Who Is Master of Your Church?

Although Christ was the Master of earth, sea and sky—He could do nothing for those who did not feel their need. “He who was ever touched by human woe, who healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb, who fed the hungry and comforted the sorrowful, was driven from the people He had labored to save. He who walked upon the heaving billows, and by a word silenced their angry roaring, who cast out devils that in departing acknowledged Him to be the Son of God, who broke the slumbers of the dead, who held thousands entranced by His words of wisdom, was unable to reach the hearts of those who were blinded by prejudice and hatred, and who stubbornly rejected the light.” The Desire of Ages, 541, 542. To the weakest, He gave strength. To the sickest, He gave healing. To the most sinful, He offered forgiveness. Why did not the whole world accept Him? And above all, why did the “good” men reject Him? How could religious teachers and elders reject the kind and gentle Saviour? It is a great mystery—the mystery of iniquity, that those He came to save, who claimed to be the best of men, rejected Him—the Way, the Truth and the Life. While we can never fully understand this terrible mystery, we need to learn enough about it to avoid making the same mistake—the mistake of missing the true church while thinking we are a part of it.

When on this earth, Jesus spoke instructive words to these “good” men, the religious leaders. These words will help us to avoid the mystery of iniquity that the Jewish nation fell into. Before we look at these words we need to remind ourselves that the servant of the Lord has told us that we are repeating their history: “Sometimes the case seems hopeless to me, because you have been treading in the very footsteps of the Jewish nation. You are repeating their history. The whole heavenly universe is astonished at the spiritual condition of things at Battle Creek. Now and then there is a comfortable, easy feeling, but this is not the deep moving of the Spirit of God. All heaven sees that if you had a more correct experimental knowledge of the truth, you would never assume jurisdiction and command over your fellow-men as you have done. You would never think that you could take control of the great interests all over the field, nigh and afar off. It is because of a departure from God that such gross ignorance in regard to the management of His work has come in.” 1888 Materials, 1631, 1632. [All emphasis supplied.] “We want to understand the time in which we live . . . The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.

Since we are repeating the history of these “good” men, the words that Jesus spoke to them also apply to us. The words that we will study together are found in John 8. What Jesus said, teaches us a great and simple truth—that everything, absolutely everything, can be understood in the light from God’s law. These are the words: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34. (Sin is breaking God’s law. See 1 John 3:4.) How profound and magnificent, how all inclusive and timeless are these words. They settle every difficulty on the great question as to who are God’s true people.

Instead of jumping to another thought—let us drive this one closer home: if anyone sins, they are not the servant of God. They are the servant of sin. Jesus taught us that no man can serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24.) One cannot be the servant of God and obey Him and also be the servant of sin. That is an absolute impossibility. Whose servant would one be who taught others that it is “OK” to sin? Could that person possibly be a servant of God? The servants of Christ will never be confused on the point of overcoming sin. So if one claims to be a servant of God and yet teaches people that they need not overcome their besetting sins, that teacher has a different master than Christ.

Here is another question. Would servants of Christ hire pastors who teach that people cannot overcome sin? The ones who hire those kind of teachers are servng the wrong master.


True Jews


If people, Jews or Adventists, are servants of sin, who is their father? Whose children are they? Jesus answers this question in the same discourse we have been studying from John 8. Jesus said, “I know you are Abraham’s children . . . but really you are not Abraham’s children, but you are children of the devil” (Some people today want to make Jesus contradict Himself! But truth never contradicts itself.) The Jews could prove their blood relationship to Abraham and in that respect were his children. But since they were not acting like the righteous Abraham—they were not really his children. Abraham was a servant of Christ, and desired to behold Him, but these so-called descendants of Abraham crucified Christ. They were the children of sin, they broke God’s law and taught others to break it. Paul explains this apparent contradiction, clearly placing it beyond all human questioning: “For he is not a Jew, [Seventh-day Adventist] which is one outwardly . . . But he is a Jew, [Seventh-day Adventist] which is one inwardly.” Romans 2:28, 29. These men were not really Jews at all! Thus is forever settled the question of who God’s true people are. It is those who love and obey Him and teach others to do the same, those who are like Him in character.

“The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.

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

“Jesus denied that the Jews were children of Abraham. He [remember He always portrayed brotherly love] said, ‘Ye do the deeds of your father.’ . . . “Their works testified of their relationship to him who was a liar and a murderer. ‘Ye are of your father the devil,’ said Jesus, ‘and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him . . . Because I say the truth, ye believe Me not.’ John 8:44, 45, R. V. The fact that Jesus spoke the truth, and that with certainty, was why He was not received by the Jewish leaders. It was the truth that offended these self-righteous men. The truth exposed the fallacy of error; it condemned their teaching and practice, and it was unwelcome. They would rather close their eyes to the truth than humble themselves to confess that they had been in error. They did not love the truth. They did not desire it, even though it was truth.” The Desire of Ages, 466, 467.

Whoever sins is the servant of sin; his master is the devil. The reality of this truth bears with equal weight today on Seventh-day Adventists. Many claim to be Seventh-day Adventists—but it is only a righteous character that truely makes one a Seventh-day Adventist. This is the very message that is needed to prepare a people for Christ’s coming. It is the same message that the forerunner of Christ gave at His first coming: “Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God’s law, they were not His people.” The Desire of Ages, 107.

It is time to boldly declare this message again: Not by its name, (Seventh-day Adventist) but by its fruit, (lawsuits against those using the “name,” stoning and beating up faithful pastors who are giving the message, disfellowshipping those who are standing for truth, new theology, NLP, celebration worship style, etc.) is the value of a tree determined. Profession (claiming to be a Seventh-day Adventist) is worthless. If our life and character is not in harmony with God’s law, we (Seventh-day Adventists) are not His people.


The Dividing Line


God’s law gives us a perfect understanding of how to know who God’s people are. It is the great dividing line of protection between God’s people and the world. “They [God’s people] were hedged about by the precepts of His law, the everlasting principles of truth, justice, and purity. Obedience to these principles was to be their protection, for it would save them from destroying themselves by sinful practices. And as the tower in the vineyard, God placed in the midst of the land His holy temple. Christ’s Object Lessons, 287.

God’s true people will be raising a voice of warning against sin, but those who are not protesting against sin and apostasy are in a serious condition. We are either for it or against it. “There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262. “As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, so there are woes for those who receive and maintain the unsanctified in the position which they cannot fill.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 552.

If the upholding of God’s law is the great dividing line between God’s people and His enemies, what of those apparently unconditional promises to certain groups of people? Do there exist unconditional promises that make some people “the” church, even if they do not support God’s law? Is there a “once” true church, “always” true church promise somewhere? These look like weighty theological questions which would frighten away the bravest. But is it really that difficult?

Jesus gave us a test by which we can settle these questions. The reason the answer becomes difficult for us to accept is because there are certain organizations that we tend to think should be exempt from Jesus’ test.


God ’s Test


“Jesus gives a test by which false teachers may be distinguished from the true. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits,’ He says. ‘Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?’

“We are not bidden to prove them by their fair speeches and exalted professions. They are to be judged by the Word of God. ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them.’ ‘Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.’ Isaiah 8:20; Proverbs 19:27. What message do these teachers bring? Does it lead you to reverence and fear God? Does it lead you to manifest your love for Him by loyalty to His commandments? If men do not feel the weight of the moral law; if they make light of God’s precepts; if they break one of the least of His commandments, and teach men so, they shall be of no esteem in the sight of heaven. We may know that their claims are without foundation. They are doing the very work that originated with the prince of darkness, the enemy of God.

“Not all who profess His name and wear His badge are Christ’s. Many who have taught in My name, said Jesus, will be found wanting at last. ‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.’

“There are persons who believe that they are right, when they are wrong. While claiming Christ as their Lord, and professedly doing great works in His name, they are workers of iniquity. ‘With their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.’ He who declares God’s word is to them ‘as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear Thy words, but they do them not.’ Ezekiel 33:31, 32.

“A mere profession of discipleship is of no value. The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. ‘Believe, believe,’ they say, ‘and you need not keep the law.’ But a belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption. The apostle John says, ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ 1 John 2:4. Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate. When persons will speak lightly of the word of God, and set their impressions, feelings, and exercises above the divine standard, we may know that they have no light in them.

“Obedience is the test of discipleship. It is the keeping of the commandments that proves the sincerity of our professions of love. When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, we may know that it is the truth of God. When benevolence, kindness, tenderheartedness, sympathy, are manifest in our lives; when the joy of right doing is in our hearts; when we exalt Christ, and not self, we may know that our faith is of the right order. ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 2:3.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 145, 146.

The knowledge of God’s law lived out in the life is the only thing that will save us from destruction. “In these days of peril, nothing but obedience will keep man from apostasy.” Manuscript 135, October 31, 1902. Quoted in Manuscript and Letters, Last Day Events, 80. A much different picture than that of obedience meets the eye today.

Hosea describes our condition: “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away . . . My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.” Hosea 4:1–3, 6–9.

Although, Jesus came to save the most sinful, the wicked will no go unpunished. While mercy’s door is still open, anyone that turns to Him for help will be rescued from the snares of Satan. All we have to do is believe on Him. But that belief will always lead to obedience to God’s law. The group of the faithful may become very small, and the work difficult, but even if all appearances are against the truth, we must be wholehearted for Jesus! The true church will go through, there is absolutely no question. The question is if we will be a part of it.

One time (before 34 A.D.) the church got so small that it consisted of a handful of disciples. To this small group Christ promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against them. “How feeble the church appeared when Christ spoke these words! There was only a handful of believers, against whom all the power of demons and evil men would be directed; yet the followers of Christ were not to fear. Built upon the Rock of their strength, they could not be overthrown.” The Desire of Ages, 413. (Here is something to study for those who say that the apostate Jewish nation was God’s true church until 34 A.D.)

” ‘He that is not with Me,’ said Christ, ‘is against Me.’ It is wholehearted, thoroughly decided men and women who will stand now. Christ sifted His followers again and again, until at one time there remained only eleven and a few faithful women to lay the foundation of the Christian church. There are those who will stand back when burdens are to be borne; but when the church is all aglow, they catch the enthusiasm, sing and shout, and become rapturous; but watch them. When the fervor is gone, only a few faithful Calebs will come to the front and display unwavering principle. These are salt that retains the savor. It is when the work moves hard that the churches develop the true helpers. These will not be talking of self, vindicating self, but will lose their identity in Jesus Christ. To be great in God’s kingdom is to be a little child in humility, in simplicity of faith, and in the purity of love. All pride must perish, all jealousy be overcome, all ambition for supremacy be given up, and the meekness and trust of the child be encouraged. All such will find Christ their rock of defense, their strong tower. In Him they may trust implicitly, and He will never fail them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 130.

What is the fruit that is growing on the tree? Is it meekness or pride? Is obedience or the new theology? If the fruit is sin—we can know for sure that the master of the tree is Satan. May the Lord help us to have spiritual discernment!


Children’s Story — Mother’s Day Disaster

It was a bright, sunny morning in mid May. Kelley jumped out of bed in excitement. Today was Mother’s Day, and she had big plans! Aha! She was very pleased to find, as she had hoped, that no one else in the family was up yet. “I must get to work right away, before they get up,” thought Kelley, entering the kitchen and reaching for her very own cookbook.

By now, you have probably guessed what Kelley was planning that morning. Her “big plan” was to make breakfast for her Mom. Now, she really did not know how to cook, but she was full of enthusiasm, and was sure she could handle it very well.

After looking through the cookbook for several minutes, Kelley paused at a recipe for banana cake. “That will be good,” she thought, “and I think it is easy enough for me.” Kelley was imagining how happy Mom would be to wake up and find breakfast all ready, when she realized she had one slight problem—there were no bananas in the house. Most people would consider that a big problem, but not Kelley. It was true that she did not have any bananas, but then again, there were plenty of strawberries to take their place. “Yes,” she decided, “strawberries will do just fine.” She began rounding up all the other ingredients she would need.

Things seemed to be going pretty well, or so Kelley thought, as she stirred together the first few ingredients in her so-called banana cake. However, she soon ran into a nasty difficulty. Kelley had not checked before she began, to see how much honey she had, and now, though she searched high and low, she could not find enough honey for her cake. After scanning the cupboards for quite a while, she mulled over her dilemma. Since she had already begun to mix some of the items together, she had to continue, but not having honey was a little disturbing. There was no use panicking, though—she would just have to use molasses instead. “This isn’t turning out quite like it was supposed to,” she mused, as she poured the runny black liquid into the bowl, “but it will have to do, and I am sure it will be good anyway.”

Trying to be creative, (and perhaps atone for her substitution) Kelley decided to put some almonds in, and so she dumped a sizable portion of whole almonds into the mixture, never thinking to chop them up! She was soon finished with the concoction, and put it in a pan and baked it.

When Mom came out of her bedroom, she was as surprised as Kelley thought she would be—but sounded a little uncertain as she looked at the dark “cake” and asked what it was. “Oh, it is banana cake,” Kelley explained, “except, we did not have any bananas, so I used strawberries instead.”

I am sure Kelley’s Mom had some doubts about eating it, but what could she do? “Thank you.” She tried to sound cheerful as she choked down the awful tasting “banana cake.” Yes, even Kelley noticed that something was wrong. It did not taste very good, and the whole almonds were hard to chew. “What went wrong?” Kelley wondered. She concluded that maybe strawberries and molasses did not work well together after all.

Kelley’s “big plan” for Mother’s Day turned out to be a flop. Worse yet, after her unpleasant breakfast was eaten, Kelley ran outside to play—leaving her Mom with a stomachache and a stack of dirty dishes to wash. Was that very thoughtful of her?

Kelley had learned several important lessons that day. Can you think of any? First of all, we should all be more thoughtful about how we help our parents. Our big plans and good intentions are not worth nearly as much as a cheerful heart while doing the little things that we know how to do.

There is an even deeper lesson hidden in this story. Just as Kelley decided that strawberries would work in place of bananas, and molasses in place of honey, so we sometimes think that we can substitute our own ways for God’s ways. The Bible gives us very specific instructions on how we should live, and yet so often, we find ourselves thinking, “Oh, this is just a small thing. It does not really matter to God.” But if God says in His Word that it matters, then it does matter. We must follow His directions. If we do not, we will not be real Christians any more than Kelley’s little experiment was a real banana cake! Let us all try to learn from God’s direction Book every day, and live by it.


Food for Life — Nature Is The Place For Mankind

“May has come, with all her beauties of the sunshine, clothing nature with a glorious dress. Mother earth has laid off her brown mantle, and wears her cheerful robes of green. The trees and shrubs upon the lawn are decorated with their opening buds and flowers of varied tints. The peach and cherry are covered with blossoms of pink and white, and the pure music from a thousand of nature’s happy and cheering songsters, unite to awaken joy and thankfulness in our hearts.

“May is indeed here, to cheer and bless us, Let us, all who can, go out of doors, and be cheerful, happy, and healthy, as we behold the charming beauties of nature. We may look up through the attractive glories of nature, to nature’s glorious God, and, as we read his love to man in nature, we may become cheerful, thankful, pure, and holy.

“The feeble ones should press out into the sunshine as earnestly and naturally as do the shaded plants and vines. The pale and sickly grain-blade that has struggled up out of the earth in the cold of early spring, puts on the natural and healthy deep green after enjoying for a few days the health-and-life-giving rays of the sun. Go out into the light and warmth of the glorious sun, you pale and sickly ones, and share with vegetation its life-giving, healing power. Let what your ears hear of the music of the birds, and what your eyes see of the green grass, and shrubs, and trees, beautified with their fragrant blossoms, and God’s precious flowers of every hue, lift that leaden weight off your spirits, and cheer that sad heart, and smooth that troubled brow.

“Mothers, encourage the children to go out into the air and sunshine. What if they do tan, and exchange the pale, sallow complexion for the healthful brown? Let them have health and happiness, which are the only foundation of real beauty. Lovely May is here. Enjoy her, all you who can, while she is with us.” The Health Reformer, May 1, 1871.

“In the building of houses it is especially important to secure thorough ventilation and plenty of sunlight. Let there be a current of air and an abundance of light in every room in the house. Sleeping rooms should be so arranged as to have a free circulation of air day and night. No room is fit to be occupied as a sleeping room unless it can be thrown open daily to the air and sunshine . . .

“Whoever sleeps in a sunless room, or occupies a bed that has not been thoroughly dried and aired, does so at the risk of health, and often of life.

“In building, many make careful provision for their plants and flowers. The greenhouse or window devoted to their use is warm and sunny; for without warmth, air, and sunshine, plants would not live and flourish. If these conditions are necessary to the life of plants, how much more necessary are they for our own health and that of our families and guests!

“If we would have our homes the abiding place of health and happiness we must place them above the miasma and fog of the lowlands, and give free entrance to heaven’s life-giving agencies. Dispense with heavy curtains, open the windows and the blinds, allow no vines, however beautiful, to shade the windows, and permit no trees to stand so near the house as to shut out the sunshine. The sunlight may fade the drapery and the carpets, and tarnish the picture frames; but it will bring a healthy glow to the cheeks of the children.” The Ministry of Healing, 274, 275.

Millet Burgers

2 Cups cooked Millet

1 large Onion sauteed

¾ Cup Grapenuts

1 Cup Tofu, mashed

½ Cup chopped Walnuts

2 Tbsps. Rice Flour

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp. Vegex Broth

Cook millet overnight in a small crock-pot (1 cup Millet to 4 cups Water.) Mix all ingredients thoroughly and drop by dipper onto non-stick baking sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake at 350º for 20 to 30 minutes.


The Church In the Wilderness, Part 3

“The Waldenses stand apart and alone in the Christian world. Their place on the surface of Europe is unique; their position in history is not less unique; and the end appointed them to fulfill is one which has been assigned to them alone, no other people being permitted to share it with them.” The Waldenses, by J.A. Wylie, 19.

The testimony of the Waldenses carries a two-fold message. In the first place their teachings and lives are in direct contrast to the apostasy of the papal church resulting in that power’s attempt to eradicate the hated “heretics.” In the second place their witness strengthened the position of the Protestant reformers. This is another reason why the Roman church persecuted the Waldenses.

The first incident we will describe occurred on Christmas of 1400. It took place in the Valley of Pragales in the Alps of northern Italy. The people felt safe because the snow lay very deep around them. An inquisitor named Borelli had previously caught 150 men as well as women and children and burned them alive. His army came suddenly, at night, upon those living in this valley. The Waldenses fled in the icy cold. Some lost hands and feet to frostbite, while others froze to death.

In 1487, Pope Innocent VII issued a bull denouncing the Waldenses as a “malicious and abominable sect of malignants.” He appointed Albert Canteneo, Archdeacon of Cremona, to carry out the bull and destroy the “venomous snakes.”

The plan of attack was to approach the Valley of Angrogna from two directions. The army was made up of two divisions, one French and the other Italian. One was to approach from the French side of the Alps while the Piedmontese from the Italian side were to converge in the valley. As the inhabitants of the Loyse valley saw the French coming, they retreated to a cavern nearly six thousand feet up a mountainside. This cave became their graves as the soldiers built a fire at the entrance, suffocating all within.

The people in other cities and valleys realized their only recourse was to resist and they prepared to defend themselves. The magnitude of the defenses set up discouraged the French army from attacking, so they continued on their way to Angrogna pillaging and burning as they went. Pragales was once more attacked and obliterated.

Cataneo led his Italian division on various excursions in an attempt to bring his mission to a victorious end. But it was not to be so. As he entered the Valley of Angrogna, the inhabitants prepared themselves for battle. They had tried to obtain a peace settlement with Cataneo, but were unsuccessful. Therefore, they decided to fight for their very lives.

The Waldenses moved further up the valley to a place that was easily defended. The papal army had to traverse a narrow defile with steep mountains on one side and a precipice on the other. The people climbed up the mountain so they were looking down on the path the army was to follow. As Cataneo moved along, a fog descended and enshrouded them. The Waldenses rolled rocks down on the soldiers, killing many of them, and followed by attacking and killing most of the remaining men; few escaped alive. These godly people now enjoyed a short respite from persecution.

The sword was sheathed for a time but the artful plots of the papal power continued. To secure their peace, the persecuted ones compromised themselves by attending the Romish mass and having their children baptized by the priests. The church in the wilderness appeared to fall but it did not, for the Reformation had already begun. Most of the countries of Europe had been stirred by the reformers before the tidings reached the Waldenses. “The blessed God hath never left Himself without witnesses in the world; and even during the reign of Antichrist—a period of the most general and awful defection from the purity of His worship, He had reserved to Himself thousands and tens of thousands of such as kept His commandments and the faith of Jesus. Nor is there any thing in this to occasion our surprise. The real followers of Christ are subjects of a kingdom that is not of this world.” The History of The Christian Church, 234, 235.

We have arrived at the time of the opening of the Reformation. Upon hearing of this the Vaudois were ecstatic. Eager to know what was happening, they sent a Pastor Martin of the Lucerna valley on a mission to discover the extent of the reform. He returned in 1526 revealing that the yoke of Rome had been cast off in Germany, Switzerland, and France and that every day many were being added to those who openly professed the same faith as the Waldenses. To prove that what he said was true, he brought back books he received in Germany containing the teachings of the Reformers. Later, two more pastors were sent from the French side of the Alps to Germany and Switzerland. The reformers were overjoyed to hear from these two men the voice of the primitive, apostolic gospel. The Alpine confessors had believed they were the only people who kept the true faith of the Bible, and they were very happy to find there were many others who believed and taught the same truth.


Peace and War


In 1532, a Synod was called and representatives from both sides of the Alps, attended along with deputies from churches in Switzerland and Bohemia. A confession was drawn up which contained seventeen articles with the main ones being: “Moral inability of man; election to eternal life; the will of God, as made known in the Bible, the only rule of duty; and the doctrine of two Sacraments only, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” Ibid., 60. A resolution was passed to translate the Bible into French making it available to the churches of the Reformation. It was printed in Switzerland in 1535.

Near this time, a quarrel occurred between Francis I of France and the Duke of Savoy, resulting in Francis gaining control of both sides of the Alps. The Waldensian people enjoyed a twenty-eight year time of partial peace with incidents of persecution and destruction here and there. Then persecution once again broke out on a large scale. The Inquisition continued to do its terrible work selecting individuals—one here and another there for extermination. A man named Bersour attacked the Valley of Angrogna but was repulsed. He then turned to the Vaudois living around his residence in Turin, seizing many of them and putting them in prison, and burning others.

Then there came a change in the politics of Europe that brought peace to the valleys. A treaty was signed in 1553 restoring Piedmont to the House of Savoy and a new monarch was placed on the throne. In 1560, he issued an edict forbidding his subjects to hear Protestant preachers on pain of death. There followed, shortly, another edict demanding all to attend mass under pain of death. Carignano was the first town to feel the tempest. The wealthy were dragged to the flames resulting in the rest of the people being scattered to various places including Turin. Wherever a Vaudois congregation existed there the persecutor turned. Rumors of confiscation, arrest, cruel tortures, and horrible deaths preceded the coming of the armies of destruction into the Waldensian Alps. The Waldenses decided to appeal to the throne. They sent a petition in the hands of M. Gilles, Pastor of Bricherasio, to the king’s Counsel, asking that they be allowed to live in peace and enjoy liberty of conscience.

The pastor was well received by the Duke of Savoy, but the requirements that the Duke made were not acceptable. In October of 1560, he declared war against the Vaudois. They determined to depend upon God for their defense. On October 31, as the Papal army appeared at Burbiana, the entrance to the Waldensian Valleys, the population humbled themselves in a public fast and partook of the Lord’s supper. They packed their belongings, and singing psalms as they traveled, made their way to the Pra del Tor. It was here they made their stand and successfully defeated the enemy in a number of battles and skirmishes, resulting in a considerable slaughter of the Papal army.

The leader of the Papal forces, Count La Trinita, recognizing the futility of pursuing the use of force, turned to diplomacy to achieve his ends. He made promises that if the Waldenses would compromise a little here and a small amount there, the persecutions would cease. But, having acceded to the wishes of La Trinita, they discovered, as had occurred so many times before, that the promises were empty. The terrible torture and murder continued unabated, their houses and lands were pillaged and destroyed.

Once more the Alpine churches determined to stand firm for truth and to defend themselves to the death. The Waldenses of Italy made a pact with those on the French side of the Alps to assist each other at all costs. An order from the Duke had been issued on January 20, 1561, that all people of the valleys were to attend mass or die. La Trinita knew he had to control the Pra del Tor in order to conquer the Waldenses. His attempt to accomplish this was completely defeated and his forces nearly destroyed. A treaty of peace was signed between the deputies of the valleys and the Duke of Savoy on June 5, 1561. Seedtime and harvest had been hardly restored when another calamity struck. In August of 1629, a flood occurred, wiping out the villages of Bobbio and Prali, followed by an icy dry wind in September, destroying all crops.

Yet another tragedy took place in the same year, even worse than persecution. The plague was brought into the valleys by members of the French army who had contracted the disease. Nearly half of the population of the valleys died from the plague.

Another settlement was signed and peace reigned for fifteen years. Then the valleys were invaded by a swarm of Capuchin monks sent to convert the heretics. As long as the people had their pastors to keep them on the true path, the monks had little success in their endeavors. To accomplish their goal, the pastors and leaders of the Vaudois were banished and driven into exile. The population was forbidden to go outside their territory, on pain of death. Even then, the conversion of the people moved ahead very slowly, so the Waldenses were commanded to leave and go to other areas where they were welcomed by the Vaudois of other valleys.


Deception and Death


Again the appeal was made to the House of Savoy for relief, and once again they were ignored. On April 15, 1655, an army of 15,000 men led by the Marquis de Pianeza, invaded the valleys only to meet total disaster time and time again. Recognizing the uselessness of carrying out any more forays into the valleys, the Marquis used craft and deceit to gain his objective. He made an agreement with the Vaudois that if they would allow a regiment of soldiers to be stationed in each valley for a few days, peace would come. On the Sabbath of April 24, at four in the morning, the blow fell upon the unsuspecting populace. The assassins did their work of murder and torture. “ ‘Our valley of Lucerna,’ exclaims Leger, ‘which was like a Goshen, was now converted into a Mount Etna, darting forth cinders and fire and flames. The earth resembled a furnace, and the air was filled with a darkness like that of Egypt, which might be felt, from the smoke of towns, villages, temples, mansions, granges, and buildings, all burning in the flames of the Vatican.’ The soldiers were not content with the quick dispatch of the sword. They invented new and hitherto unheard-of modes of torture and death. No man at this day dare write in plain words all the disgusting and horrible deeds of these men; their wickedness can never be all known, because it never can be all told.” Ibid., 142, 143.

Following this massacre, the Waldenses were relatively free from persecution for thirty years, though it never completely ceased. They still suffered annoyances and harassment at the hands of the papacy.

As Louis XIV came to the close of his life, he asked his confessor what he might do to atone for his sins. The reply was that he must extirpate Protestantism from France. A treaty was signed between the king of France and the Duke of Savoy in which the king promised to aid the Duke in eliminating the Vaudois. On January 31, 1686, an edict was issued containing the following:

  1. Vaudois to cease practicing their religion.
  2. No religious meetings under pain of death.
  3. All ancient privileges removed.
  4. All churches and religious buildings to be destroyed.
  5. All pastors and schoolmasters to embrace Romanism or be banished.
  6. All children to be raised as Roman Catholics.
  7. All Protestant foreigners to leave the country or become Roman Catholics within fifteen days.
  8. Persons who had acquired property in Piedmont were to sell it to Roman Catholics.

The Vaudois sent delegates to Turin seeking redress for their grievances from the Duke. The Protestants of Switzerland, Germany, and Holland interceded with the Duke on behalf of the Alpine populace to no avail. The Swiss counseled the Waldenses to leave their country to save their lives and to carry the torch of truth elsewhere. They chose rather to remain and defend themselves. They were attacked by a force of 15,000 men, who, at first, were defeated with a loss of 500 to two Vaudois. Then the army fell upon less strongly fortified villages and valleys and murdered and pillaged unmercifully. Wherever the army met a strongly fortified area, they told the defenders their neighbors had capitulated. The unsuspecting people believed this lie and they surrendered. The result of giving up resulted in a wholesale massacre with the loss of 3,000 persons, and the remaining 12,000 were imprisoned. The land of the Waldenses stood empty for the first time in its history.

In December of 1686, when the prisoners were released at the intervention of the Swiss Protestants—only 3000 were left alive. They were commanded to leave the country in the depth of winter. Many lost their lives on this journey. Small parties were released at intervals so that the last to leave arrived in Geneva in February of 1687. They were invited by some German princes to settle in their estates, but the influence of Louis XIV was too strong for them to remain at peace, so they had to move from place to place.

The Vaudois yearned to return to their valleys, and so on June 10, 1688, they made their way toward their homeland. But, they were discovered by the French forces and were then scattered throughout Germany. Then war broke out between France and Holland, drawing the attention of their enemies away from the Waldenses. They saw the hand of God intervening in their behalf and decided to once more return to their homeland. The return began on August 16, 1689, with Henry Arnaud leading 800 men. On their journey they met the enemy many times, but without defeat. Their last battle was at the crossing of the Dora River where they met 2500 French soldiers. In the battle that followed, 500 French died, while only fifteen Vaudois died and twelve wounded. Twelve days after leaving Switzerland they reached the borders of their land having lost only 100 men. “This great exploit is called the ‘Glorious Return.’ By the time the 1260-year period had run out, this faithful branch of the Church in the Wilderness had secured religious toleration.” Truth Triumphant, by Benjamin G. Wilkinson, 266.

The Waldenses still had many a battle to fight to regain their homeland, but they were successful in the end. However, it was not until 1870, with the disappearance of the French empire and the establishment of Germany and Italy, that they had complete freedom from harassment and persecution. Now, even the city of Rome was open to the Waldensian colporteur.

“The persecutions visited for many centuries upon this God-fearing people were endured by them with a patience and constancy that honored their Redeemer. Notwithstanding the crusades against them, and the inhuman butchery to which they were subjected, they continued to send out their missionaries to scatter the precious truth. They were hunted to death; yet their blood watered the seed sown, and it failed not of yielding fruit. Thus the Waldenses witnessed for God centuries before the birth of Luther. Scattered over many lands, they planted the seeds of the Reformation that began in the time of Wycliffe, grew broad and deep in the days of Luther, and is to be carried forward to the close of time by those who also are willing to suffer all things for ‘the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Revelation 1:9.” The Great Controversy, 78.

A lesson to be learned from these experiences of the Waldenses is succintly revealed in the writings of St. Hilarius against Auxentius. “Of one thing I must carefully warn you, beware of Antichrist! It is ill done of you to fall in love with walls. It is ill done of you to reverence the church of God in buildings and stately edifices; it is wrong to rest in these things. Can you doubt that it is on these Antichrist will fix his throne? Give me mountains, forests, pits, and prisons, as being far safer places; for it was in these that the prophets prophesied by the Spirit of God.” The History of the Christian Church, by William Jones.


Apostasy, Why It Must Be Exposed

Just to sit and contemplate what has happened in the last several years and what tomorrow will surely bring is enough to make one mentally exhausted. We will be sorely tempted to just throw our “helpless” hands in the air and give up. In fact this is exactly what the majority are being programmed to do and what they will do. In reality our very continued existence depends on how we deal with the issue of apostasy both in our calling to Adventism and the question of eternal life or death. As we understand this we will better appreciate what Jesus meant when He had John write, “Here is the patience of the saints,” in Revelation 14:12, and why He had this verse placed at the end of the Three Angels’ Messages.

Over the last several years I have heard it all—all the reasons why we should not even talk about the apostasy that has become thick. Even more I have heard why it is “sin” to expose it, especially if it is in high places, although the Bible plainly tells us that we must. I have heard statements made, as have all those who are standing firm, such as “Jesus never offended anyone.” This not only demonstrates the point, but exposes the success of the very apostasy that most are unwilling to deal with on any level. The majority which claim to be Adventists are actually and factually defending apostasy, knowingly or unknowingly, both in word and action. It is difficult to put into words the mental anguish this causes the few leaders who are trying to stay the poisonous tide of confusion and apostasy as wave after wave continues to break upon the house which has been built on the Rock. Many times the passion and pity displayed in the messages of warning, by these messengers, are labeled hate and anger. The deception perpetrated on them is so deep that many do not realize that there is appropriate as well as inappropriate types.

The good and everlasting news about Adventism and the house built on the Rock is that it may appear as about to fall, but it does not!! In these few words lies the key, the secret, the hidden treasure which promotes health, happiness, peace and salvation, in the context of exposing apostasy. And although God knows that the overwhelming majority (yes, even in the Adventist community) will be lost, He has set these truths forth for the few who seek and shall find them.

These truths invite and warn us that we must understand our calling to Adventist Christianity in the total sense, and we must be willing to accept it in its total sense, or be lost. We must realize that what we are facing in the experience of Adventism, as it pertains to apostasy, is perhaps shocking to our generation, but certainly nothing new. In fact, what is happening, in and to this movement, is a continuation of a six thousand year history.

My brothers and sisters, we have the golden opportunity to witness the victory that all the Bible writers spoke of for the last generation in these final hours. Whether we realize it or not, we are writing history as it pertains to the eternal record both individually and collectively. Those who make a profession of Adventism, who will be saved in the end, will come to the realization and understanding of the necessity of dealing with the apostasy. They will end up being most appreciative that Jesus and all heaven have untiringly worked to bring us the “eyesalve,” or spiritual discernment, we must have in this final great struggle, in the controversy between Christ and Satan.

As our understanding is sanctified by our Lord, the mighty Captain of the Lord’s host, we will become aware that this study and the reality it portrays is both horrible and fascinating. Dear friends, we will also realize what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist, the price paid, and the extreme privilege given to us who have been called, which none deserve or merit. We must understand by that experimental knowledge that builds the faith of Jesus. We must understand and experience the hymns, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross,” “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and “Soldiers of Christ Arise,” not just sing them. This must become who we are, and not just a fanciful wish or hope, but a Christ empowered reality. We do not “do” Adventism, Adventism is something we become, it is who we are.




The motive for dealing with apostasy, in the way that Christ did, and with the same intent, is the love of souls and the hatred of sin. The passion generated both in Christ and in His followers does not come from a hatred of people, but rather a proper understanding of, and hatred for, what sin did to our Lord and His creation, the human race.

In dealing with the subject of apostasy and the principles surrounding it, we are obliged to be straightforward and accurate. But also, rightly understood, the same unwavering principles dictate that our motive must be one of salvation, not destruction. Here is where many are deceived from two different points of view. One group believes that we can hate the enemy along with the apostasy he is promoting. This is totally false, but the dilemma lies in the fact that we can only come to understand this in practical terms as we give ourselves over to the One who loves us even when we are wicked. It is very natural to hate the enemy. Why? Because he does not agree with us and is working to undermine what we believe and who we are. But one who is caught in this trap, although perhaps in “the work of the Lord,” is in reality in the business of using the Word of God to further his own cause. This has and will continue to prove to be fatal. Clean water poured into a dirty glass pollutes the water, it does not clean the glass. Right words out of a hateful heart will bring undesirable results and will not save the unclean vessel.

The other conclusion is just as deadly, both to the one who is infected and to those who are influenced wrongly by the polluted witness which follows. This comes from one who wrongly believes that because we are to love the sinner, then we are obligated to accept and tolerate (in the spiritual sense) open sin and apostasy in the church, and we are “sinning” if we expose this wrongdoing. Herein lies one of the biggest problems of Christianity in general, and certainly the plight of current Adventism. Our people are so immersed in the deception of this satanic mind set that much of their energy is used to defend wickedness and our “right” to do as we please instead of witnessing for God’s honor and defending His pure law and character.

To add to this, we have been set up to fail on all fronts since birth, through an agenda which is almost universally demonstrated in those who hold the power in the structure—the recognized organization of Adventism. This agenda surfaced in the mid-fifties, and I believe, for the last time, is coming into full bloom, not only in the Adventist movement, as we will discuss later. It will bring the whole world into the reality of what was once prophecy, now fact, found especially in the books of Daniel and Revelation and in the Spirit of Prophecy. These are the reasons we see a unified open war on God’s Word and the writings of Ellen G. White within the organized structure of Adventism today.


Sick of Hearing About Apostasy


With all of this in mind, with much more to come, we humbly, but seriously and most sincerely invite all who will, to take a hard, critical look, based on a thus saith the Lord, with much prayer and the spirit of a true student of God, and to join us in this study, of why we must deal with and expose apostasy until the job is finished and the battle over.

Frankly, it does not matter that “we are sick of hearing about apostasy.” We neither write the rules of the warfare nor does it matter how we feel, but it is eternally important to understand that the value lies in what God says and how He directs. May we be compelled through our love for Jesus, the love of His truth, and the sanctification this brings, to stand properly in our lot as Seventh-day Adventists.

We plan not only to retrace our past to establish a foundation and platform for why exposing apostasy is vital, but we hope, along the way to keep demonstrating with clear evidence that the agenda to tear every waymark of true Adventism down is fully alive and at work in the ranks of the leadership within the structure.

We will also make the bold assertion, define, and prove it, that the power of the structure has been captured by these leaders who are promoting and pressing their agenda of apostasy. Included will be some of the reasons why these leaders are not really Adventists at all, and how this complicates the warfare from the perspective of the true Adventist.

In doing this delicate but bold work the writer is aware of what many will say. This very work is what caused the death of Christ, and virtually all those who stood firm, that we would know by name, either in the Biblical account, or the historical time of the dark ages. But this is to a large degree why we must investigate it! For if Jesus and His followers thought it worthy of dying for, and if the rejection of this aspect of the work (exposing the apostasy among the professed people of God) drove the majority to become their murderers, then we must know why and be in the right relationship with the facts, no matter how it makes us feel.

May the Holy Spirit attend every article with love, clarity, boldness and balance; and every reader with honesty, discernment, a love for the truth, and the mind of Christ, is our prayer.


Evil Surmising Versus Reproof in the Spirit of Prophecy

“That which Satan plants in the heart—envy, jealousy, evil surmising, evil speaking, impatience, prejudice, selfishness, covetousness, and vanity—must be uprooted. If these evil things are allowed to remain in the soul, they will bear fruit by which many shall be defiled. Oh, how many cultivate the poisonous plants, that kill out the precious fruits of love and defile the soul!” My Life Today, 179.


What must happen before the latter rain can fall on God’s people?


“When the latter rain is poured out, the church will be clothed with power for its work; but the church as a whole will never receive this until its members shall put away from among them, envy, evil-surmisings, and evil-speaking. Those who cherish these sins know not the blessed experience of love; they are not awake to the fact that the Lord is testing and proving their love for him by the attitude they assume toward one another. When this commandment is obeyed, envy, evil-speaking, evil-surmising, and evil-thinking will not be indulged; they will have no part in the formation of character.” Review and Herald, October 6, 1896.

“The church will never as a whole receive the latter rain unless they shall put away all envy, evil surmising, and evil speaking. Those who have cherished hatred in the heart until it has strengthened and become part of their character, must have a different experience if they would share in the latter rain. Many are not awake to the fact that the Lord is testing and proving them to make it manifest whether or not they really love Jesus. The spirit and attitude manifested to their brethren, tells their spirit and attitude toward God.” The Home Missionary, August 1, 1896.


What is the effect of evil-speaking?


“As the leaven spreads through the meal in which it is hidden, so will the leaven of evil-surmising and malice pervert the entire being—thoughts, actions, and character—where it is received. With the good leaven, the word of God, true goodness, righteousness, and peace are introduced. This brings the entire affections into conformity to the mind and will of God.” The Home Missionary, July 1, 1897.

“I am filled with sorrow as I see finite men who claim to be the sons of God, filled with evil surmising, and ready to speak evil of their brethren in the truth, ready to weigh others in their own scales of human opinion, and place their estimate upon those of whom they really understand but little. The worst of it is that often those who ought to understand why such action is out of place, drink in the spirit of the accuser, go to the polluted fountain of suspicion and distrust, and turning from the course justice marks out, are guided by some one’s hearsay of another’s action or character. By this course God’s Holy Spirit is grieved, and the churches are weakened by the influence of distrust and suspicion; for they are led to speak evil of those who stand far better in the sight of God than do their accusers. Are we to take reports, hearsay, as if they were verity and truth? Are we not to rebuke the talebearer who would make a condemned brother’s course appear as bad as possible? The true brethren of Christ are those who guard the interests of their brethren and sisters. How inappropriate it is to condemn others, when every soul is to be saved, not on his own merits, but by the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour! We are all erring, finite creatures, accountable to God for our words, works, and influence.” Review and Herald, October 24, 1893.

“There are those who cherish a spirit of envy and hatred against their brethren, calling it the Spirit of God. There are those who go up and down as talebearers, accusing and condemning, blackening character, inspiring hearts with maliciousness. They carry false reports to the doors of their neighbors, who, as they listen to the slander, lose the Spirit of God. Not even the messenger of God, who bears to the people His truth, is spared.” Upward Look, 122.


Can God use those who are evil-surmising about others?


“I feel so saddened, so discouraged, by the thought that my brethren are willing to listen to and circulate hearsay. I know that the Spirit of God will not cooperate with those who, by their criticisms, their evil-surmising, and their hard-heartedness are helping Satan.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 198.

“To those who are inclined to suspect others of wrongdoing and to charge their brethren with evil, I would say, ‘Please read in the book Great Controversy the chapter entitled “The Origin of Evil.” ’ Bring home its truths to your individual hearts. Remember that it was the spirit of envy and evil surmising, cherished in the heart of the rebel angel, that began the evil work that opened the floodgates of woe upon our world.” The Upward Look, 114.


What result does evil-surmising and criticism have on our ourselves?


“Closely connected with Christ’s warning in regard to the sin against the Holy Spirit is a warning against idle and evil words. The words are an indication of that which is in the heart. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.’ But the words are more than an indication of character; they have power to react on the character. Men are influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are deceived by their words, and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan’s instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come

to believe that they are. It is dangerous to utter a word of doubt, dangerous to question and criticize divine light. The habit of careless and irreverent criticism reacts upon the character, in fostering irreverence and unbelief. Many a man indulging this habit has gone on unconscious of danger, until he was ready to criticize and reject the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, ‘Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 323.


What is the atmosphere of our homes to be like?


“In the family the spirit of criticizing and faultfinding should have no place. The peace of the home is too sacred to be marred by this spirit. But how often, when seated at the meal table, the members of the family pass around a dish of criticism, faultfinding, and scandal.

“Should Christ come today, would He not find many of the families who profess to be Christians cherishing the spirit of criticism and unkindness? The members of such families are unready to unite with the family above. I am instructed to say to them, ‘Prepare to meet thy God.’ Discord in families leads to discord in the church.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 410.


Are we to listen to gossip and evil-speaking?


“When you are tempted to speak unadvisedly, be on guard. If some one else approaches you with words of criticism regarding one of God’s children, turn a deaf ear to every such word. If you are spoken to harshly, never retaliate. Utter not a word. When under provocation, remember that ‘silence is eloquence.’ Silence is the greatest rebuke that you can possibly give to a faultfinder or one whose temper is irritated.” Our High Calling, 293.

“Evil-speaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. How miserable is the talebearer, the surmiser of evil! He is a stranger to true happiness. Testimonies, vol. 5, 176.


What should we do if we are guilty of evil speaking?


“My brethren, if you stand before God as true Christians, you will do in the year before us a work different from that which has been done in years past. Your wicked criticism is a sin in the sight of God. By it you are weakening the hands of God’s servants. This criticism is as a root of bitterness, whereby many are defiled. Let us come to the Lord in penitence, and ask Him to forgive us for not keeping His law, for not obeying the command to love one another as Christ has loved us. He says to us, ‘You have left your first love, and, unless you repent, I will remove your candlestick out of his place.’ ‘Be watchful,’ He pleads, ‘and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God.’ ” The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1903.


What discipline did Mrs. White endorse for an evil-surmiser?


“Then I saw a faint hope for C. S. I saw that the course that had been taken toward her by disfellowshiping her had been right, for her jealous evil-surmising and self breaking out every little while were enough to drag down and oppress a whole meeting. Yet I saw she loved the truth and cause better than anything else, although she had often wounded it and caused it to be reproached. I saw she must make thorough work speedily, and confess humbly her errors and wrongs, to the children of God, and then she could be healed. I saw that the church in Fairhaven should not fellowship her unless she makes an entire reformation.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 300.




Are we in danger of reaching the opposite extreme?

“While the servants of God are in constant danger of indulging a zeal that is wholly human, and while great harm is done by those who seem to be in their element in censuring, reproving, and condemning their brethren, there is fully as great danger of going to the opposite extreme, and making the sum and substance of Christian duty consist in love. The apostle Paul writes to his son Timothy, ‘Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.’ This work is just as essential to the prosperity of the church as is the exercise of gentleness, forbearance and love. Those who are consecrated to God will be as faithful to reprove and rebuke sin with all long-suffering and doctrine, as to comfort and encourage the desponding, and strengthen the weak. All who love God will show their abhorrence of sin.” The Signs of the Times, May 5, 1881.

“The history of Achan teaches the solemn lesson that for one man’s sin the displeasure of God will rest upon a people or a nation till the transgression is searched out and punished. Sin is corrupting in its nature. One man infected with its deadly leprosy may communicate the taint to thousands. Those who occupy responsible positions as guardians of the people are false to their trust if they do not faithfully search out and reprove sin. Many dare not condemn iniquity, lest they shall thereby sacrifice position or popularity. And by some it is considered uncharitable to rebuke sin. The servant of God should never allow his own spirit to be mingled with the reproof which he is required to give; but he is under the most solemn obligation to present the Word of God, without fear or favor. He must call sin by its right name. Those who by their carelessness or indifference permit God’s name to be dishonored by His professed people, are numbered with the transgressor— registered in the record of heaven as partakers in their evil deeds.” S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 996.


What was the sin of Achan?


“There was a time when Israel could not prevail against their enemies. This was because of Achan’s sin. God declared, ‘Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you.’ God is the same today. If defiling sins are cherished by those who claim to believe the truth, the displeasure of God rests upon the church, and He will not remove it until the members do all in their power to show their hatred for sin, and their determination to cast it out of the church. God is displeased with those who call evil good and good evil. If jealousy, evil surmising, and evil-speaking are allowed to have a place in the church, that church is under the frown of God. It will be spiritually unhealthy until it is cleansed from these sins, for till then God cannot reveal His power to strengthen and elevate His people and give them victory. God is not pleased with the slothful work done in the churches. He expects His stewards to be true and faithful in giving reproof and correction. They are to expel wrong after the rule God has given in His Word, not according to their own ideas and impulses. No harsh means must be used, no unfair, hasty, impulsive work done. The efforts made to cleanse the church from moral uncleanness must be made in God’s way. There must be no partiality, no hypocrisy. There must be no favorites, whose sins are regarded as less sinful than those of others. Oh, how much we all need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then we shall always work with the mind of Christ, with kindness, compassion, and sympathy, showing love for the sinner while hating sin with a perfect hatred.” 1888 Materials, 144.


How does God regard sin among us?


“I have been shown that God here illustrates how He regards sin among those who profess to be His commandment-keeping people. Those whom He has specially honored with witnessing the remarkable exhibitions of His power, as did ancient Israel, and who will even then venture to disregard His express directions, will be subjects of His wrath. He would teach His people that disobedience and sin are exceedingly offensive to Him and are not to be lightly regarded. He shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation. When the people realize that darkness is settling upon them, and they do not know the cause, they should seek God earnestly, in great humility and self-abasement, until the wrongs which grieve His Spirit are searched out and put away. Testimonies, vol. 3, 265.


How does God look upon His servants if they do not reprove sin?


“The prejudice which has arisen against us because we have reproved the wrongs that God has shown me existed, and the cry that has been raised of harshness and severity, are unjust. God bids us speak, and we will not be silent. If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty. In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it” Testimonies, vol. 3, 265, 266.


How will God’s true people deal with sin?


“The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. ‘And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’

“Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval.

“But the general slaughter of all those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness, and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of God and receive the mark, is described in the order to the five men with slaughter weapons: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’

“In the case of Achan’s sin God said to Joshua: ‘Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.’ How does this instance compare with the course pursued by those who will not raise their voice against sin and wrong, but whose sympathies are ever found with those who trouble the camp of Israel with their sins? Said God to Joshua: ‘Thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.’ He pronounced the punishment which would follow the transgression of His covenant.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 266, 267.

“If our lives are filled with holy fragrance, if we honor God by having good thoughts toward others, and doing good deeds to bless others, it matters not whether we live in a cottage or a palace. Circumstances have but little to do with the experiences of the soul. It is the spirit cherished which gives coloring to all our actions. A man at peace with God and his fellow men cannot be made miserable. Envy will not be in his heart; evil surmising will find no room there; hatred cannot exist. The heart in harmony with God is lifted above the annoyances and trials of this life. But a heart where the peace of Christ is not, is unhappy, full of discontent; the person sees defects in everything, and he would bring discord into the most heavenly music. A life of selfishness is a life of evil. Those whose hearts are filled with love of self will store away evil thoughts of their brethren and will talk against God’s instrumentalities. Passions kept warm and fierce by Satan’s promptings are a bitter fountain, ever sending forth bitter streams to poison the life of others.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 488.


Is There Hope For Unity?

This “unity” question continues to arise among God’s people. I, for one am glad it is still a major concern because it is good “sound doctrine.”

Will this “unity” really happen? If so, how? Will it come about as God’s Word describes it, or must it come about the way we as individuals perceive that it should? Or, if it does not, then we will just not accept it and throw out those who do not match our way of thinking? Saying, “These people cannot be of God because they do not see it as we do.”

Is it possible, even now, though many miles apart, that there can be unity existing among many brethren based upon the real gospel, the Three Angels’ Messages? I do not believe for a minute that the point has been reached that we can all say: “We have arrived.” But, that day will come. I am convinced, that God’s true people will be unified on the platform of truth and those who refuse the truth will not stay on the platform. This is why we must agree that the shaking is increasing—error is running rampant, and every wind of doctrine is blowing. Because of these things, we see people being blown around by every wind of doctrine and the other group settling into the truth of God’s word!


Unity—Just for the Sake of Unity?


What about unity and division? The Bible is clear that God wants His people united. 1 Corinthians 1:10 and 2 Corinthians 13:11, make it perfectly clear. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement. Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

Our commission here is “that ye all speak the same thing, and there be no divisions.” This seems clear. But, notice we must speak the same things. If we are not, there will be division. Can this situation be possible? The Word says we must have unity. But if we are not speaking the same things should we maintain unity—just for the sake of unity?

Eleven words will answer this question, as found in Special Testimonies, Series B., #2, 47. “We are to unify, but not on a platform of error.” What constitutes error? Would it be any deviation from the truth?

“Satan uses those who claim to believe the truth, but whose light has become darkness as his medium to utter his falsehoods and transmit his darkness.” Review and Herald, August 19, 1890.

“Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deed.” 2 John 9–11. [All emphasis supplied].

Is it possible to be a partaker of someone’s evil deeds by supporting their wrong concept of truth? “At times with burning earnestness and words of terrible severity Christ denounced the abomination that He saw in the Church and in the world. He would not allow the people to be deceived by false claims of righteousness and sanctity.” Special Testimonies, Series B., #2, 46, 47.

“It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt and still remain pure.” Review and Herald, January 2, 1900.

“Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Romans 16:17.

“Like will attract like. Those who are drinking from the same fountain of blessing will draw nearer together. Truth dwelling in the hearts of believers will lead to blessed and happy assimilation. Thus will be answered the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one even as He is one with the Father. For this oneness every truly converted heart will be striving.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 100, 101.

Over and over in the Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy we are reminded to “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, being of one accord.” (See Philippians 1:27; 2:2.) And on the other hand, as we have just read, a warning is given to separate from those “which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine.”

Is it possible to balance these statements? Yes, I believe it is. And here is a clear “no argument” quotation that will give us some direction. “Christ calls for unity, but 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 doctrine . . . I urge our brethren to unify upon a true Scriptural basis.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 175. This tells us not to unify on wrong practices, not to unify on false misleading doctrine. True unity can only come if it is based upon sound Scripture.

There will be some that call themselves the same name that we will not be able to work with, but we can certainly pray for them.


A Choice


Amos 3:3 says: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Independent ministries are constantly encouraged to have unity among the ranks. That is the way it should be as long as the doctrine is sound. If two ministries disagree, they are either both wrong, or one is right and the other is wrong, based on the Word. The situation now comes down to various supporters to evaluate what they believe is truth. Since we cannot support error, we must decide which ministry we will support.

Now, let me ask you a question. Is it not right for an individual (you) to choose to support or work with, or not to support and work with certain ministries? Each individual makes their decision based upon the teaching of each ministry. If their teaching does not line up with what you believe the truth is, you withdraw your support.

That is the way it should be conducted. But what is the difference when we, the ministries, must withdraw from another ministry because of differences of doctrine? I hope you are getting the point! Yes, there will be unity among God’s true and faithful, and at the same time division because of those who will not come into line.

Ellen White made this point very well in Early Writings, 140: “We are assured that the watchman shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall again bring Zion. In the time of the end the wise shall understand. When this is fulfilled, there will be unity of faith with all whom God accounts wise.”

The Lord’s messenger gives us the bottom line in Selected Messages, vol. 3, 412: “We have a testing message to give and I am instructed to say to our people, unify, unify, but we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils . . . we are to go forth to proclaim the message, giving no heed to those who lead away from truth.”

We must continue, as Ephesians 4:3 tells us, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” And at the same time, “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:10, 11.

Unity is coming! Thousands are praying for it to happen. God will hear and answer as this is His will for each of us.

All we need in preparation for this grand event is to follow Ephesians 4:23, 24, which is my prayer for all of God’s people. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”


Letter from Secretariat, General Conference of Seventh day Adventists

Dear Brother and Sister:

Elder Folkenberg asked me to reply to your letter of December 1996 in which you expressed concern over violence that erupted toward two men, Livingstone Kul and Jonathan Gray, in Papua New Guinea, and you expressed the hope that some disciplinary action might be taken toward the church officials.

I had not heard of the incident until I read your letter, so I made contact with the South Pacific Division officers in Australia to discover what took place. They had not heard either. Isn’t it strange how stories circulate the globe, and create criticism and anger, while the people where the incidents are said to have happened sometimes know nothing of it.

In this case, there is some truth to the report, and some error. We now have a report from our leaders in Papua New Guinea. It appears that the trouble began when a group of disloyal independent Adventists held a camp meeting in a province of Papua New Guinea, and, without any authority from the Church, ordained two of their number to the gospel ministry. This was done by a man from the African country of Zimbabwe who has no authority to ordain. These independents had built their church alongside the Adventist church, and then proceeded to brand the Adventist church as “Babylon,” and the leaders of our Church as corrupt.

It is true that a fight broke out and two men, Jonathan Gray and Livingston Kul were beaten. But it was not the officials of the Church who did this. It was ex-Adventists who beat these two men. You see, in Papua New Guinea, most of the people are uneducated, superstitious village people, not far removed from heathenism. In their culture, if someone accuses another to the point where it is hurtful, he gets a beating for it.

Our church leaders have encouraged our Church members to leave off these old customs, and to ignore the taunts of the independent group. And apparently our members have accepted the counsel. But the ex-Adventists were not inclined to let it go unpunished. These former Adventists were very jealous for the Church to which they used to belong. They are not prepared to hear it criticized and abused the way the independents do it, so it was they, the ex-Adventists, who dealt out what they consider to be just punishment. In fact, they went even further and burnt down the church which the independents had built.

We do not condone such conduct, nor do the Papua New Guinea Union officers. But we have no authority to discipline ex-Adventists. Now that you have a clearer picture of what happened, I’m sure you will understand some of the difficulties our leaders face in trying to shepherd the Church along the pathway of life.

Our prayers ascend with yours for peace and progress in the work of God.

Your friend in Christ,

Athal H Tolhurst


(301) 680-6643

Letter from Papua New Guinea

President, Eastern Highlands-Simbu Mission of Seventh-day Adventist Church,

P.O. Box 966

Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province

Dear Pastor,

It is with great sorrow that we write to you regarding the shameful treatment of Pastor Livingstone Kul by Elders, Deacons and church members at Bena Bena on Wednesday the 11th of December. Pastor Livingstone was severely beaten and a church building was burnt down at the time of this assault. Elders and Deacons led the group of church members who beat and kicked Pastor Livingstone as he was fellowshipping with fellow believers.

Pastor this is not the first time this has happened in the Eastern Highlands and we are aware of cases of assault in Kabuifa and Bena Bena in the past. No action was ever taken against the people involved in these assaults even though they were Elders and Deacons of God’s church. To make this situation worse these assaults occurred on Sabbath following divine services.

In Matthew 5:21–23 Jesus tells us, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement.’ We are also counseled in Isaiah 58:1 that we should “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and shew my people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins.” In Ezekiel 3:17–21, God requires us to warn people of their sins or their blood will be required of us.

Pastor, we humbly request that you call the perpetrators of this assault to the church discipline following the Biblical counsel in Matthew 18:15–17. As you are aware, God requires all of His true followers to repent of their sins and true repentance requires making things right with the person you have offended, as well as with God. We are praying for these individuals who committed this assault and asking the Lord Jesus to forgive them for their unconsecrated and unchrist-like behavior.

Pastor you should be aware that as a result of this assault, many church members will question the behaviour of the leaders of God’s church and many more will join the ranks of the laymen who are preaching the need to prepare, by sanctification, for the soon return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

As Pastor Livingstone had a speaking engagement in Australia immediately after the assault, I have also been advised that many Adventists in Australia who have heard the story are also questioning the leadership of God’s church in PNG and believe that they see prophecy being fulfilled. In Great Controversy, Chapter 33, “The Loud Cry,” we read: “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the Third Angel’s Message, but have not been sanctified through it, abandon the position, and take refuge under the banner of the powers of darkness . . . Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren.” [Great Controversy, 608.]

Two thousand years ago the leaders of God’s church took the Son of God, beat and tortured Him and hung Him on the cross to die. Jesus had a very small number of true and faithful supporters, who, in a very short period of time following His death and resurrection, took the Gospel of Salvation to the world, despite experiencing fierce persecution by church leaders. Last year in Kainantu, the Easter Highlands Simbu Mission saw fit to use unbiblical authority to disfellowship a handful of faithful laymen for the “sin” of preaching the Three Angels’ Messages in the streets. In a matter of 18 months, thousands of faithful church members have stood and joined the laymen in order to finish the work of the Gospel. Wherever these laymen have been persecuted, the more church members take their stand for truth. Pastor we are in the shaking time and Jesus will soon return as He is now separating the wheat from the tares.

Pastor, the Leadership of SDA Church can disfellowship all who support the laymen’s movement, but this is not important to us. Names do not need to be written on church roles. The only place that we need to have our names written is the Lambs Book of Life and no church leader can remove our names form this book. Unbiblical civil authority can be employed to try and prevent us from using the term “Seventh-day Adventist” but you cannot erase this from our hearts because Jesus Himself called us in this belief.

The Laymembers Association was not established to destroy God’s church but to preach the soon return of Jesus Christ. We would like to work along side the church in PNG, but we are treated with suspicion and persecution by the SDA church leadership. We pray that God will open the eyes of the leaders of the church in PNG and allow us to work cooperatively to finish the work of the Gospel. The counsel given by Gamaliel in Acts 5:38–39 is so relevant, “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

Pastor we have not been given the opportunity to fully discuss matters of concern with yourself or other leaders in Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission. We would appreciate receiving your response to this letter and we would be happy to meet with you if you so wish.

Your Brethren in Christ Jesus,


Laymembers Association of Papua New Guinea

Response Letter…

Rooted and Grounded

Our only safety is to be rooted and grounded in the love and strength of Christ.

Paul says in Ephesians 3:16–19, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” What experience must we have? We must be strengthened by His Spirit, so that we can be rooted and grounded in love. We will never fully understand the mysteries of God, but unless we are rooted and grounded in His love, we will not understand the dimensions of God’s love, or have Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith.

In Revelation 13, we read about the image to the beast. “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Revelation 13:13, 14. From these verses we see that the devil will instigate the enforcement of the mark of the beast. What will his first deception be? Miracles. Today, more than ever, people are putting their faith in miracles. To many minds, if something “miraculous” takes place, they believe it is a sign of God. But are miracles a test? They are not.

Satan’s second method is a false Holy Spirit movement, a false Pentecostal experience based on feeling. The underlying issue, with both of his great deceptions, is getting people to trust in feelings. When you do not have the peace of Christ, the devil gives you something in place of it. He gives this emotional, “feel good” experience.

What does God’s Word say about that? Peter says something very interesting in 2 Peter 1:16–18: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” Peter here recalls the transfiguration, where they were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ majesty.

The transfiguration was a type of the second coming. Elijah was there, representing those who will be alive when Jesus comes. Moses represented the dead who will be raised. This was the most dazzling sight that human eyes had ever beheld. It was awe inspiring. Look at what Peter said in the next verse: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy.” Is God’s Word above miracles? Is it above dazzling sights? It is! Peter said, “We saw the transfiguration, that miraculous sight, but we have a more sure word.”

Our senses can deceive us. Feelings can deceive us, but God’s Word never will. “We also have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.

God’s Word is the only sure, stable thing on which we can base our faith, on this earth. It is, as the psalmist said, a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. (Psalm 119:105.) It shows us the way we should go, and is the only foundation on which we can build.


Abraham’s Test


There are many examples of faith over feeling in the Bible. Faith is simply taking God at His Word, even when we do not feel like it. It does not take faith to accept what you believe. And so faith is actually putting God’s Word over feeling.

The most severe test ever to come upon a mortal was when God directed Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Did that go against Abraham’s feelings? It was directly opposite to all of his loving, paternal feelings for his precious, only son. For three days, as Abraham and Isaac journeyed up to Mount Moriah, Abraham was tormented by a fierce inner conflict. He could not understand. It did not make sense. How could it be? The promised Messiah was to come through Isaac’s lineage. If he sacrificed Isaac, the Messiah could not come. The devil was whispering in Abraham’s ear, “Thou shalt not kill.” (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 148.) But Abraham knew that God had instructed him, and he would obey. Abraham knew that his feelings did not matter. He had to put God’s Word above feeling, above inclination—and that is what we must do.

Dependence on feelings will be the devil’s great deception in the last days. He will use it to have the national Sunday law passed, by people relying upon feeling. But the Bible says that we have to rely upon God’s Word. It does not matter how many people are against you. If Abraham had told anyone what he was doing, they would have said that he was crazy. We must rely solely upon God’s Word to be rooted and grounded. It must be the basis for our every action. We must be willing to stand by God’s Word though the heavens fall. The Bible says, “The word of the Lord endureth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:25. We must stand upon this firm platform.

How do we become firmly rooted and grounded in Christ? It takes more than just a casual study of God’s Word. Ellen White tells us in The Great Controversy that, “None but those who have fortified their minds with the truths of God’s Word will stand through the last great conflict.” The Great Controversy, 593.

What does fortified mean? It means strong, built up, strengthened. Is it a casual reading here and there? No. Do a tree’s roots ever stop growing? What happens if its roots stop growing? If the roots stop growing, the tree dies and it falls or is blown down by the wind. The Bible refers to the righteous as a tree, as a palm in the desert, and as the cedars in Lebanon. So, likewise, our roots must never stop growing, pushing deeper and deeper into the soil of God’s Word.

As we study God’s inspired Word for eternity, we will go even deeper. We can read God’s Word forever and ever, and always receive a blessing, and learn more truth. We must go deeper. We can never say, “I am rooted and grounded.” We have to constantly send our roots down deeper. There is danger of having a superficial experience, content to cling to the surface.

In the time of Jesus, there were Jews that had the entire Old Testament memorized, and most had the first five books of Moses committed to memory. They could quote you chapter and verse, but it had not taken root in their lives. They still rejected and crucified the Son of God. Knowledge alone will not save us.


The True Source of Wisdom


1 Corinthians 2:5 says, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” The wisdom of men will not suffice. Our faith must stand in the power of God. When Paul wrote this verse he was contemplating his work in Athens. The Athenians were worldly wise. When in Athens, Paul had matched wisdom with wisdom, and philosophy with philosophy. But in his next field, Corinth, he “determined not to know anything save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2. Philosophy and wisdom do not change the heart and life.

We must be searching for the truth as for hidden treasure. A gold miner cannot just pick up the gold of the ground. He has to dig down deep to find the precious treasure. That is where the truths of God’s Word are—in hidden veins that take time, effort and energy to gain. If we are satisfied to pick up a few of the nice pretty rocks on the surface, our faith is based on the wisdom of men, not on the power of God.

Jesus said to the Jews in John 5:39, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they that testify of me.” It is only as we learn of Christ, and accept Him into our hearts and lives, that we study so that we can ask and learn what it is Jesus wants us to do. Then we not only have the wisdom—the head knowledge—but we also have the heart knowledge.

I tell those I study with that, “A lot of people are lost by eighteen inches.” Eighteen inches is the distance from your head to your heart. Many are content to have the head knowledge, but not that personal connection with Christ. They are not studying so that they can know the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Many are studying to gain knowledge to explain all the prophecies and symbols in the book of Revelation. But one of the reasons God gave the prophecies is that the Day Star might arise in our hearts and we would be converted. It is not something which we can gain of ourselves, or get by going to church every week, by listening to what other people say. We must make the effort for ourselves. We must be digging deep into God’s Word.

The average life of a fundamental Christian is seventy-five years. He spends six months in worshipping, six years in eating, nine years in amusement, seven and one-half year in dressing, six years traveling, nineteen years in working, and twenty-three years sleeping. Do you think there’s some time that we could carve out? It says that we spent six years in eating, nine years in amusement, but only six months in worship. Who are we putting first? Are we putting God first, or are we putting amusement or appetite first? Jesus said: “Labor not for the meat” or food “which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” John 6:27.

Very few people go for a day without eating. Why? Because when you do not eat, it is hard to work. You become faint and weak. If we neglect reading God’s Word for just one day, spiritually we grow weak. It does not matter how much we know. If we are not daily sending roots deeper and deeper—if we are not being strengthened by reading God’s Word every day, we are not being rooted and grounded, and we will not be saved. We will be shaken out unless there is a true reformation in our hearts and in our lives.


Spiritual Growth


For a plant to grow and become rooted and grounded, it needs water, air and sunlight. The Bible refers to water. Jesus said, “I will give you living water from God’s Word.” When we spend five, ten or fifteen minutes a day, we are only sipping. He did not say, “I will give you a teaspoonful.” (David said, “my cup runneth over” Psalm 23:5.) Jesus said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14.

Water is the best thirst quencher there is. People drink substitutes like soda pop, but it only makes them more thirsty. Living water is all that will satisfy, and living water is God’s Word.

Another requirement for growth is air. Prayer is the breath of the soul. A person can live for only a few minutes without breathing, for a few days without water, and for a few weeks without food. Do you see then why we are told to “Pray without ceasing”?

Our prayers should be more than a formal routine. Jesus said not to use vain repetitions in prayer. Prayer should be like talking to God as to a friend. True prayer is not just saying a few set words, then getting into bed. True prayer is where we receive our strength, our nourishment, and where we receive our life.

The third requirement for plant growth and strength is sunlight. The Bible refers to Jesus as the “Sun of Righteousness,” that will “arise with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2.

Not only do we need to pray and spend that time drinking largely from the fountain of living water, but we also need to be doers. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24–27.

It takes more than reading from God’s Word. It takes more than prayer. If we are to be rooted, if we are to stand upon the Rock, we will be obedient to God’s Word. Then it will completely transform our lives. Jesus said, “If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31, 32.

Do you want to be a new creature in Christ? Then you must be rooted in Christ, and continually growing to reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. You must have continual growth, or you will wither away and die.

Take time every day to dig deeply into God’s Word. Breathe the fresh air of God’s power and strength through prayer. Allow the Sun of Righteousness to arise in your heart. Do not be a forgetful hearer, but instead a doer also. Then, my friend, when the winds come, and when the storms rage around you, you will be found securely fastened to the Rock.