frequently asked whether the believers should accept ministers, who have
violated the seventh commandment, back into the ministry.
following clarification, not only about ministers but believers as well,
should provide some help in determining this:
only one sin, which is adultery,
which can place the husband
or wife in a position where they can be
free from the marriage vow in the sight of God.
Although the laws of the land may grant -a divorce,
yet they are husband and wife still in the Bible light, according to the
law of God ." Manuscript Release
448, 19 (AH 344).
"I saw that the
seventh commandment has been violated by some who are now held in
fellowship by the church. This has brought Gods frown upon them. This
sin is awful in these last days, but the church has brought Gods
frown and curse upon them by regarding the sin so lightly. I saw it was
an enormous sin and there have not been as vigilant efforts made as
there should have been to satisfy the displeasure of God and remove His
frown by taking a strict, thorough course with the offender.
"It has had an
awful, corrupting influence upon the young. They see how lightly the sin
of breaking the seventh commandment is regarded, and the one who commits
this horrid sin thinks that all he has to do is to confess that he was
wrong and is sorry, and he is then to have all the privileges of the
house of God and be held in [the] embrace or fellowship of the church.
"They have thought
it was not so great a sin, but have lightly esteemed the breaking of the
seventh commandment. This has been sufficient to remove the ark of God
from the camp, if there were no other sins to cause the ark to be taken
away and weaken Israel.
"Those who break
the seventh commandment should be suspended from the church, and not
have its fellowship nor the privileges of the house of God. Said the
angel, this is not a sin of ignorance. It is a knowing sin and will
receive the awful visitation of God, whether he who commits it be old or
"Never was this sin
regarded by God as being so exceedingly sinful as at the present time.
Why? Because God is purifying unto Himself a peculiar people. zealous of
good works. It is at the very time when God is purifying this peculiar
people unto Himself that [unsanctified] individuals step in among us.
Notwithstanding the straight truths they have heard the
terrors of the Word of God set before them, and all the blazing truth
for these last days calculated to arouse Israel they sin
with a high hand, give way to all the loose passions of the carnal
heart, gratify their animal propensities, disgrace the cause of God, and
then confess they have sinned and are sorry!
And the church
receives them and says Amen to their prayers and exhortations, which
are a stink in the nostrils of God, and cause His wrath to come upon the
camp. He will not dwell in their assemblies. Those who move on thus
heedlessly, plastering over these sins, will be left to their own ways,
to be filled with their own doings.
anciently committed these sins were taken without the camp and stoned to
death. Temporal and eternal death was their doom; and because the
penalty of stoning to death is abolished, this sin is indulged in beyond
measure and is thought to be a small offense."
Manuscript 3. 1854.
"It is impossible
for E to be fellowshipped by the church of God. He has placed himself
where he cannot be helped by the church, where he can have no communion
with, nor voice in, the church. He has placed himself there in the face
of light and truth. He has stubbornly chosen his own course, and refused
to listen to reproof. He has followed the inclinations of his corrupt
heart, has violated the holy law of God, and has disgraced the cause of
"If he repents ever
so heartily, the church must let his case alone. If he goes to heaven,
it must be alone, without the fellowship of the church. A standing
rebuke from God and the church must ever rest upon him that the standard
of morality be not lowered to the very dust."
1 Testimonies, 215.
much confidence is a man worthy who will thus leave his wife and
children and seek to contract a second marriage? .
. By seeking to contract
another while your wife was still living, you dishonored God and showed
that you either had not a sound religious faith, or were not of a sound
mind." 10 Manuscript Releases, 193.
"I have no real
ground of hope for those who have stood as shepherds to the flock, and
have for years been borne with by the merciful God, following them with
reproof, with warnings. with entreaties, but who have hid their evil
ways, and continued In them, thus defying the laws of the God of heaven
by practicing fornication. We may leave them to work out their own
salvation with fear and trembling, after all has been done to reform
them; but in no case entrust to them the guardianship of souls. False
shepherds! Oh, can it be that the men who have been engaged in this work
for a long time will corrupt their ways before the Lord after great
experience and special light?" Testimonies to
not be too late for those who have sinned to be zealous and repent [and
be finally saved]; for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation
not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
This [worldly] sorrow is a deceptive kind. It has no real virtue in it.
There is no sense of the aggravated character of sin; but there is a
sorrow and regret that the sin has come to the knowledge of others; and
so no confessions are made, except in acknowledgment of the things thus
revealed which cannot be denied .
. This is the sorrow of the world, which worketh
death, and pacifies the conscience, while the sin is still cherished,
and would be carried on just the same if there were an opportunity. and
they could not be discovered . Here
we can see the duty that rests upon the church to deal with those whose
course of action is entirely contrary to the light which they have
received. Will the people of God take their stand upon the Bible, or
will they be worse than infidels, and give arguments to this class to
reproach Christ and the truth, because they do not obey the claims of
the gospel in faith and obedience by a circumspect life and a holy
character?" Special Testimonies to Ministers
and Workers, Series A. No. 9, 61-62. (1897).
His people to elevate the standard. The church must show their zeal for
God in dealing with those who have, while professing great faith, been
putting Christ to open shame. They have imperiled the truth. They have
been unfaithful sentinels. They have brought reproach and dishonor upon
the cause of God. The time has come for earnest and powerful efforts to
rid the church of the slime and filth which is tarnishing her purity.
The church of Christ is called to be a holy, powerful people, a name and
praise in all the earth . .
If the fruit does not
appear, then God is not glorified." Ibid.
"In His providence
He brings these persons into positions which will in time reveal the
defects in their character, that if they wish to see and correct them
they can do so." 3 Testimonies, 513.
"Some, however, do
and are restored to [membership in] the church, but not till they have
merited the confidence of the people of God by unqualified confessions
and a period of sincere repentance [showing that the sin has been fully
put away]." Adventist Home, 346.
"In view of the
dangers of this time, shall not we, as Gods commandment-keeping
people, put away from among us all sin, all iniquity, all
perverseness?" 5 Testimonies, 60 1-602.
"If it [the
improper sexual advance] is from one in high places, who is dealing in
sacred things, the sin is of tenfold greater magnitude."
Adventist Home, 336.
"If a minister of
the gospel does not control his baser passions, if he fails to follow
the example of the apostle and so dishonors his profession and faith as
to even name the indulgence of sin, our sisters who profess godliness
should not for an instant flatter themselves that sin or crime loses its
sinfulness in the least because their minister dares to engage in it.
The fact that men who are in responsible places show themselves to be
familiar with sin should not lessen the guilt and enormity of the sin in
the minds of any. Sin should appear just as sinful, just as abhorrent,
as it had been heretofore regarded; and the minds of the pure and
elevated should abhor and shun the one who indulges in sin as they would
flee from a serpent whose sting was deadly." 2 Testimonies,
You may also
wish to to read
3T 238:1; 1T441:1; 3T513.
several basic principles you will find in the Spirit
of Prophecy. (All except most of the
Adventist Home statements are quoted in this present study. The AH
statements will be found in AM 326-352.)
1 - In
some cases separation is acceptable (AH 343:2-344:0: 344:4-345:0),
but generally is not best (AH
There are no Biblical
reasons for divorce except adultery of the spouse (AH 340:3; 341:3;
342:2; 344:3; 345:1).
A totally abandoned spouse
should accept it (All 344:10), but should not remarry unless the
spouse commits adultery.
Legally divorced people are
still Biblically married (AH 344:2), unless the spouse commits
adultery (AH 344:3).
A minister who does these
things is not worthy of remaining in the ministry (Al-I 32 7:1). Flee
from those who would entice you to sin (AH 32 7-339). Members
should shun adulterous ministers (AH 336:1).
The one committing adultery
is to be put out of the church (Special Testimonies, Series A, No. 9,
6 1-62 [quoted earlier in this study]).
In the case of an
adulterous minister or church worker, he is to be discharged from his
position (TM 426-428: 434:1-435:0).
If the offending one (s)
remains in a state of adultery (because of remarriage or otherwise), he
is not to be taken back into church membership, nor into the ministry or
any other area of Gods work (AH 328-331; 1T 215; TM 428:2;
In the case of very serious
misdeeds, the erring one is never to be brought back into church
membership (1T 215).
If the offending one
confesses and forsakes the adultery, after a probationary period, he may
be taken back into church membership (AH 346:1), but never again
into the ministry or other church office where he stands before the
people in a capacity as a spiritual leader (426:2-3; TM 428:2).
If his repentance is real
and, through the grace of Christ, the former adulterer persists in right
living, he may yet be saved, but if he continues in adulterous
relationships he will be lost and not go to heaven (1T 215).
Upon discovering that the
spouse has committed adultery, the innocent spouse is free to divorce
and remarry (AH 346:2).
But, after discovering it,
the innocent spouse is not condemned for choosing to remain with the one
who has committed adultery. Yet after learning and choosing to remain,
the innocent spouse may not then leave (Al-I 346:3-4).
A warning to us today:
read Adventist Home, pages 326-32 7.
It is clear, from the
Inspired Writings. that the people of God must, through the grace of
Christ, have purity of heart and life.
Their ministers must be
pure also, or the curse of God rests upon the congregation.
It is clear, from the
Inspired Writings. that the people of God must, through the grace of
Christ, have purity of heart and life.
Their ministers must be
pure also, or the curse of God rests upon the congregation.
STANDARDS ON ADULTERY. DIVORCE. AND REMARRIAGE
A brief, three-part collection of quotations from the Bible,
Spirit of Prophecy, and other sources. The
important changes in the Church Manual are carefully explained.
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT AND CHURCH RELATIONSHIP [WM-602]
How should we relate ourselves to adulterous church members and pastors?
There are answers here.
ADULTEROUS PASTORS [WM-587-588] A two-part report on a
proposed change in the North American Division Working Policy, to be
presented for approval to the 1995 General Conference Session. It would
officially permit adulterous ministers to be placed back in the ministry
after a two-year waiting period.
PERMITTING ADULTERY IN
THE MINISTRY [WM-601] A proposed NAD change, which
would ignore all sexual transgressions by church workers, which were not
illegal (involving "mutual consent").
THE TORRES CASE
[WM-583-586] A four-part report on the
problem of rehiring ministers who have divorced their wives and
remarried. The case of one of our most prominent local pastors in North
"We are nearing the
judgment, and those who bear the message of warning to the world must
have clean hands and pure hearts. They must have a living connection
with God, or He will not accept it.
developments of evil are one of the greatest evidences we have that the
end is near. Satan, like a roaring lion, is going about, seeking whom he
may devour; and if men and women, under the blazing light that now
shines in this perilous time, will be found fornicators, I am afraid
that God will separate them from the work forever.
"The youth. for
misdemeanors of a comparatively light character, are treated with much
severity; but when men and women of large experience, who have been
considered patterns of piety, are revealed in their true
character, unsanctified, unholy, impure in thought,
debased in conduct, then it is time for such to be
dealt with in a decided manner. The greater forbearance that is
exercised toward them has only had, as far as my knowledge extends, the
influence to cause them to regard their fornication and adultery as a
very light matter, and all their pretense has proved to be like morning
dew when the sun shines upon it.
"No sooner are they
placed in temptation than they reveal their moral defects
that they are not partakers of the divine nature, neither have
they escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust; but that
they are earthly, sensual, and devilish. Satan finds in them something
that he can work up into marked iniquity, and he improves his
opportunity, and the result is, those who claim to be shepherds of the
flock are carnally minded, leading the sheep in their care, whose
purity, modesty, and virtue they should strictly guard, into
licentiousness and lewdness. Angels of heaven are looking on with shame
and grief and disgust.
"How can the pure
angels of heaven minister unto this class? How can they bring heavenly
light into the assemblies where such ministers are advocating the law of
God, but breaking that law whenever a favorable opportunity presents
itself; living a lie, pursuing an underhanded course, working in secret,
nursing their polluted thoughts and inflaming their passions, and then
taking advantage of women or men who are tempted, like themselves, to
break down all barriers and debase their bodies and pollute their souls?
How can they do this thing? How can they have any fear of God before
them? How can they have any love for God in their souls? Of what value
is their faith in the truth?
"Cleanse the camp
of this moral corruption, If it takes the highest men in the highest
positions. God will not be trifled with. fornication is in our ranks; I
know it, for it has been shown me to be strengthening and extending its
pollution's. There is much we will never know; but that which is
revealed makes the church responsible and guilty unless they show a
determined effort to eradicate the evil. Cleanse the camp, for there is
an accursed thing in it.
"The words of God
to Joshua are:
" Neither will I
be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up,
sanctify the people, and say Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for
thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the
midst of thee, 0 Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies,
until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. These things
are written for our benefit, upon whom the ends of the world are
come." Testimonies to Ministers,
"A preacher may be
dealing in sacred, holy things, and yet not be holy in heart. He may
give himself to Satan to work wickedness and to corrupt the souls and
bodies of his flock. Yet if the minds of women and youth professing to
love and fear God were fortified with His Spirit, if they had trained
their minds to purity of thought and educated themselves to avoid all
appearance of evil, they would be safe from any improper advances and be
secure from the corruption prevailing around them."
2 Testimonies, 456:4-457:0.
"What can I say to
arouse our people? I tell you not a few ministers who stand before the
people to explain the Scriptures are defiled. Their hearts are corrupt,
their hands unclean. yet many are crying, "Peace, peace"; arid
the workers of iniquity are not alarmed. The Lords hand is not
shortened that He cannot save, nor His ear heavy that He cannot hear;
but it is our sins that have separated us from God. The church is
corrupt because of her members who defile their bodies and pollute their
spirit of our time is that of infidelity and apostasy a
spirit of pretended illumination because of a knowledge of the truth,
but in reality of the blindest presumption. There is a spirit of
opposition to the plain Word of God and to the testimony of His Spirit.
There is a spirit of idolatrous exaltation of mere human reason above
the revealed wisdom of God.
"There are men
among us in responsible positions who hold that the opinions of a few
conceited philosophers, so called, are more to be trusted than the truth
of the Bible, or the testimonies of the Holy Spirit. Such a faith as
that of Paul, Peter, or John is considered old-fashioned and
insufferable at the present day. It is pronounced absurd, mystical, and
unworthy of an intelligent mind.
"God has shown me
that these men are Hazaels to prove a scourge our people."
5 Testimonies, 78:4-79:3.
"The example of
those who minister in holy things should be such as to impress the
people with reverence for God and with fear to offend Him. When men,
standing 'in Christs stead' (2 Corinthians 5:20) to speak to the
people Gods message of mercy and reconciliation, use their sacred
calling as a cloak for selfish or sensual gratification, they make
themselves the most effective agents of Satan. Like Hophni and Phineas,
they cause men to abhor the offering of the Lord.' They may pursue
their evil course in secret for a time; but when at last their true
character is exposed, the faith of the people receives a shock that
often results in destroying their confidence in religion. There is left
upon the mind a distrust of all who profess to teach the Word of God.
The message of the true servant of God loses its power upon the souls of
"In Elis reproof
to his sons are words of solemn and fearful import
words that all who minister in sacred things would do well to ponder:
'If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if a man
sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him?' Had their crimes
injured only their fellow men, the judge might have made reconciliation
by appointing a penalty and requiring restitution; and thus the
offenders might have been pardoned. Or had they not been guilty of a
presumptuous sin, a sin offering might have been presented for them. But
their sins were so interwoven with their ministration as priests of the
Most High, in offering sacrifice for sin, the work of God was so
profaned and dishonored before the people, that no expiation could be
accepted for them. Their own father, though himself high priest, dared
not make intercession in their behalf; he could not shield them from the
wrath of God. Of all sinners, those are most guilty who cast contempt
upon the means that Heaven has provided for mans
redemption who crucify to themselves the Son of
God afresh, and put Him to open shame." Patriarchs and
"The Lord would
have His people divested of everything unscriptural in regard to the
ministry. The men called to the ministry should not be made idols of;
they should not be looked upon with superstitious reverence; and because
of the power vested in them through their office, sin in them should not
lose its offensiveness. Their very office makes sin in them more
exceedingly sinful; for in committing sin they make themselves the
ministers of sin, the agents of Satan, through whom he can work with
success to perpetuate sin. All should bear in mind that Satans
special efforts are directed against the ministry. He knows that it is
but a human instrumentality, possessing no grace or holiness of its own.
He knows that it is an agent that God has
ordained to be a powerful means for the salvation of souls, and is
efficacious only as God, the eternal Spirit, makes it so. He knows that
the treasure of the gospel is in earthen vessels, that it is Gods
power alone that can make them vessels of honor. They may cultivate the
vineyard, a Paul may plant and an Apollos water, but God alone can give
the increase." Testimonies to Ministers,
"From the picture
that has been presented before me of the corruption of men and women
professing godliness, I have feared that I should altogether lose
confidence in humanity. I have seen that a fearful stupor is upon nearly
all. It is almost impossible to arouse the very ones who should be
awakened, so as to have any just sense of the power which Satan holds
over minds. They are not aware of the corruption teeming all around
them. Satan has blinded their minds and lulled them to carnal security.
The failures in our efforts to bring others up to understand the great
dangers that beset souls have sometimes led me to fear that my ideas of
the depravity of the human heart were exaggerated. But when facts are
brought to us showing the sad deformity of one who has dared to minister
in sacred things while corrupt at heart, one whose sin-stained hands
have profaned the vessels of the Lord, I am sure that I have not drawn
the picture any too strong.
"I have been
bearing a very strong testimony, both in writing and in speaking, hoping
to awaken Gods people to understand that they have fallen upon
perilous times." 2 Testimonies. 478:1-2.
attractions of pleasure or selfish gratification be presented, and
conscience will be sacrificed to gain the coveted indulgence. Can such a
person be trusted? Never! In the absence of temptation he may carry
himself with such seeming propriety that your doubts and suspicions
appear unjust; but let opportunity be presented, and he will betray your
confidence. He is unsound at heart. Just at the time when firmness and
principle are most required, you will find him giving way; and if he
does not become an Arnold or a Judas, it is because he lacks a fitting
opportunity." 5 Testimonies 43:3-44:0.
engaged in his sacrilegious feast, was not aware that he had guests he
had not invited. The God of heaven heard the praises bestowed upon
vessels of gold and silver. He saw the desecration of that which had
been dedicated to Him by holy consecration applied to profane and
licentious purposes. It is a truth which should make every one of us
weep, that those living in these last days, upon whom the ends of the
world are come, are far more guilty than was Belshazzar. This is
possible in many ways.
"When men have
taken upon themselves the vows of consecration, to devote all their
powers to the sacred service of God; when they occupy the position of
expositors of Bible truth, and have received the solemn charge; when God
and angels are summoned as witnesses to the solemn dedication of soul,
body. and spirit to Gods service then shall these men
who minister in a most holy office desecrate their God-given powers to
unholy purposes? Shall the sacred vessel, whom God is to use for a high
and holy work, be dragged from its lofty, controlling sphere to
administer to debasing lust? Is not this idol worship of the most
degrading kind? the lips uttering praises and adoring a
sinful human being, pouring forth expressions of ravishing tenderness
and adulation which belong alone to God the powers given
to God in solemn consecration administering to a harlot; for any woman
who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will
listen to his advances, and whose ears will be pleased with the
outpouring of lavish words of affection, of adoration, of endearment, is
an adulteress and a harlot." Testimonies
to Ministers, 434:1-435:0.
Two quotations to
"Corrupt men think
it easier to misinterpret the Scriptures to sustain them in their
iniquity than to yield up their corruption and sin and be pure in heart
and life." Adventist Home, 329:3.
"Men who are doing
Gods work, and who have Christ abiding in their hearts, will not
lower the standard of morality, but will ever seek to elevate
it." Adventist Home 335:2.
The above two statements
(both dealing with the context of this entire report) clearly identify
the godly ones and the corrupt ones in our church. It is only the
corrupt who, in heart, try to lower the standards of Gods people.
What sin can be greater
May God help His
children to flee from evil, and study and obey His Word in these final
days on earth. vf