The sinner who accepts salvation through faith in Christ enters into a new relationship. As many as received Him, to them gave He power [right, or, privilege, margin] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. John 1:12. By nature an alien enemy, the sinner becomes through Christ, a son. This is a marvelous change of relationship.
With this new relationship there must be assumed new responsibilities. The apostle Peter declares: As every man hath received the gift [of salvation], even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10. It therefore becomes the imperative duty of those saved by the grace of God to work for the enlightenment and salvation of others. The apostle Paul presents the matter thus:
By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:8-10.
The sinner who has been saved by grace is God's workmanship. He is a new piece of humanitya new creation. He is created in Christ Jesus. The apostle proceeds to point out the new responsibilities that accompany this new relationship. Created, he declares, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Though no works of man can save him, yet it is true that God requires of those whom He has saved a wholehearted co-operation with Him in working for all who are still unsaved. This is all summed up in Christ's great commission to His church: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15.
This command calls for a vast enterprise by the churchaggressive evangelism in home and foreign lands; shepherding
the converts; organizing the believers for efficient service, and educating them in all lines of Christian endeavor; building up the churches in righteousness, in preparation to meet the Saviour when He returns for His people; engaging in medical ministry in all its phases for the sick and suffering; printing and circulating gospel literature in hundreds of languages throughout the world; and all other kinds of service that will aid in the prosecution and finishing of the work committed to the church.
In view of this purpose of God, so clearly revealed in the Scriptures and so heartily accepted and earnestly enjoined by prophets and apostles, we should surely look for anyone divinely endowed with the prophetic gift to be very active and urgent in all lines of legitimate service that could in any way advance the work of God in the earth.
Not alone must he be correct in theoretical teachings, important as this is, but he must himself exemplify his teachings and lead others in practical and efficient soul-saving efforts. We have tested the writings of Ellen G. White, and found them in agreement with the great gospel principles. It remains to consider now what has been their fruitage in guiding the church in the great task committed to her by her divine Lord.
Not only was Mrs. White herself an indefatigable worker for souls during her whole life, but her writings abound with urgent exhortations to the churches, summoning them to universal action in behalf of every unsaved soul. In this matter she fully meets the requirements of one under the guidance of the prophetic gift. It is due those who read this volume to have more evidence regarding this important test, however, than a mere assertion to that effect. We shall, therefore, reproduce a few of the hundreds of doctrinal statements, urgent exhortations, and stirring appeals found in her writings.
We should first consider her attitude toward the church of Christ which He ordained to be His channel for the proclamation of His gospel to the world until His return. Let it be understood
that Mrs. White did not establish a church of her own. From the first manifestation of the prophetic gift through her in 1844 until her death, she clearly recognized the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim. 3:15. There is not a line in all her writings giving the slightest intimation that she was the head of any church. She repudiated the statements and charges of this sort made by others. She stands in the line of prophets and apostles. Not one of them claimed the headship of the people of God. All recognized Christ as the sovereign Head. With them it was always the church built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Eph. 2:20. The following are some of the beautiful tributes Mrs. White pays to this divine institution:
The church is the property of God, and God constantly remembers her as she stands in the world, subject to the temptations of Satan . Although Jesus Christ has passed into the heavens, there is still a living chain binding His believing ones to His own heart of infinite love. The most lowly and weak are bound by a chain of sympathy closely to His heart. He never forgets that He is our representative, and He bears our nature.Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 19.
The church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard. While He extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church . Consider, my brethren and sisters, that the Lord has a people, a chosen people, His church, to be His own, His own fortress, which He holds in a sin-stricken, revolted world; and He intended that no authority should be known in it, no laws be acknowledged by it, but His own.Id., pp. 15, 16.
The church of Christ is God's agency for the proclamation of truth; she is empowered by Him to do a special work; and if she is loyal to God, obedient to His commandments, there will dwell within her the excellence of divine power.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. VIII, p. 11.
Evangelism, the telling of the good news of the gospel, is one of the great themes of the Bible. Noah the ancient was a preacher of righteousness. 2 Peter 2:5. To Abraham, the
friend of God, the Lord said: I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. Gen. 12:2. The prophet Isaiah cries out: Arise, shine [give light]; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee . And the Gentiles [the unsaved] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Isa. 60:1-3. Of his personal experience, the apostle Paul says: It pleased God, who called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen. Gal. 1:15, 16. Facing this great responsibility, he cries out: Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1 Cor. 9:16.
Mrs. White was a conspicuous messenger in this glorious procession of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, who, under the guidance of the prophetic gift, placed great emphasis upon world-wide evangelism. As typical of much more in her writings, she says:
The world is in need of the saving truth that God has entrusted to His people. The world will perish unless it be given a knowledge of God through His chosen agencies. In the power of the Holy Spirit, those who are laborers together with God are to labor with unflagging zeal, and shed abroad in the world the light of precious truth.Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 459.
Those in the highways and byways of life are to hear the gospel message. Church members are to do evangelistic work in the homes of their neighbors who have not yet received full evidence of the truth for this time. God calls for Christian families to go into communities that are in darkness and error, and work wisely and perseveringly for the Master. To answer this call requires self-sacrifice.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. IX, p. 33.
The messages calling for a broad evangelism look beyond what is commonly called the homeland. They embrace all countries; hence they urge a world-wide missionary program.
As He was about to leave this ruined world, the Saviour gave to His disciples a great commission. He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:15. The history of these disciples and their followers for a hundred years bears eloquent testimony to their faithfulness in endeavoring to meet their Lord's deep solicitude for the world. Writing to the Colossians, the apostle Paul declared that the hope of the gospel had even then been preached in all creation under heaven. Col. 1:23, A. R. V.
Universal evangelism is still God's program. Mrs. White's appeal is in full accord with this divine plan, as the following from her pen will testify:
God's people have a mighty work before them, a work that must continually rise to greater prominence. Our efforts in missionary lines must become far more extensive . A more decided work than has been done must be done prior to the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God's people are not to cease their labors until they shall encircle the world.
The vineyard includes the whole world, and every part of it is to be worked. There are places which are now a moral wilderness, and these are to become as the garden of the Lord. The waste places of the earth are to be cultivated, that they may bud and blossom as the rose. New territories are to be worked by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. New churches must be established, new congregations organized.Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 220.
The whole world is a vast missionary field, and we who have long known the gospel message should be encouraged by the thought that fields which were once difficult of access are now easily entered.Gospel Workers, p. 27.
Our watchword is to be, Onward, ever onward! Angels of heaven will go before us to prepare the way. Our burden for the regions beyond can never be laid down till the whole earth is lightened with the glory of the Lord.Id., p. 470.
This consistent, urgent teaching has exerted great influence in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with which Mrs. White was affiliated. The annual report of the church for the year 1934 gives the total number of persons devoting their entire time to the various activities of the church as 23,753. Of this number
11,642 are evangelists. The other 12,111 are engaged in carrying forward various lines of institutional work. These workers are located in every part of the world. Only 2,816 of the evangelists are in North America, while over 8,826 are at work in other landsAfrica, India, China, Russia, Persia, Turkey, South America, Japan, the islands of the seas, and all parts of Europe.
It is a trite saying that God is a God of order. But abundant evidence of this appears in all His created works. To His church He says: Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Cor. 14:40. Writing to the Colossian church, the apostle Paul says: Though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith. Col. 2:5. In the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) we behold the most perfect order and organization established by Moses under the direct leading of the prophetic gift. Thus we find that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Cor. 14:33.
Organization is designed to prevent disorder and confusion. It stands for systematic, harmonious action. It strengthens for advance, and also for defense. In a world-wide movement, such as the great threefold message of Revelation 14:6-14 foreshadows, the most thorough organization is imperative. In view of these considerations, it will be interesting to note a few passages from Mrs. White's writings regarding organization in the church.
There is order in heaven, and God is well pleased with the efforts of His people in trying to move with system and order in His work on earth. I saw that there should be order in the church of God, and that system is needed in carrying forward successfully the last great message of mercy to the world.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. I, p. 191.
It is nearly forty years since organization was introduced among us as a people. I was one of the number who had an experience in establishing it from the first. I know the difficulties that had to be met, the evils which it was designed to correct, and I have watched its influence in
connection with the growth of the cause. At an early stage in the work, God gave us special light upon this point, and this light, together with the lessons that experience has taught us, should be carefully considered.Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 192, first written Dec. 19, 1892.
As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization there would be great confusion, and the work would not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable.Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 26.
O how Satan would rejoice if he could succeed in his efforts to get in among this people, and disorganize the work at a time when thorough organization is essential, and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings, and to refute claims not endorsed by the word of God! We want to hold the lines evenly, that there shall be no breaking down of the system of organization and order that has been built up by wise, careful labor.Gospel Workers, p. 487.
The response of the believers to this counsel has developed a remarkable denominational organization. It is broad, practical, and efficient. It is based on the plan of organization established by Moses for Israel, and also on that of the New Testament church as it was developed by Christ and the apostles.
The plan covers all phases of denominational activities throughout the world. Its units are the local church, the local conference, the union conference, the divisional conference, and the general, or world, conference. All these units are bound together by constitutional arrangements for united, harmonious, efficient action in every part of the world.
In this world organization there are today 12 divisions, 70 union conferences, and 144 local conferences. Associated and interlocked with them in 1934 were 318 mission organizations, making a total of five hundred forty-four. In these units there were 7,818 churches, with a membership of 404,509.
Writing to the young preacher Timothy, the apostle Paul said: Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15. Again: Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine . Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting [growing proficiency, Weymouth] may appear to all. 1 Tim. 4: 13-15. To all the Lord says: Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Prov. 23:12.
To those who follow this counsel the Lord declares: Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times. Isa. 33:6. Of those who fail in this it is said: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6.
The Scriptures abound with instruction regarding the right, thorough culture of the intellect as well as of the heart.
In view of Mrs. White's claims as to the source of her counsel, we have a right to insist that she should clearly and strongly stress the value and the character of Christian education. Nor are we disappointed. Hundreds of pages from her pen have been written, including three leading books on this subject, Education, Counsels to Teachers, and Fundamentals of Christian Education. We can give but a glimpse of her many utterances regarding the scope of true education.
Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world, and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.Education, p. 13.
Moral, intellectual, and physical culture should be combined in order to have well-developed, well-balanced men and women. Some are qualified to exercise greater intellectual strength than others, while
others are inclined to love and enjoy physical labor. Both of these classes should seek to improve where they are deficient.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. III, p. 157.
In our schools the standard of education must not be lowered. It must be lifted higher and still higher, far above where it now stands; but the education given must not be confined to a knowledge of textbooks merely. The study of textbooks alone cannot afford students the discipline they need, nor can it impart true wisdom. The object of our schools is to provide places where the younger members of the Lord's family may be trained according to His plan of growth and development.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. VI, pp. 126, 127.
Impressed with the sacred responsibility of giving the children, youth, and young men and women a Christian education, the denomination has developed a complete and efficient system of schools. Beginning with the elementary school, the student may advance through the academy, the junior college, and the senior college. From the senior college he may receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The report for 1934 gives the number of elementary schools conducted by Seventh-day Adventists as 2,130, with 2,896 teachers, and an enrollment of 72,625. There were 214 colleges and academies, with 2,459 teachers, and an enrollment of 25,117. At the present time nearly all who enter the denominational work come from these schools.
The prophets and apostles who wrote the Bible said much about publishing the gospel by both voice and pen. They preached, they wrote messages, they produced and circulated books. Moses was commanded: Write thou these words. Ex. 34:27. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. Jer. 30:1, 2. It was by the study of the writings of Jeremiah that a prophet said: I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
was the company [army, margin] of those that published it. Ps. 68:11. Through the labors of the apostles, The word of the Lord was published throughout all the region of Antioch and Syria. Acts 13:49.
By every possible legitimate means the gospel is to be proclaimed by voice, written with the pen, and published by the circulation of books. The printing and circulation of literature is of great importance in this age of printing. The printing press is the greatest factor in the world today for imparting information and molding the sentiments of the people.
It is therefore altogether appropriate that Mrs. White should be led to urge the believers to put forth the most diligent efforts in the printing and circulation of literature filled with God's messages to men. Here are some of her personal experiences:
At a meeting held in Dorchester, Massachusetts, November, 1848, I had been given a view of the proclamation of the sealing message, and of the duty of the brethren to publish the light that was shining upon our pathway.
After coming out of vision, I said to my husband: I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.
While we were in Connecticut in the summer of 1849, my husband was deeply impressed that the time had come for him to write and publish the present truth. He was greatly encouraged and blessed as he decided to do this. But again he would be in doubt and perplexity, as he was penniless. There were those who had means, but they chose to keep it. He at length gave up in discouragement, and decided to look for a field of grass to mow.
As he left the house, a burden was rolled upon me, and I fainted. Prayer was offered for me, and I was blessed, and taken off in vision. I saw that the Lord had blessed and strengthened my husband to labor in the field one year before; but that the Lord would not now give him strength to labor in the field, for He had another work for him to do,
and that if he ventured into the field, he would be cut down by sickness; but that he must write, write, write, and walk out by faith. He immediately began to write, and when he came to some difficult passage, we would unite in prayer to God for an understanding of the true meaning of His word.
One day in July, my husband brought home from Middletown a thousand copies of the first number of his paper. Several times, while the matter was being set, he had walked to Middletown, eight miles, and back, but this day he had borrowed Brother Belden's horse and buggy with which to bring home the papers.
The precious printed sheets were brought into the house and laid upon the floor, and then a little group of interested ones were gathered in, and we knelt around the papers, and with humble hearts and many tears besought the Lord to let His blessing rest upon these printed messengers of truth.
When we had folded the papers, and my husband had wrapped and addressed copies to all those who he thought would read them, he put them into a carpetbag, and carried them on foot to the Middletown post office.Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 128-130.
The publication of truth is God's ordained plan, as a means of warning, comforting, reproving, exhorting, or convicting all to whose notice the silent, voiceless messengers may be brought. Angels of God have a part to act in preparing hearts to be sanctified by the truths published, that they may be prepared for the solemn scenes before them.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. I, p. 590.
Our publishing work was established by the direction of God and under His special supervision. It was designed to accomplish a specific purpose.Id., Vol. VII, p. 138.
Our publishing houses are God's appointed centers, and through them is to be accomplished a work the magnitude of which is yet unrealized. There are lines of effort and influence as yet by them almost untouched, in which God is calling for their co-operation. As the message of truth advances into new fields, it is God's purpose that the work of establishing new centers shall be constantly going forward.Id., p. 144.
Our publications have a most sacred work to do in making clear, simple, and plain the spiritual basis of our faith . At this time God's message to the world is to be given with such prominence and power that the people will be brought face to face, mind to mind, heart to heart,
with truth. They must be brought to see its superiority over the multitudinous errors that are pushing their way into notice, to supplant, if possible, the word of God for this solemn time.
The great object of our publications is to exalt God, to call men's attention to the living truths of His word. God calls upon us to lift up, not our own standard, not the standard of this world, but His standard of truth.Id., pp. 150, 151.
From the very small beginning set on foot by James and Ellen White as related above, the publishing work of the denomination has developed into very great proportions. In 1934 there were 69 printing plants in operation in different parts of the world. From these, literature was being sent forth in 169 languages. A total of 1,090 persons were employed in these plants, and 3,264 field workers were devoting their lives to the sale of this religious literature. For years the annual sales of the literature printed in these institutions have exceeded four millions of dollars in value.
The apostles and prophets were earnest, consistent advocates of the principles that govern the health of body and mind.
Moses gave to Israel detailed instruction regarding temperance, sanitation, diet, cleanliness, quarantine for infectious diseases, and other factors that affect the health.
Christ Jesus in His perfect ministry for mankind, sought to restore physical health as well as new spiritual life:
Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. Matt. 4:23.
The same twofold ministry is set forth in His instruction to His disciples before sending them out to evangelize the people:
As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers. Matt. 10:7, 8.
The New Testament writers place a strong emphasis upon the place of temperance and physical self-control in the attainment of a Christian life. Paul reasoned with the people regarding the
importance of temperate living. (See Acts 24:25.) He declared that every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. 1 Cor. 9:25. Of his own battle for personal righteousness, he said: I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection. Verse 27. Peter admonishes believers to add virtue to faith, knowledge to virtue, and temperance to knowledge. 2 Peter 1:5, 6.
In this very important phase of life Mrs. White was one with the prophets and apostles of olden times. During her long life she earnestly advocated by voice and pen the broadest principles of right living. She wrote volumes regarding temperance, the care of the body, and the healing of the sick by the use of nature's remedies. From her pen there came to the church and the world three fine volumes, entitled The Ministry of Healing, Medical Ministry, and Counsels on Health. In these books she gives most valuable instruction regarding three important subjects,true temperance, the preservation of health, and nature's remedies for the healing of disease. A few brief passages will give some idea of the great value of this instruction:
The law of temperance must control the life of every Christian.Counsels on Health, p. 42.
True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful, and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 562.
Sixty-five years or more ago, the evils of poisonous drug medication, as widely practiced by the physicians of those times, were divinely revealed to Mrs. White. The instruction which she imparted regarding proper remedies for the sick began to be given before the soundness of the principles she set forth was as generally recognized as at this day. In 1882 she wrote:
There are many ways of practicing the healing art; but there is only one way that Heaven approves. God's remedies are the simple agencies of nature, that will not tax or debilitate the system through their powerful properties. Pure air and water, cleanliness, a proper diet, purity of life, and a firm trust in God, are remedies for the want of which thousands are dying . Fresh air, exercise, pure water, and clean sweet premises, are within the reach of all with but little expense; but drugs are expensive, both in the outlay of means, and the effect produced upon the system.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. V, p. 443.
In addition to messages for the individual, Mrs. White was given revelations regarding the establishment and conduct of medical institutions for the sick and suffering, and for the training of medical workers. Concerning this she wrote in 1865:
I saw that the health reform was a great enterprise, closely connected with the present truth, and that Seventh-day Adventists should have a home for the sick, where they could be treated for their diseases, and also learn how to take care of themselves so as to prevent sickness. I have publicly appealed to our brethren in behalf of an institution to be established among us . Our people should furnish means to meet the wants of a growing Health Institute among us . There should be connected with the Institute ample grounds, beautified with flowers, and planted with vegetables and fruits. Here the feeble could find work, appropriate to their sex and condition, at suitable hours.Testimonies for the Church, Vol. I, pp. 553, 559-562.
These messages regarding temperance, the preservation of health, the healing of disease, and the erection and operation of a health institution made a profound impression upon the believers. They were thoroughly awakened to the importance of the great subject, and their response was remarkable. With great devotion they have thrown their activities into every phase of the health and temperance cause.
Since the establishment of the first Health Institute in Battle Creek, in 1866, a total of 69 sanitariums have been erected and are being operated in all parts of the world. Besides this, there are 62 hospitals, clinics, and dispensaries, where the sick and
suffering are freely received and treated. Connected with these institutions are 903 recognized, able physicians, 4,163 nurses, dietitians, and other employees required to carry on the work. In 1934, nearly nine million dollars had been invested in the land, buildings, and equipment of this extended system of medical ministry. To the first health journal, started in 1866, many others have been added in different parts of the world and in different languages. Medical and temperance literature, from books containing a thousand pages to leaflets of but four pages, has been issued by multiplied millions of pages. Health-food factories, and stores have likewise been established with an investment of more than two million dollars. The establishment and operation of a medical college for the training of physicians will be told at length in a later chapter.
Thus in recognizing an organized, orderly church as Christ's
body on earth, and in arousing that church to world-wide missionary activity,
and in setting in operation efficient methods of labor, Mrs. White has made a
record in harmony with the prophets of God whose lives are recorded and whose
works are preserved in the Scriptures for our guidance.