Ellen G. White Writings

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Christ Triumphant, Page 332

People to Be Educated to Search the Scriptures, November 21

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39.

The present is a time of great peril to the people of God. God is leading out a people, not an individual here and there....“Take heed, therefore, how ye hear” is an admonition of Christ. We are to hear for the sake of learning the truth, that we may walk in it. And again: “Take heed what ye hear.” Examine closely, “prove all things,” “believe not every spirit.” ... This is the counsel of God; shall we heed it?

A person may hear and acknowledge the whole truth, and yet know nothing of personal piety and true experimental religion. He or she may explain the way of salvation to others, and yet be a castaway.... “Why,” asked a man who had been and still was practicing wickedness, “are souls converted to the truth through my influence?” I answered, “Christ is constantly drawing souls to Himself, and flashing His own light in their path. The seeker after salvation is not permitted to read the character of him who teaches him. If he himself is sincere, if he draws nigh to God, believing in Him, confessing his sins, he will be accepted.” ...

In the time of the Reformers, some were afraid of the influence on the church of those in error, and hence special pain was taken to make iron rules that the common people should not read and interpret the Scriptures for themselves. Thus the church came to exercise tyranny over dissenters....

We should never let the impression prevail that only a privileged few have a knowledge of the Scriptures and that others must refer to these—one or another of their favorite ministers—as authority for their doctrines. People should be educated to search the Scriptures for themselves, to dare to think for themselves, taking the Bible as their guidebook, their standard of faith. Although heresy may lift its head boldly, and insult the truth by perverted ideas and false interpretations and misapplication of Scripture, there should be no suppression of religious freedom by reformers.

The church should ever bear in mind that they are never to ascribe to fallible mortals the unerring wisdom of the one living God.... We want all souls to have a pure gospel and to feel the necessity of searching the Scriptures for themselves, to know what saith the voice of the Eternal, and bind themselves to the great heart of Infinite Love.—Letter 12, 1890.

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