Architecture in the Service of the Church

From the beginning of human history, there have been two groups of people that would follow two lines of religiosity. The first group, choosing disobedience to God—the Creator of the universe—consists of the sons of rebellion; they will always constitute the dominant majority of humanity. It is from this group of people that rulers of individual states and political powers, as well as builders of civilizations, will emerge. And like Cain, it is the sons of rebellion who founded the first cities (Genesis 4:17), and erected impressive temples that serve not only as an expression of their pride and self-deification but also as visible signs of their might and power. These grand, majestic, awe-inspiring temples testified that the sons of rebellion were profoundly religious individuals.

The second group of people consists of the sons of obedience, who have never been the dominant majority in history. Only occasionally will some of the kings of Israel be in accordance with God’s plans and will. In the era of the New Covenant, the church of Christians is Israel—the people of God. According to the words of the Apostle Peter: “… you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

The church of God in the early centuries of the Christian era found itself in the “wilderness” due to apostate Christianity, which compromised with paganism and persecuted those who did not accept the authority of the pope. This church never captivated with its external splendor. It is a church that preserves what is internal. The sons of obedience never built powerful, impressive structures. It is worth taking a closer look at how the history of these two global churches has been inscribed in the language of architecture.

Materialized Language

Architecture is the art of designing, constructing, and creating spatial structures, organizing space for human use. However, for a complete understanding of a building with a specific architectural form, perceived through our senses, it is also necessary to acknowledge that, in addition to the technical dimension, there exists a language of architecture. Therefore, it is crucial to perceive architecture as a system of signs. Symbols and signs embedded in the language of architectural structures hold particular significance in understanding political, social, and religious realities. Architecture, in essence, is a materialized language. Religious architecture, therefore, can narrate the history of religious thought as much as written documents. So, what does the architecture of Christian churches tell us?

The Church in Its Beginnings was the Home Church

Today, we are accustomed to thinking of the church as that building on the corner; therefore, when reading about the New Testament church, we may overlook one obvious fact. In the beginning, the local church in a particular area held its gatherings in private homes rather than in spacious church buildings. The members of the church itself are described as a home: “As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house … .” 1 Peter 2:4, 5 BSB. The church is the house of God, just as the nation of Israel was before. We, who believe in Christ now, have become the house of God, united by His love into one family. It is worth asking ourselves at this point whether we should rediscover the importance of home churches. The church, as the assembly of believers in Jesus Christ, may find, in addition to meeting in formal church buildings, the need for gatherings in homes. This can lead to an extraordinary blessing. It not only deepens our mutual Christian friendships, but a home church can also contribute to the development of the kingdom of God in proclaiming the eternal gospel among people who might never enter a formal church building.

The Beginnings of Christian Architecture

In the year 313, after the issuance of the Edict of Milan, Christian architecture gained the opportunity for full development. Prior to the edict issued by Emperor Constantine and Emperor Licinius, Christianity was an illegal religion, and therefore, there was no legal possibility of publicly professing one’s faith or constructing church buildings. During the era of Constantine, Christianity emerged triumphant from the depths of conspiracy and underground cemeteries (catacombs), and the first church buildings were erected. The emperor himself constructed them in Rome, at the presumed tomb of the apostle Peter, and in many other locations.

The origins of Christian church architecture are the subject of disputes and discussions. However, it seems certain that the concept of the church as a building serving a religious function—as a temple—was developed by Christian builders drawing on the tradition of ancient Roman architecture. Preserved examples of these earliest churches come in two types: central (circular) and longitudinal (basilicas).1 What distinguished the concept of a church building as a temple from, for example, Greek temples, was that the church was an “internal temple” where the central place was the altar around which the clergy—priests together with the laity, or ordinary members of the Christian community—gathered. It is crucial to understand what transpired to lead the Christian community to divide into a separate caste of parishioners—that is, members of the Christian community—a term that also implied an unrefined, uneducated, backward individual—and priests.

Rotten Compromise

Constantine aspired to unite pagans and Christians in his empire instead of dividing them. Unity was to be the foundation of the new era and political order, even at the expense of the truth of the gospel. The previous persecutions of the church were directed against its efforts to maintain biblical separation from the pagan world. However, now that Christianity had been declared the state religion, “conversion” became easy, and the “former” pagans began to bring their pagan beliefs and practices into the church. With peace and prosperity during the time of Constantine, paganism, false teachings, and practices inconsistent with the Bible began to spread within the church. Giving glory to God started to take on an externally attractive and artistically beautiful form, but lost its character of personal communion with God. The beginning of the 4th century marked the beginning of the period of the union of church and state. Pagan, occult, and mysterious cults such as Mithra, Isis, Jupiter, and Bacchus merged with Christianity. “Instead of ‘reaching forth to what was before,’ the Christian Church permitted herself to be overtaken by the spirit of the ages that lay behind her. There came an after-growth of Jewish ritualism, of Greek philosophy, and of pagan ceremonialism and idolatry; and, as the consequence of this threefold action, the clergy began to be gradually changed, as already mentioned, from a ‘teaching ministry’ to a ‘sacrificing priesthood.’ This made them no longer ministers or servants of their fellow Christians; they took the position of a caste, claiming to be superior to the laity, invested with mysterious powers, the channels of grace, and the mediators with God. Thus there arose a hierarchy, assuming to mediate between God and men.”2

The Organization of the Church Building in Space

A building where Christians gathered for worship, whether it was a private home or a structure exclusively used for the purposes of religious gatherings of Christians, was not perceived as a temple. However, from the 4th century onwards, a deviation systematically began. Gradually, but decisively, the power and authority of the word of God were replaced by the fictitious power of religious ceremonies and alleged miracles. Simple believers no longer placed their trust in the one true Saviour, but followed the Roman Church, trusting the teachings of popes and priests. It was widely believed that during the Mass, in the Eucharist, the bread and wine were transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ. By the 11th century, the doctrine had solidified that each Mass is a reiteration of Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead. Therefore, the church building is constructed as a temple with the altar as the central point.

In the initial period, the church building consisted of three naves intersected by the so-called transept, which is a transverse nave, and was concluded with an apse (see diagram). The transept along with the apse forms the presbytery, the priestly space, distinct from the longitudinal naves constituting the so-called nave, designated for the laity—ordinary believers.3 This arrangement of a church is known and used not only in Catholic churches, but only Catholic churches function as temples, having an altar on which sacrifices are made by a Catholic priest.

The Foundations of the Church

With the influx of pagans into the Christian church, the cult of the dead penetrated Christianity. This led to an interest in the tombs of martyrs recognized as saints, with people praying at their graves. Sometimes, alleged miracles occurred at the tombs of martyrs, which resulted in an increasing reverence for them. Magnificent basilicas, temples dedicated to these saints, began to be built over their tombs. However, this was not a time when the remains of the deceased could be moved or touched. It was only in the 4th century, during the reign of Emperor Constantine, that an exception was made to allow the transfer of the remains of the deceased recognized as saints. At the end of antiquity, the cult of relics was inseparably linked to the church building. This means that the church—the temple—was a place where fragments of deceased individuals were preserved. Every Catholic church must have an altar on which there must necessarily be a piece of a corpse—a relic; without it, the celebration of the papal Mass is impossible.4 Interestingly, it was precisely to those churches where relics were housed that the most pilgrimages took place, as there was a belief in their power to perform miracles.5 The foundation of every Catholic church is the world of the dead, full of skeletal remains.

The Temple—Gothic Cathedral

In the history of church architecture, a special place is occupied by the Gothic cathedral, which represents the most perfect expression of the human spirit’s quest to dominate the entire space inhabited by medieval humanity. One could even argue that the construction of Gothic cathedrals was the greatest revolution in the history of architecture, enabling a technological and civilizational leap comparable to the industrial revolution. The Gothic cathedrals that emerged in medieval Europe are characterized by incredible magnificence, artistic beauty, breathtaking dimensions, and harmony of proportions. These medieval cathedrals, visible from afar, dominated the cityscape and influenced the public space with their enormity. The monumental structures were sometimes built over hundreds of years, completed when none of the original builders remained among the living. These medieval cathedrals, with their beauty and grandeur, overwhelmed humanity, reminding them of their own insignificance. The sublimity and magnificence of cathedrals are challenging to compare to anything else. Anyone who entered the interior of these monstrous sacred buildings was overwhelmed by the vastness of the space and the height of the vaults, experiencing awe, admiration, as well as a sense of unease and awe. The entire religious and political power of the Roman Catholic Church was manifested in the Gothic cathedral.

Power is everything

Thanks to the reforms of Pope Gregory VII, the Roman Catholic Church reached the peak of its power. The papacy liberated itself from secular authority, breaking free from dependence on feudal lords and rulers, while simultaneously declaring itself the head of the secular hierarchy. Thus, the popes began to subordinate emperors, kings, and princes to themselves.6 Now bishops have even more power and money to realize even the boldest architectural visions. In the face of rulers impoverished by the Crusades and the stripped wealth of the nobility, the church presented itself as a true force, gaining and strengthening power by promoting itself as the only path to salvation. The world outside the church appeared as miserable, dark, and foolish. The only light seeped through the stained glass of the Gothic cathedral, promising salvation. It was easier to raise a cathedral around a tangible and defined holy relic. For example, the Cathedral of Chalons (France) received the alleged foreskin of Jesus from the circumcision, and one of at least twenty skulls of John the Baptist is in Amiens (also in France). Relics earned cathedrals money, but later cathedrals earned money from relics.7 Cathedrals were built for even greater power and wealth. Of course, all of this was done for the greater glory of God, as their founders used to say. During the Counter-Reformation, Catholic churches under the guidance of the Jesuits were even more lavishly adorned with gold, precious stones, and works of art, creating even greater splendor, while at the same time quietly emphasizing their spiritual emptiness and ostentatious rebellion against the God revealed in the Old and New Testament.

Protestant Church Architecture

With the Reformation, the architecture and art of Protestant churches underwent a change. Historic Protestant churches are primarily characterized by simple and modest interiors. They do not feature statues, religious decorations, depictions of saints, or relics. At the center of the church is the pulpit—the lectern from which the word of God is preached—around which the faithful gather. Usually, next to or in front of the pulpit, there is a wooden table for the observance of the Lord’s Supper, rather than an altar for making offerings. This unequivocally tells us that being in a Protestant church, we are not in a temple but in a house of prayer. It is important to note that among supporters of the Reformation, there were diverse views on buildings for worship. At the beginning of his reformative journey, Martin Luther believed that churches should only be houses of prayer with a purely utilitarian character. According to the ideas preached by Ulrich Zwingli, a special building dedicated to prayer was not necessary. On the other hand, John Calvin saw the need for such a building, provided that its interior was devoid of any adornments.8 However, before Protestants could start building their churches freely, without persecution from Catholics, many years would pass. In some European countries, this would only happen in the second half of the 17th century. In others, it did not occur until the early 18th century.

Forest churches

The period between the onset of the Reformation and the Catholic states granting permission for the organization of public gatherings and the public practice of their faith was a time of persecution of Protestants by Catholics. I was born and raised in Cieszyn Silesia, which in the mid-16th century was a region where the majority of the population were Evangelicals. The call to return to the roots of Christianity was embraced by all layers of society at that time. Religious freedom came to an end when the staunchly Catholic Habsburgs took control of the region, and Roman Catholicism became the sole prevailing faith. In 1654, most Protestant churches were taken away. Until 1709, and in some areas until 1781, they could only meet in secrecy. This was the time of the church “in the wilderness.” To preserve their faith, Protestants in Cieszyn Silesia gathered in secret worship, high in the forests on the slopes of the Beskid Mountains, in places hidden from the eyes of persecutors. This is how forest churches were created. To this day, the memory of nine locations has survived, six in Poland and three in the Czech Republic.9

Church of God

The church of Christ consists of people filled with the Holy Spirit who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus Christ, as well as having faith in Jesus. If so, what are the buildings where worship services are held? After all “… the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or where will My place of repose be? Has not My hand made all these things?’ ” Acts 7:48, 49 BSB

All church buildings serve a supportive role for the church as places of assembly, also known as houses of prayer. In these places, the church gathers, and brothers and sisters filled with the Holy Spirit come together to engage in an atmosphere of prayer, hymns, and psalms, dedicating themselves to the teaching of the word of God. This is how the apostles and the early Christians understood it and practiced it. Moreover, we have the promise of our Lord Jesus that “where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 BSB. Does this mean that if we gather in a church building, its architecture should be uninspiring, and its interior formal and characterless like a conference hall? God has given man a natural need for beauty, aesthetic sensitivity, and creativity. Therefore, let our houses of prayer express—in the architecture and the interior—our principles of faith, simplicity, and elegance, as well as sensitivity to beauty.

1 J. Białostocki, Sztuka cenniejsza niż złoto, publishing house PWN, pp. 42, 43

2 J.A. Wylie, History of Protestantism, Cassel & Co., Vol. 1, p. 10

3 T. Broniewski, Historia architektury dla wszystkich, Ossolineum, p. 103

4, accessibility: 01.14.2024

5, accessibility: 01.14.2024

6 P. Rugała, Państwo i Kościół w walce o dominację nad średniowiecznym światem w badaniach Jaquesa LeGoffa, MHP, p. 107

7, accessibility: 01.15.2024

8 P. Czernek, Protestancka architektura sakralna na Śląsku Cieszyńskim w XX i XXI wieku, PAN, p. 193

9, accessibility: 01.17.2024

Note: BSB (Berean Standard Bible)

Marcin Watras lives in Katowice, Poland. He is interested in the philosophy of religion and trends in society. He works for the European Union.

Knowing the Truth is Not Enough

Theology is the study of who God is. It’s very important for us to have correct teachings and correct theology. Second Timothy 3:5, 7 tell us there will be a people in the last days who “have a form of godliness but deny its power. And from such people turn away! … always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” First Timothy 2:4 says, “Who [God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Solomon said in Proverbs 23:23, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it.” When the angel spoke to Daniel in vision he said, “Now I’ve come to tell you the truth” (Daniel 11:2). It’s very important to know the truth and to have a correct theology, but we are going to see that having true theology is not enough.

If we really want to know the truth about any subject, we must follow the Bible rule found in Isaiah 28 which is precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little. Here God teaches us that as we study Scripture it should be done by looking at all the scriptures found regarding a subject. If there is confusion regarding a subject, it is essential that we must study all the statements found in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy.

In 2 Peter 1, Peter tells us that the apostles preached the truth. He also tells us how he knew it was the truth: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (verses 16–18). He could say that we know what we are telling you is the truth because we saw it ourselves. We witnessed His majesty and heard the voice from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

But Peter also says there is evidence even more powerful than their personal witness. “We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophesy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (verses 19–21).

So Peter says that we told you the truth; we know it is the truth; we witnessed His majesty ourselves, but we have evidence even more powerful than what we witnessed on the mount of transfiguration. That evidence, more powerful and more certain, is the word of prophecy. Would that all people could comprehend the certainty of prophecy. Those today who have the truth, study and understand Bible prophecy, especially those relating to the last days.

The book of Daniel was the first inspired book given especially for the last days. Other prophets spoke for their own time, but their prophesies also applied to the end of time. It is good to study the prophesies as they were applied historically, but we especially need to study them as they apply to the last days. In addition to the inspired writings in the book of Daniel, the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation where he documented what he was shown regarding the very last days of earth’s history.

The truth involves judgment. Romans 2:2 says, “We know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things [those things mentioned in Romans 1].” Verse 8: “To those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath.” Notice, the truth involves judgment. Romans 3:4: “Let God be true but every man a liar.” Revelation 19:11: “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.”

Over 20 years ago Pastor Ron Spear shared the following Spirit of Prophecy statement with me and I am still awed by it today: “We want to understand the time in which we live. We do not half understand it. We do not half take it in. My heart trembles in me when I think of what a foe we have to meet, and how poorly we are prepared to meet him. The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.

“We don’t understand” she says. We don’t know what’s going on. Consider this: When a person is deceived, do they know that they are deceived? No. If they knew, then they wouldn’t be deceived. “Satan’s snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel just prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan. We are repeating the history of that people.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 160.

Why is it not enough to have the truth? We read in Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” These are people who have the truth, but who don’t live the truth. It is not enough to just know the truth.

This was the problem with the Jewish people in the time of Christ. Jesus addressed this problem in Matthew 23:2: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.” Most people in Jesus’ time went to the synagogue where the Scriptures were read to them during the worship services.

During the middle ages, Christian churches might have scriptoriums. A person at the front of the room would read a verse to 30 or more people who would then write what they heard. In this way copies of the Bible were produced. However, with 30 different people in the room all writing what was being read, the possibility that someone might misspell a word or say “that” instead of “which” resulted in variations from one transcript to another. In fact, that is why there are approximately 200,000 variations of the New Testament today. The making of books before the printing press was laborious, time consuming, and very expensive, but you can depend on what you read in your Bible as being the truth.

But when Jesus was talking to the people in Matthew 23, information primarily was received by listening to what was said in the church. When Jesus said, “They sit in Moses’ seat,” He meant they were being taught the law and about the prophets. Notice what He says in verse 3, first part: “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do” because they’re telling you what Moses and the prophets said. “But do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (verse 3, last part). Did they have the truth? Yes, they possessed the truth, but their lives and their church were not in harmony with that truth.

The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:2–4, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste [pure] virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted.”

There is a great deception depicted in these texts. The person is preaching Jesus, but it is another Jesus. There is more than one Jesus being preached in the world today. There are millions of Christians praying every day asking the Lord to pour out His Holy Spirit upon them, but if a person is living in sin and asks to receive the Holy Spirit they have placed themselves in a very dangerous position, because they could receive a spirit and could believe that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit, but it is the wrong spirit.

Jesus warned us that this would happen in the last days. We read in Matthew 7:21, 22: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders [that is, powerful works or miracles] in Your name?’ ” How were they able to prophesy, cast out demons and work miracles? Because they had a spirit that they believed was the Holy Spirit, but Jesus says to them, “Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness [iniquity]’ ” (verse 23)!

These people believe they have received the Holy Spirit and they prove it by doing these marvelous things, but it is the wrong spirit. When Jesus comes, He will say, “You are not loyal subjects of My kingdom. You have not kept the laws of My kingdom. I do not know you.” No matter how many times I repeat these verses in Matthew 7, my mind still cannot take it in. You really believe that you are filled with the Holy Spirit, but when Jesus comes and you say, “Lord, I know that I’m saved,” He says, “I do not know you.” Probation is closed. It’s too late to be saved. Think of the shock for these people, but according to Jesus, this will happen to many people.

Let’s consider the Jews as we continue to study the concept of it not being enough just to have true theology. The Jews thought of themselves as the only chosen of God and they had a few beliefs that supported this idea:

  1. Their church organization was inspired
  2. They idolized their church organization
  3. Their organizational policies were inspired
  4. Their church organization would never fall

The Jews considered their church organization to be inspired because the Sanhedrin was made up of 70 people and they believed this could be proven based on Numbers 11:16, 17. These scriptures say: “So the Lord said to Moses: ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.’ ” Continuing in verses 24 and 25 the Bible says, “So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. Then the Lord came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.” Some manuscripts read, “They prophesied and did not cease.”

If the Spirit of God came down upon these 70 leaders in Israel, was it inspired? Yes, it was. Hundreds of years before Christ’s time, they had appointed 70 men to lead their nation and called them the Sanhedrin. This was done because the Lord said this was how His church was to be organized. So they believed their church organization was inspired. But it is not enough to just know the truth; it must be practiced.

Concerning this problem Stephen said, you “have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it” (Acts 7:53). Truth without practice is worthless. First Peter 1:22 says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” Ellen White quotes this text over and over throughout her writings.

Next, they made a god of their church organization. Their church organization was centered in the temple, and the temple became an idol more important to them than the God of the temple. One of the main reasons they sought to crucify Jesus had to do with His attitude toward the temple. In Mark 14:58 the false witness accused Jesus of saying, “ ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” They felt the same way about the apostle Paul and wanted to kill him, too. They said of him, “Crying out, ‘Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place [the temple]; and furthermore He also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place’ ” (Acts 21:28).

When you make a god of something, whatever it is, it has to be removed if you are going to be saved. Because they had made a god of their church organization, it would have to be destroyed. Matthew 23:38 says, “See! Your house is left to you desolate.” In The Adventist Apocalypse, Ellen White made the statement that all of Matthew 24 will have a fulfillment in the last days. Notice what it says in Matthew 24:1, 2: “Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ ”

Third, because they believed their church organization was inspired and that the Sanhedrin was inspired, it was very logical for them to believe their policies also were divinely inspired. The Jews established many arbitrary policies and these policies were said to be divinely inspired. This, however, was very deceptive. While they could read right out of the Old Testament that the policy was inspired, they added words to inspiration, and the average person could not figure out where inspiration ended and the words of their arbitrary policies began.

The Desire of Ages, 398, tells us, “The substitution of the precepts of men for the commandments of God has not ceased. Even among Christians are found institutions and usages that have no better foundation than the traditions of the fathers. Such institutions, resting upon mere human authority, have supplanted those of divine appointment. Men cling to their traditions, revere their customs, and cherish hatred against those who seek to show them their error. …

“In place of the authority of the so-called fathers of the church, God bids us accept the word of the eternal Father, the Lord of heaven and earth. Here alone is truth unmixed with error. … Let all who accept human authority, the customs of the church, or the traditions of the fathers, take heed to the warning conveyed in the words of Christ, ‘In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men’ (Matthew 15:9).”

Finally, believing their church organization and their policies were inspired and that they were the true church chosen by God, the Jews came to believe their church organization would never fall. Ellen White says in Christ’s Object Lessons, 294, “The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them[selves] of their rights. But by lives of unfaithfulness they were preparing for the condemnation of heaven and for separation from God.”

Today we have an identical problem. People are writing books that say, “Our church organization will never fall. I can prove it from Letter 55, 1886.” There’s a sentence in that Letter that says, “The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.”

The problem is that most people don’t read the entire letter. Let me share a couple of sentences from Letter 55 that you never hear ministers quote: “All the policy in the world cannot save us from a terrible sifting, and all the efforts made with high authorities will not lift from us the scourging of God, just because sin is cherished. If as a people [that is, as a church] we do not keep ourselves in the faith and not only advocate with pen and voice the commandments of God, but keep them every one, not violating a single precept knowingly, then weakness and ruin will come upon us.”

There are several problems with the prediction that church organization will never fall. The most important one is that few people have studied out the difference between the true church and the professed church. The true church has never fallen and will never fall. Not in the time of Enoch or Noah, Elijah or during the Babylonian captivity. Not during the days of John the Baptist, Nero, Diocletian, Constantine, Theodosius or Pope Innocent III or in the days of William Miller; yet the professed church was almost totally destroyed at each of these times in history.

Another problem has to do with the message to the church of Philadelphia. This message must be carefully studied because this is the only church of the seven churches of Revelation that is promised divine protection during the time of trouble (Revelation 3:10).

A third problem is that people don’t seem to realize that God doesn’t need the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization to finish His work. In fact, He doesn’t even need the Free Seventh-day Adventists, the Historic Adventists, the Reform Seventh-day Adventists or any other Adventist groups. For instance, Ellen White says in Notebook Leaflets vol. 1, 62, “If His people [that is, God’s people] will not follow in His way, the Lord will employ heathen princes to do His will.” God is able to finish His work just fine without any of us if He must. We must never feel that God has to use us; that is what the Jews thought. They believed that their church organization and policies were divinely inspired and that made them His true people who would go through to the end. Thus they expected all Christians to work with them and follow their policies. And because Jesus did not do that, they rejected and crucified Him. We must be careful in our day not to become like the Jews.

Remember what we read at the beginning. Ellen White said that God had shown her over and over that the attitude and problems that existed just before Jesus’ first coming would also exist just before the second coming. They rejected the Messiah because He was not in harmony with their church organization and policies. The word Jesus used in the New Testament to refer to what the Jews believed were divinely inspired policies was the word tradition. Ellen White calls them arbitrary rules. Another word is customs.

We all have customs that we follow: the time Sabbath School begins, the order for church service, how communion is conducted, how long the preacher can preach. We have so many customs that we’ve observed for so long that we don’t even consider them customs anymore.

The Jews said that because their church organization and policies were inspired, all Christians had to work with them and if they didn’t, they weren’t following the Lord. We see this same attitude in the Adventist Church today. Interestingly, around 1303 A.D. the Pope made a pronouncement that if you were going to be in the kingdom of heaven you needed to be connected with their church organization, otherwise you wouldn’t be in heaven. Many Adventists also believe that way.

Pastor Rafael Perez was in South America preaching, holding revival meetings. A Seventh-day Adventist lady came to him with tears rolling down her cheeks. When he asked her what was the matter, her reply was that she wanted to attend the revival meetings, but she had been told that if she did, she would be disfellowshipped. And if she was disfellowshipped, how could she go to the kingdom of heaven?

I have found people today who will not take part in any kind of evangelism or other soul-winning work unless it is connected to the church organization. Let me ask you, has God ordained self-supporting work or any work done by individuals if it is not connected to the church organization? It’s something to investigate: precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little.

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Removing the Candlestick

When God is Forced to Set Aside His Favored Instrument(s)

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Revelation 2:5

The removing of the candlestick is a metaphor for the act of God in rejecting those who, entrusted with the task of diffusing the light of truth, have failed to do so. But more significantly, and sadly, it denotes the withdrawal of Jesus Himself from the individual(s), who cannot henceforth be used by Him.

It is noteworthy that the sanctuary had no windows, and the curtains were opaque. The only physical light inside the sanctuary came from the candlestick – an apt portrayal of Jesus as the only true source of light in a dark and evil world. The removal or snuffing out of the candlestick would thus result in total darkness inside the sanctuary.

Inspiration declares, “Without the light of the candlestick [Jesus in her midst], the church cannot advance, and is in a very perilous position.” Manuscript 81, 1900, 43, 44. It is therefore of utmost importance to ascertain the circumstances under which the Lord Jesus is likely to withdraw Himself from His people in order that we might not make the same terrible mistake that would result in such a withdrawal.

Fortunately, we are not left to speculate on this point, because the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy make it perfectly clear for us. Let us begin by understanding a few very significant points from the inspired pen of Mrs. Ellen White: “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.

“The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 406.

These quotes establish two powerful facts:

  1. Modern Israel – the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) – is treading the same path as ancient Israel, and
  2. The “displeasure of God is as surely resting upon” her as upon ancient Israel. Notice that God’s displeasure is not something to be expected in the future, but is on us at this very moment.

“Unsanctified hearts” in ancient Israel were responsible for their ultimate rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. It must mean, therefore, that “unsanctified hearts” have just “as surely” steered us into a path of rebellion. And we are on track to reject the Lord Jesus again.

God predicted this eventuality following the death of Mrs. White:

“I am charged to tell our people that do not realize, that the devil has device after device, and he carries them out in ways that they do not expect. Satan’s agencies will invent ways to make sinners out of saints. ‘I tell you now, that when I am laid to rest, great changes will take place. I do not know when I shall be taken; and I desire to warn all against the devices of the devil. … I do not know especially what changes will take place; but they should watch every conceivable sin that Satan will try to immortalize.’ ” 1 Manuscript, 1, 1915.

Is there any objective evidence that the “great changes” Mrs. White feared have indeed come to pass since 1915 when she went to her rest? Regrettably, there is much to be said on this point. But first, it must be recognized that as fallible human beings, we cannot judge such cherished, yet hidden, evils as envy, jealousy, pride, to mention a few – all of which are incompatible with the candlestick of God. But it is incumbent on us to apply the infallible test of Matthew 7:20 and “know them by their fruits.” The external words and acts are an irrefutable gauge to the inner state of the heart. So, it is in this category of evidence that we will confine ourselves to, as we consider the direction the corporate church is headed.

  1. The Spirit of Prophecy

“My brethren, I feel great sorrow of heart. I shall not appear before you again in our general gatherings unless I am impressed by the Spirit of God that I should. The last General Conference that I attended gave you all the evidence that you will ever have in any meeting that shall be convened. If that meeting did not convince you that God is working by His Spirit through His humble servant, it is because the candlestick has been removed out of its place. … God is knocking at the door of the heart; but as yet the door has not opened to let Him enter and take full possession of the soul-temple.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 196.

The rejection of the Spirit of Prophecy, both overtly and covertly, is probably the greatest sin of the SDA church. Many examples can be cited where official publications of the church deny, denigrate or dismiss the writings of Mrs. White. This is none other than the rejection of God Himself who gave her to the remnant church to steer her through the fatal deceptions of the last days. On every hand, in every area of mission and ministry, is evidence piled upon evidence of rank apostasy and deliberate disobedience. If there were just one sin for which God would be justified in removing the candlestick from the SDA church, it would have to be the casting aside of the Spirit of Prophecy in practice, if not in actuality. But there is more.

  1. Health Reform

“Those who are truly on the Lord’s side will be self-denying and self-sacrificing. They will eat and drink to the glory of God, refusing to corrupt soul and body by intemperance. Then the condition of the church will testify that her light has not been removed. But if church members do not act the part God has assigned them, the movement of health reform will go on without them, and it will be seen that God has removed their candlestick out of its place. Those who refuse to receive and practice the light will be left in the background.” A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, 45, 46.

It is common knowledge that many of our ministers who stand behind the pulpit Sabbath after Sabbath, are not health reformers—they are not vegetarians, much less vegan. This deplorable state of affairs is rarely, if ever, addressed by men in responsible positions. The thinking, perhaps, is that because ingesting clean meats is not a test of fellowship to a new-born Adventist, that it is of no consequence for leaders to keep to the same low standard of diet as well. But the Spirit of Prophecy is unequivocal in stating that all God’s people should quit eating flesh foods as we approach the end of time. Especially should ministers and leaders be exponents of health reform in strict veganism.

  1. True Education

“The education given in our schools should be of that character which will strengthen the spiritual intelligence and give an increased knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. This kind of education will qualify men to become missionaries …

“Unless our schools rise to a much higher plane of action, their candlestick will be removed out of its place.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 250.

It is a matter of much sad and solemn regret that the vast majority of our institutions of learning are of a worldly character, preparing students, for the most part, for high paying jobs in the world. Schools like Madison College, Tennessee, in the days of Ellen White are extremely few and far between, if present at all. The blueprint in this area has been all but denied and disregarded in total.

  1. Medical Missionary Work

“Great light has been shining in regard to medical missionary work. Had our people accepted this light when first presented, what a change would now be seen in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. If we do not heed this light, our candlestick will certainly be removed out of its place. The Lord has been withdrawing His presence from some who have had great light but who have failed to walk in accordance with this light.” Ibid., vol. 2, 181.

Who can deny that the medical work officially conducted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a far cry from the medical missionary work endorsed by the Spirit of Prophecy?

  1. Litigation of Believers

“When troubles arise in the church we should not go for help to lawyers not of our faith. God does not desire us to open church difficulties before those who do not fear Him. …

“These men cast aside the counsel God has given, and do the very things He has bidden them not to do. They show that they have chosen the world as their judge, and in heaven their names are registered as one with unbelievers. Christ is crucified afresh, and put to open shame. Let these men know that God does not hear their prayers. They insult His holy name, and He will leave them to the buffetings of Satan until they shall see their folly and seek the Lord by confession of their sin.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 299.

The seriousness of the brazen disobedience in this matter cannot be overstated. Even though it is not explicitly stated that the candlestick will be removed for the sin of suing a brother in court, it is obvious that if God will not hear the prayers of the guilty party, it means that the candlestick has been explicitly removed – Jesus has left the apostates to their wicked devices. The guilt of the SDA church in this matter is well documented in the public records.

More exhibits can be provided to demonstrate the total refutation of light by our leaders. The foregoing are the most egregious examples that come to mind. Clearly, if God does not call the church to account now, He will have to apologize to the ancient church for the holocaust of A.D. 70, which He was forced to bring upon their stubborn heads.

The question that begs to be answered now is, How far does modern Israel go in repeating the history of ancient Israel? Will she reverse course, step back from the brink of the precipice, and turn whole heartedly back to God again? Most unfortunately, prophecy reveals that she will careen off the cliff into rejecting Jesus too—this time in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Note the decimation of the church that has rejected the Holy Spirit manifesting in the latter rain:

“There is to be in the [Seventh-day Adventist] churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their expectations and ideal, they will oppose the work. ‘Why,’ they say, ‘should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?’ ” Maranatha, 219.

“In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. Many will get above the simplicity of the work. They will conform to the world, cherish idols, and become spiritually dead. The humble, self-sacrificing followers of Jesus will pass on to perfection, leaving behind the indifferent and lovers of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 608, 609.

In view of this sobering fact, how does God expect His faithful people to relate to the emergency? Are we to glue ourselves to the church pew, comforting ourselves with the hope that God will fix matters at the headquarters in His own time and way? Or are we to take a more proactive stance?

What about the quote, so often cited, that the Church will go through to glory? Let us look at it closely:

“Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. … The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy.” Maranatha, 203.

Here are the points established by this quote:

  1. The Sunday laws of Satan plunge the SDA Church into an existential crisis.
  2. The storm of persecution causes “the chaff” (“sinners in Zion”) to be blown away.
  3. The crisis is so severe – so much chaff is blown away – that the church appears to be in a state of imminent collapse.
  4. Nevertheless, because “the precious wheat” “remains,” the church survives.
  5. The “wheat” are designated as “the remnant,”  a miniscule fraction of the original church.
  6. They are “without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.”
  7. This description confirms them to be none other than the 144,000 sealed saints of Revelation 7.
  8. God recognizes them as His “church.”
  9. Therefore, the great majority – the chaff – their profession notwithstanding, were never really a part of God’s church at all! They were plants and agents of Satan!
  10. The tiny, post-crisis remnant “church,” shorn of all earthly trappings of greatness, bears almost no resemblance to the imposing precrisis entity. Yet, this is the “church” that “does not fall,” giving the lie to the notion that the present-day gargantuan SDA organization will go through unscathed.

Clearly, from the evidence presented here, the “chaff” are in control of the SDA Church. Far outnumbering “the wheat,” they wield immense power, keeping to themselves the name and assets of the church. Thus, it is entirely within reason that in the time of the great crisis, the compromising majority, still sitting in the pews and going through the motions of religion, are thought to be the “wheat,” while the troublesome “remnant,” despised and driven away, will seem to be the “chaff” which is blown away. The external appearance of the church, therefore, will be very misleading.

This inspired scenario proves that we are right now at that point corresponding to the time in ancient Israel when God was leading a movement apart from the control of the Sanhedrin. Deeply ensconced in incorrigible apostasy, the ancient Church was about to step off the cliff in crucifying Jesus. And God was proactively preparing a small band of faithful, independent souls to meet the emergency. And so it was that the Jewish church appeared to “fall” in A.D. 70, but it “remained” in the form of the 120 Jewish disciples in the upper room (and their converts) under the direction and control of the Holy Spirit. Today Jesus is preparing 144,000 saints for a similar crisis in the Adventist Church. Answerable directly to God alone, independent of the apostate organization, they are the faithful “fishermen and peasants,” vilified and unqualified in the eyes of men, who carry the torch of truth (the candlestick) through to the end. It is because of them that the “church” does not fall.

May we “strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Maranatha, 241.


Dr. Pandit is a retired cardiologist living in Arkansas with his wife Dorothy. He is proud to call himself a historic Seventh-day Adventist. He, with his wife, is involved in backing two self-supporting ministries in India 1) Medical Missionary Training and Lifestyle Center in South India and 2) A printing ministry in Western India. They are also founding members of a “home church” located in Hot Springs, AR. He can be contacted via his email address:, or phone: 870-356-4768.

The Sin of Meroz

by Marshall Grosboll

For twenty years the children of Israel had been suffering under Jabin, the king of Canaan, and Sisera his captain. Year after year Israel was unwilling to recognize the cause for their suffering and calamity, which was their disobedience to the Lord. Many never admitted the cause. It was just natural occurrences, they thought. But with each home burned from another raid, each child or wife stolen to become the slave of a heathen tyrant, and each rape and murder, there came new conviction of their sins to those receptive to the Spirit of God. Until finally, there was at least a high percentage who repented and in humility cried out to God for help, something they could have done twenty years earlier. “And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel” (Judges 4: 3). The children of Israel had no implements of war because they all had been taken away from them, yet the Canaanites were fully armed and led by skilled warriors.

Finally the children of Israel turned to the Lord in their extremity, and the Lord heard their prayer, but He did not answer in the expected way. They wanted a general, but He sent a woman, Deborah, whom He had chosen to judge Israel at that time. He had also given her the gift of prophecy and made her the ruler of Israel. In answer to the cry of Israel, He gave a message through her, His chosen prophet: “Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kadesh in Naphtali, and said to him, ‘Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’? ’ And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go’ ” (verses 6- 8).

Barak was so fearful that he refused to go unless Deborah went with him. Deborah was as brave in battle as she was in counsel and giving the straight testimony to Israel, so she went, but she warned Barak that because he did not obey the Lord, but depended on her, it would be by another woman that victory would be won. “So she said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. ‘Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kadesh” (verse 9). So it was that Deborah led out the army, and Jael, the wife of Heber, an in- law of Moses, killed the commander of the Canaanites. “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel. They chose new gods; then there was war in the gates; not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. . . . Most blessed among women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; blessed is she among women in tents” (Judges 5: 6- 8, 24). What a picture of the last days is here depicted! Just as Israel had been led away captive by a heathen country, in a physical sense, because of their departure from the Lord, with many killed and the remnant hiding out in the rocks and mountains, so for many years spiritual Israel, because of apostasy in the early ages, had been under the dominion of the beast power, with many killed and the remnant hiding “in the wilderness,” as the Bible says. But in the last days, because of the cry of God’s people, a message went forth with boldness to the world, depicted as an angel flying in the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice to all who are on the face of the earth. No more would God’s people be in hiding; they were to come to the forefront and take their places before the world.


When God sought to lead out His people in this last great endeavor, He chose a man. He called for a leader to communicate His wishes to the church and lead them out victorious. He first called for William Foy, then Hazen Foss, and they both refused. God then turned from them and said, “I am going to the weakest of the weak.” He chose a young woman in her teen years who was not expected to live, and through her sent His messages to lead His people on to victory. Moreover, we are told that not only did God choose a woman to communicate with His people in the beginning, He is also going to use women in this conflict until the very end, and to bring it to completion. Joel 2: 28, 29, a prophecy of the last days, says: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

Ellen White writes in The Youth’s Instructor, February 18, 1902: “At the eleventh hour the Lord will call into His service many faithful workers. Self- sacrificing men and women will step into the places made vacant by apostasy and death. To young men and young women, as well as to those who are older, God will give power from above. With converted minds, converted hands, converted feet and converted tongues, their lips touched with a living coal from the divine altar, they will go forth into the Master’s service, moving steadily onward and upward, carrying the work forward to completion.” Let us not become too rigid in our ideas as to how God can use men and women. In the days of Israel He chose a woman to lead out the army, and He chose a woman to complete the victory. In like manner, in the final work of God, He is going to use women. Before Jesus comes, there will be those who die in battle, those who will apostatize, those who may be imprisoned or sidetracked in one way or another. God is going to use young men and women, as well as those older in years, to fill the ranks and carry the work onward and upward to completion. Dear friend, the work is going to be completed.


While some things in the victory of Deborah, Barak and Jael point forward to the glorious completion of God’s work, there are also disappointing elements to the story illustrating disappointments in the final work of God on earth. In Judges 5: 14- 17, Deborah mentions the various tribes to whom the message bad been given to come up to the help of the Lord and to join in this battle. The call to arms in battle had been given in Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh (which is Machir), Zebulun, Issachar, Reuben, Gilead (the other half of Manasseh), Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. Ten out of the twelve tribes are mentioned by name. In all the tribes of Israel there were undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of eligible men, but how many came up to the help of the Lord? Out of all the ten tribes called, how many responded? In Judges 4: 14 we are told that 10,000 followed Barak to battle. Judges 5: 17 says that Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, so as not to get involved. Why did Dan remain on ships? “We’ll be safer out here fishing,” they thought. Asher continued at the seashore and stayed in the inlets. Zebulun and Naphtali, the two main tribes, jeopardized their lives, but the rest did not respond, and God was not well pleased with them. While these men of Israel professed to be loyal to the Lord, they were not going to jeopardize their lives against an unconquerable enemy. And yet the Lord says in Matthew 10: 39: “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” In Luke 14, Jesus said that a cost is involved in the Christian life, and that we must count this cost as to whether we are willing to be counted with the army of the Lord. “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14: 27). “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (verse 26). “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has [including his own life] cannot be My disciple” (verse 33).

I have often been impressed with the story of the great men of David. In 2 Samuel 23: 9,10 is a typical example of these great men. Among the various men who were willing to give their lives for Israel, the truth and the cause of God, is Eleazar, the son of Dodo, the Ahohite. He was one of the three mighty men with David when he defied the Philistines who were gathered for battle. The whole army of Israel was in retreat and one man alone stood up against the enemy. He not only held his ground; he arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary and stuck to his sword. He did not quit. “The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder” (2 Samuel 23: 10).

Have you ever imagined being in Eleazar’s place? The Philistines that he was fighting were demon possessed. They were not weaklings. They were not merely playing video games. They were there with real swords and were accustomed to using them to cut off people’s heads. And there was not just one or two, there were hundreds. He was surrounded and he fought with all of his might, just barely missing a sword, time after time. Eleazar went to battle to give his life as a martyr for God. He was not expecting to come out of that battle alive. Eleazar said, “I am going to die for the Lord, I am not going to retreat.” He went to battle and the Lord protected him among all those hundreds and thousands, and he won the victory. Jesus said, “He who finds his life will lose it and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10: 39).

That is the kind of courage God wants His people to have today, but it wasn’t found in Israel in Deborah’s day. In the battle of Deborah and Barak, in which there was a general call to Israel, the people valued their lives more than they valued the call of God. They were not bad people, they were religious people and they had been mourning for the sins of Israel and crying for deliverance. They viewed themselves as being basically repentant and good. There is no mention of collaborating with the enemy. There was general moral support for the cause, but they were not willing to put their lives on the line. They had their families to take care of and their businesses to run. Their own futures were at stake. The Lord used a term to describe them– Meroz. We can read in Judges 5: 23 what He says about the people of Meroz in the song of Deborah as she recounted, under the inspiration of the Lord, the events of the battle and the various people that did not come up to the help of the Lord, those in Gilead, Dan, Asher and others. “‘ Curse Meroz, ’ said the angel of the Lord, ‘curse its inhabitants bitterly, because they did not come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. ’”


This verse has a special significance for today be- cause it is a correlating verse to Revelation 3: 14 and onward where God talks about Meroz in the New Testament, which is the Laodicean people. Meroz is a type of Laodicea, the Old Testament type for the New Testament Laodicea. Ellen White mentions the experience of Meroz often because she was living in the day of Laodicea. She says of Meroz: “They have committed no grievous, out- breaking sins, and they must, after all, be on the true foundation, and God will accept their works. [Because they have committed no grievous sins, they are basically good church members.] They see no special sins to repent of, no sins which call for special humiliation, humble confession, and rending of heart. The delusion upon such is strong indeed when they mistake the form of godliness for the power thereof, and flatter themselves that they are rich and have need of nothing. The curse of Meroz rests upon them: ‘Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty’” 2T, 395,396. “As an illustration of the failure on your part to come up to the work of God, as was your privilege, I was referred [by an angel in vision] to these words: ‘Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. ‘ Judges 5: 23. What had Meroz done? Nothing. And this was their sin. They came not up to the help of the Lord against the mighty” Ibid., 247. On page after page of her writings, she mentions the various ways that Israel today has not come up to the help of the Lord. She writes in The Signs of the Times,

December 19, 1878: “We hope those who have means trusted out to strangers will see that God’s cause may be benefited by its use. It was placed in their hands by the Lord, to test them and prove them, to see if they will render back to the Master His own when He shall call for it. Means were given them not to hoard or to use for themselves. Those who are murmuring and complaining at the outlay of means in the publishing house and in the meetinghouse, had better be at work to act their part, lest they shall be found wanting by acting the part of Meroz. God gave commandment, ‘Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord, against the mighty. ‘”

There are those who have means and talents and don’t use them for the Lord. They have opportunity to witness and are doing nothing. All this is described in the Laodicean message. “Many of our people are lukewarm. They occupy the position of Meroz, neither for nor against, neither cold nor hot” 5T, 76,77. If there is anything that describes God’s professed people today it is that they are neither cold nor hot, neither for nor against. They don’t want to be against anything, just take a “wait and see” attitude. Ellen White says this is the sin of Meroz. “They hear the words of Christ, but do them not. If they remain in this state, He will reject them with abhorrence. Many of those who have had great light, great opportunities, and every spiritual advantage praise Christ and the world with the same breath. They bow themselves before God and mammon. They make merry with the children of the world, and yet claim to be blessed with the children of God. They wish to have Christ as their Saviour, but will not bear the cross and wear His yoke. May the Lord have mercy upon you; for if you go on in this way, nothing but evil can be prophesied concerning you” Ibid.


There are several types of the Laodicean church. There is a specific type in the Old Testament, the people of Meroz, and a specific type in the New Testament in Matthew 11. Just as Ellen White writes of the curse of Meroz over and over again, applying it to Laodicea, so she does with these verses. “Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes’” (verses 20, 21). Tyre, Bethsaida and Chorazin were cities of Israel, and He is addressing those who were Sabbath- keeping, tithe- paying, professed members of God’s true church. “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day” (verse 23).

In referring to this passage in the Review and Herald, August 1, 1893, Ellen White says specifically that this is the Seventh- day Adventist Church: “Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. ‘” She refers to Capernaum as the Seventh- day Adventist Church also in the 1888 Materials, 637, 612, 851 and elsewhere.

Here the New Testament church, the Laodicean church, is compared to Capernaum, a beautiful city on Lake Galilee. It was sitting at the crossroads of the nations, with every spiritual advantage. Jesus had preached there; its inhabitants had heard the messages of John the Baptist, and they were not as wicked as the people in Nazareth. These were good people, faithful church members. In fact, the people of Galilee (which included the people of Capernaum), we are told in

Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 2, 3, were not under the influence of the priests and Pharisees as much as the people in Jerusalem, and they almost accepted Jesus. (See also Desire of Ages, 232.) Jesus preached to these people and the power of the hierarchy was almost broken. “Almost”. . . now that is Laodicean.


Jesus said that these people who were almost saved were worse than the people of Sodom. How could Jesus say such an unbelievable thing? The people of Sodom were homosexuals, given to every perversion and crime you can imagine. You might as well compare them to the homosexuals of San Francisco. Can you imagine being in an Adventist church — not the most wicked Adventist church, but one that is beautiful and gives lots of offerings, with a pipe organ playing and people coming and worshipping on Sabbath, listening to beautiful sermons — and Christ coming and saying, “You people are worse than the homosexuals of San Francisco.” I can tell you, He wouldn’t be invited back. “But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11: 24). How many believe that what Jesus said was true? How many parents would rather see their son or daughter become a homosexual on the streets of San Francisco, than remain a lukewarm member of the Seventh- day Adventist Church, just keeping Sabbath and paying their tithe, Sabbath after Sabbath? Parents want the best for their children, do they not? Christ said the people of Sodom were better off than the people of Capernaum. Have you ever heard it said that “We must keep our children in the church, no matter what? If we have to show them movies, if we have to entertain them, or whatever else we have to do, we must keep them in church.” Christ said they are better off in Sodom!

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God. ’” (Revelation 3: 14). Here He reminds the church that just as He was faithful and true with Capernaum and with the people of Meroz, He will be faithful now. Most people are not going to believe these words, that is why Christ begins this message with these words: “I am the One who does not exaggerate, the One who is going to give you the truth.” “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot” (verse 15). He says, “You think you know your works, but I am the One who knows your works, and I see that you are neither cold nor hot.” We might think, “Well, praise the Lord! At least we are halfway in between.” But Christ says, “I could wish you were cold or hot.” He says, “I would rather have you cold than lukewarm.” Many people do not believe that.


It takes most of us a degree of faith to believe what Jesus said about Capernaum and Sodom. It takes a degree of faith for a parent to believe it. I don’t think that many parents would rather have their children all the way in the world than halfway in the church, but Jesus said they are better off all the way in the world than halfway in the church. I am not saying that we should send any of our children out into the world. God forbid. But I am saying this: if they are halfway in the church, they are worse off, and it is time we were trying to get them hot. God’s religion is not one of mournfulness, there is joy and happiness. Religion needs to be brought down to the level of young people. Three-year olds need to have the Bible story told on their level of understanding; they cannot sit for an hour- long worship service. There needs to be a conversion experience starting with the ages of three and four. We need to see our young people converted. We need to see our older people convened. We need to see ourselves converted. God says in the Bible, “I would rather have you cold than lukewarm, all the way in the world rather than part way in the church.” Verses 16, 17, say: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, ‘ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” What a delusion!


Why did God say he would spew them out? Because Laodicea is in a neutral position, and they took a neutral position. “If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. 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” 3T, 281. The worst type of hostility against God is neutrality. Dear friend, that is what is viewed as good religion today – to accept anything and everybody — neutrality. We have such a pluralism of ideas in the church today that are all accepted and believed, that we are conditioned to be neutral on issues. In the Review and Herald, Feb. 25, 1902, Ellen White says there is more hope for an open enemy than for one who is neutral.

I have not covered the Celebration style of worship that has come into our church. You can read our book, No Time to Celebrate.

Prophecies are being fulfilled with this counterfeit Holy Spirit movement coining into our church out of Pentecostalism. There are some who recognize that playing solid, hard- rock music as part of the religious service is straight from Satan. We wonder, “How could anyone act that way in a church?” You know what? Those who take a neutral position are in a worse condition, such as our laity and our leaders who aren’t in the Celebration movement, but are neutral! Neither for nor against it. God said He is going to vomit them out of His mouth. Where is the backbone of our people? Where are the people who are willing to say that this is wrong and we will not countenance it, we will not say it is all right?

Ellen White says that those pastors who preach smooth sermons are the ones who will receive His curse. The most dangerous sermon is not the one in which there is blatant error; it is the one that is smooth and sounds good, but says nothing. Ellen White says: “In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was born by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them” 1T, 321. On pages 210 and 211 of Testimonies, vol. 5, she writes of those who are going to receive the seal of God and those who are not. Those who are not going to receive the seal of God “try to throw a cloak over the existing evil and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent,” but “those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any.”

There are two classes in the church in the last days – those who are good administrators, trying to make everyone feel good and excusing the wickedness around them, and those who will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any, but call sin by its right name. Which class in the church do you think is larger? Which is going to gain the control in the church? She says those who are concerned about the evil find themselves “powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect. The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God.” Ibid.

Some ministers in the church say that God is too merciful to visit His people with judgment, but as we continue reading we find just such judgments falling on these very ministers. “Thus ‘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” Ibid. 211. These smooth sermons – there are some people who say, “Our pastor doesn’t preach any error. He doesn’t preach any present truth either, but at least he doesn’t preach error. We have a neutral pastor. That is better than we could have.” But that is not better than you could have, it is as bad as you can get. God is looking for people of action. In Deborah’s day He called for reproof. He called for people who were willing to put their lives on the line. Today He is giving to every member of the church, every preacher and every layman, a summons and a call to activity and warfare. There are two startling statements in the Spirit of Prophecy I would like to look at. The first one reads:

“There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine” IT, 261, 262.

For those who are preaching smooth, common sermons and keeping the people entertained week by week, God pronounces a woe, but not for those only. I believe that many of God’s professed people think in themselves, “Lord, don’t make me responsible. All I do is come to church week after week, I don’t have anything to do with this apostasy.” That is what Meroz said. “I haven’t done anything bad. I am just a good church member.” The Lord says that those church members who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them are as guilty as those who are doing the ministering.

The second statement reads, “If God pronounces a woe upon those who are called to preach the truth and refuse to obey, a heavier woe rests upon those who take upon them this sacred work without clean hands and pure hearts. As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, so there are woes for those who receive and maintain the unsanctified in the position which they cannot fill” 2T, 552. The unsanctified could not continue to minister to the members without the members’ support. Without support they could not do unrighteous or unjust actions, such as not paying women Bible workers. Did you know that there was a time when Ellen White, on page 117 of Spalding- Magan, said, “I will in the name of the Lord, protest”? I am not going to tell you how she protested, because somebody might get the wrong idea, but it was financially. There are various ways that we choose to support and maintain the unsanctified to minister to us and the Lord holds every church member accountable for maintaining a corrupt system. Am I calling for a revolution? I hope you do not mistake the fact that lam. Actually, lam not– the Lord is, through His messenger, Ellen White. I am simply quoting to you from the Spirit of Prophecy. What do these statements mean? Do you suppose that they have any meaning for us today? I do not want a woe upon me. Do you want a woe upon you? I do not know how to apply all these statements, but I believe that all God’s requirements, all God’s commands are a possibility.


“It is not enough to merely profess to believe the truth. All the soldiers of the cross of Christ virtually obligate themselves to enter the crusade against the adversary of souls, to condemn wrong and sustain righteousness. But the message of the True Witness reveals the fact that a terrible deception is upon our people, which makes it necessary to come to them with warnings, to break their spiritual slumber, and arouse them to decided action” 3T, 254.

Ellen White says something must arouse our people to decided action. Something has to happen to wake people up! “Many are tempted in regard to our work and are calling it in question. [She is referring to her work and James White’s work as they visited the churches, calling people to revival, reformation and repentance.] Some, in their tempted condition, charge the difficulties and perplexities of the people of God to the testimonies of reproof that we have given them. They think the trouble is with the ones who bear the message of warning, who point out the sins of the people and correct their errors. Many are deceived by the adversary of souls. They think that the labors of Brother and Sister White would be acceptable if they were not continually condemning wrong and reproving sin. I was shown that God has laid this work upon us, and when we are hindered from meeting with His people [This was written in the early part of Ellen White’s ministry and already they were trying to keep them from coming before the people because the message was too straight.] and from bearing our testimony and counteracting the surmises and jealousies of the unconsecrated, then Satan presses in his temptations very strongly. Those who have been ever on the questioning, doubting side feel at liberty to suggest their doubts and to insinuate their unbelief. Some have sanctimonious and apparently conscientious amid very pious doubts, which they cautiously drop, but which have tenfold more power to strengthen those who are wrong, amid to lessen our influence and weaken the confidence of God’s people in our work, than if they came out more frankly” Ibid., 258, 259.


She said that if they had come out sorely against them it would riot have done one- tenth as much damage as their claiming to be friends while dropping seeds of doubt along the way. What did God say? “I would rather have you hot or cold than lukewarm.” He says there is more hope for an open enemy than one who remains neutral. Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly because you did nothing. You were not against us, you did not come fight with us. Curse you, Meroz. You are worse off than if you had been the enemy – ten times worse! “These poor souls, I saw, were deceived by Satan. They flatter themselves that they are all right, that they are in favor with God and are rich in spiritual discernment, when they are poor, blind, and wretched. They are doing the work of Satan. but think they have a zeal for God.” Ibid. Can we become more spiritually blind than to think that we are on fire and have zeal for God, and yet be instruments of Satan? That is what the Laodicean message is all about.


What is it that wakes people out of their lukewarm, Laodicean condition? In Elijah’s day God’s people were blind to their spiritual need and Elijah took action. “Elijah’s faithful soul was grieved. His indignation was aroused, and he was jealous for the glory of God. He saw that Israel was plunged into fearful apostasy. And when he called to mind the great things that God had wrought for them, he was overwhelmed with grief and amazement. But all this was forgotten by the majority of the people. He went before the Lord, and, with his soul wrung with anguish, pleaded for Him to save His people if it must be by judgments. He pleaded with God to withhold from His ungrateful people dew and rain, the treasures of heaven, that apostate Israel might look in vain to their gods, their idols of gold, wood, and stone, the sun, moon, amid stars, to water and enrich the earth, amid cause it to bring forth plentifully” Ibid., 263. Is that the sign of a Christian, to plead with God to send judgments upon His people? James 5 says that Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain. Do we understand what the Christian life is all about on this earth? It is not one of passivism, not one of doing nothing; it is one of doing something to uphold the honor and glory of God.

Mrs. White writes about a class of people who are bringing discouragement upon the people of God because of their wavering condition. “God may give this class another test, another proving, and let them show that they are no better prepared to stand free from all rebelling amid sin than before their confessions were made. They are inclined to be ever on the side of wrong. And when the call is made for those who will be on the Lord’s side to make a decided move to vindicate the right, they will manifest their true position. Those who have been nearly all their lives controlled by a spirit as foreign to the Spirit of God as was Achan’s will be very passive when the time comes for decided action on the part of all. They will not claim to be on either side” Ibid., 271, 272. There are Achans in the camp, those who claim to be on neither side. But she says they are always on the wrong side. They get right in the middle and say, “I am not for either side. There are faults on both sides. I try to see good in everyone and everything. I am here to pull people together.” They don’t take a position, they don’t take either side. They are like Achan, always on the wrong side by taking no side at all. They look at themselves as being passive.

She goes on to say: “Those who are true and loyal will not conceal the fact, but will put heart and might into the work, and venture their all in the struggle, let the battle turn as it will. God is a sin- hating God. And those who encourage the sinner, saying, It is well with thee, God will curse.” Do you want to be under the curse of God? It is much more pheasant to be able to compliment people, even when we don’t feel hike it, to make them feel good. A curse is in that compliment if it is not deserved.

Sister White illustrates this neutrality with a case of Moses and Aaron. Aaron was a type of Laodicea when he made the golden calf. When Moses came down from the mount, he was very upset. His anger was aroused and he threw down the Ten Commandments. But Aaron, the one who led out iii the apostasy, came with calm assurance. He smoothed the waters over. Mrs. White says: “Aaron’s calm assurance in a wrong course gave him greater influence with the people than Moses could have had in leading them in a right course and in subduing their rebellion” Ibid., 300. Notice that Aaron had influence with the people because he was so calm. He was able to take it in stride. He gave everyone that nice assurance.

“When Moses saw the idolatry of Israel and his indignation was so aroused at their shameful forgetfulness of God that he threw down the tables of stone and broke them, Aaron stood meekly by, bearing the censure of Moses with commendable patience. The people were charmed with Aaron’s lovely spirit and were disgusted with the rashness of Moses. But God seeth not as man sees. He condemned not the ardor and indignation of Moses against the base apostasy of Israel” Ibid, 300,301. There can be no greater blindness than to think that you are all right, when you are all wrong.


“The greatest want of the world is the want of men– men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” ED 57.

Friend, if you are going to stand for the right, the heavens may fall.

When Jesus came, the church was in a state of apostasy and He tried to bring a reformation and revival, but there is nothing that is resisted so much as are formation and revival when a church thinks they are all right. Jesus started out with large crowds and they grew smaller and smaller until He hung upon the cross alone. He warned the disciples at the very beginning of His ministry, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter- in- law against her mother- in- law. ‘ And ‘a man’s foes will be those of his own household. ‘ He who loves fat her or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10: 34- 39).


Today the Lord is looking for an army, an army of workers who will be emptied of self. He is not looking for people to stand up in pride and arrogance. He is not looking for people to be independent, as Lucifer was. He is looking for people who are humble, who do not look at themselves as being very important, and who are willing to wash the feet of others. He is looking for people who, as Jesus did, seek to please people where they conscientiously can. God is looking for people who have a spirit of love– a patient people. God wants people who do not vindicate their own rights, who are willing to suffer wrong rather than champion self. If we are removed from a church office, so be it, let someone else take care of that. God may have some higher purpose for us. He may want us to minister to the needy.

Since the Bible says that all things are to be done decently and in order, God is not looking for people to stand up in the middle of the service and make chaos. There may come such a time, but make sure it is under the influence of the Holy Spirit and not impulsiveness. God is not looking for us to pick the splinter out of our brother’s eye when we have a moat in our own. God isn’t looking for faultfinding people, for critical people who are hard to get along with, or fanatical people. He is hooking for people who will stand for the right. though the heavens fall, for people who will be active in the cause of righteousness and are not going to stand by while souls are being lost because of the tame, lukewarm preaching that comes from our pulpits week after week. They are going to do something! They are going to protest in some way, and they are not going to grow weary. Like David’s great men, they are going to take the sword and not let it go until the victory is won. Their hand may grow weary, but they are going to hold on to that sword, the sword of the Spirit. We have swords in the Old Testament and in the New. In the Old Testament the sword is literal, in the New Testament it is figurative. In the New Testament it is the sword of the Spirit, and it cuts. It cuts sharper, we are told, than ally two- edged sword, much sharper than the sword of the Old Testament, cutting between bone and marrow. (Hebrew 4: 12)

Dear friend, God is looking for people who are willing to sacrifice self, honor, all they have, to uphold the banner of truth. How many will heed tile call’? God has given a message, He has said, I am the faithful and true witness, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.” “I wish you were one or the other, but because you are neither, I am going to spew you out of my mouth. Because you say you are rich and increased with goods when you have need of everything.” Therefore, He says,

“I counsel of you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich” (Revelation 3: 18). God, give us that gold today! That gold of faith and love. That gold that loves God, truth, and the honor of God so much that we are willing to stand, though the heavens fall, for the honor and glory of God. To stand alone for His glory and honor, not our own. “And white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” Ibid.

Dear friend, I hope that our eyes have been anointed enough to see that neutrality is worse than open apostasy. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes” – there is something to overcome. There is something for Meroz to overcome. There is something for Capernaum to overcome. And there is something for Laodicea to overcome, dear friend. God is looking for overcomers today, those who will overcome their timidity and cowardice in the face of danger. He is looking for people who will stand up under the fear of the Lord for truth and righteousness. “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Fat heron His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3: 19- 22).

“God has raised up men to meet the necessity of this time who will cry aloud and spare not, who will lift up their voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. Their work is not only to proclaim the law, but to preach the truth for this time — the Lord our righteousness. The curse of Meroz will be upon those who do not now come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Well may the question be asked in the spirit of Elijah, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him. ‘” Review and Herald, August 13, 1889.

Dear friend, are you willing to stand for the Lord though the heavens fall? to say, “I do not want the curse of Meroz. I do not want to halt between two opinions, neither for nor against anything. I want to stand for the Lord though the heavens fall.” Oh, dear friend, the Lord is willing to pour out His Spirit today, and I hope a revival and reformation goes out from among us and stretches to the churches and conferences of this land with a decided determination, by God’s hand, to turn things around. In Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2,283,284, Ellen White says that it requires something more than a plain message, something that will stir the enemy’s subjects. We need something to stir this church today. It is time for Jesus to come. I want to go home. I don’t want to stay on this earth forever. It is time to stand for the Lord, and then we will see His Spirit working. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to empower us to do the work He has called us to do.

Copies of this booklet available in our online bookstore here.

The Cost of Revival and Reformation – A Response to Concerns and Objections

By The Special Ministries Association

“A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. . . . A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. . . . Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.” Selected Messages, book 1,121,128.

The Cost of Revival and Reformation

The Special Ministries Association represents various Seventh- day Adventist special ministries. These special ministries desire to work in harmony with the conferences, as fellow laborers, toward hastening the soon coming of Jesus. However, to our disappointment, we have been experiencing increasing resistance from some whom we would expect to be cooperating with us in this endeavor. This resistance has increased to the spreading of rumors and accusations. Generally these charges have not been answered. The ministries have merely kept on with their work. But the counsel of the Lord indicates that there comes a time to answer:

When man assails his fellow men, and presents in a ridiculous light those whom God has appointed to do work for Him, we would not he doing justice to the accusers, or to those who are misled by their accusations should we keep silent, leaving the people to think that their brethren and sisters, in whom they have had confidence, are no longer worthy of their love and fellowship. This work, arising in our very midst, and resembling the work of Korab, Dathan, and Abinam, is an offence to God, and should he met. Selected Messages, book 3, 348

Recently one of the conferences issued a twelve- page document concerning Marshall Grosboll, Director of Steps to Life, Inc., one of the special ministries. This document, entitled Concerns and Objections, lists a number of accusations. This paper The Cost of Revival and Reformation, is a response to the conference’s concerns and objections, and in so doing, details the principles that should prevail between workers in God’s cause.

Concerns and Objections was put together by an anonymous committee. It was read by Elder R, 1 Seventh- day Adventist conference president, to Elder Grosboll and others who were present, at a meeting on January 25, 1989. Those present at the meeting included representatives of the Union Conference, Hope International, Hartland, Steps to Life, some other ministries, and two conference presidents.

Marshall Grosboll is an ordained minister of the Seventh- day Adventist Church who took a leave of absence from the Kansas- Nebraska Conference in 1987 in order to devote full- time to the Steps to Life television ministry and its affiliate Bible worker training school (the Institute of Ministry). The leave of absence was prompted by the conference’s request for Pastor Grosboll to transfer to another district when, after considerable counsel and prayer, he felt convicted to continue the Steps to Life outreach and training ministries that were just getting started and established in Wichita.

The conference’s concerns and objections in this document involve methodology, procedure, and emphasis, not doctrine. Elder Grosboll believes and teaches all of the historical and fundamental teachings of the Seventh- day Adventist Church, and has never been charged with teaching false principles contrary to the church. The document ends with this statement:

Because of these and many other reasons we believe that Marshall Grosboll has demonstrated that he is not a true shepherd of the flock and therefore should not represent the Seventh- day Adventist Church as an ordained minister. Concerns and Objections, 12

Since Elder Grosboll has never yet been tried and is still a recognized, ordained minister of the Seventh- day Adventist Church, the Special Ministries Association has serious concerns about the conclusion of this document which calls for a change in this regard, and the reasons for arriving at said conclusion. The charges in the Concerns and Objections document involve the ministry and decisions of many people who are involved and benefitted by the Steps to Life ministry. Moreover, the charges brought against Elder Grosboll and the Steps to Life ministry can likewise be brought against many others who are conscientiously seeking to fulfill ministries for the Lord. Thus, many people have been prayerfully studying the issues raised in this document.

Pastor Grosboll’s Ministry

Elder Marshall Grosboll has served for 12 years as a pastor of the Seventh- day Adventist Church. Following is a short statement by Elder Grosboll concerning his ministry.

I have served as pastor to the best of my ability. Thanks only to the grace of God, the churches I have served have grown in attendance, tithe, and membership during my pastorates there. But I freely admit that I am not free from fault in my ministry. Realizing the high calling and sacred responsibilities of the ministry, I have always viewed myself as unworthy. Thus I have prayed for just a humble field of service in which I might serve Him.

As I view the lovely Majesty of heaven, lacerated and bleeding upon the cross, lam constantly reminded that for my sins He died. My only rightful reward is what Jesus suffered on the cross. He took my place. Knowing that, I have pledged myself to be true to Him, unworthy though I may be, to whatever calling and position He may ask me to fulfill. I fully believe that the Lord has called me and ordained me to the gospel ministry, and by His grace I am as true to that calling today as I have ever been.

Yet if I alone were being accused, I would not feel it prudent to answer. For the least of my sins is deserving of more than the goals this document is striving for. Whether I remain or not, or whether I am despised and condemned, accepted or unaccepted, is of little consequence. Jesus endured far more for me. But it is not I alone on trial, but rather it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Let me also reaffirm that I believe, and have always believed, in the movement, message, and organizational principles upon which the Seventh- day Adventist Church was established. Moreover, I have always tried to cooperate with its leadership in a spirit of love. I have served under seven conference presidents and have had a wonderful relationship with most of them. And though, regretfully, that is not the situation here, I have sought to bring about reconciliation and cooperation with this conference. I am determined to continue to work for unity within the guidelines of biblical principle. I also, with the Protestant reformers and a multitude of others within the Seventh day Adventist Church, believe that the Word of God and the Holy Spirit must become and remain central in all that we do. All decisions of principle must be based upon this standard and this standard alone.”

Pastor Grosboll, as do most people in special ministries, desires to cooperate with the conference. Yet our perception is that the only cooperation wanted in this instance is unquestioning obedience to conference control. Ellen White said that Battle Creek operated on the “rule or ruin” principle (Testimonies to Ministers, 360). God designs that we should all work together, for His honor and glory, as brothers and sisters, willing to counsel and be counseled, and loving one another as Christ has loved us. Yet above and beyond our relationship with one another and the conference, must be our loyalty to truth and righteousness and obedience to the call and ordination of the Lord. May this become our experience. Our greatest desire is to see the conference filled with the spirit and power of the Holy Spirit. Elder Grosboll, and each of us in Special Ministries, are more than willing to work with the conference. We believe this is what God wants.

We find it unfortunate that the Concerns and Objection’s document, which was presented at the January 25 meeting, either did not seek to verify the facts, and/ or overlooked certain facts, before it was presented. Much work obviously went into this document, yet no one ever got in touch with Elder Grosboll. We also find it unfortunate that the document judges motives throughout, and does so in the most unfavorable light.

The January 25 Meeting

It should be noted that when Elder R came to speak with Pastor Grosboll, he said he was “following Matthew 18″ in coming to his brother with some concerns. Upon further investigation, it was found that this whole document had been presented, as fact, to the Executive Committee nearly two months before their meeting, without any defense or even knowledge on the part of the one being accused. The accuser and the judge were one and the same, with the Executive Committee acting as jury, but the accused was not only absent, but totally unaware of the accusations. Not only did the Executive Committee go along with the proceedings, but also not a word of these secret activities ever leaked out to any of those in question until the January 25 meeting nearly two months later.

Moreover, it should be noted that the ultimatums the president gave to Pastor Grosboll after the January 25 meeting, which he said would help to clear up the conference’s concerns; had little to do with the accusations of the document itself. This fact has caused some to question whether the accusations of the Concerns and Objections document, many of which are unfounded, were merely a means to an end, to try to gain control.

At the January 25 meeting the conference president told Elder Grosboll and the others present that a response was not wanted and would not be accepted at that time. The meeting was merely for the purpose of reading the concerns, with no chance of reconciliation or time to discuss the issues. This decision was in spite of the fact that, as soon as Pastor Grosboll found out that the president was coming, he wrote a response to him asking for an agenda. This request was

Second, the president was asked to allow enough time in order to discuss, pray about, and study whatever concerns he had. With people coming from great distances for the meeting, Pastor Grosboll desired an all- day meeting in order that there might be time to pray and discuss the issues together in brotherly love, thus allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them into true unity. Sadly, this request too was denied. Elder R, in addition to bringing friends with him from the Union Committee, invited Pastor Grosboll to bring anyone he wanted to the meeting with him, but when his group arrived, they were told there would not be time for them to make comments.

Our greatest disappointment is the lack of interest the conference seems to manifest for the soul- winning work of Steps to Life. No one has faulted the theology or content of their evangelism, preaching, or television programs. Converts from the Steps to Life ministry throughout North America are being baptized into their local Seventh- day Adventist Churches. Yet there almost seems to be a hope that this ministry will not succeed in bringing anyone into the church. Why? Could the following be part of the reason?

The word of the Lord came to Elijah; he did not seek to be the Lord’s messenger, but the word came to him. God always has men to whom He entrusts His message. His Spirit moves upon their hearts and constrains them to speak. Stimulated by holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they enter upon the performance of their duty without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord has given them. But the servant of God is soon made aware that he has risked something. He finds himself and his message made the subject of criticism. His manners, his life, his property, are all inspected and commented upon. His message is picked to pieces and rejected in the most illiberal and unsanctified spirit, as men in their finite judgment see fit. Testimonies, vol. 5, 299

The allegations and conclusions of the Concerns and Objections document must be addressed. Yet it is with great reluctance that we do so, for Pastor Grosboll and each one of us love the brethren who have formulated these concerns. We love every facet of our church, which we believe to be the remnant church of prophecy. We wish this response could have simply been shared at the meeting itself, and that understanding and peace could have ensued, without the necessity of a written response. May the Lord mold and shape each of us into a holy, united family for the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the finishing of the work of God on earth. This desired result, however, can never happen without a genuine revival and reformation. May this response paper be used by the Lord to help conferences understand the burden of special ministries and the opposition that some are encountering. May it also be used to help bring the Lord’s work together, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for a finished work.

Mutual Concerns

The first paragraph of the Concerns and Objections document states that two of Pastor Grosboll’s goals are to bring, “revival and reformation to the membership of the church,” as well as the “evangelization of the world with the Three Angels’ messages.”

Conference leadership, in the next paragraph, elucidates how they also “deplore the sins in ourselves and in God’s true church.” They state: “We weep at the backsliding of God’s people. We pray and work for reformation and revival in our lives and the lives of our people.” We commend the conference on this stance. Yet we have never been able to engage the conference leaders into joining us in prayer and study for the guidance of the Lord. If Steps to Life, or any of us in special ministries, are doing something wrong, we want to know what it is. We do not suppose we have all the light or all the answers. In fact, we claim no new light. We are simply trying to do missionary work. We desire to sit down with our conference brethren and to work for revival and reformation. Where we are falling short of the purposes of God, we want to change.

How Concerned Is the Conference in Revival and Reformation?

In Wichita, as in each of the districts Marshall Grosboll has pastored, he concentrated his ministry on helping each member to develop a personal relationship with Christ through a daily study of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, earnest prayer, and following the Lord all the way in their personal lives. Pastor Grosboll stressed that, in both our personal lives and as a church body, we must put away self and sin and allow the Holy Spirit to have full control. We must follow every counsel of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, not from a legalistic standpoint, but from a heart of love and with faith in His Word. An analysis of the first year’s sermons reveals that sixty- six percent of the sermons were drawn from the gospels, with the rest from other portions of the Bible. Examples of these were a series that brought revival to many people, entitled, “Footsteps to Calvary,” and the sermon,” Extra Oil,” from Matthew 25.

Pastor Grosboll does not believe in concentrating on sin, for he believes that Jesus is the focus of our faith. Yet open sin cannot be overlooked by the faithful pastor, for it will prevent the blessing of the Lord. After Pastor Grosboll arrived in Wichita, he was informed by some of the elders and associate pastors that some of the leaders of the church were heavy coffee drinkers, others watched videos that were well beyond the questionable stage, and some had other such inconsistencies. Their concern was that these sins were preventing the Lord’s blessings. In an elders’ meeting which Pastor Grosboll called soon after he arrived, he asked one of his associate pastors to have the opening devotional. Before his devotional, the associate shared with Pastor Grosboll that he had spent nearly the whole previous night in prayer. He felt impressed to give a message, but felt apprehensive about the results. Marshall, as his associates called him, did not ask what the subject was, but encouraged him to share whatever the Lord had impressed him to give.

His message was on the importance of the elders being examples to the flock. He gave several illustrations, one of which caused many of the elders to be very upset: He suggested that the elders should strive toward becoming “vegetarians.”

Though this was not Pastor Grosboll’s timing, he felt that the Holy Spirit had impressed his associate to give the message he did, and he supported him. One of the elders later shared how he was convicted to change his diet following this meeting. Truly, the Holy Spirit had led in the remarks this associate had given at the elders’ meeting. But the fact that Pastor Grosboll supported his associate in the remarks given caused such a furor among the elders that Pastor Grosboll was soon called into the conference office to give an account of the meeting. Sadly, instead of supporting truth and righteousness, their sympathy was with those who had been offended. Their support seemed to be with those who could help or hurt them the most with their influence.

The associate who made the comments later told the pastor, with tears in his eyes, how much he appreciated his support. He said that before Pastor Grosboll arrived, that would not have happened.

The conference officers had called Pastor Grosboll to Wichita. The president shared that he believed the Holy Spirit had led them in this call. If the conference officers, after this elders’ meeting at the very beginning of Pastor Grosboll’s ministry, had supported the truths he preached and stood for, in spite of op position, what would have been the results? It is very probable, judging by the events which followed, that a great revival would have taken place in Wichita, and maybe even in the conference. Only eternity will show the full results of what appeared to be self- serving at this time.

“Many are the souls that have been destroyed by the unwise sympathy of their brethren; for, because the brethren sympathized with them, they thought they must indeed have been abused, and that the reprover was all wrong and had a bad spirit.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 329

Sometimes It Is Dangerous to Question

At about this same time, Marshall Grosboll presented in the Conference Administrative Committee, of which he was a member, his concerns about the new conference plan to “save” their academies. The conference was initiating a one- plus million dollar endowment program for Enterprise Academy, which the union president said would make it permanently secure.

Pastor Grosboll produced figures in the Administrative Committee to show that with a constant rate of investment, which is the only realistic way of figuring for offerings and gifts, and with currently normal inflation and interest rates, it would take 30 years just to recoup the investments made (in real buying power) without any return in the investment at all! The reason for this is that the investment is never touched, but will still be in the bank (if the bank is still solvent) when Jesus comes. The endowment plan is set up to put money in the bank forever, and just draw on the interest. To plan thirty years for a return on an investment was, in Elder Grosboll’s opinion, putting off the day of the Lord, and was being a poor steward of His goods. Does God want us to invest our money in the banks, when His work is in need? These statements were quoted: “[God] calls upon those who have money in the banks to put it into circulation.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 56

“The very means that is now so sparingly invested in the cause of God, and that is selfishly retained, will in a little while be cast with all idols to the moles and to the bats. Money will soon depreciate in value very suddenly. Evangelism, 63 Satan is much more vigilant, keen- sighted, and skillful in devising ways to secure means to himself than our brethren are to secure the Lord’s own to His cause.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 478

“The Lord desires us to let our light so shine before men that His Holy Spirit may communicate the truth to the honest in heart who are seeking after truth. As we do this work, we shall find that means will flow into our treasuries, and we shall have means with which to carry on a still broader and more far- reaching work.” Evangelism, 61- 62

Once we make a commitment never to touch the principal of an investment, we have left God clear out of the picture. Someday these investments that we legally cannot dispose of, because of binding agreements, will be a curse:

I saw that if any held on to their property, and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them. . . . I heard some mourn like this: “The cause was languishing, God’s people were starving for the truth, and we made no effort to supply the lack; now our property is useless. Oh, that we had let it go, and laid up treasure in heaven!” Counsels on Stewardship, 60

Why not, Elder Grosboll asked, put this money into soul winning rather than the banks? Will earning interest in the bank really bring more returns than using that same money to win souls? Moreover, soul winning will bring in new students, which our schools are really needing. If the conference really pushed the endowment program, Pastor Grosboll felt it would drain the other programs, and eventually the school could go down anyway- maybe even sooner. The real need of our academies, Pastor Grosboll felt, was the blessing of God that comes from doing His will. This is what they needed to be working toward.

Though the pastor was not adamant in his opinions, and only made one speech outlining his concerns, when called into the president’s office about the elders’ meeting, he was also criticized about his comments in the Administrative Committee about the endowment program. He was informed by the president that this endowment program was a program that he cherished and had helped to devise. The president said he could not argue with the figures but that even though the money would not bring any real increase on the investment for many years, it was an effective way to get money from the people because it was popular. Pastor Grosboll suggested that it took a great amount of promotion to make it popular.

Though Marshall Grosboll did not bring up the subject of endowments again, from that point on the program never achieved what had been hoped. Soon after, whether for this reason or for some other, Pastor Grosboll was informed that he was no longer on the Administrative Committee. A conference official told him months later, that his speech on the endowment funds was one of the main reasons the conference had withdrawn their support of him; but that many were wishing they had followed his advice, for the academy was at that point so low on money that they were having to ask some people who were putting their money into the endowment fund to reverse these pledges and give them for operating costs. This experience taught Pastor Grosboll the result of questioning a cherished project of some administrators. Was this the reason that such situations as the Davenport investments, that cost the church millions of dollars, were allowed to go on and on, even though many people clearly saw the dangers and inequities in the program?

“We Are God’s Favored People”

Pastor Grosboll developed a Preaching and Revival service for Sabbath vespers that dealt with revival and reformation. Over a hundred people attended regularly. His sermons also were calls for personal holiness and revival, for every person, from the conference worker to the lowliest member. The tapes of these sermons went far and wide. But while there was an increase in church attendance, and at all the services of the church, some did not appreciate these messages.

“Those whom God has chosen for an important work have ever been received with distrust and suspicion. Anciently, when Elijah was sent with a message from God to the people, they did not heed the warning. They thought him unnecessarily severe. They even thought that he must have lost his senses because he denounced them, the favored people of God, as sinners and their crimes as so aggravated that the judgments of God would awaken against them.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 261

The same attitude as the ancient people of God expressed, that we are “the favored people of God,” and thus we are safe from “the judgments of God,” seems to be echoed in the Concerns and Objections document. After affirming how the leadership laments the backsliding of God’s people, the document then says, in the same paragraph: “We believe that the Seventh- day Adventist Church, as presently organized, is God’s true church. We believe, despite the faults and imperfections of its leaders and members, this church is the only object of our Lord’s supreme regard” (Concerns and Objections, 1). Thus, in the context in which it is given, the thought is expressed, as in Elijah’s day, “Yes, we may have some imperfections, but we are the beloved of the Lord, rich and increased with goods. Whatever we decide to do or not do, we will yet remain God’s favored people, even “as presently organized” and functioning. Nothing evil can come to us.” But Jeremiah warns:

Do not trust in these lying words, saying, “The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are these.” For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, . . . then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.” 2 2 Jeremiah 7: 4- 7 3

Ellen White has a most solemn warning to those in responsible positions: [God] shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. . . . The prejudice which has arisen against us because we have reproved the wrongs that God has shown me existed, and the cry that has been raised of harshness and severity, are unjust. God bids us speak, and we will not be silent. If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty. Testimonies, vol. 3, 265- 266

Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, “But I Say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh- day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”. . .

Shall the Lord be compelled to say, “Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee”? . . . The little sins that men think are of so trivial a character that on their account they will not be brought into condemnation, are very offensive in the sight of God. Says one, “You are too severe, a man must be allowed these little defects of character.”

. . . But this is simply soothing the conscience, and crying, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Sin is sin, and it is the delusion of Satan to look upon it in any other light than that it is grievous. E. G. White, Review and Herald, August 1, 1893. (The brackets, along with the comments within them, are by Ellen White and are in the original.) vol. 3, 69- 70

Extraordinary power from God must take hold of Seventh- day Adventist Churches. Reconversion must take place among the members. . . . Renewed, purified, sanctified, the church must be, else the wrath of God will fall upon them with much greater power than upon those who have never professed to be saints. Lift Him Up, 301

The righteousness that is taught, from the conference office, from the pulpit, and beside the hearth, must include the call for reformation. It must at times include the reproof of sin and the call for repentance. But it is this very duty to call sin by its right name that is often the cause of opposition, and for this reason is often omitted. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 676)

“Don’t Rock the Boat”

The third event that brought Pastor Grosboll into conflict with the conference was the directive given to him by the conference president not to do anything in the nominating committee to “rock the boat.” Suggestions were made by conference administration as to who should hold one of the important offices. Though he would like to have been able to see the conference’s suggestions followed, the nominating committee pointed out serious spiritual concerns with the ones suggested. The committee tried to follow the counsels of the Church Manual in this regard:

The decisions and votes of the [nominating] committee are not to be controlled or influenced by any church, group, or individual. Decisions are reached after prayerful and careful study of all aspects of the matters that come before them pertaining to the administration of the work.

Seventh- day Adventist Church Manual, 131 For years keeping a “smooth running ship” seems to have been more important than revival and reformation. There is a cost to revival and reformation- it brings the wrath of Satan. So the unwritten policy appears to have been to give lip service to revival and reformation in order to appease those concerned while shunning the consequences. Thus evil has often appeared to have been tolerated, and even encouraged.

Is it possible that, maybe unintentionally, evil has often been called good? Are there people who, according to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, should not be in office, who have not only been kept in office, but praised and entrusted with even greater sacred responsibilities in order to elicit their good- will? The Bible warns against calling evil good. Those who condone the evil, soon condemn the good.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5: 20

The nominating committee that year was both the result and the continuation of the revival taking place in the church. This revival led the nominating committee to seek to please God first, in their selection of people for office, rather than to conciliate people, though they tried to take people’s feelings into account. In the nominating committee that year it was mentioned that there were some people whom the nominating committee of the year before had not put back into office at first, but whom the pastor later insisted that they reinstate. One of the associate pastors confided that the pastor had said these people could cost him his job [locally) if they were not put back. Pastor Grosboll told the nominating committee not to make him or his job a consideration, but one thing and one thing only- the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Several of those on the nominating committee that year recall how they spent an hour to an hour and a half at every session in the study of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and in prayer, and how they felt the presence of the Lord.

The nominating committee sought to put away political concerns and to allow the Lord to lead them in every selection. No one had a controlling voice, and all voting was done by secret ballot. Most felt that the Lord was definitely leading. Yet, of nearly thirty members who had made up the board, only three were not asked to return, other than a couple who had asked not to be considered for office. Nevertheless, the changes that were made were ones that the nominating committee saw as vital for revival and reformation. These changes caused a storm of opposition.

But, as with most true revivals, some rose up against revival. Private committees were formed to develop plans to resist it. People were called in an organized manner and asked to quit paying their tithe into the conference until Pastor Grosboll was removed. Various and untrue rumors were started and circulated all the way to the General Conference. There was seen the fulfillment of the prophecy:

As the work of God’s people moves forward with sanctified, resistless energy, planting the standard of Christ’s righteousness in the church, moved by a power from the throne of God, the great controversy will wax stronger and stronger, and will become more and more determined. Mind will be arrayed against mind, plans against plans, principles of heavenly origin against principles of Satan. Truth in its varied phases will be in conflict with error in its ever- varying, increasing forms, and which, if possible, will deceive the very elect. . . .

The ministry, the pulpit, and the press demand men like Caleb, who will do and dare, men whose eyes are single to detect the truth from error. . . .

The man who rejects the word of the Lord, who endeavors to establish his own way and will, tears to pieces the messenger and message which God sends in order to discover to him his sin. . . . He begins to quibble at technicalities and manners. The spirit of Satan links him up with the enemy to bear a word of criticism on less important themes. The truth becomes of less and still less value to him. He becomes an accuser of his brethren, etc., and changes leaders. Testimonies to Ministers, 407- 409

The conference seemed to support this resistance movement to revival and the nominating committee, even to their withholding of tithe. A conference official was asked, within the hearing of a number of people, if the withholding of tithe would cause the conference to act upon their wishes. He admitted that it would have an effect. As far as could be observed, there was never one word of reproof or disapproval expressed for these manipulative tactics. In fact, a conference treasurer was quoted in an ensuing board meeting, by a discontented member who said he had gotten in touch with several treasurers for guidance, as suggesting that they collectively save their tithe in a commercial account. He later confessed that this advice came from the local conference

“Preach Only Love”

Soon after serving on the nominating committee of the Wichita church, Elder R became president of the conference. Within approximately two months of his arrival he asked Pastor Grosboll to take a call outside the conference. Pastor Grosboll had been in Wichita, at the time, for only six months. He was impressed, and still is impressed, that the Lord did not want him to leave his post of duty at that time. Most of the elders felt that if Pastor Grosboll left at that time, much of the reformation that had been accomplished would be lost.

As there had been little communication between Pastor Grosboll and the new president, he wondered why the new president seemed so anxious to have him moved before he had even gotten acquainted. He asked the president if he had received some direction from the previous president. He admitted that he had. He said that the only directive he had received from the departing president was to “do something about Wichita.” Elder R shared that he had probably made a mistake by making a decision about what to do about the Wichita situation before he had even talked to the pastor. But his attitude seemed unchanged.

Pastor Grosboll was warned by the new president not to preach any sermons that would cause anyone to be offended. “Preach only love,” he was told. Many of the members believed that this theme was what they were hearing from the pulpit. Many were being edified and reconverted. But in regard to the content and presentation of his sermons, Pastor Grosboll believed that he must submit that to prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct in the presentation of the Word. If there were theological disputes or questions of doctrine, or if the elders, as guardians of the flock and in a spirit of prayer, were impressed that the direction of his preaching ministry was not in accordance with the direction of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Grosboll would have been happy to change. But as there were no questions of theology or doctrine, and as most of the elders believed that the Holy Spirit was leading, and as Pastor Grosboll believed that the Holy Spirit was working and directing, he could not go against his convictions to preach what was given him to preach Sabbath by Sabbath.

The smooth sermons so often preached make no lasting impressions. . . . It is not from love for their neighbor that they smooth down the message entrusted to them. . . . True love seeks first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain speaking. Prophets and Kings, 140- 141

Conviction and Opposition

Paul’s worst enemies were among the Jews, who made the highest claims to godliness. . . . The truth always involves a cross. Those who will not believe, oppose and deride those who do believe. The fact that its presentation creates a storm of opposition, is no evidence against the truth. Sketches from the Life of Paul, 279

The Concerns and Objections document accuses Pastor Grosboll of refusing to accept counsel. This accusation seems to have stemmed originally from the two convictions against which the conference had advised him, namely, (1) that the church nominating committee must act upon its own convictions, in a spirit of prayer, independent of outside pressure, and (2) that the pastor is personally responsible to God for the message he gives. But what does it mean to accept counsel? For some, to accept counsel means to yield one’s entire will. For others it means to carefully weigh all the counsel received and then seek the Lord for final guidance. The latter is Pastor Grosboll’s understanding.

We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. The Desire of Ages, 668

We are to counsel together, and to be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us, in order to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment. We must individually develop a character that will stand the test in the day of God. We must not become set in our ideas, and think that no one should interfere with our opinions. Testimonies to Ministers, 110

Page two of Concerns and Objections begins with the following quotation: 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. [Testimonies to Ministers, 15]. Concerns and Objections, 2

But the rest of the statement from Testimonies to Ministers is omitted. The rest of the statement clarifies the first part of the quotation so that people will not misuse this statement to justify a spirit of control that exalts human leadership above God or His word. The rest of the statement identifies what the church is and sets the parameters of its authority:

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.” Testimonies to Ministers, 16

Thus the church is not some intangible structure or legal order, but it is the people of God, and these people are not to acknowledge any authority or laws but those of God. Leadership has no other authority except as invested and outlined in the Word of God. Nor have they authority to enforce any other laws than those supported by clear biblical principles. This principle is the basis of Protestantism.

With the first part of the quotation as a backdrop (Testimonies to Ministers, 15), without its qualifying parameters, the Concerns and Objections document then lists, “The specific problems we see in Elder Marshall Grosboll’s ministry ht Wichita, Kansas.” We will list them numerically:

  • “[ 1] divisive tactics he uses to achieve his goals,
  • [2] his refusal to counsel and plan with his ministering brethren,
  • [3] the appearance he gives of building an institution that supports only his goals,
  • [4] the separation of his teaching and preaching ministry from the organized church and the alienation of his supporters from the local Wichita churches and the local conference.”

We have come to a new day and age in the church when a conference leader will seek, not just to remove credentials, but to actually annul one’s ordination, as this paper calls for, over such subjective charges as these. [Pastor Grosboll did not have his credentials removed when he chose to take a leave of absence, though they subsequently expired.] To seek to take one’s ordination away is a very unusual and extreme action. That is declaring that the person was either ordained by mistake, or that he has turned away from God. Yet, to our knowledge, no charge of commandment breaking, false theology, or apostasy has ever been raised against Pastor Grosboll, nor is such found in Concerns and Objections. Nor is there anything charged against him relative to Paul’s counsels to either Titus or Timothy as to what are the conditions of eldership- simply these subjective charges, all of which have been leveled against God’s messengers in all ages.

Aleander’s attack on Luther included charges of’ “sedition, rebellion, impiety, and blasphemy” (The Great Controversy, 147). Luther’s response was: “I rejoice to see that the gospel is now, as in former times, a cause of trouble and dissension. This is the character; this is the destiny, of the word of God. ‘I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword, said Jesus Christ. God is wonderful and terrible in His counsels; beware lest, by presuming to quench dissensions; you should persecute the holy word of God, and draw down upon yourselves a frightful deluge of insurmountable dangers; of present disasters, and eternal desolation” (ibid., 159). Such boldness as Luther’s was not to be tolerated, and his enemies determined to put down this “daring obstinacy.” Ibid., 201

In this context, it should be noted that it was also a belief of Protestantism, and has been taught throughout the history of the Adventist Church, in accordance with the teachings of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, that ordination is from the Lord. The laying on of hands is to be in recognition of the call and ordination of the Lord. Inspiration makes it abundantly clear that not all who are called ministers by man are recognized as such by the Lord, and many whom the church condemns are still ordained by the Lord. Let us be careful that we not be found to be fighting against the Lord, as the Jewish church did in their contrivances against Jesus and the apostles, and as Ellen White said we also have already done, as for example, in 1888.

The initial charge given for the removal of ordination is that Pastor Grosboll is divisive. Is that true? Or has he stood for principle in the face of opposition? The smooth preaching that creates no trouble is condemned by God. Isn’t it time for something to stir the people of God? Isn’t it time to get ready for Jesus to come? And isn’t it time to ask why He hasn’t come?

Sins exist in the church that God hates, but they are scarcely touched for fear of making enemies. Opposition has risen in the church to the plain testimony. Some will not bear it. They wish smooth things spoken unto them. And if the wrongs of individuals are touched, they complain of severity, and sympathize with those in the wrong. As Ahab inquired of Elijah, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” they are ready to look with suspicion and doubt upon those who bear the plain testimony, and like Ahab overlook the wrong which made it necessary for reproof and rebuke. When the church depart from God they despise the plain testimony, and complain of severity and harshness. It is a sad evidence of the lukewarm state of the church.

Just as long as God has a church, He will have those who will cry aloud and spare not, who will be His instruments to reprove selfishness and sins, and will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies. It does not suit their natural feelings. They would choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears. I view the church in a more dangerous condition than they ever have been. Experimental religion is known but by a few. The shaking must soon lake place to purify the church. Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 283- 284

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.

I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified. Early Writings, 270

Preachers should have no scruples to preach the truth as it is found in God’s Word. Let the truth cut. I have been shown that why ministers have not more success is, they are afraid of hurting feelings, fearful of not being courteous, and they lower the standard of truth. Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 284- 285

The people are asleep in their sins and need to be alarmed before they can shake off this lethargy. Their ministers have preached smooth things; but God’s servants, who bear sacred, vital truths, should cry aloud and spare not, that the truth may tear off the garment of security and find its way to the heart. Testimonies, vol. 1, 249

In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them. Ibid., 321

Man may acknowledge these preachers, but “God will not acknowledge them as His shepherds.”

Are we putting our sincere preachers into a position where they must choose between pleasing God or the conference? Must they choose between receiving the woe of man versus the woe of God?

The reason for the conference’s charge of divisiveness appears to be Pastor Grosboll’s straight preaching and emphasis on revival and reformation. The evidence put forth to prove their charge is the accusation that he split up the Wichita South Church. Is that accusation true?

The Conference, the Church, and the Pastor

The Wichita South Church has a history of dissension and trouble. Often it seems that this trouble has been due to certain people holding the lines of power, often against majority wishes. A former elder of the South Church confided recently that for many years he drove 100 miles round trip every Sabbath in order to find another church so as to escape the politics of the South Church. In 1966 the church first divided, only to come back together again a few years later in order to build a new church. It was decided at that time that the union would be only temporary, for the building of the new church building, and that when it was completed they would start planning another new church in town.

There was a time when Wichita had a thriving sanitarium with a nurses’ training school. In 1986 the church celebrated its 100- year anniversary. And yet, after 100 years, the Kansas-Nebraska Conference still had only one church in Wichita, 4 the largest city of Kansas. The medical missionary facility had long since ceased to exist.

When Pastor Grosboll came, the majority of the elders and those on the board, as well as many other members in the church, soon joined solidly behind him in order to bring about revival and reformation. But nine months later the conference president announced to the board of elders his decision to transfer Pastor Grosboll to an undecided location. The elders wanted to express their feelings on the issue, but he told them that this was, “and employee employer situation and did not involve them.” The church board promptly met, and in the absence of Pastor Grosboll, voted the following and sent a copy of the action to the president:

November 30, 1986 During a November church board meeting we voted by overwhelming majority to officially and corporately express our support of Pastor Marshall Grosboll’s ministry in Wichita and our desire to not see him removed or transferred from his current office as pastor.

We humbly ask your respect of the Church Board’s opinion in this matter and look forward to greater evidences of mutual unity and support between our church and conference leadership so that our Seventh- day Adventist message may strongly advance. Respectfully, the Wichita Seventh- day Adventist South Church Board. David Jakstis, Head Elder, Chairman by absentia of Elder Grosboll.”

There were two apparent reasons preventing Pastor Grosboll from being able to move at this time. One was the nine- month Bible worker training program (the Institute of Ministry) begun in the fall of that year. Two of the six students in that initial year had moved, with their families, over a thousand miles to attend. Pastor Grosboll did not feel he could leave until this program, which was started with conference approval, was completed in June of the following year.

The second was that an evangelistic series, which Pastor Grosboll was to hold in Wichita the next month, had been voted by the board. The brochures had been ordered, and the Century II Convention Center of Wichita had been reserved for many months. The reservation of the theater room of the convention center was itself a blessing. Pastor Grosboll and the majority of the elders felt under deep conviction to hold this series.

Moreover, there did not appear to be any pressing reason for an immediate leave. The local offerings, tithe, church school enrollment, and church attendance were all up, in spite of those who were withholding tithe and causing dissension. And, as already mentioned, the elders and the board were very anxious that the pastor should stay. In fact, many felt it would do irreparable harm for the pastor to leave at that time under pressure from those opposed to reform.

Pastor Grosboll assured the president, however, that although, after earnest prayer, he felt convicted that he should complete these two tasks that were already under way, he would be very willing to accomplish them on a self- supporting basis if the Executive Committee requested him to step down as pastor.

The president said, however, that the evangelistic meetings, with Pastor Grosboll speaking, should go on as planned. A month and a half before the meetings were to begin, however, he presented the situation to the Administrative Committee. The Administrative Committee is a small committee within the Executive Committee that sends recommendations and actions to the official Executive Committee for final approval. They took this action:

Marshall Grosboll, for various reasons, some of which are not of his own making, has become the focal point of controversy in the Wichita Church, and out of concern for both the pastor and the church members, it was voted: That Marshall Grosboll and the conference officers aggressively work together toward Marshall Grosboll’s transfer from the Wichita Church which will take place shortly after the completion of the evangelistic meetings which conclude about March 1, 1987.- Administrative Committee Minutes

At this time Elder R told the elders that they should concentrate on the meetings and that nothing else would be done about the pastoral situation until after the meetings, which was confirmed by letter as follows: “We are committed to working in harmony with the December 1986 agreement with Pastor Grosboll that we would not pursue the Wichita matter until after the evangelistic meetings. “( Letter from Elder R, February 26, 1987). He also promised the elders that when the situation was presented to the Executive Committee they would have a chance to present their feelings. Unfortunately, neither of these promises made in December of 1986 were kept. In fact they had both been broken a month before this letter was written.

The first Executive Committee of the new year met on January 26, 1987. Since the evangelistic meetings were being set up at the time, Pastor Grosboll was unable to attend. At this meeting of the Executive Committee the minutes of the December 1986 Administrative Committee were voted upon. Within the Executive Committee minutes it was made clear that by voting on the Administrative Committee minutes, the action became official. Many of the church members felt betrayed and some wrote letters of concern to the president and members of the Executive Committee. The president responded to this effect:

The matter of the Wichita Church and Marshall Grosboll, the pastor, was not on the agenda for the Executive Committee. . . . The Executive Committee action to accept previous minutes in no way alters the opportunity for church members to appeal tile decision of die Administrative Committee or any decision of the Executive Committee. This particular January 26 meeting of the Executive Committee did not address the pros and cons of the decision made by the Administrative Committee. Letter to WHK by Elder R, February 23, 1987

Many felt that this response was double talk. First they were promised that nothing would be done until after the evangelistic meetings. Then they were also promised that they would be heard before any Executive Committee action was taken. But both of these promises were broken, and then justified. But they were told that nothing wrong had taken place because the church could “appeal” the action. Yet all know that an appeal is far different from being heard before an action is taken. There were weighty spiritual interests at stake, yet the church members who were concerned were made to feel that they were rebels and troublemakers.

Because of these, and other similar actions of the conference, confusion, uncertainty as to what the conference might do next, and disappointment began to grow within the church members. It seemed that those who were giving Bible studies, working on the evangelistic meetings, supporting the church, attending prayer meetings, and who loved this message were being overlooked. It also appeared that while the conference had chosen to overlook the wishes of the elders and the board, some people seemed to have special favor and influence with the conference. If these happenings just involved some secular interest, or was indeed merely an employee- employer situation, it would not make much difference, but the results of these decisions were bound to affect the health and well- being of God’s church and the conversion of souls. The effects are eternal. Concerned members began to pray as never before. They wondered what they should do. Some read this statement and knew they must do something:

If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. 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

But it seemed that whatever the church members who wanted the pastor to stay tried to do, it was colored in the darkest hues. The worst construction was placed upon their motives. These members were viewed as a problem to be dealt with, and the conference blamed the pastor for the problem. The problem, in these members’ eyes, was the conference.

This response paper is not for the purpose of making a complaint against the conference’s actions or attitudes. We are answering the concerns and objections of the conference. We are not here to judge motives. Nevertheless, these feelings expressed in the preceding paragraph were the feelings of many of the members at the time.

Moreover, even if individuals were wronged, it is not they who were really wronged. We are all but mere stewards. The question is: Has the Lord been wronged? The Holy Spirit most definitely worked in the evangelistic meetings, with hundreds of non- Adventists attending, and many who are still making decisions for Christ over two years later. Many believe that the Lord definitely worked in the previous year’s nominating committee. Many felt the Holy Spirit bringing revival to their hearts from the sermons and other services of the church and were enjoying new conversion experiences. But when those in authority sympathize with those whom the Lord is convicting of sin, hearts are hardened instead of softened, and souls are lost.

Many are the souls that have been destroyed by the unwise sympathy of their brethren. Testimonies, vol. 3, 329 In nine cases out of ten if the one reproved [often by the Holy Spirit] had been left under a sense of his wrongs, he might have been helped to see them and thereby have been reformed. Ibid., 359

This unsanctified sympathy places the sympathizers where they are sharers in the guilt of the one reproved. Ibid., 359 These false sympathizers will have an account to settle with the Master by- and- by for their work of death. Ibid., 329

Let us not repeat the rebellion of 1888: I can never forget the experience which we had in Minneapolis, or the things which were then revealed to me in regard to the spirit that controlled men, the words spoken, the actions done in obedience to the powers of evil. . . . They were moved at the meeting by another spirit, and they knew not that God had sent these young men to bear a special message to them which they treated with ridicule and contempt, not realizing that the heavenly intelligences were looking upon them. I know that at that time the Spirit of God was insulted. Manuscript 24, 1892

Minneapolis was a type of a greater apostasy that Ellen White predicted would take place in the last days.

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. Letter from EGW to 0. A. Olsen, Letter 19d, 1892; The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1024

The light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light. EGW, Review & Herald, May 27, 1890, vol. 2, 397 Because of the disappointment by such a large number of church members, the conference set another Executive Committee date to discuss the situation with Pastor Grosboll present. They set the meeting for the day the evangelistic meetings were over, on March 10. On that day, forty members of the church took off work, met at the church, and fasted and prayed throughout the day for the Lord to intervene for the welfare of His work in Wichita.

The president gave the Executive Committee five options. But the motion the committee passed was quite different from any of the options presented. The motion that was voted upon was as follows:

In appreciation and support of the present soul- winning outreach among a significant proportion of the membership in Wichita and in recognition of a very real need for healing among the members, the Conference Executive Committee urges Dr. Grosboll to devote his untiring efforts to both the soul- winning and healing ministries of the church while also carefully and prayerfully, and in close counsel with conference leadership, formulating a plan for maximizing SDA ministry in Wichita and that the plan he presented for Conference Executive Committee action in June, 1987.

The plan should address: 1. The possibility of a new church in the area 2. The possibility of a mutually agreeable transfer for the pastor. 3. Any other considerations for change that could affect healing and church growth.

Surely the Lord led in this decision to support Pastor Grosboll rather than to transfer him at this time. Over the next six weeks, approximately 40 people were baptized. There were yet four months to go before the Institute of Ministry concluded, and there were many people from the evangelistic meetings to follow up.

But though some were pleased with the action, those opposed to the pastor, whose favor the conference had been courting, were now greatly offended, and decided to take things into their own hands. The next nominating committee was coming up. Plans were laid and secret activities took place by certain individuals opposed to the pastor in an endeavor to gain control of the nominating committee.

Except that there were many people in church who had not been in church for years, and that they left as soon as the secret- ballot voting was over, the election appeared normal and the process proceeded smoothly. But when the results came in, it was immediately apparent that it was very untypical. Some who had not received more than one vote the year before now had enough votes, in a 700- member church, to be on the committee. There seemed to be a core of people on the “Committee to Select the Nominating Committee” who were bitterly opposed to the pastor, and anyone who supported him.

The head elder and head deacon were dumbfounded. As the head deacon began to look through the voting ballots, he began to see something very unusual. Many of the ballots appeared to be nearly the same. He quickly went through and pulled out 64 ballots that were nearly identical in the first nine out of the eleven names. It was apparent that these 64 votes had been influenced to all vote the same. Upon investigation, several people confessed to having had a secret “pre- nominating election.” There were 222 votes cast— 64 by the “opposition party” and 158 by the rest of the church. But the 158 were voting individually, while the 64 pooled their votes. Thus those 64 who pooled their votes outweighed the rest of the church. As was pointed out in the ensuing board, this tactic is contrary to the church manual:

The effort of one individual or a small group to dictate to the entire membership of the church is disapproved. Everything of a political nature should be avoided. Seventh- day Adventist Church Manual, 1986, 126

Pastor Grosboll, in counsel with some of the elders, immediately called for an emergency church board meeting for the following afternoon in order to discuss the situation. The conference president, however, supported the results, possibly because some of those who were on the committee were opposed to the pastor, as he was. On Sunday morning, before the board meeting, he called the pastor and demanded that he call off the board meeting. By coincidence, another elder was visiting in the pastor’s office at the time of the phone call and was shocked at the president’s responses.

When told about the secret pre- nominating committee, the president said, “Just wink at those activities. Let things stand as they are. Do not involve the board.” Pastor Grosboll responded, “I have never been put in a situation where I have had to go against the direct command of a president, but in this case, I must be faithful to my charge as shepherd of the flock. You may fire me, but as long as I am the pastor here, I feel responsible to let the board know of the situation. The Lord cannot bless this church if we knowingly allow a small faction of discontented people to take it over through a dishonest election.”

The president then claimed that nothing could be proved. When informed that some had confessed, he then claimed that even so, nothing had been done that was wrong. But the board met, with nearly complete attendance. A conference official also met with them.

After seeing the evidence, the board voted 25- 4, by secret ballot, to hold another election, and to let the church vote on 11 of the top 22 votes from the previous election. That week the president, who was on vacation, made numerous calls to the pastor to try to get him to override the board’s decision. The president then informed the pastor that he had been in frequent contact with the General Conference about this issue and that the board had no such authority, but that their decision would have to be ratified by the church as a body.

On the next Sabbath morning, when the church was to vote again, the conference secretary called and asked to speak to the board before Sabbath school in order to get them to change their decision. The pastor informed the secretary that if he used undue pressure to get the board to go against their convictions, he would have to oppose his efforts, which he had never done in public before.

Many administrators and pastors understand that a committee can often be overpowered into doing what they do not really want to do simply by being told by one of authority that they “can’t” do something, or that they “must” do something.

The truth of this statement was born out just a few weeks after this date, when the South Church board elected their representatives to the upcoming Triennial Constituency meeting. The meeting was chaired by a conference official. The constituent representatives chosen by the board were primarily supportive of the pastor. The conference official said that he would not accept those representatives and had the church board re- vote. Again he refused to accept the vote. The board meeting lasted until late- until the board chose a group of representatives that he could agree with. Whether the list of names eventually chosen was more representative of the church, as the conference official claimed, or not, is not the point. The fact that a determined official can often override a committee was once again proved.

The conference secretary withdrew his request to meet with the board, but he came to church and made a motion on the floor to “table this vote and refer the whole situation to the conference Executive Committee,” and then proceeded to vote. He was voted down, and another election was held.

The going against a president’s command, though for conscientious reasons, and the voting down of a conference officer by the church body, resulted in another special Executive Committee being called the next day. The meeting was scheduled for ten days hence, and it appeared to be with intent to have the pastor fired.

By this time the Executive Committee had been more fully influenced against the pastor. As one committee member said at the meeting: “This is the second special executive meeting on this situation I have been called to, and my time is important. I do not intend to be called again!” Yet personal convenience or irritability is no reason to make a decision of so important a matter.

For about two hours, Pastor Grosboll quietly listened to the accusations against him by the conference leadership. When at last he arose to speak, he had only spoken for a few minutes when the union president arose and interrupted him, almost with vehemence, contradicting what he had said. Pastor Grosboll sat down, and did not speak again except to answer questions. There was no willingness to hear and no reason to speak. Minds were set. Reasoning only exasperated.

When One Door Closed, Another Opened

In the meantime there were other developments that appeared to be direct leadings of the Lord. First, during the evangelistic meetings that had just concluded one month previously, one of the largest television stations in town, an ABC affiliate, had asked Pastor Grosboll if he would consider producing a weekly television program for them. At first the pastor declined, not feeling qualified for such an endeavor. But as the pastor and others prayed about it, they felt maybe it was a providential leading of the Lord and not just coincidence. After the series concluded, Pastor Grosboll called the television station to ask if they were still interested.

They assured him they were and asked him to meet with them to discuss the matter. When they met, he told them he knew nothing about television and that if he was going to produce a program for their station, they would need to do all the technical work. They said they would, and the price they quoted was reasonable.

Pastor Grosboll then inquired about airing times. Sunday morning was the time when all their other religious programs aired, but the ratings for the best times on Sunday morning showed only 5,000 local viewers. He asked them if they would allow him to go on an evening time slot. They said they would make an evening slot available for him. They had a nightly program called “The Judge” on right after Nightline at 11: 30 P. M., which they offered to replace with a program that Marshall Grosboll might produce. They said he could choose any night of the week he wished. When they checked the ratings, they found that three times more people were viewing at 11: 30 P. M. than on Sunday mornings. They also found that more people viewed on Thursday evenings than on any other evening. When they asked about the price for the Thursday evening time slot, they were told they could have it for the same price as Sunday mornings. Thus the Steps to Life television program was born and became the only evening religious program aired in Wichita at that time.

Why was the television station so generous? Surely the Lord was opening up the way to reach Wichita as well as all of central and western Kansas.

A second development took place on the morning of the second voting of the Committee to Select the Nominating Committee. Several church members, independently, came to the conviction that the South Church should start a new church, in accordance with the suggestion of the Conference Executive Committee. One elder, just the day before, had been impressed to take a different route to work than he normally took, and on the way he came across a fairly new Mennonite church that had just come on the market that week. It appeared to be just the right size.

The Lord seemed to impress this conviction to start a new church on many hearts. A church board meeting, followed by a general church business meeting, had already been called for Sunday, the following day. The starting of a new church was not what the board was called for, but it was the only item discussed. That Sunday morning, before the board, a delegation of many church members went to look at the Mennonite church. The church board, with hardly a member missing, voted unanimously to start another church at this site. They then voted unanimously, minus one, to ask the conference for Pastor Grosboll to be the pastor of this new congregation. They also formed a steering committee, by another unanimous vote.

The actions of the board were then presented to the evening business meeting, with 181 voting members present. Again it was a unanimous vote to start the new church and a unanimous vote, minus one, to ask Pastor Grosboll to be the pastor. The steering committee was also approved by a unanimous vote. It was as if an angel had poured oil over troubled waters and brought everyone together into unity for a short period of time.

Within three weeks, the new church was meeting with 220 in attendance. The average attendance from that date to the end of the year was in excess of 190. This fact also created a problem. It seems that some people envisioned that when a new church started, a few of the leaders interested in revival and reformation would leave the parent church to start the new. This development would have left the power in the hands of those who had previously held it for decades. But it wasn’t perceived how big a dent would be made in the attendance and offerings of the South Church. Few dreamed that half of the attending members would pull up roots and go out to start this new church. Nearly all of those who were involved in giving Bible studies went with the new congregation.

Many of those who attended the new church testify that over the next seven months they experienced more peace and joy and the evident presence of the Lord in that congregation than they had ever experienced elsewhere. Thus began the “Three Angels Seventh- day Adventist Church.”

The charge has gone out from both the local conference and the Union to places throughout North America, and even the world field, that Pastor Grosboll wrecked the South Church by dividing it in two. Is this true? It was with the highest of motives that the new church was started. And the South Church continues to survive quite adequately.

But if the truth were really known, the conference refused to consider the wishes of the overwhelming majority on the church board, or the board of elders. Rather, the conference united with those who were determined to maintain the church under their control, by trying to bring someone in to pastor who would suit their purposes.

Under the prevailing circumstances, it would appear that the Lord did the best He could for His work in Wichita. Circumstances indicate that the Lord directed in the establishing of the new church. He guided the surprise recommendation through the Executive Committee, impressed various spiritual leaders in the church, opened up a church, and guided the process through the church board and the business meeting.

Pastor Grosboll Faces a Decision

While the new church was being formed, ten days before to the first worship service, Pastor Grosboll was terminated from pastoring in Wichita by the specially called Executive Committee. The pastor was given several alternatives, such as going back to Andrews University or joining the pastoral staff of the College View Church in Nebraska. Later he was offered another district in Kansas. After much prayer, Pastor Grosboll still did not feel free to leave the Institute of Ministry until it was finished nor to stop the television ministry that was just beginning. The president then suggested to him that he should take a leave of absence. Pastor Grosboll accepted this advice. The president also had suggested at an earlier date, shortly after he became president, that Pastor Grosboll might consider establishing a selfsupporting ministry. He indicated that he would cooperate with such an endeavor if he would. This counsel was also considered.

Pastor Grosboll accepted the decision of the Executive Committee, without question, and cooperated with them. Though asked to give a farewell speech to the church by the ensuing board meeting, at which Pastor Grosboll was not present, never again did he take the pulpit in the South Church, except to make a plea from the front to support the conference and to stay with the church, no matter what happened, because it is God’s church. Neither did Pastor Grosboll, for a time after his dismissal, take an active part in the organization of the new church. When asked by the elders of the new church to preach, he at first declined. But he then came under the conviction that, as he was called and commissioned by the Lord to preach, he should accept. This he did.

The president had promised to make the Three Angels congregation a conference church. But the conference soon set some conditions to making them a church, which conditions included total conference control of the pulpit and the board chairmanship. Pastor Grosboll was not the chairman of the board, nor the head of any department.) As the Three Angels congregation did not feel it could acquiesce to these conditions, the conference for several months ignored them. They did, however, accept their tithes and offerings. The Three Angels church was in the top 10% of the churches in the conference in both attendance and in the amount of tithe returned to the conference.

Eventually the president met with the head elder and Pastor Grosboll. His great concern was that the elders of the church were assigning who was to preach on Sabbath morning, which included Pastor Grosboll a large percentage of the time. These two elders shared that this was their understanding of the functions and duties of the elders, but that if they were wrong, and could be shown so from Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy, they would be happy to change.

They asked the president to study with them, but he declined, stating that, “Only the Biblical Research Department has the authority to study this. We must follow the Church Manual” But the Manual does not specify what the president was insisting on. Moreover, the two elders shared that they believed that the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy must be the guide which we follow and that God would help us to understand it, if we approach it in humility, prayer, and sincerity. The Manual may be a useful guide on procedure, but it is not inspired and must not take the place of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. But the president still declined to study the subject, stating that unless the congregation would agree to this condition without question, they could not be a church. Because the elders could not conscientiously agree to this, Pastor Grosboll was again accused of insubordination.

You should give your authority to the people from God’s Word. You should not believe any doctrine simply because another says it is truth. The Ellen G. White 1888 material, 170

Lines of Control

The Bible has ample counsel on the duties of an elder. To the elders (plural) of the church of Ephesus, Paul said, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20: 28- 29). It was the local elders who were called to shepherd the flock and protect them from wolves. This was the New Testament model. It was the Roman apostasy that developed a central power to control the local congregation.

It was one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is… invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. The Great Controversy’, 50

God wants all local congregations to work together in unity. God helped us to develop a system of government within the church in ,order to enhance unity and to preserve doctrinal purity. God did not design that anyone or any entity should work independently of His Spirit, or of the people and systems His Spirit was directing. (This statement means that the organized church is just as responsible for cooperating with God’s various ministries that are not under their direct control as the ministries are responsible for cooperating with the organized church. The same responsibility of cooperation was required of the Jewish leadership when John the Baptist and his disciples, and Jesus and His disciples, came preaching the gospel.) God intends that the church should be structured and organized. But this system was never designed for the purpose of dictating and controlling the consciences of men and congregations as was done during the Middle Ages. It is the love of God, and the Holy Spirit, that must unite us together in bonds of brotherhood. There is a place for disfellowshipping and discipline of members and churches based upon biblical principles, but never upon man- made rules. There is a place for leadership, but never arbitrary control and vindictiveness. Arbitrary human control and kingly power has been one of the great shortcomings of this church that has led us into Leodiceanism. This was one of our primary problems in 1888. Whenever human leadership supersedes the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Christ is denied. In 1888, Ellen White called for us to make “Christ our righteousness;” not man.

God designs that men shall use their minds and consciences for themselves. He never designed that one man should become the shadow of another, and utter only another’s sentiments. But this error has been coming in among us, that a very few are to be mind, conscience, and judgment for all God’s workers. The foundation of Christianity is “Christ our Righteousness.” Men are individually responsible to God and must act as God acts upon them, not as another human mind acts upon their mind; for if this method of indirect influence is kept up, souls cannot be impressed and directed by the great I AND. They wilt, on the other hand, have their experience blended with another, and will be kept under a moral restraint, which allows no freedom of action or of choice. . . .

If we would be wise, and use diligently, prayerfully and thankfully the means whereby light and blessings are to come to his people, then no voice nor power upon earth would have authority over us to say, “This shall not be.” The Lord has presented before me that men in responsible positions are standing directly in the way of the workings of God upon His people. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 112, 113

It is not for the Lord’s delegated ministers to look to other minds to plan and devise for them. They must use the ability God has given them, and make God the center and source of all their wisdom. Ibid., 90

The feeling of Elder Butler [was that] position gave unlimited authority. Ibid., 110 When finite men shall cease to put themselves in the way, to hinder, then God will work in our midst as never before. Ibid., 114

Let no human hand place a yoke upon your neck. Take the yoke Christ gives. Learn of Him. Ibid., 141

No one must be permitted to close the avenues whereby the light of truth shall come to tile people. As soon as this shall be attempted, God’s Spirit will be quenched. Ibid., 171

These are but a small sampling of the hundreds of statements Ellen White gave on this subject during and after the 1888 experience. Let us not just try to find other statements, wrested out of their context, to “counter” and “balance” these plain statements, but let us permit them to have their full weight. Let us obey the word of the Lord, not argue it away as those do who try to avoid the responsibilities of the Sabbath. These statements are not advising against receiving proper and due counsel, which we all need. Nor are they mitigating against organization, which the Lord has ordained. But rather, they are strictly condemning “kingly power” within organization, such as we had in Ellen White’s day, and which some people believe we have even more so today. She said this spirit of over- control would quench the Spirit of the Lord. Is that happening?

Is it possible that if a president becomes conscience for a pastor, that he in turn expects the pastor to be conscience for the people? According to the above statements, this practice will quench God’s Spirit. In a meeting between Pastor Grosboll and the president during a worker’s meeting right after the first nominating committee, the president encouraged him to reinstate into office some of those who were the most bitter. Pastor Grosboll said that, though some pastors may do so, he did not feel it was right for a pastor to override a nominating committee or to impose his own will upon them. The nominating committee had seriously prayed about their decisions and felt the Lord had guided them. Moreover, he shared that he did not feel it was right, even for a nominating committee, to put people into office just to appease them. He, as a shepherd, tried to minister to all, but to allow any segment of the congregation to run the church just to avoid trouble, he believed was wrong. Then he asked the president where that policy of appeasement was working for the advancement of God’s work. Will that policy bring about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

It should be noted that in 1896, according to the SDA Encyclopedia (1966), Kansas had 3,000 Seventh- day Adventist members. Today it has 4,756 members, or 8% fewer per capita of the Kansas population than before the turn of the century. In 1902 Kansas had 100 churches. Today it has 58 churches. In the last 7 years, Kansas membership has grown by 1, while the population has grown by over 100,000 people. Is God’s Spirit already being quenched?

If we want the Spirit’s power to return to our work, we must have less confidence and dependence in man, and far more in God. Jesus is to have pre- eminence in the church and over the church (Col. 1: 18). “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually’ as H e wills” (1 Cor. 12: 11). The Galatian church was severely reprimanded by Paul for yielding to the authority and influence of James and Peter from Jerusalem in going against the will of God. Is the church today any less responsible to God than was the church in Galatia?

The New Congregation Faces Change

Although the leaders of the new congregation would not yield their convictions about the duties of the elders and the limits of a conference’s rightful influence, the conference seemed to work long and hard to find a way to break down these convictions. One guest speaker who was invited in, by the elders, to speak to the congregation, reported how he was repeatedly called by the president and influenced as to what he should say to the congregation.

The conference eventually appointed a pastor for this group, although they were not yet accepted as an entity of the conference. The board of elders and the church board were both assured that this retired pastor was coming in to work with the Three Angels congregation as they were so functioning, and that he would not seek to change them. Having received this assurance, both the board of elders and the church board gladly voted unanimously to accept this new pastor. Elder Grosboll, as well as the members of the Three Angels church, wanted very much to work with the conference.

Elder Grosboll spoke only one time after the new pastor arrived, and that was a Sabbath that had been scheduled by the elders before the new pastor arrived. He was asked to speak twice more. The first time he declined, as he did not feel that the new pastor was yet comfortable with him. However, it soon appeared that the new pastor had come with an assigned purpose. The next time the elders asked Elder Grosboll to speak, the new pastor vigorously opposed it.

Person after person in the church began to experience what they felt was a concerted undermining of Pastor Grosboll’s ministry and the Institute of Ministry (now called Steps to Life, Inc.) by the new pastor. Some have shared how, in private conversations, various unflattering titles and characterizations were used to discredit Elder Grosboll and the Institute. When another minister visited the church one month after the arrival of the new pastor, he was told by the new pastor that he had come to Wichita “to straighten things out,” because “they were not what they should be.” But that was not what the board had been told as to the purpose of his coming.

Two months after the arrival of the new pastor, Elder Grosboll left on a one- month preaching tour overseas. During Elder Grosboll’s absence, the pastor began to advocate two things: 1) He wanted the elders to turn the pulpit over to him and 2) he wanted the congregation to agree to becoming a “company” within the conference. The elders had previously considered the possibility of becoming a conference “company.” They were united in their expressions that to become a company would be against all biblical and Spirit of Prophecy principles for the establishment of a group of believers, as will be explained later in this response paper. Upon Elder Grosboll’s return from overseas, the church was changed. Arriving back home on Friday afternoon, many met him with grave concerns. He was told there was to be a special organizational meeting the following evening with the president and conference- appointed pastor officiating. The church was to be officially organized into a conference company at this meeting. Many people had serious questions, not only about how this was rushed through while Elder Grosboll was out of the country and the methods used to achieve this change, but also about the biblical principles involved in being a company instead of a church. They asked if they could meet over at Elder Grosboll’s house on Sabbath afternoon to study and pray about the situation before the evening organizational meeting look place.

As the members studied and prayed together on Sabbath afternoon, they became more and more concerned about the situation. Many said they had tried to ask questions at various meetings during Elder Grosboll’s absence, but the pastor seemed to ignore these questions of concern. They related how at some of the meetings when some of them had tried to ask questions, the pastor had simply terminated the meeting. Moreover, they said that the church had never voted to become a company (as, in fact, the minutes verify. The actual motion that was voted upon was: “To proceed with the process of becoming a church.” Some people did indeed understand this to include the possibility of becoming a company first, but others did not.) These members felt that the decision had been pushed upon them.

Now, that very Sabbath afternoon, an hour before the sun was to set, there was to be a business meeting at which time they were to be officially made a company without ever having voted to be such, nor with their questions answered. They decided that before they could in good conscience sign their names to the company charter, some of their questions must be answered. With the conference president scheduled to be at the meeting, they hoped that he could answer these questions.

That evening the conference president, knowing that many had serious concerns, said that no one needed to sign the company charter who had uncertainties about doing so. Thus there was no need to ask any questions, because no one who had questions needed to become a part of the company. Everyone was free to do whatever he or she wanted. (Ever since that time, however, those who did not sign the company charter have been labeled as trouble makers or Grosboll followers.)

As this was a business meeting, however, several raised their hands to speak. When hands were not recognized, one person stood up to ask a question. The pastor asked whether the question was relevant, and thus stymied the questioner. A second person stood and sought to ask a question. When he got the floor and began to speak, the pastor suddenly interrupted him, without warning, and began to pray a lengthy prayer, asking the Lord to send the evil angels away and to “overcome the spirit of Satan.” Finally, when the prayer was over, another individual stood to ask a question and he walked up to the front to be able to speak. When he stepped up to the pulpit, the pastor said: “That is the president’s pulpit tonight, you are not allowed to speak from there.” The questioner then calmly walked over to the side mike, at which point the pastor moved the microphone and stood between the would- be speaker and the microphone. When the questioner finally managed to speak, it was but a simple question for the president.

Finally, someone got a motion on the floor to allow discussion. It easily passed. However, as soon as the first person got up to speak, several people who had previously been asked to do so, in what appeared to be an orchestrated move to block discussion, came up to sign their names to the charter- membership company book, refusing to listen to any comments or questions. (One prominent individual shared later about having been asked to come up right at the first and sign the book, evidently as an influence to get others to sign.) But the discussion continued, with little attempt to answer the questions.

Earlier that day, Elder Grosboll had jotted down some thoughts he wanted to share at the meeting. He talked for nearly an hour, outlining his concerns. It was not a prepared speech, and much of his speech concerned things said earlier by the pastor, the president, and some of the members. More on this speech later.

One of the members who spoke, simply asked the president: “Would you give us the biblical grounds for becoming a company?” The president replied, “There are no biblical grounds for becoming a company. The Bible also does not tell you not to smoke.”

Toward the end of the meeting, Elder Grosboll again took the floor and pled with the president not to divide the church. Turning to the president, he said, in effect: “We want to work together But people have honest questions and convictions. Why can’t we get together in a spirit of prayer and study these things out? Surely the Holy Spirit will reveal His will to us and bring us into harmony and unity.” iThe appeal was ignored.

That night, approximately 40 people signed the company charter. That night the church was divided.

The president said that the company status would not become effective for three more weeks, allowing more time for people to sign and become charter members.

The following night was a regularly scheduled board meeting. A motion was put forth by Elder Grosboll requesting the district pastor, who was on the conference executive committee, to express the following concerns to the Executive Committee:

  1. That the Three Angels Company he able to have regular elders, elected by the congregation.
  2. That they have a regular functioning board, with full board authority.
  3. That the congregation be allowed to admit their own members and care for their own discipline, exclusively. It was also moved:

That this church board, along with the current officers, remain as they were before the company formation, until the Executive Committee votes on the above request, and that after that date, the same church board meet together one more time, in full and regular session, in order to vote on what to do from that point.”

Thus the church could yet decide on what course it wanted to pursue. Both of these motions passed overwhelmingly, but the pastor was against it. The next day the conference president declared the actions of the board meeting null and void. The pastor of the newly formed company stated that only those who had signed the “company book,” as it was called, could remain an active part of the congregation.

Over the next several weeks, systematic visits were made to those who did not sign the book, encouraging them to sign. One person said that she was visited by two different teams on the same night. The visits went for hours, and late into the night. They tried to pressure her into signing the book. They came laden with Spirit of Prophecy quotations on yielding to authority, and other statements they thought would suit their cause. She also received calls at work by those who had signed seeking to pressure her into signing. This was typical of many people’s experience. Another family reports that when the conference- assigned pastor visited them, they were told that someone who didn’t sign the company book was a “Satanist.” Another person who didn’t want to sign was asked by the pastor if he could come over and study about “the Omega of Apostasy” with her. Yet, nothing was ever produced from the writings of inspiration to show that being a company is biblical. Eventually, 80 people either chose or were pressured into signing the book. Some who signed, however, disagreed with these pressure tactics and did not remain active with the company. Some of these were brandnew Adventist.

After the organizational meeting, the president wrote a two- page letter to every pastor of the conference, to every member of the Executive Committee, and to others, condemning Pastor Grosboll’s activities in this meeting. He requested in this letter that the letter be shared with others. There was no one to question the accuracy of the allegations made, however, because neither Elder Grosboll nor any- one associated with him either saw or knew about the letter until many months later, when someone from Washington D. C. got a copy of it from a person in the General Conference and sent it to Elder Grosboll. Other such letters have likewise been called to our attention long after they were written. At least one of these (secret) letters was sent to every conference president of North America.

Principles on Being a “Company”

As the questions began to mount, and the allegations against Elder Grosboll by the conference continued to fly, Elder Grosboll decided to put the thoughts of those opposed to becoming a company down on paper. The paper was titled, “Statement of Principles on Being a Company or Being a Church.” 5 This sixteen page paper began with this statement:

First, let it be understood that each member who does not wish to sign the company charter believes in the Seventh- day Adventist Church and in church organization, including the conference- church structure as our denomination is organized into. There is no desire for independence. Every member desires the Three Angels Seventh- day Adventist Church to be organized as a church under the Kansas- Nebraska Conference of Seventh- day Adventist.

Secondly, we have no desire for division, but seek peace and unity. “By this,” Christ said, “shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13: 35). We are pledged to work toward this unity of Spirit which will bring about the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However, true unity is never achieved by compromise.”

The paper then shared that, though we seek unity, we cannot conscientiously agree to becoming a company without certain questions being answered first. It then outlined the reasons why, as follows:

1) The first four and a half pages gave quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy predicting apostasy coming into the church, and warning against the yielding of principle in order to obtain peace.

2) The next three pages gave a historical background to the situation, ending with a listing of the four points that the conference demanded before considering the group to become a church:

These conditions involved four things: 1) Pulpit control, 2) Finances, 3) No church school, 4) the Institute of Ministry. The pulpit control appeared to he the biggest concern.

3) The next section dealt with the biblical principles of the duties of the elders in regards to worship and the pulpit.

4) The next section listed seven concrete aspects of a company that are directly against the principles outlined in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy for church organization. These were as follows:

1) A company cannot have any church elders.

2) The local, lay leader (the equivalent to an elder but without an elder’s status) is chosen by the conference.

3) The local treasurer is chosen by the conference.

4) The nomination of all other church offices, not directly chosen by the conference, is to be presided over by a person of the conference’s choice.

5) No discipline can be administered by a company, but all such matters are taken care of by the conference executive committee.

6) A company has no authoritative board or business meeting. The conference executive committee is the actual board of the group which has authority even over the entire business session of a company. Any decision- making ability of the local group is granted to it as a favor, not as a right.

7) The members of a company do not constitute a part of the constituency of the conference and have no voice or representation in conference activities.

All of these aspects of a company organization are according to The Seventh- day Adventist Church Manual. Certain conferences may make exceptions to one or more of these restrictions as a courtesy or privilege, but a company has none of these privileges by right.

5) The next section gave the clear scriptural principles for each of the seven areas of concern as listed above. It showed from the Bible and The Spirit of Prophecy that each of these organizational principles is contrary to the way God says a congregation should be organized. These principles of organization are condemned by God.

Strange fire has been offered… in restricting the liberty of God’s people, binding them about by your plans and rules, which God has not framed, neither have they come into His mind. All these things are strange fire, unacknowledged by God, and are a continual misrepresentation of His character. Testimonies to Ministers, 357- 358

Do we individually realize our true position, that as God’s hired servants we are not to bargain away our stewardship? . . We are warned not to trust in man nor to make flesh our arm. A curse is pronounced upon all who do this [Jeremiah 17: 51. Ibid., 361- 367

The chapter in Testimonies to Ministers from which this last quotation is taken is entitled, “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods.” In this chapter she talks about the rule of the Sanhedrin, and the ruling- principle that was coming into our church, that would seek to put man’s principles and rulership above God’s. Here she talks about “the spirit of domination, “ and shows that it is morally wrong both to exercise such power and to voluntarily yield to such power. That is why we have counsel against joining such organizations as labor unions. It was for this reason that many could not conscientiously sign the company charter.

6) The document ended with these words: There is no desire to campaign or coerce our convictions upon others, except to share our beliefs. At this point, but a minority have signed the charter. But even if all but one should, the convictions should still be considered. As the Protestant reformers so boldly stated, “In matters of conscience the majority has no power” (Tile Great Controversy, 201). “The principles contained in this celebrated Protest [of the Princes] … constitute the very essence of Protestantism. Now this Protest opposes two abuses of man in matters of faith: the first is the intrusion of the civil magistrate, and tile second tile arbitrary authority of the church.” Ibid., 203- 204. 6 We desire to live peaceably with all people. We will turn the other cheek and allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. We will pray for those who despitefully use us. We will continue to work for the conversion of souls and to have them baptized into the local Seventh- day Adventist Church, We have made known our convictions, but we will not fight. We will praise the Lord in every trial. But we cannot go against our convictions nor join a movement that is working to divide the church and to fragment the believers in Christ.

. . . Beliefs cannot be legislatetl, but must be developed through thorough prayer and Bible study. . . .

May God help us never to compromise the truth, but to remain loving to one another and loyal to His church. . . . Let us determine that we are going to stand for the truth, but that we are going to maintain the spirit of Jesus. Let us rejoice under affliction. Let us do what is right, leaving the results with God, and developing a character for heaven.”

The members who could not, because of conscience, sign the charter, pledged themselves not to fight or agitate, but simply to go on with their work of winning souls. That is what they did. Even when thousands of dollars given for the Bible Worker fund for the Institute of Ministry workers, and held in trust by the Three Angels Church, and which the conference president pledged would not be touched, was diverted from what it had been pledged for and what the church body had voted to expend it for, no protest from the Institute was heard, except for a concern expressed some months later in a letter to the president. The next week after the Sabbath evening organizational meeting, Elder Grosboll spent over an hour with the conference- appointed pastor, pleading with him not to divide the congregation that God had established. He asked if the whole church might not come together for study and prayer. Surely God would lead them into truth and unity. If those who did not believe in the company concept could be shown from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that they were wrong, surely they would be willing to change. If the others were shown to be wrong, they should be willing to change. But in any event, there should be love and tolerance for all. All of these pleas and requests were forthrightly refused. In the Concerns and Objections paper, the most unreasonable assumptions and charges are made about the motives of Elder Grosboll in opposing the formation of the company. It states:

It is clear that Elder Grosboll believes that he is fighting against agents of Satan (unconverted ministers, administrators and other members) who are attempting to take over God’s remnant church. . . . For this and other reasons Elder Grosboll felt justified in strongly resisting (in both his preaching and writing), the organization of the Three Angels congregation into a company recognized by the Kansas- Nebraska Conference on May 7, 1988. He believes firmly that this would be yielding to the leadership of unconverted men who are taking over the congregation and would have the power to interfere in the decisions of the local company. Concerns and Objections, 6- 7

How could any fair reading of the facts lead to such a conclusion, when Elder Grosboll had been seeking and desiring the Three Angels congregation to become a church, and when he had asked the conference brethren to be willing to study this issue out with them? The company status involves clear biblical principles, regardless of who the conference officers are. To support the above charge, however, Concerns and Objections quotes a passage from an article of Elder Grosboll’s in the November 1988 Steps to Life News. The passage quoted, however, is primarily from a quotation of Ellen White’s, which reads as follows:

Who knows but that the preachers who are faithful, firm, and true may be the last who shall offer the gospel of peace to our unthankful churches? It may be that the destroyers are already training under the hand of Satan and only wait the departure of a few more standard- bearers to take their places, and with the voice of the false prophet cry, “Peace, peace,” when the Lord hath not spoken peace. . . . When God shall work His strange work on the earth, when holy hands bear the ark no longer, woe will be upon the people. Testimonies, vol. 5, 77

The quoting of this Spirit of Prophecy passage was mentioned twice in the Concerns and Objections paper to prove that Pastor Grosboll is against conference leadership. Is the Spirit of Prophecy to come under trial? Are there some passages that are now approved for quoting, but others that, if quoted, will prove one to be disloyal to the church? Have we come to a time in the church when a minister can have his ordination brought into question for quoting a statement from the published volumes of the Testimonies for the Church? The president has made much of the speech Elder Grosboll made at the time of the formation of the company on May 7. This speech has been castigated because of two illustrations Elder Grosboll used by outlining the techniques and organizational principles of Catholicism and Communism, and warning against adopting the same principles in our organization. Elder Grosboll used these examples only as illustrations of principle. However, he later apologized for using personal illustrations of people or events to show the wrong tendency of the direction they were going, stating that he should have just shared theory and principle. It is reminiscent of Luther before the Diet of Worms where he was called into question for everything he had ever written or said:

In the third class of his books he had attacked individuals who had defended existing evils. Concerning these he freely confessed that he had been more violent than was becoming. He did not claim to be free from fault; but even these books he could not revoke, for such a course would embolden the enemies of truth, and they would then take occasion to crush God’s people with still greater cruelty. The Great Controversy, 158

The above statements, about not adopting similar principles of organization as other organizations use, were made in response to the president’s comments when he admitted that a company has no self- administrative rights, except as granted by the conference. But he said, “Just trust me.”

The point was made, and still stands, that in the Catholic Church, the local church has plenty of rights- as long as they please the hierarchy. But they have no rights by right, only by privilege. The same is true of Communist satellite countries. As long as they do as the Central Communist Party desires, they have plenty of rights. But, as Hungary found out in 1956, and as Czechoslovakia found out in 1968, these rights are only privileges granted as long as they please the central party. They are not privileges by right. Both groups want you to simply “trust them.” But Inspiration warns against all such alliances, whether in labor, government, or church administration. Is there ever a time or place when it is appropriate to use such illustrations? Consider the following vision about the leaders of Battle Creek:

I dreamed that I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the door and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern and determined. I knew them well and turned to open the parlor door to receive them, but thought I would took again. The scene was changed. The company now presented the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed. And as they approached, the one carrying a reed, made a circle around the house, saying three times: “This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.”… [I] found myself in the midst of a company, some of whom I knew, but I dared not speak a word to them for fear of being betrayed. Testimonies, vol. 1, 578

Is there a danger that we can develop a system that functions like a hierarchy with its inherent evils? Let us give an example of the way the centralization of power can be used to restrict the rights of God’s people. Take the example of the conference executive committee being able to disfellowship members of a company without a trial or vote by their fellow brothers and sisters. It is true that the conference does not often disfellowship anyone. But the very fact that they, and they alone, have the right to do so, is wrong, and contrary to all the counsel of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The very principle is wrong, whether it is misused or not. And for those who say that that kind of power would never be misused, consider the hundreds of faithful Seventh- day Adventist Church members in Hungary who were disfellowshiped by the conference, apart from the local churches, simply because they voiced their disapproval of the union of church and state and the joining of the ecumenical movement that is uniting the various Christian religions of that country.

The conference president said, “Trust me.” He made it very clear that unless the congregation was willing to become a company, they did not have enough trust for the conference to make them a church. That is a “Catch- 22″ situation. It is like the young women who wants to wait until she is married to have a relationship, but the boyfriend says, “Just trust me! If you don’t trust me enough to have a relationship with me now, you don’t have enough trust for me to marry you.” But if she is willing to marry him, that should be trust enough. And if the congregation is willing and desirous to be a church within the conference, that should be trust enough. No congregation of God’s church should be forced to transgress their convictions in order to show trust.

”Kingly Power”

This principle of central control is a spirit completely contrary to all the teachings of Jesus. Yet this principle has gradually, subtly, become more and more an accepted method of administration among us. For one reason, it is often the easiest way to deal with a problem.

God has given to men talents of influence which belong to Him alone, and no greater dishonor can be done to God than for one finite agent to bring other men’s talents under his absolute control, even though the benefits of the same be used to the advantage of the cause. In such arrangements one man’s mind is ruled by another man’s mind, and the human agency is separated from God, and exposed to temptation. Satan’s methods tend to one end- to make men the slaves of men. Testimonies to Ministers, 360- 361

God calls for cooperation. No one is called to work independently, either conference officer, pastor, or lay person. And yet we are all given capabilities and duties to which we are individually accountable to God.

The abuse of power may have its short term benefits, as noted above, but “It is a curse wherever and by whomsoever it is exercised.” Ibid. “The high- handed power that has been developed, as though position has made men gods,” Ellen White said, “makes me afraid, and ought to cause fear.” Ibid. God designs that the members of His church should learn to be responsible, stalwart workers for Him. He designs that the local members should be responsible for the work in their area. If they are under the guidance of the Lord, each church will work in harmony with every other church, and organization will be a pleasure and a blessing.

We are to be peacemakers, easy to be entreated, and cooperative, yet God holds us responsible for our individual calling and the stewardship He has entrusted into our hands. “Do we individually realize our true position, that as God’s hired servants we are not to bargain away our stewardship? We have an individual accountability before the heavenly universe, to administer the trust committed us of God.” Ibid., 361- 362

No one was easier to be entreated than Jesus. He was the King of Peace. Yet, He would not relinquish His calling for any. He had a divine call. Because He would not surrender His calling and mission, it brought great trouble and opposition. Thus Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10: 34). During the ministry of Jesus, the great conflict was over authority. The question that both He and John the Baptist were asked was, “By what authority are You doing these thing? And who gave You this authority?” Jesus’ answer was: “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things” (Matthew 21: 23- 27). The scribes and Pharisees “sought to lay hands on Him,” that is to arrest Him, for what was, in their opinion, insubordination Matthew 21: 46).

There are two great dangers, both centered in pride. There is the pride of dominance and control, and there is the pride of independence. Satan displayed both. But of the two, the love of power and control was the great sin of the Jewish church. This, also, has been a great curse in our church, even as early as 1886. We have already looked at some of the counsels of Ellen White following 1888. Here are some counsels given at the General Conference session thirteen years later:

In reference to our conference, it is repeated o’er and o’er and o’er again, that it is the voice of God, and therefore everything must be referred to the conference and have the conference voice in regard to permission or restriction or what shall be and what shall not be done in the various fields.

Now from the light that I have, as it was presented to me in figures: There was a narrow compass here; there within that narrow is a king- like, kingly ruling power. Here the outlets are blocked. And the work all over our field demands an entirely different course of action than we have had. We have heard enough, abundance, about that “everything must go around in the regular way.” . . . To have this conference pass on and close up as the conferences have done, with the same manipulating, with the very same tone, and the same order,- God forbid! God forbid, brethren. . . . This thing has been continued and renewed for the last fifteen years or more [that is at least since 1886], and God calls for a change. . . . Let me tell you that the enemy is getting the victory all the time . . . .Every conference has woven after the same pattern. It is the very same loom that carries it, and finally, why, it will come to naught. Ellen G. White speech at the 1901 General Conference. Spalding- Magan Collection, 163- 164

How wonderful it would have been if the 1901 General Conference had made a turnaround. They did in theory, but did they carry through? A few months later, Ellen White wrote to the new chairman of the General Conference Committee, Elder Daniells:

Pharisaism 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. . . .

God calls for a revival and a reformation. The “regular lines” have not done the work which God desires to see accomplished. Let revival and reformation make constant changes.

Something has been done in this line, but let not the work stop here. No! Let every yoke be broken. Let men awaken to the realization that they have an individual responsibility.

The present showing is sufficient to prove to all who have the true missionary spirit that the “regular lines” may prove a failure and a snare. God helping His people, the circle of kings who dared to take such great responsibilities shall never again exercise their unsanctified power in the so- called “regular lines.” Too much power has been invested in unrevived, unreformed human agencies. Let not selfishness and covetousness be allowed to outline the work which must be done to fulfill the grand, noble commission which Christ has given to every disciple. He, our Lord and Master has given us an example, in His life, of selfsacrifice, of die way in which we must work to advance the kingdom of God. . . . To each human being God has assigned an individuality and a distinct work. . . .

Christ’s commission is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Those who are impressed to take up the work in the home field or in regions beyond are to go forward in the name of the Lord. They will succeed if they give evidence that they depend upon God for grace and strength. At the beginning, their work may he very small, hut it will enlarge if they follow the Lord’s plan. God lives, and He will work for the unselfish, self- sacrificing laborer, wherever and whoever he may … .. The Macedonian cry is coming from every quarter. Shall men go to the “regular lines” to see whether they will be permitted to labor, or shall they go out and work as best they can, depending on their own abilities and on the help of the Lord, beginning in a humble way and creating an interest in the truth in places in which nothing has been done to give the warning message?

God grant that the voices which have been so quickly raised to say that all the money invested in the work must go through the appointed channel at Battle Creek, shall not be heard. The people to whom God has given His means are amenable to Him alone. It is their privilege to give direct aid and assistance to . . . .. . . .. And if means can be devised to reduce the expense of publishing and circulating books, let this be done. Ibid., 174- 177

How wonderful it would have been if God’s counsel had been heeded— we would have been in the kingdom long ere this. But, later that same year, she warned: “We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years.” Evangelism, 696. The fact that we are still here says something.

It should be noted that the quoting of these statements is not done as an attack on any person, nor on the General Conference or any conference. We are all responsible for being in this world too long. It should also be noted that inspired statements must be considered in the context of time and place. In the immediate aftermath of the 1901 General Conference reorganization, Ellen White cautioned people against using these statements and applying them just the same as before the reorganization. She wanted to give the new leadership a chance to prove themselves. But the point is, the same principles of organization and leadership still apply today, and if the conditions be met again, the conclusions remain the same.

Some progress may have been made in 1901. But the progress was not nearly as much as God desired. And the question remains, have we regressed from the progress we made, if we made any? Even as early as 1903, Ellen White began to write about the failure of the 1901 General Conference- not in the actions passed, but in the carrying out of the actions:

One day at noon I was writing of the work that might have been done at the last General Conference if the men in positions of trust had followed the will and way of God. Those who have had greatest light have not walked in the light. Testimonies, vol. 8, 104

In a letter she wrote to Judge Arthur on January 14, 1903, she lamented: The result of the last General Conference (1901) has been the greatest, the most terrible sorrow of my life. No change was made. The spirit that should have been brought into the whole work as the result of that meeting was not brought in because men did not receive the testimonies of the Spirit of God. As they went to their several fields of labor, they did not walk in the light that the Lord had flashed upon their pathways, but carried into their work the wrong principles that had been prevailing in the work at Battle Creek. The Lord has marked every movement made by the leading men in our institutions and conferences. Letter 17, 1903; MR 10: 6, 3- 4

It should not be construed from these statements that Ellen White gave up on the church, but the Lord through her gave the church the only formula by which it can be victorious. We are to have organization, based upon true love for God and for one another, with an attitude of service. But we are not to lord it over one another nor to become their conscience. The Lord is to be allowed to rule in His church.

Because we did not follow the inspired formula for simple, holy, humble organization, many of our institutions at our headquarters in Battle Creek were burned. For those who think that the church made a complete change for the good in 1901, it should be noted that these judgments from God took place after that General Conference. God is still waiting for His character to be more fully manifested in our organizational principles. When we, as a people, reflect His image fully, both in our personal lives and in our relationships to one another (which relationship is what constitutes the government of the church), God will come to claim us as His own.

The spirit of control still prevails in the human heart. In trying to make a congregation of 160 people, such as existed in Wichita, a company, the spirit of control is made official. These same principles also apply to the way many mission territories are organized and run in various parts of the world. In talking to ministers and leaders of the local churches in at least one large mission field in another part of the world, we have found the same abuses of power seemed to be practiced and legitimized (maybe unintentionally) there just as they are in the formation of a local company. [A mission territory is like a conference, except without the ability to be self-organized, much as a company is like a church, except without the ability to be self- organized.]

Moreover, even when the centralization of power is not official, as in the situation of a company, it is often practiced. Many churches, that officially have the full privileges of corporate self- government under the direction of the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with the world- wide fellowship of believers, are nevertheless run and controlled by the conference or mission. These methods of manipulation were among Ellen White’s greatest concerns and the motivation for some of her strongest warnings, such as found in the book Testimonies to Ministers. Here is a sampling:

The Lord has not placed any one of His human agencies under the dictation and control of those who are themselves but erring mortals. … There is a power exercised at Battle Creek that God has not given, and He will judge those who assume this authority. They have somewhat of the same spirit that led Uzzah to lay his hand on the ark. . . . Far less of man’s power and authority should be exercised toward God’s human agencies. Brethren, leave God to rule. . . . No man is a proper judge of another man’s duty. Man is responsible to God, and as finite, erring men take into their hands the jurisdiction of their fellow men, as if the Lord commissioned them to lift up and cast down, all heaven is filled with indignation. . . . The present order of things must change, or the wrath of God will fall upon His instrumentalities that are not working in Christ’s lines. Testimonies to Ministers, 347- 349

God will not vindicate any device whereby man shall in the slightest degree rule or oppress his fellow men. . . . We are warned not to trust in man, nor to make flesh our arm. A curse is pronounced upon all who do this. Ibid., 366- 367

State conferences may depend upon the General Conference for light and knowledge and wisdom; but is it safe for them to do this? Battle Creek is not to be the center of God’s work. God alone can fill this place. When our people in the different places have their special convocations, teach them, for Christ’s sake and for their own soul’s sake, not to make flesh their arm. . . . Is the president of the General Conference to be the god of the people? … The Lord has a controversy with His people over this matter. . . . Just as soon as man is placed where God should be, he loses his purity, his vigor, his confidence in God’s power. Moral confusion results, because his powers become unsanctified and perverted. He feels competent to judge his fellow men, and he strives unlawfully to be a god over them. But there must be no self- exaltation in the work of God. Ibid., 375- 377

Let me entreat our state conferences and our churches to cease putting their dependence upon men and making flesh their arm. . . . Our churches are weak because the members are educated to look to and depend upon human resources. Ibid., 380

Working the Unworked Areas

Several months before the Three Angels Church was made a company, the students of the Institute of Ministry held an evangelistic series in Winfield, Kansas, an unworked town of 10,000 people, 44 miles south of Wichita. At the conclusion of these meetings, there were a number of interests who said they would be willing to come to church if there was one in their area.

The students prayed earnestly about this. They also studied the writings of Ellen White to find what they should do in such a situation. They found such statements as these:

No field is so unpromising as one that has been cultivated just enough to give the weeds a more luxuriant growth. . . . A minister might better not engage in the work unless he can bind it off. . . . For years light has been given upon this point, showing the necessity of following up an interest that has been raised, and in no case leaving it until all have decided that lean toward the truth, and have experienced the conversion necessary for baptism, and united with some church, or formed one themselves. Evangelism, 322, 324

Place after place is to be visited; church after church is to be raised up. Those who take their stand for the truth are to be organized into churches. Ibid., 353

I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God’s Word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world. Ibid., 699

With the consideration of counsels such as these, and after talking to the pastor of the closest Adventist church to Winfield, the students who held the evangelistic series in Winfield decided to start holding Sabbath services there, which have continued ever since. Between ten and fifteen interests from the town are currently attending these services. Bible studies are continuing and the people are becoming rooted and grounded. The congregation in Winfield, though carrying out all the functions of a church, generally refer to themselves as a “mission.” The Concerns and Objections paper cites the starting of the Winfield congregation as yet another problem with Elder Grosboll’s ministry. It states:

He then started a church in Winfield, Kansas without consulting with either the district pastor or conference leaders. Concerns and Objections, 11

Neither the evangelistic meetings nor the beginning of fellowship meetings on Sabbath morning in Winfield were done without notification of the closest district pastor. Elder Grosboll also personally talked to the conference secretary about holding these meetings and he expressed no concerns. A budget request and the plans for these meetings were also sent to the president. But the president replied only by sending out a letter to the various pastors in the area condemning the holding of the meetings. He also said this action on the part of Pastor Grosboll would provide additional evidence to the Executive Committee of his lack of cooperation. It seemed that every attempt to communicate with the conference was met with a hostile reply.

It is an interesting note that the students who were involved with the Winfield evangelistic meetings and ultimately decided to continue meeting with the interests on Sabbath morning, were very “pro- conference” students (as most of our students are), who sincerely wanted to do everything to please the conference. One of them almost seemed to believe that nothing should be done if the conference is against it. But when it came to the actual salvation of souls, and after studying the inspired counsels, they decided to secure these interests.

It is inconceivable that raising up a new work, where there is no Seventh- day Adventist Church, could be placed in such condemnatory light as the conference is seeking to do. How many churches are being raised up today? This work should be encouraged, not condemned..

Moreover, the organization of churches is a part of the ministry which God commissions his ministers to perform. The same ordination that authorizes a person to baptize also authorizes him to organize churches.

Before being sent forth as missionaries to the heathen world, these apostles [Paul and Barnabas] were solemnly dedicated to God by fasting and prayer and the laying on of hands. Thus they were authorized by the church, not only to teach the truth, but to perform the rite of baptism and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority. The Acts of the Apostles, 161

When the members of the Three Angels group who felt they could not conscientiously sign the company book were told they could no longer be an active part of the group, they began to look for a place of service. Some went to Winfield. Some went to help a new and growing group of believers in Kingman that had been established three years before. Some went to other places. All of these people were, and are, free to serve the Lord where they wish.

It appears that certain persons sought how they might either gain control of the Three Angels group or break it up. When they succeeded and many of the members were scattered, they sought whom they might blame. But who really divided the church? If a church is divided because some members want to follow clear biblical and Spirit of Prophecy principles, and yet are willing to study these issues out and change if they have misinterpreted the inspired Word, what is the cause? And if they are dismissed from the group over these principles of conscience, which no one is willing to study with them to show where they might be wrong— we ask, if this divides a church, who divided it?

If following principle will divide a church, may every church of the land be divided! It is better to have a divided church where souls are following principle, than to have a whole church united in a Laodicean condition. Moreover, the possible consequences of our actions are not to dictate what is right and wrong. We are to act upon principle, leaving the results with God.

We should choose the right because it is right, and leave consequences with God. The Great Controversy, 460

Christ’s ambassadors have nothing to do with consequences. They must perform their duty and leave results with God. Ibid., 460

The greatest want of the world is the want of men- men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. Education, 57

Sometimes the heavens may seem as about to fall. Let us notice this solemn appeal by the prophet of the Lord:

Plans contrary to truth and righteousness are introduced in a subtle manner on the plea that this must be done, and that must be done, “because it is for the advancement of the cause of God.” But it is the devising of men that leads to oppression, injustice, and wickedness. The cause of God is free from every taint of injustice. It can gain no advantage by robbing the members of the family of God of their individuality or their rights. All such practices are abhorrent to God. … They were determined to bring the individuals to their terms; they would rule or ruin. … The high- handed power that has been developed, as though position has made men gods, makes me afraid, and ought to cause fear. It is a curse wherever and by whomsoever it is exercised. . . . Do we individually realize our true position, that as God’s hired servants we are not to bargain away our stewardship? We have an individual accountability before the heavenly universe, to administer the trust committed us . . . .. . . ..

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, 359- 362

We appeal to each person who believes and loves the Three Angels’ Messages to put away all differences. Let us work together as brethren, for the finishing of the work, so that Jesus can return soon. Let us not fight one another. Steps to Life, as well as all who ate called and commissioned to work for the Master, cannot relinquish the work nor water down the message God has given them to preach. The reason they have never addressed some of the activities against them is that they want to cooperate with the conference, even if they have been wronged. Let us confess our sins and let bygones be bygones. Let us join hands for the conversion of souls that are perishing. As Ellen White says:

We are to subdue not our brother soldiers but our enemies, that we may build up Christ’s kingdom. We are laborers together with God. Ibid., 296

Conditions for “Acceptable Ministry”

The Concerns and Objections document itself says nothing about any conditions of working with the conference, or even of a possibility or desire on the part of the conference for reconciliation or cooperation. It merely ends with the decision that, “Pastor Grosboll has demonstrated that he is not a true shepherd of the flock and therefore should not represent the Seventhday Adventist Church as an ordained minister.” Nevertheless, at the conclusion of the January 25 meeting, after reading the document, the conference president said that if Steps to Life would submit to the eleven points voted on by the conference as “Guidelines for Acceptable Independent Ministries,” 7 they could yet work together. He outlined which three he wanted Steps to Life to work on first:

  1. The leaders of the independent ministry are [to be] members in good and regular standing in the local Seventh- day Adventist Church.
  2. The independent ministry actively encourages its supporters to be faithful in the returning of their tithes and giving of appropriate offerings to the organized Seventh- day Adventist Church and does not knowingly accept tithe from Seventh- day Adventist members. In such cases where they are aware that the contributed funds are tithe, they will counsel the donor to place their tithe in the proper channels of the organized church.
  3. The independent ministry will have on its guiding board or committee at least some individuals appointed by the Conference Executive Committee who will represent the organized Seventh- day Adventist Church. They may be employees of the church and/ or lay persons who are elected or appointed to the church executive or governing boards or committees at the local conference or other levels of the church structure.

It should be noted that these three items seem to have little to do with the document itself. Moreover, it should also be noted that the Kansas- Nebraska Conference took the eleven points that the North American Division has accepted, 8 but modified them to suit their needs. Since Steps to Life is the only ministry we know of in the Kansas- Nebraska conference to which these points could apply, it would seem that these changes were made with Steps to Life in mind. Yet no one from Steps to Life was ever consulted or dialogued with. These “eleven points” were merely handed down.

Let us examine the three points that the conference president specified as the first (of the eleven points) that he wanted Steps to Life to comply with, as quoted above:

1. Membership:

The leaders of Steps to Life are members in good and regular standing. It was stated at the January 25 meeting, however, that unless Pastor Grosboll is regularly attending the South Church, where his membership is, he is not a member in good and regular standing. This is not according to the Manual or any known church policy. It was mentioned by Elder W, another conference president who was in attendance, that he himself did not attend his local church more than about twice a year. But he said that though this was permissible for him, as he was doing the work of the Lord, it was not acceptable for Elder Grosboll.

It should be noted that ministers are encouraged not to continue to attend the church where they formerly pastored. Should Elder Grosboll regularly attend the South Church, could this not be used against him, as this was the church that he pastored less than two years ago? Elder Grosboll is in attendance at a Sabbath service every Sabbath. When he is in the area, he generally attends the Winfield mission.

Because the president spent quite a bit of time on this item, he was finally asked whether he and the local pastor had ever discussed the disfellowshiping of Pastor Grosboll. Both he and the local pastor admitted that they had, though the local pastor said there were no plans for such an action at the present time, nor would he consent to chair a meeting called for that purpose.

2. Tithe:

Steps to Life does not solicit tithe money. Steps to Life, in their evangelism, teaches that paying tithe is a sacred duty. Usually people pay their tithe into their local conference. But if a person is convicted to channel his or her lithe in a particular manner, whether to the Quiet Hour, Amazing Facts, Weimar, the Voice of Prophecy (all of which accept tithe), or to another conference than their local conference (most of whom accept such tithe), the personnel at Steps to Life encourage people to follow their convictions. We cannot influence people to go against their convictions. Is the conference saying that it, the conference, is the only “storehouse” that is to be entrusted with the Lord’s goods? It is understood that some conferences make this boast.

We simply asked for the scriptural evidence of this. If this can be produced, Steps to Life will gladly comply. A statement from Elder Grosboll should clarify the position of Steps to Life on this point:

Ellen White said that “The tithe should go to those who labor in word and doctrine, be they men or women” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 263). “A great mistake is made when the tithe is drawn from the object for which it is to be used— the support of the ministers. There should be today in the field one hundred well qualified laborers where now there is but one” (Testimonies, vol. 9, 249). Today we not only do not have 100 times more workers than when this was written in 1909, but, when figured on per capita of workers per membership in North America, we actually have 40% fewer than we had then. We, at Steps to Life, are convicted that we must do our part to fill this void in the Lord’s vineyard. Thus we have a separate “Bible worker fund,” which is set totally apart from our operating budget, that goes directly into putting Bible workers out into the field to hold evangelistic meetings, give Bible studies, train other Bible workers, and win souls to the kingdom. This not only supports Bible workers here at Steps to Life, but also missionaries elsewhere. If people are convicted to give to this fund, we do not question them first to find out what kind of money it is- that is between them and the Lord. We are carrying on the work of the Lord. Every penny that comes to us is sacred, and is always used for the exact purpose for which the people send it. Our books are annually audited by an independent auditor.

These inspired statements of Ellen White need to be looked at and accepted: I have myself appropriated my tithe to the most needy cases brought to my notice. I have been instructed to do this; and as the money is not withheld from the Lord’s treasury, it is not a matter that should be commented upon; for it will necessitate my making known these matters. . . .

Some cases have been kept before me for years, and I have supplied their needs from the tithe, as God has instructed me to do. And if any person shall say to me, Sister White, will you appropriate my tithe where you know it is most needed, I shall say, Yes, I will; and I have done so. I commend those sisters who have placed their tithe where it is most needed to help to do a work that is being left undone; and if this matter is given publicity, it will create knowledge which would better be left as it is. I do not care to give publicity to this work which the Lord has appointed me to do, and others to do. Spalding-Magan Collection, 215

The Word says, “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” When any such decision as this [to not pay ministers’ wives who were working with their husbands] is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it in my duty to create a fund from my tithe money, to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. Ibid., 117

God has not called us to be the conscience for other people, and Steps to Life will not do so. If some, after sincere prayer and the study of the word, feel convicted to send their tithe to a certain place where the Word is being preached, who can forbid them, unless one has clear scriptural reasons for doing so? Let us be careful that we do not become so concerned about paying “tithe of mint and anise and cumin,” that we neglect “the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” Matthew 23: 23

Is the solution for the conference’s money woes more legislation, or more confidence of the people for their work?

Tithe is to be so liberal that it will sustain the work largely; each one … to act in their capacity in such a way that the confidence of the whole people will be established in them, and that they will not be afraid, but see everything just as light as day. Spalding- Magan Collection, 166 “The Lord desires us to let our light so shine before men that His Holy Spirit may communicate the truth to the honest in he. . . … As we do this work, we shall find that means will flow into our treasuries, and we shall have means with which to carry on a still broader and more far- reaching work. Evangelism, 61- 62

Many of our laymen are burdened and earnestly praying for direction in the proper use of the tithe the Lord has made them stewards of. They witness, Sabbath after Sabbath, preachers who are being supported by the tithe who are preaching the devil’s lie that you cannot quit sinning (see The Desire of Ages, 24). They witness those who seem unconverted, and who have no fruits for their labors. Here are a sampling of statements that many of our sincere laymen, as stewards of the Lord’s goods, have been prayerfully studying and pondering over:

The people are encouraged to center in Battle Creek, and they pay their tithe and give their influence to the building up of a modern Jerusalem that is not after God’s order. Testimonies to Ministers, 254

There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctifled to minister to them in word and doctrine. Testimonies, vol. 1, 261- 262

We wonder if the leaders in Old Jerusalem encouraged people to “pay their tithe and give their influence to the building up of… 101( 1! Jerusalem”? Did they understand themselves to be the only “storehouse” of God’s goods? Did they understand the Bible to mean: “All the tithe is the priests’ in Jerusalem,” rather than “All the tithe is the Lord’s”? Would people, as stewards of their Lord’s goods, have been questioned for giving the Lord’s tithe to the Lord, or to John the Baptist? If the Holy Spirit, through study and prayer, would have impressed a faithful Jew to give his influence and support to John the Baptist or Simeon or some other, but the person chose, because of priestly pressure, to give his influence and support to up-building the Sanhedrin, would he not be held responsible as an unfaithful steward? And would not those priests who tried to force him to go against his convictions be equally guilty?

The conference’s work is to gain the confidence of the people through following the counsels of the Lord and by doing the work Of the Lord. If the Holy Spirit is truly evident in the church, in our schools, in our medical institutions, in our publishing houses and publications, there will be no problem with money.

All we want to do is follow the will of the Lord in every detail, including tithing. What we need, however, is not legislation, but careful Bible study. We stand ready to follow every request from the conference that is based upon clear scriptural principles.

3. Board Representation:

This is one of the points that the Kansas- Nebraska Conference altered from the North American Division’s eleven- point guidelines. The North American Division’s guidelines specify that the board must include, “Some Individuals [plural] who currently represent the organized Seventh- day Adventist Church.” The Kansas- Nebraska guidelines say that the board must include, “individuals [plural] appointed by the Conference Executive Committee who will represent the organized Seventh- day Adventist Church.” Both documents then explain that to be a representative of the “organized” church, one must be either employed by the church, and/ or be a member of the Executive Committee. Both documents, as voted, require a plurality of board members who are thus “representatives” of the conference.

To thus require board representation before a conference will accept or cooperate with (and cease to fight against) a ministry, is totally without biblical principle and would have excluded Christ and His disciples from being accepted by the church, for Jesus had no one from, or appointed by, the Sanhedrin on His board. (Was this the reason the Sanhedrin felt justified in fighting against Him?) What motive or attitude would prompt a leader or corporate board to say that a ministry is unacceptable, regardless of what they are doing or teaching, and regardless of whether they might be called and ordained by the Lord or not, unless they themselves are a part of the ministry in a controlling capacity? Jesus said, “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet ft shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” Matthew 20: 25- 28). Anyone who demands a position on a board, and is more interested in control than service, thereby disqualifies himself for that very position.

The changes made in the Kansas- Nebraska guidelines, where the conference must actually appoint the board members before a ministry can be acceptable in their eyes, makes their guidelines even more controlling in nature than the ones from the North American Division. Why this change?

After the meeting, one of the local elders who was in attendance at the meeting, stayed behind to talk with the president. The president told him that he himself was the one from the conference who should be on the Steps to Life board. But if Steps to Life is so bad, why does the president want to be on the board? And again, what scriptural principle is involved here. The Bible says, “Can two walk togethe,; unless they are agreed?” Amos 3: 3

Steps to Life, as other special ministries, would be happy to have any faithful Seventh- day Adventist on the board, but they do not choose board members based upon position. They seek, as any nominating committee should, to find those who are most qualified, and who most represent the character of Christ, to fill the board, regardless of position. The decisions of who should be representative on the boards are made according to the Church Manual: “The decisions and votes of the Nominating committee [that chooses the board members] are not to be controlled or influenced by any church, group, or individual. Decisions are reached after prayerful and careful study of all aspects of the matters that come before them pertaining to the administration of the work.” Seventh -day Adventist Church Manual, 131

Again we ask, where is the biblical principle for this mandate for acceptability? May the Lord help us to come back to the Protestant principle of the Bible and the Bible only.


Since the conference had already chosen to not renew the local conference credentials for Pastor Grosboll, why are they now so intent on seeking to try to annul his very ordination to the gospel ministry? This is a most unusual move, especially when there has been no false theology or commandment- breaking alleged against Elder Grosboll. Does the conference realize the seriousness of this kind of action, especially if the Lord has called Elder Grosboll?

Ellen White wrote to Uriah Smith in 1890, saying that he was committing the sin of “Korah, Dathan and Abiram” (The Ellen G White 1888 materials, 599- 605). What was this sin of” Korah, Dathan and Abiram,” and, in the case of Uriah Smith, how did it start? It was the sin of rebellion against God’s leadership, and in the case of Uriah Smith, it had started many years before. Ellen White wrote: “I was warned of this state of things in 1882.” This referred to the time when he, as a leader in the church, sought to undermine one whom he thought was under him but whom the Lord had chosen and who was to be under His control, namely Professor Bell. She asked Elder Smith: “Have you ever made confession to Prof Bell in regard to the position and work done at that time?” Ibid.

Uriah Smith’s apostasy which had begun by fighting Professor Bell, continued at Minneapolis as he continued to fight the ministry of the Holy Spirit which was given to Jones and Waggoner. Smith’s rebellion finally culminated in His fighting against the Spirit of Prophecy. She told him: “Do not labor so hard to do the very work Satan is doing. This work was done in Minneapolis. Satan triumphed.” Ellen White replied with him: “I cannot endure the thought of you being left as were Korah, Dathan and Abiram.” Ibid.

There is evidence that Uriah Smith repented, but in the process, how many hundreds lost their souls? She warned him: “Consider how many joined Korah, Dathan and Abiram. . . .Korah, Dathan and Abiram had done a similar work as you have been doing.” Ibid.

Let us consider the seriousness of the situation. Rebellion starts small, from a heart of selfishness, pride, and envy, and grows into open rebellion against the Lord. The Jewish leaders never believed they could come to the place where they could crucify the Son of God and commit perjury in doing so. As was demonstrated in 1888, we are no more secure from the dangers of pride and self- preservation than were they.

When Pastor Grosboll took a leave of absence from the conference, he supposed that, though the conference did not support him, they would at least be able to work together as brethren. Elder Grosboll has not sought to run down the conference, but rather to develop a working relationship with the conference. Following is the transcript of one of his letters to the president:

August 3, 1988

Dear Elder______:

I was so happy to read about the Revelation seminars you are holding in your home. Our prayers are with you in all your work of soul- winning. The saving of souls is our great burden and desire here in our ministry. In fact, I was getting ready to write to ask you if there are any towns here in Central Kansas that you would especially like us to work and to seek to raise up a church in. If the Lord has impressed you with a particular need, please let us know. We are anxious to cooperate and to work together with you for the up building of the church. One of our goals is to start a new church every year. We solicit your prayers and support for us in this endeavor.

I am concerned, Elder ______, that you seem to put the worst possible construction on every action or motive we have. We want peace and unity. We are again coming to you asking for your cooperation in our work. And yet, our work is not our work, but the Lord’s.

We are very concerned about the last conference letter that went out, which seemed to many to be very divisive. We are a part of the same church, and we are both ordained for the same reason. Your statements were interpreted by many to be a direct attack. The first item of news in a personal newsletter from you to every member of the conference in which you name me, the Institute of Ministry and the 1888 Bible Conference in a most uncomplimentary manner, does appear to be very divisive. We are here to fight the devil and his agents, not each other.

It is true that throughout history the greatest enemies of God’s work have often been the leaders of the church. Thus it was in Jesus’ day, in Martin Luther’s day and in 1888. But let us not have warfare here in Kansas- Nebraska. We are living too close to the end of earth’s history for that. And yet, if you persist in attacking God’s work here, we will have to come to its defense.

Let me share with you an incident that happened just a week ago. One of our 550 Bible students happens to be a backslidden Seventh- day Adventist lady. She has been receiving lessons for some period of time now and has been filling in the questions and growing spiritually. We did not know that her name was still on the church books, but as a result, she received your letter. This threw her into great confusion. She came to our office and one of our staff members talked to her. This letter has caused her to lose a great deal of confidence in the church and the conference. She knows she is learning truth and experiencing a reconversion- so what is she to think of a leader or an organization that is fighting and opposing the very means the Lord has chosen to lead her back to Him again? Our staff member had to spend quite a bit of time trying to re- establish her confidence and faith in the church. She has written me asking me to explain your actions. What should I write to her?

I want to share with you again that our work is totally for the purpose of winning souls to the Lord Jesus Christ and to build up His Seventh- day Adventist Church on earth. I was a conference pastor for twelve years and now I am self- supporting. I feel my calling no less today than at any time in my ministry. I am doing what I am doing simply because I have sought to follow God’s leading in my life and because I have been obedient unto His call.

I have no desire to fight your ministry or anyone else’s. But I must prosecute the work God has ordained me to do. This should not threaten you. Let us join hands together for a finished work. Let us consider these texts:

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.,” “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.” Eph. 4: 3, Gal. 5: 15

Jesus also said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Let us not be divided but united.

This cannot be accomplished by mandate, but by prayer and the unity of the Spirit. Let us pray for one another rather than trying to undermine the other.

As you know, and as you have testified, plenty of things have been done to me since I have been here. I don’t care to itemize them here, for I believe that the Lord works all these things out for good. But there is an enemy seeking to destroy God’s work here— and the best way he can do it is by causing division, jealousy, envy and strife. Let us work to defeat him.

There is another concern I have. As you know, there was a Bible workers’ fund set up and voted by the church for certain Bible workers, of whom I was one. When the church became a company, and many chose not to join the company but to remain members of the Wichita Church South, the board voted to discontinue this fund but to pay out the money as it had been previously disbursed, until the fund was liquidated in about three months. This was a very great concern to many. You yourself promised that this would continue untampered with. But the conference- assigned pastor seems to have determined that this would not be. Somehow he has accomplished his purpose.

I would like to point out that this fund was not the fund of the Three Angels’ Company. It was the fund of everyone that made up the Three Angels’ Church. The company was made a guardian and caretaker of this fund. There was a promise and an agreement that the company would not tamper with this money. This was promised by you, Elder M___, [Elder] P___ and was a voted upon agreement of the board. What has happened is total dishonesty. We can do without the money, but I fear for the souls of those involved in this action. God is still a God of justice. lam asking you, for the well- being of the church, to take a personal interest in seeing that this decision is reversed.

We are trying to develop people’s confidence in the church and its leadership. But how can people feel right about giving their money into an organization that condones this kind of action and that is using God’s sacred tithe money to fight the very work that God is seeking to build up? I am sure that you will work to rectify this wrong.

Yours in Christ for a finished work,
Marshall J. Grosboll

P. S. This quotation was recently sent to me by a physician and church member in Nebraska. As a leader here in the Institute of Ministry, I have found these principles of divine origin to be a blessing in our work. Maybe you will find it to be a blessing too.

“A great many of the difficulties that have come into our work in California and elsewhere have come in through a misunderstanding on the part of men in official positions concerning their individual responsibility in the matter of controlling and ruling their fellow laborers. Men entrusted with responsibilities have supposed that their official position embraced very much more than was ever thought of by those who placed them in office, and serious difficulties arose as the result. {PC 298.3}
“Simple organization and church order are set forth in the New Testament Scriptures, and the Lord has ordained these for the unity and perfection of the church. The man who holds office in the church should stand as a leader, as an advisor and a counselor and helper in carrying the burdens of the work. He should be a leader in offering thanksgiving to God. But he is not appointed to order and command the Lord’s laborers. The Lord is over His heritage. He will lead His people if they will be led of the Lord in the place of assuming a power God has not given them. Let us study the twelfth and thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the fifteenth chapter of Acts. “Ellen G. White, December 6, 1909. Paulson Collection, 298

Another quotation of significance that is cause for reflection is as follows:

In the 41st to 45th chapters of Isaiah, God very fully reveals His purpose for His people, and these chapters should be prayerfully studied. God does not here instruct His people to turn away from His wisdom and look to finite man for wisdom. . . . Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. . . .

I write thus fully, because I have been shown that ministers and people are tempted more and more to trust in finite man for wisdom, and to make flesh their arm. To conference presidents, and men in responsible places, I bear this message: Break the bands and fetters that have been placed upon God ‘5 people. To you the word is spoken, “Break every yoke.” Unless you cease the work of making man amenable to man, unless you become humble in heart, and yourselves learn the way of the Lord as little children, the Lord will divorce you from His work. Testimonies to Ministers, 480- 481 (1907) (emphasis in the original).

One other point I would like to mention just to prevent any misunderstanding- I have always tried to confine my communications to you in private letters or phone calls, but I notice that you have sent your letters many places. Plus, I keep learning of private letters you have sent out, either to individuals or to many people, about me. I merely mention this, as I said, to prevent any misunderstanding on allowing concerned individuals to also know of my communications to you, and I ask each to join with us in prayer as we pull together for a finished work.

CC: Neal Wilson
Ron Spear
C. E. Bradford
Jim Hiner
Ralph Larson
Joel Tompkins
Bob Dale
Colin Standish
Larry Pitcher
John Grosboll
O. J. Mills

This was the response to the above letter, dated September 2, 1988: Before there could be discussions with the Conference Administration and Executive Committee, about your desire to start new churches, etc., the Executive Committee will need your response to the criteria outlined in the Guidelines that I am sending you [The 11- point document as voted upon by the Kansas- Nebraska Conference.] … Regarding the question about the Bible Worker Fund, I believe that decisions about this matter are fully within the jurisdic lion of the local congregation. I am concerned that you seem to want the conference administration to be the ‘judge” in this matter whereas I believe this is a local church decision. . . . I am concerned that you chose to disassociate the Institute of Ministry from the Three Angels Company, and that during the entire time that the Three Angels Company associated with the Institute of Ministry, it is my understanding that financial reports of the Institute of Ministry and how funds were being used were not given to the Three Angels treasurer or the Three Angels Congregation. . . . Sincerely yours, G. L. R., president.

Note 1: Most of the finances of Steps to Life went through the Three Angels Congregation until they became independent at the time of the company formation. Steps to Life had no tax number at the time. Five of the local elders of the Three Angels Congregation were on the Steps to Life board. What funds did go directly through Steps to Life were audited, and the annual audited report was ready to present to the Three Angels Congregation at the time of the formation of the company. At about the same time, the conference- assigned pastor sought at one point to cut off the funds contributed to Steps to Life through the church. Thus it appeared to the Steps to Life board that, to protect the work that God had entrusted and ordained Steps to Life to do, they must become independent of the conference- controlled company, and they voted to do so.

Note 2: Steps to Life is not looking for the money that the Three Angels Company kept. But the Bible says, “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor; and not bear sin because of him” (Leviticus 19: 17). We are our brother’s keeper and should be concerned that there be nothing in the church that could prevent the Holy Spirit’s blessing.

Note 3: It is of interest to note that the local conference was sufficient of a judge over a congregation that when the church board wanted to transfer the Bible- Worker fund to the Institute of Ministry before the company was formed, their representative said, “You can’t do that” though both he and Elder R promised that the money would not be tampered with. It is also interesting to note that the only real authority of a company is the Conference Executive Committee. A company has no local authority. Furthermore, if the conference really is sincere about not judging, there would be no need for this response document. If they will not judge their own employees, we simply ask that they will also not judge those who are not under their employment.

It was shortly after this correspondence that the Concerns and Objections document was read by the president to the Conference Executive Committee, apparently as an initial step to take Elder Grosboll’s ordination away.

Yet, in answering “why” the conference is taking this drastic and dangerous step, there might be another answer. Since shortly after Elder Grosboll took a leave of absence, the conference administration has tried to keep track of every speaking appointment he has had. Over the last year, there has hardly been a speaking appointment by Elder Grosboll but that the conference president has called ahead of time and tried to get it canceled. He was able to cancel out an evangelistic series as well as a week- long 11 A. M. camp meeting speaking series for one of the large conferences of North America.

But while some conferences are withdrawing their invitations, more and more laymen are asking him to speak and are not bowing to pressure to withdraw their invitations. At the start of the school year at Loma Linda this year, the La Sierra student body representatives asked Elder Grosboll to have a weekend series for the students. When he arrived, the student representatives pulled him into a back room and said: “Your president has really caused trouble. He has gotten our local conference president involved, as well as the University president, saying that you should be barred from this campus. But we would not yield!” Praise the Lord, for a number of students made decisions on that weekend to start studying their Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy every day and to seek to live the victorious life. A number of students also committed, or recommitted, themselves to be active witnesses for the Lord.

In another conference to which the laymen had asked Elder Grosboll to speak, they had a similar experience. Their conference president called demanding that Elder Grosboll not be allowed to speak. But when they asked him what Elder Grosboll had done, he did not know. Nevertheless he was not to speak. That weekend Marshall gave a seminar on how to give Bible studies. It is hoped that many people will be in heaven because of that weekend. Praise the Lord for solid laymen who have backbone.

Recently, on a speaking tour outside of North America, the union president for the church he was speaking in called saying he had talked to the conference officials from North America [presumably from the local or union conference] and was informed that Elder Grosboll was a trouble- maker in his home conference, and therefore he could not speak unless he had current credentials (which the president knew had expired). Pastor Grosboll told the elders that under those circumstances it would probably be better if he did not speak and asked if someone else could speak. But the elders of the church voted unanimously to allow Elder Grosboll to speak anyway, and they urged it upon him. Three other churches also asked him to speak that weekend.

In a fourth instance of seeking to block the speaking appointments of Elder Grosboll, both the conference president and the union president have tried repeatedly to get Elder Grosboll off at least one television station.

Why is the president so intent on blocking any speaking appointments by the pastor? Marshall Grosboll has seldom even mentioned the situation in Wichita when on speaking appointments, though it gets difficult to avoid at times when the president calls ahead to try to block appointments. The people in those cases want an explanation. Some people have thought that the conference is afraid that if Elder Grosboll continues his ministry, people may call into question their actions in connection to his being let go from the South Church. Whether that is true or not is not known, but for some reason there is a determined effort to stop his ministry.

The unfortunate thing is the way many administrators seem to be aligning themselves to support each other, whatever the facts. As one division president recently told Elder Grosboll and David Jakstis, the former head elder of the South Church: “It is the nature of our administration for the union president to support the conference president, and for the division president to support the union president.” Is this true justice? Is this the way God designed organization to work?

I commanded your judges, . . . saying, “Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. Deuteronomy 1: 16, 17

In answering the question “Why?”, the most obvious reason appears to be that the president has not been very successful in blocking Elder Grosboll’s speaking appointments and ministry.

Maybe, if Elder Grosboll is officially “defrocked,” as John Huss was, he will have more success. Maybe he will. Jesus was barred from the churches after about the first six months of His ministry. Wesley was blocked from the churches. And Ellen White says: “If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people” (Testimonies to Ministers, 410). But let us pray that this will not happen.

Closing Appeal:

Those who call for revival and reformation may be resisted and their characters maligned, yet there remains a rising cry being heard around the world from long- time, faithful Seventh-day Adventist members, as well as those in their first love of the truth: “What is happening to my church?” Many who have given their time, money, influence, and life to the unbuilding of this sacred institution are standing in shocked wonder at the rapid events taking place within this final movement which God established to take the everlasting gospel to the world. They are appalled at the reports of lawsuits, illegal disfellowshipings, the rapid proliferation of intercollegiate sports, increasing worldliness in dress, conversation, amusements, and drama, at the increased authoritarianism manifested from the lowest level to the highest, at the increase of “New Theology” teachings, at the hatred for the straight testimony, political entanglements, and the list goes on. Yes, what has happened? Many are giving up hope in the church and calling it Babylon. But it is not Babylon. Ellen White, in speaking of our church, said, “Everywhere the spirit of darkness in the garb of religion will confront you. If ail that appears to be divine life were such in reality; if all who profess to present the truth to the world were preaching for the truth and not against it, and if they were men of God guided by His Spirit,— then might we something cheering amid the prevailing moral darkness. But the spirit of antichrist is prevailing to such an extent as never before” (Testimonies, vol. 5, 79- 80). That was the condition of the church in 1882. She predicted that it would get worse. Yet the church is not Babylon. God loves it as the apple of His eye. He has not divorced it. “But the days of the purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. . . . The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is hi His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.” Ibid.

The things we see should not discourage us. But they should call us to prayer as never before. “At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” Ibid., 136

Is the church today really in as sad a condition as the Spirit of Prophecy says it is? The church could have reformed since her day; but if it has, why hasn’t Jesus come? Where is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Is this church correctly depicted by God in the Laodicean message, or did He make a false prophecy? Is there a message of warning and hope to be given to the church today by the watchman on the walls of Zion?

Sad to say, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy counsels that could heal the church are often held in disrepute. Today the Spirit of Prophecy is held in contempt by many in positions of trust. They accept what they want to accept, but too often scoff at what applies to them, especially if it is quoted, even in tenderness and love, by those who are in self- supporting work or special ministries. Many have heard men of influence in the church make sly remarks to discredit various counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy that were brought to their attention. But it is like the ten commandments- you can accept all nine commandments that you agree with, but if you reject the one that goes against your traditions and practices, you have in reality rejected them all. If we merely believe God where 1- le agrees with us, we really haven’t believed Him at all.

Whether they are accepted or rejected, here are some counsels of warning that God has given to us, in love, to help us prepare for the final events of earth’s history and to know how to relate to what is about to come to pass. They are also written to keep us from fulfilling the conditions predicted, if we will hear and obey. Who knows whether God will not give you up to the deceptions you love? Who knows but that the preachers who are faithful, firm, and true may be the last who shall offer the gospel of peace to our unthankful churches? It may be that the destroyers are already training under the hand of Satan and only wait the departure of a few more standard- bearers 10 take their places, and with the voice of the false prophet cry, “Peace, peace,” when the Lord hath not spoken peace. . . . When God shall work His strange work on the earth, when holy hands bear the ark no longer, woe will be upon the people. Ibid., 77

Before looking at the other statements, let us analyze this one. Here it is pointed out that “the preachers who are faithful firm, and true” may be replaced by those who have been trained “under the hand of Satan.” The message of these false shepherds will be politically pleasing. Where are the men of courage and strength in the ministry today who are willing to stand in the breach? Where are the workers “who will not be bought or sold, . . . who do not fear to call sin by its right name, . . . men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall?” See Education, 57. Could there indeed come a time when “holy hands hold the ark no longer,” but rather those who have been trained by Satan to give a smooth message and to fight against the straight testimony will be at the helm of the work? That is exactly what Ellen White warned might happen. [In fact, she says “when” it happens] We have not given any such accusation that these things have indeed taken place. But it behooves us to know what the words of Inspiration say, and to realize that when these predicted events do happen, those fulfilling the prophecies will think they are on the Lord’s side, rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing. As Jesus said, “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16: 2).

Could the time be near when “holy hands bear the ark no longer,” and God will work “His strange work” (see Testimonies, vol. 5, 77, quoted above). If so, what is the strange work? Whom will it involve? The “strange work” is the woe of God being poured out first 9 upon the unfaithful Adventist ministry who have been preaching smooth and pleasing sermons when the church is in need of the stirring messages of revival and reformation. The woes of God, of course, were never intended for God’s church or for any within. They were only intended for the Beast and his followers who are at war with God.

In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second lime, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.” Ibid., vol. 1, 321

This woe upon the unfaithful ministry of the Seventh- day Adventist church, has been predicted over and over again. Our position is more serious than that of the Jewish leaders in John the Baptist’s day, for we have their example.

Ellen White graphically describes the condition of the church in the last days in the following counsel, in which she was shown a “little company,” a “faithful few” concerned Adventists in the midst of a general, Laodicean apostasy:

The leaven of godliness has not entirely lost its power. At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.

The earnest prayers of this faithful few will not be in vain. When the Lord comes forth as an avenger, He will also come as a protector of all those who have preserved the faith in its purity and kept themselves unspotted from the world. It is at this time that God has promised to avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them. The command is “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9: 4 These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel: although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.

In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.

The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: “Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.”

Here we see that the church— the Lord’s sanctuary— was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that … the Lord . . . is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus “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, 209- 211

Must we fulfill these prophecies? And while they are being fulfilled, must our people be kept in ignorance of these solemn warnings? Few of our people are taught to withstand the evil that is predicted to come into our church. Rather than teaching them to test all things, as the Bible commands, our people are too often taught, either by precept or example, to place implicit trust in human instrumentalities and organizations as long as they are under the control of the “church.” This training will surely prove their ruin. This is the very opposite of the training God would have His people receive at the present time. (see Testimonies to Ministers, 375)

Our greatest desire is to work in harmony with each brother, leader, and laymen for the soon coming of Jesus. But we must be true to the trust administered to us by God. It is time for another revival and reformation. We do not suppose that this will come without conflict. But may we maintain the spirit of Christ that was manifested in both firmness and self- sacrificing love. Like the reformers, we must build upon the Rock Jesus Christ. Pastor Grosboll shares: We stand ready to recant, apologize, change, and confess any practice, saying, or action that is shown to be out of harmony with God’s Word. We are ready to study that Word with prayer and openness with the leaders of this church. It is not time to fight one another, but to draw together in humbleness of soul. But we believe, until shown differently, that God has commissioned us to do the work we are doing. We cannot but be obedient unto that commission. We must have the same convictions and courage, with humility, that the reformers had. Ellen White thus outlines the issues of the Reformation, from which the word “Protestant” was derived:

The Protest denied the right of civil rulers to legislate in matters between the soul and God, and declared with prophets and apostles, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” It rejected also the arbitrary power of the church, and set forth the unerring principle that all human teaching should be in subjection to the oracles of God. The protesters had thrown off the yoke of man’s supremacy, and had exalted Christ as supreme in the church, and His word in the pulpit. The power of conscience was set above the State, and the authority of the Holy Scriptures above the visible church… . The protesters had moreover affirmed their right to freely utter their convictions of truth. They would not only believe and obey, but teach what the Word of God presents, and they denied the right of priest or magistrate to interfere. The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 162- 163

Steps to Life has nearly 900 Bible studies going Out weekly from their office. Those who are trained in the Institute of Ministry as Bible workers are going to the far corners of the earth to give the three angels’ messages. Those in the Steps to Life ministry feel called to this work. They have not entered into it without serious consideration and conviction. And with their training institute and Bible correspondence school, they are also carrying on an active city mission.

In a letter by Ellen White to a conference president who was raising objections to the work of some who, like Steps to Life, were carrying on a city mission, she said,

“Let those who would follow Christ fully come up to the work; even if it be over the heads of ministers and president. . . . Let each member of the church awake. Let each laborer remember that the vineyard he tills is not his own, but belongs to his Lord, who has gone on a long journey and in His absence has commissioned His servants to look after His interests; and let him remember that if he is unfaithful to his trust he must give an account to his Lord when He shall return.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 369- 380

We must give an account of our work to God. If He has commissioned us, and we should fail our trust because of human pressure, would we not be in jeopardy of losing the blessing of the Lord?

And finally, let us remember that, as in the trials of Jesus, Paul, and Martin Luther, the ones being tried are not the only ones being tried. The whole heavenly universe, as well as God’s people on earth, are looking on with intense interest to see the responses and actions of each. May the Lord grant us that fortitude and Christlike forbearance that will stand the test of the heavenly “watcher” Daniel 4: 13).

The truth always involves a cross. Those who will not believe, oppose and deride those who do believe. The fact that its presentation creates a storm of opposition, is no evidence against the truth.” Ellen G. White, Sketches From the Life of Paul, 279


  1. This document is for the purpose of answering the Concerns and Objections document, not dealing with personalities. Therefore names are generally omitted, or initials used.
  2. Emphasis in quotations is supplied throughout this document, unless noted otherwise.
  3. Bible texts, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version.
  4. Central States Conference also had a church, and a Spanish company was getting started.
  5. This paper is available from Steps to Life. P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278- 2828. Or Call: (800) 843- 8788.
  6. Read the whole chapter, entitled, “Protest of the Princes,” in The Great Controversy.
  7. For a copy of these guidelines as voted upon by the Kansas- Nebraska Conference, write to Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278- 2828. Or call, (800) 843- 8788.
  8. The document on “Acceptable Independent Ministries Guidelines,” originated in the North Pacific Union, seemingly as an attempt to control a/ some special ministry(ies) in their area. These eleven points were later accepted and voted upon by the North American Division. However, no one in the Special Ministries in question was asked or allowed to participate in the composition of these regulatory guidelines. Former General Conference President, Elder Robert Pierson, had urged certain North American Division leaders to dialogue with representatives of the Special Ministries before adopting such a document, but this was not done.
  9. See the final paragraph from the statement quoted hereafter from Testimonies, vol. 5, 209- 211

The Cleansing of the Temple

by Teresa (Kendall) Grosboll

The Reception or Rejection of the Holy Spirit

In Jesus’ day there were thieves and robbers in the temple. Just imagine! The temple, the beautiful sacred building that God had established, where the sacrificial ordinances that He had ordained were preformed, was defiled. Most of the Jewish leaders became thieves and robbers. They told the people that there could be no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of the blood of animals, which was true, but they then devised a system where the people would be forced to buy the sacrifices at exorbitant prices.

Looking at it two thousand years later it seems a very bold and defiant act of the priests and rulers. How dare they presume to profane the holy temple of the Lord! Did they think they could continue in such a course without incurring the justice and judgments of God?

Nicodemus was a witness at the cleansing of the temple when all the robbers and thieves were forced out. This occasion, at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, could very well have been his first opportunity of personal contact with Jesus. Desire of Ages tells us, “He [Nicodemus] was a witness of the scene when Jesus drove out the buyers and the sellers; he beheld the wonderful manifestation of divine power; he saw the Saviour receiving the poor and healing the sick; he saw their looks of joy, and heard their words of praise; and he could not doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was the Sent of God” DA 168.

The Too Timid Believer

Nicodemus was drawn to the Saviour. He himself had been greatly distressed by the profanation of the temple. He was impressed with the words that Jesus spoke and went to the Scriptures to study anew the prophecies of the Messiah. As he studied, the conviction that Jesus was the Messiah became stronger and stronger, until he sought an interview with Jesus in the night season. Oh, friends, how wonderful it was! Though the Jewish nation was in deep spiritual apostasy, there was one, a leader in Israel, who accepted the drawing of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of Christ’s ministry.

Though Nicodemus probably had many things to unlearn because of his education in the pharisaical schools and because of his position (which kept him from becoming one of Christ’s disciples while He was yet alive on earth) Jesus was acquainted with the soil into which He had cast the seed. Nicodemus sought the Saviour, and Christ was able to speak with him because he accepted the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart.

Yes, it is too bad that he was so timid that he would not hold an interview with the Son of God by day. The opportunity of his lifetime was before him, but the political church system of the day kept him back from openly associating himself with Jesus. Today we see similar circumstances. Many Seventh- day Adventists believe the truth, but they are not willing to stand with those who are upholding truth in the midst of one of the greatest apostasies among God’s people that has ever been. These timid people may well be saved in the end. Nicodemus was saved, but he realized after the crucifixion that he had missed the golden opportunity of his life by not closely and openly associating himself with Jesus.

Dear friend, if you are one who is afraid to stand with those you know are teaching and preaching the truth for fear of what others may say or think, remember Nicodemus. Yes, he did a wonderful work, but what could have been accomplished for the cause of truth had Nicodemus gone to the forefront while Jesus was still living on earth? No doubt, he reasoned with himself that because of his exalted position in the Jewish nation he could have some influence over the priests and rulers that were not sympathetic to Jesus and His cause. He could protect Jesus while continuing in his present position. After all, being a member of the Sanhedrin was no unimportant position, and he was respected by all. This reasoning carried the day with Nicodemus and is no doubt accomplishing the same results with some today. But at what cost? Not only was Nicodemus himself bitterly disappointed when, after the crucifixion he saw his fallacious reasoning and the opportunity that he had lost— nevermore to return, but the cause of God also suffered by his timidity and inaction. Oh! May God break through the heart barriers of those today who are allowing the current political system in our church to influence their reasoning and keep them from associating with those who are teaching and preaching the truth at personal risk and peril.

We are thankful, although Nicodemus was too timid to seek an interview by day, that at least he went by night. The seeds of truth that were sown in his heart he hid. “For three years there was little apparent fruit” DA 176 But, “after the Lord’s ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock” DA 177.

The Unbelievers

There were others there at the temple besides Nicodemus, however, whose heart response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit was not the same as that of Nicodemus. The priests and other rulers were there and they, too, saw Jesus drive out the buyers and sellers. They, too, beheld the wonderful manifestations of divine power. They, too, saw Jesus receiving the poor and healing the sick. And they, too, saw the looks of joy, and heard the words of praise. But in them it roused, not an interest to further study the prophetic writings, but a “determined hatred” DA 16.

You see, the money changing provided a fraudulent source of revenue for the priests. Notwithstanding, they “were exceedingly proud of their piety. They rejoiced over their temple, and regarded a word spoken in its disfavor as blasphemy; they were very rigorous in the performance of ceremonies connected with it; but the love of money had overruled their scruples. They were scarcely aware how far they had wandered from the original purpose of the service instituted by God Himself’ DA 155.

“The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts” DA 161.

The temple could never fulfill its divine purpose until it was cleansed. Neither can we fulfil our divine purpose until we are cleansed from sin. “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” 5T 80.

Well could the words of Jeremiah been spoken to the priests and money changers, “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.” ‘ “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it. ‘ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 7: 4, 8- 11.

And what of us today? “In the defilement and cleansing of the temple we have a lesson for this time. The same spirit that existed among the Jews, leading them to substitute gain for godliness, and outward pomp for inward purity, curses the Christian world today. It spreads like a defiling leprosy among the professed worshipers of God. Sacred things are brought down to a level with the vain matters of the world. Vice is mistaken for virtue, and righteousness for crime. Temporal business is mingled with the worship of God. Extortion and wicked speculation are practiced by those who profess to be servants of the Most High” 2SP 123.

Can you imagine anything worse at the time of Christ? The very system that God Himself established became so corrupted by priests and rulers that the opposite purpose from that for which it was designed was being accomplished. “The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart” DA 36.

Can you imagine how God must have felt? In giving the sanctuary and its services to His people, He gave them the most wonderful gift that He could give them before He sent His only Son to die for their sins. He longed for that gift to help prepare them for His Son. He desired His people to search out its great truths. In designing it, He thought through the lesson of every detail. Yet, the symbolic value of the sacrifices “were now perverted and misunderstood. Spiritual worship was fast disappearing” DA 157.

So far had the Jewish nation wandered from God that “the worshipers offered their sacrifices without understanding that they were typical of the only perfect Sacrifice. And among them, unrecognized and not honored, stood the One symbolized by all their service” DA 157.

Turning Blessings Into Curses

God specializes in turning curses into blessings, but in a time of apostasy, men turn blessings into curses. In his last sermon, Marshall Grosboll spoke of the danger of Seventh- day Adventists turning our Church organization from a blessing into a curse. That which God has designed to be a blessing can become a curse if it is perverted. The divinely instituted services and the biblical instruction itself had been perverted by the Jews until the blessing had become a curse— they had the symbol but not the reality. They sacrificed the animals but rejected the One to whom their entire service pointed. They had the typical priest but rejected the real High Priest. The same thing can happen today. We have the symbol of the three angels everywhere, but if we are not daily preparing for the judgment, the first angel’s message has not done its work in our hearts. Some professed Adventists today do not even believe in an investigative judgment that began in 1844. What good does the symbol do if we do not live out what we professed at our baptism to believe? If we bring the teachings and practices of Babylon right into professed Seventh- day Adventist, churches the second angel’s picture on our stationary or in front of our churches is a mockery. If we do not believe that a person can keep the law of God perfectly through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, what good does it do to have a picture of the third angel outside the church or on our stationary? We will never risk imprisonment and death in the time of a worldwide Sunday law if we do not believe that God’s law can be perfectly kept. It would be better to not even make a profession than to profess and then hypocritically not experience what we profess. It would be better if a person knew he was lost than to have a false security created by maintaining the forms of religion while the vital power of the gospel is not being experienced. One of the great earmarks of all apostasies is that professed Christians maintain the symbols, the profession, the outward forms of religion, while the vital godliness— which alone is of eternal value— is neglected.

God’s Solution

If you were God, what would you have done? “The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away” DA 36. “Christ’s work was to establish an altogether different worship” DA 157.

Holy Wrath

“Slowly descending the steps, and raising the scourge of cords gathered up on entering the enclosure, He [Christ] bids the bargaining company depart from the precincts of the temple. With a zeal and severity He has never before manifested, He overthrows the tables of the moneychangers. The coin falls, ringing sharply upon the marble pavement. None presume to question His authority. None dare stop to gather up their ill- gotten gain. . . . A panic sweeps over the multitude, who feel the overshadowing of His divinity. Cries of terror escape from hundreds of blanched lips. Even the disciples tremble” DA 158.

I wonder how many of us, if we had been in the temple, would have said, “I really think Jesus handled that situation with the priests, rulers and money changers in the temple today a little too severely. I believe it could have been handled in a more diplomatic manner. Don’t you think Jesus should have gone and talked privately to the leaders before coming out so boldly against them? I realize the priests and rulers haven’t been doing everything right and I don’t condone it for a minute, but wasn’t’t that going a bit too far?” Oh, friends, that may sound sarcastic, but I fear that some are echoing these very sentiments today.

We read of Jesus, “He was filled with holy wrath as He saw the Jewish leaders teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and He spoke to them with the authority of true greatness. With terrible power He denounced all artful intrigue, all dishonest practices. He cleansed the temple from its pollution, as He desires to cleanse our hearts from everything bearing any resemblance to fraud. The truth never languished on His lips. With fearlessness He exposed the hypocrisy of priest and ruler, Pharisee and Sadducee” Voice in Speech and Song 95. We must each ask ourselves the question, Where would we have stood the day that Jesus cleansed the temple? Remember that even the disciples were surprised at His severity. Could it be that we, along with the Jews in Christ’s day, have become so hardened from the daily occurrence of sin among God’s professed people that when God performs a work of cleansing and purifying we find it too hard to accept. Or, like the disciples, we are surprised at the means that He chooses to use to accomplish His purposes for His people?

The Aftermath

Let us look at the aftermath of the cleansing of the temple. “Soon the tumultuous throng with their merchandise are far removed from the temple of the Lord. The courts are free from unholy traffic, and a deep silence and solemnity settles upon the scene of confusion” DA 158.

The Temple of the Heart

At last, the temple was fulfilling the purpose for which is was designed. It was to be “an object lesson for Israel and for the world. 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” DA 161. The temple was intended to be a symbol of the heart. Could the temple in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, a symbol of the heart, really be a sacred temple when it was polluted and defiled with the sins of deception and fraud? It was the presence of Jesus that made the temple sacred.

Jesus did not abide in the temple at the same time as the money changers and the priests.

When Jesus came in, they left. Neither will Christ abide in the heart with sin. “Christ does not abide in the heart of the sinner” ST 8/ 16/ 05. “God does not live in the sinner. The Word declares that He abides only in the hearts of those who love Him and do righteousness. God does not abide in the heart of the sinner; it is the enemy who abides there” Sermons and Talks 343. “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” DA 161.

There is one difference between the cleansing of the earthly temple and that of the cleansing of the heart. In the cleansing of the temple on earth, Christ made a whip of cords and drove out the money changers and the priests and rulers without their permission. In the temple of our heart “He will not force an entrance. He comes not into the heart as to the temple of old; but He says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. ‘ Rev. 3: 20” DA 161. “How willing is Christ to take possession of the soul temple if we will let Him! He is represented as waiting and knocking at the door of the heart. Then why does He not enter? It is because the love of sin has closed the door of the heart. As soon as we consent to give sin up, to acknowledge our guilt, the barrier is removed between the soul and the Saviour” 1SM 325. Friend, if you want to be cleansed by the Spirit of Christ from every defilement of sin, you must open your heart’s door to Him by consenting to give sin up and acknowledge your guilt. “No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple” DA 161. “It is necessary that Jesus should occupy His temple in the human heart every day, and cleanse it form the defilement of sin” Redemption 82. He longs to exercise His power to expel evil from your heart as He expelled the money changers from the temple of old. Will we let Him do it? If we really love righteousness and want to be free from every defiling habit that has hold of our lives, we should be glad that Christ’s demeanor in the temple was so stern and powerful. He wants to use that power in our heart.

The Living Temple— The Church

Not only was the temple in Jerusalem representative of the temple of our hearts and minds, but it also represented the church. “The church of Christ is spoken of as a holy temple. Says the apostle, ‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow- citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner- stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit’ [Ephesians 2: 19- 22]” RH 6/ 5/ 88. (See also 1 Cor. 3: 9- 17; Heb. 3: 6; 1 Pet. 2: 1- 10; Isa. 28: 6; 60: 12; Zech. 6: 12,15.)

Living Stones

God had a plan for the earthly temple in Jerusalem, and He has a plan for the spiritual temple as well. Christ is represented as the chief Cornerstone and “all the followers of Christ are represented as stones in the temple of God. Every stone, large or small, must be a living stone, emitting light and fitting into the place assigned it in the building of God. How thankful we should be that a way has been opened whereby we may each have a place in the spiritual temple!” RH 6/ 5/ 88.

“His church is to be a temple built after the divine similitude, and the angelic architect has brought his golden measuring rod from heaven, that every stone may be hewed and squared by the divine measurement and polished to shine as an emblem of heaven, radiating in all directions the bright, clear beams of the Sun of Righteousness.” TM 17.

“We want the cleaver of truth to do its work for us. We are taken from the quarry of the world. The material must not be a dead substance but living souls, and these souls must be brought out of the quarry of the world, where the hand of God can fit them for the temple in heaven. We are here as probationers, and we must pass under the hand of God. All rough edges and rough surfaces must be stones fitted for the building. We are brought into church capacity with defects of character, but we must not retain them. We must be fitted and squared for the building. We must be ‘laborers together with God, ‘ for we are ‘God’s husbandry, ‘ we are ‘God’s building. ‘ In view of this we must see that our temple is not defiled with sin. We should be lively stones, not dead ones, but live ones that will reflect the image of Christ. We must be worshipers in spirit and in truth” 3MR 231.

We are each one a temple, a lively stone. All these lively stones together make up the spiritual temple, or the church. How does this temple fit together, or how is the church to work together? “The word of God represents the power of the Christian church to be an individual dependence upon Christ and unity between the members. The union between the members of the church and the leader is illustrated by a temple and its foundation. The whole weight of the temple rests upon the foundation, without which it could not stand. So the members of the church of Christ are to build upon Him; for He is the only true foundation” 5MR 374.

Christ the Center

The problem with the earthly temple and its services at the time of Christ was that He was no longer made the center of all its ceremonies and services. After the temple had been twice cleansed and twice again deified, after the divine presence had been rejected and refused, the temple was destroyed. Though at one time a place of habitation for the Most High, it was, after the rejection of Christ, no more than a building. Remember, it was the presence of Christ that made the temple sacred (DA 161). It was not the forms ceremonies and services in themselves that were of merit and benefit; it was what they represented that was so important. Jesus sought earnestly to teach this lesson to the Jews before it was forever to late. “Christ’s prediction regarding the destruction of the temple was a lesson on the purification of religion, by making of none effect forms and ceremonies. He announced Himself greater than the temple, and stood forth proclaiming, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. ‘ He was the one in whom all the Jewish ceremony and typical service was to find its fulfillment. He stood forth in the place of the temple; all the offices of the church centered in Himself alone” FE 399.

Human Authority in the Temple

If there is a conflict between the human keepers of the temple and Christ, who is the Christian to obey? There was a conflict in Christ’s day. The keepers of the temple laid many human restrictions and rules on the people. The authorities at the temple would not have wanted the people to read any literature, watch any videos or go to any meetings which were not approved by “properly constituted church authority.” But Christ set His followers free (see Matthew 12: 1- 8) from these rules and restrictions. It was not Christ’s will that any of His followers should ever again be subject to proscribed human rules of religion.

“The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shutout. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach” DA 826.

Jesus came to set the captives free. In the church during the time of the apostles there was a constant effort to again bring men and woman under the control of human religious rules and regulations. The apostle Paul was set for the defense of the gospel. (See Galatians 5 and Colossians 2).

The exaltation of human authority until divine authority becomes secondary has been the curse of the professed church in all ages. The great apostasy (II Thessalonians 2) was largely the result of exalting human authority until church legislation was considered more important, authoritative and dependable than the Word of God. This hypothesis is even substantiated by the Catholics themselves. The Archbishop of Reggio, at the Council of Trent stated: “The Protestants claim to stand upon the written word only. They profess to hold the Scripture alone as the standard of faith. They justify their revolt by the plea that the Church has apostatized from the written word and follows tradition. Now the Protestant’s claim, that they stand upon the written word only, is not true. Their profession of holding the Scripture alone as the standard of faith, is false. PROOF: The written word explicitly enjoins the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. They do not observe the seventh day, but reject it. If they do truly hold the Scripture alone as their standard they would be observing the seventh day as is enjoined in the Scripture throughout. Yet they not only reject the observance of the Sabbath enjoined in the written word, but they have adopted and do practice the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the Church. Consequently the claim of ‘Scripture alone as the standard’ fails; and the doctrine of ‘Scripture and tradition’ as essential, is fully established, the Protestants themselves being judges” Rome’s Challenge 27.

There is every danger that Protestants, including Seventh- day Adventists, will in practice do the same thing while they verbally deny it, through making of church creeds, church manuals and policies until these are followed in place of the Word of God. It was this very fear that caused our church leaders in 1883 to reject the idea of having a church manual. The very fact that we have a church manual today would, no doubt, be looked upon by our pioneers (who got along without one for nearly 100 years) as a mark of apostasy.

When the devil has been unsuccessful in getting the professed people of God to exalt church authority above the divine authority of God’s Word, he has attempted to cause the same result by a variant of the same false teaching. Men who saw that the exaltation of church authority resulted in terrible abuses went to the opposite extreme of saying that they would not counsel with their brethren at all because they were taught directly by the Holy Spirit. This happened in the days of Luther. “Counterfeit holiness, spurious sanctification, is still doing its work of deception. Under various forms it exhibits the same spirit as in the days of Luther, diverting minds from the Scriptures and leading men to follow their own feelings and impressions rather than to yield obedience to the law of God. This is one of Satan’s most successful devices to cast reproach upon purity and truth” GC 193. They would accept no man’s say- so. Thus they were subject to no authority but their own minds. This reaction to the abuse of church authority has led to much fanaticism among Christians and has also led to the development of atheistic socialism.

God’s professed people today are still subject to these snares. The one extreme is the exaltation of human authority— an attempt to enforce the will of the clergy or church leaders upon all by means of what is commonly called “properly constituted church authority.” From whom are we to obtain council? Only from those who give evidence of being led by the Holy Spirit. “God is dishonored and the gospel is betrayed when His servants depend on the counsel of men who are not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit” DA 354.

In Jesus’ day, what was thought to be properly constituted church authority was made null and void by the teaching and practice of Jesus. (See AA 199; Matthew 15: 14; 16: 10- 23; 1SM 406).

A Cleansing Again

Christ has promised to again cleanse the temple. We have learned that Christ does not cleanse the heart as He cleansed the earthly temple, but what about the spiritual temple, His church? “He will purify His church even as He purified the temple at the beginning and close of His ministry on earth” Kress Collection 114.

There are some interesting things to note in the first cleansing of the earthly temple. First of all, when Christ came into the temple with His divine presence, who was it that fled? It was the priests, rulers, money changers and the crowd that fled. Christ had read the deceitfulness of their hearts. “They felt as if before the throne of the eternal Judge, with their sentence passed on them for time and for eternity” DA 162. They could not endure His presence, the divine, spotless Son of God. How sad it was. Jesus loved them. He longed to save them. And for a time they were even “convinced that Christ was a prophet; and many believed Him to be the Messiah. The Holy Spirit flashed into their minds the utterances of the prophets concerning Christ. Would they yield to this conviction? Repent they would not. . . . Because Christ discerned their thoughts they hated Him. . . . They determined to challenge Him as to the power by which He had driven them forth, and who gave Him this power” DA 162.

The Majority

Yes, the priest and rulers fled. But they were not alone. The majority of the people went with them. Ellen White refers to them as, “the crowd.” When contrasted to the priest, she says, “The people were comparatively innocent” DA 164. “The sin of the desecration of the temple rested, in a great degree, upon the priests. It was by their arrangement that the court had been turned into a market place Ibid. 163, 164. But, please notice what it was that led them to reject the Saviour. “With them [the people] the influence of the priests and rulers was paramount” Ibid. 164. Oh, friends, when will we ever learn not to put men in the place of God, whoever they be or whatever position they might hold. The majority of the people in Jerusalem lost their salvation because they made flesh their arm. “They regarded Christ’s mission as an innovation, and questioned His right to interfere with what was permitted by the authorities of the temple. They were offended because the traffic had been interrupted, and they stifled the convictions of the Holy Spirit” Ibid.

The Poor

Both the priests and the people rejected the pleadings of the Holy Spirit. Would there be any who would accept the working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart? “When they fled, the poor remained behind; and these were now looking to Jesus, whose countenance expressed His love and sympathy. With tears in His eyes, He said to the trembling ones around Him: Fear not; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. For this cause came I into the world” DA 163.

It was a wonderful time for the poor. They had found a Friend in Jesus. They told Him all their sorrows and woes. They brought to Him their sick to be healed and their children to be blessed. “Hope and gladness filled their hearts. Peace came to their minds. They were restored soul and body, and they returned home, proclaiming everywhere the matchless love of Jesus” Ibid. like Nicodemus, the seeds of truth had been hidden in their hearts and at the crucifixion they did not join with the maddened throng. After Jesus’ death they listened to the apostles and became “agents of God’s mercy, and instruments of His salvation” Ibid.

The poor had accepted the working of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts, and if we are to accept the working of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts, we too must become poor— poor in spirit. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5: 3.

The Cleansing of the Review

It is an interesting fact that those who professed to be the people of God fled from His presence when He cleansed the earthly temple. Friends, we have just read that He is going to cleanse the spiritual temple (the church) “as or in the same way He cleansed the earthly. How will it be today? The cleansing is going to happen, friends. Of the fire at the Review office in Battle Creek, Ellen White wrote, “Three nights before the Review office burned, I was in an agony that words cannot describe. I could not sleep. I walked the room, praying to God to have mercy upon His people. Then I seemed to be in the Review office with the men who have the management of the institution. I was trying to speak to them and thus to help them. One of authority arose and said, ‘You say, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we; therefore, we have authority to do this thing and that thing and the other thing. But the work of God forbids many of the things that you propose to do. ‘ At His first advent, Christ cleansed the Temple. Prior to His second advent He will again cleanse the temple. He was there cleansing the temple. Why? Because commercial work had been brought in, and God had been forgotten. With hurry here and hurry there and hurry somewhere else, there was no time to think of heaven. The principles of God’s law were presented, and I heard the question asked, ‘How much of the law have you obeyed? ‘

Then the word was spoken, ‘God will cleanse and purify His temple in His displeasure.” ‘ PM 170, 171.

The cleansing of the Review office involved judgments from God. If God cleansed the Review by fire because of what was happening then, what, friends, are we to expect today? Inspiration tells us, “Brethren, God is in earnest with us. I want to tell you that if after the warnings given in these burnings the leaders of our people go right on, just as they have done in the past, exalting themselves, God will take the bodies next. Just as surely as He lives, He will speak to them in language that they cannot fail to understand” PM 171.

He Will Thoroughly Purge His Floor

“Just how soon this refining process will begin we cannot say, but it will not be long deferred. He whose fan is in His hand will cleanse His temple of its moral defilement. He will thoroughly purge His floor” TM 373.

Oh, friends, when Jesus comes to cleanse the temple, what will He find? Jesus cleansed the earthly temple two times before it was eventually destroyed because it had been a means of blinding men’s eyes and hardening their hearts. He cleansed the institutions at Battle Creek by fire more than once. Do we realize what is coming, friends? It is Jesus’ plan to cleanse sin from the temple of our hearts and from our church. If we will not let go of sin, we must be destroyed with it. May God help us make the needful preparation that when the cleansing comes we will not be destroyed.

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by Marshall J. Grosboll

The Cooperative Spirit of Heaven

In the great family of heaven, each one has his own individual personality, each has freedom, yet no one misuses that freedom to act independently, for all are held together by the cords of humility toward self and love toward one another. As the bee extracts the honey and leaves the pollen, so in heaven, each one receives in order to give — each works so as to benefit one another. Thus there is perfect harmony, yet with each maintaining his own identity, uniqueness and function.

Even God does not act independently. In fact, we should say especially God! Everything He does is for the well being of His creatures. In all that He does, He elicits the love and cooperation of those He has created. Consider the creation of Adam. As soon as he was created, God set him to work to assist Him. God asked him to name the animals. How much easier it would have been for God to have named the animals without Adam’s help. When Adam was created God programmed his mind with words and language — but He intentionally left out of his vocabulary the names of the animals so that Adam could unite with Him, as far as possible, in the work He was doing. The Bible says, “We are God’s fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3: 91).

Then God went far beyond merely having Adam name the animals. He told Adam and Eve that they and their descendants were to continue the work that God had begun of populating the earth. God created just enough people so that they could continue His work. Again, how much easier it would have been for God to simply create, in a moment of time, enough people to populate the earth at the beginning — and they would have all been perfect! No one would have been raised by faulty parents! What a risk God took, and how poorly most people have done in carrying on the procreation work of God by the way they have raised their children. Yet, in spite of failure, God has not taken the responsibility away from the human family. God would rather suffer loss than to act alone without our cooperation. God has gone to more trouble than any other being to elicit our cooperation, calling us “kings and priests” (Revelation 1: 6), rather than to act alone and independent.

As it was on earth with Adam and Eve, so it was in heaven with the angels. God did not create a hierarchy or a dictatorship, but a family. That is why there was a war m heaven. When Satan chose to rebel, God could have simply spoken the word, and Satan would have been banished from the society of heaven. But God did not do that, for the angels were His fellow workers, and even in this crisis situation He did not take the reins into His own hands, but allowed the angels, as far as possible, to decide the issue (Revelation 12: 7).

Even after the war, Satan seems to have been allowed to come back to represent the earth at the councils of heaven. In the book of Job, God presented Job’s fidelity and challenged Satan’s claim to represent the earth. Satan did not represent all the inhabitants of the earth, but evidently the angels allowed him to remain. But that time of tolerance ended at the cross.

I have often contemplated the account by Ellen White where she was shown that, “All the angels that are commissioned to visit the earth hold a golden card, which they present to the angels at the gates of the city as they pass in and out.” —EW, 392~ Why must the an- gels who visit the earth present a golden card at the gate? Before the crucifixion of Christ, the angels continued to allow Satan access on what he considered official business (Job 1), because many still had some sympathy for him. At the cross Satan’s “disguise was torn away. . . . Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts and before them accuse Christ’s brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken 3 .” —DA, 761.

Thus the angels decided that Satan could no longer visit heaven as the representative of earth. Jesus was henceforth to be the only representative of this planet. But how were they to keep him out? They evidently decided to issue golden identification cards to all who were commissioned to visit the earth, which they were to present upon exit and entry. Heaven is a very real place, and the angels have far more to do with the running of the government than most realize. Heaven is not run like a communist hierarchy, or like the totalitarian government of Satan, but as a loving family, each with his own part to act, each with a voice, and each with total faith in the wisdom of the Father.

Today there is a judgment going on in heaven. And why a judgment? Does God need a judgment? Of course not! He knew who would be saved and who would be lost from the very foundation of the earth! (Ephesians 1: 4; Isaiah 46: 10). The reason there is a judgment is because God is not running a hierarchical dictatorship. He has made the beings of heaven His fellow workers, and in order for them to be a practical part of the process, they need a judgment. They do not have all knowledge like God has. They must keep records and review them. God could have decided the eternal destiny of each, with complete accuracy, in a moment of time. But what He could do instantly by Himself takes much longer when He involves the cooperation of the angels. He is willing to expend the extra effort and energy in order to work with His angels rather than apart from them.

What a lesson for parents. How much easier it is, when children are young, for parents to make the beds, do the dishes, fix the food, and change the oil in the car by themselves without the help of the little ones. The “help” the little ones give takes so much more of the parents time! It is so much easier to simply tell a child to go off and play for awhile or to watch TV, while we do the work without him. But that is not the way God works. He says: “I want the cooperation of men and angels, even if it costs more work, trouble, and heartache.”

A Change Takes Place in Heaven

So heaven is built on the principle of cooperation and unity, and thus it had always been throughout all the ceaseless ages of eternity, until one arose to begin his own independent ministry and organization. This was sinful independence for it sought to work apart from God and His plans and organization. Independent ministry and self- supporting work were never a part of God’s original plan. But there was one who came along in a perfect environment, a perfect government, and began his own ministry in competition and opposition to the regular and established ministry of heaven which had been in operation for ages.

When that spirit of independence came to earth, this world entered into the darkness and misery of sin. The first great temptation of man was to be independent. The Bible says, “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God does know that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3: 4, 5). Thus the serpent tempted Eve with the thought that she would be unwise enough to act independently, knowing good and evil herself, without having to depend upon God for guidance. Multitudes still cling to this lie.

Thus this earth became a part of the independent ministry of Satan, which made things rather confusing on planet earth, because nearly the whole population of earth, with a few exceptions such as Noah, became loyal to Satan’s independent ministry. Now those who remained loyal to God, became themselves independent of the rebellion that persisted on earth. Thus those who were independent with Satan became the establishment, while those who humbly remained loyal to God appeared to be independent. The appearance was the opposite of the reality.

God’s Training for Heaven

God’s plan has always been for humble cooperation. God is trying to teach each one of us the essential character traits of humility and submission. This is the character of heaven. Every experience of life is to instill within us these precious traits of character so that we can fit into that society which Satan forfeited because of his pride and independence. That is why Paul tells us in Romans 13 that we are to learn to be submissive to the civil government and to obey their laws. Ephesians 6: 5, 6 tells us that we are to learn to be submissive to our employers. That is what is fundamentally wrong with labor unions. We can choose where we want to work, and whether we want to continue to work in a certain place, but, while there, we are to “be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh.”

Peter tells us that the younger are to be submissive to the elders, that the elders are to learn the principle of submission also, and are to show themselves thus unto the younger. “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, ‘for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’ “ (1 Peter 5: 5, 6). A lot of people don’t like the idea of submission, unless they are the ones who are “on top.” Many husbands revel in Paul’s counsel for wives to “submit to your own husbands,” but they overlook the verse before which says that both husbands and wives are to submit to each other. Ephesians 6 tells us that children are to learn the lesson of submission. God wants everyone to be saved — husbands, children, workers, older people and younger people, and thus he is trying to teach each one the lessons that will allow them to fit within the society of heaven.

The spirit of humble submissiveness will be exemplified in the life and character of the 144,000. The Bible describes them as “the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14: 4). There is no spirit of independence here. And yet they appear to be independent to human appearance, for “these are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins.” Women, in the Bible, represents churches and religions, and so the 144,000 are those who are not defiled with false religion and the false religious philosophies that predominate throughout the world. They are independent from man- made tradition, yet the Bible says they are “followers” — followers of the Lamb.

Appearance is not Always the Reality

From the beginning of sin, those who have remained submissive and dependent upon God by “following the Lamb, wherever He goes,” have found themselves out of step and independent from the world. Think of Noah. He was given the warning of the coming flood and he determined to follow the Lamb and to build the ark as God had directed. Yet, the rest of the world remained independent of God and His counsels. The churches and religious leaders counseled and legislated against the project. Only Noah and his family remained submissive to God. How alone and isolated Noah and his family seemed. How aloof from counsel he appeared to be! How independent they were accused of being! And yet they were the only truly non- independent ministry on earth.

Satan scored a major victory in the days of Noah when he succeeded in causing the whole world to join him in his independence. Yet his greatest victory came when he caused the whole church, God’s church, to be- come independent of God and of His counsels. God established His church with the children of Israel, and He led them out of Egypt by the hand of Moses. But the people rebelled against Moses and the leadership of God.

From the very beginning the “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7: 38) showed their independence from the Lord’s direction. Upon the return of the faithless spies: “All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation (the Old Testament word for church, see Acts 7: 38), said to them. . . Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt. So they said to one another, ‘let us select a leader and return to Egypt’ “( Numbers 14: 2- 4). This was the first great nominating committee of the Hebrew church. They were going to select their own leader instead of the one God had chosen for them.

Caleb and Joshua remonstrated with the people, saying: “Do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them. And all the congregation said to stone them with stones” (verses 9, 10). Caleb and Joshua, m this instance, became independent of the organized church — they did not accept the leader the church was choosing nor the decisions they were making — and so the church chose to disfellowship them by stoning! (Stoning is the ultimate in disfellowshiping.) Thus those who refused to become independent from God became independent from an independent church. And the penalty for independence from the church was disfellowshipment by stoning.

Now, the question at stake is, who was right — those who remained loyal to the church or those who appeared to be independent and were therefore disfellowshiped? It is easy to give the answer when looking back at the Bible account, but not so easy when faced with the situation.

In the old covenant types, God often revealed His pleasure or displeasure immediately, as a “type” of the future reward and punishment of the new covenant which will be fulfilled at the last judgment (Revelation 22: 12). In this case, the unfaithful leaders “died by the plague before the Lord.” Yet, so entrenched was this spirit of independence and insubordination in the heart of the people, that not even the direct intervention of God seemed to be able to uproot it from their midst — and yet they thought they were just right, the holy people of God!

Moses Accused of Being Independent

Two chapters later in the book of Numbers, this sinful spirit of independence sprang up again in the rebellion of Korah. “Now Korah the son of Izar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown” (Numbers 16: 1, 2).

Like our church, the Israelites had a representative form of government. Today, when representatives of the church come together, we call it a constituency meeting, or a General Conference.

These “representatives of the congregation” were “men of renown,” and Korah was their chosen leader, with Dathan and Abiram his assistants. These leaders of the people “gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourself above the congregation of the Lord? ‘ (Numbers 16: 3).

Moses and Aaron were accused of being independent from the church, and taking too much upon themselves without the approval of the church. After all, it was God’s church that Korah and his associates represented, and the church, they said, was holy, for God had chosen it for Himself. Surely, when the entire church, through their appointed representatives, decides on something, it is as the voice of God to the people! How could Moses and Aaron not come under the authority of the church and the leaders the church had chosen? How could they justify their “independent” ways?

Yet, Moses and Aaron were not independent — again, as in Noah’s situation, they were the only truly non- independent ones within the church. Appearance was again deceptive. The church body had become independent, whereas those accused of being independent were the ones who had remained loyal and true to the government of heaven.

A peripheral reading of this story might lead to a false conclusion. I have heard ministers and leaders liken their ministry to that of Moses, and anyone who is not in harmony with their plans or the plans of the conference, regardless of their reasons or convictions, are likened to Korah, Dathan and Abiram. But, in writing to the leaders of the church, Ellen White warns:

“The question of religious liberty needs to be clearly comprehended by our people in more ways than one. With outstretched arms men are seeking to steady the ark, and the anger of the Lord is kindled against them because they think that their position entitles them to say what the Lord’s servant’s shall do and what they shall not do. They think themselves competent to decide what shall be brought before God’s people, and what shall be repressed. The Lord inquires of them, “Who has required this at your hand? Who has given you the burden of being conscience for My people? By what spirit are you guided and controlled when you seek to restrict their liberty?

I have not chosen you as I chose Moses — as men through whom I can communicate divine instruction to My people. I have not placed the lines of control in your hands. The responsibility that rested on Moses — of voicing the words of God to the people — has never been delegated to you.” —MR, # 1335, Aug. 1, 1895.

It should be noted that Moses was not the elected leader of the Children of Israel — he was never elected by the people. Rather, Moses was the one whom the people rejected (Acts 7: 35).

Moses was a type of Christ (Deuteronomy 18: 15), whom the leaders of the church hated and crucified. He was a prophet, chosen by God. The elected leader whom the people chose was Korah! “And Korah gathered all the congregation (or church) against” Moses and Aaron “at the door of the tabernacle of meeting” (Numbers 16: 19).

Did God recognize Korah’s position simply be- cause the whole church was behind him? Would to God that we, today, would remember the lessons of Korah and seek more for the will and direction of God rather than for position, victory at the polls, or referendum mandates. Will we learn the lesson that no committee or conference or power on earth has the authority to change one precept of truth, as the beast power claims to be able to do? God is seeking the cooperation of His fellow workers on earth, but He has not abdicated the throne, nor will He allow mankind to develop and assume kingly and controlling power over His heritage, which are His purchased possession.

John was Independent of Sanhedrin

When God called John the Baptist, a prophet equal with Moses (Matthew 11: 11), to prepare the way for Jesus’ first coming, leaders like Korah were in charge of the church. Though John was faithful to the church, he did not recognize the authority of these self- appointed leaders, and he fearlessly reproved them for their pride and arrogance. “John had not recognized the authority of the Sanhedrin by seeking their sanction for his work; and he had reproved rulers and people, Pharisees and Sadducees alike.” —DA, 132.

John’s calling and authority did not come from man, but from God, and John the Baptist respected the authority of heaven. The Sanhedrin, the highest human authority in the church, had tried to assume prerogatives and authority that belonged to God alone, thus making themselves independent of God, and John the Baptist did not join in their independence by submitting himself to them. Moreover, he reproved rulers and elders just as well as the common people — he was no respecter of people. Though some would consider that criticism of the leadership, John recognized clearly that sin in one was as bad as sin in another, and public sins that were unrepentant of needed to be publicly reproved.

When John the Baptist “saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them . . . . “bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘we have Abraham as our father, ‘ for I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’ “ (Matthew 3: 7- 10).

John taught the people not to put full faith in any system, profession of personal piety, or institution — for “every tree which does not bear good fruit” will be “cut down.” Every independent person, congregation, conference, institution, or ministry, however large or small, that becomes independent from God, will be cut down. “God has a church. . . . It is the people who love God and keep His commandments.” —Upward Look, p. 315. God’s church, His people who are totally dependent upon Him and who “follow the lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14: 4), will go through to the end, and they will go through unitedly as a body of Christ. Yet it must be understood that the movement is much more than systems, buildings, and legal documents. When the Seventh- day Adventist headquarters at Battle Creek became independent, God burned it down, but the church itself survived, and will ultimately triumph. We want to triumph with it. God is not going to start a new church or a new movement. But the movement must be purified from every element of independence from Him.

The Jews thought that because they could trace their lineage and system back to Abraham, they were secure. But John said that God was not dependent upon them to have a people — He could take the stony hearts of the Gentiles and graft them into the true stock. In commenting upon John’s message, Ellen White elaborates:

“Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name (Jew, Israel, Christian, or Seventh- day Adventist) cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God’s law, they were not His people.” —DA, 107.

Somehow John did not seem to understand, as the leaders did, that the church (which to them meant the visible structure that was under their control) was going through regardless. “The Jews had misinterpreted God’s promise of eternal favor to Israel: ‘Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If these ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord’ (Jeremiah 31: 35- 37). The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified.” —DA, 106.

The Jews trusted in the promises of the Bible that they would last forever, as long as the sun and moon existed. They could tauntingly argue with John the Baptist, asking “is the sun still shining, John? You see then, God must not have cast us off, has He?” But they had overlooked the conditions upon which the promises were based. John assuredly warned them that “every tree which does not bear good fruit” will be cut down and “thrown into the fire.” — Even Israel and Jerusalem!

When John warned the church that God could work without them, in their eyes he committed the unpardonable sin. Instead of taking his message to heart and working to purify the church so that the conditions of acceptance with God could be fulfilled, they sought to silence the reprover. To them the church was the structure of buildings and the human leadership in Jerusalem, and that system was as secure in their eyes as the throne of God itself. Yet “from the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church.” —AA, 11. Never has the Lord, either anciently or today, made His work or His church totally dependent on physical structure. God removed the structure in Jesus’ day, but the true church survived. Throughout the Old Testament

God had promised that “in the place where it was said ‘You are not My people, ‘ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God’ “ (Hosea 1: 10). As it is today, so it was then, God was not dependent upon the established church to preserve a people. He could raise up children to Abraham from the stony hearts of the Gentiles, for “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3: 29).

John warned that it is “not, by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction.” —DA, 107. When God’s people begin to worry about the semantics of their name, seeking to protect the words themselves by crucifying people who use it, as they did Jesus upon the cross, it is a sure sign that they have lost the true significance of the name. The primary purpose of a name is to signify the character within. If Jesus had not called Himself a Jew, the Jewish leaders would not have put Him to death.

It is time again for the message and ministry of John the Baptist to come to God’s heritage in order that we might be prepared for Jesus’ second coming. Today, we are called to do a work similar to that of John the Baptist, and to give the same message in even stronger terms, yet in a spirit of love. “In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.” —lT, 321. It is a fearful thing to be a minister and speak smooth and popular messages that please the people. Though they may receive the credentials and tithes of the conference, God does not acknowledge them as His ministers. “ ‘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.” —ST. 211.

Jesus, our True Example

Probably the only person in the Bible who talked straighter than John the Baptist, as God’s preachers today are to do, was Jesus. When Jesus met the religious leaders, He did not simply call them poisonous snakes, as John had done, He plainly stated that they were the children of Satan. The Jews had argued with Him that they were assuredly God’s people because they had the official name and the official organization that had been sacredly handed down for centuries (John 8: 39- 41), but Jesus said: “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8: 42- 44). You may think you represent God because you have the official name and represent the official organization, but if your life is not in harmony with God’s expressed will, you are most assuredly not His representatives.

When Jesus came, He was viewed from the very beginning as being independent, but of all the people on earth, He was the least independent person who ever lived. He said: “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5: 30). Jesus was the least independent minister who ever lived, as far as His own will was concerned, but He was independent from the church organization on earth because they had become independent of God. He would like to have been united with them, but He could not unite with them and remain dependent on His Father, for the two were not in harmony. As the Bible says: “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3: 3).

Thus, to outward appearances, He manifested what appeared to be an independent attitude. “Under the synagogue teachers the youth were instructed in the countless regulations which as orthodox Israelites they were expected to observe. But Jesus did not interest Himself in these matters. From childhood He acted independently. . . .“ Jesus was viewed as being independent, but what was He independent from? Let us finish the sentence. “From childhood He acted independently of the rabbinical laws. The Scriptures of the Old Testament were His constant study, and the words, ‘Thus saith the Lord, ‘ were ever upon His lips.” —DA, 84.

If one wants to cause trouble, let him ask for the authority from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy when confronted by the church manual. But that is the kind of trouble Jesus caused. (It was because we did not want our church to become like the Jewish church that we decided not to have a church manual when it was first proposed in 1883, but the decision was reversed in the General Conference of 1931.)

Though Jesus tried, “in every gentle and submissive way . . . to please those with whom He came in contact . . . He would not be influenced by their teaching.” —DA, 85. The priests could not tolerate this spirit of independence in Jesus. “They urged Him to receive the maxims and traditions that had been handed down from the ancient rabbis, but He asked for their authority in Holy Writ. He would hear every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; but He could not obey the inventions of men.” —DA, 85. I can hear them urging Him: “Jesus, don’t you believe that this is God’s church?” “Yes,” He would answer. “Well, don’t you believe that God has guided and directed in this church down through the ages?” “Yes,” He would answer again. “Then you must believe the practices and teachings of this church which have been decided upon and practiced for centuries. You don’t believe that all these rabbis were wrong, do you?” (Notice, it was the “maxims and traditions that had been handed down from ancient rabbis” which they urged upon Jesus.) But Jesus would simply answer, “Where does it teach that in the Bible?”

Even Jesus’ own mother, who was a converted person and a conscientious member of the church, thought Jesus was too independent. “Mary often remonstrated with Jesus, and urged Him to conform to the usages of the rabbis.” —DA, 90. What a trial this must have been for Jesus. All alone Jesus bore His fidelity to truth. He was misunderstood by the best people in church — they could not understand how any sincere, consecrated person could become so independent from the teaching of the much respected rabbis of the past and present, since they had been ordained of God.

For Jesus, there was no inspired manual other than the holy Word of God. But so hierarchical had the church become that they knew of no other way that the church could function other than by man- made rules and authority and a strong, Jerusalem- centered structure. But Jesus elevated truth above structure.

Jesus was viewed as being so independent of the structure that the leaders of the church decided that if He was allowed to continue He would destroy the church — and there is no question that their power structure would have been destroyed. “He who was the foundation of the ritual and economy of Israel would be looked upon as its enemy and destroyer.” —DA, 111. The pious leaders of the church tried to prevent His influence from destroying the church in every way possible. They tried to prove Him wrong. They warned the people against listening to Him. They prevented Him from speaking in the churches. They spread lies and rumors about Him and His ministry. They tried everything to limit His influence (and they were quite successful at this) but nothing seemed to stop Him. Finally, as a last resort, they “regretfully” decided that they must put Him to death. They undoubtedly “hated” to do this, but the church must be preserved — its reputation and name must be protected from such irresponsible people as Barabbas and Jesus.

Jesus and Barabbas, of course, were quite different — one was a murderer and one was a life- giver. But they were both independent, and of the two, Jesus was the most dangerous, because His doctrines and practices fooled the common people. And once the spirit of independence gets started, they figured that there was no way to protect the church. It was inconceivable to them that God could protect and preserve His church if they would purify themselves and call upon Him for His protection — no, if they did not preserve it, the church would be destroyed. It was either Jesus or the church (John 11: 50). Therefore, Jesus must be destroyed so that the church could survive. “If He stands in the way of Israel’s well- being, is it not doing God a service to remove Him? Better that one man perish than that the whole nation be destroyed. . . . In their opinion, He had set aside the priesthood. He had refused to acknowledge the theology of the rabbinical schools. He had exposed the evil practices of the priests and had irreparably hurt their influence. . . . Satan told them that in order to maintain their authority they must put Jesus to death. This counsel they followed. . . . Such was their deception that they were well pleased with themselves. They regarded themselves as patriots who were seeking the nation ‘s salvation.” —DA, 540- 541. Thus Jesus was disfellowshipped and the people who disfellowshipped Him thought they had saved the church from some great independent calamity that was threatening their very existence.

The Basis for True Authority

But though they tried, and verily thought they had succeeded, they could not disfellowship Jesus from the church. Jesus was the church. They merely succeeded in disfellowshipping themselves from the true church. For God “has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1: 22, 23).

The church is still to be “built upon Christ as its foundation; it is to obey Christ as its head. It is not to depend upon man, or be controlled by man. Many claim that a position of trust in the church gives them authority to dictate what other men shall believe and what they shall do. This claim God does not sanction. The Saviour declares, ‘All ye are brethren. ‘ All are exposed to temptations, and are liable to error. Upon no finite being can we depend for guidance. The Rock of faith is the living presence of Christ in the church. Upon this the weakest may depend, and those who think themselves the strongest will prove to be the weakest, unless they make Christ their efficiency. ‘Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm’ (Jeremiah 17: 5).” —DA, 414.

“This principle bears with equal weight upon a question that has long agitated the Christian world — the question of apostolic succession. Descent from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. A life actuated by the apostles’ spirit, the belief and teaching of the truth they taught — this is the true evidence of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors of the first teachers of the gospel.” —DA, 467.

Within Christ’s church there is to be no hierarchical, centralized, controlling power that supersedes the headship of Christ. As the messenger of the Lord said, “Battle Creek is not to be the center of God’s work. God alone can fill this place.” —TM, 375. There is a place for order, but it is to be a simple, humble order, always uplifting the primacy of Christ. For “He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1: 18).

Thus, as Christ is the head of the body, He is always to “have the preeminence.” Whenever the church assumes preeminence over Christ, or His word, it thereby becomes an idol to the people.

Christ created the structure — it is holy — but it is always to remain subservient to the Word and to Christ as its head. Anything that supersedes God becomes a false God. That’s what the Jews did with their temple. The temple became more important than the truth, or even God’s dear Son. A word of criticism spoken against the temple was worse than a false teaching being taught from its precincts. The final charge brought against Christ was that He spoke against the temple.

In view of this danger of making the system and its leadership a false God, Ellen White has a whole chapter in Testimonies to Ministers entitled, “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me” — She was referring to Battle Creek, its system, and the leadership. She also warns that “the trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ — how the enemy sought every occasion to take control for the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.” —1SM, 406.

Jesus was rejected by most because He was not sanctioned by the visible church. And those who rejected Him were lost. According to the Spirit of Prophecy, this will likewise be our test.

“To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the lord when champions are few — this will be our test.” — 5T, 136.

The Head of the Church

“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12: 28). God is the One who has promised to place various gifts in the church. When the church is pure, God is the one who calls and ordains through His chosen instrumentalities. He chooses through the official channels when He can, but when he cannot, He will call people directly, as in the case of David and John the Baptist. Never has God turned the entire control of His church over to human instrumentalities.

The Lord wants to direct His heritage and His church far more than we give Him opportunity to do. “If ministers and men in- positions of authority will get out of the way, and let the Holy Sprit move upon the minds of the lay brethren, God will direct them what to do for the honor of his name. Let men have freedom to carry out that which the Holy Spirit indicates. Do not put the shackles upon humble men whom God would use.” —RH, July 9, 1895.

It is not being independent for humble men and women whom God has called to act upon their God given responsibilities. In various places around the world I have been told by laymen that they cannot even give a Bible study without the pastor’s permission. In most places, a laymen is not even permitted to hold a prayer meeting in his own home, if it is called a prayer meeting, without the church’s permission — and if the pastor wants to come in and take control, he assumes that prerogative. Not long ago I was asked to have some meetings in one of the major cities of America. Previous to my coming they had had Ron Spear and Cohn Standish in to speak. This meeting was held in a private hall, and one of the local pastors was in attendance and expressed great appreciation for the meetings. However, the pastor of the largest church in town, where this laymen held office and membership, asked him not to have these meetings. The laymen, however, felt that the Lord wanted these meetings, and as they were not a part of any church function or on church property, and as those who were asked to speak were all ordained Seventh- day Adventist ministers and members in good and regular standing, he felt impressed to quietly go on with the meetings. He had no intention of having a conflict with the pastor, but was simply trying to serve the Lord. Yet, because of his supposed “independence” from the pastor he was duly disciplined by the church by way of official censor and removed from being an elder.

But who was acting independently — the laymen or the pastor? There is no law in the Bible, or even the manual, forbidding people from getting together and reading and studying the Bible together. For the pastor to arbitrarily make these rules is independence indeed! During the Dark Ages it was against the law to hold private meetings, but America guarantees that right — but have we lost it in the church? It is “Satan . . . [who] works to restrict religious liberty, and to bring into the religious world a species of slavery. Organizations, institutions, unless kept by the power of God, will work under Satan’s dictation to bring men under the control of men. . . . His methods are practiced even among Seventh- day Adventists, who claim to have advanced truth.” —TM, 366.

Today if someone tries to raise up a new congregation or hold a meeting for Bible study and prayer, the question asked is: “By whose authority are you holding these meetings?” That was the question that was asked of John the Baptist and Jesus. “Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority’ “( Matthew 21: 23).

“Laws and rules are being made at the centers of the work that will soon be broken into atoms. . . . 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. . . . Those who know the truth are to be worked by the Holy Spirit, and not themselves to try to work the Spirit. 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.” —RH, July 23, 1895.

God has appointed leadership to act under Him, but never in His place. There is a place for organization — heaven is a place of order. God’s church, all through the ages, has been a place of order. The Old Testament church was a church of order, and God’s church today is to be just as ordered and orderly as was the Old Testament church. There is a place for leadership, a place for elders, a place for deacons and administrators. But their job description was never intended to be that of being the head of the church or of controlling the church, but rather they were to be the servants of God to the people. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20: 25- 28).

Do you suppose that I, or anyone else, could ever get to the place where we could supersede God’s authority in the church? We could try, but that would be a false, sinful and assumed authority that God and His true people would not recognize anymore than John the Baptist did (DA, 132). Suppose that I had a lot of charisma and a lot of good leadership abilities, and I made a lot of friends and made some good business or political decisions and so began to climb the corporate ladder in the church, until I got to the very top. Could I ever get to the place where I had enough authority to supersede God’s authority? Could I tell someone whom God had called to preach, for example, that God had not called him to preach, as they told John the Baptist and Jesus? I could tell him, but no matter how much authority I might have assumed or think I had, I could never get enough authority to supersede God’s authority. That would be the epitome of independence. But in my blind presumption, I would probably think that the person whom God had called and who was merely fulfilling His God- given mission was being independent because he had not listened to me! —what pride!

“But,” someone might insist, “someone must have that kind of authority in order to maintain order in the church.” That is exactly the claim of the papal church. “It is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal church of Christ, invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. . . . God has never given a hint in His word that He has appointed any man to be the head of the church.” —GC 50, 51.

While God has not given any man the authority to say who cannot preach, when the Holy Spirit has made it plainly evident that God has called him to preach, likewise God has not given any man the authority to say that someone can or should preach whom God has not called. No local church should ever be forced by some higher human authority to allow a conferenceappointed pastor or leader to speak when the congregation and elders feel, based upon Biblical evidence, that God has not called him to speak.

In fact, for men to receive those sent to them from the conference whom God has not sent, causes them to become independent from God along with the pastor, and results in the withdrawal of God’s blessings. “As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, so there are woes for those who receive and maintain the unsanctified in the position which they cannot fill.” —2T, 552. “There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine.” —lT, 261, 262.

Yet, how many ministers whom God has never recognized are lauded and applauded by men, and how many ministers have been scourged and even put to death who were the chosen instrumentalities of God.

For a central, ruling authority to assume controlling power over the local membership, telling them who will preach to them and who will not preach to them, is to place one’s self in the place of God over the people. God has entrusted to His people certain inalienable rights and obligations, such as the right and the obligation to carefully and prayerfully decide who they will receive and maintain to minister to them. The Bible predicted that there would come a power that would seek to put itself in the place of God. “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2: 3, 4). That, in a special way refers to the papacy of the Middle Ages, and we can adopt some of the same policies, until we are “following in the track of Romanism.” —TM, 362.

“The high- handed power that has been developed, as though position has made men gods, makes me afraid, and out to cause fear. It is a curse wherever and by whomsoever it is exercised. this lording it over God’s heritage will create such a disgust of man’s jurisdiction that a state of insubordination will result. . . . The spirit of domination is extending to the presidents of our conferences. . . . They are following in the track of Romanism. . . . Rule, rule, has been their course of action. Satan has had an opportunity to represent himself.” —TM, 361- 363.

These statements from the Spirit of Prophecy were not written to imply that the church does not, or should not, have proper authority. The church is to have a great amount of authority under God. When a point or a decision can be shown from God’s word and from the leading of the Holy Spirit to be from the Lord, the leaders are to have a great deal of authority. Whenever the church utters the utterances of God, it is as the voice of God. But when they become independent of God and assume authority such as the Sanhedrin assumed, then they are no longer the voice of God. It was when the leaders were becoming independent of God, that Ellen White said: “That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be, that is past.” —GCB, 1901, p. 25.

The 1888 Problem

In the papal church, one central power decided who is called and who is not called, what should be preached and what should not be preached, what people could read and what they could not read, what meetings could be held and what could not be held. The church was a controlling element, and it was being controlled by human wisdom, with “the eyes of a man” (Daniel 7: 8). That was the same type of controlling element that ruled the church in Jesus’ day. The people came to worship the system as their lord and master rather than Jesus.

This false gospel of system worship, where the organization became the master rather than the servant, was what Ellen White recognized as the main problem of the General Conference of 1888. In talking about the problems of the church, she related the cause of these problems in the following letter: “This is largely due to the feeling of Elder Butler (the General Conference President) that position gave unlimited authority. . . . God designs that men shall use their minds and consciences for themselves. He never designed that one man should become the shadow of another, and utter only another’s sentiments. But this error has been coming in among us, that a very few are to be mind, conscience, and judgment for all God’s workers. The foundation of Christianity is ‘Christ our Righteousness. ‘ Men are individually responsible to God and must act as God acts upon them, not as another human mind acts upon their mind; for if this method of indirect influence is kept up, souls cannot be impressed and directed by the great I AM. They will, on the other hand, have their experience blended with another, and will be kept under a moral restraint, which allows no freedom of action or of choice. . . . If we would be wise, and use diligently, prayerfully, and thankfully the means whereby light and blessings are to come to His people, then no voice nor power upon earth would have authority over us to say, ‘This shall not be. ‘ “ —1888, 110- 113.

In a letter to Elder Butler, Ellen White related what was shown her in vision: “My guide. . . stretched out his arms toward Dr. Waggoner, and to you, Elder Butler, and said in substance as follows: ‘Neither have all the light upon the law; neither position is perfect.’ —1888, 93. The question was not simply theology — Elder Waggoner and Elder Jones’ positions were not perfect, but God had given them a message, even though still imperfect, to give to the church. But the leadership thought that every message should have to go through them for their approval. These young men from the West — Jones and Waggoner — had no right to work without the permission of the General Conference officers.

“Never, never feel the slightest disturbance be- cause the Lord is raising up youth to lift and carry the heavier burdens, and proclaim the message of truth. It has been at this point that Elder Butler has failed, and he is a deceived man . . . . I hope there will never be the slightest encouragement given to our people to put such wonderful confidence in finite, erring man as has been placed in Elder Butler, for ministers are not as God, and too much reliance has been placed upon Elder Butler in the past. Even the messages and testimonies were made of none effect through the influence of the words and ideas of Elder Butler. This sin has not been repented of by some of our people, and they will have to go over the ground again and again unless they cease from man, and put their whole trust in the living God.” —1888, 975.

There is a place for counsel, and even for warnings against false teachings, to be given by the leadership. But all such counsel and warnings are to be based upon sound biblical principle, not upon hierarchical authority. People are thus to be taught to depend upon the counsels and warnings of the Word, rather than that of man. We are to teach people to respect leaders, but not to depend upon human wisdom and leadership. “When our people in the different places have their special convocations, teach them, for Christ’s sake and for their own soul’s sake, not to make flesh their a~…. To place men where God should be placed does not honor or glorify God. Is the president of the General Conference to be the god of the people? Are the men at Battle Creek to be regarded as infinite in wisdom? When the Lord shall work upon human hearts and human intellects, principles and practices different from this will be set before the people. ‘Cease ye from man’ (Isaiah 2: 22).” —TM, 375, 376.

As one reads through the over 1800 pages of The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials and the book Testimonies to Ministers, he cannot help but be impressed with both the seriousness and the present prevalence of corporate independence. This was the chief problem in 1888, and it seems that it was never corrected. Supposedly a correction came in 1901, but two years later Ellen White commented: ‘The result of the last General Conference (1901) has been the greatest, the most terrible sorrow of my life. No change was made. The spirit that should have been brought into the whole work as the result of that meeting was not brought m because men did not receive the testimonies of the Spirit of God.” —MR, #1016, 3- 4 (Letter 17, January 14, 1903). It was in 1901 itself that she said: “We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel.” —EV, 696.

Two Kinds of Kings

Kings are independent. That is why the messenger of the Lord associated independence with kingly power. In 1901 Ellen White warned our leaders against independence, insubordination, and rebellion. At the same time she told how this had come into the church — through the exercise of “kingly power,” so that God’s rulership was replaced by human kingship. In her opening address to the delegates of the 1901 General Conference, Ellen White repeatedly stated that we were being governed by “kingly power.” (See Ellen White’s speech in Spaulding and Magan, 162- 174.)

But there are two kinds of kings, both of which lead to independence from the Lord. First, there are those kings who have enough charisma and influence to get followers. We call them the successful kings. There are also those kings that cannot get anyone to follow them, but they are, nevertheless, going to do whatever they want to anyone, as a king without any subjects, independent of the Lord.

Some might wrongly suppose that because there are bad leaders, that gives them the right to become independent and do whatever they want to do. If they do this, they are no better off than the “bad” leaders they are critical of. God has not called anyone to be independent or to act independently. God has called us all to be servants of one another, and to draw together in true unity and love. God is not calling for separationism, but for a purifying of the church, where all can work together in true harmony for the finishing of the gospel. It is true that truth must be paramount, but wherever truth and the salvation of souls are not at stake, we are to do everything we can to live peaceably with all men and to work together in unity and harmony. We are to consider others first and self last. The true following of the principles of God will not lead to disunity, but to the true unity that was manifested at Pentecost, where all “were with one accord in one place” (Acts 2: 1).

God has a church, and it is the Seventh- day Adventist church. This is the church of prophecy and providence, and only God can start a church — it is to be built upon Him, not upon any human founder (Ephesians 2: 20). True, God’s remnant church is described as “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” in the Laodicean message of Revelation 3, but it is still God’s church. Leaders and members may not always exemplify God’s character, and for this reason we are still on earth. Whole congregations, institutions, or even conferences may apostatize — the organization itself may become so independent of God that He cannot use them any more, just as happened with Israel — nevertheless God will always have true and faithful Seventh- day Adventist people, registered on the books of heaven (Hebrews 12: 22, 23), who will constitute His church and who will go through victorious to the end. God wants every conference, institution, and congregation to triumph with them, if they will be purified of every sin.

Although we should strive to live peaceable with all men, nevertheless, when God sends His message to purify the church of sin and selfishness, it will cause a reaction. “Just as long as God has a church, He will have those who will cry aloud and spare not, who will be His instruments to reprove selfishness and sins, and will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies. ft does not suit their natural feelings. They would choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears. . . . The shaking must soon take place to purify the church.” —2SG, 284.

The Lord is calling for individuals today to do the work of Elijah and John the Baptist, in all humility. But there are many who rise up to give a message on their own charge, without a commission from the Lord. There are many who would seek to steady the ark of God, as Uzzah did, with their own human wisdom and might. How can a person know whether he has been called of God or is simply motivated by feelings of importance?

Those who are truly called of God must be faithful, humble servants, not seeking for notice or first place. Moreover, whenever God calls for an individual to be His instrument, He always lays the burden upon more than simply he himself. Even when Jesus began His ministry, though He was not recognized or acknowledge by the church leadership, He was nevertheless acknowledged by John the Baptist and by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. David was anointed by Samuel. The disciples were called by Jesus. Paul received a vision and was set aside by the church at Antioch. Timothy was called by Paul. Daniel and Joseph were set apart by a series of circumstances and providence called forth by the Lord — but both had been faithful in the little things of life before being called to positions of prominence.

A Day and Age of Independence

As never before, a spirit of independence from the Lord afflicts our church, just as it did the Jewish church in the days of Korah and again in the days of John the Baptist (see lSM, 406). We are living in a day and age of independence. When I was pastoring, I was talking to one of my conference presidents about the local Adventist hospital. It had become so large that it was only able to fill a small percentage of its staff with Adventist help, yet they were building it still larger. In conversation one day I kindly pointed out that the Spirit of Prophecy counsels against building large hospitals and staffing them with those not of our faith. His response was that those counsels don’t apply to today. In our educational work, in our administrative work, in our educational work, in our medical work, it seems that self- rule and independence has become the rule of the day. God’s counsels, they reason, don’t apply any more. “Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief.” —5T, 211.

I was talking to a union president not long ago. He brought up the subject of tithing, and accused another ministry, that we at Steps to Life work with and support, of being a “thief’ because they accept tithe. They don’t solicit it, but when it comes in they accept it and apply it toward ministerial work. “Why,” I asked, “are they a thief? Who have they stolen from?”

The response was that all the tithe should go through the organization, because it is the storehouse. But I asked: “What then about Quiet Hour, Voice of Prophecy, and Amazing Facts, all of which accept tithe and always have? Are they thieves also?”

This was indeed hard to answer. He would not suggest that other ministries were stealing, but he still maintained that the ministry he was opposed to was stealing the tithe, even though this particular ministry is doing nothing different than most of our accepted ministries always have! The problem was that the ministry he was opposed to was preaching the straight testimony and that was what he was really opposed to — the tithe was only a smoke screen. Nevertheless I pursued the issue.

“What about Ellen White’s example and counsel,” I asked. She paid her tithe directly to various ministers and women Bible workers who were not being paid by the conference. Moreover, she accepted other people’s tithe who gave it to her and who did not want it to go to the conference. “Was she a thief?”

“Well,” he wanted to know, “do you base your beliefs on the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy?” “I thought they were the same,” I replied. But he then informed me that Ellen White did not understand tithing. So I asked him whether he understood the biblical principles of tithing better than Ellen White did.

He responded: “Yes I do. I understand tithing better than Ellen White.” I thought I had misunderstood, so I asked him again just to make sure I had heard right, and I received the same assurance that he understood this principle better than Ellen White. I asked him for his biblical references for his understanding, but he could produce none!

It is interesting that when the Colorado Conference president in 1905 tried to set up his will as the governing rule, stating that all tithe should come into the conference treasury rather than being sent directly to people who were not on the conference payroll, Ellen White warned him that if he agitated this question she would have to make known to others what she did with her tithe. In referring to disagreements with the management of the tithe by the conference, she said in Testimonies, vol. 9, page 249 that we should make our complaints known but that we should not withhold our tithe. However, in the case of apostasy and false teaching by the ministry, and in the case of the conference neglecting or refusing to support those whom the Lord had called and chosen, Ellen White made it crystal clear that it was not only the privilege but the duty of herself and others to send their tithe directly to where they thought it would do the most good (see lT 261, 262; 2T 552; Spaulding and Magan, 117, 215). Moreover, she stated that those who simply trusted the conference to expend their means, without taking responsibility themselves as to the outcome of the money God had made them stewards of, would not be held “guiltless” before the Lord for their stewardship 1888, pp. 1443, 1444. Some have formed such strong opinions and policies that they know more than the Spirit of Prophecy in these and other kindred areas.

Today, prideful independence from the Lord and His counsels has become the rule of the day.

Two Kinds of Independent Ministries

As there have always been, so today there are two kinds of independent ministries. As we read about Jesus: “From childhood He acted independently of the rabbinical laws.” —DA, 84. John the Baptist had an independent ministry from the Sanhedrin -DA, 132. Elijah and Paul had independent ministries. Madison Sanitarium and school was ordained by the Lord, with direct counsel from the messenger of the Lord, that they were to become an independent institution from the General Conference. God has always had independent ministries.

Many of these ministries have been unappreciated. When Elder A. T. Jones was not allowed to speak in Battle Creek in 1891, Ellen White said that “We will secure a hall in the city and the words God has given Bro. Jones to speak the people shall have them.” —1888, pp. 847, 848. Jesus spoke by the seashore, Wesley in the fields, and William Miller in tents. Today, while people like Desmond Ford are allowed to speak in our largest churches, many who have been faithful ministers for years are obliged to speak in rented halls be- cause of the straight message they bear. It may be, if the message is barred from the churches, that God will use the independent ministries to help finish the work where the official church has failed.

And so there is a healthy, God ordained place for independent ministries. God has never tied His hands to any set counsel of men, but has always had the privilege of choosing whom and how He desires. God has always used independent ministries. And yet there is sinful independence today also, as there always has been. Any independence that puts human wisdom and authority above God’s wisdom and authority, making man independent of God, is sinful independence. This was what Eve was tempted to do. Whenever a Christian hospital rejects, either openly or in practice, the counsels of the Lord, it has become an independent ministry. Whenever a church school or union college or university accepts the standards of the world in the place of the standards of the Lord, it has become an independent ministry. Whenever a conference or a church receives the counsels of psychologists and philosophers, or from religious institutions that do not keep the Sabbath, as Ahaziah did when he sought the god of Ekron (2 Kings 1: 2), rejecting the plain counsel of the Lord, it has become an independent ministry. Whenever a ministry that is designated an independent ministry because they are not under the conference structure, departs from the teachings and practices of the Lord, it has become independent in the wrong way. May the Lord save us from sinful independence.

A Reformation Needed

It is time to humble our hearts before the Lord so that He can send upon us the true revival and reformation that was displayed at Pentecost, where unity was achieved through the believing of truth, through humility toward self, and love toward one another; where the full gospel was preached in all its purity and power; where the principles of the government of heaven were followed, with Christ as the true head of the church and all its members were fellow servants.

Kingly power in the hands of religious rulers will never save or exalt the church. Unity through centralization will never exalt Christ. Blindly following religious teachers will not save a single soul. But humble cooperation, where every member is a fellow worker with Christ (1 Corinthians 3: 9), organized together in a body according to the call of God, and where dependence is placed first and foremost upon the revealed will of God, will bring the long- soughtfor blessings of the latter rain and the soon return of Jesus Christ. This is that primitive godliness that will be revealed among God’s people before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth -GC, 464.

Scripture texts are from the New King James

Books titles by Ellen White are abbreviated as follows:

  • 1888 = Ellen G. White 1888 Materials
  • AA = Acts of the Apostles
  • DA = Desire of Ages
  • EW = Early Writings
  • EV = Evangelism
  • GC = Great Controversy
  • GCB = General Conference Bulletin
  • MR = Manuscript Release
  • RH = Review and Herald Magazine
  • 2SG = Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2.
  • IT, 2T, etc. are Testimonies to the Church, volumes I, 2, etc.
  • TM = Testimonies to Ministers

Emphasis are generally supplied

Chapter 10 Desire of Ages — Chapter 78

The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now

by Terry S. Ross

DA 741: “ ‘And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him. ’”

Who are the “they” in this quotation? Christ died for us all because we need a saviour but the Ancient Adventist Church should not have been the ones to murder Him.

DA 742: “The crowd that followed the Saviour saw His weak and staggering steps, but they manifested no compassion. They taunted and reviled Him because He could not carry the heavy cross. Again the burden was laid upon Him, and again He fell fainting to the ground. His persecutors saw that it was impossible for Him to carry His burden farther. They were puzzled to find any one who would bear the humiliating load. The Jews themselves could not do this, because the defilement would prevent them from keeping the Passover. None even of the mob that followed Him would stoop to bear the cross.”

No one who refuses to bear the humiliating load of Christ’s cross will share in the glory of Christ’s crown. Even though the “church” was literally killing the Son of God, they would continue business as usual and looked forward to keeping the Passover which represented the very Person whom they were killing! They had become so blind that they couldn’t recognize the Truth even when it was actually right before them! Do not be fooled into believing that something like this could not happen in the Seventh- day Adventist “Church.” It not only can happen, it has happened, and is happening for the last time right now.

DA 742- 43: “Not a few women are in the crowd that follow the Uncondemned to His cruel death. Their attention is fixed upon Jesus. Some of them have seen Him before. Some have carried to Him their sick and suffering ones. Some have themselves been healed. The story of the scenes that have taken place is related. They wonder at the hatred of the crowd toward Him for whom their own hearts are melting and ready to break. And notwithstanding the action of the maddened throng, and the angry words of the priests and rulers, these women give expression to their sympathy. As Jesus falls fainting beneath the cross, they break forth into mournful wailing.

“This was the only thing that attracted Christ’s attention. Although full of suffering, while bearing the sins of the world, He was not indifferent to the expression of grief. He looked upon these women with tender compassion. They were not believers in Him; He knew that they were not lamenting Him as one sent from God, but were moved by feelings of human pity. He did not despise their sympathy, but it awakened in His heart a deeper sympathy for them. ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, ’ He said, ‘weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. ’ From the scene before Him, Christ looked forward to the time of Jerusalem’s destruction. In that terrible scene, many of those who were now weeping for Him, were to perish with their children.”

Even these non- believing women are amazed at the hatred that the Conference Leadership has toward Christ! But Jesus tells them that they should be weeping for themselves. Why? He was looking forward and He knew that most of the people in the crowd would continue to be influenced by the apostate conference men who would continue to say “The ship is going through.” They, in turn, would continue to believe this and would be destroyed with that particular ship because it, in truth, was not the ship that was going through.

DA 743: “From the fall of Jerusalem the thoughts of Jesus passed to a wider judgment. IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE IMPENITENT CITY HE SAW A SYMBOL OF THE FINAL DESTRUCTION TO COME UPON THE WORLD. He said, ‘Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? ’ By the green tree, Jesus represented Himself, the innocent Redeemer. God suffered His wrath against transgression to fall on His beloved Son. Jesus was to be crucified for the sins of men. WHAT SUFFERING, THEN, WOULD THE SINNER BEAR WHO CONTINUED IN SIN? ALL THE IMPENITENT AND UNBELIEVING WOULD KNOW A SORROW AND MISERY THAT LANGUAGE WOULD FAIL TO EXPRESS.”

If Jerusalem is a symbol of the bigger destruction of the world, what then can we learn? Who made up the populace of that city? The headquarters of the “church” was also the headquarters of Rome in that part of the country. We will find in the near future that the headquarters of modern Rome will be located not too far from the Adventist structure’s headquarters. As they worked hand in hand for the destruction of Christ, in the future they will work hand in hand for the destruction of God’s last day people. This may be difficult to believe but not any more difficult than two thousand years ago. Only those who took God (Jesus) at His Word escaped the destruction of Jerusalem. We can expect that a similar group of believers that will escape the destruction to come, as it surely will.

Leaders who teach their congregations that they can continue in sin and cannot stop sinning either knowingly or unknowingly are leading these people to eternal damnation. If we truly love others, the exposure of this deadly heresy must take place and be openly challenged. People must be given the opportunity to know the truth to stop listening to the lies of these agents of Satan.

DA 743: “Of the multitude that followed the Saviour to Calvary, many had attended Him with joyful hosannas and the waving of palm branches, as He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. But not a few who had then shouted His praise because it was popular to do so, now swelled the cry of ‘Crucify Him! crucify Him! ’ When Christ rode into Jerusalem, the hopes of the disciples had been raised to the highest pitch. They had pressed close about their Master, feeling that it was a high honor to be connected with Him. Now in His humiliation they followed Him at a distance. They were filled with grief, and bowed down with disappointed hopes. How were the words of Jesus verified: ‘All ye shall be offended because of Me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. ’ (Matt. 26: 31).”

To follow Christ for political reasons because it’s popular to do so or for any other reason than from conviction based on a love for God and His truth, will prove to be fatal! Every single person whose motivation and actions fall below the standard WILL betray, forsake, and be lost!

DA 744: “The Saviour made no murmur of complaint. His face remained calm and serene, but great drops of sweat stood upon His brow. There was no pitying hand to wipe the death- dew from His face, nor words of sympathy and unchanging fidelity to stay His human heart. While the soldiers were doing their fearful work, Jesus prayed for His enemies, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. ’ His mind passed from His own suffering to the sin of His persecutors, and the terrible retribution that would be theirs. No curses were called down upon the soldiers who were handling Him so roughly. No vengeance was invoked upon the priests and rulers, who were gloating over the accomplishment of their purpose. Christ pitied them in their ignorance and guilt. He breathed only a plea for their forgiveness, — ‘for they know not what they do. ’”

Here Jesus wonderfully demonstrates the balance of warfare and welfare. While He had exposed His enemies and denounced them with scathing rebukes, He had no human feelings of vengeance toward them, but only pity. He would have gladly forgiven them if they had repented; He had no pleasure in the thoughts of their future destruction. Today, although we are to do the same work, we can be guilty of murder ourselves if we enjoy the destruction of our enemies. We must do what we do for the purposes of salvation, not for the purpose of destruction. Jesus had the perfect balance of “not blind, nor bitter.”

DA 744- 45: “Had they known that they were putting to torture One who had come to save the sinful race from eternal ruin, they would have been seized with remorse and horror. BUT THEIR IGNORANCE DID NOT REMOVE THEIR GUILT; for it was their privilege to know and accept Jesus as their Saviour. Some of them would yet see their sin, and repent, and be converted. Some by their impenitence would make it an impossibility for the prayer of Christ to be answered for them. Yet just the same God’s purpose was reaching its fulfillment. Jesus was earning the right to become the advocate of men in the Father’s presence.

“That prayer of Christ for His enemies embraced the world. It took in every sinner that had lived or should live, from the beginning of the world to the end of time. Upon all rests the guilt of crucifying the Son of God. To all, forgiveness is freely offered. ‘Whosoever will’ may have peace with God, and inherit eternal life.”

Here is yet another description of the modern Adventist “Church.” No one has greater opportunity to learn about Jesus and His truth than those in the Adventist movement. The majority are ignorant of the weightier matters, but willfully so. Their ignorance will not be valid during the judgement period, but it does explain why they do what they do. Some, during this time of ongoing education, will see the truth, repent and be converted. Others (the majority) because of stubbornness, willful blindness, wanting to be popular, and love for cherished idols will refuse to be converted. This group is the reason why God inspired Sister White to write that we have more to fear from within than without.

DA 745: “Pilate then wrote an inscription in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and placed it upon the cross, above the head of Jesus. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews. ’ This inscription irritated the Jews. In Pilate’s court they had cried, ‘Crucify Him! ’ ‘We have no king but Caesar. ’ (John 19: 15.) They had declared that whoever should acknowledge any other king was a traitor. Pilate wrote out the sentiment they had expressed. NO OFFENSE WAS MENTIONED, EXCEPT THAT JESUS WAS THE KING OF THE JEWS. THE INSCRIPTION WAS A VIRTUAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE ALLEGIANCE OF THE JEWS TO THE ROMAN POWER. IT DECLARED THAT WHOEVER MIGHT CLAIM TO BE THE KING OF ISRAEL, WOULD BE JUDGED BY THEM WORTHY OF DEATH. The priests had overreached themselves. When they were plotting the death of Christ, Caiaphas had declared it expedient that one man should die to save the nation. Now their hypocrisy was revealed. In order to destroy Christ, they had been ready to sacrifice even their national existence.”

You will notice that the only offense charged to Jesus was, in fact, the truth. You will also notice that the Jews’ (Ancient Adventists who were in apostasy) allegiance was with Rome and not God. To declare that the truth of Christ was above the traditions of Rome meant sure death. In the not too distant future, the true and faithful who will stand for God’s Word and declare that the traditions of Rome are not valid will face the death decree. Until it’s forever too late, the other group who declares that the traditions of Rome are above God’s Word will also face the death decree. It is up to you to decide which death decree you want to face.

DA 746- 49: “And Satan with his angels, in human form, was present at the cross. The archfiend and his hosts were co- operating with the priests and rulers. The teachers of the people had stimulated the ignorant mob to pronounce judgment against One upon whom many of them had never looked, until urged to bear testimony against Him. Priests, rulers, Pharisees, and the hardened rabble were confederated together in a Satanic frenzy. Religious rulers united with Satan and his angels. They were doing his bidding.”

Just as Jesus was completing the first phase of the plan of salvation, Satan and his angels, in human form, appeared to deceive all who could be deceived. The same deception will take place just as Jesus is bringing the final phase of salvation to a close. We are told in Revelation and the book Great Controversy that Satan will appear as an angel of light to deceive the nations.

Most Adventists I’ve met realize that Satan will personate Christ in order to deceive, but I have met very few Adventists who understand that Satan will not come alone. Did you realize that he will bring the apostles with him? Let’s read it here in Great Controversy page 557: “The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth.” Maybe you can better understand that unless we have the mind of Christ, which can only be obtained by following Him all the way, this deception to come will be overpowering. Only those who are fully connected with Christ will make it through this time. The preparation time which we are now enjoying is quickly disappearing and we had better be paying attention.

DA 749: “In their mockery of the Saviour, the men who professed to be the expounders of prophecy were repeating the very words which inspiration had foretold they would utter upon this occasion. Yet in their blindness they did not see that they were fulfilling the prophecy.”

This same blindness is even now being repeated. This prophecy is having its fulfillment in our day. In their blindness, the leaders are preaching toward their own doom and fulfilling the prophecy of their own destruction.

DA 753: “Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father’s mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.

“SATAN WITH HIS FIERCE TEMPTATIONS WRUNG THE HEART OF JESUS. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God, that their separation was to be eternal. CHRIST FELT THE ANGUISH WHICH THE SINNER WILL FEEL WHEN MERCY SHALL NO LONGER PLEAD FOR THE GUILTY RACE. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.”

Every soul who takes a stand for Jesus in these last days will have to go through a similar experience in their own sphere which He had to go through. But especially will the 144,000 understand by experience what price Jesus paid for our salvation. During the time of trouble after probation closes, this group will feel a similar anguish of soul that wrung the heart of their Saviour. This will be a terrible ordeal but in the end it will separate this group from any other in the entire universe. Theirs will be an elevated experience known only to them and their Lord.

On the other side of the coin, those who choose apostasy instead of Christ will feel a deepened terror that was only felt by those who killed Christ. There will not be another group of human beings who share in this same terror. To make a profession of Adventism and turn from what it really means (especially for the leadership) is serious business. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, we do not want to be a part of this “church!” To one day face the reality of this truth and know that eternity was in the palms of our hands, yet be forever lost! The terror will be indescribable. Let us choose rather to place our feeble selves in the hands of a caring Father for He will see us through the trouble ahead. I have always said that no one will escape persecution in the end anyway. A small group will be persecuted by man and Satan. The larger group will be persecuted by God. Let us choose the right group in which to be persecuted.

DA 756: “In silence the beholders watched for the end of the fearful scene. The sun shone forth; but the cross was still enveloped in darkness. Priests and rulers looked toward Jerusalem; and lo, the dense cloud had settled over the city, and the plains of Judea. The Sun of Righteousness, the Light of the world, was withdrawing His beams from the once favored city of Jerusalem. The fierce lightnings of God’s wrath were directed against the fated city.”

Jesus Christ Who had raised up Jerusalem with His own power had the power to reject it. According to this history, the fierce lightnings of God’s wrath will be directed against the apostate people of Jerusalem — Apostate Adventists.

DA 756: “Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn. BY FAITH, CHRIST WAS VICTOR.”

All immediate evidence suggested that the Heavenly Father had forsaken His Son, but Christ’s personal life experience with God had developed the faith that was victorious over all the assaults of Satan. This faith, the faith OF Jesus Christ, identifies His true people who ARE HIS TRUE CHURCH.

DA 756- 57: “Never before had the earth witnessed such a scene. The multitude stood paralyzed, and with bated breath gazed upon the Saviour. Again darkness settled upon the earth, and a hoarse rumbling, like heavy thunder, was heard. There was a violent earthquake. The people were shaken together in heaps. The wildest confusion and consternation ensued. In the surrounding mountains, rocks were rent asunder, and went crashing down into the plains. Sepulchers were broken open, and the dead were cast out of their tombs. Creation seemed to be shivering to atoms. Priests, rulers, soldiers, executioners, and people, mute with terror, lay prostrate upon the ground.

“When the loud cry, ‘It is finished, ’ came from the lips of Christ, the priests were officiating in the temple. It was the hour of the evening sacrifice. The lamb representing Christ had been brought to be slain. Clothed in his significant and beautiful dress, the priest stood with lifted knife, as did Abraham when he was about to slay his son. With intense interest the people were looking on. But the earth trembles and quakes; for the Lord Himself draws near. With a rending noise the inner veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand, throwing open to the gaze of the multitude a place once filled with the presence of God. In this place the shekinah had dwelt. Here God had manifested His glory above the mercy- seat. No one but the high priest ever lifted the veil separating this apartment from the rest of the temple. He entered in once a year to make an atonement for the sins of the people. But lo, this veil is rent in twain. The most holy place of the earthly sanctuary is no longer sacred.

“All is terror and confusion. The priest is about to slay the victim; but the knife drops from his nerveless hand, and the lamb escapes. Type has met antitype in the death of God’s Son. The great sacrifice has been made. The way into the holiest is laid open. A new and living was is prepared for all. No longer need sinful, sorrowing humanity await the coming of the high priest. Henceforth the Saviour was to officiate as priest and advocate in the heaven of heavens. It was as if a living voice had spoken to the worshipers: There is now an end to all sacrifices and offerings for sin. The Son of God is come according to His word, ‘Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God. ’ ‘By His own blood’ He entereth ‘in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. ’ (Heb. 10: 17; 9: 12).”

This terror and confusion spoken of in Desire of Ages is the same that will be on the earth and in the hearts of apostate pastors, leaders, and all who reject God’s warnings and mercies. The scenes that you have studied in this book are now being repeated and will continue to follow the same course viewed two thousand years ago.

When the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom at the command of God, it was a signal and an invitation to all to understand that no pastor or priest would stand between man and God save Jesus Christ alone. In this study, inspiration has clearly demonstrated that God is not bound to any pastor, Conference Worker, Conference Leader, General Conference, or a people once chosen.

This book has been written in the honest hope that all who read it will come to a better understanding of not only what has been, but what is and what will be. The author of this book is convinced that our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, is warning us about events just now happening and those about to happen so we are not deceived. We also understand that many statements in this book are “hard sayings,” but it is just as imperative that we take them into our lives as it was for the disciples.

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” says God’s Word, for we are told in the Spirit of Prophecy that the majority will be lost because they refused to take God at His Word.

Wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, no matter where your present loyalties lie, we would plead with you to take this study most seriously. If our understanding of the past is correct, we believe that your very life depends on how you choose to react to what you have read.

It’s decision time, dear Brothers and Sisters. What will it be? Will you go to man for your salvation or to God? Your destiny hangs upon your answer. Choose ye this day….

Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Forward
Chapter 1 Desire of Ages — Chapter 63
Chapter 2 Desire of Ages — Chapter 64
Chapter 3 Desire of Ages — Chapter 65
Chapter 4 Desire of Ages — Chapters 66 & 67
Chapter 5 Desire of Ages — Chapters 68 & 69
Chapter 6 Desire of Ages — Chapters 70, 71 & 72
Chapter 7 Desire of Ages — Chapter 73
Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75
Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77
Chapter 10 Desire of Ages — Chapter 78

Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77

The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now

by Terry S. Ross

DA 716: “The history of Judas presents the sad ending of a life that might have been honored of God. Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem, he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed. The abhorrence which has followed him through the centuries would not have existed, but for the attributes revealed at the close of his history. But it was for a purpose that his character was laid open to the world. It was to be a warning to all who, like him, should betray sacred trusts.

“… Through becoming the slave of one vice he gave himself to Satan, to be driven to any lengths in sin.”

The testimony of Judas is a solemn warning left for all to understand that we may fool all around us for a time, but we cannot fool God. I know that I take the experience of Judas very seriously. It tells me that all people, especially pastors whether Conference or Independent who continue to break sacred trusts will in no wise enter God’s kingdom. It also tells me that although it is right to support those whom God has raised up to lead, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and not man.

How solemn to realize that one cherished sin will keep us out of heaven. How many of us have clung to some cherished idol knowing deep inside that we need to let it go and telling ourselves that we will, tomorrow? But tomorrow never comes, Brothers and Sisters. Letting go of our sin will never get any easier than it will be today. Now is the time to make this resolve and cling to the Rock of Jesus Christ. The Lord loves us, but be certain that no matter what we may think we have accomplished in this life, if we cling to one vice He will not make exception for us. Either we will make Jesus bigger than our sin or our sin will become bigger in our life than Jesus.

DA 717: “He felt in his own person the evidence of Christ’s power. He recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that he had ever heard. He loved the great Teacher, and desired to be with Him. He felt a desire to be changed in character and life, and he hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus. The Saviour did not repulse Judas. He gave him a place among the twelve. He trusted him to do the work of an evangelist. He endowed him with power to heal the sick and to cast out devils. But Judas did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully to Christ. He did not give up his worldly ambition or his love of money. While he accepted the position of a minister of Christ, he did not bring himself under the divine moulding. He felt that he could retain his own judgment and opinions, and he cultivated a disposition to criticize and accuse.”

Of course, the above principle applies to each soul, but the specific lesson in this paragraph is regarding a pastor. Pastors have been given a broad scope of influence because of the position they hold and, therefore, that position is a serious one. With this position comes all the dangers that were the end of Judas. A large number of pastors will share the fate of Judas because they have abused their sacred trust and brought others, not to Jesus, but to their own perverted teachings. And let us not forget that Judas was an Independent Leader.

DA 720: “At the reproof from Jesus his very spirit seemed turned to gall. Wounded pride and desire for revenge broke down the barriers, and the greed so long indulged held him in control. This will be the experience of every one who persists in tampering with sin. The elements of depravity that are not resisted and overcome, respond to Satan’s temptation, and the soul is led captive at his will.”

These few words that you just read are full of instruction and warning that we all must reflect upon. We must plead with the Lord to help us to be honest with ourselves and to be open with our weaknesses in our dealings with Him. Please notice that it doesn’t say that this might be the experience of every one who persists… but this WILL be the experience!

Pride is a dreadful killer. It stalks its prey slowly, its danger undetected at first until it finally consumes its possessor. I have taken stock of what some of the attributes of pride are and one thing that is most scary is that pride is what I’ll call super- self protecting. Even when you recognize that you have the problem, when it raises its ugly head and is in control, it can take total possession. Pride, it almost seems, has a life of its own. I believe it to be a most dangerous vice. Another problem is, when the Lord allows a man to accomplish much, we human beings must be extremely guarded, for pride is a natural tendency of the human heart. Pride spoils the best of blessings and can ruin a life that otherwise would have been full of glory as demonstrated in the life of Judas. Even if someone has preached the straight truth for years, pride is so bad that those who cling to it will finally lose all reason and seek to literally annihilate those who dare to expose their sins. I have personally seen this in action. Everything goes along smoothly and it’s fine to expose the sins of others, but when you point out a concern for the one who is cherishing pride, although you thought this person to be a good friend, he can turn on you with a vengeance. This turning is for no other reason than pride that is filling the heart. Pride is why the church of two thousand years ago killed God. We must recognize it for what it is and give it to Jesus. He alone can cure this cancer.

DA 721- 22: “As the trial drew to a close, Judas could endure the torture of his guilty conscience no longer. Suddenly a hoarse voice rang through the hall, sending a thrill of terror to all hearts: He is innocent; spare Him, O Caiaphas!

“The tall form of Judas was now seen pressing through the startled throng. His face was pale and haggard, and great drops of sweat stood on his forehead. Rushing to the throne of judgment, he threw down before the high priest the pieces of silver that had been the price of his Lord’s betrayal. Eagerly grasping the robe of Caiaphas, he implored him to release Jesus, declaring that He had done nothing worthy of death. Caiaphas angrily shook him off, but was confused, and knew not what to say. The perfidy of the priests was revealed. It was evident that they had bribed the disciple to betray his Master.

“ ‘I have sinned, ’ again cried Judas, ‘in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. ’ But the high priest, regaining his self- possession, answered with scorn, ‘What is that to us? See thou to that. ’ (Matt. 27: 4.) The priests had been willing to make Judas their tool; but they despised his baseness. When he turned to them with confession, they spurned him.”

This will be the fearful experience of many a pastor who has falsified his sacred obligations. Even the devil, although he uses these people, hates a coward. The experience of Judas’ terror will be replayed by every pastor and all in positions of influence, no matter what “group” they are in, who choose not to let go of their pride. Pride is the ultimate lie about oneself. It says to its lover that he is something he is not. It strokes the ego of man until man forgets that NOTHING good can ever be accomplished by any person unless God sees to it. No man deserves anything but death, yet pride robs God of His goodness and perverts man into thinking God’s glory belongs to himself. The true Christian understands and realizes that if the Lord gives him anything good to do, it is a privilege and nothing else. This realized privilege, in turn, melts the heart of its receiver and the glory continues to be returned to the rightful owner — God.

DA 722: “Judas now cast himself at the feet of Jesus, acknowledging Him to be the Son of God, and entreating Him to deliver Himself. The Saviour did not reproach His betrayer. He knew that Judas did not repent; his confession was forced from his guilty soul by an awful sense of condemnation and a looking for of judgment, but he felt no deep, heart- breaking grief that he had betrayed the spotless Son of God, and denied the Holy One of Israel. Yet Jesus spoke no word of condemnation.” In this act of “repentance” is a future scene brought to light which can be found in Revelation, chapter 3, verse 9. At that time it will be seen that these people do have a church. But the church they belong to is the synagogue of Satan.

DA 723: “In the judgment- hall of Pilate, the Roman governor, Christ stands bound as a prisoner. About Him are the guard of soldiers, and the hall is fast filling with spectators. Just outside the entrance are the judges of the Sanhedrin, priests, rulers, elders, and the mob.

“After condemning Jesus, the council of the Sanhedrin had come to Pilate to have the sentence confirmed and executed. But these JEWISH OFFICIALS would not enter the Roman judgment- hall. According to their ceremonial law they would be defiled thereby, and thus prevented from taking part in the feast of the Passover. IN THEIR BLINDNESS THEY DID NOT SEE that murderous hatred had defiled their hearts.”

In parallel terms, who were the judges of the Sanhedrin, priests, rulers, elders, and the mob? They were none other than the Conference Committee, pastors, Conference workers, and elders or otherwise the acknowledged “Adventist Church” of their day. It certainly doesn’t take a degree to figure out this simple truth. Another truth is that we are repeating the history of our spiritual forefathers! The same spiritual pride is blinding the majority so that they do not know who and what the church is. In reality just as it was two thousand years ago, most will not see the truth until it’s too late! Run to the Lord, friend, and plead with Him not to let this happen to you. God’s people must understand what it means to be let go to a reprobate mind. The strong delusions and the deception to come upon the unconsecrated mind will be total.

DA 724: “Again Pilate asked, ‘What accusation bring ye against this man? ’ The priests did not answer his question, but in words that showed their irritation, they said. ‘If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee. ’ When those composing the Sanhedrin, the first men of the nation, bring to you a man they deem worthy of death, is there need to ask for an accusation against him? They hoped to impress Pilate with a sense of their importance, and thus lead him to accede to their request without going through many preliminaries. They were eager to have their sentence ratified; for they knew that the people who had witnessed Christ’s marvelous works could tell a story very different from the fabrication they themselves were now rehearsing.”

What is happening to Historic Adventists across this nation and around the world (within the structure) not only mirrors what happened between Pilate and Christ, but what will happen in the courts again. The Apostate Adventist Leaders could not bear up under honest scrutiny and this is why they pressed their own authority instead of the authority of God’s Word. Many today are being brought either under censure or disfellowshipped on a charge that is the same — not respecting properly constituted church authority. This charge, the same tactic used by the ancient forefathers, is now being utilized by the modern- day Sanhedrin. For a time it may seem that they have the upper hand, but in reality their authority will be short- lived.

DA 725: “The priests were in a dilemma. They saw that they must cloak their hypocrisy under the thickest concealment. They must not allow it to appear that Christ had been arrested on religious grounds. Were this put forward as a reason, their proceedings would have no weight with Pilate. They must make it appear that Jesus was working against the common law; then He could be punished as a political offender.”

Now, why do you suppose the Ancient Adventist Conference was trying desperately to keep the focus away from religious grounds? They knew that this exposure would show their true purpose and reveal them for who they really were. Their type of argumentation has already been seen today in the modern Adventist structure and will be seen in the courts soon enough.

DA 726: “With noisy cries, priests, scribes, and rulers demanded that He be sentenced to death. The cries were taken up by the mob, and the uproar was deafening. Pilate was confused. Seeing that Jesus made no answer to His accusers, Pilate said to Him, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against Thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing. ’

“Standing behind Pilate, in view of all in the court, Christ heard the abuse; but to all the false charges against Him, He answered not a word. His whole bearing gave evidence of conscious innocence. He stood unmoved by the fury of the waves that beat about Him. It was as if the heavy surges of wrath, rising higher and higher, like the waves of the boisterous ocean, broke about Him, but did not touch Him. He stood silent, but His silence was eloquence. It was a light shining from the inner to the outer man.”

God speaks to each heart so we know when we are defending self, even in the midst of a religious battle. The spirit of Jesus shines brightest when we refuse to defend self during those times when we are being abused for His name’s sake.

DA 727: “Christ affirmed that His word was in itself a key which would unlock the mystery to those who were prepared to receive it. It had a self- commending power, and this was the secret of the spread of His kingdom of truth.”

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. If the message we bear, either verbally or physically, is not a continual self- commending message (an understanding of soul value), it is not of Christ. Those who see Jesus will discern whether or not a man is walking with Christ. Those who live by heavenly principles, keeping their eyes firmly fixed on their Leader, will be able to rightly judge what is the truth about that man. Remember, it is not so much what is preached but what is lived that is the factor which determines whether or not a man is converted. Those who are convinced merely by the words that a man preaches can be fooled as those same people would have been in their opinions of Judas. In thus being fooled, they place themselves in a position of disadvantage with Satan. He then has an opportunity to have some control of the person who places confidence in the one preaching who is not truly converted.

DA 727: “These words from a heathen judge were a scathing rebuke to the perfidy and falsehood of the rulers of Israel who were accusing the Saviour. As the priests and elders heard this from Pilate, their disappointment and rage knew no bounds. They had long plotted and waited for this opportunity. As they saw the prospect of the release of Jesus, they seemed ready to tear Him in pieces.”

Be not fooled! Even today there are those of us who realize the Conference is plotting to “do in” certain individuals and certain Independent Ministries. The true reasons and the arguments starting to surface are strangely similar to those of long ago. We are not blind to the forecast on the horizon. There are many who may be unwary of these things, but be certain that not everyone is. The Lord has left us these plain Testimonies for serious contemplation and not everyone will forsake the Word of the Lord. While the majority are literally “dumping” the Spirit of Prophecy, there are others who are praising God’s Holy Name for this extended blessing.

DA 728: “Angry voices were now heard, declaring that the seditious influence of Jesus was well known throughout the country.”

Sedition — conduct or language inciting to rebellion against the authority of the state.

The ancient leaders were, in fact, worried about Christ causing rebellion but not against the state! They are still worried today about the same thing. It will be seen in the future that this concern for the overthrow of their own apostate power will be transferred to the state level in order that testimony might be brought against God’s true people. Our own books reveal out how it will all end as in the trial of Jesus we can clearly define our own future, whether we are faithful or among those who are not.

DA 729: “Herod questioned Christ in many words, but throughout the Saviour maintained a profound silence. At the command of the king, the decrepit and maimed were then called in, and Christ was ordered to prove His claims by working a miracle. Men say that Thou canst heal the sick, said Herod. I am anxious to see that Thy wide- spread fame has not been belied. Jesus did not respond, and Herod still continued to urge: If Thou canst work miracles for others, work them now for Thine own good, and it will serve Thee a good purpose. Again he commanded, Show us a sign that Thou hast the power with which rumor hath accredited Thee. But Christ was as one who heard and saw not. The Son of God had taken upon Himself man’s nature. He must do as man must do in like circumstances. Therefore He would not work a miracle to save Himself the pain and humiliation that man must endure when placed in a similar position.”

If we could but understand what Christ was willing to do because of His love for us while we were yet His enemies. I have heard not a few claim that Christ had an advantage in His overcoming sin that we don’t have. I shudder to think what many of us would have done if we had the power that was Christ’s, which He chose not to use for our sakes. The statement above shows that in many ways Christ had a decided disadvantage which made His journey as an overcomer all the more difficult. Jesus took no “advantage” that we cannot take if we choose to have it. The problem is not with any advantage or disadvantage but with people who murmur about wanting to go to heaven while clinging to their cherished sins. We can’t have it both ways.

DA 730: “Again the priests and rulers, in great anxiety, urged their accusations against Him. Raising their voices, they declared, He is a traitor, a blasphemer. He works His miracles through the power given Him by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.”

When people credit Lucifer with the work of God or the other way around, they are the ones guilty of blaspheming. It would be wise to understand that not all claimed miracles are such nor are they from the Lord. Another point to ponder is the true works of God, done by the true and the faithful, will be misaligned by those who wish to discredit the influence of the servant. We should know that this will be the lot of those who choose to stand on the side of the Lord. When these events come about (it’s already started), we cannot afford to allow them to discourage us. We must take a firm resolve as did Job and stay on course no matter who brings us a discouraging report, even if it be our “friends.”

I think I’ll take an opportunity here to mention the subject of gossip in the church. Please understand, gossip is a form of murder. When rightly understood, it will be detested by God’s people. Reporting that which is true within the framework of God’s principles is proper, but in many cases these principles are not followed. A gossiper is one who reports without verifying the truth of the matter. A gossiper is one who reports publicly the shortcomings of one who is truly not rebellious or in open sin but who is struggling to overcome. A gossiper is one who is more interested in the destruction of the one being spoken of than in his salvation. I can assure you that no gossipers will be found in heaven. Before we go reporting on someone, let’s consider our own motivation and let’s make sure we have followed Biblical principle.

Having said that, let’s also understand and accept the fact that the majority have no interest in what is written above and therefore gossip will continue and get worse. It happened to Jesus and He told His disciples that it would happen to them. As we follow God’s principles as true followers, it will save us much grief in at least two ways. We ourselves will not be gossipers and when we hear gossip, if we follow God’s principles, will find out the truth before we believe what was said or pass it on. I believe if this one evil was overcome, it would be a great blessing to us. A gossiper literally invites the devil to dine at his table.

DA 731: “No sooner were these words spoken, than a rush was made for Christ. Like wild beasts, the crowd darted upon their prey. Jesus was dragged this way and that, Herod joining the mob in seeking to humiliate the Son of God. Had not the Roman soldiers interposed, and forced back the maddened throng, the Saviour would have been torn in pieces.” Once again I ask the question, who made up the crowd that made Jesus a prey? Who was the crowd that the Roman soldiers had to stop? If it had been left to the “church” two thousand years ago, it would have torn Jesus to bits! There is indeed a future fulfillment of this scene and the players represented at the trial of Christ will all be in their places to act out their parts.

DA 731- 2: “He had declared that Jesus was innocent, yet he was willing for Him to be scourged to pacify His accusers. He would sacrifice justice and principle, in order to compromise with the mob. This placed him at a disadvantage. The crowd presumed upon his indecision, and clamored the more for the life of the prisoner. If at the first Pilate had stood firm, refusing to condemn a man whom he found guiltless, he would have broken the fatal chain that was to bind him in remorse and guilt as long as he lived. Had he carried out his convictions of right, the Jews would not have presumed to dictate to him. Christ would have been put to death, but the guilt would not have rested upon Pilate. But Pilate had taken step after step in the violation of his conscience. He had excused himself from judging with justice and equity, and he now found himself almost helpless in the hands of the priests and rulers. His wavering and indecision proved his ruin.”

The principles of action displayed by Pilate are a sad testimony of how many are acting, right now. Rather than taking a stand for the truth as it is in Jesus, many pastors and laity alike are swarming to the popular side. This fatal mistake can be changed but only by taking a firm stand for what is right and leaving the consequences with God. Those who cannot bring themselves to trust totally in the Lord will have no place with Him.

An example of this in today’s Adventist society is that many times of late I have heard complaints about placing such books as the Great Controversy in the forefront. The comments generally go something like this: “You are bringing on a time of trouble before it is time.” These comments are coming from the laity and Conference folks alike. At the same time these comments are being made, we have clear testimony in numerous places that tells us that God could have come over a hundred years ago if we would have done our part. To the unbelieving, the comment of bringing on a time of trouble prematurely will ALWAYS be valid. What is really being stated, however, to the discerning mind is that we want to live out our lives in peace and wish not to be disturbed. In this generation, the evidence is clear that everyone’s peace will be disturbed. The Lord is convincing many that it’s time to go into the promised land. I firmly believe that no matter what the complaint, this work is on its way to completion and nothing will stop it this time. It was the murmuring of Israel which kept them out of the promised land and it will be murmuring that will keep out the majority this time. Let’s pray that we will stop our murmuring and place our trust and confidence in our Guide and go home!

DA 733: “He was confused by his own conflicting emotions. But while he had been delaying to act, the priests and rulers were still further inflaming the minds of the people. Pilate was forced to action.”

The “church” played on the emotions of Pilate. These pastors and administrators knew how to apply the pressure and they seized this opportunity with success. Pilate was FORCED into action because his emotions ruled his principles instead of the other way around. This is why the big push on the mushy love that’s been pouring from the pulpits for so long. True love is a combining balance of mercy and justice. The laity are being force- fed the mercy without the justice which is nothing more than what we blame other churches for, but with a different name — cheap grace.

DA 736: “ ‘Speakest Thou not unto me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and have power to release Thee? ’

“Jesus answered, ‘Thou couldst have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above; therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin. ’”

An extremely important lesson which we need to ask the Lord to help us to learn has to do with God’s sovereign power. As we enter into our own experience of persecution, we must understand what Jesus always knew. What gave Him the faith to be victorious? He knew that nothing could happen to Him except as His Father would allow. He knew that His Father wouldn’t betray Him in His hour of need. This solid belief allowed Jesus to leave events and consequences fully in His Father’s hands. This is how to have the faith OF Jesus Christ.

DA 737: “ ‘He that delivered Me unto thee, ’ said Jesus, ‘hath the greater sin. ’ By this Christ meant Caiaphas, who, as high priest, represented the Jewish nation. They knew the principles that controlled the Roman authorities. They had had light in the prophecies that testified of Christ, and in His own teachings and miracles. The Jewish judges had received unmistakable evidence of the divinity of Him whom they condemned to death. And according to their light would they be judged. “THE GREATEST GUILT AND HEAVIEST RESPONSIBILITY BELONGED TO THOSE WHO STOOD IN THE HIGHEST PLACES IN THE NATION, THE DEPOSITARIES OF SACRED TRUSTS THAT THEY WERE BASELY BETRAYING. Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. They thought to please the priests and rulers by abusing Him. They had not the light which the Jewish nation had so abundantly received. HAD THE LIGHT BEEN GIVEN TO THE SOLDIERS, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TREATED CHRIST AS CRUELLY AS THEY DID.

“Again Pilate proposed to release the Saviour. ‘But the Jews cried out saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend. ’ Thus these hypocrites pretended to be jealous for the authority of Caesar. Of all the opponents of the Roman rule, the Jews were most bitter. When it was safe for them to do so, they were most tyrannical in enforcing their own national and religious requirements; but when they desired to bring about some purpose of cruelty, they exalted the power of Caesar. To accomplish the destruction of Christ, they would profess loyalty to the foreign rule which they hated.”

Those at the top who are betraying their sacred trust will be condemned the most — not by men, but by God!

I want to point out an insight here and I pray that you grasp it. You will notice that the ancient Jews hated the Romans but when they needed them, they would exalt them. Today we hear the Conferences making the claim that they would never enter into league with the Roman power. But I ask you this: do you really think that the makeup of the human brain has changed? If you do, you are sadly mistaken. History has been and is being repeated because the minds of men have not changed. So, will an apostate conference go into league with the Roman power? The answer is seen in the trial of Christ. Jesus is trying to show us the truth in these matters. IT IS ONLY THOSE WHO ACCEPT THESE TRUTHS WHO WILL JOIN HIM ON HIS THRONE.

DA 737- 8: “… 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.”

By choosing the programs of Babylon and using the courts of the land against other Seventh- day Adventists, the Conferences have left the theocracy and chosen a king other than God. We are told in the book Great Controversy that the religious leaders of this nation will bring about national ruin. The guilt of this disaster will not rest upon the leaders of other Protestant churches alone but upon apostate Adventist leaders as well. As a matter of fact, the guilt of these Adventist leaders will be the greater because of their greater claim to the truth of Adventism.

DA 738: “Pilate longed to deliver Jesus. But he saw that he could not do this, and yet retain his own position and honor. Rather than lose his worldly power, he chose to sacrifice an innocent life. How many, to escape loss or suffering, in like manner sacrifice principle. Conscience and duty point one way, and self- interest points another. The current sets strongly in the wrong direction, and he who compromises with evil is swept away into the thick darkness of guilt.”

Many professed Christians, not excluding Seventh- day Adventists, will share in the feelings of Pilate because they are living by the same compromise he did. We must remember that it is the law of the universe that for every cause there is an effect. Whatever we choose to do will have its consequences somewhere down the line. For those of us who have made our share of mistakes, now is the pristine time to give our shortcomings to the Lord that the effect of our bad choices might be minimized and not be held on our account for eternity.

DA 738- 40: “When Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Christ, Caiaphas answered defiantly, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children. ’ The awful words were taken up by the priests and rulers, and echoed by the crowd in an inhuman roar of voices. The whole multitude answered and said, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children. ’

“The people of Israel had made their choice. Pointing to Jesus they had said, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas. ’ Barabbas, the robber and murderer, was the representative of Satan. Christ was the representative of God. Christ had been rejected; Barabbas had been chosen. Barabbas they were to have. In making this choice they accepted him who from the beginning was a liar and a murderer. Satan was their leader. As a nation they would act out his dictation. His works they would do. His rule they must endure. That people who chose Barabbas in the place of Christ were to feel the cruelty of Barabbas as long as time should last.

“Looking upon the smitten Lamb of God, the Jews had cried, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children. ’ That awful cry ascended to the throne of God. That sentence, pronounced upon themselves, was written in heaven. That prayer was heard. The blood of the Son of God was upon their children and their children’s children, a perpetual curse. “Terribly was it realized in the destruction of Jerusalem. Terribly has it been manifested in the condition of the Jewish nation for eighteen hundred years, — a branch severed from the vine, a dead, fruitless branch, to be gathered up and burned. From land to land throughout the world, from century to century, dead, dead in trespasses and sins!

“… Those who mocked and smote Him will be there. The priests and rulers will behold again the scene in the judgment- hall. Every circumstance will appear before them, as if written in letters of fire. Then those who prayed, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children, ’ will receive the answer to their prayer. Then the whole world will know and understand. They will realize who and what they, poor, feeble, finite beings, have been warring against. In awful agony and horror they will cry to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? ’” (Rev. 6: 16, 17.)

To claim to be spiritual Israel but not to follow Christ’s instructions is to share in the curse of “let His blood be upon us and our children!”

Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Forward
Chapter 1 Desire of Ages — Chapter 63
Chapter 2 Desire of Ages — Chapter 64
Chapter 3 Desire of Ages — Chapter 65
Chapter 4 Desire of Ages — Chapters 66 & 67
Chapter 5 Desire of Ages — Chapters 68 & 69
Chapter 6 Desire of Ages — Chapters 70, 71 & 72
Chapter 7 Desire of Ages — Chapter 73
Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75
Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77
Chapter 10 Desire of Ages — Chapter 78

Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75

The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now

by Terry S. Ross

Oh, the love of our Saviour and His Father! Can we really grasp even a particle of the vast truth about the gift that heaven emptied out for our salvation in the life and death of our Master and friend Jesus Christ?

The God Who was and is the originator of our very existence, the God Who is the way, the truth and the life was about to experience death for us. In this trip through Gethsemane’s gate Jesus would know what it means to be separated from the blessings of His Father and what the fate of those who reject His offering of redemptive mercy will suffer.

DA 686: “The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man’s sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.

“Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the words of the prophet, ‘Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. ’ (Zech. 13: 7.) As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself. “As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness….”

It is so difficult for the dull minds of sinful humanity to comprehend the price paid to give us an opportunity for salvation, or even to realize that God loves us so much that He would want to do it in the first place!

Christ was now going through an experience that was new and unspeakably dreadful. But in doing so, He demonstrated two powerful lessons for those who choose to believe.

God will separate from Himself those who continue in sin. If Christ Who knew no sin was separated when He was made sin for us, then it is crystal clear that those who choose to make sin a part of themselves will indeed be separated from the Father.

What is the solution to our sin problem and how can we escape this eternal separation? The answer lies in the second lesson: total faith, the faith OF Jesus Christ — that is the key that opens the door of victory. The faith of Jesus is the only way through our own Gethsemane. It is in this garden experience that our eternal destiny hangs and it is only those who choose the faith of Jesus who will come out of it victorious as Jesus did. Those who continue to make excuses for their unbelief, lack of trust in God, and their love for sin will not share in the victorious glory of the redeemed. Rather, they will share in the experience of Judas who was separated as a betrayer of sacred trust. IT IS THE FAITH OF JESUS THAT IDENTIFIES HIS TRUE CHURCH.

DA 367: “Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom, and would never more be one with God.

“… How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: ‘The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected you. They are seeking to destroy you, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of your own disciples, who has listened to your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray you. One of your most zealous followers will deny you. All will forsake you. ’ Christ’s whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible.”

Satan told Christ that the Ancient Adventist Church, who made the same claim that the modern Adventist “Church” makes, were the very people seeking to destroy Him! Is this happening today? Is there a real correlation between the experience of the past and that of our present day? Sadly to say, the answer is “yes.” The organization has slipped into the same spiritual pride of our forefathers. It is true that not all are demonstrating this rejection of Jesus but the evidence of apostasy is overwhelming. Only those who have been blinded by things other than inspiration can’t see or won’t see the obvious truth or the present situation.

I want to say, as well, that I have known for some time that there has been a tremendous struggle behind the scenes to hold on to the pillars of our faith by the Josephs and Nicodemuses in the organization. Please allow me to tell you a little story that took place several years ago to demonstrate.

Several months after Cathy and I initially exposed the “Celebration” churches, I received a phone call from out of state. The lady on the other end at first requested that I not insist she identify herself until we had spoken awhile, and to this I agreed. She told me that her husband was a well- known writer who wrote for the Review and that he had been asked to write on a certain subject within the next few months.

I will not disclose the contents of the article because I do not wish to break a trust, but I will tell you that she asked me to send her all our materials which we had gathered to that point. She wished to provide her husband with this material to allow him to be well- versed in what was really going on. I shared with her that I would be more than happy to do this; I believed at the time that she was an honest Christian and I still believe it.

We spoke for a few more moments and then she revealed who she was. Immediately I knew who her husband was and told her so. I think she was checking my attitude about certain things and this was all right. I have found out on several different occasions with very different people that when honest hearts get together, even when they may disagree in some areas, in many cases if they understand your attitude is one of salvation rather than destruction, all still can be friends. Far too many “Christians” are making enemies unnecessarily. Far too many “Christians” are turning away from people whom the Lord loves and would not cast aside. Far too many “Christians” are taking the attitude that it’s my way or no way at all.

Brothers and Sisters, it is my continued experience that those who truly do have my eternal interests in mind are not the enemy! We may not be able to come together on certain things just now, but the Lord will sort out these differences if we are truly seeking to uphold His truth and not our own. (And who knows if I might be the one who needs a little character development myself!) Well, I think you get the point. Pride and politics have polluted God’s people to an alarming and deadly degree. Anyway, back to the story.

Before we ended our phone conversation I just had to ask this Sister a question. I shared with her that I just couldn’t believe that with everything that was going on there wasn’t some kind of internal struggle, behind the doors, in the organization. She told me, “Terry, if you only knew what struggles have really been going on that the general laity have no idea about.” And then she went on to say, “The younger generation of pastors and administrators told us some time ago that when they came into power things would be different. Now they are beginning to outvote us and we can’t stop it. They are now taking over.”

We need to realize that not all the people in the Conferences are Judases; we also need to realize that not all in the Independents are Christ’s true disciples. We are in a transitory time and this will take more than a few weeks. I do want to add something here, however. Time is certainly running out for everyone and decisions will have to be made before it’s forever too late. Remember that probation closes on God’s professed people first. Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t always work behind the scenes and there are great and important lessons for those who are still doing this work. I ask you in brotherly love to understand what part these two men finally played and do that which they did. I fear that if you don’t, your experience will end up different from theirs. When these two honest souls finally understood where Jesus was leading, they eagerly followed and became a tremendous help to His true people and church.

By the way, the above husband in our story did write an article for the Review right at the time his wife said he would. It still remains the finest article on the subject in the Review since we began revealing the apostasy. We openly thank this Brother for writing it and commend him for taking the stand he did. If he or his wife reads this book, they will understand.

Satan had come directly to Christ and pressed some truth upon Him in an attempt to get Him to turn aside from His chosen path. Logically speaking, Satan’s argument made sense. But Jesus knew that God had promised just the opposite of what Satan was telling Him and in faith He clung to these promises. I have found that Satan’s tactics are very interesting and he will lie and contradict his own arguments if it serves his purposes.

Today Satan is telling professed Adventists (and all other professed Christians) just the opposite of what he told Jesus in the garden. Today, from many professed Seventh- day Adventist pulpits, comes the modern message that we can go on sinning and there will be no separation from the Father. Two thousand years ago Satan told Jesus that if He became sin, the separation would be eternal. Today he tells us that if we remain in sin, the separation of which he tried to convince Christ doesn’t really exist! Unbelievably, most professed Seventh- day Adventists refuse to see the contradiction! Because of their love for sin most “Christians,” including Seventh- day Adventists, either knowingly or unknowingly forsake the very Jesus Whom they claim to honor.

DA 688: “They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.”

DA 688- 89: “… the disciples trusted to themselves. They did not look to the mighty helper as Christ had counseled them to do. Thus when the Saviour was most in need of their sympathy and prayers, they were found asleep. Even Peter was sleeping.

“And John, the loving disciple who had leaned upon the breast of Jesus, was asleep. Surely, the love of John for his Master should have kept him awake. His earnest prayers should have mingled with those of his loved Saviour in the time of His supreme sorrow. The Redeemer had spent entire nights praying for His disciples, that their faith might not fail. Should Jesus now put to James and John the question He had once asked them, ‘Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? ’ they would not have ventured to answer, ‘We are able. ’ (Matt. 20: 22).”

Many of us, quickly, need the experience of watching and praying — not just prayer that covers the areas of the larger crisis we find ourselves in the midst of, but also in our everyday decisions. Total victory follows close behind total reliance on God and total communion with God. This must be our experience! It WILL be the experience of the redeemed. It is not confidence in self that will win for us the prize, but communion with God that gains for us that which we cannot possibly realize on our own.

With urgency I say we must understand that: “Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty. …

“Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints— those whom they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a Satanic influence. Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing STIFFLY FOR PRESENT TRUTH. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not FIRMLY PLANTED ON THE TRUTH, and the covering of Almighty God could NOT BE DRAWN OVER THEM WHILE THEY WERE THUS TREMBLING. …

“Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God’s people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also.” EW 43- 44

Two thousand years have not changed the minds of men. We are still the same people with the same basic problems of self- reliance. We still are suffering from the same problems of which the people of Christ’s day suffered. Somehow we must realize that we are, in fact, in the time in which this covering process is taking place! I am convinced that this event is NOT in the future! I think we are going through the process right now! Only those who understand the gravity of these events and choose to be convinced by God’s Word will have a chance to make a decision for eternal life. All others will be deceived and not know it until it is too late! Please get on you knees with the Word of God and honestly ask Him to show you what you must know. The God Who was willing to give all for our salvation still reigns on the throne. Praise His name!

DA 690- 93: “But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission.”

Jesus knows what it means to be tempted to leave a post of duty. He knows and understands the pressure to want to walk away. I believe Jesus has a special place in His heart for pastors who are holding to their sacred trusts but are sorely tempted to leave their post. He understands, first hand, what the convincing arguments are which Satan uses to turn the true minister aside from his sacred vows.

Even as I write this book, Cathy and I are becoming more aware of the tremendous pressures being applied to every person and every family. We have asked different ones if they have felt the increase of this pressure over the last several years and almost without exception, the answer has been a firm “yes.” We see pastors falling under the load and we know of fragmented families and marriages.

Cathy and I are aware of situations where a spouse who wishes to leave the other spouse and may not even be convinced that their own marriage is under this sort of decay. We also know of those whom we thought solid in the faith who have left those whom we thought weak. And there are families even in leadership (not necessarily in Conferences only) who are showing the public a much different picture than that which is the truth behind closed doors.

It is unnecessary to name names or try to convince anyone here. You know in your heart whether this scenario fits you. You also know, or at least I would hope you are honest enough to know, it matters not if you are able to fool every single human being on the entire face of the earth. It will make no difference in the soon coming judgment.

Whether we are Conference, Independent, Self- supporting, Reform (or whatever we deem appropriate) leaders or laity, the principles of God’s eternal government are exactly the same for everyone. If we don’t accept it now, we will know soon enough when probation closes that God has a mutual respect for every single soul. He loves us supremely but at the same time will in no wise clear the guilty. Whether prince or pauper, His treatment of us in the judgment will be the same. If we are to be safe in our salvation, we must understand, accept, and enter into these terms with an honest willingness to vindicate God’s character and not our sinful ones. To vindicate our character is to choose eternal death and separation. To lay it down and despise it, to replace it with the eternal righteousness of the Father and the Son is to chose life. Although this process may at times be embarrassing and painful to be sure, we hope and pray that you will choose life.

The lesson of Christ’s experience in the garden is multifaceted of course, but one of the important lessons is that we may at times have to stand alone in our decision for Jesus. In the end we will feel alone even though we may have many others around us. Salvation is offered to each individual and becomes an experience for and of the individual. Because of sin it can be an awful experience of death and sacrifice but, nonetheless, it is the experience we must be willing to go through. In the end we will know that heaven was cheap enough and our awful experience will forever be turned into a glorious one.

DA 693: “The Saviour trod the wine- press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.

“But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour’s agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of Satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.”

DA 694: “… He heard the footsteps of the mob in search of Him, and said, ‘Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me. ’

“No traces of His recent agony were visible as Jesus stepped forth to meet His betrayer. Standing in advance of His disciples He said, ‘Whom seek ye? ’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth. ’ Jesus replied, ‘I am He. ’ As these words were spoken, the angel who had lately ministered to Jesus, moved between Him and the mob. A divine light illuminated the Saviour’s face, and a dove- like form overshadowed Him. In the presence of this divine glory, the murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, soldiers, and even Judas, fell as dead men to the ground.”

In this portion of the Garden experience we find the structure, calling themselves the “church,” has joined forces with the government of their day in order to kill God. The Great Controversy and the book of Revelation tell us this experience will be repeated in the near future. The apostate people of God will use the government to persecute God’s true and faithful. As a matter of fact, it will be apostate Seventh- day Adventists who will turn in true Adventists so that they may be killed! Jesus said to the disciples that their worst enemies would be those of their own household. Jesus knew what He was talking about. After all, it was the Ancient Adventist Church that put Him on the cross.

Having said that and wanting to stay fair to the story, let’s not forget that the betrayer of Christ was an Independent Leader who refused to be converted. Although he had held this position of leadership for several years, he turned back to a corrupt priesthood in the end to betray the Lord. This will be the fate of any pastor, no matter what “group” he’s in or how extensive his following, who refuses to be fully converted. This conversion is only demonstrated in practical Christian living. Preaching straight sermons is not enough. It is that experiential knowledge of which we are speaking here that the Spirit of Prophecy is concerned with. Only those who engage in the character changes that God has promised to give will be or stay loyal to the Lord.

DA 696: “The disciples had thought that their Master would not suffer Himself to be taken. For the same power that had caused the mob to fall as dead men could keep them helpless, until Jesus and His companions should escape. They were disappointed and indignant as they saw the cords brought forward to bind the hands of Him whom they loved. Peter in his anger rashly drew his sword and tried to defend his Master, but he only cut off an ear of the high priest’s servant. When Jesus saw what was done, He released His hands, though held firmly by the Roman soldiers, and saying, ‘Suffer ye thus far, ’ He touched the wounded ear, and it was instantly made whole. He then said to Peter, ‘Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? ’”…

In reprimanding Peter for resorting to violence, Christ demonstrated that these methods are not to be the weapons of our warfare. The warfare is one of a spiritual nature and we are to lean on the Father as did Jesus, in faith. While defending the honor of God we are to leave the vengeance to Him and not take it into our own hands. While we are to expose error, we are not to do so with violent human passion.

DA 696: “The official dignity of the Jewish leaders had not prevented them from joining in the pursuit of Jesus. His arrest was too important a matter to be trusted to subordinates; the wily priests and elders had joined the temple police and the rabble in following Judas to Gethsemane. What a company for those dignitaries to unite with, — a mob that was eager for excitement, and armed with all kinds of implements, as if in pursuit of a wild beast.”

The Ancient Adventist Apostate Church Leaders could not stoop low enough in their pursuit to maintain their power over the people. The priesthood itself took the lead in the planning and capture of Christ. The laity later got caught up in this Satanic frenzy, but it was clearly the Ancient Conference that was still leading in the death of Christ. The people, although guilty were relatively innocent compared to those who ruled over them.

DA 697: “Turning to the priests and elders, Christ fixed upon them His searching glance. The words He spoke they would never forget as long as life should last. They were as the sharp arrows of the Almighty. With dignity He said, You come out against Me with swords and staves as you would against a thief or a robber. Day by day I sat teaching in the temple. You had every opportunity of laying hands upon Me, and you did nothing. The night is better suited to your work. ‘This is your hour, and the power of darkness. ’”

This darkness of which Jesus speaks concerning His own church is once again enshrouding us. The same methods of the Ancient structure are realized in the modern. As the Ancient Adventist Conference played the lead role two thousand years ago, we see an exact replica of our future in the movement of the present Conference.

The journey through Gethsemane was just the beginning of the end for Jesus and this experience of decision and faith was only the gate which led to Golgotha’s hill. Upon Christ’s capture by the then recognized “church” Jesus was whisked away to face the General Conference President and the Conference Committee. Even though they had become grossly corrupt, they were still recognized by the laity as the voice of God. I hope you are still paying attention to Prophetic Parallels.

DA 698: “Annas was the head of the officiating priestly family, and in deference to his age he was recognized by the people as high priest. His counsel was sought and carried out as the voice of God. He must first see Jesus a captive to priestly power. He must be present at the examination of the prisoner, for fear that the less- experienced Caiaphas might fail of securing the object for which they were working. His ARTIFICE, CUNNING, and SUBTLETY must be used on this occasion; for at all events, Christ’s condemnation must be secured.”

Once again I decided to look up a few key words taken from this paragraph and would like to share their meaning with you. Artifice (from the same root word as artificial interestingly enough) — a clever trick or stratagem; tricky; guile; or craftiness. Remember that the church which goes through is comprised of people who have no guile. Cunning — skill employed in a crafty manner, as in deceiving. And, subtly — fine or delicate, often when likely to elude perception or understanding, otherwise well- skilled in the qualities of oration and used to persuade others to ones argument by use of deception; able to baffle people by skilled argumentation.

Is it any surprise that the structure is pouring thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into learning skills in communication which involve practices that are deceptive and covert in nature? And yet with these evils unearthed, the majority still recognize a polluted Conference as the voice of God. It is strange that the Lord brings forth all this evidence and gives us all this history and still we refuse to learn. It’s no wonder that our own prophet stated that we are worse than they, the Ancient people. Praise God that there are many more today who have and are recognizing the truth in these matters as the Lord continues to show the clear evidence of these parallels.

DA 699: “Not a few among the priests and rulers had been convicted by Christ’s teaching, and only fear of excommunication prevented them from confessing Him. The priests well remembered the question of Nicodemus ‘Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? ’ (John 7: 51). This question had for the time broken up the council, and thwarted their plans. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were not now to be summoned, but there were others who might dare to speak in favor of justice. The trial must be so conducted as to unite the members of the Sanhedrin against Christ. There were two charges which the priests desired to maintain. If Jesus could be proved a blasphemer, He would be condemned by the Jews. If convicted of sedition, it would secure His condemnation by the Romans. The second charge Annas tried first to establish. He questioned Jesus concerning His disciples and His doctrines, hoping the prisoner would say something that would give him material upon which to work. He thought to draw out some statement to prove that He was seeking to establish a secret society, with the purpose of setting up a new kingdom. Then the priests could deliver Him to the Romans as a disturber of the peace and a creator of insurrection.”

Can a better description of what is going on be found? The Conferences are trying desperately to find anything to discredit the Independent Ministries. They are bringing the charge of lack of respect for properly constituted church authority to gain the support of the people. This is the echo of insurrection or disruption inside the church. One day in the near future when the judgments of God are falling on the land before the seven last plagues, these same people will transfer this charge to a broader scope and blame the faithful few for the judgments falling upon the land.

Also, as stated previously in this chapter the Josephs and Nicodemuses need to understand that their eternal fate will depend on what choices they make: either to come forward for God or remain behind for apostate Adventism. They need to side with the true people of God, or they WILL side with those who are against the government of God and be forever lost. The middle ground is forever disappearing and soon, if a decided choice is not made for the right, a choice for the wrong will be registered in the books of heaven by the names of those who refused to take a stand for Jesus. The trial that Jesus went through and all of its players will be duplicated in this our day. This we must realize, and we must make a firm choice to stand for the right if we are indeed TRUE Seventh- day Adventist Christians. If this choice is not made, we are, in reality, Seventh- day Adventists in name only.

DA 699: “The Saviour contrasted His own manner of work with the methods of His accusers. For months they had hunted Him, striving to entrap Him and bring Him before a secret tribunal, where they might obtain by perjury what it was impossible to gain by fair means. Now they were carrying out their purpose. The midnight seizure by a mob, the mockery and abuse before He was condemned, or even accused, was their manner of work, not His. Their action was in violation of the law. Their own rules declared that every man should be treated as innocent until proved guilty. By their own rules the priests stood condemned.” By their own “Church Manual,” the trial of Christ was not legal. Take it from a person who has first- hand experience in this matter. These same trials and this same disregard for their own rules, when it’s convenient for them to do so, is very much alive and in operation today. There’s an old saying “there’s no honor among thieves.” That also goes for liars and power mongers. These people will use every means to save their own authority. They will even break their own rules when it seems necessary. In reality, and it will eventually be seen, there are no rules among this group, at least none which have anything to do with Christian morals. The only reason they have to give an impression that there is, is for the purpose of fooling those whom they want to support them. But as with any corrupt organization, these very leaders will find out all too soon and far too late that their leader, the Devil, has no rules either and they, mean nothing to him. In the end they will lose all their authority and their very existence. If you understand this you will also understand why it’s fatal to give these people any authority over your spiritual life.

DA 700: “Christ suffered keenly under abuse and insult. At the hands of the beings whom He had created, and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity. And He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness and His hatred of sin. His trial by men who acted as fiends was to Him a perpetual sacrifice. To be surrounded by human beings under the control of Satan was revolting to Him. And He knew that in a moment, by the flashing forth of His divine power, He could lay His cruel tormentors in the dust. This made the trial the harder to bear.”

If we could but comprehend just a sliver of the truth concerning Christ’s sacrifice, we would not only understand Him as our only true friend, but our hearts would take the opportunity to reach out to Him with the appreciation we owe Him. It is in this approach to God’s grace and His law that we find a balance and subvert both cheap grace and legalism. I do what I do because Christ first loved me. I do the works of Christ because I appreciate what He has and is doing for my salvation. This is love in action and the pure motivation that actuates from a heart that wants to say to God, “Thank you, Lord.”

When it comes to personal trial, we need to learn the ways of Christ so much! His spirit of longsuffering, calmness, and gentleness is the hallmark of God’s love.

We also need to grasp from whom these insults and abuses were coming from and why it hurt Jesus so much. As we do, it will help us to understand much about our immediate future.

DA 703- 4: “When the council had assembled in the judgment- hall, Caiaphas took his seat as presiding officer. On either side were the judges, and those specially interested in the trial. The Roman soldiers were stationed on the platform below the throne. At the foot of the throne stood Jesus. Upon Him the gaze of the whole multitude was fixed. The excitement was intense. Of all the throng He alone was calm and serene. The very atmosphere surrounding Him seemed pervaded by a holy influence.

“Caiaphas had regarded Jesus as his rival. The eagerness of the people to hear the Saviour, and their apparent readiness to accept His teachings, had aroused the bitter jealousy of the high priest.”

Just a couple of questions: What council had assembled? Caiaphas sat as presiding officer. Who was Caiaphas? Who were the judges? Who were those especially interested in the trial? And why did Caiaphas regard Jesus as his rival?

DA 705: “There were plenty of witnesses to prove that Christ had denounced the priests and scribes, that He had called them hypocrites and murderers; but this testimony it was not expedient to bring forward. The Sadducees in their sharp contentions with the Pharisees had used to them similar language. And such testimony would have no weight with the Romans, who were themselves disgusted with the pretensions of the Pharisees. There was abundant evidence that Jesus had disregarded the traditions of the Jews, and had spoken irreverently of many of their ordinances; but in regard to tradition the Pharisees and Sadducees were at swords’ points; and this evidence also would have no weight with the Romans. Christ’s enemies dared not accuse Him of Sabbath- breaking, lest an examination should reveal the character of His work. If His miracles of healing were brought to light, the very object of the priests would be defeated.

“False witnesses had been bribed to accuse Jesus of inciting rebellion and seeking to establish a separate government. But their testimony proved to be vague and contradictory. Under examination they falsified their own statements.”

How many times have you heard the statement from different others whose religious experiences differ widely that “Jesus never condemned anyone? And so we should never say anything against anyone, especially the leadership, or anything that might offend anybody.” I have thought frequently how these same people and multitudes of others don’t understand or believe the plain Word of God. This teaching of many a Conference man is pure falsehood and an attempt at self- preservation. Many Conference men and laity are hypocritical in this area. Jesus certainly did condemn others and also the leadership of His day. For this very reason the Adventist Church of two thousand years ago murdered Him on a cross!

As the struggle in the great controversy intensifies, the gulf between the two camps within the movement will broaden. These sons of Ancient Apostate Adventist Conference Leaders will continue to play out their role in the attempted destruction of Jesus in the persons of His people one last time.

DA 706- 7: “Patiently Jesus listened to the conflicting testimonies. No word did He utter in self- defense. At last His accusers were entangled, confused, and maddened. The trial was making no headway: it seemed that their plottings were to fail. Caiaphas was desperate. One last resort remained; Christ must be forced to condemn Himself…

“At last, Caiaphas, raising his right hand toward heaven, addressed Jesus in the form of a solemn oath: ‘I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God. ’

“To this appeal Christ could not remain silent. There was a time to be silent, and a time to speak. He had not spoken until directly questioned. He knew that to answer now would make His death certain. But the appeal was made by the highest acknowledged authority of the nation, and in the name of the Most High. Christ would not fail to show proper respect for the law. More than this, His own relation to the Father was called in question. He must plainly declare His character and mission. Jesus had said to His disciples, ‘Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. ’ (Matt. 10: 32). Now by His own example He repeated the lesson.”

Christ did not defend Himself. He maintained a spiritual dignity that confused and exposed His accusers. It would be well for us to realize that just as important as not defending self is the lesson that when God’s honor is brought into question, our silence is a denial of our profession and Jesus denies us before the Father.

DA 708: “The thought that there was to be a resurrection of the dead, when all would stand at the bar of God, to be rewarded according to their works, was a thought of terror to Caiaphas. He did not wish to believe that in [the] future he would receive sentence according to his works. These rushed before his mind as a panorama the scenes of the final Judgment. For a moment he saw the fearful spectacle of the graves giving up their dead, with the secrets he had hoped were forever hidden.”

Just as now, because pastors, have gone to Babylon to be educated, the Ancient Adventist pastors, were split even within their own ranks because of unbiblical theology. Caiaphas shuddered at the thought of having to meet his works at the judgment bar so he openly taught there was no resurrection. Today, Apostate Adventist pastors shudder at the thought of having to meet their sins at the judgment bar, so they openly teach that we don’t have to quit sinning and God will still save us.

DA 708: “The scene passed from the priest’s vision. Christ’s words cut him, the Sadducee, to the quick. Caiaphas had denied the doctrine of the resurrection, the Judgment, and a future life. Now he was maddened by Satanic fury. Was this man, a prisoner before him, to assail his most cherished theories? Rending his robe, that the people might see his pretended horror, he demanded that without further preliminaries the prisoner be condemned for blasphemy. ‘What further need have we of witnesses? ’ he said; ‘behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. What think ye? ’ And they all condemned Him.”

This piece of inspiration definitely states that this leader — the official head of the structure — placed Christ on trial and pressed to take His life, not because Jesus had wrong theology but because He assailed Caiaphas’ cherished theories. The reflection of this experience can be seen in many of today’s “trials” being held by the conferences in regard to certain people who are “rocking the boat.”

DA 709: “Everything worn by the priest was to be whole and without blemish. By those beautiful official garments was represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ. Nothing but perfection, in dress and attitude, in word and spirit, could be acceptable to God. He is holy, and His glory and perfection must be represented by the earthly service. Nothing but perfection could properly represent the sacredness of the heavenly service. Finite man might rend his own heart by showing a contrite and humble spirit. This God would discern. But no rent must be made in the priestly robes, for this would mar the representation of heavenly things. The high priest who dared to appear in holy office, and engage in the service of the sanctuary, with a rent robe, was looked upon as having severed himself from God. By rending his garment he cut himself off from being a representative character. He was no longer accepted by God as an officiating priest. This course of action, as exhibited by Caiaphas, showed human passion, human imperfection.

“By rending his garments, Caiaphas made of no effect the law of God, to follow the tradition of men.”

The representation of the perfect garment is the equivalent to the perfect character of Christ and His righteousness. This lesson has great significance in the light of the present situation. Two things happened if a pastor tore his garments. One, he made of none effect the law of God and second, he immediately disqualified himself from being a pastor. The teaching of what has become known as the new theology today is the same, spiritually speaking, as rending the robe. It rends the pure, righteous character of God and makes it something that is both human and satanic. In teaching these things pastors are disqualifying themselves from representing Christ and leading God’s people, just as surely as did Caiaphas when he tore that which represented to the people the character of God. Dear people Jesus did not accept this authority. As a matter of fact He did everything in His power to tear it down! Is this what you are doing? Or are you siding with a power which seeks to destroy God’s government and all who support it?

DA 709: “When Caiaphas rent his garment, his act was significant of the place that the Jewish nation as a nation would thereafter occupy toward God. The once favored people of God were separating themselves from Him, and were fast becoming a people disowned by Jehovah.” As the modern day officials of the structure continue to lower the standards in the “church” and in the official papers, as they continue to teach new theology and defend their unbiblical positions of authority, they are doing exactly what Caiaphas did. God has not changed, so the result will be the same. If you choose to support them, your result will be the same, as well.

DA 714- 15: “And so by the third condemnation of the Jewish authorities, Jesus was to die. All that was now necessary, they thought, was for the Romans to ratify this condemnation, and deliver Him into their hands.

“Then came the third scene of abuse and mockery, worse even than that received from the ignorant rabble. In the very presence of the priests and rulers, and with their sanction, this took place. Every feeling of sympathy or humanity had gone out of their hearts. If their arguments were weak, and failed to silence His voice, they had other weapons, such as in all ages have been used to silence heretics, — suffering, and violence, and death.

“When the condemnation of Jesus was pronounced by the judges, a Satanic fury took possession of the people. The roar of voices was like that of wild beasts. The crowd made a rush toward Jesus, crying, He is guilty, put Him to death! Had it not been for the Roman soldiers, Jesus would not have lived to be nailed to the cross of Calvary. He would have been torn in pieces before His judges, had not Roman authority interfered, and by force of arms restrained the violence of the mob. “Heathen men were angry at the brutal treatment of one against whom nothing had been proved. The Roman officers declared that the Jews in pronouncing condemnation upon Jesus were infringing upon the Roman power, and that it was even against the Jewish law to condemn a man to death upon his own testimony. This intervention brought a momentary lull in the proceedings; but the Jewish leaders were dead alike to pity and to shame.

“Priests and rulers forgot the dignity of their office, and abused the Son of God with foul epithets. They taunted Him with His parentage. They declared that His presumption in proclaiming Himself the Messiah made Him deserving of the most ignominious death. The most dissolute men engaged in infamous abuse of the Saviour. An old garment was thrown over His head, and His persecutors struck Him in the face, saying, ‘Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee? ’ When the garment was removed, one poor wretch spat in His face.

“The angels of God faithfully recorded every insulting look, word, and act, against their beloved Commander. One day the base men who scorned and spat upon the calm, pale face of Christ, will look upon it in its glory, shining brighter than the sun.”

ALL of the above events, ALL of the heinous crimes committed against the person of Jesus Christ WILL BE AGAIN committed by professed Seventh- day Adventist Christians! It got so bad that even the heathen soldiers became indignant at the depths of cruelty these “church” leaders and laity could heap upon another human being. Brother and Sister, why do you suppose all of this has been left for us to understand by the same Jesus Whom this abuse was leveled upon? Who was it that made sure an accurate account was left for us who are facing these issues today? We must know present truth! If we don’t, we will not know that this is the time of our visitation and we will treat it just as the Apostate Church did. We certainly don’t want that to be the eternal account written by our name, do we?

Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Forward
Chapter 1 Desire of Ages — Chapter 63
Chapter 2 Desire of Ages — Chapter 64
Chapter 3 Desire of Ages — Chapter 65
Chapter 4 Desire of Ages — Chapters 66 & 67
Chapter 5 Desire of Ages — Chapters 68 & 69
Chapter 6 Desire of Ages — Chapters 70, 71 & 72
Chapter 7 Desire of Ages — Chapter 73
Chapter 8 Desire of Ages — Chapters 74 & 75
Chapter 9 Desire of Ages — Chapters 76 & 77
Chapter 10 Desire of Ages — Chapter 78