Ellen G. White Writings

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Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, Page 246

J. White further remarked that if the “nominal churches” and the organized “nominal Adventists” were characterized as cold, the only ones who would qualify to represent the lukewarm Laodicean church must be those who professed the third angel’s message. 1J. White, “Watchman,” p. 184. The name “Laodicea” was seen as timely and signified to him “‘the judging of the people,’ or according to Cruden, ‘a just people,’ and fitly represents the present state of the church, in the great day of atonement, or judgment of the ‘house of God’ while the just and holy law of God is taken as a rule of life.” 2J. White, “Seven Churches,” p. 189. Cf. letter, E. Everts to the Brethren, RH, Jan. 1, 1857, p. 72; Snow, “Laodicean Church,” p. 117.

From this time onward the tenor of the ecclesiological self-understanding was more anti-triumphalistic. Referring to the Laodicean spirit among the Sabbatarian Adventists J. White stated that our positions are fully sustained by an overwhelming amount of direct scriptural testimony.... but we, as a people, have evidently rested down upon a theory of truth, and have neglected to seek Bible humility, Bible patience, Bible self-denial, and Bible watchfulness, and sacrifice, Bible holiness, and the power and gifts of the Holy Ghost.... Hence it is said, “And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked [Revelation 3:17].” What a condition! 3J. White, “Seven Churches,” p. 189.

He also pointed out that the church had to be “stripped from self-righteous views and feelings” and had to experience a thorough repentance. 4J. White, “The Laodicean Church,” RH, Nov. 13, 1856, p. 13. The current attitude he denounced as “hypocrytical,” for in living with the expectancy of the imminent Second Advent and God’s judgments on those who disobeyed the third angel’s message, “professed believers rush on in their worldly pursuits, taxing their entire energies in pursuit of this world as if there was no coming Jesus, no wrath of God to fall upon the shelterless and no flaming Judgment-bar, where all deeds will receive a recompense.” 5Ibid. According to Stephen H. Haskell, there had probably never been a time that a theory of the third angel’s message was better understood; yet, it was a well-known fact that there was a “very great, lukewarmness throughout the entire church. Pride, popularity, a worldly-mindedness, etc., etc., are in the ranks of the remnant” (“A Few Thoughts on the Philadelphia and Laodicean Churches,” RH, Nov. 6, 1856, p. 6). Cf. E. G. White, TC, No. 3, p. 1 (Testimonies for the Church 1:141). Here she said: “Worldly-mindedness, selfishness and covetousness, have been eating out the spirituality and life of God’s people.”

At this time a parallel was discovered between the third angel’s message and the Laodicean message: The third angel’s message was seen as the final message of mercy to “a rebellious world,” and the Laodicean, as the final message to “a lukewarm church.” 6[Smith], “The Last Way-Marks,” RH, Dec. 11, 1856, p. 44. Waggoner stated that “the last warning to the world is the Third Angel’s Message, and the last admonition to the church is the letter to the Laodiceans.” 7Letter, Waggoner to Smith, RH, Dec. 25, 1856, p. 61. See supra, p. 168.

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