Building on Man’s Foundation and Three Great Errors in the Church

Over and over again men have said, “The voice of the conference is the voice of God; therefore everything must be referred to the conference.  The conference must permit or restrict in the various lines of work.”… But the work carried on all over the field demands an entirely different course of action. There is need of the laying of a foundation different from the foundation which has been laid in the past.

I would prefer not to speak today, though not because I have nothing to say. I have something to say. The state of things that has existed in the conference is not clearly understood by some who occupy positions in the conference or by others who bear responsibilities in other lines of the work.

The work has been increasing; it has been growing. The light that I have had from the Lord has been expressed over and over again, not to as many as there are here today, but to different individuals. The plans upon which God wishes us to work have been laid down.

Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and say what plans shall be followed. The burden of the work in this broad field should not rest upon two or three men. We are not reaching the high standard which, with the great and important truth we are handling, God expects us to reach.

Over and over again men have said, “The voice of the conference is the voice of God; therefore everything must be referred to the conference. The conference must permit or restrict in the various lines of work.” As the matter has been presented to me, there is a narrow compass, and within this narrow compass, all the entrances to which are locked, are those who would like to exercise kingly power. But the work carried on all over the field demands an entirely different course of action. There is need of the laying of a foundation different from the foundation which has been laid in the past.

We have heard much about everything moving in the regular lines. When we see that the “regular lines” are purified and refined, that they bear the mold of the God of heaven, then it will be time to endorse these lines. But when we see that message after message given by God has been received and accepted, yet no change has been made, we know that new power must be brought into the regular lines. The management of the regular lines must be entirely changed, newly organized. There must be a committee, not composed of half a dozen men, but of representatives from all lines of our work, from our publishing houses, from our educational institutions, and from our sanitariums, which have life in them, which are constantly working, constantly broadening.

I have been shown the fields which should have been opened in America. But where in California or Michigan, the two great centers of the work, is aggressive work being done? Where is seen the wrestling in new fields?

God desires that His work shall be a rising, broadening, enlarging power. But the management of the work is becoming confused in itself. Not that anyone wishes to be wrong or to do wrong, but the principles are wrong. These principles are so foreign to God’s principles that God cannot bless those who work upon them. What must be done is to bring in other minds. Those who have been at work in the same channels for years have been discouraged and confused. We cannot entrust to such as these the tremendous responsibilities which are now to be handled.

Instruction has constantly been given as to the sacred, elevating, ennobling principles which should control in our institutions. The interests of the General Conference and all that concerns the handling of the work require minds that are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Unless those who have charge of the work give evidence that they are controlled by the Holy Spirit, unless they give evidence that they receive power from God to impart to the responsibilities with which they are connected, a change should be made without delay.

God forbid, brethren, that this conference should close as our conferences have closed in the past, with the same management, the same tone, the same order. The Lord wants those who have a knowledge of the truth to come to their senses. He wants them to arouse. It is time for us to arise and shine because our light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon us. If we are not going to do this, we might just as well close our conference today as later.

From the light God has given me, everything connected with this conference is to be regarded as most sacred. Why? Because at this time the work is to be placed upon a proper basis. Wrong principles have been followed. For the last fifteen years wrong decisions have been made; and now God calls for a change. He wants in His work men of faith and capability, men who realize that there is a ladder for them to climb round by round, and that those who climb this ladder will finally step off it into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us move heavenward. Let every thread of selfishness that has been woven into the work be now cut out.

The work should stand 100 percent higher than it stands today. The satanic agencies are working with all their power to weaken and destroy us, and unless there is a waking up among the people of God, the enemy will gain the victory. God calls upon us to arouse, to take hold of His work, and labor for time and for eternity.

Many are treading over and over again in the same ground. Our large churches ought to be turning out men who are educated and trained and disciplined, prepared to enter the Lord’s vineyard; but what are they doing? The barren fields, specially in the South, are crying to God for help. These fields have scarcely been touched, notwithstanding the message that God has been giving for a number of years.

It is high time that this came to an end. Let the work be woven after the same pattern that it has in the past and it will finally come to naught. God calls for a decided change. Do not wait until the conference is over and then gather up the forces to see what can be done. Let us see what can be done now. Find out what power and intelligence there is that can be brought into the conference. Let all unite in taking hold of the work intelligently. This is what is needed.

Every institution should have a voice in the working of the cause in which [it has] an interest. God wants us to come to the place where we shall be united in the work, where the whole burden will not be laid on two or three men. Unless a change is made, Brother Irwin will soon be where he cannot work at all. He needs support. He has been in the work of wrestling so long that he must have a change or else he will break down.

We need men who will stand as true to principle as the needle to the pole. God will test the men who are given responsibilities in His work, and unless they show that they have a true idea of what Christlike principles are, He will remove them and put others in their place. God wants us to know what it means to work on the principles of heaven. He wants those in the office to know what it means for everyone to stand in his lot and place, obeying the words, “Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” [2 Peter 1:5-7]. Brethren, let us hang these words in the chambers of the mind. If we live on the plan here outlined, we “shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto . . .[us] abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” [verses 10, 11].

God is in earnest with us. He has seen the close dealing, and it is contemptible in His sight. It leaves men where, if they do not change, they will never see the kingdom of God. They are as destitute of the nobility, the generosity, the tenderness, the compassion, the love of Christ, as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. They cannot be aroused to see their condition. Enough has been said, but it does not lead them to reform. The message from heaven is professedly accepted, but no change is made. This is what alarms me. I see that unless there is more tenderness, more compassion, more of the love of God, the blessing of heaven will be withdrawn. John knew what he was talking about when he said, “Thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” [Revelation 2:4, 5].

We need to study what John has written about the love of God. This love has not been cultivated, and when it is not cultivated, the opposite attribute is developed. The love of God has not been manifested in our publishing houses. Those who have practiced sharp dealings have flattered themselves that they are keen businessmen, but they have been losing instead of gaining, and unless they change, their light will be removed. They fail to realize that it is for the interests of the institution with which they are connected for them to act nobly every time, to come up to the help of the Lord. God will never acquit us till His principles are followed in our institutions.

God means what He says. He calls for a change. The same things are being repeated, the same ideas followed, the same committees appointed. In a small section a king reigns, and all others are secondary, when there are other men who are better able to do the work, because they have not been working on narrow plans.

I feel intensely over this matter. I do not want to talk in this way. If you will melt under the tenderness of God, breaking your hearts before Him and placing yourselves where you will not mislead, you will see that He hates selfishness. When you bring selfishness into the management of His cause, it makes the crime one-hundred-fold greater. It makes God ashamed of you.

You are to be representatives of Jesus Christ, representatives of His character. You are to show that you are carrying out the living principles of heaven in every line of action. God will not accept your common fire. He wants you to use the sacred fire which He has kindled on the divine altar. It is His desire that this fire shall consume all commonness, all selfishness, all cheapness. These things must be purged from the men who are helping to prepare a people to stand in the last great conflict, which is just upon us. Self must be hid in Christ. When this is done, Christ will appear. Christ will be seen as the great Worker.

God desires the committees which have been handling the same things for so long, to be relieved of their command. They should have a chance for life, to see if they cannot get out of the rut into which they have fallen. I have no hope that they will do this without a thorough change, because the Spirit of God has been working with them yet the wrong, unreformed, is still there.

The Lord desires His Holy Spirit to come into this meeting. He declares that every vestige of sharpness in dealing must be removed, for He hates it. No sharpness is to be exercised toward His servants who are working for Him, bringing the tithe into the treasury that His cause may be sustained. God’s treasury is to be supplied by the tithe, which is to be regarded as a sacred fund. It is God’s, and it is to be liberally given, that the work may be sustained. Those in responsible places are to act in such a way that the people will have firm confidence in them. These men should not be afraid to open to the light of day everything in the management of the work.1White, E.G. (1901). A Call to Reconsecrate, Reorganize and Advance,  Manuscript 43

References   [ + ]

The Watchman

The Watchman

In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light - bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. Evangelism, p. 119

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Words of Life

Sickness of the mind prevails everywhere. Nine tenths of the diseases from which men suffer have their foundation here. Perhaps some living home trouble is, like a canker, eating to the very soul and weakening the life forces. Remorse for sin sometimes undermines the constitution and unbalances the mind.

— Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 443