Ellen G. White Writings

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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598], Page 378

MR No. 1580—Admonitions for a Wayward Minister

(Written September 6, 1886, from Basel, Switzerland, to G. I. Butler. A large portion of the letter is phrased as if it were being addressed directly to J. H Waggoner, the subject of the letter.)

I am troubled in regard to Elder [J. H.] Waggoner. He writes me nothing, and I feel deeply pained on his account. It seems sometimes to me that the Lord is testing us to see whether we will deal faithfully in regard to sin in one of our honored men. The time is close at hand when the General Conference will have to decide the point, whether or not to renew his credentials.

If the Conference does this, they will be saying virtually, “We have confidence in you as a man whom God recognizes as His messenger; one to whom He has entrusted the sacred responsibilities of caring for the sheep of the Lord's pasture; one who will be in all things a faithful shepherd, a representative of Christ.” But can we do this? Have we not seen the workings of an unsanctified heart?

The persistency in Elder Waggoner to accept and claim Mrs. Chittenden as his—what shall I call it—his affinity? What is this? Who can name it? Is Elder Waggoner one who has hated the light God has given him, showing that his preferences for Mrs. Chittenden's society and his intimacy with her, was sinful as in the light of the Word of God? Or did he accept the message and act upon it?

Notwithstanding, I went to Elder Waggoner with the testimony given me of God, yet he did not reform. His course has said, “I will do as I please in the matter; there is no sin in it.” He promised before God what he would do, but he broke his promise, made to Brother C. H. Jones, W. C. White, and myself, and his feelings did not decidedly change; but he seemed to act like a man bewitched, under the spell of the devil, who had no power over his own inclinations. Notwithstanding all the light given, he has evidenced no real conviction or sense of sin, no repentance, no reformation. Hearts have ached sorely over this state of things, but they had no power to change his heart or his purposes.

Now, we should be very grateful for the help of Elder Waggoner in England and in Switzerland, but what can we decide upon? We must have evidence that he is clear before God. We do not want to make a light matter of sin, and say to the sinner, “It shall be well with thee.” We do not want to connect Elder Waggoner

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