The Issue of the Unrecognized Principle
There is an essential spiritual principle that is generally unrecognized by Seventh-day Adventists both within and without the structure, and some who are made aware of it refuse to acknowledge it. But it is there nonetheless! This is the principle of corporate accountability, the fact that you are accountable before God, not only for your own individual actions but also for the actions and behavior of the group or body you belong to or are a part of.
principle is amply illustrated for us in the Scriptures, and we will look at
some of those examples beginning in the book of Genesis with the account of
So even though God acknowledged Lot as just and righteous, if he would have refused to heed the command to separate, all his righteousness would not have saved him from being consumed by the fiery wrath of God’s judgments. The point to be made here is that regardless of our standing with God, if we refuse to obey His command for us to separate from sinful associations, we will be destroyed along with them!
Let us go to another example, the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. We read: “And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” Numbers 16:20,21.What was the reaction of Moses and Aaron to this command? “And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? Verse 22.
In T3: 354 we read: “They [the congregation] also were in alarming danger of being destroyed in their sins [the sins of Korah, Dathan & Abiram] by the wrath of God, for they were sharers in the crime of the men to whom they had given their sympathy and with whom they had associated.” So just by sympathizing with them and associating with these sinful men the congregation was just as guilty as they were and thus subject to being destroyed. But let us read on. “So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.” Numbers 16: 27.
We’re all familiar with this story, but what is little known is that not all of the family members were destroyed in this rebellion for we read: “Nothwithstanding the children of Korah died not.” Numbers 26: 11. Why weren’t they destroyed too? Simply because as difficult as it must have been for them to tear away from the rest of their family, they chose to follow God’s mandate to separate, and in doing so preserved their lives.
us now go to another example, that of Achan. God
know in that account, that as a result of Achan’s
sin, thirty six men lost their lives when the Israelites attacked Ai
(Chap.7:4,5), and what was Gods response to Joshua’s
intercession? Even though Achan acted alone, all
we read from the inspired word: “Shame, defeat, and death were brought upon
we see some more of what the Spirit of Prophecy has to say about this
principle, let us look at one more example in the Old Testament as well as
the New. We will look at the case of Jeremiah who had prophesied the
finally, let us look at a significant but generally overlooked example of
this principle in the book of Acts. The occasion was the day of Pentecost
when Peter was addressing the crowd of Jews assembled there for the religious
festivals then in progress, men who had come from every known part of the
world. Under the impression of the Holy Spirit Peter addressed them thus: “Therefor let all the house of
Peter accused all those present that they were all guilty of
crucifying Jesus because all the house of
Looking again to the Spirit of Prophecy we also see this principle illustrated as we read: “He [God] shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation.” 3T: 265. Many are waiting for God to supernaturally purify and cleanse the church, as if all they have to do is sit there passively and tolerate all the wickedness and apostasy going on around them. But here we have read that it is necessary for the church to “take decided measures to put that sin from them.”
Again we read: “If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty.” Ibid.: 266.
Again we read this startling but crystal clear admonition: “The Lord said to Joshua, "Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you" (Joshua 7:12). The defects of character in any member of the church, or in the minister, are charged to the church, if the church make light of the defects. If you place Elder Daniels over the church as a minister, you, as a church, assume his defects, you make them your own, and the whole church stands under the rebuke of God, even as ancient Israel was under His rebuke on account of the sin of Achan. But your case will be more grievous than theirs, because you knew the evil, yet hid your eyes from it, and walked contrary to the will of God.--Ms 1a, 1890, pp. 4, 5. ("A Consecrated Ministry,” February 13, 1890.)
And in closing, this admonition: “Christ requires personal faithfulness of His servants, and we are to show that we have no fellowship with the secret, hidden things of darkness. The wheat is not to sow itself among the tares; for although we may not practice the works of some of the members of the secret orders, in joining them we are registered in heaven as partakers of their evil deeds, responsible for their works of evil, and bound up in bundles with them as tares. Thank God, it is not too late for Christians to sever themselves from all unholy connections, and come fully unto the side of Christ…The tares will be bound into bundles to be burned, the wheat gathered into the heavenly garner.” 3RH: 01-10-93.
Oh friends, where are you going to be registered in heaven, as part of the wheat, or as one of the tares? Are you going to heed God’s mandate to separate from all sin and apostasy, or are you going to listen to the voice of man telling you to wait for God to act? Is it any wonder that a loving God who would that none should perish warns us: “There was a coming out, a decided separation from the wicked, an escape for life. So it was in the days of Noah; so with Lot; so with the disciples prior to the destruction; [so with the Reformers, and so with the Pioneers of the Advent Movement] and so it will be in the last days…As in the days of Noah and Lot, there must be a marked separation from sin and sinners.” PP: 166, 167.
Unfortunately, as stated before, so many precious but deceived souls within the structure are waiting passively for God to act supernaturally and purify and cleanse the church. But they are acting under a great and fatal delusion, for God has given us His divine instructions as to what our part should be regarding sin and apostasy. Either separate it from you, or if you can’t do that, then you must separate from it! It’s that simple if you do not want to be among the ALL who perish of 5T: 211.
This, then, is: