The Regular Lines

Dear Brother Daniells:

I am sending you some things which I wrote some time ago, but have not before had the strength to search for.

Watch Part 3

Pharisaism in the Christian world today is not extinct. The Lord desires to break up the course of precision which has become so firmly established, which has hindered instead of advancing his work. He desires his people to remember that there is a large space over which the light of present truth is to be shed. Divine wisdom must have abundant room in which to work. It is to advance without asking permission or support from those who have taken to themselves a kingly power. In the past one set of men have tried to keep in their own hands the control of all the means coming from the churches, and have used this means in a most disproportionate manner, erecting expensive buildings where such large buildings were unnecessary and uncalled for, and leaving needy places without help or encouragement. They have taken upon themselves the grave responsibility of retarding the work where the work should have been advanced. It has been left to a few supposed kindly minds to say what fields should be worked and what fields should be left unworked. A few men have kept the truth in circumscribed channels, because to open new fields would call for money. Only in those places in which they were interested have they been willing to invest means. And at the same time, in a few places, five times as much money as was necessary has been invested in buildings. The same amount of money used in establishing plants in places where the truth has never been introduced would have brought many souls to a saving knowledge of Christ.

For years the same routine, the same “regular way” of working has been followed, and God’s work has been greatly hindered. The narrow plans that have been followed by those who did not have clear, sanctified judgment has resulted in a showing that is not approved by God.

God calls for a revival and a reformation. The “regular lines” have not done the work which God desires to see accomplished. Let revival reformation make constant changes. Something has been done in this line, but let not the work stop here. No! Let every yoke be broken. Let men awaken to the realization that they have an individual responsibility.

The present showing is sufficient to prove to all who have the true missionary spirit that the “regular lines” may prove a failure and a snare. God helping his people, the circle of kings who dared to take such great responsibilities shall never again exercise their unsanctified power in the so-called “regular lines”. Too much power has been invested in unrevived, unreformed human agencies. Let not selfishness and covetousness be allowed to outline the work which must be done to fulfill the grand, noble commission which Christ has given to every disciple. He, our Lord and Master, has given us an example, in his life, of self-sacrifice, of the way in which we must work to advance the kingdom of God.

God does not call upon his missionaries to show their devotion to him by burying themselves in monasteries, or by going on long, painful pilgrimages. It is not necessary to do this to show a willingness to deny self. It is by working for those for whom Christ died that we show true love. By humiliation, suffering, and rejection Christ purchased the salvation of the human race. By his death he made it possible for man to enjoy a home in his eternal kingdom. Those who love the Lord will look at Calvary, and will think of how the Lord of life and glory laid aside his royal robes and kingly crown, and clothing his divinity with humanity, came to a world all seared and marred with the curse, to stand at the head of the fallen race, becoming their example in all things, bearing all the trials they have to bear and enduring all the temptations they have to endure. He lived the life of the poorest, and suffered often with hunger. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests,” he said, “But the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.”

As a man beholds this divine love, this wonderful sacrifice, he is filled with a desire to spend his life in the service of the Redeemer,

As the sinner convicted and converted, Jesus says to him, “Follow me, and you shall not walk in darkness.” To each human being God has assigned an individuality and a distinct work. Abraham was called to go into new territory. He was to be a light-bearer to the heathen. Those who believe in the Lord are not to live to please themselves. The soul of every sinner is precious in the sight of God, and demands the care of those whose names are on the church books.

Christ’s commission is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Those who are impressed to take up the work in the home field or in regions beyond are to go forward in the name of the Lord. They will succeed if they give evidence that they depend upon God for grace and strength. At the beginning, their work may be very small, but it will enlarge if they follow the Lord’s plan. God lives, and he will work for the unselfish, self-sacrificing laborer, wherever and whoever he may be.

We look to see whether new fields have been worked whether the barren portions of the Lord’s vineyard have received attention. We see that most of those who have sought to begin work in new regions, as Brother Shireman has done, have been discouraged by those at the heart of the work, for fear that they would need money from the treasury. Yet from that same treasury money has been used to erect imposing and unnecessarily expensive buildings. If men had received the wisdom of God, they would have exercised justice and equity in regard to the outlay of means. All parts of the Lord’s vineyard would have received a just proportion of help.

There are many who, with proper encouragement, would begin in out-of-the-way places to make efforts to seek and to save that which is lost. The Lord blesses those self-sacrificing ones, who have such a hunger for souls that they are willing to go anywhere to work. But, in the past, how much encouragement has been given to such workers by their brethren? Many of them have waited for something to do, but no attention has been given to them.

If the ministers had given help and encouragement to these men and women, they would have been doing the work appointed them by the Lord. They have been the spiritual poverty of unworked fields, and have longed to do something to help. But it has taken so long for encouragement to come to them that many have gone into other lines of work.

Shall the “regular lines”, which say that every mind shall be controlled by two or three minds at Battle Creek, continue to bear sway? The Macedonian cry is coming from every quarter. Shall men go to the “regular lines” to see whether they will be permitted to labor, or shall they go out and work as best they can, depending on their own abilities and on the help of the Lord, beginning in a humble way and creating an interest in the truth in places in which nothing has been done to give the warning message?

The Lord has encouraged those who have started out on their own responsibility to work for him, their hearts filled with love for souls ready to perish. A true missionary spirit will be imparted to those who seek earnestly to know God and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. The Lord lives and reigns. Young men, go forth into the places to which you are directed by the Spirit of the Lord. Work with your hands, that you may be self-supporting, and as you have opportunity, proclaim the message of warning.

The Lord has blessed the work that J.E. White has tried to do in The South. God grant that the voices which have been so quickly raised to say that all the money invested in the work must go through the appointed channel at Battle Creek, shall not be heard. The people to whom God has given his means are amenable to him alone. It is their privilege to give direct aid and assistance to missions. It is because of the misappropriation of means that the Southern field has no better showing than it has today.

I do not consider it the duty of the Southern branch of our work, in the publication and handling of books, to be under the dictation of our established publishing houses. And if means can be devised to reduce the expense of publishing and circulating books, let this be done.

I have to say, my brother, that I have no desire to see the work in the South moving forward in the old, regular lines. When I see how strongly the idea prevails that the methods of handling our books in the past shall be retained, because what has been must be, I have no heart to advise that former customs shall continue. Let those who are laboring in Nashville do the will of God in all humility. I sincerely hope that the changes will be made that the necessities of the case demand.

I have more to write, but have no time now.1White, E.G. (1901, June 28). Spalding and Magan Collection, pp. 174-177.

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

The surrender of all our powers to God greatly simplifies the problem of life. It weakens and cuts short a thousand struggles with the passions of the natural heart.

— Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, February 2, 1893