Ellen G. White Writings

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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598], Page 260

MR No. 1554—Testimony Concerning the Work in Ohio; Church Leaders to Be Chosen Carefully

(Written May, 1863, from Battle Creek, Michigan.)

I have been shown some things in regard to Ohio. First I was shown the great importance of ministers who profess the truth being especially led and counseled of God, that in all their efforts they may advanced and build up the cause of God, and in order to do this they must be free in God themselves. They must not move from impulse but from principle and sound judgment, and by faithful labor and example lead on the church for whose benefit they are laboring to disinterested benevolence, brotherly love, devotedness to God, self-forgetfulness, and holiness.

Some who have labored in Ohio have not studied as they should their moves and the influence of the course they were pursuing. Ministers will be held accountable for the part they have acted in placing the cause in its present weak condition in Ohio. These ministers did not all design to move wrong, but they did not feel the burden of their work as God designs every minister should. They did not depend upon God but trusted too much to their own strength. They did not feel that a great weight was attached to every move and action of theirs in the church. They did not with earnestness and wrestling prayer seek the special wisdom and direction from One who never errs. Self was too prominent in their labors, and as the result many mismoves were made.

I was shown that the success and progress of a church depend very much upon the first impressions they receive and the first instruction given them by the ministers who labor among them. Ohio has been unfortunate. Men professing to be sent of God, whom God never sent, have had influence among them, and their influence has cursed the cause of God in other places. When they had destroyed their influence in one State, they would leave the field they had desolated for a new field where their course had not been known and where for this reason they could do the most harm. Such have been the labors of S. W. Rhodes and G. W. Holt in Ohio. The instruction given by them was perfectly calculated to lead the people in Ohio to extremes.

S. W. Rhodes was severe, exacting, and his teachings and example led the people of God to look more to each other than to look to God, and to watch the failings of their brethren and sisters. He was censorious, peevish, fretful, and in a high

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