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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    The Vital Need for Church Organization

    As the work proliferated, it became clear that there was a pressing need for some guidance and controls. Except for the messages that came from God through the visions given to Ellen White, there was no authoritative voice, no voice of an organization to endorse doctrinal holdings or to certify to the integrity and the qualifications of those who chose to represent themselves as ministers to the Sabbathkeeping remnant. Some who felt called gave no real evidence of such a call. As time advanced, the need for organization of some kind became very clear. The experience of the church in Jackson, Michigan, in 1853, emphasized such a need.1BIO 286.3

    Late in the year Ellen White prepared a comprehensive article on organization based largely on the vision given in late September, 1852, at the Nichols home in Dorchester, Massachusetts. This was printed in late December in a fifty-two page pamphlet first advertised in the Review of January 10, 1854, as Supplement to the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White. The article titled “Gospel Order” may be read in Early Writings, 97-104. It opens:1BIO 286.4

    The Lord has shown me that gospel order has been too much neglected and feared. That formality should be shunned; but in so doing, order should not be neglected. There is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth; and after His departure, order was strictly observed among His apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of faith, there is more real need of order than ever before.—Supplement to Christian Experience and Views, p. 15 (see also Ibid., 97).1BIO 286.5

    In view of the great importance of this testimony in relation to the emerging church, it will be well to consider some of the high points:1BIO 287.1

    1. Men are hurried into the field who lack wisdom and judgment.—Ibid., 97.1BIO 287.2

    2. Men whose lives are not holy and who are unqualified to teach the present truth enter the field without being acknowledged by the church or the brethren generally, and confusion and disunion are the result.—Ibid.1BIO 287.3

    3. Some have a theory of the truth, and can present the argument, but lack spirituality, judgment, and experience; they fail in many things which it is very necessary for them to understand before they can teach the truth.—Ibid., 98.1BIO 287.4

    4. Others have not the argument, but ... are pressed into the field, to engage in a work for which God has not qualified them.—Ibid.1BIO 287.5

    5. The church should feel their responsibility and should look carefully and attentively at the lives, qualifications, and general course of those who profess to be teachers.—Ibid., 100.1BIO 287.6

    6. It is the duty of the church to act and let it be known that these persons [men who are not called of God, but profess to be teachers] are not acknowledged as teachers by the church.—Ibid.1BIO 287.7

    7. I saw that this door at which the enemy comes in to perplex and trouble the flock can be shut. I inquired of the angel how it could be closed. He said, “The church must flee to God's Word and become established upon gospel order, which has been overlooked and neglected.”—Ibid.1BIO 287.8

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