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Report on Hope International and Associated Groups Hope International's Response
to the General Conference report published in the Adventist Review.
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Issues At The End
An in-depth examination
of and response to issues raised by the General Conference report on Hope International and Associated Groups.

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Issues At The End

by Ron Spear


 A response to the report of the
Examination of Hope International Committee
submitted to the General Conference ADCOM, April 2000




A Response to the General Conference:
            The Spirit of Prophecy
            Selections Regarding Degrees of Divine Inspiration

Appendix A: Hope International, Hartland
Institute, and Remnant Ministries - Report

Appendix B: Reflections

To Obtain a printed copy….


What are the issues between the church structure and certain self-supporting ministries? Probably not what you have been told.

The issue is not “duly constituted church authority.” Faithful Seventh-day Adventists believe as firmly in duly constituted church authority as anyone else does. But apostasy has no authority.

The issue is not the advancing of new doctrinal positions by the faithful Adventists. Our doctrines are bedrock historic Adventism, as taught and believed by virtually all Seventh-day Adventists until the fateful 1950s, and are expressed in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe....

The issue is not our own personal opinions or preferences. We have not originated any of the doctrines that we believe. They are historic Adventism. They are the sacred truths that we were taught when we joined the church, were taught again when we attended Seventh-day Adventist schools and colleges, and are found in virtually all of our church’s literature before the 1950s. As mentioned above, their most recent expression is in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe....

The issue is not attacks on the church. Faithful Adventists are standing against apostasy. If it is not possible to stand against apostasy without attacking the church, what does this say about the church?

What, then, is the issue? The issue is APOSTASY.

A tidal wave of apostasy is raging through our church, dividing our congregations, ravaging our schools, prostituting our publishing houses, and degrading our institutions. Some are even uniting with Catholic institutions. Meanwhile the majority of our administrators seem to be looking on either benignly or indifferently. They reserve their wrath for those who dare to speak out against the apostasy, or worse still, those who try to publicly proclaim our truth without adulteration. Witness the grossly unscriptural lawsuit by the General Conference against Rafael Perez in Florida. What was his crime? He had published some passages from The Great Controversy in several newspapers. For this, and for calling himself a Seventh-day Adventist, he was threatened with a jail sentence.

The list of apostasies is large and growing. Some of the major false doctrines are the two Calvinistic falsehoods—that Christians cannot stop sinning, even by the power of God, and that Christ came to this earth in the human nature of Adam before his fall. If these falsehoods were true, then Christ was therefore not a true example to us, but rather a substitute. Ellen White testified in writing against this false doctrine more than four hundred times. Our other pioneers testified against it more than eight hundred times. Why is this evidence being ignored?

And why, when evidence like this is brought forth, is it met with the accusation that we are putting Ellen White above the Bible? And why are the accusers offended when we say, “No, my friend. We are not putting Ellen White above the Bible. We are putting her above you.”

Why are promoters of the hideously false doctrines of evolution being welcomed to some of our largest churches and educational institutions? Why are some of the leaders of the North American Division earnestly working toward their goal of multiplying “celebration” churches in this division with their dramatic presentations and their bar and night club music? And why are some of those same leaders using manipulative techniques to reject the twice-expressed will of the world church about women’s ordination and enforce their own will on the world church? This is especially strange when we remember that some of these same leaders are bitterly accusing the faithful Adventists of doing the same thing—trying to enforce their will on the world church. “Consistency, Thou art a jewel.”

And let every man in every Adventist home consider well the significance of the Apostle Paul’s statement that the elder must be “one that ruleth well his own house.” 1 Timothy 3:4–5. Are we ready to have our ladies take over the administration of our homes and “rule us well”?

The issues are theological. False doctrines are displacing the truth in more and more of our churches and our schools. And when faithful Adventists plead for a hearing on theological matters, are they ever granted one? When we do meet with church leaders, we are forced to spend our time dealing with a barrage of false accusations. Doctrines are scarcely considered, if they are mentioned at all. Church administrators seem to be determined to keep throwing dust in the air by their false accusations, for the purpose of obscuring the real theological issues, and preventing the church members from discovering them. What will it take to wake our people up? Maybe this book will help. May God grant it is my prayer.

Ralph Larson


The Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy tell us that surely there will remain a remnant to honor the Lord by their obedience to all His commands:

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure. . . . He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power. 2 Thessalonians 1:4, 9–11.

Nevertheless, the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy tell us that in the very end of time there will be a terrible apostasy in the church—called the Omega. See Selected Messages, book 1, 193–205.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3–4.

In this apostasy, many pastors, laity and leaders will make of none effect the Spirit of Prophecy. This will be the very last deception:

Satan is . . .  constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony. There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded. Selected Messages, book 1, 48.

Also, in this last apostasy in the church, irreverence for God, His sanctuary, and His Sabbath will be expressed in music, conduct and fanaticism:

Fanaticism, once started and left unchecked, is as hard to quench as a fire which has obtained hold of a building. . . . 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. . . . Excitement is not favorable to growth in grace, to true purity and sanctification of the spirit. . . .

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. Selected Messages, book 2, 35–36.

There will be a terrible shaking in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and only a very few will survive this final shaking. See Testimonies, vol. 5, 10, 50, 136; ibid., vol. 1, 608–609, 619. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but those things which cannot be shaken will remain. See Testimonies, vol. 7, 219; ibid., vol. 9, 15–16. During the shaking God will take the reins into His own hands:

Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Testimonies to Ministers, 300.

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. Early Writings, 270.

Because of this apostasy, called the Omega, the straight testimony must be given, and many, the majority of leaders, pastors and laity, will rise up against the message to Laodicea, which will be given by God’s appointed laborers. This message is part of the third angel’s message.

The straight testimony must be revived, and it will separate those from Israel who have ever been at war with the means that God has ordained to keep corruptions out of the church. Wrongs must be called wrongs. Grievous sins must be called by their right name. All of God’s people should come nearer to Him and wash their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. Then will they see sin in the true light and will realize how offensive it is in the sight of God. Testimonies, vol. 3, 324.

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. . . . To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Revelation 3:17–19, 21.

The counsel of the true Witness does not represent those who are lukewarm as in a hopeless case. There is yet a chance to remedy their state, and the Laodicean message is full of encouragement. . . . Purity of heart, purity of motive, may yet characterize those who are halfhearted and who are striving to serve God and mammon. They may yet wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Our High Calling, 351.

There is soon to be a very severe test for all Seventh-day Adventists. The Sunday laws will bring a close to the probation of all Seventh-day Adventists. The mark of the beast will be the final test for all of us:

Already preparations are advancing, and movements are in progress, which will result in making an image to the beast. Events will be brought about in the earth’s history that will fulfill the predictions of prophecy for these last days (Review and Herald, April 23, 1889). . . .

This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed. All who proved their loyalty to God by observing His law, and refusing to accept a spurious sabbath, will rank under the banner of the Lord God Jehovah, and will receive the seal of the living God. Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and accept the Sunday sabbath, will receive the mark of  the beast (Letter 11, 1890). The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 976. See also Testimonies to Ministers, 62, 411;  The Great Controversy, 624–625.

Spiritualism will overpower the minds of many Seventh-day Adventists. Satan’s personations of Christ, the apostles, Mary and others will take the world captive. The whole world will soon wonder after the beast. Catholics honor the mother of Jesus more than they do Christ. Spiritualism will bring the whole world under the power of Satan, and the deadly wound will soon be completely healed—the world wonders after the beast when Satan claims to be Christ:

The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the law of God. The Great Controversy, 590–591.

Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. . . . Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. Ibid., 561.

Dear readers, it is later than we now think. We are now in the final movements, and they are very rapid. See Testimonies, vol. 9, 11–13.

The seal of the living God is careful Sabbathkeeping, according to Isaiah 58:13:

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.

I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.

I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of “refreshing” and the “latter rain” to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Early Writings, 71.

Soon Sundaykeeping will be enforced by law. The image to the beast will bring the whole world to the judgments and to the wrath of the Almighty God:

If we receive this mark in our foreheads or in our hands, the judgments pronounced against the disobedient must fall upon us. But the seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 980; see also Evangelism, 235.

But when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall be enlightened concerning the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever shall transgress the command of God, to obey a precept which has no higher authority than that of Rome, will thereby honor popery above God. He is paying homage to Rome and to the power which enforces the institution ordained by Rome. He is worshipping the beast and his image. As men then reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign of His authority, and honor in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome—“the mark of the beast.” And it is not until the issue is thus plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue in transgression will receive “the mark of the beast.” The Great Controversy, 449.

The following material in this booklet, Issues at the End, will help the people of God (Seventh-day Adventists) understand that they must now  make a decision—whether to follow men or God. There is a curse to all who lean upon the arm of flesh man. See Jeremiah 17:5; Testimonies, vol. 8, 67–68, 250–251.

We must now become students of the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, and pray like we have never prayed before.


Ron Spear,

Executive Editor, Our Firm Foundation

A Response to the General Conference:  “Apostasy”

An Open Letter Response to the “Hope International, Hartland Institute, and Remnant Ministries – Report” (See Appendix A)

Israel was in a spiritual crisis. They had turned back from following the will of God. They had neglected and rejected the counsels of                 the Lord sent them through His messengers. They had departed from the true religion of Jehovah and had adopted the false religion of their neighbors. Their schools, and other institutions, operated more in harmony with the standards of the world around them than with the directives of the Lord. Oh, not all in Israel were disobedient to God. He could claim that “Yet I have left [me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18. But the majority were guided more by the devising and wisdom of man than by the revealed will of God. Yes, Israel had turned from obedience to disobedience. She had turned back from the teaching and practicing of truth to the teaching and practicing of error. Yes, Israel was in rebellion. She was in apostasy.

Oh, God did not reject or abandon her because of her apostasy. He did not turn from her and raise up another movement. Israel was still His chosen people. God did not abandon nor destroy His people in apostasy. He worked to help them recognize their spiritual blindness and to lead them into revival and reformation. Hazael was anointed king of Syria to be a scourge to the wayward people. Rain was withheld to try to awaken Israel to their true spiritual needs.

We all recognize this as describing Israel in the days when Elijah and Elisha served as the Lord’s messengers. But such circumstances were not wholly unique to their day. For centuries the children of Israel went in and out of disobedience—apostasy—to the Lord. God repeatedly sent His messengers and punishments to help awaken His people from their spiritual blindness and error. As a nation, they were led captive by Babylon. Yet in their rebellion and disobedience, God did not reject them as being Babylon. Though more guilty than Babylon, because of their turning away from greater light, Israel was still “God’s people,” the apple of His eye. The Lord’s messengers never referred to His people as Babylon, but ever called them to come out of their disobedience and apostasy.

The above events and circumstances are not unique to ancient Israel. The Lord’s end-time messenger tells us that “Satan’s snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel . . . We are repeating the history of that people.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 160. Do we doubt the truthfulness of Inspiration? It would be well for us to review the evidence.

God raised up the Seventh-day Adventist Church from the rubble of the 1844 disappointment of the Millerite movement. By following the increase of light as God revealed it, the new-movement church inherited the gospel commission to carry the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. We are assured that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14. We are still here some 150 years since 1844. Did God intend for it to take this long to give the gospel to the world and for Him to then usher in His everlasting kingdom? Or has modern Israel followed in the footsteps of ancient Israel, resulting in a prolonged delay in entering the Promised Land? It is crucial that we know for sure.

We are told that the generation of the great disappointment of 1844 could have witnessed Christ’s second coming:

Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith, and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward. Selected Messages, book 1, 68.

In 1856 the Laodicean message was first acknowledged to be applicable to us as a people. The Spirit of Prophecy intimates that Christ would have come within a few years if the revival started in response to the Laodicean message in 1856 had continued:

I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God’s people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work is because of the hardness of their hearts. . . . Nearly all believed that this message would end in the loud cry of the third angel. . . .As this message affected the heart, it led to deep humility before God. Angels were sent in every direction to prepare unbelieving hearts for the truth. The cause of God began to rise, and His people were acquainted with their position. If the counsel of the True Witness had been fully heeded, God would have wrought for His people in greater power. Testimonies, vol. 1, 186.

At the Minneapolis General Conference session of 1888 our leadership rejected the light and power of the latter rain:

An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren [E. J.] Waggoner and [A. T.] Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world. Selected Messages, book 1, 234–235.

It was God’s intent that the latter rain offered to us in 1888 would have enabled us to finish the gospel commission within a few years, for eight years later the servant of the Lord wrote:

If those who claimed to have a living experience in the things of God had done their appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would have been warned ere this, and the Lord Jesus would have come in power and great glory. Review and Herald, October 6, 1896.

Clearly, there is something, or some things, that we as a people have been doing, or not doing, that have prevented Christ from coming “ere this.” The more obvious causes for Christ’s delay fall into two general categories: First, for one reason or another we have failed to let Christ rule as to how His work is to be done on earth. Second, we have failed to understand, to experience, and to share the third angel’s message of righteousness by faith.

In 1901 the prophetess described the consequences of our ongoing, persistent disobedience of Christ’s instructions of how to do His work on earth with the following words:

We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel, but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action. Spalding-Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen G. White, 202. All emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted.

Yes, it is sad but true, in many ways we have not been following the divine Leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ongoing insubordination to Christ’s directives of how to operate His institutions has delayed His coming “many more years.” We have been and are a dissident people, a dissident leadership, and a dissident church. However, we are not dissenting from the world’s or man’s way of operating “the Lord’s work.” We are dissidents with, or in disagreement with Christ Himself, in how to do His work. We have turned to the methods of the world and the wisdom of man for determining the types of institutions to operate and how to operate them. The church as a body, through its administrators, boards and committees has not, to a great extent, had the faith to work the cities, with city centers—consisting of vegetarian restaurants, lecture rooms, treatment rooms and health food stores—with the workers living in outpost centers containing the schools, printing plants and sanitariums. To willfully disregard these counsels is a demonstration of a lack of faith. See Testimonies, vol. 7, 55; Counsels on Health, 481; Selected Messages, book 2, 358; Fundamentals of Christian Education, 492.

Especially in the health work we have failed to promote Christ’s directions for the workers to represent His sacrificial ministry by working as an integral part of the organization. See Medical Ministry, 252; Testimonies, vol. 8, 164; Kress Collection, 59.

From the very beginning of our movement we have never fully appreciated, accepted, or obeyed all of the counsels of the Lord. Indeed,our natural hearts have not felt the need for all of the detailed instructions as to how to live for Christ and how to operate the branches of His work. Soon after the turn of the century, our negligence of where to locate and how to operate the Lord’s educational institutions had reached such a degree of self-willed insubordination that Ellen White helped lead out in the establishing of Madison College, directing it to remain separate from organizational control. She made it plain that the Lord did not design that every working agency should be under the dictation of the organization:

When my advice was asked in reference to the Madison school, I said, Remain as you are. There is danger in binding every working agency under the dictation of the conference. The Lord did not design that this should be. The circumstances were such that the burden bearers in the Madison school could not bind up their work with the conference. I knew their situation, and when many of the leading men in our conferences ignored them, because they did not place their school under conference dictation, I was shown that they would not be helped by making themselves amenable to the conference. They had better remain as led by God, amenable to Him, to work out His plans. But this matter need not be blazed abroad. Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 202–203.

God had prophesied that His remnant church would be lukewarm in its relationship to His counsels and plans. See Revelation 3:14–17. Since the days when Madison College was established, we have operated the majority of our academies, colleges and universities in increasing disobedience to the directives of Christ. Especially in the areas of location, size, curriculum, work/study programs and social and religious standards, we have followed more the directives of the boards of accreditation of the world and the example of worldly schools than we have followed Christ’s instructions in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Satan has been very successful in making the Testimonies of the Lord of none effect, which is the very last deception that he has planned for us as a people. See Selected Messages, book 1, 48.

In our educational institutions we have greatly ignored the Lord’s directives to avoid sports (see Education, 210; Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 312), infidel authors (see Testimonies, vol. 6, 165; Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 401), and theatrical performances (see Fundamentals of Christian Education, 229, 253; Messages to Young People, 213–214).

In our publishing work we have too often emphasized storybooks for our own people as well as for the world. See Counsels to Writers and Editors, 165; Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 274. After these many years people of many nationalities are still thirsting for more Spirit of Prophecy materials in their own languages. See Colporteur Ministry, 4–5; Testimonies, vol. 9, 34, 62.

These are only a few of the many instances which could be listed in which we are in rebellion against God’s revealed will in the conduction of His work. Yes, we, like ancient Israel, have been a stubborn, stiff-necked, and rebellious people:

I have been shown that the spirit of the world is fast leavening the church. You are following the same path as did ancient Israel. There is the same falling away from your holy calling as God’s peculiar people. . . .Your neglect to follow the light will place you in a more unfavorable position than the Jews upon whom Christ pronounced a woe. Testimonies, vol. 5, 75.

The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps, and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them. Testimonies, vol. 5, 94.

Following what man says rather than what God says is an attribute of the great apostate Satan:

When men will lay aside a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” and accept human enactments, you may be sure that they are revealing the attributes of the great apostate. Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 220.

We have tended to be wayward sheep, wanting to live in our way rather than to follow the instructions of Christ our Shepherd. We are individually responsible for our spiritual condition, but God also holds His undershepherds accountable. They are responsible by word and example to say, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”

The undershepherds, or leaders of God’s remnant church, are not only greatly responsible for the individual waywardness of the sheep, but they are also greatly responsible for the organization’s following of human plans in the operation of the various institutions and branches of the work. When we depart from Christ’s instructions to follow our own devising, we are doing the same as worshiping Baal:

There has been a departure from God among us, and the zealous work of repentance and return to our first love essential to restoration to God and regeneration of heart has not yet been done. Infidelity has been making its inroads into our ranks; for it is the fashion to depart from Christ, and give place to skepticism. With many the cry of the heart has been, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Baal, Baal, is the choice. The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel, because they love their own way, and forsake the way of the Lord. Testimonies to Ministers, 467–468.

To interfere with Christ’s will as given in the Spirit of Prophecy or in the Bible in any aspect of the Lord’s work, is to usurp His authority and to cause His people to lean on the arm of flesh. Such activity is dangerous business:

It is dangerous business to exalt man, or to lean upon man, to make flesh our arm. What we want is to lean upon the arm that has been stretched out for us to lean upon, and that is the Lord God of Israel, and in Him we may trust. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 564.

Success a Sign of Divine Approval?

Outward appearance cannot be used to determine whether God is blessing or approving of a certain work or institution:

A work may apparently bear the features of supreme excellence, but it is not good in God’s sight unless it is performed with an earnest desire to do His will and fulfill His purpose. If God is not recognized as the author and end of our actions, they are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. Testimonies, vol. 7, 120.

Those who seek to turn aside the purpose of God, and oppose His will, may appear for a time to prosper; but God is at work to fulfill His own purposes, and He will make manifest who is the ruler of the heavens and the earth. The Youth’s Instructor, March 11, 1897.

Christianity is a religion of progress. We have to walk forward with the light to remain in the light. When we reject counsel from the Lord in one area of our life and work for the Lord, our spiritual discernment is diminished even in other areas of the Lord’s work.

It pains me to say, my brethren, that your sinful neglect to walk in the light has enshrouded you in darkness. You may now be honest in not recognizing and obeying the light; the doubts you have entertained, your neglect to heed the requirements of God, have blinded your perceptions so that darkness is now to you light, and light is darkness. God has bidden you to go forward to perfection. Christianity is a religion of progress. Testimonies, vol. 5, 71.

The servant of the Lord tells us that God will arouse His people, and that if other means fail, heresies will come in among us to sift and to shake us. In response to our apostasy in the operation of His institutions God permits us to suffer the natural consequences of the rejection of light—diminished spiritual discernment followed by the embracing of false doctrines:

God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat. The Lord calls upon all who believe His Word to awake out of sleep. Counsels to Writers and Editors, 40.

Indeed our seeking to the gods of Ekron for the operation of our schools (and also our health institutions) has been a trap and a snare for us. In our endeavors to comply with the worldly standards of accreditation, we have sent our teachers to the schools of the world for their advanced degrees. Even teachers of Bible and theology have gone to the schools of fallen Christianity for “enlightenment” as to how better to teach God’s truth to our own people. A Bible or theology teacher in our colleges and universities today without an advanced degree from an institution of the world seems to be the exception rather than the rule. It is not surprising that these worldly-trained teachers of religion would try to harmonize our Seventh-day Adventist beliefs with the beliefs of their advanced-degree institutions.

We tend to measure success by outward appearance, but God deals with us in accordance with obedience or disobedience:

In the light of eternity it will be seen that God deals with men in accordance with the momentous question of obedience or disobedience. This Day With God, 352.

Disobedience to the Lord can lead to such loss of spiritual discernment that spiritual losses are not discerned and worldly prosperity is regarded as tokens of God’s favor:

As Solomon continued to conform to the customs of the world, his pride greatly increased. And the worldly prosperity that attended his apostasy, was regarded by him as a token of God’s favor. So fully had he yielded himself to evil influences, that his spiritual discernment was well-nigh destroyed. He could not see the terrible losses that were sustained by the nation spiritually because he brought into the kingdom an abundance of the gold of Ophir and the silver of Tarshish. Review and Herald, Jan.18,1906.

Neglect or rejection of the light of the Lord’s counsels on how to operate His institutions for now these many years has led to lack of discernment or blindness of Seventh-day Adventists in regard to some spiritual truths. To be unrepentant of apostasy in one area results in apostasy in another area:

Disregard of the light that God has given brings the sure result. It creates a shadow, a darkness that is more dark because of the light which has been sent. . . . If a man withdraws himself from light and evidence, and yields to Satan’s seducing arts, he himself draws the curtain of unbelief about him, so that light cannot be distinguished from darkness. Our High Calling, 26.

In a book published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association in 1999, Elder J. R. Zurcher, in discussing the human nature of Christ, says the following:

Since the beginning the Adventist church showed remarkable unanimity in its systematic teaching on this subject. Their study of the New Testament led the pioneers of the message and their followers to understand the Incarnation as not merely involving the belief that Jesus came in the flesh, but above all in “a flesh like unto sinful flesh.” And because this teaching was radically opposed to the tradition of established churches, it was necessary to repeat it consistently for the benefit of the new converts to the Adventist message. This doctrine was considered as “the touchstone of authentic Christianity,” as “the golden chain in which are set the jewels of doctrine,” “as the doctrine of doctrines,” in short, as “the vital point of the regenerative and redemptive religion of Jesus.”

About 1950, however, a new interpretation arose: Christ did not take the fallen nature of humanity but rather that of Adam before the Fall. Touched With Our Feelings, 146.

Prior to the 1950s the various magazines and numerous books that issued from our many publishing houses maintained a remarkable degree of unity in doctrinal teaching. Tragically, that unity, so essential and so desired for His followers by Christ (see John 17), has not continued up to the present time. In a Review and Herald editorial of July 10, 1952, appeared the statement “Adventists believe that Christ, the last Adam, possessed on His human side, a nature like that of the first man Adam.” The belief that Christ came to this earth with the unfallen human nature of Adam before the Fall had never before been proposed in print as an Adventist belief in any official book or magazine. All previous 1,200 references in Adventist literature (400 Spirit of Prophecy statements) had unanimously stated that Christ came to earth with Adam’s fallen nature. See The Word Was Made Flesh, Ralph Larson, 220–221.

This new teaching in Adventism appeared in articles in the Ministry magazine of September 1956 and April 1957 (ibid., 224). The belief was then widely distributed through the book Questions on Doctrines (see Questions on Doctrine, 650) and in Volume 7A of The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. J. R. Zurcher correctly identifies this new teaching of Christ having the human nature of the unfallen Adam, not as progress in the understanding of truth, but as a turning back to the errors of fallen Christianity:

The new christology was presented by its promoters as “the new milestone” of Adventism. Obviously, for Adventist believers this teaching was new, but not for other Christians. Actually it was a rather regrettable return to the old-time teaching of the mainline Christian churches. Touched With Our Feelings, 275.

This new purported Seventh-day Adventist belief has driven a wedge into the theological heart of the remnant church. These nearly fifty years since 1952 have witnessed an increased promotion in official Adventist literature of associated Calvinistic beliefs, such as the atonement finished on the cross, and that there is no complete victory over sin until the Second Coming. Such teachings bring into question the relevance of our founding and foundational beliefs in regard to the heavenly sanctuary. These new purported beliefs of Adventism have become known as the New Theology. See Our Firm Foundation May–December 1988; February–June, November and December 1989, January, February, and September 1990, January–December 1991.

These new-to-Adventist beliefs have been permitted by leadership with dimmed spiritual discernment, to come into the midst of Adventism, and of recent years to be dominant in the official Adventist published magazines and books and in the theology departments of our colleges and universities. This promulgation of error has resulted in doctrinal confusion and division and thus caused peril to souls. Would it not be right to refer to this departure from the full and pure truth of the three angels’ messages as doctrinal and spiritual apostasy?

No longer are the sheep consistently being taught that they can follow the example of Christ the Shepherd in the pathway of full victory over sin. No longer are we unanimously being taught that Christ will give us moment-by-moment-enabling grace to live fully and always in harmony with His will, which is true righteousness, or right doing by faith, which is “the third angel’s message in verity.” Evangelism, 190. See “Justification and Sanctification by Faith,” Our Firm Foundation, January 1991. No longer are we being taught with clarity that Christ’s character of complete obedience to the Father is to be reproduced in our lives as a prerequisite to Christ’s return:

"When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.

We have become confused regarding justification, or righteousness by faith, just as we were in 1888 when we rejected the light and power of the latter rain. Martin Webber, in his book Who’s Got the Truth? documents five distinct versions of the gospel being presently preached and published in Adventism. We cannot claim to have accepted, and to be preaching, the 1888 message of righteousness by faith when we do not know what true righteousness by faith is. Confusion now, can no more be blessed with the latter rain than could confusion then.

An inspired statement regarding our 1888-documented confusion regarding righteousness by faith is applicable to us today with our present confusion regarding the gospel:

In the time of the Saviour, the Jews had so covered over the precious jewels of truth with the rubbish of tradition and fable, that it was impossible to distinguish the true from the false. The Saviour came to clear away the rubbish of superstition and long-cherished errors, and to set the jewels of God’s word in the framework of truth. What would the Saviour do if he should come to us now as he did to the Jews? He would have to do a similar work in clearing away the rubbish of tradition and ceremony. Review and Herald, June 4, 1889.

With such confusion among us, and with our pastors apparently avoiding topics that are controversial, the majority of our people are not hearing messages on many of our important doctrines. As God’s remnant people we have vowed to believe and teach “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” At best, the majority of our pulpits are presenting only partial truths—at a time when less than the full truth is misleading and a falsehood. Frequently, it is not what is presented but what is not presented that is apostasy. When truths that once were issuing from our pulpits and presses are no longer being presented, or when partial truth, or outright error is being taught, are we not in doctrinal apostasy?

We claim to believe in the two-apartment, heavenly sanctuary, but our messages fail to teach one of the primary purposes of Christ’s heavenly ministry—that of producing a final generation fully victorious over sin. In this antitypical day of atonement we are confused as to our role in the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. Our abbreviated versions of the three angels’ messages do not include a message in harmony with the following inspired statement:

“While the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. The Faith I Live By, 213.

 We have allowed the confusion of the New Theology to amputate from our messages the capstone truths of Adventism—a final generation who crucify sin in the flesh as did Christ when He was upon this earth. A partial and erroneous three angels’ messages will not produce a generation that participates with Christ in putting an end to the need for intercession for sin in the heavenly sanctuary. An abbreviated or erroneous three angels’ messages cannot fulfill the gospel commission. It is very unlikely that anyone will achieve the goal of Holy Spirit-mediated victory over sin in this life unless they understand the goal to be reached, and by God’s grace are “press[ing] on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14. Without clear aim at the goal and without the pain of the crucifying of self, there will be no gain of eternal life for any soul.

Only those who are putting away all sin will receive the seal of God:

Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God—candidates for heaven. Go forward, my brethren and sisters. I can only write briefly upon these points at this time, merely calling your attention to the necessity of preparation. Search the Scriptures for yourselves, that you may understand the fearful solemnity of the present hour. Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.

Only those who know and experience the full truths of the three angels’ messages of righteousness by faith will be sealed and then receive the latter rain to empower them to give that message to the whole world:

Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost. Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 189.

God has permitted these heresies to be taught increasingly in our schools, printed in our publications, and preached from our pulpits for at least forty years now. Indeed, we are reaping a harvest of unbelief in the Spirit of Prophecy and in the Bible-based, historic beliefs of Adventism:

The theories of great men need to be carefully sifted of the slightest trace of infidel suggestions. One tiny seed sown by teachers in our schools, if received by the students, will raise a harvest of unbelief. Review and Herald, March 1, 1898.

Many believe that we are well along in the Omega of Apostasy which we were warned would be of a most startling nature:

Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The Omega will be of a most startling nature. Selected Messages, book 1, 197.

Teachers who say that we cannot be victorious over sin in this life, and that to attempt to do so is of itself a sin, have been embraced with open arms by Laodicean leaders and laity—those who have not wanted, or found it convenient, to obey the instructions of Christ in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy as to how to live and work for Him. The unscriptural heresies of fallen Christianity, which our pioneers and many present Seventh-day Adventist members have come out of, have been reintroduced into the very heart of our work by unfaithful sentinels:

Satan has gained marked advantage in _____ because the people of God have not guarded the outposts. The very men whose labors God has signified that He would accept if they were fully consecrated have been the ones to be deceived, to fail in their duties, and to prove a terrible burden and discouragement, instead of the help and blessing that they should have been. These men who have been trusted to keep the fort have well-nigh betrayed it into the hands of the enemy. They have opened the gates to a wily foe, who has sought to destroy them.

Men of experience have seen stealthy hands slipping the bolts that Satan might enter; yet they have held their peace with apparent indifference as to the results. . . . These persons do not realize that God holds them responsible for every advantage gained by the foe who is admitted to the fort. The desolation and ruin following lie at the door of the unfaithful sentinels, who, by their neglect, become agents in the hands of the adversary to win souls to destruction. Testimonies, vol. 4, 211–212.

We were warned that new parties of professed believers would be formed among us:

Confederacies will increase in number and power as we draw nearer to the end of time. These confederacies will create opposing influences to the truth, forming new parties of professed believers who will act out their own delusive theories. The apostasy will increase. . . . There needs to be much more of prayer, much more of earnest effort, among professed believers. Selected Messages, book 2, 383.

This doctrinal apostasy of the New Theology has destroyed our unity of belief, resulting in division, controversy and schism:

The great enemy of the church is determined to introduce among God’s people that which will result in disunion and variance. Schism and division are not the fruit of righteousness; they are of the evil one. The great hindrance to our advancement is the selfishness that prevents believers from having true fellowship with one another. Review and Herald, May 12, 1903.

We are warned against unifying with those who have stepped off the platform of truth:

How can I say to our people, Harmonize with those who advocate these wrong sentiments? How can I hold my peace, and say, Unify? God gives me the message, Beware of the leaven of those who have been destroying the faith of Seventh-day Adventists. There are those to whom I fear to write personally. God says, Beware of the leaven of those who have stepped off the platform of truth. Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, 48.

The New Theology teaching that full obedience to God—sanctification—is not possible, and not required, is creating an influence in the church that makes it difficult to hold fast to the faith once delivered to the saints.

Since 1888, God has not found a generation of Seventh-day Adventists who have understood, experienced, and shared with others the true message of righteousness—right doing—by faith in what Christ can do for and in us: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” Jude 24. Because of our continued insubordination and departure from the full truth, Heaven’s message to the four angels, up to this day, has had to be “Hold! hold! hold! hold!”:

I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, “My blood, Father, My blood! My blood! My blood!” Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do in the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, “Hold! hold! hold! hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.”

I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father, and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels, and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. Life Sketches, 118–119.

Brethren, let us face the facts. Inspiration teaches that Christ came in the flesh—fallen human nature. This had been our unanimously held foundational belief of true Christianity for at least 100 years. Christ came in the flesh in order to be able to condemn sin in the flesh. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 8:3. One of our last public acknowledgments of this truth is found in The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 562, printed in 1957. The writer, commenting on the above verse, states:

Christ met, overcame, and condemned sin in the sphere in which it had previously exercised its dominion and mastery. The flesh, the scene of sin’s former triumphs, now became the scene of its defeat and expulsion.

By believing and teaching that Christ came in the unfallen nature of Adam, we demonstrate that we do not know the Spirit of God and that we have, perhaps unwittingly, turned back to following the spirit of antichrist:

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 1 John 4:2–3.

Our apostasy on the nature of Christ, the foundational truth of Christianity, has logically led us into apostasy on the nature of the gospel and its fruit—the condemnation of sin in the flesh of Christ’s followers, which is an integral part of the cleansing of the sanctuary on the day of atonement, which is the capstone truth of Christianity.

The making of the Testimonies of none effect in our institutions and doctrines is comparable to the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram:

If you seek to turn aside the counsel of God to suit yourselves, if you lessen the confidence of God’s people in the testimonies He has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Testimonies, vol. 5, 66.

When leaders work against our established truths it incapacitates us from receiving God’s full blessings:

As a people we cannot receive the full measure of the blessing of God while some who occupy leading positions are continuously working against the truth that for years we have held sacred, and obedient to the faith that has brought us what success we have had. Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 319.

Because of our unbelief in the Testimonies, manifested by our disobedience to them, we are under divine forbearance:

I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies has been steadily increasing as the people backslide from God. It is all through our ranks, all over the field. But few know what our churches are to experience. I saw that at present we are under divine forbearance, but no one can say how long this will continue. No one knows how great the mercy that has been exercised toward us. But few are heartily devoted to God. There are only a few who, like the stars in a tempestuous night, shine here and there among the clouds. Ibid., 76.

The primary, properly constituted authority, which Christ has placed in His church, is “It is written” and “To the law and to the testimony”:

“The law and the prophets,” with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ’s name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom. Desire of Ages, 826.

As we have documented, we as a people are manifesting a persistent refusal to recognize the properly constituted authority of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, which Christ has given to us through the Holy Spirit. By operating the Lord’s institutions and by believing and preaching a gospel contrary to the inspired directions of the Lord, we are placing our authority above that of Christ Himself. Without a doubt, our manner of operation is consistent with that of an offshoot movement. When Christ disciplines us by withholding the latter rain and the Promised Land, we blame Him for the delay, and refuse to acknowledge that it is because of our own wrongdoings. Thus we are refusing to submit to the order and discipline of Christ for His church. Because of persistent waywardness “the Faithful and True Witness” has stated that He will spew us out “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17.

God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the Testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us. Testimonies, vol. 5, 217.

Those who lead the church contrary to Inspiration in promoting heresies are Hazaels to prove a scourge to us. The spirit of antichrist comes in. We are to look forward to the sifting when the Lord will purge His floor:

If all of those who come together for meetings of edification and prayer could be regarded as true worshipers, then might we hope, though much would still remain to be done for us. But it is in vain to deceive ourselves. Things are far from being what the appearance would indicate. From a distant view much may appear beautiful which, upon close examination, will be found full of deformities. The prevailing 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 to our people. . . .We have been inclined to think that where there are no faithful ministers there can be no true Christians, but this is not the case. God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. God has never made the flock wholly dependent upon human instrumentalities. But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor. Testimonies, vol. 5, 79–80.

We have the following sobering counsels to guide us:

If those connected with the work of God will not hear His voice and do His will, they should be separated entirely from the work. God does not need the influence of such men. I speak plainly, for it is time that things were called by their right name. Those who love and fear God with all their hearts are the only men that God can trust. But those who have separated their souls from God, should themselves be separated from the work of God, which is so solemn and so important. The Paulson Collection, 355.

We are to have only those connected with our institutions who will hear the Word of the Lord and appreciate and obey His voice. Testimonies to Ministers, 420.

There is enough wealth in your conference to carry forward this work successfully; and shall the prince of darkness be left in undisputed possession of our great cities because it costs something to sustain missions? Let those who would follow Christ fully come up to the work, even if it be over the heads of ministers and president. Testimonies, vol. 5, 369.

Need we recall that Israel’s ruin was the end result of its religious leaders rejecting God’s leadership?

Thus by choosing a heathen ruler, the Jewish nation had withdrawn from the theocracy. They had rejected God as their king. Henceforth they had no deliverer. They had no king but Caesar. To this the priests and teachers had led the people. For this, with the fearful results that followed, they were responsible. A nation’s sin and a nation’s ruin were due to the religious leaders. Desire of Ages, 738.

If we refuse to repent and reform, we will change leaders without realizing it:

If you indulge stubbornness of heart, and through pride and self-righteousness do not confess your faults, you will be left subject to Satan’s temptations. . . .The multitude of deceptions that will prevail in these last days will encircle you, and you will change leaders, and not know that you have done so. Review and Herald, December 16, 1890.

If we confess our errors, we will find pardon. However, if we refuse to acknowledge and repent of our errors, we will be found on Satan’s side of the controversy:

If men and women refuse to accept the ways of the Lord, if they resist for any cause the light sent them by heaven, they will be found among the workers of iniquity. . . . When these see the error they have made and realize that they have not had a right spirit, that they have tried to kill that which the Lord would have live, let them honestly and frankly acknowledge their error. . . . When they humble their hearts before God as did David, confessing that they have erred, they have the sure Word of God that they will find pardon. . . .

Satan has been encouraged in his special work for this time. Those who have erred in the past, and have not humbled themselves to fully confess their wrongs and make them right, will continue to move in their own spirit. They will call truth error and error truth. These workers will eventually be found on Satan’s side of the controversy. Christ Triumphant, 140.

Because of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s open, blatant, ongoing, and persistent refusal to recognize the properly constituted authority of Christ, it is not surprising that the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists is in open rebellion in the ordination of women pastors—blatantly contrary to scripture (see 1 Timothy 2:12) and to the decision of the General Conference in world session, which is God’s highest organized human authority in the church (see Testimonies, vol. 9, 260–261). This is a serious, further development in our independent-from-God activities.

Only what the church does in harmony with God’s Word is ratified in heaven:

“Verily I say unto you,” Christ continued, “whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18.

This statement holds its force in all ages. On the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ’s stead. It is God’s instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among His people. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity, purity, and order. Upon it rests the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy, who by their un-Christlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth. Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God’s word will be ratified in heaven. Testimonies, vol. 7, 263.

Only when the church says what God says about sin, and deals with it the way God says to deal with it, are her actions ratified in heaven:

“Whosesoever sins ye remit,” said Christ, “they are remitted . . . and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John 20:23. Christ here gives no liberty for any man to pass judgment upon others. In the Sermon on the Mount He forbade this. It is the prerogative of God. But on the church in its organized capacity He places a responsibility for the individual members. Toward those who fall into sin, the church has a duty, to warn, to instruct, and if possible to restore. “Reprove, rebuke, exhort,” the Lord says, “with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy. 4:2. Deal faithfully with wrongdoing. Warn every soul that is in danger. Leave none to deceive themselves. Call sin by its right name. Declare what God has said in regard to lying, Sabbathbreaking, stealing, idolatry, and every other evil. “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galations. 5:21. If they persist in sin, the judgment you have declared from God’s Word is pronounced upon them in heaven. In choosing to sin, they disown Christ; the church must show that she does not sanction their deeds, or she herself dishonors her Lord. She must say about sin what God says about it. She must deal with it as God directs, and her action is ratified in heaven. He who despises the authority of the church, despises the authority of Christ Himself. Desire of Ages, 805.

We are the Lord’s instrumentalities when we act out His will and not our own:

The Lord sets people in responsible places, not to act out their own wills, but His will. So long as they cherish His pure principles of government, He will bless and strengthen them, recognizing them as His instrumentalities. God never forsakes the one who is true to principle. Christ Triumphant, 158.

When church leaders accept the properly constituted authority of Christ and live and preach God’s will, then they can be respected:

Let those in America who suppose the voice of the General Conference to be the voice of God, become one with God before they utter their opinions. The Word of God is to be lived as well as preached. . . .When those who come nigh [to] God in service are consecrated, cleansed, and purified, approaching nearer and still nearer the divine benevolence, they can voice the commission of God, and be respected. Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 291.

In all fairness to ancient Israel as well as to modern Israel in 1888, God would not withhold spiritual rain from modern Israel today and thus delay her entrance into the heavenly Promised Land, yea, these many years, for anything less than continued disobedience, insubordination, and rebellion. As Laodiceans, we desperately need to awaken to our spiritual nakedness:

I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders. Testimonies, vol. 5, 217.

Over the years isolated watchmen have sounded warning trumpet sounds, but rather than being appreciated, they have too often been ignored, ridiculed and even worse. In general, the undershepherds have put forth minimal effort to remove the poisonous weeds from the pasture of the flock. Those sheep who have recognized and pointed out the danger, have too often been scattered from the flock.

Having the authority of Christ in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy to separate all doctrinal error from the truth, many of our leadership have played the role of the watchdogs that will not bark. The servant of the Lord applies chapter nine of Ezekiel to the sealing time of the remnant church. Leadership of that time is described as dumb dogs that would not bark:

“Peace and safety” is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together. Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.

 Earnest spirituality, and the quickening influence of the Spirit of God, will set men to work, not lazily, but most earnestly, to warn men to escape the perils which threaten to destroy them. Review and Herald, December 18, 1883.

We may be sincere in our disobedience to the Lord, but Laodicea’s sincere disobedience to the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible is no more acceptable in God’s eyes than is fallen Christianity’s sincere disobedience of the Bible. The reality of this fact should be brought home to us by the following sober message:

Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God. Only those that are sanctified through the truth will compose the royal family in the heavenly mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him and keep His commandments. Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 176.

Fearfully, we ask, “Is this really our condition and danger?”

We as Seventh-day Adventists are quick to note and claim that other Christian religions tend to be selective in their use of the Scriptures. We need to recognize that they do so because they are using the historical-critical approach to Divine Revelation and Inspiration. When we as Seventh-day Adventists pick and choose in the Spirit of Prophecy in regard to how to operate the branches of the Lord’s work, we are also actually using the same method of interpreting Divine Inspiration.

In all reality, the promulgation of Calvinistic teachings of the New (to Adventism) Theology among us is an attempt to theologically harmonize our pattern of partial obedience to the Lord’s instructions to us in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The belief system of sin-and-repent, that we cannot overcome all sin or disobedience to God in this life, as well as the historical-critical method of relating to Inspiration, are all very compatible with the picking-and-choosing methods of relating to the Spirit of Prophecy. Thus they are all very much descriptive as to how modern Israel lives and “works for Christ.”

The same method of higher criticism used by the fallen churches of Christianity to make the Bible of none effect in their beliefs and practices, has been used by us now these many years to pick and choose in the Spirit of Prophecy as to which counsels of the Lord we are or are not going to obey:

My brethren have trifled and caviled and criticized and commented and demerited, and picked and chosen a little and refused much until the testimonies mean nothing to them. They put whatever interpretation upon them that they choose in their own finite judgment and are satisfied. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 800.

This Seventh-day Adventist picking-and-choosing in the Spirit of Prophecy is just as surely insubordination and apostasy as is the fallen Protestant churches picking-and-choosing in the Scriptures. We need only to review the experiences of Cain and of King Saul to document that willful, partial obedience to the Lord is in reality disobedience, rebellion and apostasy.

This tendency of ours to place man’s wisdom and reason ahead of clear Spirit of Prophecy counsels on how to carry on the Lord’s work, and this desire to place human reason as judge of scriptural inspiration, is a reflection of Israel’s apostasy in Elijah’s day, and also the apostasy presently in the world around us:

There are many lessons to be drawn from Elijah’s experience during these days of discouragement and apparent defeat—lessons invaluable to the servants of God in this age, marked as it is by general departure from right. The apostasy prevailing today is similar to that which in the prophet’s day overspread Israel. In the exaltation of the human above the divine, in the praise of popular leaders, in the worship of mammon, and in the placing of the teachings of science above the truths of revelation, multitudes today are following Baal. Doubt and unbelief are exercising their baleful influence over mind and heart, and many are substituting for the oracles of God the theories of men. It is publicly taught that we have reached a time when human reason should be exalted above the teachings of the Word. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 23, 1913.

With the full authority of God’s Word and the full ecclesiastical authority of His visible church on earth, Adventist leadership has apparently, in spite of the turmoil and confusion among us, taken a neutral, wait-and-see attitude. Rather than giving the straight testimony of what God says on the issues confronting us, leadership seems to be “straddling the fence,” with great dangers to themselves and to the flock. Though such a position may seem expedient to man, God perceives it as a grievous crime:

Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God. Testimonies, vol. 3, 281.

Jesus views the serious spiritual condition of His Laodicean people as their lukewarm tendency to halt between two opinions:

Are you not halting between two opinions? Are you not neglecting to heed the light which God has given you? Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. You know not the time of your visitation. The great sin of the Jews was that of neglecting and rejecting present opportunities. As Jesus views the state of His professed followers today, He sees base ingratitude, hollow formalism, hypocritical insincerity, pharisaical pride and apostasy. Testimonies, vol. 5, 72.

Such strong words are appropriate, for when we try to maintain a neutral position we are actually an ally of the hosts of darkness:

No one can occupy a neutral position; . . . he who does not give himself wholly to God is under the control of another power, listening to another voice, whose suggestions are of an entirely different character. Half-and-half service places the human agent on the side of the enemy as a successful ally of the hosts of darkness. Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 94.

The servant of the Lord refers to a new movement coming into Adventism that would discard the old truths, publish books of a new order, do a great work in the cities, and allow nothing to stand in its way:

The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. Selected Messages, book 1, 204.

We fearfully ask, Have we come to that hour? Could it be that the above warnings, written at the time of the Alpha of Apostasy of Dr. J. H. Kellogg and his followers, were prophetic of an even greater fulfillment during the time prophesied when it would be described as being “of a most startling nature” (Selected Messages, book 1,197),—Omega of departure from truth? See ibid., 193–200.

We see and feel keenly the unbelief of some who have blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, refusing to acknowledge the light because it has not coincided with their own ideas. My heart is pained as I see that many, and some even amongst our own people, are fulfilling the words written by Paul: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” [1 Timothy 4:1]. The time of this apostasy is here. Every conceivable effort will be made to throw doubt upon the positions that we have occupied for over half a century. Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 372.

Operating the branches of the Lord’s work according to man’s wisdom rather than in conformity to the Lord’s instruction, is clearly insubordination. Failure to define truth in the areas of doctrinal confusion is clearly disobedience to the call to the gospel ministry. Is it not correct that insubordination and disobedience are sin, and willful sin is synonymous with apostasy? We see ourselves reflected in the general condition of the world, portrayed in the following quotation:

The prevailing spirit of our time is one of infidelity and apostasy—a spirit of avowed illumination because of a knowledge of truth, but in reality of the blindest presumption. Human theories are exalted and placed where God and His law should be. Satan tempts men and women to disobey, with the promise that in disobedience they will find liberty and freedom that will make them as gods. There is seen a spirit of opposition to the plain Word of God, of idolatrous exaltation of human wisdom above divine revelation. Men have allowed their minds to become so darkened and confused by conformity to worldly customs and influences that they seem to have lost all power to discriminate between light and darkness, truth and error. So far have they departed from the right way that they hold the opinions of a few philosophers, so-called, to be more trustworthy than the truths of the Bible. The entreaties and promises of God’s Word, its threatenings against disobedience and idolatry—these seem powerless to melt their hearts. Prophets and Kings, 178.

Anything that separates us from following and obeying Christ, is apostasy. Disobedience is the sign of disloyalty and apostasy in God’s kingdom:

Those who dishonor God by transgressing His law may talk sanctification, but it is of that value, and just as acceptable, as was the offering of Cain. Obedience to all the commandments of God is the only true sign of sanctification. Disobedience is the sign of disloyalty and apostasy. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary: Ellen G. White Comments, vol. 7, 908.

When Christ tries to save us from apostasy by sending to us His greatest blessing of revealing to us our true condition, we too often rise up in rejection of the revelation:

When the chastisement came in reproof, in warning, or by affliction, to save from apostasy and ruin, then there was a turning upon Jesus with a defiant, stubborn, impenitent resistance which was fearful. And why, says the proud, perverse spirit, must I be crushed by rebuke? Why must I be humiliated? They forget all the light, all the favors previously given, and feel that they are abused because God takes with them the only course which will bring them to a knowledge of themselves, that they may find peace in Him through submission, penitence for sin, and confiding trust in God. For this reason God sends to the church the greatest blessing He can give them in a knowledge of themselves. . . . God knows it is good for men to tread a hard and humble path, to encounter difficulties, to experience disappointments, and to suffer affliction. Faith strengthens by coming in conflict with doubt, and resisting unbelief through the strength of Jesus. Signs of the Times, June 15, 1876.

If we are grieved by the term “apostasy” being applied to our wayward life and work, then we need to flee to Christ for the faith and strength to follow “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God":

The indulgence of spiritual pride, of unholy desires, of evil thoughts, of anything that separates us from an intimate and sacred association with Jesus, imperils our souls. . . . We must “fight the good fight of faith,” if we would “lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:12. We are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” 1 Peter 1:5. If the thought of apostasy is grievous to you . . . then “abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9); and believe in Him who is “able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” Jude 24. God’s Amazing Grace, 333.

Only obedience protects us from apostasy. Leaders are an offense to God when they turn from Him to follow human wisdom:

The message given man to proclaim in these last days is not to be amalgamated with worldly opinions. In these days of peril, nothing but obedience will keep man from apostasy. God has bestowed on man great light and many blessings. But unless this light and these blessings are received, they are no security against apostasy and disobedience. When those whom God has exalted to positions of high trust turn from Him to human wisdom, their light becomes darkness, and how great is that darkness! Their entrusted capabilities are a snare to them. They are become an offense to God. Upward Look, 318.

The chronic disobedience to Christ’s directives in the operation of the branches of His work, and the more recent permitting of doctrinal confusion and division, have delayed and are delaying Christ’s second coming for all of us. When there is open and known disobedience to God—apostasy—among us, and we do not do all within our ability to expose and remove it, we as a body are held accountable for that apostasy.

We are left with some sobering questions for each of us church leaders, members, and ministry leaders: Do we have a basis in the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy to say that our church is not in apostasy? Are we trying to skirt the issue when we “acknowledge that there is apostasy in the Church, . . . [but] reject the blatant and irresponsible accusation that God’s Remnant Church is in apostasy.” (See page 86.) Shall we deny that our operation of His institutions after the pattern of the world, and our changing of our doctrines to reflect those of fallen Christianity, are disobedience, rebellion, insubordination and apostasy? Why has God delayed entrance into the Promised Land for His remnant church if we are not in apostasy?

We need to humbly acknowledge and repent of our turning back from following Christ. Our continued presence in this sinful world is stark evidence that we, indeed, know not that we are spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. See Revelation 3:14–17.

We are cautioned that stubborn refusal to acknowledge and confess our sins of disobedience can make our case as hopeless as was that of King Saul:

It is not safe to do as did Saul—walk contrary to the Lord’s commandments and then say, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord,” (1 Samuel 15:13) stubbornly refusing to confess the sin of disobedience. Saul’s stubbornness made his case hopeless. We see that others are following his example. The Lord sends words of reproof in mercy to save them, but they will not submit to be corrected. They insist that they have done no wrong, thus resisting the Spirit of God. The Lord declares through Samuel, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22–23. The stubborn heart is thus presented in the case of Saul to warn every soul who is in danger of doing as he did. Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 173.

In our living and working for the Lord, it is not acceptable to follow our own conscience. The Holy Spirit will not lead us into a knowledge of all truth and practice if we are neglecting the study of His primary means of communication—the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy:

It is not enough that man follows the dictates of conscience. The mind must be enlightened as to what is God’s will, and then an enlightened conscience will be an enlightened, intelligent will. Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 168.

It is stated of Christ’s remnant people that they “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. This statement means that our personal lifestyles, our religious beliefs, and our methods of doing the Lord’s work are to all be in harmony with Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy. Those who join God’s church are committing themselves to the diligent and ongoing study of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy to enable them to, indeed, by Christ’s enabling power, measure up to God’s definition of His remnant people. Those who accept positions of responsibility in Christ’s body are committing themselves to being specialists in what God has said in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy for their area of work. Only at the peril of his soul will anyone accept a position of leadership in God’s church and not do everything he can to acquaint himself with all that God has said regarding his area of work. Once one has learned God’s will for his branch of the Lord’s work, he will do all that he can to bring that area of the Lord’s work into full harmony with His directions. To do anything less is to cause Heaven’s blessing to be removed from God’s people.

The name Seventh-day Adventist was given to us by the Lord because it is descriptive of our faith:

We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us. It points out the truth that is to be the test of the churches. . . . That this may be, we must look ever to Jesus. The Faith I Live By, 304.

No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession, and expresses our faith, and marks us as a peculiar people. The name, Seventh-day Adventist, is a standing rebuke to the Protestant world. . . .

The name, Seventh-day Adventist, carries the true features of our faith in front, and will convict the inquiring mind. Like an arrow from the Lord’s quiver, it will wound the transgressors of God’s law, and will lead to repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, 54–55.

It is a misuse of our name and our authority to go to the civil courts and claim that our name is descriptive of our organized church and to request the consenting civil powers to stop others from using that name—even though it is descriptive of their faith. Such activity is additional evidence of our departure from the leadership of Christ. When James and John rebuked a man who was not following them, but was doing a religious work in the name of Jesus, “Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.” Mark 9:39–40.

Are we truly in circumstances described by the following?

There is a betrayal of sacred trust. The things spoken in brotherly confidence are repeated and misrepresented; and every word, every action, however innocent and well meaning, is scrutinized by the cold, jealous criticism of those who were thought too noble, too honorable, to take the least advantage of friendly association or brotherly trust. Hearts are closed to mercy, judgment, and the love of God; and the cold, sneering, contemptuous spirit which Satan manifests toward his victim is revealed.

If Satan can employ professed believers to act as accusers of the brethren, he is justly pleased; for those who do this are just as truly serving him as was Judas when he betrayed Christ, although they may be doing it ignorantly. Satan is no less active now than in Christ’s day, and those who lend themselves to do his work will manifest his spirit. Testimonies to Ministers, 504.

Our present activities are a sobering parallel, indeed, with the following statement:

When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends . . .

It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the aid of the civil government, and this prepared the way for the development of the papacy—the beast. Said Paul: “There” shall “come a falling away . . . and that man of sin be revealed.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image to the beast. The Great Controversy, 443–444.

By our stiff-necked persistence in following our own methods and those of the world in the operation of God’s health and educational systems in direct disobedience to God’s expressed will, we have grasped the reins of the government of Christ’s church out of His hands. By refusing to permit Christ’s will to rein in His institutions, we have refused to work under His theocratic rule. By following our own way, we have caused a controversy between ourselves and God. Ellen White’s words written over one hundred years ago well describe our situation today:

We can stand down here, in 1892, and with the aftersight we are privileged to have, we can see what it means to disobey God’s commandments. Adam yielded to temptation, and as we have the matter of sin and its consequences laid so distinctly before us, we can read from cause to effect and see the greatness of the act is not that which constitutes sin; but the disobedience of God’s expressed will, which is a virtual denial of God, refusing the laws of His government. . . . No man can be happy and depart from God’s specified requirements, and set up a standard of his own which he decides he can safely follow. Then there would be a variety of standards to suit the different minds, and the government taken out of the Lord’s hands and human beings grasp the reins of government. The law of self is erected, the will of man is made supreme, and when the high and holy will of God is presented to be obeyed, respected, and honored the human will wants its own way to do its own promptings, and there is a controversy between the human agent and the divine. Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 338.

The usurpation by man of Christ’s rule in His church has, indeed, delayed and made the work much harder:

Men make the work of advancing the truth tenfold harder than it really is, by seeking to take God’s work out of His hands into their own finite hands. They think they must be constantly inventing something to make men do things which they suppose these persons ought to do. The time thus spent is all the while making the work more complicated; for the great Chief Worker is left out of the question in the care of His own heritage. Evangelism, 635.

We need not despair because of the human rule that has usurped Christ’s theocratic rule of His people, for where the shepherds are not true, Christ has promised to take charge Himself:

God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. God has never made the flock wholly dependent upon human instrumentalities. Testimonies, vol. 5, 80.

Those who are obedient to Christ’s directives in their personal lives and in their work for Him will remain in His church after it is purified. Those remaining faithful will then receive the full measure of the latter rain and give the loud cry. Through the Holy Spirit in the latter rain, God will fully take the reins into His own hands. Through His fully surrendered, purified, remnant people, Christ will then cut His work short in righteousness—right doing.

Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. Romans 9:27–28.

God will manifest Himself Master of the situation:

There will be a series of events revealing that God is Master of the situation. Testimonies, vol. 9, 96.

We are not to be depressed when there is unfaithfulness by the watchmen, for God will make the remaining faithful radiant with His Word:

Do not be depressed, do not mourn in secret because of the unfaithfulness of the watchmen on the walls of Zion. There is no call for despondency and misapprehension. Place yourself where the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness can shine into all the chambers of your mind and into the soul temple. We are the light of the world, God says. He will make those who are faithful in the church radiant with the Word of God. His Spirit will be communicated to human instrumentalities, giving them light before which moral darkness must flee away. Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 102–103.

Even if all the leaders were to reject the truth, God would raise up other messengers:

The Lord will raise up men to bear the message of truth to the world and to His people. If those in responsible positions do not move onward in the opening providences of God, bearing an appropriate message for this time, the words of warning will be given to others who will be faithful to their trust. Even youthful Christians will be chosen to “cry aloud and spare not.” Sabbath-School Worker, April 1, 1892.

In the final work, God will use men and women of His own choosing:

Light must come to the people through agents whom God shall choose, who will give the note of warning, that none may be in ignorance of the purposes of God or the devices of Satan. At the great heart of the work Satan will use his hellish arts to the utmost. He will seek in every possible way to interpose himself between the people and God, and shut away the light that God would have come to His children. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 507.

Humble men and women, still sensitive to truth, and even children will be impelled to give the message:

God will move upon men of humble position in society, men who have not become insensible to the bright rays of light through so long contemplating the light of truth, and refusing to make any improvement or advancement therein. Many such will be seen hurrying hither and thither, constrained by the Spirit of God to bring the light to others. The truth, the Word of God, is as a fire in their bones, filling them with a burning desire to enlighten those who sit in darkness. Many, even among the uneducated, now proclaim the words of the Lord. Children are impelled by the Spirit to go forth and declare the message from Heaven. Review and Herald, July 23, 1895.

God will not satisfy our curiosity as to why He chooses whom He chooses:

Men professing godliness have despised Christ in the person of His messengers. Like the Jews, they reject God’s message. The Jews asked regarding Christ, “Who is this? Is not this Joseph’s son?” He was not the Christ that the Jews had looked for. So today the agencies that God sends are not what men have looked for. But the Lord will not ask any man by whom to send. He will send by whom He will. Men may not be able to understand why God sends this one or that one. His work may be a matter of curiosity. God will not satisfy this curiosity; and His Word will not return unto Him void. Ibid., August 17, 1897.

We must be careful not to reject light because it does not come through expected channels:

We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come, instead of rejecting it because it does not come through the channel from which we expected it. Ibid., August 27, 1889.

God often purposely uses unexpected channels to help identify the true lovers of truth:

The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits—because it is truth. Testimonies to Ministers, 106.

The Lord often works contrary to the ideas of church leadership and uses instead those who will be molded by His counsels:

I wish that occasionally the curtain could be rolled back and all could see the manner of the Lord’s working, and the wonderful activity in the courts above. The Lord often works in a manner which is not in accordance with the ideas of the men who are in responsible positions. The speculations and calculations of human minds are not always in wisdom of God. Some move altogether too slowly, and their caution is a defective spoke in the wheel, keeping it from rolling. Again, others may devise and plan how this one and that one shall work, when the Lord has other work for these men to do, other places where He wants them to fill in as His agents. His plans are not built on any foundation that is laid by man, but as the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, He lays the foundation, and erects the structure, in lofty independence through those who will be worked by Him. The Lord Jesus takes those that He finds will be molded and uses them for His own name’s glory, to meet His own spiritual conception. He sees material that others would pass by, and works all who will be worked. Spalding and Magan Collection, 65.

In God’s final work we can expect resistance from the very ones expected to be engaged in such work:

If we are to bear a part in this work to its close, we must recognize the fact that there are good things to come to the people of God in a way that we had not discerned; and that there will be resistance from the very ones we expected to engage in such a work. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1024.

Those in the church who obstruct the channels God chooses will have an account to settle with Him:

But when God speaks to men, commanding them to bear His message to the people, it means something. Those who are commanded to bear a message must move out although obstacles of a forbidding character are in the way. Those who claim to know the truth, and yet lay every obstacle in the way so that light shall not come to the people, will have an account to settle with God that they will not be pleased to meet. God manages His own work, and woe to the man who puts his hand to the ark of God. Ibid,. 1032.

The following counsels regarding how those who are disobedient to the Lord, or who refuse to accept truth, should respond to Christ’s leadership of His people will certainly be fully applicable when He takes the reins into His own hands:

The third angel’s message will not be comprehended, the light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light, by those who refuse to walk in its advancing glory. The work that might have been done, will be left undone by the rejecters of truth, because of their unbelief. We entreat of you who oppose the light of truth, to stand out of the way of God’s people. Let Heaven-sent light shine forth upon them in clear and steady rays. God holds you to whom this light has come, responsible for the use you make of it. Those who will not hear will be held responsible; for the truth has been brought within their reach, but they despised their opportunities and privileges. Review and Herald, May 27, 1890.

You who are finite, erring, and unsanctified, have supposed that God’s children were put under your jurisdiction, for you to plan for them, and bring them to your terms. . . . Let it no longer be regarded as your privilege to control God’s heritage.

The Lord Himself will turn and overturn, and set things in order. He has the responsibility of His own work, and He has not entrusted the management of His people to unsanctified human hands.

It is hard for men to learn their real weakness and ignorance and inefficiency. It is hard for the ambitious heart to receive God’s ideas and plans, with unquestioning faith and obedience. Some have very high ideas of the importance of their own individuality, and by their headstrong course are saying, We want not God’s way, but our own way. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1367.

Now, brethren, I say, clear the King’s highway, for your soul’s sake. If you have interposed between the people and the light, get out of the way, or God will move you out of the way. Ibid., 541.

Special truth in the last days, as in earlier ages, will be found with those who are not too learned to believe God:

As in earlier ages, the special truths for this time are found, not with the ecclesiastical authorities, but with men and women who are not too learned or too wise to believe the Word of God. Christ’s Object Lessons, 79.

Many of God’s helpers in the closing work will come from the untrained, common people.

In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be occupied; and, more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the field, from the vineyard, and from the workshop, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these may have had little opportunity for education; but Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to fulfill His purpose. If they put their hearts into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him. The Youth’s Instructor, March 3, 1908.

God’s helpers will follow the directions of the Holy Spirit regardless of Conference support:

There are among our church members faithful souls who feel a burden for those who know not the truth for this time. But one will say to such, The Conference will not support you if you go here or there. To such souls I would say, “Pray to God for guidance as to where you shall go; follow the directions of the Holy Spirit, and go, whether the Conference will pay your expenses or not.” “Go work today in My vineyard,” Christ commands. When you have done your work in one place, go to another. Angels of God will go with you, if you follow the leadings of the Spirit. Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 206–207.

God will pass by those who have worked according to their own wisdom:

The Lord does not ask permission of those in responsible positions when He wishes to use certain ones as His agents for the promulgation of truth. But He will use whom He will use. He will pass by men who have not followed His counsel, men who feel capable and sufficient to work in their own wisdom; and He will use others who are thought by these supposedly wise ones to be wholly incompetent. Many who have some talent think that they are necessary to the cause of God. Let them beware lest they stretch themselves beyond their measure, and the Lord shall leave them to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings. Review and Herald, July 23, 1895.

The following counsels, many applicable today, of how we are to relate to kingly power will certainly be fully applicable when Christ takes the reins into His own hands:

If the cords are drawn much tighter, if the rules are made much finer, if men continue to bind their fellow laborers closer and closer to the commandments of men, many will be stirred by the Spirit of God to break every shackle, and assert their liberty in Christ Jesus. Ibid.

Phariseeism in the Christian world today is not extinct. The Lord desires to break up the course of precision which has become so firmly established, which has hindered, instead of advancing, His work. He desires His people to remember that there is a large space over which the light of present truth is to be shed. Divine wisdom must have abundant room in which to work. It is to advance without asking permission or support from those who have taken to themselves a kingly power. Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 203.

Under the showers of the latter rain the inventions of man, the human machinery, will at times be swept away, the boundary of man’s authority will be as broken reeds, and the Holy Spirit will speak through the living, human agent with convincing power. No one then will watch to see if the sentences are well rounded off, if the grammar is faultless. The living water will flow in God’s own channels. The Paulson Collection, 102.

The Spirit is poured out upon all who will yield to its promptings, and, casting off all man’s machinery, his binding rules and cautious methods, they will declare the truth with the might of the Spirit’s power. Review and Herald, July 23, 1895.

The spirit of domination is extending to the presidents of our conferences. If a man is sanguine of his own powers and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and only safe course is to remove him, lest great harm be done and he lose his own soul and imperil the souls of others. “All ye are brethren.” This disposition to lord it over God’s heritage will cause a reaction unless these men change their course. Testimonies to Ministers, 362.

Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God. Some will go out from among us who will bear the ark no longer. But these cannot make walls to obstruct the truth; for it will go onward and upward to the end. In the past God has raised up men, and He still has men of opportunity waiting, prepared to do His bidding—men who will go through restrictions which are only as walls daubed with untempered mortar. When God puts His Spirit upon men, they will work. They will proclaim the Word of the Lord; they will lift up their voice like a trumpet. The truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands. They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. Ibid., 411.

When God’s people cease to let others mold them at will, a great advance will be made in finishing the work:

When all shall take their appointed places in God’s work, and not allow others to mold them at will, then one great advance will have been made toward letting the light shine upon the world. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 113.

We will be disappointed if we try to limit how God will work, for He will work in ways least expected:

You are not to limit the Holy One of Israel, whose power is of old, and whose ways are past finding out. If you mark out ways whereby you expect God to work, you will be disappointed. The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation. You are to leave God to work in His own way, and you must walk, not by sight, but by faith. God has a work to be done, and it is a very solemn, sacred work. It is not wise to follow plans of your own devising. . . . God will work in ways least expected. It is not your own strength that will turn the battle against the enemy, but the strength of the mighty General of armies, who works for His own name’s glory. Series A, No. 7, 18–19.

God will take the reins into His own hands. Using simple means, He will work contrary to any human planning. See Testimonies to Ministers, 300.

The revival, long looked for and much overdue, may come from the grassroots of Adventism:

We are made sad as we see in many places so much left undone that should be done. But the Lord will use in the accomplishment of His work means that we do not now see. He will raise up from among the common people, men and women to do His work, even as of old He called fishermen to be His disciples. There will soon be an awakening that will surprise many. Those who do not realize the necessity of what is to be done will be passed by, and the heavenly messengers will work with those who are called the common people, fitting them to carry the truth to many places. Now is the time for us to awake and do what we can. Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 312–313.

The awakening (revival) will therefore come from the common people, which the dictionary defines as people without rank:

The Lord must be given an opportunity to show men their duty and to work upon their minds. No one is to bind himself to serve under the direction of any human being, for the Lord Himself will call men, as of old He called the humble fishermen, and will Himself give them the education He desires them to have. He will call men from the plow and from other occupations to give the last note of warning to perishing souls. There are many ways in which to work for the Master, and the great Teacher will open the understanding of these workers, enabling them to see wondrous things in His Word. The Publishing Ministry, 278.

Eleventh-hour workers will come in and take the crown of those who have not appreciated the whole counsel of God:

But God will not be left without witness. The one-hour laborers will be brought in at the eleventh hour, and will consecrate their ability and all their entrusted means to advance the work. These will receive the reward for their faithfulness, because they are true to principle, and shun not their duty to declare the whole counsel of God. When those who have had abundance of light throw off the restraint which the Word of God imposes, and make void His law, others will come in to fill their place, and take their crown. The General Conference Bulletin, January 1, 1900.

Many will change sides in the conflict. Only those obedient to the law and to the Testimonies are on Christ’s side:

In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world’s insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord’s army joined the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-keeping people of God. An angel flying in the midst of heaven put the standard of Immanuel into many hands, while a mighty general cried out with a loud voice: “Come into line. Let those who are loyal to the commandments of God and the testimony of Christ now take their position.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 41.

The history of Jerusalem is a warning to us:

Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to walk in the light that God has given. Jerusalem was favored of God as the depositary of sacred trusts. But her people perverted the truth, and despised all entreaties and warnings. They would not respect His counsels. . . . Christ turned from them, saying: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” how can I give thee up? “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Matthew 23:37.

So Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God. . . .

The warnings come down to all that are following in the tread of the people of Jerusalem, who had such great light. This people is before us as a warning. By rejecting God’s warnings in this our day, men are repeating the sin of Jerusalem. Testimonies, vol. 8, 67–68.

As members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church we need to understand that we cannot continue to deny the great dilemma that we are in. We are denominated (chosen and named) to be God’s remnant people, obedient to all of God’s law, and guided by the Spirit of Prophecy. In reality, we possess the knowledge of the Ten Commandments and the Spirit of Prophecy, but in practice we are not obedient to many of the Lord’s directives. We possess the truth physically, but we do not possess it in our hearts, nor is it manifested by our actions. We have not let Christ and His truth into our individual and corporate hearts, and thus we are not sanctified (made holy) by obedience to the truth. See 1 Peter 1:22. We have a knowledge of the gospel, but we are denying the power thereof. See 2 Timothy 3:5. We are unrighteous (lacking right actions according to God’s directives) due to a lack of faith and trust in Christ’s directives regarding how to live and work for Him.

Our dilemma is that in this untransformed condition we are attempting to give to the world the three angels’ messages, messages of full obedience—sanctification—to God. To this point in history God has not found it possible to use us to our fullest potential to give to “every nation, kindred, tongue and people” a message which we have not understood nor experienced. As did ancient Israel, we can serve as an inefficient reservoir of the oracles of truth, but without being transformed by that truth, we remain unsaved by it. Solomon also had the delusion that, even though he was disobeying the Lord in relating to the surrounding nations and their religious beliefs, he could win them to the truth—to obedience to God. The servant of the Lord refers to this as a “fatal deception.” See Prophets and Kings, 54. Unsanctified (disobedient) Laodicea must awaken to the reality that we cannot give to the world a message of heart sanctification—the third angel’s message in verity—for we cannot fully give that which we do not fully possess. In 1996, Kenneth H. Wood, chairman of the Ellen G. White Estate Board of Trustees, stated this thought in the following words:

It is my deep conviction that before the church can proclaim with power God’s last warning message to the world, it must be united on the truth about Christ’s human nature. Preface, Touched With Our Feelings, 19.

Yes, as in the days of Elijah and Elisha, Israel is in a spiritual crisis. We have turned back from following the will of God. We have neglected and rejected the counsels of the Lord sent us through His messengers. We have departed from the true religion of Jehovah, and have adopted the false religions of our neighbors. Our schools, and other institutions, are operated more in harmony with the standards of the world around us than with the directives of the Lord. Oh, not all in Israel are disobedient to God. He can still claim that “Yet I have left [me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18. But the majority of us are guided more by the devising and wisdom of man than by the revealed will of God. Yes, Israel has turned from obedience to disobedience. We have turned back from the teaching and practicing of truth to the teaching and practicing of error. Yes, Israel is in rebellion.

Oh, God does not reject or abandon us because of our apostasy. He does not turn from us and raise up another movement. Israel is still His chosen people. God does not readily abandon nor destroy His rebellious people. He works long and patiently to help us recognize our spiritual blindness and to lead us into revival and reformation. We have our spiritual Hazaels appointed to us to be a scourge to a wayward people. Spiritual rain is being withheld to try to awaken Israel to our spiritual need.

As we awaken to our spiritual condition of “in verity,” being full-blooded Laodiceans, we must not despair. We must never cease to work to restore others and ourselves, to full obedience to God’s will, and thus to His favor and blessings.

God’s plan for Laodicea’s chronic disobedience to His directives in operating the branches of His work, and His solution for our doctrinal confusion, is the same as it was for the apostasy of King Josiah’s time. In that day the faithful “were questioning whether God’s promises to ancient Israel could ever be fulfilled. From a human point of view the divine purpose for the chosen nation seemed almost impossible of accomplishment.” Prophets and Kings, 384.

Repentant Josiah led the people into an in-depth study of the neglected Spirit of Prophecy of their day. The king called a solemn convocation in which God’s neglected counsels were shared. The reformer king proposed that “those highest in authority unite with the people in solemnly covenanting before God to cooperate with one another in an effort to institute decided changes. ‘The king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book.’ 2 Kings 23:3. The response was more hearty than the king had dared hope for: ‘All the people stood to the covenant.’ 2 Kings 23:3.” Ibid., 400–401.

Recognizing how far they had strayed from the Lord’s directives, the people joined with Josiah in purging open sin from the camp. False methods of worship and unrepentant teachers of doctrinal error were put away. See ibid., 401.

Whenever there is controversy among us, we are each, individually, to study the issues for ourself. We are to then stand by the side of those teaching truth:

Our brethren should be willing to investigate in a candid way every point of controversy. If a brother is teaching error, those who are in responsible positions ought to know it; and if he is teaching truth, they ought to take their stand at his side. We should all know what is being taught among us, for if it is truth, we need to know it. The Sabbath-school teacher needs to know it, and every Sabbath-school scholar ought to understand it. We are all under obligation to God to know what he sends to us. He has given directions by which we may test every doctrine—“To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” But if it is according to this test, do not be so full of prejudice that you cannot acknowledge a point when it is proved to you, simply because it does not agree with your ideas. Review and Herald, March 25, 1890.

Laodicean modern Israel needs holy convocations like that of Josiah’s day. The sins of the rulers and of the people need to be pointed out by a study and presentation of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. We need to put away our disobedience in the operation of the branches of the Lord’s work. We need to give a “Thus saith the Lord” for truth and against doctrinal error. We must not continue to halt between two or more opinions as did the religious teachers of Christ’s day. We need to remove from positions of responsibility those who persist in open and rebellious disobedience to a “Thus saith the Lord.”

In referring to the revival of Josiah, modern Israel is given the following instruction:

Is not this our work today? Our fathers have transgressed, and we have followed in their footsteps; but God has opened the book of the law, and backslidden Israel hear the commandments of the Lord. Their transgression stands revealed, and the wrath of God will be upon every soul that does not repent and reform as the light shines upon his pathway. Review and Herald, vol. 2, 182.

It was and is God’s plan for His church that its appointed men and women of responsibility lead His people into a full keeping of the commandments of God and into a faithful obedience to the Spirit of Prophecy. It is our God-given task to remove open sin and unrepentant sinners from the camp. God retains for Himself the determination of who are wheat and who are tares. He also retains the decision as to when probation will close for any person, administration or organization. Our sphere of action to work through repentance, revival and reformation for the purification of ourselves individually and for God’s people as a body.

Let us give serious consideration to the following statement:

All our energies should be turned to the obedience of Christ. To divide our interest with the leaders of error is aiding the wrong side and giving advantage to our foes. The truth of God knows no compromise with sin, no connection with artifice, no union with transgression. Soldiers are wanted who will always answer to the roll call and be ready for immediate action, not those who, when needed, are found aiding the enemy. Testimonies, vol. 4, 81.

May the Lord give us, individually and collectively, His continued guidance and enabling grace as we seek to know and follow His will, is my prayer.

A Response to the General Conference: The Spirit of Prophecy

Just as God called Moses to guide ancient Israel from slavery to freedom in the earthly Canaan, just so did God call Ellen G. White to be His prophet and messenger to lead His remnant church into the heavenly Canaan. Repeatedly Ellen White asserted that her writings and messages to the Seventh-day Adventist Church were from the Lord. In Publishing Ministry, 172, she refers to her counsels to leaders of the publishing work at Battle Creek as “the Word of God, given in the Testimonies of His Holy Spirit.”

God’s remnant movement is identified by its obedience to all of His counsels through the prophets of the past as recorded in the Bible, and through the prophet, Ellen G. White:

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. . . . for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 12:17; 19:10.

God has given us as a people a special banner to carry:

God has placed in our hands a banner on which is inscribed the words, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and have the testimonies of Jesus Christ,” He declares. At all times and in all places we are to hold the banner firmly aloft. Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, 45.

As a people we have struggled to know how to relate the writings of Ellen White to those of the Bible. Unfortunately, we tend to apply the following statement by Ellen White to all of her writings:

I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with the several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God. Here, said I, the cases of nearly all are met. The sins they are to shun are pointed out. The counsel that they desire can be found here, given for other cases situated similarly to themselves. God has been pleased to give you line upon line and precept upon precept. But there are not many of you that really know what is contained in the Testimonies. You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God’s Word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct Testimonies, calling your attention to the words of Inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings. Testimonies, vol. 2, 605.

The above statement was written in 1871. Only the first twenty Testimonies for the Church had been written and distributed by this date. These were later bound into the first two volumes of our present nine volume set. It is not proper to apply this to all of the Spirit of Prophecy writings. It is incorrect to assume that, if we will study “God’s Word” “with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection,” that we do not need the counsels of the Lord through Ellen G. White. The following statement by the Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate explains probably why the above statement was included by the servant of the Lord toward the end of our present volume 2 of Testimonies for the Church. If the church members, in general, had been studying the Bible and bringing their lives into harmony with its teachings, they would not have needed the counsels in Testimonies volumes 1 and 2 originally addressing personal sins of other members.

Early in 1868, as explained in an article now found near the close of volume I, Ellen G. White began to publish, for the benefit of the church as a whole, certain personal testimonies which up to that time had not been distributed generally. Of these personal testimonies she stated: “They all contain more or less reproof and instruction which apply to hundreds or thousands of others in similar condition. These should have the light which God has seen fit to give which meets their cases.”—Vol. 1, p. 631.

Such instruction addressed personally to individual church members through the three-year period of February, 1868, to May, 1871, comprises almost the entire content of Testimonies Nos. 15-20, now embodied in this volume 2. The instruction is pointed and practical, dealing with almost every phase of personal experience and religious interests, from gossip, the indulgence of appetite, and the marriage relationship to misdirected zeal, avariciousness, and fanaticism. The Times of Volume Two, Testimonies, vol. 2, 5–6.

“A Lesser Light”

On at least one occasion, Ellen G. White referred to some of her “larger books, Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy, and Desire of Ages,” as being a lesser light in relation to the Bible:

The larger books, Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy, and Desire of Ages, should be sold everywhere. . . .

The Lord has sent his people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. O, how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain! There would be a thousandfold greater vigilance, a thousandfold more self-denial and resolute effort. And many more would now be rejoicing in the light of present truth. Review and Herald, January 20, 1903.

Some use this statement to support the idea that all of the writings of Ellen White are as a lesser light to the Bible and that we do not need any of the counsels and writings of the Spirit of Prophecy if we will properly study the greater light found in the Bible. Or, this lesser light concept is used to support the idea that somehow the writings of Ellen White are of a lower level of Inspiration and are not to be taken as seriously as Scripture.

At another time the servant of the Lord referred to the Jewish era—the sacrificial system, the old covenant, the Old Testament—as a lesser light to the gospel era—the Lamb of God, the new covenant, the New Testament—but that it would be a sin to despise or to ridicule the lesser light:

With the first advent of Christ there was ushered in an era of greater light and glory; but it would indeed be sinful ingratitude to despise and ridicule the lesser light because a fuller and more glorious light had dawned. Those who despise the blessings and glory of the Jewish age are not prepared to be benefited by the preaching of the gospel. The brightness of the Father’s glory, and the excellence and perfection of his sacred law, are only understood through the atonement made upon Calvary by his dear Son; but even the atonement loses its significance when the law of God is rejected. Signs of the Times, August 25, 1887.

There is a strong parallel between the ministry of Ellen White and that of Moses. When the fullness of the time came for God’s chosen people to possess the Promised Land—the earthly Canaan—God gave them a prophet, a messenger. Through Moses, the Lord restored to mankind a knowledge of His law—the Ten Commandments, which are a revelation of His character. This law, the foundation of the government of Heaven, is immutable. It is as enduring as eternity. The Ten Commandments were to be the basis of all belief and the judge of all behavior of God’s people.

But God knew that the children of Israel would be unable to understand completely how the Ten Commandments were to affect every facet of their lives, enabling them to fully reflect His character. It was God’s plan for the children of Israel to share with the world His plan of salvation from slavery to sin. Yet He knew they could not accomplish this task with their limited understanding of the Ten Commandments.

For this reason God gave them a lesser light through the writings and the ministry of His messenger Moses. In addition to the greater light—the Ten Commandments—God gave Moses detailed instructions on how as individuals and as an organization they were to be His representatives and do His work on earth.

God instructed Moses in the minute details of the construction of the tabernacle and of the operation of the sacrificial system. God communicated to the children of Israel His will regarding their diet, proper sanitation, care for the sick, care for the poor, how to witness to the world, and the setting up and operating of His institutions, the cities of refuge.

Moses began receiving the testimonies of Jesus for the children of Israel when the law was spoken from Mount Sinai, but apparently he did not finish recording them in a book until the year of his death, forty years later:

Before relinquishing his position as the visible leader of Israel, Moses was directed to rehearse to them the history of their deliverance from Egypt and their journeyings in the wilderness, and also to recapitulate the law spoken from Sinai. When the law was given, but few of the present congregation were old enough to comprehend the awful solemnity of the occasion. As they were soon to pass over Jordan and take possession of the Promised Land, God would present before them the claims of His law and enjoin upon them obedience as the condition of prosperity. . . .

After the public rehearsal of the law, Moses completed the work of writing all the laws, the statutes, and the judgments which God had given him, and all the regulations concerning the sacrificial system. Patriarchs and Prophets, 463, 466. See also Exodus 18:19–20; Deuteronomy 31:24.

When finished, the book of the law of Moses was placed in the side of the ark as a witness to the covenant between Israel and God. See Deuteronomy 31:26.

God’s will for almost every facet of their individual and corporate lives and labor was revealed to the children of Israel through His messenger Moses. The Ten Commandments were the basis of the Jewish economy, but their application to the details of life was spelled out in the lesser light of the law of Moses:

The Decalogue was supreme; the “book” containing “the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 31:24) was an amplification and application of its principles to the economy of Israel. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1064.

The law of Moses, along with the moral law, was God’s truth and would be revealed to the children of Israel. Both the greater and the lesser lights were to be obeyed:

But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it. Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess. Deuteronomy 5:31–33.

Neither was to be added to, nor subtracted from. See Deuteronomy 4:2. The possession of and obedience to both the greater and the lesser lights made Israel the greatest nation upon the earth.

Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Deuteronomy 4:5–8.

Every seven years the testimonies of Moses and the Ten Commandments were to be publicly read:

And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Deuteronomy 31:9–11.

Men, women, children and even the strangers in the land were to be in the audience that “they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 31:12.

The parents were to do everything possible to teach to their children the writings of the prophet as well as the words of God from Sinai:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7.

Yes, God revealed His will—both through His law and through His prophet—so that ancient Israel might know and obey Him:

And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. Deuteronomy 4:13–14.

The forty years of wandering in the wilderness were to help the Israelites to decide in their own hearts whether they would obey God or not:

All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. Deuteronomy 8:1–2.

The wilderness sojourn was also to teach them that their temporal and eternal welfare depended upon their obedience to “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3.

It is well-documented in Scripture that Israel repeatedly failed to keep their covenant promise to obey God. Over and over God sent prophets to call them back to obedience to both the greater and the lesser lights of truth—“to the law and to the testimony.” Isaiah 8:20. Jeremiah especially emphasized the importance of obeying the will of God as given to them in the testimonies of Moses.

Jeremiah called their attention repeatedly to the counsels given in Deuteronomy. More than any other of the prophets, he emphasized the teachings of the Mosaic law and showed how these might bring the highest spiritual blessing to the nation and to every individual heart. “Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16. Prophets and Kings, 411.

Yes, indeed, God’s ability to fulfill His promise to incorporate ancient Israel into His spiritual kingdom was wholly dependent upon their willingness to obey Him in every particular. Their success in fulfilling the entire purpose of their movement depended upon their obeying fully the writings of the prophets as well as the Ten Commandments.

Ultimately Israel was judged by the law and by the testimonies. Because they had not lived and worked in harmony with them it was evident that there was no longer any light in them. Thus Christ was forced to reject Israel as His special light set upon a hill.

Types and Antitypes

“One of the greatest parallels consisting of types and antitypes is found in what we call the Exodus and Advent movements of ancient and modern Israel. The Lord delivered ancient Israel from the bondage of Egypt and led them through the wilderness into the earthly Canaan, or the ‘Promised Land.’ The Exodus from Egypt and the experiences of Israel were typical of the gathering of modern Israel out of the darkness of modern Egypt and spiritual Babylon to lead them into the heavenly Canaan. These are the two greatest religious movements of all history. Both arose in fulfillment of prophecy and accomplish their work in harmony with a divine purpose and move forward under the leadership of the God of heaven.” Taylor G. Bunch, The Exodus in Type and Antitype, 3.

Just as the Lord brought ancient Israel out of literal Egypt by a prophet (Hosea 12:13), so also He is leading spiritual Israel out of spiritual Egypt by His messenger Ellen G. White. Through the ministry of Ellen White, Christ guided our pioneers in restoring to mankind a fuller knowledge of His law and of the scriptural truths lost during the Dark Ages. As the writings of Moses were given as an “amplification and application” of the principles of the Ten Commandments for the Jewish economy, so the writings of Ellen White are given to modern Israel to provide them with a clearer understanding of the Bible. Her writings reveal how Biblical principles are to apply to our daily lives and to the work done for God by Seventh-day Adventists today:

The Lord designs to warn you, to reprove, to counsel, through the Testimonies given, and to impress your minds with the importance of the truth of His Word. The written Testimonies are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed. Man’s duty to God and to his fellow man has been distinctly specified in God’s Word, yet but few of you are obedient to the light given. Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given and in His own chosen way brought them before the people to awaken and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without excuse. Testimonies, vol. 5, 665.

Just as Moses claimed that His messages were the Word of God, so also Ellen White referred to her messages “as the Word of God, given in the Testimonies of His Holy Spirit.” She also stated that her writings are “the Testimonies of the Spirit of God,” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 201; “message given of God,” Ibid., vol. 9, 198; “the Lord’s messages of light,” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888; “reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God,” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 48; and “light that God has given,” Testimonies, vol. 5, 691.

Even as He did through Moses, the Lord gave through Ellen White detailed instructions about how we personally and corporately are to live and work for Him. Through the Spirit of Prophecy the Lord has given us “commandments, statutes and judgments” regarding our health habits, how to care for the sick, how to dress, how to carry on our social relationships, how to witness to the world and how to set up and to operate His institutions.

Just as the lesser-light writings of Moses did not replace the law, but rather illuminated it, so also the writings of Ellen White as a lesser light do not replace, but rather provide a better understanding of the Bible. In His every communication, Christ subjects Himself to all of His previous communications. The Holy Spirit Himself is to be tested by His previous communications—“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. God never changes. See Malachi 3:6. He never contradicts Himself. See Selected Messages, book 1, 162.

Thus the messages of a true prophet can only give a clearer-than-previously-given revelation of God’s will. They can never replace or contradict messages previously given. Moses, God’s first spokesman, left in written messages the standard by which all succeeding prophets have been tested. Each new messenger of the Lord down through the ages has had to be in harmony with all the preceding messengers. However, those who met this standard have just as surely given the Word of God to their generation as did Moses to his. Though each most-recent messenger has given a lesser-light message to be judged by all preceding greater-light messages, their messages have been and are God’s present-truth word to His people.

Seventh-day Adventists have been assured that the Testimonies given through Ellen White never contradict the Bible, and thus we are to study them both. See Selected Messages, book 3, 32.

When we teach, preach, and obey the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy we are supporting the Bible just as surely as was ancient Israel supporting the law of God when they taught, preached and obeyed the writings of Moses. To teach and urge obedience to the writings of God’s most recent messenger does not nullify or displace any previous true messengers. To teach belief in and to urge obedience to the Spirit of Prophecy does not place it above the Bible. Neither does it form a different standard of truth. Rather, such endeavors lift up and magnify the writings of the previous prophets contained in the Bible, for both have the same inerrant Author and are thus in complete harmony. If we slight, reject, or break one of the least of the messages from God, we slight, reject, or break them all. See James 2:10. If we disobey or slight any of God’s messengers or messages we are in reality slighting and insulting God who sent them. See Testimonies, vol. 5, 234–235.

A Covenant of Obedience

Modern Israel, just as was ancient Israel, is under God’s covenant of obedience:

To us the invitation is given, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17–18. Thus God has declared His covenant of obedience. The Upward Look, 144.

As did ancient Israel, we hold a singularly exalted station:

Commandment-keeping Adventists are occupying a peculiar, exalted position. John viewed them in holy vision, and described them. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. The Lord made a special covenant with ancient Israel if they would prove faithfull: “Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” Exodus 19:5–6. And He thus addresses His commandment-keeping people in these last days: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. Review and Herald, September 7, 1886.

All who seek Eden restored must live and work by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God:

If Adam and Eve had lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God they never would have fallen, never lost the right to the tree of life. All who will live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God now will be brought back to the Eden home. Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 232.

To disobey one word of God’s is to place ourselves on Satan’s side of the great controversy:

Whenever men choose their own way, they place themselves in controversy with God. They will have no place in the kingdom of heaven, for they are at war with the very principles of heaven. In disregarding the will of God, they are placing themselves on the side of Satan, the enemy of God and man. Not by one word, not by many words, but by every word that God has spoken, shall man live. We cannot disregard one word however trifling it may seem to us, and be safe. Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 52.

Ellen White tells us that the Spirit of Prophecy is not an addition to the Bible but that her writings are given to us to call our attention to the principles of the Bible. The Spirit of Prophecy was given to us in order that we can have a clearer understanding of the Scriptures:

Brother J would confuse the mind by seeking to make it appear that the light God has given through the Testimonies is an addition to the Word of God, but in this he presents the matter in a false light. God has seen fit in this manner [the Testimonies] to bring the minds of His people to His Word, to give them a clearer understanding of it. . . .

Besides the instruction in His Word, the Lord has given special testimonies to His people, not as a new revelation, but that He may set before us the plain lessons of His Word, that errors may be corrected, that the right way may be pointed out, that every soul may be without excuse. Selected Messages, book 3, 31; see also Testimonies, vol. 5, 665.

Rather than new light, the Spirit of Prophecy contains increased light on the Old and the New Testaments:

My work has been in the field since 1845. Ever since then I have labored with pen and voice. Increased light has come to me as I have imparted the light given me. I have very much more light on the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which I shall present to our people. Ibid., 90.

Scriptural Foundation

In labor for the general public we are to sustain our positions from the Bible rather than from the Spirit of Prophecy. We are to educate people to look to God for whom Ellen White was a spokesperson:

In public labor do not make prominent and quote that which Sister White has written as authority to sustain your positions. To do this will not increase faith in the Testimonies. Bring your evidences, clear and plain, from the Word of God. A Thus saith the Lord is the strongest testimony you can possibly present to the people. Let none be educated to look to Sister White, but to the mighty God, who gives instruction to Sister White. Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 140.

We are told that the Bible is to be the unerring standard. We are not to bring the Testimonies in ahead of the Bible. This is not to be interpreted that it is therefore safe to be ignorant of, to neglect, or to reject any of the Lord’s will as found in the Spirit of Prophecy:

Our position and faith is in the Bible. And never do we want any soul to bring in the testimonies ahead of the Bible. Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 78. See Evangelism, 256.

The Same Author

Because of the above and other similar statements, some of us have come to believe that somehow the Divine Inspiration through Ellen White is of a lesser quality than the Spirit of Prophecy manifested in the writers of the Bible. We are told, however, that the Holy Ghost is the Author of both the Spirit of Prophecy and of the Holy Scriptures:

The Holy Ghost is the Author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy. Selected Messages, book 3, 30.

Since God never contradicts Himself (see ibid., book 1, 162), we are told that the Testimonies harmonize with the Bible:

The Testimonies God has given His people are in harmony with His Word. Testimonies to Ministers, 402.

We are to take no man’s word in regard to the Spirit of Prophecy. We are to read them for ourselves, and as we do so, we will see that, indeed, they are in harmony with truth:

Tell the people to take no man’s word regarding the Testimonies, but to read them and study them for themselves, and then they will know that they are in harmony with the truth. The Word of God is the truth. This Day With God, 292.

We are assured that the Testimonies never contradict the Word:

The Bible must be your counselor. Study it and the Testimonies God has given; for they never contradict His Word. Selected Messages, book 3, 32.

God never spoke more earnestly through the apostles and prophets of the past than He has through Ellen White:

In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the Testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue. Testimonies, vol. 4, 147–148.

Fully Dependable

Because Ellen White stated that she never claimed infallibility (see Selected Messages, book 1, 37), some conclude that her writings are then fallible, and thus they cannot be fully and always trustworthy. Contrary to this assumption, she informs us that her writings are without one heretical sentence:

I am now looking over my diaries and copies of letters written for several years back. . . . I have the most precious matter to reproduce and place before the people in testimony form. While I am able to do this work, the people must have things to revive past history, that they may see that there is one straight chain of truth, without one heretical sentence, in that which I have written. Ibid., book 3, 52.

God sends His messages to man in such a way that those who do not have a teachable spirit will find room to doubt. This fact is true of both the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible:

As with the Bible, so with the Testimonies. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit; and all should decide from the weight of evidence. Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 204. Emphasis in the original.

A Tool to Test Truth

The “Spirit of Prophecy—the testimony of Jesus Christ”—has been given to God’s remnant people not only to identify them but also as a tool for spiritual warfare against the dragon. See Revelation 12:17; 19:10.

In all ages truth has been measured both by “the law and by the testimony” of the true prophets. See Isaiah 8:20.

We would do well to follow the example of our pioneers. They based their search for truth upon diligent study of the Scriptures, but when difficulty was encountered, the Testimonies through Ellen White were accepted as a clear explanation of the Bible. Thus a firm doctrinal foundation was laid:

Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder {Hiram} Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, “We can do nothing more,” the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me. Selected Messages, book 1, 206–207.

Satan knows that if he can shake our faith and confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy, he will be better able to deceive us:

The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them [the Testimonies], for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded. Ibid., 48.

Satan’s purpose is, through his devices, to make of none effect the testimonies of the Spirit of God. If he can lead the minds of the people of God to see things in a perverted light, they will lose confidence in the messages God sends through His servants; then he can the more readily deceive, and not be detected. Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 201.

We must accept the words of God in the Spirit of Prophecy as well as in the Bible in order to save us from believing strong delusions and thus straying from the firm foundation laid by the pioneers:

We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His Word. Testimonies, vol. 8, 298.

In harmony with the above counsels we should readily accept the Spirit of Prophecy, along with the Bible, as authoritative in doctrinal issues as well as trustworthy counsel as to how our lifestyle and our ways of doing the Lord’s work can be pleasing and acceptable to Christ. In 2 Chronicles 20:20 we are told that belief in God’s prophets is essential to our prosperity. “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” In Isaiah 8:20 we are told that correct practices and doctrines will be in harmony with both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Helping the Enemy

Those among us who ridicule the visions of Ellen White are strengthening the hands of our enemies. See Testimonies, vol. 1, 655. Those in the branches of our work who labor contrary to the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy are going where Jesus has not given them liberty to go:

The leaders in our medical work should now be considering the Testimonies that for years have been coming to them. If they pay no heed to these warnings, the Lord cannot cooperate with them as He desires to. There is danger of your placing yourself and others in harmony with worldly plans. Faithfulness in duty, trust in God at every step—this is your safety. If you follow your own ambitious projects, you will go where Jesus has given you no liberty to go. Obey the Word of God, and you will be safe. Battle Creek Letters, 58.

A Dead Letter

Unfortunately, too many of us are rejecting the Spirit of Prophecy because it does not agree with our preferences and opinions:

The minds of many have been engrossed with contentions, and they have rejected the light given through the Testimonies because it did not agree with their own opinions. God will not work a miracle to convince these rebellious ones of the truth of the Testimonies, and compel them to acknowledge His message. He has given sufficient evidence for their faith, and it is only the stubbornness of the natural heart that prevents them from acknowledging the light. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 505–506.

Soul winners, who are not surrendered to the Bible and to the Spirit of Prophecy, place faith-threatening stumbling-blocks before their converts:

If God’s ambassador brings the precious, saving truth to bear upon the heart, and yet in his deportment errors are made prominent, then he lays a stumbling block before the feet of his fellow men, over which they may stumble into perdition.  If souls do accept the truth, the defects in the messenger are in many instances reproduced in their conduct, and the Heart Searcher knows that His professed ambassador is perpetuating sin. The reason of this is that the word of God has not been received into the heart, has not done its office work upon the soul. The word of God and the testimonies that have been given for the enlightenment of God's people, are as a dead letter. Testimonies on the Case of Elder E. P. Daniels (Pamphlet No. 96), 35–36.

If we neglect the Testimonies we will tend to stray from Bible truth:

If you lose confidence in the Testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth. Testimonies, vol. 5, 98.

The enemy has made his masterly efforts to unsettle the faith of our own people in the Testimonies, and when these errors come in they claim to prove all the positions by the Bible, but they misinterpret the Scriptures. They make bold assertions, as did Elder Canright, and misapply the prophecies and the Scriptures to prove falsehood. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 739.

Ellen White attributed to blindness of the heart a leader’s claim that she contradicted herself:

Will you please to ask Elder [E.P.] Daniels to tell you wherein he thinks Sister White denies her own teachings? Set the words down on paper and send them to me. If I am guilty, I will confess the same; if not, I shall charge him with bearing false witness, as he has done again and again in regard to my words, my actions, and the things which I eat. He says he believes the Testimonies but cannot understand them. I present these Testimonies now as a solemn duty I owe to the Master, whose servant I am, to see if your eyesight is so darkened that you cannot understand them. Blindness of the heart is a terrible barrier to the discerning of truth. “He shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you,” (John 16:14) is the declaration of Christ, revealing how the Holy Spirit operates upon the mind. Sin is the disease of the soul, in consequence of which the understanding fails to do its appointed work on the heart and memory. Pamphlet No. 28, 6–7.

Those who lessen the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies are working against God:

Those who seek to lessen the faith of God’s people in these Testimonies, which have been in the church for the last thirty-six years, are fighting against God. It is not the instrument whom you slight and insult, but God, who has spoken to you in these warnings and reproofs. Testimonies, vol. 5, 234-235.

Spiritual Discernment

As we appreciate and accept the Spirit of Prophecy we have increased spiritual discernment. As we reject it we become spiritually blind:

If those who have received the light will appreciate and respect the Testimonies of the Lord, they will see the religious life in a new light. They will be convicted. They will see the key that unlocks the mysteries that they have never understood. They will lay hold of the precious things that God has given them to profit withal and will be translated from the kingdom of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Those who despise the warning will be left in blindness to become self-deceived. My Life Today, 42.

Those who make of none effect the work of the prophet and thus spread the contagion of spiritual blindness, are doing the work of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and with the same consequences:

You have refused my testimonies given me for you from the Lord just as much have you labored to make them of none  effect as did Korah, Dathan and Abiram. You have done this and thus it is charged against you in the books of heaven. . . .  .

You have made no account of the light which God has given me. You have in your attitude and the course you have pursued made of none effect that testimony and influence which should live and be strengthened by you, by your voice, your pen and adherence to them. But this you have not done and the result of this you must bear. . . .

You will find the ones whose eyesight spiritually you have acted your part to pervert, will accept Satan’s sophistry rather than the pure unadulterated truth and they are ensnared and taken, at whose door will their sin be charged. You set their minds against the testimony of the Spirit of God. You led their feet in a path where God was not leading you. The spiritually blind has been leading those whom he might have led in a path of faith and confidence and peace.

I tell you in the name of the Lord God of Israel both you and they will fall into the ditch. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 599–602.

Those who persist in weakening the hands of the prophet will eventually strengthen the hands of our bitterest enemies:

I was shown in the vision given me of the Judgment, that God would send warnings, counsels, and reproof. Some . . . would kick against the pricks, rise up against the testimonies of reproof, despise the warnings, choose their own wisdom, be ensnared and overcome by the enemy, and so blinded by his infatuations [that] they would be utterly unable to discern the things of God and would work directly against the light, enshrouding themselves in darkness and error. Then these very ones would sustain and strengthen the hands of our bitterest enemies.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 1.

Yes, we Seventh-day Adventists are being tested by the Spirit of Prophecy:

The commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus are testing us. If we are faithful and obedient, God will delight in us, and bless us as His own chosen, peculiar people. My Life Today, 42.

Switching Banners

We have been given to carry the banner inscribed with the words “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and have the Testimonies of Jesus Christ.” The increased light of the Spirit of Prophecy upon the Scriptures is what makes us God’s remnant church. We are told that those who give up their faith in the Spirit of Prophecy are taking their stand under Satan’s banner:

One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan’s banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God’s Spirit. Selected Messages, book 3, 84.

From her very youth Ellen White was set apart to exhort from the Word. The Bible was “open” to her in a special way:

Early in my youth I was asked several times, Are you a prophet? I have ever responded, I am the Lord’s messenger. I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title. My Saviour declared me to be His messenger. “Your work,” He instructed me, “is to bear My word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make My Word open to you. It shall not be as a strange language. In the true eloquence of simplicity, with voice and pen, the messages that I give shall be heard from one who has never learned in the schools. My Spirit and My power shall be with you.” Ibid., book 1, 32.

So Shall Ye Prosper

The Testimonies, as with the Scriptures, are to go forward as long as time shall last:

Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. Ibid., 55.

God’s messages through Ellen White are to have more vital force since her death:

The life that He spares I will use to His glory. And, when He may see fit to let me rest, His messages shall be of even more vital force than when the frail instrumentality through whom they were delivered, was living. Ibid., book 3, 77.

The 1873 General Conference session went on record for us as a people that we believe “the Testimonies of Sister White to be the teachings of the Holy Spirit.” The Ellen G. White Biography, vol. 2, 396.  Our eternal destiny, individually and corporately, will be determined by how we relate to the present truths given by the Holy Spirit through Ellen G. White.

The Final Apostasy

Satan well knows that God’s people have always had great difficulty accepting and obeying messages that God sends through a contemporary prophet. He also well knows that neglect or rejection of only one word that God sends is to join his side. Therefore, “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God.” Ibid., book 1, 48.

Yes, Satan’s final deception for modern Israel is to somehow cause us to believe that God’s counsels and instructions sent through Ellen White are not as inspired, reliable, or relevant as His messages sent through previous messengers. Satan wants us to believe that we can slight, neglect, even disobey and reject the most recent Testimonies from the Lord, and God will still fulfill His portion of the covenant, use us to finish His work, and save us at last in His kingdom.

We are told that the Omega of departure from truth—the last apostasy—would be of a most startling nature:

Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the Alpha of this danger. The Omega will be of a most startling nature.” Ibid., 197.

What could be more startling than for the descendants of Adam and Eve to believe that they can, while in disobedience to God, be restored to the Eden from which Adam and Eve were expelled for disobeying a seemingly minor command of God?

What could be more startling than for God’s chosen people, at the end of six thousand years of the great controversy, to be so deceived as to believe that, despite their continuing disobedience to God, which places them on Satan’s side of the controversy, they can still be taken to the heaven from which Satan was cast out at the beginning of the controversy? Such an occurrence would only confirm Satan’s claim that complete obedience to God is impossible, and/or unnecessary. Satan would thus be the victor in the great controversy.

What could be more startling than for many Seventh-day Adventists to believe that they can enter the Promised Land even while they are in many ways disobeying the Testimonies of Jesus as given through Ellen White, and are falling for Satan’s final deception for God’s remnant people? In actuality, none who remain deceived by Satan, none who remain on his side, can enter the kingdom of heaven.

Fatal Deceptions

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has the task of giving the three angels’ messages to the whole world. These messages call all mankind to complete obedience to the Creator. It is just as fatal for us as it was for Solomon to believe that while we are in disobedience to God, He can or will use us to give to the whole world the loud-cry calling for obedience to Him:

Solomon flattered himself that his wisdom and the power of his example would lead his wives from idolatry to the worship of the true God, and also that the alliances thus formed would draw the nations round about into close touch with Israel. Vain hope! Solomon’s mistake in regarding himself as strong enough to resist the influence of heathen associates was fatal. And fatal, too, the deception that led him to hope that notwithstanding a disregard of God’s law on his part, others might be led to revere and obey its sacred precepts. Conflict and Courage, 192.

It is also a deadly error to have great light as did Chorazin and Bethsaida but to neither appreciate nor receive it:

The most terrible thing that could come to us as people is the fatal deception that was the ruin of Chorazin and Bethsaida. They had great light, great privileges and blessings. Jesus was with them, but they did not appreciate or receive the light He gave them. They were not made better by it. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 172.

It is a bubble blown by Satan that we can turn from the Lord’s counsels and develop our own safe methods of doing His work. The sooner we as people burst this bubble, the better it will be for our institutions:

Do those who know the truth and have a knowledge of God suppose that men who have turned away from truth and right-eousness and are filled with a sense of their own importance, can invent safe methods for carrying on the work? This is what it means, and the sooner this bubble blown by Satan is burst, the better it will be for the healthfulness of all our institutions. When the very heart of the work is diseased, its action must be uncertain, fitful, unreliable. It is time we had an investigation before as many people as possible. All who are helping to sustain the work should get together and understand its inward workings. Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 232–233.

As late as 1973, our church leaders acknowledged that our ongoing disobedience to the Spirit of Prophecy is insubordination and is cause for the delay in finishing the Lord’s work and for the delay in Christ’s second coming:

As church leaders at this Annual Council we have faced honestly the fact that there are inconsistencies between the church’s preaching and its practices, and to allow these inconsistencies to continue will automatically delay the completion of the church’s mission and the coming of Christ.

God has in love sent to the Seventh-day Adventist Church inspired counsels that illuminate and apply the words of Scripture.  These counsels cover about every conceivable facet of Christian experience and witness. As Seventh-day Adventists we cannot plead ignorance of God’s will concerning His expectations, either for the individual or for the church. If we ignore or reject God’s counsels, this may well be defined as an act of insubordination, which will affect our relation to the coming of the Lord. In the words of God’s servant: “We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel.” Evangelism, 696. The 1973 Annual Council Appeal, republished in Our Firm Foundation, December 1991.

Disobedience to the messages of the prophet today is just as much disobedience and apostasy as it was in the days of Moses. Apostasy on the part of modern Israel will just as surely keep her out of the Promised Land as it did ancient Israel.

We can discuss whether the Omega of Apostasy is our present pluralism of doctrinal beliefs. We can consider the Omega of Apostasy to be our long-term operation of the Lord’s publishing, educational and health institutions contrary to the clear directives of the Lord. Or we might believe that the Omega of Apostasy is our following after the world in our personal lifestyles. The final apostasy of modern Israel in reality includes all of the above. One thing is certain, the Omega of Apostasy involves everything that we as individuals do, say, or believe that is contrary to the Testimonies of the Lord as given through Ellen G. White. This insubordination is the final deception foisted upon us by Satan.

By Every Word

Oh, that modern Israel might recognize that disobedience to God’s prophet today is what it has always been—apostasy!

Oh, that we might individually and corporately be willing to surrender our self-willed ways of living and working for the Lord, and seek to hearken unto the statutes and judgments of the Spirit of Prophecy to do them—that we might live and go in and possess the land which the Lord our God giveth us! See Deuteronomy 4:1.

Oh, that modern Israel might learn that which ancient Israel failed to learn—that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”! Matthew 4:4.

Selections Regarding Degrees of Divine Inspiration

“The Bible says nothing about degrees of inspiration, nor does it lend any support to the idea. Adventists believe that all such speculation is not only idle but dangerous.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 877.

“No Difference in Degrees of Inspiration

“At least eight prophets mentioned in the Bible wrote for their times but their works were not included in the canon.1 The Biblical story not only does not hint of any difference in the quality of their inspiration, it describes their work as of equal authority with the canonical prophets. We find no difference in how they received their messages or how they communicated them and how their contemporaries responded to them. Noncanonical prophets spoke for God and were regarded as God’s spokesmen by their contemporaries.

“With the suggestion that some prophets were granted a higher degree of revelation/inspiration than other prophets, comes the inescapable question: Who will decide? Can an uninspired person sit in judgment on a prophet’s work and decide whether he or she is a first-, second-, or third-degree prophet? The gift of prophecy, as other spiritual gifts, is given to men and women ‘according to His own will’ (Hebrews 2:4), not man’s will.

“In 1884 the president of the General Conference, George I. Butler, attempted to contribute to a clearer understanding of this subject by authoring ten articles for the church paper. In these articles he discussed ‘differences in degrees’ of inspiration (Review and Herald, January 8–June 3, 1884).

“Ellen White waited five years to respond, hoping that he would catch his own mistake. But when others began to pick up on Butler’s point of view and teach it in Battle Creek College, she wrote: ‘Both in the [Battle Creek] tabernacle and in the college the subject of inspiration has been taught, and finite men have taken it upon themselves to say that some things in the Scriptures were inspired and some were not. I was shown that the Lord did not inspire the articles on inspiration published in the Review, neither did He approve their endorsement before our youth in the college. When men venture to criticize the Word of God, they venture on sacred, holy ground, and had better fear and tremble and hide their wisdom as foolishness. God sets no man to pronounce judgment on His Word, selecting some things as inspired and discrediting others as uninspired. The testimonies have been treated in the same way, but God is not in this.’ Selected Messages, book 1, 23.

“Writings are the product of inspiration or they are not. Prophets are genuine or they are impostors.2 Other than the difference between the common and the sacred, which should be obvious to everyone, no one is able to divide a prophet’s writings into the inspired and the less inspired. As soon as one tries, the final arbiter is human reason. Each person then believes that his own reason is more dependable than anyone else’s. . . .

“No Differences in Authority Between Canonical and Noncanonical Prophets

“The suggestion that prophets can be categorized by degrees of authority is similar to the previous discussion of differences in degrees of inspiration. Such appeals to categories of inspiration and authority would reduce some prophets to merely an inspirational, pastoral role or function, without divine authority. . . .

“In his last sermon, the late associate Review editor Don F. Neufeld said: ‘Through His witness to the New Testament prophets, Jesus predicted that prophetic activity, as one of many spiritual gifts, would continue in the church. In other words, the testimony of Jesus to His people was not to cease once the books that make up our present canon of scripture would be written. Prophetic activity would continue beyond the close of the canon.

“ ‘This brings us to an important question. If in all prophetic activity it is Jesus who is speaking, whether in Old Testament times, in New Testament times, or in post-New Testament times, can we logically draw a distinction and say that what Jesus said in any one period is more or less authoritative than what He said in any other period?

“ ‘For example, could something that Jesus said in the first century a.d. be more or less authoritative than what He said in the 19th century a.d.? The answer, I think, is obvious. It doesn’t make any sense to argue for degrees of inspiration, as if what Jesus (through the Spirit of prophecy) said in one generation was more inspired than what He said in another.’3 ”  Herbert E. Douglass, Messenger of the Lord, 409–410. (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1998.)

“Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . .

“One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.—Fundamental Beliefs, 17.” Seventh-day Adventists Believe. . . , 216. (Hagerstown, Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988).

“Revelation identifies the possession of the two [the law and the prophetic gift] as distinctive characteristics of the end-time church; its members ‘keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ’—the prophetic gift (Revelation 12:17).

“God gave the prophetic gift to the ‘church’ of the Exodus to organize, instruct, and guide His people (see Acts 7:38, KJV). ‘By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.” Hosea 12:13. It comes as no surprise, then, to find that gift among those who are involved in the ultimate exodus—the escape from sin-polluted Planet Earth to the heavenly Canaan.” Ibid., 221–222.

“Post-Biblical Prophets and the Bible

“The prophetic gift produced the Bible itself. In post-Biblical times it is not to supersede or add to Scripture, because the canon of Scripture is now closed.

“The prophetic gift functions in the endtime much as it did in the time of the apostles. Its thrust is to uphold the Bible as the basis of faith and practice, to explain its teachings, and to apply its principles to daily life. It is involved in establishing and edifying the church, enabling it to carry out its divinely appointed mission. The prophetic gift reproves, warns, guides, and encourages both individuals and the church, protecting them from heresy and unifying them on Bible truths.

“Post-Biblical prophets function much like prophets such as Nathan, Gad, Asaph, Shemaiah, Azariah, Eliezer, Ahijah, and Obed, Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Simeon, John the Baptist, Agabus, Silas, Anna, and Philip’s four daughters, who lived in Bible times, but whose testimonies never became a part of the Bible. The same God who spoke through the prophets whose writings are in the Bible inspired these prophets and prophetesses. Their messages did not contradict the previously recorded divine revelation.” Ibid., 222–223.

1      Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18), Nathan (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 29:25), Gad (1 Chronicles 21:9; 2 Chronicles 29:25), Ahijah (1 Kings 1:29; 14:2–18; 2 Chronicles 9:29), Shemaiah (2 Chronicles 12:15), Iddo (2 Chronicles 9:29; 12:15; 13:22), Jehu (1 Kings 16:1, 7; 2 Chronicles 19:2; 20:34), Elijah (2 Chronicles 21:12–15).

2    “God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs, and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work . . . bears the stamp of God, or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 671.

 3     Sermon manuscript, “When Jesus Speaks,” preached at the Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church, Feb. 2, 1980. Italics supplied.

Appendix A

Hope International, Hartland Institute, and Remnant Ministries – Report

[Issued by the Examination of Hope International Committee of the General Conference, presented to Hope International in rough draft in the meeting of April 5–6, 2000 and mailed in final form on April 27, 2000. Some readers may note that the introduction of this report was modified somewhat before being published by the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference on the Internet and in the Adventist Review.]


Following certain challenges made to General Conference leadership by Ron Spear of Hope International in early 1998, the General Conference Administrative Committee appointed an ad hoc committee (Examination of Hope International Committee) on March 31, 1998, with the mandate to examine the theological positions of Hope International, its related ministries, contributors, and spokespersons, and the influence of such on the world Church. The committee was asked to prepare a report, to propose administrative initiatives, and to recommend these initiatives to the Administrative Committee.

The Members of the Examination of Hope International Committee (ADCOM-A) were as follows: Calvin B Rock, Chairman; Athal H Tolhurst, Secretary; Bjarne Christensen, Jonathan Gallagher, William G Johnsson, Israel Leito, Gerhard Pfandl, George W Reid, Angel Rodriguez, Agniel Samson, Woodrow W. Whidden, Neil C Wilson, and, as a consultant, Peter M van Bemmelen.

The committee conducted its own investigation by assigning research of published materials and by contacting division leadership worldwide. After preliminary meetings, the committee met with leaders of Hope International, Hartland Institute, and Remnant Ministries on two occasions covering three and a half days. The final meeting was held on April 5 and 6, 2000, and resulted in the preparation of the following report.


All of us would agree that Christ is the Head of the Church. As Ellen G White wrote, “Nothing else in this world is so dear to God as His church. Nothing is guarded by Him with such jealous care” (TM42). But the Church is made up of mortals in constant need of His presence and guidance.

For these reasons there is great need for revival and reformation in the Seventh-day Adventist Church as it faces the final chapter in the great controversy. No one will question the importance for church administrators, pastors, teachers, and laypersons to be personally involved in the task of calling the whole Church back to the purity of faith and Christian living as found in the Scriptures. Such revival is simply indispensable for the effective fulfillment of the mission of the Church. Our message and mission should be constantly reaffirmed through voice and action until the glory of the Lord is revealed throughout the world by a people who are totally committed to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Therefore the emphasis on revival and reformation we found in the message of Hope International, Hartland Institute, and Remnant Ministries (hereafter referred to as Hope International and associates) is welcomed. Further, we observed in conversations with Hope International and associates that they affirmed agreement on many of the major elements of the Seventh-day Adventist faith.

However, the method they have used to express their concern has resulted in what is perceived by many to be a spirit of constant criticism directed against the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is the body of Christ, the Remnant Church. The effect of this methodology is the discouraging portrayal of the Church as steeped in a state of apostasy. After studying their materials and meeting with their leaders, we have some serious concerns with respect to the nature and purpose of Hope International and associates.

Areas of Serious Concern

1.        Charge of Apostasy Against the Seventh-day Adventist Church

According to Hope International and associates, it is an understatement to say that there is apostasy in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Church itself is in apostasy! Therefore the condition of the Church is worse than that of any other Christian religious body that forms the end-time Babylon. They are not willing to refer openly to the Seventh-day Adventist Church as Babylon because of the occasions in which Ellen G White opposed those who made such accusations. Yet they have found a way to bypass her counsel by accusing the Church of being in apostasy, We have not found a single case where Ellen G White or the book of Revelation accuses God’s remnant people of being in apostasy. It is this charge of apostasy against the Church that keeps Hope International and associates alive.

If the Church is in apostasy, it has no reason to exist and the Lord must raise up a new church as His instrument for these last days. Hope International and associates see themselves as spokespersons for those who perceive that the Church is in apostasy, and they believe that they have a divine mandate to catalogue and publicize this apostasy and to call the Church to repentance. Although we acknowledge that there is apostasy in the Church—Jesus Himself acknowledged the co-existence of wheat and tares in the Church—we reject the blatant and irresponsible accusation that God’s Remnant Church is in apostasy. Their definition of apostasy as “any deviation from God’s truth or mandated Christian practice” is not found in the Bible or in the writings of Ellen G White.

2.        Distorted View of the Nature of the Church

It is our clear impression that Hope International and associates believe that the Church is composed of both an organized system of administration and a parallel self-supporting ministry independent of the organized system. We understand their position to be that, as divinely appointed self-supporting ministries, they are not ultimately bound by the decisions of the world Church. This model of church organization is used by them to justify their activities. Such understanding of the Church lacks any biblical support and is not found in the writings of Ellen G White. Although we acknowledge the need for supportive ministries within the Church, we perceive Hope International and associates as having parallel organizational structures separate to, and critical of, the official Church organization. Support for this perception is found in the following characteristics of their organizations:

a.        Diverse Understanding of Doctrinal Positions

Though strongly affirming their support for the Seventh-day Adventist Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, Hope International and associates seem to have some reservations with respect to several of them. One such reservation concerns “The Son” (#4). In this particular case they have taken a position different from that of the Church by making their particular understanding of the human nature of Christ part of the doctrine. On the topic of the Church (#11 and #13) their understanding of its nature and authority does not seem to reflect the doctrine of ecclesiology as held by the Church (see below). The same applies to the statement on “Stewardship” (#20).

b.        Reluctance to Accept the Authority of the Church

Although acknowledging that the Church has a God-given authority, Hope International and associates do not consider the authority of the Church to be final in the community of believers. It is the Seventh-day Adventist position that the Church was formed when a group of believers voluntarily, and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, accepted a common gospel, a common lifestyle, and a common mission, understood to be based on the authority of the Scriptures. This community was vested with authority by Christ (Matt 18:15-18). Decisions made by the properly appointed representatives of the Church community are binding on all members who, in order to preserve the unity of the Church and to facilitate the fulfillment of its mission, are willing to set aside personal opinions and/or practices to follow the decisions of the body. But if elements of that community break the common bond that unites it, by developing a judgmental attitude against the authority of the community, the result is confusion and insubordination. Hope International and associates appear to have taken the position that their interpretation of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy is the final arbiter over the Church, to determine whether its decisions are correct or not. If, in their judgment, a decision is not correct, they reject it and proceed to believe and act as they think best, while at the same time claiming to be loyal members of the Church. That attitude is consistent with the spirit of schism and, at the present time, contributes to undermining the authority of the Church.

Self-supporting ministries are to work harmoniously with the Church. Paul, who is often referred to as a self-supporting worker was, after his conversion, brought by the Lord into a permanent connection with the Church. In that context we are told:

“God has made His church on the earth a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purposes and His will. He does not give to one of His servants an experience independent of and contrary to the experience of the church itself. Neither does He give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church while the church—Christ’s body—is left in darkness. . . .

“There have ever been in the church those who are constantly inclined toward individual independence. They seem unable to realize that independence of spirit is liable to lead the human agent to have too much confidence in himself and to trust in his own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of his brethren, especially of those in the offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for he who does this despises the voice of God.

“Those who are inclined to regard their individual judgment as supreme are in grave peril.”—AA 163, 164.

c.        Rewriting of the Baptismal Vow

A Baptismal Vow was put together by Colin Standish using the 1932 Church Manual and other sources. An examination of this baptismal vow reveals that it is significantly different from what is found in the current Church Manual as approved by the world Church. Among the differences are the following:

1)        A new fundamental belief added as a requirement for joining the Church: that “Jesus took upon Himself our fallen nature.” Such statement has never been part of the Seventh-day Adventist Baptismal Vow or of official statements of fundamental beliefs. Such change illustrates an independence from the Church in doctrinal matters as they constitute their own particular views into tests of faith, independent from the remainder of the Church.

2)        The vow dealing with tithing does not identify the Church as the repository of tithe, as does the official Baptismal Vow.

3)        In the rewritten Baptismal Vow, the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not receive a mention.  The Remnant Church is mentioned, but it is never identified with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The fundamental question here is one of the nature and authority of the Church and where that authority resides. Those who promote the use of this reworded Baptismal Vow demonstrate that they do not recognize the authority of the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church.

d.        Redefinition of the Tithe “Storehouse”

The financial support of their organizations comes, not only from their own earnings, nor only from the offerings of church members, but also from tithes. Some of their publications redefine the “storehouse” to be any instrument of God that is proclaiming “unadulterated present truth.” Whether intended or not, the influence of such literature is to encourage members to redirect their tithe away from the Church “storehouse,” and to invest it instead with these independent ministries.

e.        Conducting Their Own Camp Meetings

Every year they conduct their own camp meetings, usually without the concurrence of the conference administration. They express that the need for such camp meetings arises from their perception that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is in apostasy, and is therefore incapable of meeting the spiritual needs of its members through the regular conference camp meetings.

f.        Operating Their Own Publishing Enterprises

Hope International and associates have their own publishing program for the production of materials promoting their views on different doctrines and lifestyle issues. While much of this material is Adventist in character, there are numerous examples of a judgmental attitude against the organized Church and its leaders and, from time to time, assertions that the Church is in apostasy. Whatever truths these periodicals contain are more than discounted by a recurring critical refrain.

3.        Supporting Dissident Movements

Hope International and associates have supported, and continue to support, dissident movements who turn against the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its organization. They have been supporting Norberto Restrepo in Columbia and Venezuela, a former Seventh-day Adventist minister who is no longer an Adventist, and is rather one of the most severe enemies of the Church in the Inter-American Division. In 1997 they supported a group of church elders in Guatemala who rebelled against the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and they sent one of their representatives to Guatemala to support them. Recently they supported, in a court of law, a non-Adventist who was attempting to use the name of the Church for his own organization. Their encouragement of breakaway activities in the following countries, and others besides, is well documented: Australia, Bolivia, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, New Zealand, Macedonia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe. These associations do nothing to build confidence in the professed loyalty of Hope International and associates to the Church. Rather, it is a powerful evidence of their disregard for the carefully considered decisions of the Church, and it amounts to disloyalty to the Church itself. Their misdirected support interferes with the regular organization’s attempts to deal with, and hopefully redeem, such dissident individuals, and makes the task of the Church more difficult.

4.        Selectively Using Ellen G White Writings

Hope International and associates pride themselves in their profuse use of the writings of Ellen G White to support their teachings. But they select statements that seem to support themselves, while disregarding other statements in which activities such as theirs are clearly condemned by Ellen G White. Her overriding support of the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church is intentionally minimized or ignored by Hope International and associates, or explained away as irrelevant for us today.


The accumulative effect of the above information results in the perception of many Church members that Hope International and associates are offshoot organizations. They have not taken the decisive step of officially separating themselves from the Seventh-day Adventist organization, and they claim that they never will. However, by rejecting the authority of the world Church in session when their interpretation of Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy differs from that of the Church, they have set their authority above that of the world Church and operate in a manner that is consistent with offshoot movements.

An Appeal

We appeal, in all sincerity and Christian love, to Hope International and associates to hear the counsel of the Church they claim to love. It is time for the spirit of condemnation and rebellion to be set aside, allowing the reconciling blood of Christ to bring unity among His people.

All agree that there is serious need for revival and reformation in God’s Remnant Church, but the methods used by Hope International and associates have produced dissonance instead of reform. When assessed by their fruits, it is seen that the movement of reform promoted by Hope International and associates has failed to bring about either reformation or increased unity. The Church is not perfect, but there is wisdom in listening to its advice. We appeal, in Christian love, for a turn of heart and purpose that will bring Hope International and associates into full unity with the body of Christ, the Remnant Church.

If Hope International and associates cannot bring themselves into harmony with the body of the world Church, clearly evidenced within twelve months, the Seventh-day Adventist Church may need to consider whether there exists a “persistent refusal to recognize properly constituted church authority or to submit to the order and discipline of the church” (Church Manual, p 169).

Appendix B


A letter from Ron Spear to the chairman of the General Conference
ADCOM special committee, following the meeting of April 5–6, 2000.

April 17, 2000

Elder Calvin Rock, Chairman

Elder Athol Tolhurst, Secretary

Elder George Reid

Elder Neal Wilson

General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

12501 Old Columbia Pike

Silver Spring, MD  20904

Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for meeting with us last week. I especially want to express my appreciation to Elder Calvin Rock for his kind and patient handling of what might have been a very difficult meeting. I believe that our recent appearance at the trial in Miami, Florida, put us all in a very difficult position at the beginning. When the document that had been prepared by the scholars of the committee came before us on Thursday morning, my heart was grieved as it gave an almost totally distorted representation of our ministries! Someone who was present, told me during a break that this seemed to him to be a preface to disfellowshiping and defrocking. However, some of the committee members told us that this was not the intent of the document. Praise God! We are thankful that our meeting became more harmonious in the afternoon, again I say gratefully, due to the patience of our Chairman, Elder Rock.

We have a concern that some have viewed our presence at the proceedings in Miami as a desire on our part to be contentious. That certainly is not the case. Our conscience forced us to be at the trial; not for Raphael only, but because of what we understand to be the truth about freedom and liberty as found in the U.S. Constitution, in the Scriptures, and in the Spirit of Prophecy. Our church has taken a strong position on the upholding of religious liberty from the beginning. We truly believe that God stands on our side in our decision. We sincerely believe that the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy support our decision to testify since we were under subpoena to appear. Sadly, it is our firm belief that if the church should win in this trial, it will not be very long before other self-supporting ministries will face the same crisis—they will find themselves in court at the behest of the church as well.

In reading 1 Corinthians 6:6–8 and Selected Messages, book 3, 299–305, it seems to us that the only way the General Conference could possibly justify what they have done is to believe that God has given them authority above the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy. When I was there I asked this question three times, but I received no answer. It was evident that the position being taken was that because Raphael had been disfellowshiped (even though inappropriately according to the standard of Scripture), he could be treated like an unbeliever—a heathen—and thereby you have tried to justify the committee’s action. On this position my question is, Where do you find in the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy that you have the authority—the right—to do this to anyone who is obedient to our message—to the gospel—in the church or out of the church?

“All ye are brethren.” Matthew 23:8. When anyone lives the three angel’s messages, and justification and sanctification, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and preaches it with power, and is obedient to all known truth, and has been disfellowshiped inappropriately for standing for the truth given to the Seventh-day Adventist people for this final generation, he or she is in the sight of God a real Seventh-day Adventist. His or her name is recorded in the book of Life and it is retained there as long as he or she is faithful and obedient. In the sight of God he or she is to be considered our brother or sister. Therefore, taking such a one to court will jeopardize the standing of his or her accuser with God in the judgment. Those who venture to act in this manner are considered by God as unbelievers. See Selected Messages, book 3, 299-305.

Raphael has been preaching this message with dedication and vigor on five radio stations. I have spoken on those stations with him. When his one-page ad—which was condensed from our tabloid, Earth’s Final Warning, which we have distributed by the millions in twelve different languages around the world—came out in U.S.A. Today, one of the biggest, most well known commentators on television called him and told him that it was his belief that the pope was attempting to take over America, adding, “We must stop him.” He has arranged for the one-page ad to appear in ten of the largest newspapers in America. However, this commentator is not supporting Raphael financially because his foundation will not allow him to donate to any religious group.

As a result of the distribution of our tabloid, Earth’s Final Warning, and his one-page ad, there has been an overwhelming mail response—by the thousands! Most of it is very positive. We have heard from a Catholic priest. Even a retired CIA person commented in a letter that he had never known what the Catholic Church’s (Papacy’s) true position would be in the final events of this world’s history. He said, “But your one-page ad revealed the answer.”

When we were there with you our group had a meeting after the main meeting was dismissed. We concluded that we are ready to use “there is apostasy in the church,” instead of saying that “the church is in apostasy.” However this is our problem: Since we have not seen at any level—the General Conference, or the Division, or the Union, or the local Conference—any attempt to deal with the apostasy in the church, we believe that the Scriptures give to the faithful a commission to deal with it. A few years ago we met for two days with Jack Sequeira at Loma Linda to discuss this matter. Also, we have published three books to show that his error is the same as Desmond Ford’s. Yet he still travels freely preaching his erroneous doctrines, which destroy the sanctuary and the three angels’ messages! Folkenberg was his protector as long as he was able to do so, but now Sequeira must be dealt with. Also, possibly many of our pastors are in a similar degree deluded on the subjects of the final atonement, the 2300 days, the sanctuary message and Ellen White as an end-time messenger of God. Brethren, when will we see some responsible action taken with regard to these situations?

The tithe issue is possibly one of the biggest perceived problems you have with our ministries, but the real issue is with the tithe that comes into the organization being used to pay many pastors, thus supporting their teachings which are evangelical—not Adventist—according to the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy. The logic would then be that the authority of the church has the license to use tithe to support these apostates, while at the same time no ministry outside of the Conference’s paycheck can use tithe to pay for preaching God’s true message. Brethren, this cannot be! The Saviour said, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3–5. The tithe we receive is infinitesimal compared to the tithe received by the church. Most of those who send tithe to us would not pay it to the Conference anyway because of the situation of apostasy in the church. You can be sure that we use it according to how God through the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy has directed. Were it not for the call of God on our lives to “cry aloud; spare not” and bring the attention of His people to the use of the tithe by the church to support these apostate pastors and their erroneous teachings and other matters, which I will address shortly, that they not be deceived, and were the church dealing with the apostasy within the organization, we would not be receiving the tithe separate from the organized church at all.

There is the matter of Spectrum magazine—which is a tool inspired of Satan. It was brought into existence during Desmond Ford’s era to support the New Theology. Its contents are constantly attempting to destroy the church’s right to be the remnant church. It attacks our sanctuary message, the three angels’ messages and God’s messenger Ellen White. Many of our pastors support this vehicle of satanic information, which will surely destroy many Seventh-day Adventists if they accept the New Theology. Adventism Today is another magazine which attacks our message and Pastor ——— in the ——— Conference, who is paid out of the sacred tithe, is one of the leaders of this magazine. What a tragedy! There seems to us to be a dual standard in the church. We see no leaders disapproving these magazines which deny our messages, yet there is great animosity expressed against Our Firm Foundation, which teaches our people present truth as taught in the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy.

The North American Division is now becoming independent of the General Conference orders—voted at Utrect in 1995—against ordaining women to the ministry, yet it seems that little is being done to deal with their insubordination. The Division President of the North American Division has a working plan to establish ten new celebration churches each month—120 per year. We have been told that the music, with drums, and so forth, will appear in some of the churches just before probation closes. See Selected Messages, book 2, 35–36. Insubordination to God’s orders and plans for His remnant church has prepared the way for the Omega of Apostasy. See Selected Messages, book 1, 193–205. This apostasy was prophesied to come at the end-time.

In our discussion of apostasy in the church we need to address a very important point—Who is responsible for the present apostasy in the church and when do we cross the line? The Jews did it by crucifying Christ. Could it be that continual disobedience to God’s plans and orders for His remnant church will place the structured Seventh-day Adventist church one day in a similar condition? Will we have to hear as did the Jews of Jesus’ day that woeful message, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate”? Matthew 23:38.

We are now facing the very end. The greatest evidence may be in the church itself. [See Testimonies, vol. 5, 77; vol. 8, 22–23; Evangelism, 696.]. . .

It is our sincere prayer, brethren, that the document presented on Thursday morning of our meeting will be corrected to portray our ministries in the true light—which is that we believe and know that God has directed us. We know that He placed a call on our lives and as long as He continues to lead we must follow Him. We know that we are frail human beings, and that we have made mistakes, however, we are eager to confess those mistakes and make them right.

I am getting old, and I see that my step is getting slower. The constant travel and writing is wearing on me. However, my great desire is to see my beloved church, that God called me into the ministry of, reformed to fulfill the great commission of the true gospel which was given to us by Ellen White and our pioneers through the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy. As long as we have health and strength to go and preach and write, we will continue to remind our people, pastors and leaders that there is apostasy in the church, that time is very short and that our Lord Jesus Christ will be appearing very soon to take His faithful, obedient, waiting children home for an eternity of heavenly joy and peace.

We pray that we will see at the coming General Conference session that the Nominating Committee will select leaders who will deal with the apostasy in the church. The latter rain will soon be here! The shaking will continue until God has leaders, pastors and laity who can be trusted with the second Pentecost and the latter rain. May each of us be found among those who are found worthy!


Ron Spear, Executive Editor
Our Firm Foundation

Hope International

Throughout this publication, all emphasis is supplied unless otherwise noted.

Copyright  (c) 2000

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