Getting Physical

Recently, a historic Adventist minister was visiting believers in another historic Adventist church in a nearby city in Papua New Guinea. Before he left some members of a mission church connected with the union, division and General Conference) said they wanted to speak with him. He consented to this, but when he went to speak with them, instead of speaking with him they began to beat him up, slugging and kicking him. Fortunately he escaped without mortal injuries and went to Australia. I talked with him on the telephone while he was recovering.

Let us ask some simple, basic questions. Are people in the New Jerusalem going to invite you to talk with them and then to beat you because you do not understand something the way that they do? That is unthinkable isn’t it? If I have invited another Adventist to talk to me and instead I kicked and slugged him, will I be allowed to go through the pearly gates? The whole angelic host would stand up to bar my entrance. They have gone through this before and will not tolerate it again. (See Revelation 12:7–9.) People who do this sort of thing are manifesting who their real ruler is and it is not Jesus Christ. Is there any way for individuals who do things like this to be saved? There is only one way. Peter said to those who were guilty of killing Jesus, to repent and be converted (Acts 2 & 3). (These people were professed Sabbathkeepers, they were the true church by profession but their character proved them children of the devil, John 8:44.) To repent means to have a change of heart, to be sorry enough for your sins, to quit. My dear friend in structure Adventism, nobody can be saved in sin. To be forgiven of the guilt of stoning or any violence first must come repentance, then confession. (“If I have sinned against my neighbor in word or action, I should make confession to him.” Review and Herald, February 9, 1897.)

You can never be saved just by having your sins forgiven. You must overcome—quit sinning—that is the fruit that shows the repentance was real (Matthew 3:8). No doubt other differences will arise, we will again have opportunity to demonstrate to the universe how we will behave when somebody else sees the evidence entirely different than we do—we will have more opportunities to demonstrate that we are at last overcomers. The universe is watching to see which of us will finally overcome—quit sinning and thereby prove our repentance to be more than profession.


An Adventist’s Problem


There are other perspectives to this incident that we need to ponder. If a brother stones or beats up another brother, are the rest of us who profess the same faith innocent if we do not protest? If we are silent when somebody is injured, if we put off the day of doom and “cause the seat of violence to come near,” if we go on singing, eating and drinking, being anointed with the best ointments and not being grieved for the “affliction of Joseph” eternal destruction will result (Amos 6:3, 6).

What if somebody says in his heart, “I feel really bad about it,” but is silent?

“Silence gives consent.” 1888 Materials, 1298.

Structure Adventists cannot say that “we” are not involved because that person is in a different family or church or conference or union or division because in reality they are a part of the sisterhood of churches throughout the world that are part of the same general conference—the people who did the beating up are part of the same General Conference that you are a part of if you belong to a mission or conference church. If you do not protest evil you will be accounted part of the evil that you supported by your money, membership and influence. “We are to be our brother’s keeper, not his destroyer.” Review and Herald, May 29, 1894. Every professed Adventist church and institution and minister in the world who remains silent is implicated in this crime. It is very serious to support those who are fostering an evil work. “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.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262.

We cannot say before the recording angel that we did not know. Could you say, I did not know that any Adventists were stoning one another or beating up one another or seeking the arm of the state to enforce the rules of the church? Can any Adventist not know of even one of these things? Are you sure that you want to claim ignorance to the judge at the end of the world? Do you want to explain to Him why you were silent and did not protest iniquity among God’s professed people? Surely you would acknowledge that people who belong to mission or conference churches are God’s professed people. Surely you do not believe that God’s professed people can take other Adventists with whom they disagree about religion and beat them up or stone them. Pertinent Ellen White statements: “When he [Nehemiah] saw wrong principles being acted upon, he did not stand by as an onlooker, and by his silence give consent. He did not leave the people to conclude that he was standing on the wrong side. He took a firm, unyielding stand for the right.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1135

“We need men who will not hold their peace when they see evils coming in and wrongs being done. We need men who will refuse to give consent by silence to unjust actions.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 156.

I have decided by the grace of God to be one of those men, how about you? “I shall no longer hold my peace. I am bidden to cry aloud, and spare not. I have tried in every way to bring about the needed reformation, and save the souls of those who are following a wrong course. But I cannot go on as I have been going. When every effort has been made to save their souls, and yet all is in vain, we must cry aloud and spare not, lest our silence be interpreted to mean consent. The time has come when each one must stand in his lot and place, prepared to call sin, sin, and righteousness, righteousness.” Loma Linda Messages, 48.