In these last days the devil is very busy doing all that he can to hinder the work of God. The greatest hindrance to advance the cause of God sadly is coming from those within the church. “We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world.”1White, Ellen. Selected Messages Book 1 (1958), page 122 With that being said, there are two groups/classes opposing the work of God, we are going to analyze these two classes in detail, and determine whether or not we belong to either of these classes.
The Pharisaical Complex
The first class will be termed the modern-day Pharisees within the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. This class consists of conference pastors, presidents of conferences, union and division leaders. As it is stated in The Desire of Ages regarding the religious leaders, “the leaders in Israel became instruments of Satan in warring against the Savior.”2White, Ellen. The Desire of Ages (1898), page 205 History is being repeated as the leaders within Adventism are being used by the enemy of souls to block the present truth, and marginalize the preachers and teachers of present truth, thus preventing revival and reformation from taking place. “Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors.”3White, Ellen. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (1923), page 411 Since the leaders reject the truth for this time and are willfully blind, they take pride in their power and authority over the members. They are opposed to pastors having churches that are not under their jurisdiction. Like the religious leaders in Christ’s day they inquire “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?” Mark 11:28. Since they do not have direct control over the churches in the irregular lines (self-supporting churches), they inform their members to stay away from them and threaten that they dare not support them financially. The present-truth preaching in the irregular-line churches which are straight, pointed messages calling for repentance and exposing sins that are both in the church and in the world upsets them and stirs their worst passions. Therefore, because the truth thus spoken cannot be refuted, they resort to personal attacks, using name-calling and trying to find fault with the character of the messenger.
In John 8 when Jesus spoke to the religious leaders and their sins were being exposed, they resorted to name-calling as well. “Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” John 8:48. The Lord of glory was even called “…a man gluttonous, and a winebibber,” Matthew 11:19. Some examples of the name-calling used by the modern-day Pharisees to describe and label present-truth ministries and pastors in the irregular lines who are shepherding flocks include: “independent atoms,” “offshoots,” men who just have an “axe to grind” with the church, “overly critical” and “not Christ-like.” Since such leaders are opposed to any church outside of the conference, and they would have members believe that salvation only comes from within the corporate/local SDA churches, they conveniently fail to realize and acknowledge the principle brought out in John 4:24 that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Just as God is a Spirit and is not bound to one physical locality, the church is a spiritual body which is worldwide and location does not determine salvation. Having the spirit and the truth is what God is looking for in His believers, and those are the subjects that comprise His church. The conference leadership is also very much concerned with money, and it bothers them that tithes and offerings are going to churches outside of the conference. In their blindness, they believe and teach that the conference alone constitutes the storehouse, indicating an appalling ignorance of the Spirit of Prophecy which states, “Do not worry lest some means shall go direct to those who are trying to do missionary work in a quiet and effective way. All the means is not to be handled by one agency or organization. There is much business to be done conscientiously for the cause of God.”4White Ellen. Spalding and Magan Collection. (1985), page 421 Since the General Conference is operated more like a corporation than a church, money is very important to the modern-day Pharisees. This is why they are so opposed to churches being established outside of the conference; they want all the tithes and offerings to come to them. This is one of the main reasons why they are so opposed to God’s messengers, who are by his grace, exalting the standard of righteousness.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||White, Ellen. Selected Messages Book 1 (1958), page 122|
|2.||↑||White, Ellen. The Desire of Ages (1898), page 205|
|3.||↑||White, Ellen. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (1923), page 411|
|4.||↑||White Ellen. Spalding and Magan Collection. (1985), page 421|