayers. To do so, is to turn an accompaniment of a beautiful experience alone with God- into something akin to a works program.
(2) There is nothing in that verse about raising hands when people are playing the guitar and drums and crooning through microphones, or when you are involved in congregational singing. The verse is talking about earnest prayer to God. In our time the raising of hands has become a device used by certain religious groups to deepen their excitement in religious meetings. But that is not what Paul had in mind. It is not to be a signal to show others you are having a good time. That is not what the verse is speaking about! You are to get on your knees before God and plead with Him for help. You will probably be doing this alone, so let the earnestness of your heart raise those hands, not the formality of a requirement, or the fact that you are in a group with others and may be seen.
The next verse after 1 Timothy 2:8 provides instruction in regard to modesty of apparel by women. (The verses after that are of interest also.) The Celebration churches seem to be stuck on the phrase, "lifting up holy hands; " in verse 8, but have blinders In regard to the occasion (prayer) when it Is to be done, given in the first part of the verse, the type of prayer (Intense earnestness of prayer), given in the last part of the verse, and the admonitions given In the subsequent verses. During a worship service, to have women in the audience adorned with cosmetics and jewelry, while other women are standing in front of the congregation swaying their bodies back and forth for the congregation to view- is not in harmony with the principles stated in 1 Timothy 2:9-12. Such Pentecostal services are totally opposite to the instructions given in those verses.
MUSIC AND THEATRICAL DISPLAY
"It is impossible to estimate too largely the work that the Lord will accomplish through His proposed vessels carrying out His mind and purpose. The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place Just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.
"The Holy Spirit never reveals Itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working.
"When the camp meeting is ended, the good which ought to have been done and which might have been done by the presentation of sacred truth is not accomplished. Those participating in the supposed revival receive Impressions, which lead them adrift. They cannot tell what they formerly knew regarding Bible principles.
"No encouragement should be given to this kind of worship. The same kind of influence came in after the passing of the time in 1844. The same kind of representations were made. Men became excited, and were worked by a power thought to be the power of God . .
"I will not go into all the painful history; it is too much. But last January the Lord showed me that erroneous theories and methods would be brought into our camp meetings, and that the history of the past would be repeated. I felt greatly distressed. I was instructed to say that at these demonstrations demons in the form of men are present, working with all the ingenuity that Satan can employ to make the truth disgusting to sensible people; that the enemy was trying to arrange matters so that the campmeetings, which have been the means of bringing the truth of the third angel's message before multitudes, should lose their force and influence.
"The third angel's message is to be given in straight lines. It is to be kept free from every thread of the cheap, miserable inventions of men's theories, prepared by the father of lies, and disguised as was the brilliant serpent used by Satan as a medium of deceiving our first parents. Thus Satan tries to put his stamp upon the work God would have stand forth in purity.
"The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with such a confusion of noise and multitude of sounds as passed before me last January. Satan works amid the din and confusion of such music, which, properly conducted, would be a praise and glory to God. He makes its effect like the poison sting of the serpent.
"Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed. Clear and definite instruction has been given in order that all may understand. But the Itching desire to originate something new results in strange doctrines, and largely destroys the influence of those who would be a power for good if they held firm the beginning of their confidence in the truth the Lord had given them."-2 Selected Messages, 36-38.
"There is nothing in these demonstrations which will convince the world that we have the truth. Mere noise and shouting are no evidence of sanctification, or of the descent of the Holy Spirit. Your wild demonstrations create only disgust in the minds of unbelievers. The fewer of such demonstrations there are, the better it will be for the actors and for the people in general.
"Fanaticism, once started and left unchecked, Is as hard to quench as a fire which has obtained hold of a building. Those who have entered into and sustained this fanaticism, might far better be engaged in secular labor; for by their inconsistent course of action they are dishonoring the Lord and imperiling His people. Many such movements will arise at this time, when the Lord's work should stand elevated, pure, unadulterated with superstition and fables. We need to be on our guard, to maintain a close connection with Christ, that we be not deceived by Satan's devices.
"The Lord desires to have in His service order and discipline, not excitement and confusion. We are not now able to describe with accuracy the scenes to be enacted in our world in the future; but this we do know, that this is a time when we must watch unto prayer; for the great day of the Lord is at hand. Satan is rallying his forces. We need to be thoughtful and still, and to contemplate the truths of revelation. Excitement is not favorable to growth in grace, to true purity and sanctification of the spirit.
"God wants us to deal with sacred truth. This alone will convince the gainsayer. Calm, sensible labor must be put forth, to convince souls of their condition, to show them the character building which must be carried on if a beautiful structure is raised for the Lord. Minds that are awakened must be patiently instructed if they rightly understand and duly appreciate the truths of the Word.
"God calls upon His people to walk with sobriety and holy consistency. They should be very careful not to misrepresent and dishonor the holy doctrines of truth by strange performances, by confusion and tumult."-2 Selected Messages, 3536.
"We might see a different order of things should a number consecrate themselves wholly to God, and then devote their talents to the Sabbath school work, ever advancing in knowledge, and educating themselves so that they would be able to instruct others as to the best methods to employ in the work; but it is not for the workers to seek for methods by which they can make a show, consuming time in theatrical performances and musical display, for this benefits no one. It does no good to train the children to make speeches for special occasions. They should be won to Christ, and instead of expending time, money, and effort to make a display, let the whole effort be made to gather sheaves for the harvest." Fundamentals of Christian Education, 253.
"The superfluities which have been brought Into the worship in must be strenuously avoided .. Music is acceptable to God only when the heart is sanctified and made soft and holy by its facilities. But many who delight in music know nothing of making melody in their hearts to the Lord. Their heart is gone 'after their idols.'
"When professing Christians reach the high standard which it is their privilege to reach, the simplicity of Christ will be maintained in all their worship. Forms and ceremonies and musical accomplishments are not the strength of the church. Yet these things have taken the place that God should have, even as they did in the worship of the Jews.
"The Lord has revealed to me that when the heart is cleansed and sanctified, and the members of the church are partakers of the divine nature, a power will go forth from the church, who believe the truth, that will cause melody in the heart. Men and women will not then depend upon their Instrumental music but on the power and grace of God, which will give fullness of joy. There is a work to be done in clearing away the rubbish which has been brought into the church . .
"This message is not only for the church at____ but for every other church that has followed her example."-Evangelism, 512
"The presentation before me was that if Elder ________would heed the counsel of his brethren, and not rush on in the way he does in making a great effort to secure large congregations, he would have more influence for good, and his work would have a more telling effect. He should cut off from his meetings everything that has a semblance of theatrical display; for such outward appearances - give no strength to the message that he bears .. He will not place so much dependence on the musical program. This part of his services is conducted more after the order of a concert in a theater, than a song service in a religious meeting."-Evangelism, 501
"Still others go to the opposite extreme, making religious emotions prominent, and on special occasions manifesting intense zeal. Their religion seems to be more of the nature of a stimulus rather than an abiding faith in Christ.
"True ministers know the value of the inward working of the Holy Spirit upon human hearts. They are content with simplicity in religious services. Instead of making much of popular singing, they give their principal attention to the study of the Word, and render praise to God from the heart. Above the outward adorning, they regard the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. In their mouths is found no guile."-Evangelism, 502.
"The hearts of many in the world as well as many church members are hungering for the bread of life and thirsting for the waters of salvation. They are interested in the service of song, but they are not longing for that or even prayer. They want to know the Scriptures. What saith the Word of God to me? The Holy Spirit is working on mind and heart, drawing them to the bread of life. They see everything round them changing. Human feelings, human ideas of what constitutes religion, change. They come to hear the Word just as it reads." Evangelism, 501.
.... singing should not be allowed to divert the mind from the hours of devotion. If one must be neglected, let it be the singing. -Evangelism, 506
"The singing is not always to be done by a few. As often as possible, let the entire congregation join. Evangelism, 507.
"The singing should not be done by a few only. All present should be encouraged to join in the song service."-Evangelism, 507.
"Music has occupied the hours which should have been devoted to prayer. Music Is the idol which many professed Sabbathkeeping Christians worship. Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth. Anything will suit his purpose that will divert the mind from God and engage the time which should be devoted to His service. He works through the means which will exert the strongest influence to hold the largest numbers in a pleasing infatuation, while they are paralyzed by his power."-1 Testimonies, 506.
"The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ's order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It Is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ."-9 Testimonies, 142.
"Let not your efforts be to follow the world's way but to follow God's way. Outward display will not do the work the Lord desires to have done to arouse the higher classes to a conviction that they have heard the truth. Do not divest the truth of its dignity and impressiveness by preliminaries that are more after the order of the world than after the order of heaven. Let your hearers understand that you do not hold Sunday evening meetings to charm their senses with music and other things, but to preach the truth in all its solemnity, that it may come to them as a warning, arousing them from their deathlike sleep of self-indulgence. It is the naked truth that, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways . .
"Those who in their work for God depend on worldly plans for gaining success will make a failure. The Lord calls for a change in your manner of labor. He desires you to practice the lessons taught in the life of Christ. Then the mold of Christ will be seen on all the meetings that you hold." Evangelism, 148.
"The Instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse. It excites, but does not impart that strength and courage which the Christian can find only at the throne of grace while humbly making known his wants and with strong cries and tears pleading for heavenly strength to be fortified against the powerful temptations of the evil one. Satan is leading the young captive. Oh, what can I say to lead them to break his power of infatuation! He is a skillful charmer, luring them on to perdition. Listen to the instructions from the Inspired Book of God. I saw that Satan had blinded the minds of the youth that they could not comprehend the truths of God's word."-1 Testimonies, 497.
"Our success will depend on carrying forward the work in the simplicity in which Christ carried it forward, without any theatrical display." Evangelism, 139.
"I have a message for those in charge of our work. Do not encourage the men who are to engage in this work to think that they must proclaim the solemn, sacred message in a theatrical style. Not one jot or tittle of anything theatrical is to be brought into our work. God's cause is to have a sacred, heavenly mold. Let everything connected with the giving of the message for this time bear the divine impress. Let nothing of a theatrical nature be permitted, for this would spoil the sacredness of the work.
"I am instructed that we shall meet with all kinds of experiences and that men will try to bring strange performances into the work of God. We have met such things in many places. In my very first labors the message was given that all theatrical performances In connection with the preaching of present truth were to be discouraged and forbidden. Men who thought they had a wonderful work to do sought to adopt a strange deportment and manifested oddities in bodily exercise. The light given me was, 'Give this no sanction.' These performances, which savored of the theatrical, were to have no place in the proclamation of the solemn messages entrusted to us."-Evangelism, 137-138.
"Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God's kindling. The Lord is not glorified by this manner of working. Not by startling notices and expensive display is His work to be carried to completion, but by following Christlike methods. 'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.' It is naked truth which, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways, arousing to spiritual life those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Men will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in a way that is in harmony with God's purposes." Evangelism, 136.
"The enemy will watch closely and will take every advantage of circumstances to degrade the truth by the introduction of undignified demonstrations. None of these demonstrations are to be encouraged. The precious truths given us are to be spoken in all solemnity and with sacred awe."-Evangelism, 138.
"We are not to encourage a spirit of enthusiasm that brings zeal for a while, but soon fades away, leaving discouragement and depression. We need the bread of life that comes down from heaven to give life to the soul. Study the Word of God. Do not be controlled by feeling. All who labor in the vineyard of the Lord must learn that feeling is not faith. To be always in a state of elevation is not required. But it required that we have firm faith in the Word of God as the flesh and blood of Christ.
"Those who do the work of the Lord in our cities must close and bolt the doors firmly against excitement and fanaticism. The Word of God is our sanctification and righteousness, because it is spiritual food. To study it is to eat the leaves of the tree of life. Nothing is more uplifting to God's servants than to teach the Scriptures just as Christ taught them. The Word of God contains divine nourishment, which satisfies the appetite for spiritual food."-Evangelism, 138-139.
"Those who are handling the great, grand, ennobling truths of the Word must ever reveal a spirit deep, earnest, fervent, but calm, and full of sound sense, that the mouths of gainsayers may be stopped. Encourage not a wave of fanaticism that will spoil a work begun as it should be, and carried on with the Word of God in your hands."-Evangelism, 136.
"[In our meetings] we are handling subjects which involve eternal interests, and we are not to ape the world in any respect. We are to follow closely the footsteps of Christ. He is a satisfying portion and can meet all our wants and necessities."-Evangelism, 139.
"Never bring the truth down to a low level in order to obtain converts, but seek to bring the sinful and corrupted up to the high standard of the law of God."-Evangelism, 137.
"The world is teeming with errors and fables. Novelties In the form of sensational dramas are continually arising to engross the mind, and absurd theories abound which are destructive to moral and spiritual advancement. The cause of God needs men of intellect, men of thought, men well versed in the Scriptures, to meet the inflowing tide of opposition. We should give no sanction to arrogance, narrow-mindedness, and inconsistencies, although the garment of professed piety may be thrown over them. Those who have the sanctifying power of the truth upon their hearts will exert a persuasive influence. Knowing that the advocates of error cannot create or destroy truth, they can afford to be calm and considerate.
"It is not enough for our ministers to have a superficial knowledge of the truth. Subjects which are handled by men who have perverted their God-given powers to tear down the truth are constantly coming up for investigation."-4 Testimonies, 415.
"Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the heathen. There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to account in destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual Indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul. "-Patriarchs and Prophets, 459460.
"Instead of Indulging in poetic descriptions and fanciful representations, which might please the senses and feed the imagination, but which would not touch the daily experience, Paul sought by the use of simple language to bring home to the heart the truths that are of vital importance. Fanciful representations of truth may cause an ecstasy of feeling, but all too often truths presented in this way do not supply the food necessary to strengthen and fortify the believer for the battles of life. The immediate needs, the present trials, of struggling souls- these must be met with sound, practical instruction in the fundamental principles of Christianity. "-Acts of the Apostles, 252
"Fanciful representations are not the bread of life; they cannot save the soul from sin .. The truths that He proclaimed, as found in the Old Testament and the New, we today are to proclaim as the word of the living God."-l Selected Messages, 160.
"Those engaged in the work in New York are not to suppose that some strange thing must be brought in and mingled with their labor, as evidence of the supernatural character of the work, setting on it the seal that it is of God. Their work is to speak to the people in humble, trustful faith, asking counsel of God, not following their own ideas, not trusting to the bringing out of fanciful things to arouse the senses of those who are dead in trespasses and sins. The system of truth found in the Word of God is capable of making impressions such as the great Teacher desires to have made upon the intellect."- Evangelism, 136
"This is a lesson to all in their spiritual experience. What an amount of worry would be saved if men would only trust in God. The bread of life is to be given to needy souls. And what a work is often made of the matter. There are long councils for devising plans, inventing new methods. There is a constant effort to get up entertainments to draw people to the church or the Sabbath school. Like the disciples, the worker raises the question, Shall we go to the villages and buy? What is the work to be done? Come unto Jesus, Humble faith and prayer will accomplish very much more than your long councils." Testimonies to Ministers, 345.
"He [Satan] is in every sense of the word a deceiver, a skillful charmer. He has many finely woven nets, which appear innocent, but which are skillfully prepared to entangle the young and unwary. The natural mind leans toward pleasure and self-gratification. It is Satan's policy to fill the mind with desire for worldly amusement.. "-Counsels to Teachers, 325.
"You need to guard against your Inclination for show and entertainment. "-Medical Ministry, 167.
"What is the character of the religious experience of those who take part in the Sabbath school work? The light of the truth has been shining in the minds and hearts of teachers and scholars, that they may diffuse it to those who are out of Christ. The saving message is to be given to those who have not yet opened their hearts to receive the heavenly gift. The truth must be urged upon the attention of those who seem indifferent. If all felt a burden for the souls for whom Christ died, how intense would be the interest in every agency employed for the salvation of souls! How little our thoughts would be upon the Indulgence of self, upon display in dress, and upon seeking for amusement. How little money would be expended for entertainments and pleasure if we realized the importance of investing our means in the cause of God, which demands every penny not needed for actual wants."Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 67.
"The plan of Moses in the wilderness to raise means was highly successful. There was no compulsion necessary. Moses made no grand feast. He did not invite the people to scenes of gaiety, dancing, and general amusement. Neither did he institute lotteries or anything of this profane order to obtain means to erect the tabernacle of God in the wilderness. God commanded Moses to invite the children of Israel to bring the offerings. Moses was to accept gifts of every man that gave willingly from his heart. These freewill offerings came in so great abundance that Moses proclaimed it was enough. They must cease their presents; for they had given abundantly, more than they could use.
"Satan's temptations succeed with the professed followers of Christ on the point of indulgence of pleasure and appetite. Clothed as an angel of light, he will quote Scripture to justify the temptations he places before men to indulge the appetite, and in worldly pleasures, which suit the carnal heart. The professed followers of Christ are weak in moral power, and are fascinated with the bribe which Satan has presented before them, and he gains the victory.
"How does God look upon churches that are sustained by such means? Christ cannot accept these offerings, because they were not given through their love and devotion to Him, but through their Idolatry of self. But what many would not do for the love of Christ, they will do for the love of delicate luxuries to gratify the appetite, and for the love of worldly amusements to please the carnal heart. "-Counsels on Stewardship, 203-204.
"God's people are His chosen instrumentalities for the enlargement of His church in the earth. They are to seek the counsel of God. Worldly amusements and entertainments are to have no place in the life of the Christian.
"In following the way of the Lord is to be the strength of His people. Their faith in the gift of God's only-begotten Son is to be manifest. This will make its impression on the mind of the worldling. He who takes his position as separate from the world, and strives to become one with Christ, will be successful in drawing souls to God. The grace of Christ will be so apparent in his life that the world will take knowledge of him that he has been with Jesus, and has learned of Him."-Fundamentals of Christian Education, 514.
"All heaven is interested in the salvation of man and is ready to pour upon him her beneficent gifts if he will comply with the conditions Christ has made: 'Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean.'
"Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be exceedingly guarded that the amusements shall not be of a character to lower the standard of Christianity, bringing this institution down upon a level with others and weakening the power of true godliness in the minds of those who are connected with it. Worldly or theatrical entertainments are not essential for the prosperity of the sanitarium or for the health of the patients. The more they have of this kind of amusements, the less will they be pleased unless something of the kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a fever of unrest for something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And if these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and the patients lose their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the time. But repose, rather than excitement, is what many of the patients need.
"As soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections to theatergoing are removed from many minds, and the plea that moral and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theater breaks down the last barrier. Those who would permit this class of amusements at the sanitarium would better be seeking wisdom from God to lead these poor, hungry, thirsty souls to the Fountain of joy, and peace, and happiness.
"When there has been a departure from the right path, it is difficult to return. Barriers have been removed, safeguards broken down. One step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another.. The least deviation from the right and principle will lead to separation from God and may end in apostasy. What we do once, we more readily and naturally do again; and to go forward in a certain path, be it right or wrong, is more easy than to start. It takes less time and labor to corrupt our ways before God than to engraft upon the character habits of righteousness and truth. Whatever a man becomes accustomed to, be its influence good or evil, he finds it difficult to abandon."-4 Testimonies, 577-578.
"The desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment is a temptation and a snare to God's people, and especially to the young. Satan is constantly preparing inducements to attract minds from the solemn work of preparation for scenes just in the future. Through the agency of worldlings he keeps up a continual excitement to induce the unwary to join in worldly pleasures. There are shows, lectures, and an endless variety of entertainments that are calculated to lead to a love of the world; and through this union with the world, faith is weakened."-Counsels to Teachers, 325.
"Our social entertainments should not be governed by the dictates of worldly custom, but by the Spirit of Christ and the teaching of His word. "-Ministry of Healing, 352-353.
"You look upon appearance as the great means of lifting you up to success. This is a delusion. You seek to make an appearance that is not in any way appropriate to the work God has given you to do, an appearance which it would require a large sum of money to keep up. "-Medical Ministry, 167.
"He [Satan] is wide awake, busily engaged in leading the world captive, and through the agency of worldlings he keeps up a continual pleasing excitement to draw the unwary who profess to believe the truth to unite with worldlings. The lust of the eye, the desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment, Is a temptation and snare to God's people. Satan has many finely woven, dangerous nets which are made to appear innocent, but with which he is skillfully preparing to Infatuate God's people. There are pleasing shows, entertainments, . . lectures, and an endless variety of enterprises constantly arising calculated to lead the people of God to love the world and the things that are in the world."-1 Testimonies, 551.
"They do not prayerfully consult the divine standard, to learn what Christ has said in regard to the fruit to be borne on the Christian tree. They do not discern that these entertainments are really Satan's banquet, prepared to keep souls from accepting the call to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and preventing them from receiving the white robe of character, which is the righteousness of Christ. They become confused as to do what is right for them as Christians to do. They do not want to be thought singular, and naturally incline to follow the example of others. Thus they come under the influence of those who have never had the divine touch on heart or mind."-Counsels to Teachers, 341.
"There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for entertainment and diversion, from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit."-4 Testimonies, 653.
"Some will urge that if religious teaching is to be made prominent our schools will become unpopular; that those who are not of our faith will not patronize them. Very well; then let them go to other schools, where they will find a system of education that suits their taste. It is Satan's purpose by these considerations to prevent the attainment of the object for which our schools were established. Hindered by his devices, the managers reason after the manner of the world and copy its plans and Imitate Its customs. Many have so far shown their lack of wisdom from above as to join with the enemies of God and the truth in providing worldly entertainments for the students. In doing this they bring upon themselves the frown of God, for they mislead the youth and do a work for Satan. This work, with all Its results, they must meet at the bar of God.--6 Testimonies, 142143.
"When the Lord requires us to be distinct and peculiar, how can we crave popularity or seek to imitate the customs and practices of the world? 'Know ye not that the friendship of the world is the enemy of God, whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.' James 4:4.
"To lower the standard in order to secure popularity and an increase of numbers, and then to make this increase a cause of rejoicing, shows great blindness. If numbers were an evidence of success, Satan might claim the pre-eminence; for in this world his followers are largely in the majority. It is the degree of moral power pervading a school that is a test of its prosperity. It is the virtue, intelligence, and piety of the people composing our schools, not their numbers, that should be a source of joy and thankfulness. Then shall our schools become converted to the world and follow its customs and fashions? 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye . . be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.' Romans 12:1,2.
"Men will employ every means to make less prominent the difference between Seventh-day Adventists and observers of the first day of the week. A company was presented before me under the name of Seventh day Adventists, who were advising that the banner, or sign, which makes us a distinct people should not be held out so strikingly; for they claimed that this was not the best policy in order to secure success to our institutions. But this is not a time to haul down our colors, to be ashamed of our faith. This distinctive banner, described In the words, 'Here Is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus,' is to be borne through the world to the close of probation. While efforts should be increased to advance in different localities, there must be no cloaking of our faith to secure patronage. Truth must come to souls ready to perish; and if it is in any way hidden, God is dishonored, and the blood of souls will be upon our garments.
"Just as long as those in connection with our institutions walk humbly with God, heavenly intelligences will cooperate with them; but let all bear in mind the fact that God has said, 'Them that honor Me I will honor.' 1 Samuel 2:30. Never for one moment should the impression be given to anyone that it would be for his profit to hide his faith and doctrines from the unbelieving people of the world, fearing that he may not be so highly esteemed if his principles are known. Christ requires from all His followers open, manly confession of faith. Each must take his position and be what God designed he should be, a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. The whole universe is looking with inexpressible interest to see the closing work of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Every Christian is to be a light, not hid under a bushel or under a bed, but put on a candlestick, that light may be given to all who are in the house. Never, from cowardice or worldly policy, let the truth of God be placed in the background.
"Though in many respects our institutions of learning have swung into worldly conformity, though step by step they have advanced toward the world, they are prisoners of hope. Fate has not so woven its meshes about their workings that they need to remain helpless and in uncertainty. If they will listen to His voice and follow In His ways, God will correct and enlighten them, and bring them back to their upright position of distinction from the world. When the advantage of working upon Christian principles is discerned, when self is hid in Christ, much greater progress will be made; for each worker will feel his own human weakness; he will supplicate for the wisdom and grace of God, and will receive the divine help that is pledged for every emergency."-6 Testimonies, 143-145.
"You have been in a state of uncertainty and distrust, and have frequently chosen the society of those who are in darkness, those whom Satan uses to scatter from Christ. You could live among the most corrupt, and remain unstained, unsullied, if God in His providence thus directed you. But it is dangerous for those who wish to honor God to find their pleasure and entertainment with companions who fear Him not. Satan ever surrounds such with great darkness; and if those who profess Christ go unbidden into this darkness, they tempt the devil to tempt them."2 Testimonies, 222
"One great defect in the character of Saul was his love of approbation. This trait had had a controlling influence over his actions and thoughts; everything was marked by his desire for praise and self-exaltation. His standard of right and wrong was the low standard of popular applause. No man is safe who lives that he may please men, and does not seek first for the approbation of God. It was the ambition of Saul to be the first in the estimation of men."-Patriarchs and Prophets, 650.
"I have been shown that great caution should be used, even when it is necessary to lift a burden of oppression from men and women, lest they lean to their own wisdom and fail to make God their only dependence. It is not safe to speak in praise of persons or to exalt the ability of a minister of Christ. In the day of God, very many will be weighed in the balance and found wanting because of exaltation. I would warn my brethren and sisters never to flatter persons because of their ability, for they cannot bear it. Self is easily exalted, and, in consequence, persons lose their balance. I say again to my brethren and sisters: If you would have your souls clean from the blood of all men, never flatter, never praise the efforts of poor mortals; for it may prove their ruin. It is unsafe, by our words and actions, to exalt a brother or sister, however apparently humble may be his or her deportment. If they really possess the meek and lowly spirit which God so highly esteems, help them to retain it. This will not be done by censuring them nor neglecting to properly appreciate their true worth. But there are few who can bear praise without being injured.
"Some ministers of ability who are now preaching present truth, love approbation. Applause stimulates them, as the glass of wine does the Inebriate. Place these ministers where they have a small congregation which promises no special excitement and which provokes no decided opposition, and they will lose their interest and zeal, and appear as languid in the work as the inebriate when he is deprived of his dram. These men will fail to make real, practical laborers until they learn to labor without the excitement of applause."-3 Testimonies, 185-186.
"I ask you to study anew the cross of Christ. If all the proud and vainglorious, whose hearts are panting for the applause of men and for distinction above their fellows, could rightly estimate the value of the Son of God, rejected, despised, spit upon, by the very ones whom he came to redeem, how insignificant would appear all the honor that finite man can bestow."-4 Testimonies, 375.
"The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. It comes through the gentleness of the inspiration of His word, through the inward working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. The greatest manifestation of its power is seen in human nature brought to the perfection of the character of Christ." Ministry of Healing, 36.
"Wealth or high position, costly equipment, architecture or furnishings, are not essential to the advancement of the work of God; neither are achievements that win applause from men and administer to vanity. Worldly display, however imposing, is of no value In God's sight. Above the seen and temporal, He values the unseen and eternal. The former is of worth only as it expresses the latter. The choicest productions of art possess no beauty that can compare with the beauty of character, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit's working in the soul."-Ministry of Hearing, 37.
"In marked contrast to all this was the life of Jesus. In that life no noisy disputation, no ostentatious worship, no act to gain applause, was ever witnessed. Christ was hid in God, and God was revealed in the character of His Son. To this revelation Jesus desired the minds of the people to be directed, and their homage to be given."-Desire of Ages, 261.
"Jesus did not seek the admiration or the applause of men. He commanded no army."-Ministry of Healing, 197.
"In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage. But many who profess to be His followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him; for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender, they cannot find peace."- Desire of Ages, 330.
"So far possible, He closed the door to the tempter. Neither gain nor pleasure, applause nor censure, could induce Him to consent to a wrong act. He was wise to discern evil, and strong to resist it."-Desire of Ages, 72.
"They are forever trying to secure position, to gain applause, to obtain credit for doing some great work that others cannot do. But it disturbs the fine grain of their refined organism to associate with the humble, the unfortunate. They mistake the reason altogether. The reason why they shun any of these duties not so agreeable is found in their supreme selfishness. Dear self is the center of all their actions and motives.
"No fear of giving offense, no desire for friendship or applause, could lead Paul to withhold the words that God had given him for their instruction, warning, or correction. From His servants today God requires fearlessness in preaching the word and in carrying out its precepts. The minister of Christ Is not to present to the people only those truths that are the most pleasing, while he withholds others that might cause them pain." Acts of the Apostles, 394.
"Both thought and action will be necessary if you would attain to perfection of character. While brought in contact with the world, you should be on your guard that you do not seek too ardently for the applause of men and live for their opinion. Walk carefully if you would walk safely; cultivate the grace of humility, and hang your helpless souls upon Christ. You may be, in every sense, men of God. In the midst of confusion and temptation in the worldly crowd you may, with perfect sweetness, keep the independence of the soul.- 4 Testimonies, 568.
"Self-sufficiency must be overcome. Love of applause must be seen as a snare. There is always danger of making grave blunders through conceit of our own wisdom and qualifications. "-Testimonies to Ministers, 250-251.
"Unless the minister shall fearlessly declare the whole truth, unless he shall have an eye single to the glory of God and shall work under the direction of the great Captain of his salvation, unless he shall move to the front, irrespective of censure and uncontaminated by applause, he will be accounted an unfaithful watchman."-5 Testimonies, 263.
"We are in the greatest peril when we receive praise of one another, when we enter into a confederacy to exalt one another the great burden of the Pharisees was to secure the praise of men; and Christ told them that that was all the reward they would ever receive."-5 Testimonies, 133.
"The enemy is buying souls today very cheap. 'Ye have sold yourselves for nought,' is the language of Scripture. One is selling his soul for the world's applause, another for money; one to gratify base passions, another for worldly amusement. Such bargains are made daily. Satan is bidding for the purchase of Christ's blood and buying them cheap, notwithstanding the infinite price which has been paid to ransom them."-5 Testimonies, 133.
"There are many who are always ready to flatter and praise a minister who can talk. "-4 Testimonies, 376.
"All the worth and greatness of this life is derived from its connection with heaven and the future, immortal life. God's everlasting arm encircles the soul that turns to Him for aid, however feeble that soul may be. The precious things of the hills shall perish; but the soul that lives for God, unmoved by censure, unperverted by applause, shall abide forever with Him. The city of God will open its gates to receive him who teamed while on earth to lean on God for guidance and wisdom, for comfort and hope amid loss and affliction. The songs of angels will welcome him there, and for him the tree of life will yield its fruits."-4 Testimonies, 328.
"I saw some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness was expressed in their countenances; large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God's approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them.
"Evil angels crowded around, pressing darkness upon them to shut Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and thus they be led to distrust God and murmur against Him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. Angels of God had charge over His people, and as the poisonous atmosphere of evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the heavenly angels were continually wafting their wings over them to scatter the thick darkness.
"As the praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, to encourage their hearts and light up their countenances. Some. I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these and went to the aid of the earnest, praying ones. I saw angels of God hasten to the assistance of all who were struggling with all their power to resist the evil angels and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But His angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them.
"I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God's people.
"I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.
"Said the angel, 'List ye!" Soon I heard a voice like many musical instruments all sounding in perfect strains, sweet and harmonious. It surpassed any music I had ever heard, seeming to be full of mercy, compassion, and elevating, holy joy. It thrilled through my whole being. Said the angel, "Look ye!" My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying in agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through. Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, now shone with the light and glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude and holy, sacred joy."-Early Writings, 269-271.