My Salvation and the Writings of Ellen G. White
What Doth the Lord Require?
The Conclusion From Her Own Statement
Righteousness by Faiththe Latter Rain and the Loud Cry
The Attitude of the Brethren Toward the Writings of Ellen G. White
My Attitude Toward the Life and Work of Ellen G. White
I wish to give you my own conception of the writings of Ellen G. White, and the philosophy that comes out of the writings as I see it today. Perhaps if I quote several texts of Scripture I can best explain my own personal reactions to the great mass of instruction. The first text is Daniel 7: 18, which says:
But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Now as I have read the Conflict of the Ages Series, and many of the other volumes, I have come to the conclusion that what Mrs. White wants me to do, above everything else, is to be one of the saints of the Most High. That seems to be her primary objective. Her appeal to me is to be among those who will stand before the throne of God, to be among the overcomers who will develop a character worthy of a place in God's kingdom.
I put with that the twenty-second verse of the same chapter:
Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
The twenty-seventh verse says:
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Four times in this chapter we have mention of the everlasting kingdom and the kind of people to whom the kingdom will be given. The fourteenth verse:
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Reading through the Bible and the many volumes and articles prepared by Ellen G. White, I find there stands out in all of them the thought of the everlasting kingdom. This seems to be held before God's people here in this world as the great objective, and in the seventh chapter of Daniel four times the thought is mentioned that this kingdom is to be given to the saints. Three times out of the four it is preceded by the thought of a judgment that must come before the second coming of Christ and the establishment of the
kingdom. Therefore, God has set up a judgment by which He will determine who is ready to enter into His kingdom, and who shall be called the saints of the most High.
This sets before me personally my great objective, namely, the everlasting kingdom. It gives me the basis of judgment, the standard by which God will determine whether or not I am qualified to enter into that kingdom and spend eternity with Him. Put with it now the sixth chapter of Matthew, the thirty-third verse:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
There is nothing more important to me as a Christian than the kingdom of God and the preparation necessary that I might be called one of the saints of God. It is first and primary in my life. Therefore, I allow the thought of the kingdom to take possession of memy mind, my heart, my body. Everything is wrapped up in that one purposeto be ready for the kingdom.
Now I put with that 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
This text gives us a list of the people who will not be found in God's kingdom. And such were some of
us until we were washed, until we were sanctified or made whole, until we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. It is this experience that every one of us must enjoy before we shall be qualified for a place in God's kingdom.
He tells us again the kind of people who will not be there, and I suppose it must be important, for several times in the New Testament we have this list enumerated in order that we make no mistake. Here is Galatians 5:19-21:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Bible sets before us the kind of men and women whom God does not want in His kingdom. It likewise sets before us the kind of men and women whom God does want in His kingdom:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (verses 22-24).
So if you and I would cultivate these virtues, these characteristics, found in the kind of people that God wants in His kingdom, we must do it by crucifying the lusts of the flesh.
Something will have to come into our lives that will help us to appreciate the fact that the kingdom of God is all-important; then everything else will fade into insignificance. Nothing will I allow to stand between me and His kingdom. I must reach that place in my thinking in order that I may appreciate the writings of the Spirit of prophecy. They are designed to help me put the kingdom of God first, and to put out of my life all these other things that are not tolerated in His kingdom.
With that thought in mind I should like you to read one more passage, 2 Peter 3, beginning with the tenth verse:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
My dear friends, when I completed my intensive study of this subject, the Spirit of prophecy, I stopped on that verse. It seems to me that if I can understand
the meaning of that verse in relationship to all the Ellen G. White writings, there is nothing that I will hold back from God when He makes clear to me just what He expects of me in order that I may have a part in His kingdom. That becomes my duty and my pleasure.
This was the verse that appeared in the Washington Post at the time of the explosion of the first atom bomb, when a whole city was wiped out of existence, when buildings and material things seemed to disappear into nothingness. The artist who draws the cartoons for the Post drew a picture of the earth going into pieces, and in the background he wrote the words of this text, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. It was a very impressive cartoon to appear on the front page of the Washington Post, and be placed in thousands and thousands of homes. It gave Seventh-day Adventist ministers a text for the sermon to be preached on the Sabbath following that terrible experience.
Recently I have had placed in my hand several confidential business service letters. They deal with the question of the atomic bomb and atomic power. Two paragraphs are sufficient to give me a reason for thinking more seriously about the kind of person I am today, and the kind of person I ought to be in order that I may have a place in God's kingdom. President Eisenhower
has voiced his fears and apprehensions for this old world of ours. His special message before the United Nations made it clear that there is only one alternative to peace, and that is man-made self-annihilation.
I want to emphasize what you already know: The people of the world today are greatly concerned over the atom. The future may be a golden age for the men who know how to control themselves, but you and I know that it is not to be golden until after there has been black and bleak destruction. When we think of these things, and try to keep them in mind, then we begin to understand the meaning and the significance of the writings of Ellen G. White. For they are designed to help us know where we are today in this world's history, and the kind of men we ought to be in the light of the fact that we are living in the very last days. It is God who sends the messages to mold and fashion, to hew and shape us after the divine similitude and according to the heavenly pattern and standard. That, my friends, is what I should like to emphasize.
May I bring to you a few more of the interesting things contained in the writings? Since I have carefully and thoughtfully made my decision that nothing shall stand between me and God and His kingdom, far be it from me to allow tea or coffee or any article of diet to keep me out of the kingdom of heaven. That is what the writings of the servant of the Lord have come to mean to me.
When some of our people get all fussed up and terribly exercised about what they should eat and what they should not eat, I am constrained to think that they are still fighting a battle within, that they have not yet fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus, and that they have their eyes fixed on the wrong thing. If we understand the kingdom of heaven, if we understand the times in which we are living, if we understand the nearness of the end of time, if we understand what kind of men and women God wants in His kingdom, there is nothing that we will not sacrifice or give up in order that we may be that kind of men and women.
Our study has brought us a long way from the point of departure, and yet there is a very close connection so far as you and I are concerned personally. My belief in the three great facts of faith upon which Christianity is based leads me to the one and only possible conclusion, namely, that God has spoken to man through His Wordthe Scripturesand has used holy men and women of God as His spokesmen in Old and in New Testament times, and also in our own time.
The evidence thus far presented proves that Ellen G. White was chosen by God as His messenger in the remnant church. Now the question before us is simply this: How is my salvation, how is your salvation, related to the writings of Ellen G. White?
By salvation I mean the plan by which a sinner can be saved out of this world of sin and given an entrance into God's everlasting kingdom as a saint. The question, then, is, What must I be or do in order to qualify for such a transfer? What are God's requirements for an entrance into His kingdom? What bearing have the writings of Ellen G. White on our fitness for a place among the saints of all ages to whom the everlasting kingdom shall be given?
Ellen G. White is very consistent in her answer to these questions, and she has not left us in doubt in the matter. A few paragraphs from her pen are typical of what we find in all her writings:
All who would enter the city of God must during their earthly life set forth Christ in their dealings. It is this that constitutes them the messengers of Christ, His witnesses.Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 23.
Who are the subjects of the kingdom of God?All those who do His will. They have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The members of Christ's kingdom are the sons of God, partners in His great firm. The elect of God are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a holy nation, to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. They are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. They are living stones, a royal priesthood. They are in copartnership with Jesus Christ. These are they that follow the Lamb whither-soever He goeth.Testimonies to Ministers, p. 422.
The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,just what it was in Paradise before the fall of
our first parents,perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled . We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us.Steps to Christ (Army and Navy ed.), p. 62.
The law requires righteousness,a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God's holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ. God can be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Rom. 3:26.The Desire of Ages (1940), p. 762.
This robe [of Christ's righteousness], woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us . When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness .
Righteousness is right doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged. Our characters are revealed by what we do. The works show whether the faith is genuine.Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 311, 312.
The Lord's philosophy is the rule of the Christian's life. The entire being should be imbued with the life-giving principles of heaven. The busy nothings which consume the time of so many shrink into their proper position before a healthy, sanctifying, Bible piety.
The Bible, and the Bible alone, can produce this good result . The whole Bible is a revelation of the glory of God in Christ. Received, believed, obeyed, it is the great instrumentality in the transformation of character. And it is the only sure means of intellectual culture .
The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character . If studied and obeyed, the Word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute . The truths of the Word of God meet man's great practical necessitythe conversion of the soul through faith.Signs of the Times, Oct. 10, 1906, p. 3.
The conclusion is as simple as it is certain. Ellen G. White turns the sinner's attention to the Bible and to Christ as man's only hope for salvation. Every page of her writings uplifts Jesus, upholds Christ as man's only Saviour, points unerringly to the Son of God as the one who takes away the sins of the penitent sinner. Steps to Christ, The Ministry of Healing, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, Christ's Object Lessons, and The Desire of Ages all set forth the doctrine of righteousness by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What are we to do, they asked, to carry out what God requires? (John 6:28, Weymouth). It was Jesus Himself who gave the answer, This
is above all what God requiresthat you should be believers in Him whom He has sent (verse 29).
Paul and Silas came forth with a similar answer to the earnest appeal of the keeper of the prison, O sirs, what must I do to be saved? They did not hesitate or falter for a moment, but knew the answer, and so must you and I as Christ's ministers today. They declared, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and both you and your household will be saved (Acts 16:30, 31, Weymouth).
As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).
The whole story of God's requirements for our salvation is told in one verseJohn 3:16; in one chapterEphesians 2; in one bookthe Bible, the greater light; and in one librarythe lesser light, the forty-five bound volumes and several thousand Ellen G. White articles that have appeared in our church papers over the past one hundred years.
The revelation of God's love to men centers in the cross. Its full significance tongue cannot utter; pen cannot portray; the mind of man cannot comprehend. Looking upon the cross of Calvary we can only say: God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
Christ crucified for our sins, Christ risen from the dead, Christ ascended on high, is the science of salvation
that we are to learn and to teach.Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 287. (Italics supplied.)
My faith in Christ as my personal Saviour causes me to make a full and complete surrender to Him:
He asks for a whole heart; give it to Him; it is His, both by creation and by redemption. He asks for your intellect; give it to Him; it is His. He asks for your money; give it to Him; it is His. Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price. God requires the homage of a sanctified soul, which has prepared itself, by the exercise of the faith that works by love, to serve Him. He holds up before us the highest ideal, even perfection. He asks us to be absolutely and completely for Him in this world as He is for us in the presence of God.The Acts of the Apostles, p. 566.
Now what is the purpose of the Bible? Christ and the cross are at the center of the Bible, and rise up, as it were, out of the Book as the focal point of interest for me; but God gave the Book, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, as the story of redemption, the standard of His everlasting kingdom, a guidebook from earth to heaven, a complete pattern for Christian living. (See 2 Tim. 3:15-17.)
We must keep in mind that a man is not saved by merely assenting to the doctrines of the Bible, but by his faith in the Lord Jesus. The doctrines, the reproofs, the instruction are given as the detailed specifications for building a perfect Christian character, for the making of an intelligent Christian. This is what Peter means by growing in grace as set forth in 2 Peter 1:5-11. We
begin with our faith in Jesus Christ, and He then comes into our hearts by faith and takes up His abode (Eph. 3:17). This abiding presence brings about a transformation of character, so that the Christian shows forth the virtues of Christ in every business transaction, in every social relation, in every phase of his daily life.
Ellen G. White describes it this way:
Every moment of our lives is intensely real, and charged with solemn responsibilities. Ignorance will be no excuse for lack of spiritual understanding and attainment; for we are exhorted to add to virtue, knowledge. Many are very ignorant of Bible truth, and they do not realize the duty and necessity of becoming intelligent Christians . The uncultured fishermen became men of refinement and ability; and the lessons that they were privileged to learn are written for our admonition and instruction. We are invited to become learners in the school of Christ. We need to acquire all the knowledge possible. We cannot afford to be ignorant of the things that pertain to our eternal welfare. If all would cease gossip and evil communication, devoting the time to contemplation of Christ and the plan of salvation, they would add the knowledge essential to a growth in grace.The Review and Herald, Feb. 21, 1888, p. 113.
Let us pause for a moment and think that through. Is it possible that we as Seventh-day Adventist preachers and teachers have been putting our emphasis in the wrong place? Have we shifted our focus from the great fundamentals to the incidentals and perhaps the nonessentials? Is my salvation still dependent on
my faith in Jesus Christ? Or is it dependent on my readiness to give mere intellectual assent to certain designated answers to specific questions regarding a Seventh-day Adventist system of theology, and to certain interpretations of prophecies that were originally designed to help me know how far along I am today in the path leading to the everlasting kingdom?
Brethren, we do well to ponder these things lest we be guilty of doing the very things Ellen G. White warns against. Listen to her words:
More people than we think are longing to find the way to Christ. Those who preach the last message of mercy should bear in mind that Christ is to be exalted as the sinner's refuge. Some ministers think that it is not necessary to preach repentance and faith; they take it for granted that their hearers are acquainted with the gospel, and that matters of a different nature must be presented in order to hold their attention. But many people are sadly ignorant in regard to the plan of salvation; they need more instruction upon this all-important subject than upon any other.
Theoretical discourses are essential, that people may see the chain of truth, link after link, uniting in a perfect whole; but no discourse should ever be preached without presenting Christ and Him crucified as the foundation of the gospel. Ministers would reach more hearts if they would dwell more upon practical godliness .
The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be
clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his powers will be broken .
The people must be instructed that Christ is unto them salvation and righteousness. It is Satan's studied purpose to keep souls from believing in Christ as their only hope.Gospel Workers, pp. 158-162. (Italics supplied.)
May I call to your attention one more challenging question? Is it possible that our failure to give due emphasis to this topic of Righteousness by Faith is delaying the outpouring of the latter rain and the loud cry?
The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people . This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus . This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 91, 92. (Italics supplied.)
No, my salvation does not depend upon the twenty-five million words written by Ellen G. White, but upon Jesus Christ, to whom they point, who only can save me from my sins and give me an entrance into
His everlasting kingdom. She sums up her whole message to me in these words:
The sum and substance of the whole matter of Christian grace and experience is contained in believing on Christ, in knowing God and his Son whom he hath sent.The Review and Herald, May 24, 1892, p. 322.
Religion means the abiding of Christ in the heart, and where he is, the soul goes on in spiritual activity, ever growing in grace, ever going on to perfection.lbid., p. 321.
A letter written by Sister White from Melbourne, December 21, 1892, was read by W. W. Prescott to the General Conference in session on Sabbath, January 28, 1893. One paragraph is pertinent to our discussion:
The whole earth is to be lightened with the glory of God's truth. The Lord will not close up the period of probation until the warning message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The trumpet must give a certain sound. The law of God is to be magnified, its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ's righteousness is to sound from one end of the world to the other. This is the glory of God which closes the work of the third angel.General Conference Bulletin, Jan. 27, 28, 1893, p. 16. (Italics supplied.)
You see, there are some portions of the world that have none of the Ellen G. White writings, other portions have only two or three small books from her pen, while other areas are blessed with all of her
writings. This fact in itself makes it improbable that God would set up the Testimonies as basically necessary and essential for man's salvation.
The same is true of the Bible and its availability to each and every language area. It is safe for us to conclude that God will judge a man and his salvation on the basis of how well he has lived up to the amount of light he has had available.
Here is one paragraph on this topic from Ellen G. White herself:
Said the angel: If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 116.
One of the finest statements by the pioneer brethren showing their attitude toward the writings of Ellen G. White came from the pen of Uriah Smith in the Review and Herald of June 12, 1866.
Further, their [the Testimonies'] fruit is such as to show that the source from which they spring, is the opposite of evil. They tend to the purest morality. They discountenance every vice, and exhort to the practice of every virtue. They point out the perils through which we are to pass to the kingdom. They reveal the devices of Satan. They warn us against his snares. They have nipped in the bud scheme after scheme of fanaticism which the enemy has tried to foist into our midst. They have exposed hidden
iniquity, brought to light concealed wrongs, and laid bare the evil motives of the false-hearted. They have warded off dangers from the cause of truth upon every hand. They have aroused and re-aroused us to greater consecration to God, more zealous efforts for holiness of heart, and greater diligence in the cause and service of our Master .
With all this array of good fruit which they are able to present, with all this innocency of any charge of evil that can be brought against them, they everywhere encounter the bitterest opposition. They are the object of the blindest prejudice, the intensest hate, and most malignant bitterness. Worldlings and formal professors of all denominations, join in one general outcry against them of vituperation and abuse. Many will go a long distance out of their way for the purpose of giving them an uncalled-for and malicious thrust. And false-hearted brethren in our own ranks make them the butt of their first attacks, as they launch off into apostasy and rebellion. Why is all this? Whence all this war against that of which no evil can be said? From the example of Cain who slew his brother, of the Jews who clamored for the blood of the innocent Saviour, of the infidel who storms with passion at the very name of Jesus, and from the principle of the carnal heart which is at enmity with everything that is holy and spiritual, we leave the reader to answer. (Italics supplied.)
In answer to Uriah Smith's question I would say that opposition or indifference to the Spirit of prophecy and spiritual gifts in general grows out of:
1. A failure to accept one or all of the three great facts of faith on which Christianity is based.
2. A failure to read enough of, or all of, the writings of Ellen G. White to thoroughly understand her
over-all and well-balanced instruction on any given topic.
3. A failure to understand the proper relation of her writings to the Scriptures, and of the whole Bible to the one and only great fundamental requirement for salvation and an entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
4. A failure to grasp the true nature of her writings with respect to inspiration and infallibility.
5. A failure to recognize the principle of time and place in connection with the counsel she has given.
6. A failure to acknowledge that the counsels given in the early days of the message are safe counsel for these its closing days.
7. A failure to recognize that while sufficient evidence is given to convince the honest in heart, the Lord does not purpose to remove the opportunity for doubt or to take away the hooks upon which doubts may be hung. The Lord requires the exercise of faith.
8. A failure to recognize that the veracity of the Spirit of prophecy counsels cannot be appraised by the changing dictums of science, or the prejudiced or molded assertions of historians.
9. An unwillingness to make a personal sacrifice of some personally cherished habit, custom, or practice that seems out of harmony with the counsel given in the pattern for Christian living as set forth in the writings of Ellen G. White. Individual opposition stems from the point where a man's darling taste, fancy, whim, habit,
or practice is touched. He gets rid of that particular item by doing away with all.
Most Adventist opposition would disappear
1. If our ministers and our laymen would stop using some pet sentences or paragraphs as a club with which to hit somebody else.
2. If each of us would take the counsel to himself instead of trying to apply it to someone else.
3. If all of us would remember 1 Corinthians 14, which tells us that prophecy and prophesying are primarily for the church members and not for nonchurch people.
4. If each of us would determine not to use or pass on unfounded rumors or sayings without proper reference in book, page, and paragraph.
5. If we would not discuss a topic or question unless and until we have fully studied all the writings on it. Partial knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge at all. I do not know is an acknowledgment that can be excused, but a half-truth or a lie is not soon forgiven or forgotten.
6. If we would recognize that one person's failure, or that of many people, to live up to or carry out the counsel given by Ellen G. White has absolutely nothing to do with the authenticity or reliability of the visions of, or the instruction from, Ellen G. White.
Perhaps one more statement, from J. N. Andrews, published in the Review and Herald, February 15, 1870, must suffice.
The object of spiritual gifts is to maintain the living work of God in the church. They enable the Spirit of God to speak in the correction of wrongs, and in the exposure of iniquity. They are the means whereby God teaches his people when they are in danger of taking wrong steps. They are the means by which the Spirit of God sheds light upon church difficulties, when otherwise their adjustment would be impossible. They also constitute the means whereby God preserves his people from confusion by pointing out errors, by correcting false interpretations of the Scriptures, and causing light to shine out upon that which is in danger of being wrongly understood, and therefore of being the cause of evil and division to the people of God. In short, their work is to unite the people of God in the same mind and in the same judgment upon the meaning of the Scriptures .
Finally, in the reception of members into our churches, we desire on this subject to know two things: 1. That they believe the Bible doctrine of spiritual gifts; 2. That they will candidly acquaint themselves with the visions of Sr. White which have ever held so prominent a place in this work. We believe that every person standing thus and carrying out this purpose will be guided in the way of truth and righteousness. And those who occupy this ground, are never denied all the time they desire to decide in this matter.
This brings us to the heart of this entire study. That which we have presented thus far is but a background for the all-important questions, What is my own personal attitude toward the life and work of Ellen G.
White? What is yours to be today and for all time to come?
Personally, many years ago I settled my attitude toward the three great facts of faith on which Christianity is built. Therefore, there is no need of proofs and evidences to convince me of the gift of prophecy manifested through men and women chosen and called by God; there is no need for any further evidence to convince me that Ellen G. White was the one chosen by God as His messenger to the remnant church. Furthermore, I believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant church, and that God's requirements for my salvation from this sinful world and for my entrance into His everlasting kingdom are still, as they always have been, perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness, neither of which I have in and of myself, but both of which are made available to me through my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Steps to Christ [pocket ed.], p. 62.)
I believe that the Bible is given to me to show me how God thinks, how God works, what God wants me to become as a candidate for citizenship in His kingdom.
I also believe that the prophecies in the Bible have made plain to me where we stand today in relation to the grand consummation of all God's plans. It seems to me that my business as a Christian is not so much how to get into heaven by and by, as it is how to get heaven into me here and now.
Our happiness comes not from what is around us, but from what is within us; not from what we have, but from what we are.The Youth's Instructor, Jan. 23, 1902.
The surrender of all our powers to God greatly simplifies the problem of life. It weakens and cuts short a thousand struggles with the passions of the natural heart. Religion is as a golden cord that binds the souls of both youth and aged to Christ. Through it the willing and obedient are brought safely through dark and intricate paths to the city of God.Ibid., Feb. 2, 1893.
The Christian's life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.The Desire of Ages (1940), p. 172.
The cleansing of the soul temple is the objective set before us:
From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple . In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul . No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple. But He will not force an entrance.Ibid., p. 161.
The indwelling of the spirit of Christ works an entire transformation:
The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice. Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words. An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering.
The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a habitual gentleness, a more than human love.
The leaven of truth works a change in the whole man, making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish generous. By it the impure are cleansed, washed in the blood of the Lamb. Through its life-giving power it brings all there is of mind and soul and strength into harmony with the divine life. Man with his human nature becomes a partaker of divinity. Christ is honored in excellence and perfection of character. As these changes are effected, angels break forth in rapturous song, and God and Christ rejoice over souls fashioned after the divine similitude.Christ's Object Lessons, p. 102.
I believe that the writings of Ellen G. White describe what God wants of me and what God will do for me through His Son Jesus Christ. They are words of beauty and of power. They present before me the pattern for the Christian life. I accept her words as she has declared them to be, words of reproof for the erring, words of encouragement to the meek and lowly,
words of counsel, instruction, correction. They are not the commandments of the Decalogue, but the wise counsel and earnest entreaties of a kind heavenly Father through His chosen messenger.
I find myself in perfect agreement with the great mass of counsel given, but like so many others I am tempted to despise and reject ONLY the testimonies which reprove my darling sins, conflict with my own preconceived ideas of theology, and disturb my self-complacency.
In these few, very few, items I am daily praying that God will help me to conform completely and perfectly to His will and standard.
I believe that I am voicing the opinion and describing the experience of Seventh-day Adventists generally in all parts of the world. Such opposition and indifference as is seen here and there is not directed against such books as the Conflict Series, Steps to Christ, Christ's Object Lessons, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, and a score of other such books, but rather to a very few paragraphs, a small percentage indeed, of the total messages given by Ellen G. White. Each one of us would do well to set down on paper a list of the things that cause us concern or that we may be inclined to ignore, and then give careful and prayerful study to each item.
It may be that your experience and mine are described in the words of these paragraphs from the Testimonies:
As the word of God is walled in with these books and pamphlets [by Ellen G. White], so has God walled you in with reproofs, counsel, warnings, and encouragements. Here you are crying before God, in the anguish of your souls, for more light. I am authorized from God to tell you that not another ray of light through the Testimonies will shine upon your pathway until you make a practical use of the light already given. The Lord has walled you about with light; but you have not appreciated the light; you have trampled upon it. While some have despised the light, others have neglected it or followed it but indifferently. A few have set their hearts to obey the light which God has been pleased to give them.Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 666.
Let ministers and people remember that gospel truth hardens when it does not save. The rejection of light leaves men captives, bound about by chains of darkness and unbelief . The more self is exalted, the more will faith in the Testimonies of the Spirit of God be lessened . Those who trust wholly in themselves will see less and less of God in the Testimonies of His Spirit.Ibid., p. 681.
Such paragraphs will cause any man down deep in his heart to desire to live a better life, to be a better man. But we must ever remember that the power to inspire is not wrapped up in the words themselves, but in the God who inspired the messenger with His thoughts and then allowed the human agent to find the human words to give expression to those inspired thoughts.
In a letter penned by Ellen G. White back in 1890 she wrote concerning the last work of Satan:
Satan is constantly pressing in the spuriousto 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. [Prov. 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.Letter 12, 1890.
If the people who now profess to be God's peculiar treasure would obey His requirements, as specified in His word, special testimonies would not be given to awaken them to their duty and impress upon them their sinfulness and their fearful danger in neglecting to obey the word of God. Consciences have been blunted because light has been set aside, neglected, and despised.Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 607.
I was shown that many had so little spirituality that they did not understand the value of the Testimonies or their real object. They talked flippantly of the Testimonies given by God for the benefit of His people, and passed judgment upon them, giving their opinion and criticizing this and that, when they would better have placed their hands upon their lips, and prostrated themselves in the dust; for they could not appreciate the spirit of the Testimonies, because they knew so little of the Spirit of God.Ibid., vol. 7, pp. 672, 673.
If you lose confidence in the testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth . As you now hold the testimonies, should one be given crossing your track, correcting your errors, would you feel at perfect liberty to accept or reject any part or the whole? That which you will be least inclined to receive is the very part most needed.Ibid., p. 98. (See also vol. 5, p. 674.)
My brethren, beware of the evil heart of unbelief. The word of God is plain and close in its restrictions; it interferes with your selfish indulgence; therefore you do
not obey it. The testimonies of His Spirit call your attention to the Scriptures, point out your defects of character, and rebuke your sins, therefore you do not heed them. And to justify your carnal, ease-loving course you begin to doubt whether the testimonies are from God. If you would obey their teachings you would be assured of their divine origin. Remember, your unbelief does not affect their truthfulness. If they are from God they will stand.Ibid., p. 234. (See also p. 674.)
I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies of warning, encouragement, and reproof is shutting away the light from God's people. Unbelief is closing their eyes so that they are ignorant of their true condition.Ibid., vol. 3, p. 255. (See also vol. 5, p. 674.)
The question to be settled with them is: Shall I deny myself and receive as of God the Testimonies which reprove my sins, or shall I reject the Testimonies because they reprove my sins?Ibid., vol. 4, p. 32. (See also vol. 5, p. 675.)
Satan has ability to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends, and many think it a virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving and to question and quibble. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief.Ibid., vol. 3, p. 255. (See also vol. 5, p. 675.)
God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith.Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 232, 233. (Also see vol. 5, pp. 675, 676.)
Many now despise the faithful reproof given of God
in testimony . But opposition to God's threatenings will not hinder their execution.Ibid., p. 180. (See also vol. 5, p. 678.)
Brethren and sisters of the Advent family, let us give most careful, thoughtful, and prayerful consideration to the topic of this study, and take our stand with the remnant church for the message given to us as a people, and for the messenger whom God chose to accomplish His will and purpose in and for us as probationary time comes to an end, as history comes to its last chapter, as Christ finishes His work for the salvation of men, and as closing events in the great controversy bring us ever nearer to the grand consummation of all things earthly.
We have every reason to rejoice as Seventh-day Adventists in the abundant provision made by God Himself for our salvation. He loves us with a tender love. He is kind and good and gentle. He has anticipated our every need, and has given us the help we must have at every turn in life's way. He is ready to fit us for His kingdom. May each and every one of us be molded and fashioned according to His own divine pattern. He wants you and me in His presence throughout eternity.
Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets (Hosea 6:5 ).