Ellen G. White Writings

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Ms 139, 1901

Ms 139, 1901

Organization

NP

1901

This manuscript is extracted from various published sources.

God has a people in which all heaven is interested, and they are the one object on earth dear to the heart of God. Let every one who reads these words give them thorough consideration; for in the name of Jesus I would press them home upon every soul. When any one arises, either among us or outside of us, who is burdened with a message which declares that the people of God are numbered with Babylon, and claims that the loud cry is a call to come out of her, you may know that he is not bearing the message of truth.—The Review and Herald, August 29, 1893.

Although there are evils existing in the church, and will be until the end of the world, the church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted and demoralized by sin. The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon earth upon which Christ bestows His supreme regard. The world is a workshop in which, through the operation of human and divine agencies, Jesus is making experiments by His grace and divine mercy upon human hearts. Angels are amazed as they behold the transformation of character brought about in those who yield themselves to God, and they express their joy in songs of rapturous praise to God and to the Lamb. They see those who are by nature the children of wrath, converted, and becoming laborers together with Christ in drawing souls to God. They see those who were in darkness becoming lights to shine amid the moral night of this crooked and perverse generation. They see them becoming prepared by a Christlike experience to suffer with their Lord, and afterward to be partakers with Him in His glory in heaven above.

God has a church on earth who are lifting up the down-trodden law and presenting to the world the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. The church is the depositary of the wealth of the riches of the grace of Christ, and through the church eventually will be made manifest the final and full display of the love of God to the world that is to be lightened with its glory. The prayer of Christ that His church may be one, as He was one with His Father, will finally be answered. The rich dowry of the Holy Spirit will be given, and through its constant supply to the people of God, they will become witnesses in the world of the power of God unto salvation.

There is but one church in the world who are at the present time standing in the breach, and making up the hedge, building up the old waste places; and for any man to call the attention of the world and other churches to this church, denouncing her as Babylon, is to do a work in harmony with him who is the accuser of the brethren.—The Review and Herald, September 5, 1893.

God speaks through His appointed agencies, and let no man, or confederacy of men, insult the Spirit of God by refusing to hear the message of God’s Word from the lips of His chosen messengers. By refusing to hear the message of God, men close themselves in a chamber of darkness. They shut their own souls away from vast blessings and rob Christ of the glory that should come to Him by showing disrespect to His appointed agencies.

Those who have proclaimed the Seventh-day Adventist Church as Babylon have made use of the testimonies in giving their position a seeming support; but why is it that they did not present that which for years has been the burden of my message—the unity of the church? Why did they not quote the words of the angel, “Press together, Press together, Press together”? Why did they not repeat the admonition and state the principle, that “in union there is strength, in division there is weakness”? It is such messages as these men have borne, that divide the church and put us to shame before the enemies of truth; and in such messages is plainly revealed the specious working of the great deceiver, who would hinder the church from attaining unto perfection in unity. These teachers follow the sparks of their own kindling, move according to their own independent judgment, and cumber the truth with false notions and theories. They refuse the counsel of their brethren, and press on in their own way, until they become just what Satan would desire to have them—unbalanced in mind.

I warn my brethren to guard against the working of Satan in every form. The great adversary of God and man is exulting today that he has succeeded in deceiving souls and in diverting their means and ability into harmful channels. Their money might have been used to advance present truth, but instead of this, it has been expended in presenting notions that have no foundation in truth.

Let all be careful not to make an outcry against the only people who are fulfilling the description given of the remnant people, who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus, who are exalting the standard of righteousness in these last days. God has a distinct people, a church on earth, second to none, but superior to all in their facilities to teach the truth, to vindicate the law of God. God has divinely appointed agencies—men whom He is leading, who have borne the heat and burden of the day, who are co-operating with heavenly instrumentalities to advance the kingdom of Christ in our world. Let all unite with these chosen agents and be found at the last among those who have the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus.

He is leading, not stray offshoots, not one here and one there, but a people.

We are not to think that the chosen ones of God, who are trying to walk in the light, compose Babylon. The fallen denominational churches are Babylon.—The Review and Herald, September 12, 1893.

If the world sees a perfect harmony existing in the church of God, it will be a powerful evidence to them in favor of the Christian religion. Dissensions, unhappy differences, and petty church trials dishonor our Redeemer. All these may be avoided if self is surrendered to God, and the followers of Jesus obey the voice of the church. Unbelief suggests that individual independence increases our importance, that it is weak to yield our own ideas of what is right and proper to the verdict of the church; but to yield to such feelings and views is unsafe and will bring us into anarchy and confusion. Christ saw that unity and Christian fellowship were necessary to the cause of God, therefore He enjoined it upon His disciples. And the history of Christianity from that time until now proves conclusively that in union only is there strength. Let individual judgment submit to the authority of the church.—Testimonies for the Church 4:19.

Australia, December 19, 1892

Melbourne, Victoria

Dear Brethren of the General Conference:—

I learn that it is proposed by some of our brethren to do away with the organization of some at least of the branches of our work. No doubt what has led them to propose this step is that in some of our organizations the machinery has been made so complicated as really to hinder the work. This, however, is not an argument against organization, but against the perversion of it.

It is nearly forty years since organization was introduced among us as a people. I was one of the number who had an experience in establishing it from the first. I know the difficulties that had to be met, the evils which it was designed to correct, and I have watched its influence in connection with the growth of the cause. At an early stage in the work, God gave us special light upon this point; and this light, together with the lessons that experience has taught us, should be carefully considered.

From the first our work was aggressive. Our numbers were few, and mostly from the poorer classes. Our views were almost unknown to the world. We had no houses of worship, but few publications, and very limited facilities for carrying forward our work. The sheep were scattered in the highways and byways, in cities, in towns, in forests. The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus was our message.

“Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 1:26-31.]

Our numbers gradually increased. The seed that was sown was watered of God, and He gave the increase. At first we assembled for worship, and presented the truth to those who would come to hear, in private houses, in large kitchens, in barns, in groves, and in school houses; but it was not long before we were able to build humble houses of worship. As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work would not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable.

Yet there was strong feeling against it among our people. The First-day Adventists were opposed to organization, and most of the Seventh-day Adventists entertained the same ideas. We sought the Lord with earnest prayer that we might understand His will, and light was given by His Spirit, that there must be order and thorough discipline in the church, that organization was essential. System and order are manifest in all the works of God throughout the universe. Order is the law of heaven, and it should be the law of God’s people on the earth.—The General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 29, 1892.

There is order in heaven, and God is pleased with the efforts of His people in trying to move with system and order in His work on earth. I saw that there should be order in the church of God, and that system is needed in carrying forward successfully the last great message of mercy to the world.—Testimonies for the Church 1:191, [1859].

*****

As we near the close of time, Satan comes down with great power, knowing that his time is short. Especially will his power be exercised upon the remnant. He will war against them and seek to divide and scatter them, that they may grow weak and be overthrown. The people of God should move understandingly, and should be united in their efforts. They should be of the same mind, of the same judgment; then their efforts will not be scattered, but will tell forcibly in the upbuilding of the cause of present truth. Order must be observed, and there must be union in maintaining order, or Satan will take the advantage.

I saw that the enemy would come in every way possible to dishearten the people of God and perplex and trouble them, and that they should move understandingly, and prepare themselves for the attacks of Satan. Matters pertaining to the church should not be left in an unsettled condition. Steps should be taken to secure church property for the cause of God, that the work may not be retarded in its progress, and that the means which persons wish to dedicate to God’s cause may not slip into the enemy’s ranks. I saw that God’s people should act wisely and leave nothing undone on their part to place the business of the church in a secure state. Then after all is done that they can do, they should trust the Lord to overrule these things for them, that Satan take no advantage of God’s remnant people. It is Satan’s time to work. A stormy future is before us; and the church should be awake to make an advance move that they may stand securely against his plans. It is time that something was done. God is not pleased to have the matters of the church at loose ends, and suffer the enemy to have the whole advantage and control affairs as best pleases him.—Testimonies for the Church 1:210, 211.

*****

Unless the churches are so organized that they can carry out and enforce order, they have nothing to hope for in the future; they must scatter into fragments. Previous teachings have nourished the elements of disunion. A spirit has been cherished to watch and accuse, rather than to build up. If ministers of God would unitedly take their position, and maintain it with decision, there would be a uniting influence among the flock of God. Separating bars would be broken to fragments. Hearts would flow together and unite like drops of water. Then there would be a power and strength in the ranks of Sabbath-keepers far exceeding anything we have yet witnessed.

The hearts of God’s servants are made sad as they journey from church to church, by meeting the opposing influence of other opposing ministering brethren. There are those who have stood ready to oppose every advance step that God’s people have taken. The hearts of those who have dared to venture out are saddened and distressed by the lack of union of action on the part of their fellow laborers. We are living in a solemn time. Satan and evil angels are working with mighty power, with the world on their side to help them. And professed Sabbath-keepers who claim to believe solemn, important truth, unite their forces with the combined influence of the powers of darkness to distract and tear down that which God designs to build up. The influence of such is recorded as of those who retard the advance reform among God’s people.—Testimonies for the Church 1:270.

*****

There are many restless spirits who will not submit to discipline, system, and order. They think that their liberties would be abridged were they to lay aside their own judgment and submit to the judgment of those of experience. The work of God will not progress unless there is a disposition to submit to order and expel the reckless, disorderly spirit of fanaticism from their meetings.—Testimonies for the Church 1:413.

*****

We had a hard struggle in establishing organization. Notwithstanding that the Lord gave testimony after testimony upon this point, the opposition was strong, and it had to be met again and again. But we knew that the Lord God of Israel was leading us and guiding by His providence. We engaged in the work of organization and marked prosperity attending this advance movement. As the development of the work called us to engage in new enterprises, we were prepared to enter upon them. The Lord directed our minds to the importance of educational work. We saw the need of schools that our children might receive instruction free from the errors of false philosophy, that their training might be in harmony with the principles of the Word of God. The need of health institutions had been urged upon us, both for the help and instruction of our own people and as a means of blessing and enlightenment of others. This enterprise also was carried forward. All this was missionary work of the highest order. Our work was not sustained by large gifts and legacies, for we have few wealthy men among us. What is the secret of our prosperity? We have moved under the order of the Captain of our Salvation. God has blessed our united efforts. The truth has spread and flourished. Institutions have multiplied. The mustard seed has grown to a great tree. The system of organization has proved a grand success. Systematic benevolence was entered into according to the Bible plan. The body has been “compacted by that which every joint supplieth.” [Ephesians 4:16.] As we have advanced, our system of organization has still proved effectual.

In some parts of the work, it is true, the machinery has been made too complicated; especially has this been the case in the tract and missionary work; the multiplication of rules and regulations made it needlessly burdensome. An effort should be made to simplify the work so as to avoid all needless labor and perplexity.

The business of our Conference session has sometimes been burdened down with propositions and resolutions that were not at all essential and that would never have been presented if the sons and daughters of God had been walking carefully and prayerfully before Him. The fewer rules and regulations that we can have, the better will be the effect in the end. <Let them be carefully considered, and, if wise, let it be seen that> when they are made, they mean something and are not to become a dead letter. Do not, however, encumber any branch of the work with unnecessary, burdensome restrictions and inventions of men. In this period of the world’s history with the vast work that is before us, we need to observe the greatest simplicity, and the work will be stronger for its simplicity.

Let none entertain the thought, however, that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study and many prayers for wisdom, that we know God has answered to erect this structure. It has been built up by His direction, through much sacrifice and conflict. Let none of our brethren be so deceived as to attempt to tear it down, for you will thus bring in a condition of things that you do not dream of. In the name of the Lord, I declare to you that it is to stand, strengthened, established, and settled. At God’s command, “Go forward,” we advanced when the difficulties to be surmounted made the advance seem impossible. We know how much it has cost to work out God’s plans in the past, which has made us as a people what we are. Then let everyone be exceedingly careful not to unsettle minds in regard to those things that God has ordained for our prosperity and success in advancing His cause.

The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as Leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us and His teaching in our past history. We are now a strong people, if we will put our trust in the Lord; for we are handling the mighty truths of the Word of God. We have everything to be thankful for. If we walk in the light as it shines upon us from the living oracles of God, we shall have large responsibilities, corresponding to the great light given us of God. We have many duties to perform, because we have been made the depositories of sacred truth to be given to the world in all its beauty and glory. We are debtors to God to use every advantage He has entrusted to us to beautify the truth of holiness of character, and to send the message of warning, and of comfort, of hope and love, to those who are in the darkness of error and sin.

Thank God for what has already been done in providing for our youth facilities for religious and intellectual training. Many have been educated to act a part in the various branches of the work, not only in America, but in foreign fields. The press has furnished literature that has spread far and wide the knowledge of the truth. Let all the gifts that like rivulets have swelled the stream of benevolence be recognized as a cause of thanksgiving to God.

We have an army of youth today who can do much if they are properly directed and encouraged. We want our children to believe the truth. We want them to be blessed of God. We want them to act a part in well-organized plans for helping other youth. Let all be so trained that they may rightly represent the truth, giving the reason of the hope that is within them, and honoring God in any branch of the work where they are qualified to labor.

We are still free to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. As the disciples of Christ, it is our duty to diffuse light which we know that the world has not. Let the people of God be “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” [1 Timothy 6:18, 19.]—The General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 29, 30, 1893.

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