Corporate responsibility of every member of any church
organization is 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.
White on Corporate Responsibility
Ellen White fully supported the Biblical
principle of corporate responsibility. Here are a few of her many
statements to that effect:
"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 their sins. God
holds His people, AS A BODY, responsible for the sins existing in
individuals among them" Testimonies, vol. 3, 269.
"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 accuse 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 will 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 fallen
Babylon 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 Adventist Church 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.