Food For Life — Exercise

It is already March! Time to think about exercise, after the long, weary winter months of watching the most relentless winter weather in years, and unfolding our cramped muscles to indulge in the exercise that the Spirit of Prophecy says is the most beneficial of all exercises—WALKING! In Healthful Living, 130 it says: “There is no exercise that will prove as beneficial to every part of the body as walking.

“Action is the law of our being. Every organ of the body has its appointed work, upon the performance of which its development and strength depend. The normal action of all the organs gives strength and vigor, while the tendency of disuse is toward decay and death. Bind up an arm, even for a few weeks, and then free it from its bands, and you will see that it is weaker than the one you have been using moderately during the same time. Inactivity produces the same effect upon the whole muscular system.

“Inactivity is a fruitful cause of disease. Exercise quickens and equalizes the circulation of the blood, but in idleness the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in it, so necessary to life and health, do not take place. The skin, too, becomes inactive. Impurities are not expelled as they would be if the circulation had been quickened by vigorous exercise, the skin kept in a healthy condition, and the lungs fed with plenty of pure, fresh air. This state of the system throws a double burden on the excretory organs, and disease is the result . . .”Exercise aids the dyspeptic by giving the digestive organs a healthy tone. To engage in severe study or violent physical exercise immediately after eating, hinders the work of digestion; but a short walk after a meal, with the head erect and the shoulders back, is a great benefit.

“Notwithstanding all that is said and written concerning its importance, there are still many who neglect physical exercise. Some grow corpulent because the system is clogged; others become thin and feeble because their vital powers are exhausted in disposing of an excess of food. The liver is burdened in its effort to cleanse the blood of impurities, and illness is the result.

“Those whose habits are sedentary should, when the weather will permit, exercise in the open air every day, summer or winter. Walking is preferable to riding or driving, for it brings more of the muscles into exercise. The lungs are forced into healthy action, since it is impossible to walk briskly without inflating them.

“Such exercise would in many cases be better for the health than medicine.” Ministry of Healing, 237, 238, 240.

Let us make a new resolution—EXERCISE!

Homemade Nut Meat

Place in Blender and whiz:

1 Cup Tomatoes or Puree

1 Cup Distilled Water

1 Cup Toasted Cashews or Peanuts

2 Tbsps. Arrowroot Powder

1/4 Cup Soy Flour

2 Tbsps. Flake Yeast

2 Tbsps. Onion Powder

2 Tbsps. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

Add 1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts, and place in tin cans 3/4 full. Cover and steam in water 2-3 hours until firm. Cool before removing and slicing.


Sinful Independence, part 4

The 1888 Problem


In the papal church, one central power decided who was called and who was not called, what should be preached and what should not be preached, what people could read and what they could not read, and 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 Materials, 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 Materials, 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 because 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 Materials, 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 arm . . . 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.” Testimonies to Ministers, 375, 376.

As one reads through the over 1,800 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 in because men did not receive the testimonies of the Spirit of God.” Manuscript Release, vol. 13, 122. 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.” Evangelism, 696.


Two Kind 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 Spalding 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 anyway, as a king without any subjects, independent of the Lord.

Some individuals 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. (See 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 peaceably 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. It 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.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 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 that one. Even when Jesus began His ministry, though He was not recognized or acknowledged 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 many, just as it did the Jewish church in the days of Korah and again in the days of John the Baptist. (See Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.) We are living in a day and age of independence. When I was pastoring, I was talking to a conference president about the local Adventist hospital. It had become so large that it was only able to fill a small percentage of its job openings 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 do not apply today. In our educational work, our administrative work and our medical work, it seems that self-rule and independence has become the rule of the day. God’s counsels, they reason, do not apply any more. “Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.

I was talking to a Union president once. 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. “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. I then asked, “What 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 was doing nothing different than most of the 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 in 1905 when the Colorado Conference president 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 that we should make our complaints known but that we should not withhold our tithe. (See Testimonies, vol. 9, 249.) 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 Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262; vol. 2, 552; Spalding 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 out-come of the money God had made them stewards of, would not be held “guiltless” before the Lord for their stewardship. (See 1888 Materials, 1443, 1444.) Some have formed such strong opinions and policies that they think 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. We read about Jesus: “From childhood He acted independently of the rabbinical laws.” Desire of Ages, 84. John the Baptist had a ministry independent from the Sanhedrin. (See Desire of Ages, 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 institution independent from the General Conference. God has always had independent ministries.

Many of these ministries have not been appreciated. When Elder A.T. Jones was not allowed to speak in Battle Creek in 1891, Ellen White said, “We will secure a hall in the city and the words God has given Bro. Jones to speak, the people shall have them.” 1888 Materials, 847, 848. Jesus spoke by the seashore, Wesley in the fields, and William Miller in tents.

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.

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, 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 counsel from 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), and rejects the plain counsel of the Lord, it has become an independent ministry [A new organization]. Whenever a ministry, that is designated as independent 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. It was there that unity was achieved through believing the truth, through humility toward self and love toward one another. There the full gospel was preached in all its purity and power; and there 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) and 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 sought-for 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. (Great Controversy, 464).


The End of Series




“You who are finite, erring, and unsanctified, have supposed that God’s children were put under your jurisdiction, for you to plan for them, and bring them to your terms. The policy you have labored so hard to establish in your connection with the work is an offense to God. He has never justified any arrangement, through organization, discipline, or laws, whereby men who have evidenced that they are not susceptible to the Holy Spirit’s moving, shall use their power to sustain others in a like disregard of the Spirit’s work. But such has been the arrangement that has prevailed. You have made it hard for those whom you do not especially like, while others who are self serving have been favored and exalted. Partiality and hypocrisy have excluded the Spirit of God from many hearts, and left them as destitute of his grace as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew or rain.” Paulson Collection, 408.

“There are ministers’ wives, Sisters Starr, Haskell, Wilson and Robinson, who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions shall be reversed. The Word says, ‘The laborer is worthy of his hire.’ When any such decision as this 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. I know that the faithful women should be paid wages proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls, and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to educating those newly come to the faith, and hire their own work done, and pay those who work for them. “All these things must be adjusted and set in order, and justice be done to all. Proofreaders in the office receive their wages, two dollars and a half and three dollars a week. This I have had to pay, and others have to pay. But ministers’ wives, who carry a tremendous responsibility, devoting their entire time, have nothing for their labor. This will give you an idea of how matters are in this conference. There are seventy-five souls organized into a church, who are paying their tithe into the conference, and as a saving plan it has been deemed essential to let these poor souls labor for nothing! But this does not trouble me, for I will not allow it to go thus.” Spaulding and Magan, 117.

The Use of the Tithe

Mountain View, Calif., Jan. 22, 1905.

Elder Watson:

“My brother, I wish to say to you, Be careful how you move. You are not moving wisely. The least you have to speak about the tithe that has been appropriated to the most needy and the most discouraging field in the world, the more sensible you will be.

“It had been presented to me for years that my tithe was to be appropriated by myself to aid the white and colored ministers who were neglected and did not receive sufficient properly to support their families. When my attention was called to aged ministers, white or black, it was my special duty to investigate into their necessities and supply their needs. This was to be my special work,

and I have done this in a number of cases. No man should give notoriety to the fact that in special cases the tithe is used in that way.

“In regard to the colored work in the South, that field has been and is still being robbed of the means that should come to the workers of that field. If there has been cases where our sisters have appropriated their tithe to the support of the ministers working for the colored people in the

South, let every man, if he is wise, hold his peace.

“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, which I do not desire to do, because it is not best.

“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.

“I send this matter to you so that you shall not make a mistake. Circumstances alter cases. I would not advise that any should make a practice of gathering up tithe money. But for years there have now and then been persons who have lost confidence in the appropriation of the tithe who have placed their tithe in my hands, and said that if I did not take it they would themselves appropriate it to the families of the most needy minister they could find. I have taken the money, given a receipt for it, and told them how it was appropriated.

“I write this to you so that you shall keep cool and not become stirred up and give publicity to this matter, lest many more shall follow their example.”


(Signed) Ellen G. White.

Spaulding and Magan, 215, 216.


The Church in the Wilderness, part 2

Last month we noted the rise of the Papacy as pagan rites, ceremonies, and philosophy crept into the church. The Bishop of Rome gradually gained more and more power as many bishops from that part of the world looked to Rome for direction and counsel. The emperor moved his capitol from Rome to Constantinople leaving a vacuum which the Roman bishop gladly filled. His objective now was three-fold. Namely: world wide bishop of bishops, temporal monarch, and king of earthly kings all of which he attained by the twelfth century.

Throughout this period of time there remained individuals and groups who refused to be caught up in the terrible apostasy prevailing in the church. They were found in Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, and England, as well as other parts of the world. “The apostasy was not universal. At no time did God leave His ancient Gospel without witnesses. When one body of confessors yielded to the darkness, or was cut off by violence, another arose in some other land, so that there was no age in which, in some country or other of Christendom, public testimony was not borne against the errors of Rome, and in behalf of the Gospel which she sought to destroy.” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 18. The earliest protesters were found in northern Italy. The Diocese of Milan included Lombardy, the Alps, and southern France. These were not under the control of the Roman bishop until the middle of the eleventh century. The See of Rome encompassed only the city of Rome and the surrounding provinces.

Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who died in 394, maintained the Bible only as his rule of faith and

Christ as the foundation of the church. For him justification and remission of sins was by the expiatory sacrifice of Christ on the cross. He believed in only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s supper. For him the bread was only a symbol of Christ’s body. Others believed and taught as did Ambrose: Rufinus first metropolitan of Milan, fifth century, Laurentius Bishop of Milan, sixth, followed by Mansuetus, seventh, and in the eighth, Paulinus Bishop of Aquileia.

Claude, Archbishop of Turin, proclaimed the apostolic faith throughout his diocese which included the Waldensian valleys. He resisted, by both pen and voice image worship, which was rapidly progressing in the church. He refused to accept the primacy of the Roman Bishop and based his belief upon Matthew 16:19.

Claude’s death left no one to carry the torch of truth. As a result, the clergy of Milan finally succumbed to Papal pressures and joined the Papacy. However, there were those who did not accept the Roman Bishop’s offers and moved into the mountains and valleys of the Piedmont, in the Alps. It was here that the Waldenses kept the apostolic light shining all through the long night that was to follow the establishment of the Papacy. They moved here to avoid the corruptions of the Roman church and kept alive the true faith of the Bible. This is attested to by many documents including the Nobla Leycon which sets forth the following doctrines: the trinity, the fall of man, the incarnation, perpetuity of the Law, the need for Divine grace for good works, need for holiness, institution of the ministry, resurrection of the dead, and the eternal bliss of heaven.

They possessed the New Testament in the Romaunt language which was common in southern Europe from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries. “The church of the Alps, in the simplicity of its constitution, may be held to have been a reflection of the Church of the first centuries. The entire territory included in the Waldensian limits was divided into parishes. In each parish was placed a pastor, who led his flock to the living waters of the Word of God. He preached, he dispensed the Sacraments, he visited the sick, and catechized the young. With him was associated in the government of his congregation a consistory of laymen. The synod met once a year. It was composed of all the pastors (barbes), with an equal number of laymen, and its most frequent place of meeting was the secluded mountainengirdled valley at the head of the Angrogna.” Ibid.

The Bible was the textbook used by these pastors for teaching the youth, who were required to memorize large sections. After spending some time in this manner many would go to seminaries in Lombardy or Paris where they would evangelize as opportunity afforded. Before becoming pastors, the young were required to spend three years traveling and evangelizing. They often concealed their true mission by posing as merchants offering their wares, and at every opportunity would share a portion of Scripture with someone. These faithful evangelists made their way to France, Germany, Spain, Bohemia, Poland and even to Rome itself. Many lost their lives in this service, as they were discovered by Papal representatives and imprisoned or slain. But the Pope of Rome, becoming aware of the work of these people, saw that if it was allowed to continue, it would sweep away like a flood all that centuries of toil and intrigue had achieved. And so began the terrible crusades to eliminate and destroy this hated group of people. But before we pursue this part of history, we pause to take a look at a few other people or groups that held the same faith.

The first are known as Paulicians, so named because they believed and taught the faith of Paul the apostle, based upon Scripture. They were the remnant that escaped from the apostasy of the eastern church and settled in the mountains by the headwaters of the Euphrates river in Armenia. A man named Constantine received a portion of the New Testament, the epistles of Paul and the four Gospels. The study of these books drastically changed his life, resulting in the founding of a church. As this church began to grow, it came to the attention of the emperor at Constantinople. They were falsely charged with being Manicheans (after one named Manes). On the contrary they believed in the trinity, incarnation, and they renounced the worship of Mary, saints, and the cross. They said that the bread was only a symbol of the body of Christ. The copies of the Scriptures they had were uncorrupted and pure, revealing that they could not have been followers of Manes.

Because of their refusal to accept the tenets and authority of Rome they were severely persecuted and many were burned. “The firmness of their religious adherence to principle was marked by their frequent and ready submission to martyrdom. Hundreds of them were burned alive upon one huge funeral pile: two, out of three more eminent presidents, were severally stoned and cut in sunder with the axe.” George S. Faber, The History of the Ancient Vallenses and Albigenses, 59, 60.

Although persecuted they continued to flourish to the end of the eighth century. Taking up the sword in revenge for the persecution by the eastern emperor, they were joined by the Saracens in conducting a civil war. In the end they were driven back into the mountains whence they came. However, many of the Paulicians traveled around the empire evangelizing as they went and winning many converts.

By the end of the tenth century they settled in Europe, particularly in southern Bulgaria, Italy, Germany and France. They became the forerunners of the Albigenses. “When the emigrating Paulicians first appeared in that country, the people were already pre-disposed to resist the papal authority, and were already inclined to maintain what the Pontificials were pleased to call heresy.” Ibid., 262. “During a period of one hundred fifty years, these Christian churches seem to have been almost incessantly subjected to persecution, which they supported with Christian meekness and patience; and if the acts of their martyrdom, their preaching and their lives were distinctly recorded, I see no reason to doubt, that we should find in them the genuine successors of the Christians of the first two centuries. And in this as well as former instances, the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church.” William Jones, The History of the Christian Church, vol. 1, 423.

By this time this movement blended with other believers in the true doctrines and so we turn our attention now to the south of France in the mountains and valleys of Piedmont. It was from this area that men carried the gospel, converting disciples and forming congregations wherever they went. They were joined by barons, cities and provinces. When they came to the attention of Rome, Pope Innocent III began a struggle to exterminate this hated “heretical sect.” Where once stood flourishing towns and villages now there was only a blackened desert. In spite of the terrible persecution, the gospel continued to spread. When men and women were martyred, others took their place and the torch of truth burned even brighter.

Meanwhile, the Pope had been sending millions of crusaders to the Holy Land in an attempt to wrest it from the Saracens, but this failed. Now Pope Innocent III saw a growing menace in the form of the various bodies of true believers such as the Albigenses, Waldenses, and others. He turned his fury back upon these people residing in southern France and northern Italy. “He resolved without loss of time to grapple with and crush the movement. He issued an edict enjoining the extermination of all heretics. Cities would be drowned in blood, kingdoms would be laid waste, art and civilization would perish, and the progress of the world would be rolled back for centuries; but not otherwise could the movement be arrested, and Rome saved.” Wylie, History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 39.

As the messengers of death and destruction carried out their evil work, some powerful and rich men, such as Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse became afraid. As the papal crusaders approached his dominion he recanted his faith only to be stripped of his territory and power. On the other hand some wealthy rulers, followers of the true faith, resisted the assaults of the Pope’s crusaders, only to have their people exterminated, holdings destroyed, and often their own lives taken as well. One such was Raymond Roger of Beziers. As the hordes of murderers drew near, he hastened to set up his defenses, but to no avail. He was overcome, all the citizens of his territory were killed, their houses looted and burned to ashes. Having gained control of the Albigenses territory, the Roman power turned to rooting out all heretics.

In 1233, Pope Gregory issued a bull giving the responsibility of establishing the Inquisition to the Dominicans. The Bishop of Tournay was given authority to complete the organization of that tribunal—the terror of Christendom—resulting in the death of so many faithful Christians. A council of Inquisitors was established in every city to seek out those not following the Roman demands. This council consisted of one priest and two laymen. They sought out the heretics in towns, houses, cellars, caves, woods, and fields and denounced them to the bishops. Then the people were tried, burned at the stake, and their dwellings leveled with the ground. Along with the religious extermination of many of the faithful, other cultural forms perished also. Education, liberty, art, and commerce all of which tended to enrich society, were swept away by a power seeking revenge, without regard to what was destroyed along with the hated Protestant heresy. The thirteenth century ended with the complete obliteration of the Protestantism of the Albigenses until the Reformation of the sixteenth century.

“Even during the world’s midnight, when the dark cloud of papal superstition was spread in blackness over the moral sky of the civilized nations, here and there a star was seen, bright, beautiful and peculiar, pouring celestial splendor upon the surrounding gloom. When Popery was the world’s despot—when, with all deceivablness of unrighteousness, the Man of Sin had ascended to the throne of universal dominion—when Rome, under the Pontiffs more than under the Ceasars, was the mistress of the world—when the Pope had successfully maintained his right to dispose of scepters and croziers, kingdoms and continents, according to his sovereign and arbitrary pleasure—when the kings and the chief captains of earth were his sycophants and serving men—even then there were multitudes of the meek and humble followers of our Savior who defied his power and refused to acknowledge his supremacy. And in this, history is the verification of prophecy. The same inspired seer that foretells the rise and reign of the Roman Anti-Christ, also predicts the persecutions and privations of those who, during the night of his dominion, should suffer for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God. The church of God, though cast down, was never destroyed.” William Jones, The History of the Christian Church, vol. 1, P2, P3.

In the middle of the eleventh century Berengarius appeared, the first to oppose the widespread papal teaching of transubstantiation. The bishops were alarmed at this opposition. They held six councils over the next twenty-five years, in which Berengarius’ teachings were discussed and condemned. He recanted three times when faced with the stake. However, upon his return to France he published his former views condemning transubstantiation. He died in his bed in 1088, expressing deep sorrow for his weakness.

We will briefly mention three more reformers: Peter de Bruys whose followers were named Petrobrussians, Henri of Italy whose followers were called Henricians. Both Peter and Henri were eventually seized and imprisoned; Peter was burned and Henri disappeared. We can only surmise what his end was. The third famous champion who battled for truth was Arnold of Brescia. This man labored untiringly to reform his church in Rome and in Germany. He, too, was burned at the stake.

“One is apt, from a cursory survey of the Christendom of those days, to conceive it as speckled with an almost endless variety of opinions and doctrines, and dotted all over with numerous and diverse religious sects. We read of the Waldenses on the south of the Alps, and the Albigenses on the north of these mountains. We are told of the Petrobrussians appearing in this year, and the Henricians rising in that. We see a company of Manicheans burned in one city, and a body of Paulicians martyred in another. We find the Petrini planting themselves in this province, and the Cathari spreading themselves over that other. We figure to ourselves as many conflicting creeds as there are rival standards; and we are on the point, perhaps, of bewailing this supposed diversity of opinion as a consequence of breaking loose from the ‘centre of unity’ in Rome. Some even of our religious historians seem haunted by the idea that each one of these many bodies is representative of a different dogma, and that dogma an error. The impression is a natural one, we own, but it is entirely erroneous. In this diversity there was a grand unity. It was substantially the same creed that was professed by all these bodies. They were all agreed in drawing their theology from the same Divine fountain. The Bible was their one infallible rule and authority. Its cardinal doctrines they embodied in their creed and exemplified in their lives.” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 56.

All these men who believed and taught the Biblical apostolic faith were the antecedents of those later called Waldenses and Albigenses. Men who to the best of their ability attempted to develop a true church, whether to reform the present church or to raise up one that followed the Bible and the Bible only as a rule of faith. “Bruno and Berengaraius, Peter de Bruis and Henry his disciple, Arnold of Briscia, Peter Waldo, and Walter Lollard, seem to have been among the principal leaders of the Waldenses in ancient times. They all had numerous followers, who, according to the custom of the times, were called after the names of their leaders. We have the testimony of Mosheim, Robinson, and others, that the Papists comprehended all the adversaries of the Pope and the superstitions of Rome, under the general name of Waldenses. The Albigenses or Albienses, a large branch of this sect, were so denominated from the town of Albi, in France, where the Waldenses flourished.” David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination, 112.

“But here in the twelfth century, at the chair of Abelard, we stand at the parting of the ways. From this time we find three great parties and three great schools of thought in Europe. First there is the Protestant, in which we behold the Divine principle struggling to disentangle itself from Pagan and Gothic corruptions. Secondly, there is the Superstitious, which had now come to make all doctrine to consist in a belief of ‘the church’s’ inspiration, and all duty in an obedience to her authority. And thirdly, there is the Intellectual, which was just the reason of man endeavoring to shake off the trammels of Roman authority, and go forth and expatiate in the fields of free inquiry.” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 57,58. And thus, through the development of intellectualism and skepticism, attempting to free themselves from the stranglehold of the authority of the Roman church, men planted the seeds of the French revolution and the age of reason. “The war against the Bible, carried forward for so many centuries in France, culminated in the scenes of the Revolution. That terrible outbreaking was but the legitimate results of Rome’s suppression of the Scriptures. It presented the most striking illustration which the world has ever witnessed of the working out of the papal policy—an illustration of the results to which for more than a thousand years the teaching of the Roman Church had been tending.” The Great Controversy, 266, 267.


Children’s Corner — Trapped

When I was eight years old I lived with my family on a farm in Nebraska. My favorite time of the year was harvesttime. At harvesttime, the leaves on the trees were yellow, and the air was fresh and chilly and scented with the smell of freshly harvested grain. My brother Nathan and I loved to ride with our Dad in the big combine as he went back and forth, down the rows in the field, harvesting the corn. The golden pile of corn grew as more corn streamed into the combine’s holding bin. When that was full Dad would empty the load into a grain cart that was pulled by a tractor. From there it was moved into a large grain trailer and finally into the huge grain bin.


Most fun of all was when Dad would let Nathan and me play in the grain trailer full of corn. We would jump from the sides, and slide down into the corn. What fun!


One day, when Dad was out in the field, Nathan and I decided we were going to play in the grain trailer. This time though, the corn in the grain trailer was being augured into the grain bin, where it would be stored for the winter. That means that the corn flowed through a trap door at the bottom of the grain trailer, and was then carried up to the grain bin by a piece of equipment called an auger.


We were having a wonderful time, jumping into the corn, and then climbing out before the corn pulled us down very far. In and out we went for a while until we were ready for something new. My brother decided that it would be fun if, when I jumped into the corn, he would hold me there for just a minute and then pull me out. And that is what he did.


Unfortunately, the pull of the corn was much stronger than he had imagined. It pulled me down, and down. When he tried to pull me out, I just sunk down deeper. Very quickly I was being buried in the corn. In seconds the corn was over my waist, then it was up around my shoulders. Both of us were really scared by now. Nathan tried as hard as he could to dig me out, but the pull of the corn was too strong. I felt the corn coming up—it was right around my face. Nathan shoveled with his hands as fast as he could to keep the corn from covering up my head so that I could breathe.


He started calling to my Grandfather, to stop the auger, but the machines were so loud that he could not hear. We screamed as loudly as we could, and finally, after what seemed like a very long time, the auger stopped. My Grandfather quickly climbed up the ladder of the grain trailer to see what was the matter.


I can still remember his look of fear at that moment. He and my brother started digging me out of the corn. Now that the corn was not pulling me down anymore it was not difficult, and soon I was out, safe and sound.


You know, our sins are like the corn in that grain cart. The devil tempts us to do wrong, and if we sin we start sinking. We might think that a sin is so small that it will not hurt us, but each time we sin we sink a little deeper. We become trapped in a pit of sin.


Jesus is like my Grandfather was for me. If we accept Jesus as our Savior, and give our lives to Him, He will dig us out of the pit of sin. Not only that, He will help us to overcome, so that the devil can not drag us down anymore with sinful habits.


I hope that you have chosen to give your life to Jesus completely. Every morning pray to Him and ask Him to take care of you that day, and help you to say NO when the devil tempts you to do wrong. Remember this verse found in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


Having No Root

We can look around the world today, and we can see that Jesus is soon to come. The signs are fulfilling rapidly. Almost all of the signs that Jesus told His disciples, in Matthew 24, have already been fulfilled. We can see that Jesus is coming very, very soon, and that should fill us with hope. While we are in this world we have trials and troubles. We have to meet temptations. But it is all for our own good. We would not enjoy Heaven as much if God just took us there without trying us.

One reason we have trials is that God is going to make sure that Heaven is not going to be desecrated again. Before God can take us to Heaven, it must be demonstrated that we would not start this rebellion all over again.

What we must concentrate on now is being faithful, so that we can be there. When we are going through trials we need to think about the beauties and the glories of Heaven. If we could get just one glimpse of the New Jerusalem, we would not want anything on this earth again. Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem has streets made of gold, walls of jasper, and twelve gates, each made of a single pearl. The beauty is unsurpassed!

Heaven is beyond our brightest conceptions. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. We can try to picture the best thing possible to our imagination, and it is going to be much better than that.

We are told that we do not have one single tree on this earth which would compare to the trees in the garden of Eden. (See The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 1, 66.) We have some beautiful trees on this earth. Think of the lofty redwoods and the giant sequoias. These do not even compare to what was in the garden of Eden.

How many people do you think could sit under the canopy of the biggest tree in the world? In one of the descriptions of Heaven, Mrs. White tells us that all the righteous will sit down underneath the tree of life. (See Early Writings,16.) I cannot even begin to imagine a tree of that size.

We could continue to list all the amazing and beautiful things that are going to be in Heaven, but the best thing about Heaven is that we are going to get to meet our Savior there. Our Savior who left Heaven, and came here to redeem us. He did all that so that we might not receive our deserved reward—death, but instead go to Heaven to live eternally with Him.

It is sad, but the vast majority of the world is not going to accept His gift. Many will choose to follow their own sinful ways. But He loves us so much that died for just you, or for just me.

Revelation 13:3 tells about a time when it will look like very few are going to be saved. It says: “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed and all the world marveled and followed the beast.” All the world, except for the few that have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, are going to be united in worshipping and following the beast.

Why will so much of the world be deceived? Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 24:24: “For false christs and false prophets will arise, and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Almost the whole world is going to be taken captive by the delusion that you do not need to obey God’s law. If possible, even the very elect would be deceived. That should make us pray harder and study God’s Word more earnestly.

The devil is going to have many temptations that appear good. “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth, in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.” Revelation 13:13, 14.

Today people are all looking at signs and outward appearances. They are dazzled by miracles, or what they consider supernatural signs. The devil is well aware of this and he is going to show signs, and many miracles, so that, if possible, the very elect will be deceived.

How can we keep from being deceived? We must be rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and know what we believe and why we believe it.

Matthew 13:5, 6 tells us about a group of people who did not know why they believed what they did. “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had not depth of earth. But when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away.” This group of people readily accepted the truth. They appeared at first to be flourishing plants, but their roots were not deep.

What happens to them? “Yet, he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately, he stumbles.” Matthew 13:21. When the sun arose, when the persecution and tribulation came, they withered away.

Persecution and tribulation are represented here as the sun. Can a plant grow without the sun? It cannot. Neither can a Christian grow and be strong without trials. We need trials and persecution to prepare us for Heaven, so that we will be ready for it, and be able to enjoy it.

The law of Heaven is self-sacrifice. Jesus came and gave all for us. What if you had not given anything for Him? Far from being a curse, our trials and our persecutions are actually the greatest blessings of our lives, and God in His mercy today, is preparing us to stand when it really gets hard. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” If we are seeking God first in everything we do, He will take care of us when the difficult times come.

You do not need to be frightened by the things ahead of us. God has promised to give us the grace to go through whatever we need to go through. Dwight Moody said, “I don’t have the faith of a martyr. I haven’t needed it yet.” God gives us grace and faith proportionate to what we need. If God calls us to give up our lives as a witness for Him, He will give us all the grace we would need to be faithful to Him.

God’s power is not shortened. His hand is not held back. He will do His part if we are willing to do ours. Now is the time for us to send down roots, so that we are not like the stony ground hearers. Then when the trial comes, we will not wither away.


The Majority


“And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:19. During the time of trouble, you are going to be asked to prove what you believe. You will have to stand alone. How will you answer when they say, “All the world believes this. You cannot be right, because everybody believes this.”

Just because the majority believes it, is it the truth? In the 1600s, scientists believed a very interesting thing. They believed that if you put a piece of meat out in the open air, flies would just spring up from the meat. They called it spontaneous generation. Everyone believed that theory. They also thought that if you took an old sweaty shirt and threw it on some hay in a bucket, mice would automatically appear. Everybody believed that, but did that make it right? No. A man called Redi came along, and said, “No, this is not true.” He put the meat in a jar, and put a screen over it, and no flies were found on the meat. He did the same experiment with the sweaty shirt and the mice. His experiments completely disproved that theory. He also proved that the truth is still the truth no matter who does or does not believe it.

Galileo said that the earth goes around the sun. But the rest of the world believed that the sun goes around the earth. For hundreds of years it had been taught that the earth was the center of the universe. But did that make it right? No. It did not matter how many people believed it. It still was not true. If only one person believed it, in fact, if no one believed it, the truth would still be the truth.

Neither was the majority right in Christ’s day. At the beginning of His ministry many people flocked after Him to hear His teachings and benefit from His miracles. But how many actually stayed with Him till the end? Not many. Most of the people had such a distorted idea of what Christ’s kingdom was going to be that they were offended by His words. You can read about it in John 6:66 “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”


The Majority Are Shaken Out


In the 1840s there was a big movement called the great awakening. Hundreds of thousands of people accepted it, but when the great disappointment came, almost all lost faith. There were only a few hundred who held to God’s Word, and studied to find the truth. There was a shaking then, but God’s Word says that there is going to be an even stronger shaking in the last days. “See that you don’t refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ Now this, ‘Yet once more’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Hebrews 12:25–28. Everyone is going to be shaken. Only those that are rooted and grounded, and know what they believe from God’s Word will remain.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28. Paul tells us that the kingdom that God is going to establish will be unshakable. Why? Because anyone who is a part of that kingdom will have already gone through the shaking, and were immovable, because they were clinging to Christ.

Christ is the rock. When I think about this, I like to think of a barnacle. A barnacle is not very big, but it clings to the rock. When the storms come, and the waves beat against it, it clings securely to the rock. We must be like that. Only those that are clinging to the Rock, that are becoming a part of Him, that are engrafted into the olive tree, are going to stand through the shaking.

Isaiah 17 tells us something more about the shaking. ” ‘In that day it shall come to pass that the glory of Jacob will wane, and the fatness of his flesh grow lean. It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, and reaps the heads with his arm; it shall be as he who gathers heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in its most fruitful branches,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” Isaiah 17:4, 6.

Isaiah compares the shaking to the harvest of the olive tree, when they shake the tree and almost all the olives fall on the ground. All the olives that fall on the ground he compares to the lost, but he says, a few will remain. Only a few faithful will remain.

Another example in nature is the evergreen tree. We have two kinds of trees. When cold winter weather comes, the deciduous trees loose all their leaves and are completely bare. The evergreen tree, in contrast, is green all through winter. That is how we need to be as Christians. When the cold winds blow, and the howling blizzards whirl around us, will we drop our leaves? Will we give up our faith? Or, instead, will we be like a palm tree in the desert? The sun beats upon it, and rain rarely comes, but if you dig down, the palm tree has connected to the water deep beneath the surface. It has roots that go down deep, where it reaches fresh water. We need to continually be sending our roots down deeper to that Living Water, our source of life, Christ Jesus.


Do You Know Why You Believe Me?


When Sabbath-keepers are brought before courts, to be tried for their faith, it is going to be all over the world. It is not going to be just an isolated instance. Just think, if all the cameras were on you, and they asked you, “Why are you going against the majority? Why do you refuse to be obedient to the laws of the land?” and you say, “I am not going to break the Sabbath and receive the mark of the beast—because my parents told me not to.” What kind of an impression do you think that would make? Or, “I am not going to obey you because, my minister told me I shouldn’t.”

Peter said: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15.

Do you want to be among the faithful when Jesus comes? If you do, you will be like the description that David gave in Psalms 92:12-15: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

“When the love of Jesus is abiding in the soul, many who are now but withered branches will become as the cedars of Lebanon, ‘whose root is by the great waters.’ The cedar is noted for the firmness of its roots. Not content to cling to the earth with a few weak fibers, it thrusts its rootlets, like a sturdy wedge, into the cloven rock, and reaches down deeper and deeper for strong holds to grasp. When the tempest grapples with its boughs, that firm-set tree cannot be uprooted. What a goodly cedar might not every follower of Christ become if he were but rooted and grounded in the truth, firmly united to the Eternal Rock.” Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1151.

This should be our goal, and what we strive for each day. I want to be like one of those olives, that when the shaking comes, will cling to the branch. I want to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God. Now is the time for each of us to study God’s Word more fervently. We are not going to be rooted and grounded by spending 10 or 15 minutes here and there in God’s Word. It won’t work. We have to be studying it with a more intense earnestness than ever before. May the Lord help you to be rooted and grounded in Him—unshakable, no matter what comes.


News Update from the South Pacific

Burning, Killing, and Going to Court

The following [except for comments in brackets] is taken by permission from the January 1997 issue of The Anchor. This is only a small portion of the account.

Pastor Ahomed and Brother Jonathan Gray were set upon by a group of local men in Madang, Papua New Guinea. A group began stoning Jonathan, as the blows came he prayed that God would help him and as the men dropped their stones Jonathan picked up his bag and walked straight through them returning to the airport building to find that Pastor Ahomed was under attack. A group of men began poking, slapping and threatening to kill him. Jonathan Gray was told by this group that if he ever returned to PNG they would kill him too. Jonathan Gray asked if this person was an SDA to which he replied that he was. [It should be remembered that according to Great Controversy, 628, these professed Seventh-day Adventists will be held guilty of murder in the judgment if this is not made right. Please continue to pray that Jonathan Gray will suffer no permanent injury to his vision from the broken blood vessel in one of his eyes.]

About 300 kilometers from Madang Pastor Kul and the laymen were asked by conference church elders, deacons and others to come out to the main road and tell them more of their work. Hoping for another chance to witness, they accepted this invitation. But it was a trap. The moment Pastor Kul and his laymen were clear of the safety of the house, more Conference supporters materialized from the surrounding bush area, and commenced a vicious attack upon them. Pastor Kul and the laymen were punched, kicked, beaten and chased. One was struck unconscious, and had to be taken to a hospital. Several laymen received gashes to their faces, bleeding noses, and significant bruising all over. Some could not afterwards eat because of painful jaws and teeth, and swollen lips.

Pastor Kul was the central focus of this assault. Throwing sticks at him, they chased him into the little laymen’s church. There around the pulpit, they punched and kicked him to the floor. [In the House of God!] Several laymen rescued him and carried him to the house for safety. By this time, the whole village, including numerous non-Adventists, had gathered around. While the crowd watched, one Conference attacker stood and, pointing to the laymen’s church, defiantly announced, “My name is . . . I am going to burn down this building.” Even the non-Adventists pled with him not to do it, but to no avail. He lit a match, and the church burned to the ground. Many cried, including a host of non-Adventist onlookers. “It is very clear,” they said, “who is on God’s side.” They were not referring to the Seventh-day Adventist Conference church leaders. [If its obvious to non-Adventists, why isn’t it abundantly clear to Adventists?]

Pastor Kul called all who had been attacked to join in prayer and ask God to forgive their persecutors.

[If you have read the letters in last month’s magazine and the one in this magazine you know that the structure (General Conference and subsidiaries) are threatening believers of whom they disapprove with lawsuits.] The plot has been completely lost: The spirit exhibited by our Savior in Mark 9:38-42 is not seen; the registered title deeds holding Association is NOT the “Church.” It is a faceless entity supposedly holding in trust the assets of all Seventh-day Adventists. God recognizes as a church, a congregation of believers from two or three to any number having Jesus in the midst. How dare these hired servants claim the exclusiveness that was one of the mistakes of the Jewish organization at the time of the first advent? Their actions do not exhibit any faith that God can and will provide for the needs of His work! Or do they know the agenda so intimately that they recognize that God is no longer in the house, that He is knocking at the door of individual hearts (Revelation 3) and as in the days after Christ’s ascension, a program of persecution and destruction is in place.

Driven With the Wind

On November 15 and 16, 1996, Elder Willard Santee, a minister of the Oregon Conference, delivered a series of five messages in a tent on the grounds of Prophecy Countdown in Mt. Dora, Florida. As a result of these messages, as well as some more private conversations, the leader of Prophecy Countdown, John Osborne, along with some of his staff, responded to an altar call by Elder Santee in which he appealed to them to “return to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

As he stood on the platform beside Santee, John Osborne said, “I don’t want to be a historic Seventh-day Adventist.”

These words created consternation on the part of many historic Seventh-day Adventists who have been trusting in the leadership of John Osborne and have been giving generous financial support to his ministry. What did these words mean?

A historic Seventh-day Adventist is by definition a person who is holding steadfastly to the principles of truth that were established by the pioneers of our church, and that have been repeatedly confirmed and re-confirmed by the testimony of the Holy Spirit. Had John Osborne decided to abandon these principles of truth? This was the question that troubled many hearts, and triggered many anxious inquiries. An apparent attempt to answer these questions was made one week later by Dianne Osborne, the president of Prophecy Countdown. She stood before the television cameras and made a statement that included these lines:

“We are seeking to have unity with God’s Church, but we will not unify with apostasy. We must be separate from the evil practices, from apostasy, and from sin both inside and outside the church . . . We realize that you cannot go where error is being preached, nor allow your children to go where error is being taught . . . We will continue to defend the truth.”

Thus the question about abandoning the historic principles of our faith appears to have been answered, at least for the time being. But the entire situation is calling forth another kind of question, which is proper and valid. Members of the historic Seventh-day Adventist community are asking, “What did Elder Santee tell the people of Prophecy Countdown? Did he present new evidence or new light that we all should be considering? Did he point out evidence that we have overlooked? What relevance do his messages have to the entire community of historic Seventh-day Adventists?”

In order to present an accurate answer to these questions, I have listened very carefully to the five messages presented by Elder Santee, and have reached conclusions that I will now share with you. I will first make some general observations as an overview.

  1. Elder Santee brought forth no new light, presented no new evidence, and advanced no new or overlooked principles of truth. All of the Biblical materials and Spirit of Prophecy materials that he used are very familiar to historic Seventh-day Adventists.
  2. Elder Santee’s burden of concern appeared to be for individuals or groups who had, a) separated themselves from the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church for invalid reasons; b) were fighting the organized church and manifesting unchristian hatred and contempt for its leaders and members; c) were calling the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church Babylon and calling people to come out of her; and, d) were engaging in theological hair-splitting and needless discussions of theological questions and the nature of Christ.

It is immediately apparent that these descriptions could be properly applied to only a minuscule portion of the members of the historic Seventh-day Adventist community, perhaps one or two percent. The vast majority of them are still members of the organized church, (and this includes John Osborne and his family). Most of the very few who are now separated from the “organized church” did not withdraw of their own volition, but were disfellowshipped over their protests. It would be wildly inaccurate to describe them as persons who had separated themselves from the church for invalid reasons. They are neither fighting the church nor manifesting hatred and contempt for its leaders or members, and they would not dream of calling the church Babylon. Their clinging to the principles of our historic faith is most emphatically not theological hair-splitting. So with whom is Elder Santee contending?

My conclusion is that Elder Santee’s messages may have limited application to those few persons who fit his descriptions, but to the vast majority of the members of the historic Seventh-day Adventist community they have no relevance at all. He appears to be contending with imaginary foes—shadow boxing.

The central theme of Elder Santee’s presentations seemed to be that there can never be any justification for separating oneself from the church for the reasons stated above. I view this from the sidelines, so to speak, as one not involved in the situation. But I do have some questions. Was it wrong for the first Christians to leave the Jewish church, for the Protestants to leave the Catholic church, for the Methodists to leave the Anglican church, and for our pioneers to leave the Protestant churches? If Elder Santee’s reasoning is correct, then these persons should have all stayed in their churches and left it to the Lord to clean the churches up. That is what he urges his hearers to do now. As evidence to support this position, he argues that in spite of the wickedness of the Jewish church, Jesus put His name on the books of that church and never took it off. (Actually, the name of Jesus was put on the Jewish church books by Joseph and Mary, when Jesus was a babe in arms. Jesus had nothing to do with it.)

Elder Santee concedes that there is much apostasy in the organized church, even going beyond most historic Adventists by stating that the church is in apostasy. Few of us would go that far. Most of us have pointed out apostasy in the organized church, but have not regarded the church as in apostasy. That might be an over-statement. Elder Santee does say this, but nevertheless affirms in another place that the church is “right on course.” I do not understand how one can hold to both of these positions. Nor do I understand how Elder Santee can urge his hearers on the one hand to be silent in the church and make no criticisms of evil doing, and on the other hand quote Ellen White statements that vigorously condemn such silence. Does she not call for men who are not afraid to call sin by its right name? (See Education, 57.)

Elder Santee manifests a curious unawareness that we who are trying to protect ourselves from error are dealing with theological problems. He sets forth an illustration that he says God gave to him. It consists of two circles which represent two kinds of church members, the “Liberals” and the “Conservatives,” and he states that the two circles are drawing apart. But as they draw apart, there is created a small ellipse where the two circles overlap. This is where God wants us to be, Elder Santee says, in the ellipse in the center, which is partly liberal and partly conservative.

But we are not primarily concerned about the differences between liberals and conservatives. Our major concern is theological. And one has only to recognize this fact and change the labels in the circles from “Liberal” and “Conservative,” to “True Theology” and “False Theology” to see the inappropriateness of this illustration. Does God want us to have a theology that is partly true and partly false? Have we not been warned that truth mixed with error is more dangerous than error alone? (See Great Controversy, 587.)

We may disguise poison by mingling it with wholesome food, but we do not change its nature. On the contrary, it is rendered more dangerous, as it is more likely to be taken unawares. It is one of Satan’s devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility.

As for seeking unity by theological compromise, the inspired messenger is equally clear: “Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices. The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines . . . I urge our brethren to unify on a true, scriptural basis.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 175.

“We are to unify, but not upon a platform of error.” Series B, Freedom in Christ, 47.

The same unawareness of the theological dimensions of our problem is seen in Elder Santee’s description of his own experience. He devotes almost one entire message to a harrowing description of his own sufferings when he was put out of the ministry by “the brethren.” It seems that “the brethren” had dealt with a case of adultery and wanted Santee to stay out of the matter, but he insisted on dealing with it himself. For this, he says, he was put out of the ministry. If his report of the situation is accurate and fair, (which we have no way of knowing) we sympathize with him, but we see no connection between this and our theological problems in the church. To compare this experience with the experience of those who are being put out of the church because they will not accept false theology is hardly appropriate. Procedural problems and theological apostasy are two different categories.

A third and even more astonishing example of Elder Santee’s theological unawareness is placed before us in a passage in which he describes the contributions of a correct theology that have been made by various religious groups. He credits the Greek Orthodox church with getting rid of the doctrine of papal infallibility, and the Anglicans with getting rid of Mariolatry; he credits Lutherans for a true doctrine of justification and the Methodists for a true doctrine of sanctification; he credits the Congregationalists and Presbyterians for getting rid of excessive form and ceremony in worship and the Baptists for getting rid of sprinkling as a method of baptism; he credits Millerite, George Storrs for correcting the immortal soul error and the Seventh-day Baptists for correcting the error of the day of worship. He concludes this litany with the stunning statement that: “the Seventh-day Adventists contributed nothing at all.”

This leaves us gasping! Is this man a Seventh-day Adventist minister? Has he never heard of the sanctuary doctrine, that Ellen White describes as: “the very message that has made us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 54.

Elder Santee’s use of both the Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy is curious, to say the least. In a lengthy exposition of Exodus, chapter 32, he labors to prove that Moses was never angry with Aaron on the matter of the golden calf, but rather that he was always tender, gentle, and kind, both to Aaron and the people. He quotes verses both before and after verses 26-28 in which Moses is described as calling the faithful to his side, and then ordering them to take their swords and go through the camp and “slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.” This command of Moses resulted in the slaughter of 3000 men, but

Elder Santee does not read these verses, for obvious reasons. They would not fit his theory very well.

Similarly, he quotes words from Series B, Part 1, 15, in which Ellen White writes, “No longer consent to listen without protest to the perversion of truth,” and asserts that this means to protest on your knees. This is in harmony with his teaching that church members should make no comment on evils that they see in the church, but only pray about them. In like manner he refers to Ellen White’s warnings against listening to error, but limits her warning to errors presented by non-Adventist teachers and preachers. One can hardly feel comfortable with such handling of inspired writings, nor with his reference to himself and others as “secondary prophets.” We are left to speculate as to what this might mean.

The general tenor of all of the messages was to support Elder Santee’s doctrine that there is no salvation outside of the organized church. This is inferred and implied throughout all of the messages and was firmly and clearly stated in these two passages: “If I want to be in God’s kingdom, I must be part of the organized church,” and “You are going to be lost if you are outside of the church.”

These strong affirmations were followed by an appeal to “return to the church.” We find this puzzling in view of these realities.

  1. Probably 99% of all historic Seventh-day Adventists have never left the “church,” and have no intention of ever leaving the “church” unless forced out by being disfellowshipped.
  2. John Osborne, to whom Elder Santee’s words were presumably addressed, has never left the “church.” He and his family have for years held membership in a church in California.
  3. As noted before, the historic Seventh-day Adventists are not calling the church Babylon, or calling people to come out of her. They are rather trying as best they can to survive spiritually and spread the Three Angels’ Messages to all the world. They understand from statements like the following that listening to error greatly diminishes their chances of survival.

“No error can sanctify the soul . . . Sanctification comes not through error, but through belief in the truth.” Review and Herald, September 30, 1890.

“Truth sanctifies. Error corrupts.” Review and Herald, December 2, 1875.

“Error is falsehood and deception. Those who partake of it must suffer in consequence.” Upward Look, 125.

“Error is never harmless. It never sanctifies, but always brings confusion and dissension. It is always dangerous.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 47.

“There is in error and unbelief that which bewilders and bewitches the mind.” Selected Messages,vol. 1, 46.

“I was shown the necessity of those who believe that we are having the last message of mercy, being separate from those who are daily imbibing new errors. I saw that neither young nor old should attend their meetings . . . God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings, where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffeting of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels, and the light around us becomes contaminated with darkness.” Early Writings, 124.

This makes it impossible for us to accept Elder Santee’s recommendations that we attend worship services where error is presented, and simply ignore the error. This is far too dangerous to be attempted, and the inspired warnings against it are unmistakably clear. We firmly reject the proposition that we are attacking the church, or fighting against the church. If one can not speak against sin without attacking the church, what does that say about the church? If one can not speak against apostasy without attacking the church, what does that say about the church?

We have to recognize that if a church leader is misusing his office and performing evil actions, and if church members protest against the evil actions, probably the best defense that the church leader could contrive would be to set up a shrill cry that: “The church is being attacked! The church is being attacked! Come to the defense of the church everybody! Defend the church! Protect the church!”

The Lord will deal with such persons as He sees best. We can safely leave that problem to Him. Meanwhile we are faced with a very practical problem. How shall we avoid the apostasy that is raging in the church today, and survive the great shaking time that will purge all unworthy elements out?

If Elder Santee wants to be helpful, let him cease his shadow boxing with imaginary foes, and address himself realistically to this grimly relevant question. He concedes that there is great apostasy in the church, even saying that the church is in apostasy. The word “apostasy” denotes a departure from theological truth. In disregard of the inspired warnings about listening to error, Elder Santee counsels us to continue worshiping in the churches where theological untruths are being presented, and to remain silent and do nothing but pray about the evils we see and hear. He seems to feel that to do other than this is to be guilty of attacking the church and fighting against the church.

We can only pray that his understanding will be improved, and that he will be able to offer better counsel to us. Until this happens, we will just have to say that he is not really speaking to the historic Seventh-day Adventist community, or ministering to our needs. In the final analysis, the church is described in these words: “God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations, it is the people who love God and keep His commandments.” Upward Look, 315.

A Bear Is Better

Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.” Proverbs 17:12.

A few years ago we were visiting the home of a friend and noticed a most interesting poster on the wall depicting the truth that is expressed in this verse. As you can imagine, it caught the attention of our young children, and they stood for some time studying it. We discussed it at the time. As time passed, however, I did not think much more about it.

In our family worship we often read the chapter from Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month. Some time later, when in our worship we again read Proverbs 17:12, events that we had recently experienced had so shaped our thinking that the verse took on new meaning for us; and we were reminded of the poster that we had seen some time before. As we reflected on the significance of the wise man’s words, we began to realize that they have a depth of meaning beyond what words can adequately express. This text of Scripture has caused me to ask the Lord to deliver me from the folly of the fool! To be delivered from the folly of fools, we must have first had folly taken out of our own hearts.

The events that prepared us to better appreciate the meaning of this warning began during a visit to Yellowstone Park. While looking for a book to buy the children, I became interested in one about bears. We bought the book and began reading it during our evening worships. We prefaced our reading with Proverbs 17:12. The children, of course, wanted to know what a “fool in his folly” was.

Before they could fully understand the danger involved in the situation, they needed to more fully understand the significance of the term, a bear robbed of her cubs. One story entitled “A Mother’s Revenge”* particularly caught my attention. Although this was not necessarily the most thrilling of the bear stories, it did make the point; and I would like to briefly share it with you.

In 1907, in the virgin forest of northwest Montana, a mother bear and her cub were preparing for winter. Unbeknownst to them, a small government survey team, accompanied by some adventurous tourists, was packing into this uninhabited region. The area was a section of high and rugged mountain peaks, snowfields, and living glaciers—wholly uninhabited except by the wild animals and well-nigh-inaccessible save in the dead of winter. Soon after the party arrived, bad weather set in, making survey work impossible. The inactivity soon prompted the suggestion of a hunt, but only two hardy souls were interested. These two men, both experienced hunters, set out from camp with their horses and guns, little dreaming of the adventure that awaited them.

The men traveled some distance by horseback to a glacier, where they left their horses at the head of the basin. At this point they separated; Mr. Stiles going one direction and Dr. Penrose another. Mr. Stiles soon spotted a buck deer and began stalking it when he heard three shots in rapid succession. Paying no special attention to the reports which came from the other side of the ridge, he was about to shoot the deer when he heard two more shots, rapidly followed by a third. Immediately becoming alarmed, he ran back in the direction of the shots. Within a few minutes he came around a mass of broken boulders and saw Dr. Penrose wandering aimlessly around in the canyon bed without his gun. His hat was gone, his coat torn off, and his trousers rent. Blood poured from his head and neck, and he gripped his left arm with his crimson right hand, presenting a horrible sight. As Mr. Stiles approached him, he murmured piteously, “Water, water.” As he tried to drink the water, part of it ran out through a gash in his cheek. He then said: “Stiles, I am all in; I have had a fight with a bear.”

As the story unfolded, it revealed that Dr. Penrose had come upon a young grizzly cub. Being late in the year, the cub was large enough that it appeared fullgrown, to all but the careful observer. Dr. Penrose’s first three shots had killed the cub; and in his excitement, he failed to note that it was a cub that he had killed. Having laid his gun aside, he was bending over the young bear that he had so recently killed when suddenly, not more than sixty feet behind him, the doctor heard a cry of anger as the grief stricken and enraged mother bear rushed forward to avenge the death of her offspring.

Turning, with almost superhuman presence of mind, Dr. Penrose caught up his rifle again and fired two shots into the enraged beast. Rapidly removing his cartridge from his pocket, he worked it into the rifle and sent a third steel-jacketed bullet into the on-rushing bear. Swift and sure as were the little bullets, the bear continued her charge, her fury unchecked. With one stroke of her paw she sent him into the gulch, eight feet below. Springing down after him, she caught him in her mouth and shook him as a cat might shake a mouse, before dropping him. Again she caught him up, this time by his face, narrowly missing his eyes but tearing his cheek and throat wide open. There were five gaping wounds in his chest. His thigh was torn, the flesh hanging in ragged pieces, and his left wrist was twisted and broken. Before she could again shake her half-dead victim, the mother bear staggered, falling dead at his feet. In spite of the terrible beating that he had taken, Dr. Penrose did survive, though he spent several months recuperating from the attack.

The purpose of recounting this event is to bring home the point that, as terrible as is the wrath of a mother bear who has been robbed of her cubs, it is not so much to be feared as is a fool in his folly.

Solomon tells us what the folly of fools is. “The folly of fools is deceit.” Proverbs 14:8. As severely as Dr. Penrose was mauled by the enraged mother bear, he did live; but those who are taken with a fool in his folly, do not fare so well. The Lord has warned us, “A companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20. As you are confidently passing along the road of life, you need to be aware that lurking not far from you, possibly just around the next corner, is a secret and hidden enemy, far more dangerous than an angered mother bear—and that enemy is deceit.


False Friends To Be More Feared Than Open Enemies


In all of the stories of angry bears, we found them to be an aggressive and open enemy. Far less to be feared is an enemy who openly seeks to destroy you, than one who professes friendship, flattering with his lips, but in whose heart is hatred. The Bible describes what this secret enemy is like: “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” Proverbs 20:19. “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; when he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shown before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Proverbs 26:22–28.

Friend, a direct command from God cannot be disobeyed without terrible results, and the command is “meddle not with him.” “It is not the open and avowed enemies of the cause of God that are most to be feared. Those who . . . come with smooth words and fair speeches, apparently seeking for a friendly alliance with God’s children, have greater power to deceive. Against such every soul should be on the alert, lest some carefully concealed and masterly snare take him unaware.” Prophets and Kings, 570, 571.

“Go from the presence of the foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.””Speak not in the ears of a fool.” Proverbs 14:7; 23:9.

In our family worship, we made a list of the texts that were descriptive of a fool in his folly, describing his deceit. It would be well for all of us to keep these words of wisdom in mind. Here is a partial list from the book of Proverbs.

  • Fools despise wisdom and instruction. 1:7
  • Fools hate knowledge. 1:22
  • He that hides hatred with lying lips, and who utters slander is a fool. 10:23
  • It is a sport of a fool to do mischief. 10:23
  • The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. 12:15
  • A fool’s wrath is presently known. 12:16
  • A fool lays open, or reveals his folly. 13:16
  • A foolish woman plucketh down her house with her hands. 14:1
  • In the mouth of the fool is a rod of pride. 14:3
  • The folly of fools is deceit. 14:8
  • Fools make a mock of sin. 14:9
  • The fool rageth and is confident. 14:16
  • A fool despiseth his father’s instruction. 15:5
  • A foolish man despiseth his mother. 15:20
  • A reproof entereth more into a wise man than a hundred stripes into a fool. 17:10
  • The eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. 17:24
  • A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. 18:6
  • A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. 18:7
  • He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is a folly and shame unto him. 18:13
  • Every fool will be starting a quarrel. 20:3
  • A foolish man spends up the treasure. 21:20
  • A fool returns to his folly as a dog returns to his vomit. 26:11
  • A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it till afterward. 29:11

After you have thoughtfully considered the traits of a fool, as the Lord has identified them for us, remember the seriousness of the matter. The wise man was not making an exaggerated statement when he warned us that a furious mother bear was less to be feared than the deceit of a fool. It is well summed up in this verse. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” Proverbs 14:15.

We need to keep ever before our minds that the One who counseled us to be harmless as doves also admonished us to be as wise as serpents. (See Matthew 10:16.) We would do well to remember that “those in the synagogue of Satan will profess to be converted, and unless God’s servants have keen eyesight, they will not discern the working of the power of darkness.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 281. How sad it is that so often “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Luke 16:8.

Friends, if we are simple minded, we are liable to be destroyed because someone will come to us with fair words, concealing the hatred that is hidden in the heart. That, friends, is deceit and more dangerous than an open enemy. That which appears to be a comparatively small snake, might be worse than a dragon.

“Infidelity in many specious forms will have to be met. Satan works under disguise, and it will require a well-trained mind, sharpened by divine enlightenment, to meet his wily devices.” Signs of the Times, October 24, 1900.

We can be so thankful that the Lord has not left us to our own demise. He has promised to help the simple minded. Proverbs 1:4 tells us that if we listen to His words, they will “give subtlety to the simple.” What a fabulous promise. Even fools can become wise. “O ye simple, understand wisdom, and ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.” Proverbs 8:5.

The terrible truth of the power of deceitful subtlety is found in the history of Adam and Eve. “If he [Satan] should come boldly upon Adam and Eve and make complaints of God’s own Son, they would not listen to him for a moment but would be prepared for such an attack. Should he seek to intimidate them because of his power, so recently an angel in high authority, he could accomplish nothing. He decided that cunning and deceit would do what might, or force, could not.” The Story of Redemption, 20.

In the passage of time, Satan has lost none of his cunning and deceitfulness. Those of God’s people whom he can not destroy through an open, frontal attack he is often successful in overthrowing by deceitfulness. As you study the book of Proverbs, you can readily see that there are several tell-tale signs that deceit may be being used.


Twelve Ways To Know A Fool


I would like to summarize twelve character traits that quickly reveal to us, regardless of profession, that a person is a fool.

  1. He indulges in flattery.
  2. He finds pleasure in evil conduct.
  3. He has a quick, or uncontrolled temper.
  4. He mocks at making amends for sin.
  5. He refuses to listen to his parents.
  6. He is talkative, speaking all of his mind.
  7. He does not listen to reproof.
  8. He is contentious and quarrelsome.
  9. He is arrogant.
  10. He spends all that he has, often living beyond his means.
  11. He is quick to answer, without pausing to give a thought-out reply.
  12. He is a talebearer, or gossiper.


Trials Alone Will Not Save Us


We face many trials; but trials, in and of themselves, will not save us, or otherwise, the whole world would be saved. “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.” Proverbs 27:22 NKJV. Though we may lack wisdom, our condition does not have to remain such, for we have been promised, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. We must, however, submit our wills to God’s will in every matter of life; for “all who do not earnestly search the Scriptures and submit every desire and purpose of life to that unerring test, all who do not seek God in prayer for knowledge of His will, will surely wander from the right path and fall under the deception of Satan.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 192.

If we do this, determining to do nothing that will dishonor our Lord, He will gently reprove our wrongs and change us into His image. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The time in which we are living is a momentous one, weighted with eternal consequences. The rapidly unfolding events in the world speak eloquently to the shortness of time. Now is the time that we must remedy the defects of our character, becoming wise in the wisdom of the Lord, lest we stumble and fall amidst the trials and temptations of the last days. “At the time of the loud cry of the third angel, those who have been in any measure blinded by the enemy, who have not fully recovered themselves from the snare of Satan, will be in peril, because it will be difficult for them to discern the light from heaven, and they will be inclined to accept falsehood. Their erroneous experience will color their thoughts, their decisions, their propositions, their counsels. The evidences that God has given will be no evidence to those who have blinded their eyes by choosing darkness. After rejecting light, they will originate theories which they call light, but which the Lord calls, ‘sparks of their own kindling,’ by which they will direct their steps.” Review and Herald, December 13, 1892.

* This story was taken from the book The Only Good Bear is a Dead Bear, by Jeanette Prodgers, and was quoted from an article that appeared in the National Geographic Magazine, February, 1908.


The Shadow of the Stanton Controversy, part 1

Two brethren, one whose name was Stanton, after attending the General Conference in the first months of 1893, published a pamphlet called the Loud Cry. In this tract the Seventh-day Adventist Church was denounced as Babylon (the great Spiritual Babylon of Revelation 18), and it called upon the people to come out of her. This tract was widely circulated.

In Wellington, New Zealand, these pamphlets came to the post office with instruction to the postmaster to distribute them to Seventh-day Adventists. Ellen White who was there during this time began writing pointed rebuttals against this pamphlet, and the two men publishing and circulating it.

The Stanton manuscripts, if they may be called that, have been used far and near by people in the General Conference, in local conferences, and by some self-supporting ministries. It is concluded from these articles that special ministries do not have a right to exist, or at least do not have a right to promote and organize home churches, and that such people are condemned by God through the Spirit of Prophecy.

Some of these manuscripts, written in 1893, were published in The Review and Herald during August through October, 1893 and in November of 1956. Some of them were later published in Testimonies to Ministers (see the first 62 pages), and in various devotional compilations, in volumes two and three of Selected Messages and in Notebook Leaflets. As you can see, someone can quote to you, apparently from all over the Spirit of Prophecy writings on this topic, but when you look it up they are really quoting from these “Stanton manuscripts.”


A Weapon Against Historic Adventism


These articles have been used to try to persuade people of the following: it is wrong to start home churches, it is contrary to the Spirit of Prophecy not to be in a conference church, and you are listening to and following the devil if you are not subject to the conference, etc. Any series of articles, used this extensively in an attempt to prove the revival and reformation movement within Adventism to be a false movement, is certainly deserving of serious study. If we are deceived about the most fundamental issues of our faith, it is certainly time that we knew about it.

A number of attacks against historic Adventists, meeting in home churches, have been launched using statements from these articles. The authors and speakers apparently believed that these statements conclusively proved historic Adventists to be in error.

One of the main attacks against the revival and reformation movement within Adventism has been over the issue of who and what is the church. When observing arguments, which were intended to prove that Ellen White taught that the church was the “organization,” it is curious that some of the main statements quoted are from the Stanton manuscripts. Since these manuscripts are thought to be able to destroy our understanding of who and what the church is, and force us, for conscience sake, to submit to control by conferences, we need to find out exactly what Ellen White was teaching in these manuscripts.




All Ellen White statements and Bible statements have a context. In her writings, Ellen White repeatedly urged that time and place be considered: “Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered. Nothing must be done untimely.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 57. Part of the context is the time and the place, and part is the way that words are used in the paragraph (the linguistic context).

If the Stanton manuscripts teach that the organization is the church, or if they teach that historic Adventists are in error, we should find in them a “plain thus saith the Lord” to show us how to change our beliefs. (See Great Controversy, 595.)


Consistant or Conflifting?


If these manuscripts teach a different definition of the church than the explicit statements historic Adventists have already found in the inspired writings, then we are in dire difficulty. Truth does not contradict itself. Ellen White said: “All truth, whether in nature or in revelation, is consistent with itself in all its manifestations.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 114. The Bible also says, that “no lie is of the truth.” 1 John 2:21. If these manuscripts teach a different definition of the church than all other inspired writings, then we have a severe problem.

One of the reasons for the theological problems in Adventism today is that so many have tried to give Ellen White a rubber nose—force her writings to teach opposite and contradictory things. As a result, anyone who believes these distorted views eventually loses confidence in the testimonies of God’s Spirit. They are then ripe for the last delusion among God’s professed people, namely: “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ Proverbs 29:18. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 48.

For example, an historic Adventist quotes Ellen White’s statement that, “from the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth.” Acts of the Apostles, 11. This is an unrestricted definition statement. Its time context is universal, and it has no time limit. It states that it is that way now (perfect tense) and has been this way all the way “from the beginning” and refers to it “in every age.” Not only this but the context of the statement is unrestricted in regard to place. The church described is not local, but the church in the “world,” the “earth” and the church in “earth” and “heaven.” But a theological opponent tries to refute this universal statement by quoting a statement from the Stanton manuscripts, attempting to show that the church is something completely different than how it is defined in the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles. Two things that are both true cannot be in opposition to each other. This problem has been recognized for a long time and many ministers and teachers have attempted to add qualifications to the definition statements of the church in the The Acts of the Apostles in order to force Ellen White’s definitions to agree with their definition statements. The most common way of doing this is to create models in which there is more than one true church.




It would be advisable for anyone who decides to tell historic Adventists that they are wrong about their definition of the church, and then attempts to prove it from the Stanton manuscripts, to first know how Ellen White defines the church in the Stanton manuscripts. Surely this would be the only fair course if we are searching for the truth. A prophet must be allowed to define the terms he or she is using, and certainly it would be utterly presumptuous for us to place our own preconceived definitions on terms that the prophet had explicitly defined.

Surprising as it may seem, in the Stanton manuscripts, Ellen White defines who and what the church is approximately a dozen times! Let us look at how she herself defines the church in these articles. The following quotations are all from the Stanton manuscripts. The actual definition statement is in italics.

Definition 1: This first definition is a definition by antithesis—Ellen White defines what the true church is NOT:

“The world was stirred by the enmity of Satan, and when asked to choose between the Son of God and the criminal Barabbas, they chose a robber and murderer rather than Jesus. The ignorant multitudes were led, by the deceptive reasonings of those in high position, to reject the Son of God, and choose a robber and murderer in his stead. Let us all remember that we are still in a world where Jesus, the Son of God, was rejected and crucified, where the guilt of despising Christ, and preferring a robber rather than the spotless Lamb of God, still rests. Unless we individually repent toward God because of transgression of his law, and exercise faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the world has rejected, we shall lie under the full condemnation that the action of choosing Barabbas instead of Christ, merited. The whole world stands charged to-day with the deliberate rejection and murder of the Son of God. The word bears record that Jews and Gentiles, kings, governors, ministers, priests, and people, —all classes and sects who reveal the same spirit of envy, hatred, prejudice, and unbelief manifested by those who put to death the Son of God,—would act the same part were the opportunity granted, as did the Jews and people of the time of Christ. They would be partakers of the same spirit that demanded the death of the Son of God.” The Review and Herald, August 22, 1893. [All emphasis supplied] (A religious denomination can be defined as a sect.)

Conclusion: The church is not any group or denomination who reveals a spirit of envy, hatred, prejudice and unbelief; such as the Jews did at the time of Christ’s crucifixion.

Definition 2: “In the scene representing the work of Christ for us [the church], and the determined accusation of Satan against us, Joshua stands as the high priest, and makes request in behalf of God’s commandment-keeping people. At the time, Satan represents the people of God as great sinners, and presents before God the list of sins he has tempted them to commit through their lifetime, and urges that because of their transgressions, they be given into his hands to destroy. He urges that they should not be protected by ministering angels against the confederacy of evil. He is full of anger because he cannot bind the people of God into bundles with the world, to render to him complete allegiance. Kings, and rulers, and governors have placed upon themselves the brand of antichrist, and are represented as the dragon who goes to make war with the saints,—with those who keep the commandments of God, and who have the faith of Jesus. In their enmity against the people of God, they show themselves guilty also of the choice of Barabbas instead of Christ.” The Review and Herald, August 29,1893.

Conclusion: The church is the people of God who keep His commandments and have the faith of Jesus. (The faith of Jesus is a faith that is sufficient to give victory over sin.)

Definition 3: “However weak and compassed with infirmity the people of God may be, those who turn from disloyalty to God in this wicked and perverse generation, and come back to their allegiance, standing to vindicate the holy law of God, making up the breach made by the man of sin under the direction of Satan, will be accounted the children of God, and through the righteousness of Christ will stand perfect before God. Truth will not always lie in the dust to be trampled under foot of men. It will be magnified and made honorable; it will yet arise and shine forth in all its natural luster, and will stand fast forever and ever.” The Review and Herald,August 29, 1893.

Conclusion: The church keeps God’s commandments and is especially singled out in these manuscripts as keeping the Sabbath—it is those who keep the Sabbath commandment who are making up the breach. (See Isaiah 58:12–14.)

Definition 4: The church is “the people whom God is leading.” The Review and Herald, August 29, 1893.

Definition 5: “At the great heart of the work, men opened their treasures of light, and while the Lord was pouring out His Spirit upon the people, did these men receive of the heavenly anointing? While the deep movings of the Spirit of God were made manifest among the people, and souls were being converted, and hard hearts broken, there were those who were listening to the suggestions of Satan, and they were inspired with zeal from beneath to go forth and proclaim that the very people receiving of the Holy Spirit, who are to receive the latter rain and the glory that is to lighten the whole earth, were Babylon. Did the Lord give these messengers their message?—No; for it was not a message of truth.” The Review and Herald, September 5, 1893.

Conclusion: The church is the people who are receiving the Holy Spirit, and who are to receive the latter rain and give the loud cry of Revelation 18.

Definition 6: “God has a church on earth who are lifting up the down-trodden law, and presenting to the world the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. The church is the depositary of the wealth of the riches of the grace of Christ, and through the church eventually will be made manifest the final and full display of the love of God to the world that is to be lightened with its glory. The prayer of Christ that His church may be one as He was one with his Father, will finally be answered. The rich dowry of the Holy Spirit will be given, and through its constant supply to the people of God, they will become witnesses in the world of the power of God unto salvation.” The Review and Herald, September 5, 1893.

Conclusion: The church are those exalting the law, presenting to the world the gospel and who will make a final and full display of the love of God to the world (the loud cry).

Definition 7: (Repeats the third definition) “There is but one church in the world who are at the present time standing in the breach, and making up the hedge, building up the old waste places.” The Review and Herald, September 5, 1893. This statement again points out God’s true church in the last days as being a Sabbath-keeping church.

Definition 8: (Repeats second definition) “Those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus” The Review and Herald, September 5, 1893.

Definition 9: “The whole world is filled with hatred of those who proclaim the binding claims of the law of God, and the church who are loyal to Jehovah must engage in no ordinary conflict.” The Review and Herald, September 5, 1893.

Definition 10: “God has a church, a chosen people, and could all see as I have seen, how closely Christ identifies Himself with His people, no such message would be heard as the one that denounces the church as Babylon. God has a people who are laborers together with Him, and they have gone straightforward, having His glory in view.” The Review and Herald, October 17, 1893.

Conclusion: The church is a people who are laborers together with God.

Definition 11: “Beware of those who arise with a great burden to denounce the church. The chosen ones who are standing and breasting the storm of opposition from the world, and are uplifting the downtrodden commandments of God to exalt them as honorable and holy, are indeed the light of the world.” The Review and Herald, November 8, 1956.

Definition 12: “The church, His chosen people, who are keeping His commandments,” The Review and Herald, November 8, 1956.


The Spirit of Prophecy Vindicated


We hope to later look at a number of charges made against historic Adventists using the Stanton manuscripts. Always remember that Ellen White emphatically and explicitly defined what she meant by the word “church” in these articles, and our conclusions must never be based on a different definition of the church than the prophet was using.

We are also much relieved to find out that her definitions in these articles are precisely and exactly consistent with all her other definitions of the true church in her writings, and her claim to the gift of prophecy is not in jeopardy on this issue. She does not have a rubber nose, saying that the true church is one thing in one place, and is something completely different or opposite in another place. All sincere students of the Spirit of Prophecy may rest assured that Ellen White is consistent on this topic in all her writings. She says that “from the beginning faithful souls have constituted the church on earth,” and nobody need listen to false conclusions of those who try to give her a rubber nose saying, that the church includes both the faithful and the unfaithful, in direct contradiction to the Spirit of Prophecy. The Spirit of Prophecy is internally consistent and does not give conflicting and contradictory messages, like we erring men are apt to do.


Editorial — Not Ignorant of His Devices, part 1

“Our divine Lord is equal to any emergency. With Him nothing is impossible . . . Come to Christ just as you are weak, helpless, and ready to die. Cast yourself wholly on His mercy. There is no difficulty within or without that can not be surmounted in His strength.” The Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906. But while we have this wonderful assurance we are not to be presumptuous. “Presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression.” Desire of Ages, 126.

Whether you know it or not Satan is constantly sending you temptations to be presumptuous. (The Signs of the Times, August 5,1886.)

By presumption we can place ourselves in a position where Satan’s deceptions have power over us. Often the temptation to be presumptuous comes in a religious guise, even in the words of Scripture: “When the tempter came to Christ to lead Him to presumption, he came quoting the Scripture.” Review and Herald, July 5, 1892. This temptation is so powerful and successful that Ellen White says, “Presumption is a most common temptation, and as Satan assails men with this, he obtains the victory nine times out of ten.” Historical Sketches, 133. Often the people of God come into dreadful disappointment in their work for the Lord because of a confusion between faith and presumption. “The path of faith lies close beside the path of presumption. Satan is ever seeking to lead us into false paths. He sees that a misunderstanding of what constitutes faith will confuse and disappoint. He is pleased when he can persuade men and women to reason from false premises.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 333.

It is helpful for us to know some of the common ways that Satan tempts men with presumption as outlined in the Spirit of Prophecy. Here are a few:

  1. Doing nothing in God’s cause: “There can be no presumption more fatal than that which leads men to venture upon a course of self-pleasing.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 345. “Indolence and slothfulness, presumption and self-confidence, will alike bring defeat and destruction. God takes cognizance of the works of all. Those who have sought their ease, and shunned care, anxiety and labor for God’s cause, may be sure their sin will find them out.” The Signs of the Times, July 5, 1881.
  2. Placing our own judgment above the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy: “The prevailing spirit of our time is that of infidelity and apostasy—a spirit of pretended illumination because of a knowledge of the truth, but in reality of the blindest presumption. There is a spirit of opposition to the plain Word of God and to the testimony of His Spirit. There is a spirit of idolatrous exaltation of mere human reason above the revealed wisdom of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 79.
  3. Speculation about theological matters God has not made known such as the family structure in heaven: “Neither those who shall be raised from the dead, nor those who shall be translated without seeing death, will marry or be given in marriage. They will be as the angels of God, members of the royal family. It is presumption to indulge in suppositions and theories regarding matters that God has not made known to us in His Word. We need not enter into speculation regarding our future state.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 173.
  4. The use of extravagant expressions by ministers will lead to presumption: “The path of presumption lies close beside the path of faith. In no case should he make use of extravagant expressions, for a certain class are sure to be affected, and influences are set in motion that can no more be controlled than can an impetuous horse. Once let impulse and emotion get the mastery over calm judgment, and there may be altogether too much speed, even in traveling a right road. He who travels too fast, will find it perilous in more ways than one. It may not be long before he will branch off from the right road into a wrong path.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 91.
  5. Rejection of New Testament principles of church organization will lead to presumption: “Those who accept this bogus sanctification do not hesitate to draw away from the body and set themselves up as criteria. They claim that the Lord is leading them, and do not seek counsel of the church, but move out independently, deceived in themselves and deceiving others . . . Each individual will have an independence of his own, claiming to be taught of God; therefore no one must get in their way or interfere with their course of action. This is as Satan would have it. The voice of the church, God’s delegated power upon earth, is set aside and despised. These professedly sanctified ones are filled with vain conceit, and with presumption move on in their own wisdom, exhorting others to come up to the exalted standard of themselves.” The Signs of the Times, October 23, 1879.