Corporate responsibility of
every member of any church organization is taught taught in Scripture
by the Achan principle. It is also taught by the "one body in
Christ" principle. Were corporate responsibility not a fact of
Scripture, the entire Protestant Reformation would be an abominable
heresy! Separation from Rome
would be unnecessary! All one would need do is remain and protest what
he/she regarded as error!
1Cor. 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the
members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make
[them] the members of an harlot? God forbid.
Ellen White on
Ellen White fully suppported the Biblical principle
of corporate responsibility. Here are a few of her many statements to
"The plain straight
testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon
His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel
because of ther sins. God holds His people, AS A BODY, responsible
for the sins existing in individuals among them" Testimonies, vol.
"I was shown that the pointed testimony must
live in the church. This alone will answer to the message to the
Laodiceans. Wrongs must be reproved, sin must be called sin, and
iniquity must be met promptly and decidedly, and put away from us AS A
PEOPLE." Testimonies, vol. 3, 260.
"Should a case like Achan's be among us, there
are many who would acuse those who might act the part of Joshua in
searching out the wrong, of having a wicked, faultfinding
spirit...God's displeasure is upon His people, and He wil not manifest
His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are
FOSTERED BY THOSE IN RESPONSIBLE POSITIONS." Testimonies,
vol. 3, 270.
Ecumenical linkage to
has been engaged by THOSE IN RESPONSIBLE POSITIONS in the professing
SDA church. Every member who is aware of this UNPARDONABLE ACT OF
APOSTASY is corporately responsible for it, if he/she remains a member
of the church after being apprised of such violation on the part of the
corporate church. See our section on the ecumenical involvement of
the SDA church to further apprise yourself of this serious apostasy
which "removes the eyes and feet from off the Midnight Cry Lighted
Path, after which it is impossible to get back on the path according to
Scripture and Ellen White.
"God has not set
any kingly power in the Seventh-day
to control the whole body or to control any branch of the work. He has
not provided that the burden of leadership shall rest upon a few men.
Responsibilities are distributed among a large number of competent men.
Every member of the church has a voice in choosing officers of the
church [This is why every member is responsible for the actions of
their leaders].The church chooses the officers of the state
conferences. Delegates chosen by the state conferences choose the
offers of the union conferences, and delegates chosen by the union
conferences choose the officers of the General Conference. By this
arrangement every conference, every institution, every church, and
EVERY INDIVIDUAL, either directly or through representatives, has a
voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in
the General Conference." E.G. White, Testimonies, vol. 8,
pp. 236, 237.
The above statement demonstrates that the
professing SDA church is not of CONGREGATIONALISTS ORGANIZATION,
whereby each individual church is under its own cognizance. Thus
Corporate Responsibility is transferred to each member in this
REPRESENTATIVE SYSTEM OF ORGANIZATION. Responsibility for departure
from the representative system to that of a HIERARCHICAL SYSTEM still
falls on the constituency membership for permitting such a state of
affairs to occur! And, when such a state of apostasy occurs regarding
any fundamental pillar of the faith, if the leaders have formed such a
powerful lobby that members cannot change things, that is one of the
points at which separation becomes an absolute duty. Surely, when it
gets to the point where the membership is supporting a leadership that
is teaching error to the entire world; errors which remove every pillar
doctrine of historic Adventism, then the professing church has reached
the point where separation becomes an absolute necessity lest any
member be responsible for such a departure from truth and the work of
the Lord. Here is the principle from Ellen White:
"The Lord Jesus
will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people
rejected Christ, the Prince of life. He took from them the kingdom
of God and gave
it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with
every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the
work of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and
sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are
then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in
turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not
establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord
will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will
remove them from their place and make them a reproach.
God is not 'worshipped with men's hands, as tough he needed anything.'"
(Acts 17:25). E. G. White, The Upward Look, 131.
"Unless these evils which bring the
displeasure of God are corrected in its members, the whole church
stands accountable for them" E.G. White, Review and Herald, vol.
2, 453, Dec. 23, 1890.
"....for none are
so reckless and go to such lengths in sin as do those who have once had
the light, but have resisted the convicting Spirit of God." E.G.
White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 95.