No Time for Delay
There are among us many young men and women who, if inducements were held out, would naturally be inclined to take several years’ course of study to fit themselves for service. But will it pay? Time is short. Workers for Christ are needed everywhere. There should be a hundred earnest, faithful laborers in home and foreign mission fields where now there is but one. The highways and byways are yet unworked. Urgent inducements should be held out to those who ought now to be engaged in work for the Master.
The signs which show that Christ’s coming is near are fast fulfilling. The Lord calls upon our youth to labor as canvassers and evangelists, to do house-to-house work in places that have not yet heard the truth. He speaks to our young men, saying: “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Those who will go forth to the work under God’s direction will be wonderfully blessed. Those who in this life do their best will obtain a fitness for the future, immortal life.
The Lord calls upon those connected with our sanitariums, publishing houses, and schools to teach the youth to do evangelistic work. Our time and energy must not be so largely employed in establishing sanitariums, food stores, and restaurants that other lines of work will be neglected. Young men and young women who should be engaged in the ministry, in Bible work, and in the canvassing work should not be bound down to mechanical employment.
The youth should be encouraged to attend our training schools for Christian workers, which should become more and more like the schools of the prophets. These institutions have been established by the Lord, and if they are conducted in harmony with His purpose, the youth sent to them will quickly be prepared to engage in various lines of missionary work. Some will be trained to enter the field as missionary nurses, some as canvassers, and some as gospel ministers.
A Division of Responsibility
St. Helena, California,
August 4, 1903
To the Leaders in the Medical Work:
I have a message for you. I am instructed to say that not all the arrangements connected with the management of the medical missionary work are to originate in Battle Creek. The medical missionary work is God’s work, and in every conference and every church we are to take a decided stand against allowing it to be selfishly controlled.
After I received word in regard to the excellent meeting of confession and unity that had been held in Battle Creek I was writing in my diary and was about to record the thankfulness I felt because a change had come, when my hand was arrested, and there came to me the words: “Write it not. No change for the better has taken place. Teachings that are turning souls from the truth are being presented as of great worth. Doctrines are being taught that lead into bypaths and forbidden paths; doctrines that lead men to act in harmony with their own inclinations and to work out their unsanctified purposes; doctrines that, if received, would destroy the dignity and power of God’s people, obscuring the light that would otherwise come to them through God’s appointed agencies.”
The leaders in our medical work at Battle Creek have endeavored to bind our medical institutions fast, in accordance with their plans. Notwithstanding the many warnings given them that this should not be done, they have desired to bind up these institutions in some way so that all our medical work shall be under their control.
In the past I have written much upon this subject, and I must now repeat the admonitions given, for it seems difficult for my brethren to understand their perilous position.
“The Lord forbids that every sanitarium and bathhouse established should be brought under one control—bound up with the medical institution at Battle Creek. The managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium have their hands full now. They should devote their strength to the work of making this sanitarium what it should be.
“One man is not to think that he can be conscience for all the medical workers. Human beings are to look to the Lord God of heaven alone for wisdom and guidance.
“In establishing and developing medical institutions, our brethren must not be asked to work in accordance with the plans of a kingly, ruling power. A change must be brought about. The plan to fasten every medical institution to the central organization at Battle Creek must be relinquished. This plan God forbids.
“For years I have been instructed that there is danger, constant danger, that our brethren will look to their fellow men for permission to do this or that, instead of looking to God. Thus they become weaklings, and permit themselves to be bound with man-made restrictions disapproved by God. The Lord can impress minds and consciences to do His work under bonds to Him, and in a spirit of fraternity that is in accordance with the principles of His law….
“God knows the future. He is the One to whom we are to look for guidance. Let us trust Him to direct us in the development of the various branches of His work. Let none attempt to labor in accordance with unsanctified impulses….
“The division of the General Conference into District Union Conferences was God’s arrangement. In the work of the Lord for these last days there should be no Jerusalem centers, no kingly power. And the work in the different countries is not to be bound by contracts to the work centering in Battle Creek, for this is not God’s plan. Brethren are to counsel together, for we are just as much under the control of God in one part of His vineyard as in another. Brethren are to be one in heart and soul, even as Christ and the Father are one. Teach this, practice this, that we may be one with Christ in God, all working to build up one another.
“The kingly power formerly revealed in the General Conference at Battle Creek is not to be perpetuated. The publishing institution is not to be a kingdom of itself. It is essential that the principles that govern in General Conference affairs should be maintained in the management of the publishing work and the sanitarium work. One is not to think that the branch of the work with which he is connected is of vastly more importance than other branches.
“Educational work must be done in every sanitarium that shall be established. God has control of the work, and no one is to feel that everything done in the sanitariums established must first be submitted to one group of men. This course God forbids. The same God who has instructed the physicians at Battle Creek will instruct the men and women who are called to do service for the Master in various parts of His vineyard.
“Human laws and human arrangements are being framed that are not acceptable to God. They will not prove a savor of life unto life. I am under the necessity of lifting the danger signal. The managers of every one of our institutions need to become more intelligent in regard to their individual work, not by depending upon another institution, but, while preserving the identity of their work, by looking to God as their instructor and by revealing their faith in Him through whole-hearted service. Then they will develop talents and capabilities.”
Christ calls for service of a higher order than that which has been given Him. Men in positions of responsibility should, through receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, reveal the Redeemer much more clearly than they have revealed Him. The infinite God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son as a sacrifice for us, in order that we, by receiving Him in faith and practicing His virtues, might not perish, but have everlasting life. My brethren, how do you suppose He regards that great lack of spiritual enthusiasm manifested over the record of the infinite sacrificial offering made for our salvation?
All human ambition, all boasting, is to be laid in the dust. Self, sinful self, is to be abased, not exalted. By holiness in the daily life we are to reveal Christ to those around us. Corrupt human nature is to be subdued, not exalted. Thus only can we become pure and undefiled. We are to be humble, faithful men and women. Never are we to sit upon the judgment seat. God demands that His representatives shall be pure and holy, revealing the beauty of sanctification. The channel is always to remain unobstructed, that the Holy Spirit may have free course; otherwise some will gloss over the work that must be done in the natural heart in order to perfect Christian character; and they will present their own imperfections in such a way as to make of no effect God’s truth, which is as steadfast as the eternal throne. And while God calls upon His watchmen to lift the danger signal, at the same time He presents before them the life of the Saviour as an example of what they must be and do in order to be saved.
For His disciples Christ prayed: “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” A pleasant, self-satisfied feeling is not an evidence of sanctification. A faithful record is kept of all the acts of the children of men. Nothing can be concealed from the eye of the high and holy One that inhabiteth eternity. Some make Christ ashamed of them by their devising and planning and scheming. God does not approve of their conduct, for the Lord Jesus is dishonored by their spirit and their works. They forget the words of the apostle: “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” 1 Corinthians 4:9.
The instruction that the Lord has given concerning His work points out the right way. God’s plans and God’s thoughts are as much higher than man’s plans and man’s thoughts as the heavens are higher than the earth. God’s voice is to be heard, His wisdom is to guide. He has outlined His plan in His word and in the testimonies that He has sent to His people. That work only which is carried on in accordance with the principles of His word will stand fast forever.
St. Helena, California,
November 17, 1903
In the daily papers of various cities there have appeared articles which represent that there is a strife between Dr. Kellogg and Mrs. Ellen G. White as to which of them shall be leader of the Seventh-day Adventist people. As I read these articles I felt distressed beyond measure that anyone should so misunderstand my work and the work of Dr. Kellogg as to publish such misrepresentations. There has been no controversy between Dr. Kellogg and myself as to the question of leadership. No one has ever heard me claim the position of leader of the denomination.
I have a work of great responsibility to do—to impart by pen and voice the instruction given me, not alone to Seventh-day Adventists, but to the world. I have published many books, large and small, and some of these have been translated into several languages. This is my work—to open the Scriptures to others as God has opened them to me.
God has not set any kingly power in the Seventh-day Adventist Church to control the whole body or to control any branch of the work. He has not provided that the burden of leadership shall rest upon a few men. Responsibilities are distributed among a large number of competent men.
Every member of the church has a voice in choosing officers of the church. The church chooses the officers of the state conferences. Delegates chosen by the state conferences choose the officers of the union conferences, and delegates chosen by the union conferences choose the officers of the General Conference. By this arrangement every conference, every institution, every church, and every individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in the General Conference.
In the early days of our denominational work the Lord did designate Elder James White as one who, in connection with his wife, and under the Lord’s special guidance, was to take a leading part in the advancement of this work.
The history of how the work grew is well known. The printing plant was first established at Rochester, New York, and was afterward moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. And in afteryears a publishing house was established on the Pacific Coast.
I thank the Lord that He gave us the privilege of acting a part in the work from the beginning. But neither then nor since the work has grown to large proportions, during which time responsibilities have been widely distributed, has anyone heard me claiming the leadership of this people.
From the year 1844 till the present time I have received messages from the Lord and have given them to His people. This is my work—to give to the people the light that the Lord gives me. I am commissioned to receive and communicate His messages. I am not to appear before the people as holding any other position than that of a messenger with a message.
For many years Dr. J. H. Kellogg has occupied the position of leading physician in the medical work carried on by the Seventh-day Adventists. It would be impossible for him to act as leader of the general work. This has never been his part, and it never can be.
God Our Leader
I write this that all may know that there is no controversy among Seventh-day Adventists over the question of leadership. The Lord God of heaven is our King. He is a leader whom we can safely follow, for He never makes a mistake. Let us honor God and His Son, through whom He communicates with the world.
God would work mightily for His people today if they would place themselves wholly under His guidance. They need the constant abiding of the Holy Spirit. If there were more prayer in the councils of those bearing responsibilities, more humbling of the heart before God, we should see abundant evidence of divine leadership, and our work would make rapid progress.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8 pp. 229-238