We believe the Testimonies present no truth which may not be found in the word of God, in principle, if not in detail. The Bible contains the whole duty of man. It is our rule of faith and practice. We are told in the word that God has set the gifts of His Spirit in the church.
“He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11–13.
The acceptance of the word therefore involves the acceptance of the gifts of the Spirit. This was forcibly expressed by Elder James White, the great apostle of this movement, in the Review of October 3, 1854:
“The gifts of the Spirit should all have their proper places. The Bible is an everlasting rock. It is our rule of faith and practice. In it the man of God is ‘thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’ . . . Every Christian is therefore in duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. . . . The position that the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the rule of faith and duty, does not shut out the gifts which God set in the church. To reject them is shutting out that part of the Bible which presents them. We say, Let us have a whole Bible, and let that, and that alone, be our rule of faith and duty. Place the gifts where they belong, and all is harmony.”
Messages of God
But while the writings of the messenger do not constitute an addition to the Scriptures of Truth, they are nevertheless the messages of God to the remnant church, and should be received as such, the same as were the messages of the prophets of old. Some are inclined to minimize their importance, and by specious reasoning and hypercritical distinctions, to confuse minds as to their character and value. To those who would do this, the messenger of the Lord appeals:
“And now, brethren, I entreat you not to interpose between me and the people, and turn away the light which God would have come to them. Do not by your criticisms take out all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you the ability to discern what is light from heaven, and what is the expression of mere human wisdom. If the Testimonies speak not according to the word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united. For Christ’s sake, do not confuse the minds of the people with human sophistry and skepticism, and make of none effect the work that the Lord would do. Do not, by your lack of spiritual discernment, make of this agency of God a rock of offense whereby many shall be caused to stumble and fall, ‘and be snared, and be taken.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 691.
Catching at Straws
It requires no marked mental acumen to criticize a great movement or great leaders in that movement. Thomas Paine and Robert G. Ingersoll could discourse eloquently on the mistakes of Moses—and he, even though a Heaven-appointed leader, made mistakes because he was human and not divine; but they utterly
failed to appreciate the great principles for which he stood, and the movement which he led. They found an abundance of pegs upon which to hang their doubts. They judged great causes by trifling details. They saw only the human element in God’s work, and failed to recognize God working through the human. Occasion for doubt may be found in every work where the human element exists, if the seeker hunts for the occasion. The Bible teaches that the remnant church will meet great opposition because of adherence to the commandments of God and the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 12:17. We should be careful to see that we do not share in any measure the spirit of this opposition.
We may see in relation to the work of Sister White things which we do not understand. Ancient Israel saw things which they could not understand in the work of the prophets of olden days. We must be careful that in our human reasoning we do not permit details and technicalities to confuse our minds, and thus obscure the messages which the Lord has been pleased to send us.
Believe the Lord and His Prophets
One who has had a living experience in connection with the work of the spirit of prophecy in this church finds no occasion to doubt its divine origin. The history of this movement reveals many instances where the Lord has used this gift for the preservation of His work. Many times in great crises God has sent through His servant a message which saved this church from disruption and from grave errors.
We cannot see how one can prayerfully read the messages which have come through the years, and doubt their genuineness. They speak to one’s heart. They carry with them the proof of their own inspiration.
We thank God that He gave a prophet to the remnant church. … We should rejoice that the Lord has in this manner visited His people, and again and again warned them of their danger in the midst of the evils which threaten the church at the present time. These messages we believe should be faithfully followed by every believer. Next to the Bible, and in connection with it, they should be read and studied. They throw a flood of light upon the Sacred Record.
“Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.” 11 Chronicles 20:20.
This article was printed in the Review and Herald, March 17, 1921. At this time the writer was editor of the Review.