This recent series of four editorials has been based on Letter 55, 1886, written to Elders Butler (then General Conference President) and S. N. Haskell, as published in Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 318–328. In this letter, Ellen White divides the Seventh-day Adventist Church into two groups.
The larger of these groups, sometimes referred to as the “Professed Church,” is destined to go to ruin and destruction—to fall. They profess to be the “True Church.” (See Signs of the Times, September 4, 1883 and Counsels to Teachers, 491.)
The other group is destined to appear to fall, because it will seem that they are going to be annihilated. Since it appears that this group will be destroyed, we must face the reality that the majority of this smaller group could be martyred. (See Maranatha, 199.) But instead of falling, it will remain. This smaller group is referred to by Ellen White, in other places, as the “True Church.” (See Signs of the Times, April 22, 1889.)
Both of these groups profess the Seventh-day Adventist faith. They are both visible, and they both claim to be God’s special, denominated people.
The “Church” that only appears to fall but does not, according to Letter 55, has the following characteristics:
- They profess the Adventist faith and
- are actually practicing the truth.
- They come before God with repentance, humiliation, and deep heart searching.
- They are living representatives of the truth they advocate.
- They honor God’s law by strict and holy compliance.
- They walk before the Lord with purity and holiness.
- They honor God as did Daniel by righteousness, holiness, and truth.
- Support is withdrawn as they continue to proclaim the Three Angels’ Messages.
- The members are overcoming and
- are the remnant who purify their souls by keeping the truth.
The “Church” that not only appears to fall but that actually does fall, according to Letter 55, has the following characteristics:
- They are not constantly becoming more spiritually minded.
- They are becoming self-righteous while not doing the will of God.
- They profess the Adventist faith but are keeping it apart from their lives.
- They do not bring their hearts to the test of God’s great moral standard of righteousness; they do not live it.
- They claim to believe the truth and advocate the law of God.
- There is internal corruption.
- God has promised not to forsake them if they do not forsake Him.
- God has promised to work for them if the sins which brought His wrath upon the old world do not become their crimes.
- God asks them to cleanse the camp of moral defilement and aggravating sins, because
- sin is cherished weakness, and ruin will come on all individuals and groups (churches) that allow a knowing violation of any commandment.
- God has been robbed by the withholding of money from His treasury.
- This church is advised to humble their souls before God with humiliation and fasting and prayer and repentance for sin so disaster and ruin might be avoided.
- This church finally ceases to exist because all the members who are continuing in sin fall.
- Many of the ministers in this church have only a human commission, not a commission from God, and they will be weeded out by the Sunday Law test.
Dear Friend, if that still, small voice is telling you that you are in the large group of professed Adventists who are not really true Adventists, it is not yet too late for you to change sides, to change leaders.