Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 23, No. 11 Straight and Narrow November 2014
But let judgment run down as waters,
and righteousness as a mighty stream.
In this issue:
Getting Your Priorities in Order
European Mission Trip Report
New Video Messages
Getting Your Priorities in Order
Someone asked Emily Post, the famous writer on etiquette whose life spanned the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, “What is the correct procedure when one is invited to the White House and has a previous engagement?” She answered, “An invitation to lunch or dine at the White House is a command and automatically cancels any other engagement.” What she was trying to say to the questioner was that his or her priorities were out of place. An invitation to the White House has a priority over other engagements. As Christians we should have a daily engagement, the top priority of our life, to meet the Lord in the secret place. Putting God first is our priority in life, and nothing is to rank higher.
Most Christians claim to have a three-step priority rating: God is first, others are second, and he, the Christian, is third; but in reality, does it always work that way? Do we find that love for others or love for self gets in the way? Sadly every time we sin, we have allowed someone or something to take a priority over God.
In the last few months, there has been a great deal of discussion about unity among believers, and some of this discussion, it is claimed, has gone to a personal level, causing hurt. For all hurt we are sorry, but compromising doctrinal positions or remaining in a neutral position to refrain from offending need not be our option today. God and his truth must be our present truth priority and reality today. We need to reexamine our priority about God and examine it in light of how we deal with doctrinal integrity.
The Two Great Commandments
The gospel of Mark records an event in the life of Jesus, where he clearly teaches the proper order of human priorities. A scribe came to Jesus, as recorded in Mark 12:28, and asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” To this Jesus responded:
The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mark 12:29, 30)
The first commandment that Jesus is speaking of comes from Deuteronomy 6:4, 5, where Moses declared, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. If we learn anything from this text, it should be that we are to love God first and supremely. We are to love God with our whole mind, our whole soul, and with all of our power. The LXX uses the Greek word holes (from holos, from which we get the English word holistic) in the place of the Hebrew kol, which is translated all in the English version. The Greek word holos means the whole, or the entirety, of something. It is used in verses like:
Then had the churches rest throughout all (Greek: holes) Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Acts 9:31)
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all (Greek: holes) the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
If we are to withhold nothing of our heart, soul, and might, we certainly should understand what these terms mean.
Heart is translated from the Hebrew word lebab, which
. . . in its abstract meanings, heart became the richest biblical term for the totality of mans inner or immaterial nature. In biblical literature it is the most frequently used term for mans immaterial personality functions as well as the most inclusive term for them since, in the Bible, virtually every immaterial function of man is attributed to the heart. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, entry for lebab)
All that is non-materialistic about a person is encompassed in the concept of heart.
Soul is translated from the Hebrew word nepes (from nephesh). Nephesh denotes the animating principle in man, the life, but includes also his bodily appetites and desires. For example in Numbers 21:5, we read: And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul (root: nephesh) loatheth this light bread. Here a physical desire is related to the soul. Nepes is also translated appetite in Proverbs 23:2 and in Ecclesiastes 6:7.
Thus we are to love God with all of ourselves, materially and non-materially.
The Hebrew word translated might in Deuteronomy 6:5 is meôd. The equivalent in the LXX is dunamis, from which we have the English word dynamite, representing explosive power.
Commenting on Deut 6:5, J. McBride noted: The three parts of Deuteronomy 6:5: lebab (heart), nephesh (soul or life), and meôd (muchness) rather than signifying different spheres of biblical psychology seem to be semantically concentric. They were chosen to reinforce the absolute singularity of personal devotion to God. Thus, lebab denotes the intention or will of the whole man; nepesh means the whole self, a unity of flesh, will and vitality; and meôd accents the superlative degree of total commitment to Yahweh. While agreeing that these terms were chosen to denote the singularity of devotion, we would now underscore nepesh as pertaining to the personal desire or inclination. (Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. II, p. 589)
The NT struggles to express the depth of the word meôd at this spot. In the quotation in Mk 12:30 it is rendered mind and strength, in Lk 10:27 it is strength and mind, in Mt 22:37 simply mind. (Walter C. Kaiser, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. I, p. 487)
Deuteronomy 6:5 is a command and an appeal from God to man to be totally devoted to man’s Creator, without regard to anything or to anyone else.
The Lord bids us love Him with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and with all the mind. This lays upon us the obligation of developing the intellect to its fullest capacity, that with all the mind we may know and love our Creator. (Ellen White, Christs Object Lessons, p. 333)
We have reason and rational to love God supremely, for he is our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King (Isaiah 43:15). The word translated create is a form of the Hebrew word bara used in Genesis 1:1 and translated there created. Bara means to shape, create:brings about (New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries, entry for bara).
God is not only our creator, but the one who sustains us. We are told, Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (Psalm 55:22). The Hebrew word translated sustain (kul) could also be translated nourish and feed.
Finally, God is uniquely our Redeemer. “But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:8). The redemption of Israel from Egyptian bondage represented and was typical of the redemption of humanity from Satan and sin. God redeemed us by paying the ransom with his Son’s life. His great love constrained him to make this tremendous sacrifice.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9, 10)
The natural response back to this tremendous love is to return love to God. We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19), and that love should be total. When God says we are to love him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might, he means all.
After loving God first and foremost, we are to love others or, as the Bible says, our neighbors. Jesus quoted from the latter part of Leviticus 19:18, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” This Old Testament command is reaffirmed and expanded in the New Testament. For example:
For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Romans 13:9)
Paul is clearly making reference to the second table of the Decalogue here and states that it can be summed up by the statement, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Paul also noted in Galatians 5:14, For all the law is fulfilled in one word (Greek: logos), even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The one word, or as logos can be used to express an idea or concept, is that we love our neighbor second only to God.
James also speaks to this matter: “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).
The second great commandment was illustrated by Jesus in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–35), where the Samaritan risked his own life to help the man (Jewish) who had fallen victim to thieves. The Samaritan further showed love for his neighbor by paying all of the expenses the man would incur at the inn.
The two great commandments have the whole duty of man given in the most basic and simple form possible. They must be kept in order; their priority cannot be reversed. While one may put the second commandment first, one cannot keep the first commandment in the place of the second, for one cannot love God with all of one’s heart if one loves others before God.
The need to keep the two great commandments in priority was illustrated by the teachings of Jesus. He said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). Jesus emphasized that those who will make up the family of heaven must not put their family of this earth above God and above doing his will. Though Jesus had a literal family, he clearly taught that it was those who followed his Father who were his true family.
And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. (Luke 8:20, 21)
Loving God ahead of any man or woman is why true Christian ethics require that a Christian cannot be dishonest in a time of persecution to save himself or another from torture, imprisonment, or even death. The Bible does not require a Christian to give information to a wicked people that would be damning to himself or to others. As Jesus was quiet before his tormentors, so his followers may follow his example. If the Christian does speak, he or she is not to lie to save himself or herself or to save others, for the believer answers to the highest power and his service of obedience is to the Ten Commandments. A Christian will love his brethren and will want to do anything consistent with truth and righteousness to help them, but never to the point that the Christian’s actions places others above God or above his service to him.
The only way one can truly love his neighbor is to first love God, for it is only God that can teach the believer to love. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God (1 John 4:7). Keeping the priority of loving God first will help us to properly love our neighbor as we should.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.(1 John 4:20, 21)
To best love others, we have to love God, the author of all love, first.
Sacred history records the tragedy when the second commandment is placed before the first—when a creature is loved more than the Creator. In only the third chapter of the Bible, we find this tragedy unfolding in the lives of Adam and Eve.
God created Adam from the dust of the ground, but when he created Eve, he took a different approach. The Bible records the event:
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:21–24)
Adam must have felt a kindred spirit with Eve in a way that even parents today may find difficult to understand. He [Adam] reasoned that Eve was a part of himself (Ellen White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 39). In a real sense Adam and Eve were literally and symbolically echad (Hebrew for one) flesh. Adam’s DNA literally pulsed through Eve’s veins. Adam loved and cherished Eve. That was not wrong, but to love her more than God was wrong!
The brevity of the description of the fall of humanity should not mislead anyone to fail to appreciate the seriousness of the event. The biblical record states:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3:1–6)
Eve saw that the tree was good for food”; however, faith does not come by seeing, but by hearing. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the word of God” (Romans 10:17), and God had already spoken!
Eve failed to believe God and, instead, believed the devil. The desire to be exalted to the level of God caused her to put herself above God, thus rearranging the divine order. Sadly, Eve did not fully understand what she was doing. She really believed the serpent, though there was no good reason for her to believe. Eve was clearly deceived. Paul noted:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
Adam’s case was very different. Of him, we read:
For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Timothy 2:13, 14)
Adam was not deceived. He understood what had happened, and he took of the fruit willingly. But why would he do this?
An expression of sadness came over the face of Adam. He appeared astonished and alarmed. To the words of Eve he replied that this must be the foe against whom they had been warned; and by the divine sentence she must die. In answer she urged him to eat, repeating the words of the serpent, that they should not surely die. She reasoned that this must be true, for she felt no evidence of God’s displeasure, but on the contrary realized a delicious, exhilarating influence, thrilling every faculty with new life, such, she imagined, as inspired the heavenly messengers.
Adam understood that his companion had transgressed the command of God, disregarded the only prohibition laid upon them as a test of their fidelity and love. There was a terrible struggle in his mind. He mourned that he had permitted Eve to wander from his side. But now the deed was done; he must be separated from her whose society had been his joy. How could he have it thus? Adam had enjoyed the companionship of God and of holy angels. He had looked upon the glory of the Creator. He understood the high destiny opened to the human race should they remain faithful to God. Yet all these blessings were lost sight of in the fear of losing that one gift which in his eyes outvalued every other. Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creatorall were overborne by love to Eve. She was a part of himself, and he could not endure the thought of separation. He did not realize that the same Infinite Power who had from the dust of the earth created him, a living, beautiful form, and had in love given him a companion, could supply her place. He resolved to share her fate; if she must die, he would die with her. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 56; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted). (See also Ellen White, Early Writings, page 148)
Adam clearly “understood that” Eve “had transgressed the command of God,” but he loved her, and she was a part of him. Though Adam loved God and wanted to be loyal to his Creator, he was overwhelmed “by love to Eve.” Oh the problems that this world has seen because of that one sin of Adam. That one sin opened the floodgates to troubles that the history of the universe can hardly find anything comparable.
(What would have resulted if Adam had loved God supremely and had not eaten of the fruit? We are told that God could have supplied Eves place, but when, how, and with whom? Would he have taken another rib from Adam and created his next companion? If today we live by the code that a man can only remarry because adultery, could Adam have had another helpmeet?
What would have happened to Eve? We assume she could not have stayed in the Garden of Eden, but would she have been quarantined from the rest of humanity? According to the parable of the one lost sheep (Luke 15:47), Jesus would have still died for Eve, so we can assume that she would not been struck dead immediately. If she was the only sinner in the world and had no husband, how would Jesus have been born into her part of the world? How would she, as the lone sinner, bring a man-child into the world? How could the incarnation have occurred? How would Jesus have died? Would he have been crucified? And if his sacrifice was not in vain, would she have been reunited with Adam? These questions seem to defy logic for reasonable answers, and we can only speculate on how God would have dealt with that scenario, but the one thing we do know is that in his infinite wisdom, he had a plan to deal with such a contingency.)
Another sad example from sacred history is the story of Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas. The Bible says:
Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD. (1 Samuel 2:12–17)
The sons of Eli held no respect for the things of God because they had no respect for their father or for their father’s God. Their rebellion and disrespect would have been bad enough if they had not been priests, but being priests made their sin extremely grievous. God had given direction to parents as to the action that should be taken with continually rebellious sons:
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (Deuteronomy 21:18–21)
Eli should have had Hophni and Phinehas stoned, but he was weak in moral character and though he loved God, his love was not supreme. God would not suffer the matter to continue without end. After Samuel was older, God sent him to Eli:
And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. (1 Samuel 2: 27–34)
God pronounced doom upon Eli and upon his sons. This would not have been needed if Eli had dealt with his sons when they were young and moldable, but he failed to do his duty.
God held Eli, as priest and judge of Israel, accountable for the moral and religious standing of his people, and in a special sense for the character of his sons. The most severe punishment should have been meted out to them, as due the insulted honor of God, and as needful to counteract the influence of their daring sacrilege and gross immorality. Well had it been for Eli and for all Israel, had the high priest manifested such zeal for the honor of God, and such a desire to avert his wrath, as had been shown by the tribe of Levi in slaying the worshipers of the golden calf. On that occasion the priests at God’s command executed justice upon the leaders in transgression, without regard to rank or kindred. Those who faithfully performed this painful duty, were approved and honored of the Lord.
Had not Elis love for his wicked sons surpassed his zeal for the honor of God, he would have pursued a similar course. He should have exercised his authority to repress crime and uphold righteousness, thus saying to all Israel, Sin is sin, even if found in the sons of the high priest; and although a most painful duty devolves upon me as a father, God shall not be dishonored by my sons before the people. Holiness and iniquity shall not be confounded in the minds of Israel, because men in high position dare to sin. But the aged priest loved ease and peace, and rather than endure the pain and strife of meeting and resisting wrong, he remained silent, and suffered the work on iniquity to go on and the clouds of divine wrath to gather above a guilty nation (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, December 1, 1881)
Eli loved ease and peace. Reproof and correction are painful, and they were painful to Eli, but they were a necessary duty. Eli failed to deal with his sons because he loved them more than he had zeal for the honor of God! What was the result of Eli’s course? When Israel went to fight the Philistines, they were defeated and ashamed before the enemies of God:
And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken. And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. (1 Samuel 4:17, 18)
Not only was Israel defeated and ashamed, but Hophni and Phinehas were both killed and the sacred ark was captured and when Eli heard the news, he died. This happened because one man chose to put his sons above the service and honor of God!
We have seen the result of Elis mistaken kindness,death to the indulgent father, ruin and death to his wicked sons, and destruction to thousands in Israel. The Lord Himself decreed that for the sins of Elis sons no atonement should be made by sacrifice or offering forever. How great, how lamentable, was their fall,men upon whom rested sacred responsibilities, proscribed, outlawed from mercy, by a just and holy God! (Ellen White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 1010)
The third illustration from sacred history upon which we call to testify in behalf of the wisdom of Gods order is the relationship between David and his son Absalom. David was the greatest king of Israel and a man after Gods heart, but for a time he allowed a misplaced love for his son to override his love for God. We are told that Absalom, his own son, . . . he [David] loved above all his children . . . (Ellen White Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 382), but Absalom was not worthy of such love.
Absalom was David’s third son, and his character is revealed in the first story recorded in the Bible about him. Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. Absalom’s half-brother Amnon thought that he loved Tamar and set out to express his affections to her. This sadly resulted in the rape of Tamar, and this aroused the anger of Absalom. Because David did not deal with Amnon, Absalom felt he must act. Through subtly he planned and then executed the murder of Amnon. After killing Amnon, Absalom had to flee from his father.
Later, when Absalom was allowed to return to the kingdom, he began a revolution and tried to take over the kingdom. David and his followers had to flee Jerusalem. When Absalom came to the palace, he wickedly profaned God and his father. So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his fathers concubines in the sight of all Israel (2 Samuel 16:22). For his murder of Amnon, his rebellion, and his abominable acts with his fathers concubines, Absalom deserved to die. Yet Davids misplaced love for Absalom was communicated to the leaders of his army, as they went out to battle Absalom and his forces. And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom (2 Samuel 18:5). David was saying, Deal kindly with this rebel, with this man who commits treason. Treason is the worst crime in any society, punished by the most severe punishment.
The fathers heart was filled with love and pity for his rebellious son. As the army filed out from the city gates David encouraged his faithful soldiers, bidding them go forth trusting that the God of Israel would give them the victory. But even here he could not repress his love for Absalom. As Joab, leading the first column, passed his king, the conqueror of a hundred battlefields stooped his proud head to hear the monarchs last message, as with trembling voice he said, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And Abishai and Ittai received the same chargeDeal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. But the kings solicitude, seeming to declare that Absalom was dearer to him than his kingdom, dearer even than the subjects faithful to his throne, only increased the indignation of the soldiers against the unnatural son. (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 743)
Joab, however, did not obey the command of David. When Joab had the advantage over Absalom, he showed no pity upon him. After learning that one of his men refused to kill Absalom, when he had the opportunity, Joab took matters into his own hand, executing judgment upon the one who had committed treason:
And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.
And he [Joab] took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. (2 Samuel 18:9, 14)
Soon the report got back to David, via a running messenger, and David reacted with great grief:
And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Samuel 18:33)
When Joab returned and found the king weeping for his son, he became indignant. He realized that David’s army which had formally been loyal to him, would now revolt due to David’s love over Absalom. Joab responded:
And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now. (2 Samuel 19:5–7)
Without the quick reproof of Joab, the army would have revolted because its commander, at that moment, loved his son more than his generals or his army. Even worse, David had placed Absalom ahead of God! The seemingly hard words of the son of Zeruiaha were totally justified. We are told:
Harsh and even cruel as was the reproof to the heart-stricken king, David did not resent it. Seeing that his general was right, he went down to the gate, and with words of courage and commendation greeted his brave soldiers as they marched past him. (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 745)
Reviewing these three illustrations from sacred history, let us note the following points:
1. Adam should not have placed Eve above God. It was not wrong to love her and to show her affection, but never to the extent of loving her more than God.
2. Eli should have reproved his sons when they were young and moldable. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” It was not wrong to love them and to be kind to them, but never to the extent of loving them more than God. In fact, to chasten one’s sons would not be a show of hatred or cruelty, but of love. Children are not to be abused. Discipline should never be performed upon a child in anger or with passion, but to fail to chasten a disobedient child is to fail to truly love that child.
3. David also should have reproved Absalom but due to his own sins, he found this hard. What a warning to us to live upright and true. Despite David’s own transgression, Absalom should have been restrained.
A Word of Caution
Sin needs to be called by its right name, but we need to understand that there can and must be a separation between a person and his personality and his or her doctrinal teachings. Loving God first and foremost does not give one license to treat ones neighbor, or even ones enemy, with disrespect or with malice. If a minister is teaching deadly error, that person can and must denounce the error, but that does not mean that person should be ill-spirited towards the individual promoting the error. You and I do not need to judge any individualthat is Gods workbut we have to be able to say what is wrong with the teachings, and if we do not do that, we are not putting Gods work first. We have been told that error is never harmless (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 292).
There can be no question that Martin Luther was a great reformer and a man for his time. Luther, however, was not perfect, nor did he present an example of how to treat one who was a perceived enemy. Luther referred to Pope Leo X as a “stinking sinner.” History also records the following on Luther:
Luther’s interview with Cardinal Cajetan, the papal legate, at Augsburg, was inconclusive. Luther refused to recant, wrote that the cardinal was no more fitted to handle the case than “an ass to play on a harp,” and issued an appeal that a general council hear his case. (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Martin_Luther)
When Luther burned the papal bull excommunicating him, he stated: “Because you have corrupted God’s truth, may God destroy you in this fire.” Luther appears to have had a hard time separating the sin from the sinner.
Jesus taught believers: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). To be courteous is a biblical injunction. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8). We have been told:
Never be sour and harsh at any time. Abstain from frowns and contempt, however much you may feel them. You should win respect by being respectful and courteous. Treat every one with civility; they are the purchase of the blood of Christ. If you seek to imitate Christ in your character, the impression upon the people will not be made by you, but by the angels of God that stand right by your side; they will touch the hearts of those to whom you speak.
Those who hope to be the companions of holy angels should possess refined manners. If the principles of the Christian religion are carried out in the daily life, there will be a kind thoughtfulness for others, for this was characteristic of Christ. Then, although a man may be poor, he will have true dignity, for he is God’s nobleman.
Christianity will make a man a gentleman. We are the purchase of Christ’s blood, and we are to represent Him, to pattern after Him. And He was courteous, even to His persecutors. The true follower of Jesus manifests the same mild, self-sacrificing spirit that marked the life of his Master. Look at Paul when brought before rulers. His speech before Agrippa is a model of dignified courtesy as well as persuasive eloquence. I would not encourage the formal politeness current with the world, which is destitute of the true spirit of courtesy, but the politeness that springs from real kindness of feeling.
In Christ a greater example has been given us than that of either patriarch or apostle. Here we have genuine courtesy illustrated. This virtue ran parallel with His life, clothing it with a softened and refined beauty, and shedding its luster over every action. (Ellen White, In Heavenly Places, p. 296)
A minister or any person may stand boldly and fearlessly for doctrinal truth and integrity, but that person need not lose his or her dignity or present an unchristlike spirit in so standing.
How Ellen White Related to False Doctrine
Today we face a crisis because some have chosen to challenge the doctrinal integrity of others, and some have, rightly or wrongly, been perceived as being critical and unloving. They have been accused of not loving the brothers, and, in some cases, they have been accused of seeking their own glory. But is this true? Need it be true? Do differences make us necessarily at odds with a person? Of course not, and I want to illustrate this with how Ellen White related and reacted to three people who had been strong pillars of Adventism but later began to teach false doctrines.
Dudley Marvin Canright (D. M. Canright): Canright lived from 1840 to 1919 and began his ministry just as the church was getting a solid footing. He was ordained in 1865, and his service included serving two years on the General Conference Committee and in being the president of the Ohio Conference. Canright was in and out the truth on more than one occasion. His first defection came in 1880, and his final rejection of Adventism was in February of 1887, when he resigned for good from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. During his time in the message, he was well received and loved by many, including James and Ellen White. James White especially was fond of D. M. Canright.
At about the age of twenty-one, Canright felt a call to the ministry. He went to Battle Creek and sought out James White and spent an hour with him. (See Arthur White, The Progressive Years, page 455.) Elder Whites counsel was chronicled in The Review:
When you study, study with all your might, and when you visit, visit with all your might, and exercise briskly. Whatever you do, do it with all your might. (The Review and Herald, May 20, 1873)
At the time of Canright’s visit, Elder White gave him some charts and a Bible and told him to go out preaching and he would see if God had called him. James White saw Canright a year later, and Canright told Elder White that he [Elder White] had lost the charts and Bible. This Elder White correctly understood to mean that Canright was successfully using them and that there was no turning back from preaching. For this Elder White was delighted.
Later the Whites spent time camping with the Canrights in Colorado. Of that time Ellen White noted, We were very happy to meet them (Arthur White, The Progressive Years, p. 386).
Ellen White loved the Canrights, but she also saw defects in Elder Canright’s character, and she wrote about them in testimonies, at first in private and later publicly.
Now, Elder Canright, for your souls sake grasp firmly again the hand of God, I beseech you. I am too weary to write more. God deliver you from Satans snare is my prayer.Letter 1, 1880. (Ellen White, Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 170)
Dear Brother and Sister A [Canright]: For some months I have felt that it was time to write to you some things which the Lord was pleased to show me in regard to you several years ago. . . . I was shown that you were both deficient in essential qualifications and that if these are not obtained your usefulness and the salvation of your own souls will be endangered. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 304; dated August 12, 1873)
In the Review of September 7, 1886, Canright wrote an article entitled, A LIST OF GOOD BOOKS FOR YOUNG FOLKS. In this list were many good books, such as The Holy Bible, Sabbath Readings, and The Life of Bates, but this was not all the reading that Canright suggested. He also listed some books to which the Spirit of Prophecy strongly objected. Ellen White wrote him a letter which was later published in the Testimonies:
It seems wonderfully strange to me, considering all I have written in regard to the reading of exciting stories, to see a recommendation from your pen to read Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Toms Cabin, and Aesops Fables.
We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study. We should teach our children what the typical Day of Atonement signified and that it was a special season of great humiliation and confession of sins before God. The antitypical day of atonement is to be of the same character. Everyone who teaches the truth by precept and example will give the trumpet a certain sound. You need ever to cultivate spirituality, because it is not natural for you to be heavenly-minded. The great work is before us of leading the people away from worldly customs and practices, up higher and higher, to spirituality, piety, and earnest work for God. It is your work to proclaim the message of the third angel, to sound the last note of warning to the world. May the Lord bless you with spiritual eyesight. I write this in love, seeing your danger. Please consider these things carefully and prayerfully. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 519, 520; published in 1889 but earlier sent in a letter shortly after Canright’s article was published)
Ellen White loved Canright enough to reprove him. She did not wish to see his faith become shipwrecked, and neither did she wish to see our youth’s faith shipwrecked.
During the time of his first withdrawal from the movement, Canright quit keeping the Sabbath, and Ellen White wrote to him very straightly concerning his doubts about our message and his withdrawal from it:
Brother [C. W.] Stone wished to read your letter to me. I refused to hear it. The breath of doubt, of complaint and unbelief, is contagious; if I make my mind a channel for the filthy stream, the turbid, defiling water proceeding from Satan’s fountain, some suggestion may linger in my mind, polluting it. If his suggestions have had such power on you as to lead you to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage—the friendship of the Lord’s enemies—I want not hear anything of your doubts, and I hope you will be guarded, lest you contaminate other minds; for the very atmosphere surrounding a man who dares to make the statements you have made is as a poisonous miasma.
I beg of you to go entirely away from those who believe the truth; for if you have chosen the world and the friends of the world, go with those of your own choice. Do not poison the minds of others and make yourself Satans special agent to work the ruin of souls. If you have not fully taken your stand, make haste to resist the devil before it shall be forever too late. Do not take another step into darkness, but take your position as a man of God. (White, Selected Messages, bk, 2, pp. 166, 167)
Ellen White was trying to encourage Canright to not follow the path he was on, but if he were going to follow it, to not talk to the people about it. Earlier in the same letter, she noted:
I have one request to make, for your own sake as well as for Christs sake: keep away from our people, do not visit them and talk your doubts and darkness among them. Satan is full of exultant joy that you have stepped from beneath the banner of Jesus Christ, and stand under his banner. He sees in you one he can make a valuable agent to build up his kingdom. You are taking the very course I expected you would take if you yielded to temptation. (Ibid., pp 162, 163)
Then, writing almost four years after Canright had left the movement the final time, Ellen White exclaimed:
The enemy has made his masterly efforts to unsettle the faith of our own people in the Testimonies, and when these errors come in they claim to prove all the positions by the Bible, but they misinterpret the Scriptures. They make bold assertions, as did Elder Canright, and misapply the prophecies and the Scriptures to prove falsehood. And, after men have done their work in weakening the confidence of our churches in the Testimonies, they have torn away the barrier, that unbelief in the truth shall become widespread, and there is no voice to be lifted up to stay the force of error. (Ellen White, Selected Messages, bk, 3, p. 83; letter to W. C. White and J. E. White and wife, Dec. 6, 1890.)
Concerning the apostasy of Elder Canright, Ellen White spared no words on how she saw the situation:
I cannot tell you how contemptible the course of Elder Canright is in my eyes. I can see farther in this matter from that which the Lord has shown me, than you can.
Elder Canrights course is contemptible, and do not seek to palliate it with soft words or smooth speeches. (Ellen White, 1888 Materials, pp. 35, 36; letter written April 5, 1887, from Basel, Switzerland, to “Dear Brethren [G. I.] Butler and [Uriah] Smith.”)
This last warning is interesting, when we realize that G. I. Butler had been a close friend of Canright. Elder Butler had helped Canright during earlier bouts of depression and during doubts about the message. Ellen White plainly said to Canright’s faithful friend, “do not seek to palliate it [Canright’s course] with soft words or smooth speeches.” She wrote this because, through inspiration, she could see and could fully understand all the issues in Canright’s leaving the movement.
Was Ellen White unkind to Canright? Did she hate him? Did she write because she was jealous of him? No, no, and no! While Ellen White loved Dudley and Lucy Canright, she was more jealous over the cause and the name of God and over his truth than for any mortal, and we should be too!
Ellen White understood that the teachings of Canright and his influence against the truth had to be opposed, and she did not fail to follow the counsel that she would later write out:
Thou art the man. 2 Samuel 12:7. Words as unmistakably plain as these spoken by Nathan to David are seldom heard in the pulpits of today, seldom seen in the public press. If they were not so rare, we should see more of the power of God revealed among men. The Lords messengers should not complain that their efforts are without fruit until they repent of their own love of approbation and their desire to please men, which leads them to suppress truth. (Ellen White, Prophets and Kings, p. 141)
Albion Fox Ballenger: A. F. Ballenger lived from 1861 to 1921. He was the son of a Seventh-day Adventist minister. He became a teacher and then a preacher. After several years of seemingly successful preaching, he began teaching erroneous views on the sanctuary, stating that Christ entered the Most Holy Place in AD 31. There is no question, though, that in his early years Ellen White had high regard for Ballenger. She wrote:
Your work is appointed you by God. Ministry as an evangelist is your calling, and in no case should you trifle with your moral responsibilities. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, p. 48; letter to A. F. Ballenger, June 6, 1899.
Brother Ballenger has been in great distress of mind but he is now free and has a new conversion. It does my soul good to see these old men and young men drinking in of the Spirit of God and planting their feet on solid Rock. (White, 1888 Materials, p. 292; letter April 7, 1889)
Ellen White spoke solidly about Ballenger in his younger days, but when Ballenger’s teachings became dangerous, Ellen White spoke clearly:
In clear, plain language I am to say to those in attendance at this conference [the General Conference of 1905 in Washington D. C.] that Brother Ballenger has been allowing his mind to receive and believe specious error. . . . God has not indited the message that he is bearing. This message, if accepted, would undermine the pillars of our faith.Ms 62, 1905, pp. 1, 2. (A Warning Against False Theories, Talk, May 24, 1905.) (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, pp. 244, 245)
Here Ellen White went even beyond speaking about his doctrine and included Ballenger’s name. While not speaking against Ballenger as a person, she wanted to be sure that people knew that he was teaching error. Ellen White wanted the people to understand the issues and who was involved, so that none needed to be misled.
. . . Brother Ballenger is presenting theories that cannot be substantiated by the Word of God. It will be one of the great evils that will come to our people to have the Scriptures taken out of their true place and so interpreted as to substantiate error that contradicts the light and the testimonies that God has been giving us for the past half century. I declare in the name of the Lord that the most dangerous heresies are seeking to find entrance among us as a people, and Elder Ballenger is making spoil of his own soul. . . . There is not truth in the explanations of Scripture that Elder Ballenger and those associated with him are presenting. The words are right but misapplied to vindicate error. We must not give countenance to his reasoning. He is not led of God. Our work is to bind up the Testimonies God has given and seal the law among His disciples. (Ellen White, Manuscript Release 760, “The Integrity of the Sanctuary Truth,” p. 4; 1905)
Elder Ballenger claimed to receive his teachings from the Bible. He amassed a large number of biblical texts and seemingly proved his point with great strength, but Ellen White did not accept Ballenger’s explanation of the texts, declaring that he had misapplied them to vindicate error; likewise, today there are those who seemingly have long lists of texts, but that is not proof that the texts vindicate truth.
I testify in the name of the Lord that Elder Ballenger is led by satanic agencies and spiritualistic, invisible leaders. Those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will turn away from these seducing spirits.Ms 59, 1905. (Ibid., p. 5; 1905)
If the theories that Brother Ballenger presents were received, they would lead many to depart from the faith. They would counterwork the truths upon which the people of God have stood for the past fifty years. I am bidden to say in the name of the Lord that Elder Ballenger is following a false light. The Lord has not given him the message that he is bearing regarding the sanctuary service.
Our Instructor spoke words to Brother Ballenger: You are bringing in confusion and perplexity by your interpretations of the Scriptures. You think that you have been given new light, but your light will become darkness to those who receive it. . . . Those who receive your interpretation of Scripture regarding the sanctuary service are receiving error and following in false paths. The enemy will work the minds of those who are eager for something new, preparing them to receive false theories and false expositions of the Scriptures.Ibid. [referring to MS 62; 1905] (Arthur White, The Early Elmshaven Years, p. 412)
Elder Ballenger had a new paradigm of thought, and he believed it to be truth. To him it was great light, and he was going to use it to revolutionize the movement, but it was not truth! Canright, Ballenger, and later Kellogg (and others would come along), attempted to reset the foundation that had been built by the Master Worker; however, they were chipping at the wrong rock. God gave our pioneers truth that would take them into the kingdom, and this is no time for new modeling of the case.
Ellen White loved and appreciated the work that Elder Ballenger had done in earlier years, but when his messages were causing souls to lose their way, she spoke as straight as a sharp arrow. In fact, it would be hard to find sharper and plainer words to use. Ellen White said that Ballenger was teaching the most dangerous heresies and following a false light. She boldly declared that Elder Ballenger is led by satanic agencies and spiritualistic, invisible leaders.”
Was Ellen White unkind to Ballenger? Did she hate him? Did she write because she was jealous of him? No, no, and no, but Ellen White was jealous of the cause and of the name of God and of his truth and loved God more than any mortal person.
Doctor John Harvey Kellogg: Dr. Kellogg’s life spanned 1852 to 1943. His history is well known, better than almost any Seventh-day Adventist, except Ellen White. When he was a young man, James and Ellen White encouraged Kellogg to enter medical college, and they helped to support him in that endeavor. Ellen White loved Kellogg and even declared that he was:
. . . the greatest physician in our world, a man to whom the Lord has given understanding and knowledge. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, p. 406; letter to Dr. J. H. Kellogg, December 10, 1899)
That is a very high accolade indeed, but it was true! Kellogg was far ahead of others because of God’s blessing. Ellen White on several occasions voiced her support and her love for Dr. Kellogg:
God wants every soul to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Kellogg. (Ellen White, Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 170; talk given in the Battle Creek College Library June 28, 1901)
Dr. Kellogg is to stand as Gods physician, and is to do an exalted work. (White, Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 366)
Speaking during the 1901 General Conference Session, Ellen White noted
Dr. Kellogg has kindly invited me to make his house my home, but I had decided that I could not do this. One Friday night at our season of prayer, while I was asking the Lord to guide me and show me what to do, the Spirit of God came in, and a holy, solemn awe fell upon us. A voice said to me, Respect the courtesy of Dr. Kellogg. I have appointed him as my physician, and I will be his helper if he will trust wholly in me. You can encourage him. With the voice there came a fragrance as of beautiful flowers; and though none of the family saw what I saw, or heard what I heard, yet they felt the influence of the Spirit, and were weeping and praising God. (Ellen White, General Conference Bulletin, April 12, 1901)
Twelve years before this she had written personally to Kellogg:
I love you and I pray for you, and I believe the Lord hears my prayers for you as verily as if they came from your own mothers heart. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, p. 308 letter to J. H. Kellogg, Aug. 29, 1899)
There can be no doubt that Ellen White had a deep love and a great respect for Dr. Kellogg; however, when Dr. Kellogg’s theology began to entertain heretical beliefs, Ellen White also wrote warnings to him:
Is it possible that you do not realize that Satan is playing the game of life for your soul? You are certainly in danger. You have not walked perfectly before the Lord. You have been ambitious, and have opened before worldlings that which you should not have opened to them. You have made with them a confederacy wholly displeasing to the Lord. (Ibid., pp. 313, 314; letter to J. H. Kellogg, April 5, 1903)
When Kellogg began to teach dangerous errors, Ellen White did not remain silent. She wrote to him:
The book Living Temple is not to be patched up, . . .There was by your side the one who inspired Adam to look at God in a false light. (Ibid., pp. 314, 315; letter to J. H. Kellogg, Nov. 20, 1903)
Who was inspiring Kellogg to write the theological parts of The Living Temple that God condemned? It was Satan himself.
My brother, I must tell you that you have little realization of whither your feet have been tending. The facts have been opened to me. You have been binding yourself up with those who belong to the army of the great apostate. Your mind has been as dark as Egypt. If you will fall on the Rock and be broken, Christ will accept you. (Ibid.)
Ellen White not only wrote to Dr. Kellogg, but she wrote to others about Kelloggs book, The Living Temple, and its teachings:
I am so sorry that sensible men do not discern the trail of the serpent. I call it thus; for thus the Lord pronounces it. (Ellen White, Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p. 61; 1906)
Can you imagine being in a church service today and someone holding up a magazine or a book declaring that he or she could discern the trail of the serpent in that publication? People might say, You are being unkind. Or they might say, We are to be Christlike and love one another; please do not speak so. But this is what God told Ellen White to do.
I am instructed to speak plainly. Meet it, is the word spoken to me. Meet it firmly, and without delay. But it is not to be met by our taking our working forces from the field to investigate doctrines and points of difference. We have no such investigation to make. In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given. (Ellen White, Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 2, p. 50; 1904) (See also Ellen White, Selected Messages, book 1, page 200.)
I have been instructed by the heavenly messenger that some of the reasoning in the book, Living Temple, is unsound and that this reasoning would lead astray the minds of those who are not thoroughly established on the foundation principles of present truth. (Ibid., p. 51; 1904)
As we read, I recognized the very sentiments against which I had been bidden to speak in warning during the early days of my public labors. When I first left the State of Maine, it was to go through Vermont and Massachusetts, to bear a testimony against these sentiments. Living Temple contains the alpha of these theories. I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people. I knew that I must warn our brethren and sisters not to enter into controversy over the presence and personality of God. The statements made in Living Temple in regard to this point are incorrect. The scripture used to substantiate the doctrine there set forth, is scripture misapplied. (Ibid., no. 2, p. 53; 1904; see Endnote)
I am compelled to speak in denial of the claim that the teachings of Living Temple can be sustained by statements from my writings. There may be in this book expressions and sentiments that are in harmony with my writings. And there may be in my writings many statements which, taken from their connection, and interpreted according to the mind of the writer of Living Temple, would seem to be in harmony with the teachings of this book. This may give apparent support to the assertion that the sentiments in Living Temple are in harmony with my writings. But God forbid that this sentiment should prevail. (Ibid., pp. 53, 54; 1904)
Today, there are those who teach doctrines very different from what Ellen White believed and yet, as in Kelloggs day, they use her writings to support their positions. Sometimes they quote profusely from her writings to prove a position and to make it sound good. This is what Dr. Kellogg did. He would quote and make reference to Ellen Whites writings to prove that his writings agreed with her writings. (See Exhibit A.)
Brother Ballenger does not discern what he is doing any more than Dr. Kellogg discerned that the book Living Temple contained some of the most dangerous errors that could be presented to the people of God. The most specious errors lie concealed in these theories and suppositions, which, if received, would leave the people of God in a labyrinth of error. Those who cherish these theories are building upon the sand, and when the storm and tempest shall come the structure will be swept away. (White, Manuscript Release 760, “The Integrity of the Sanctuary Truth,” p. 8; 1905)
It is not safe to trust in Dr. Kellogg. I dare not do it. I have not written to him much, recently, but I may have to send something soon. I have not the least confidence in his present attitude toward many things. I learn that notwithstanding all I have written regarding The Living Temple a book that was written under the inspiration of the arch-deceiver; notwithstanding with many plain messages that I have delivered in the Review and Herald and in letters to our brethren in responsibility, Dr. Kellogg now admits only a few of the mistakes he has made, and still supposes that in former years I taught the same errors. This reveals a blindness beyond conception. (Ellen White, Battle Creek Letters, p. 103; written in 1904)
Ellen White wrote repeatedly of her love of Dr. Kellogg, as well as her belief that God had ordained him for a special medical work. He was not simply a doctor or physician, but he was Gods physician, the greatest physician at that time in our world! Ellen White, however, refused to be silent when Dr. Kellogg left true science for false theology. She was blunt, saying that his writings were from the devil. Kelloggs book contained specious errors, and he was experiencing a blindness beyond conception. While not Lutheristic, Ellen White wrote as pointed as one could write and still retain love and politeness.
Was Ellen White unkind to Dr. Kellogg? Did she hate him? Did she write because she was jealous of him? No, no, and no, but Ellen White was jealous of the cause and of the name of God. To Ellen White the truth of God was greater in importance than any mortal person.
From these three examples we can clearly document that Ellen White loved D. M. Canright, A. F. Ballenger, and Dr. Kellogg. There can be no doubt that her great desire was to see them actively working to preach and to present the truth of the three angels’ messages. We also see, however, that she refused to allow friendship or feelings to stand between those she loved and her duty to God. God came first! Every time!
When our hearts and minds are fully obedient to the first and greatest commandment, we will be able to love others and will certainly demonstrate kindness to them with a willingness to do anything consistent with truth to win and to hold them. If the eye is single to the glory of God, we will never put others above God. We will never do something to cause people to think that the matters of God come after, or secondarily, to the matters of apostates or of those who teach grievous errors to the people. Compromises must not be made for the sake of unity or even for friendship. Let us never do anything that will put apostates or those teaching grievous errors above God.
Let us be men and women with characters like Jabez, Deborah, and Elijah. Let us be men and women who, like Joshua and Caleb, will take their stand for the Lord and not fear to call sin by its right name.
The greatest want of the world is the want of men,men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. (Ellen White, Education, p. 57; 1903)
God is still looking for men and women like thispeople who will speak the truth in love. We can be men and women like this, when we love God first and foremost with all our hearts.
Endnote: As the Advent Movement was growing, Ellen White had to confront fanaticism on the truth about God, as she relates in volume 8 of Testimonies for the Church:
After the passing of the time in 1844, we had fanaticism of every kind to meet. Testimonies of reproof were given me to bear to some holding spiritualistic theories.
There were those who were active in disseminating false ideas in regard to God. Light was given me that these men were making the truth of no effect by their false teachings. I was instructed that they were misleading souls by presenting speculative theories regarding God.
This is only one of the instances in which I was called upon to rebuke those who were presenting the doctrine of an impersonal God pervading all nature, and similar errors. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 292, 293)
In this testimony, Ellen White speaks of speculative theories regarding God by those holding spiritualistic theories. It should be noted that the teaching of the spiritualizers who held these spiritualistic theories was not on the state of the dead but, instead, was on the doctrine of God. Ellen Whites grandson, Arthur White, gives the history in The Early Years:
In eastern Maine Ellen was traveling and working in the atmosphere of the spiritualizers who had allegorized away heaven, God, Jesus, and the Advent hope. In the vision at Exeter in mid-February  she seemed to be in the presence of Jesus, and she was eager to procure answers to some vital questions.
I asked Jesus if His Father had a form like Himself. He said He had, but I could not behold it, for said He, “If you should once behold the glory of His person, you would cease to exist.”—EW, p. 54.
This was not the only occasion Ellen was to converse with Jesus and the angel about the person of Jesus and concerning God being a personal being. The answers satisfied her fully that the spiritualizers were in gross error (Arthur White, The Early Years, pp. 79, 80).
During the time to which Arthur White is referring, his grandfather, Elder James White (Ellen Harmon’s future husband), traveled with Ellen Harmon and her female traveling companion and was able to give a significant firsthand account of what the spiritulizers were falsely teaching about God:
The way spiritualizers this way have disposed of or denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is first using the old unscriptural trinitarian creed, viz. that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, though they have not one passage to support it, while we have plain scripture testimony in abundance that he is the Son of the eternal God (James White, The Day Star, January 24, 1846).
Thus, we see that Ellen White not only spoke out against false views of God, she specifically spoke out against the trinity. Today, however, we are led by the church historians to believe that Ellen White did not agree with her husband and with others on the issue of who God is and remained silent for many years, allowing her husband and many of the early pioneers to die while believing and teaching damnable heresy.
When there was apostasy and error, Ellen White did not hesitate to speak up. She was quick to speak out and warn God’s people of false teachings from men, such as D. H. Canright, A. F. Ballenger, Dr. J. H. Kellogg, and others. She never, however, rebuked her husband, Elder James White or J. N. Andrews, Captain Joseph Bates, Uriah Smith, and any of the other leading brethren for their nontrinitarian understanding of God. Allen Stump
European Mission Trip Report
By Pastor David Sims
(Recently Pastor David Sims and Brother Morgan Polskey went to Europe to attend camp meetings in Italy and Romania, as well as to visit in several countries, such as France, Germany, Norway, and Serbia. This is an overview of Gods working in their trip.Editor)
Being a missionary presents gigantic challenges when you see all of the needs in the mission field. There are doctrinal issues, practical godliness issues, organizational issues, and personal issues. And we must not forget we are there to lead people to Christ, to uplift the sinners only hope.
My recent trip to Europe with Brother Morgan Polskey especially highlighted the multifaceted needs of the gospel work in the mission field.What has made the deepest impression on my mind is the change in people’s lives. We experienced some wonderful manifestations of the working of the Spirit of God. One sister has rejected job offers to do in-home care, even though she badly needs work, because she refuses to compromise and serve meat and wine, and do miscellaneous household chores on Sabbath. Another person was convicted as we shared inspired statements and Scriptures, and he deleted numerous movies he had. Another gave up a lucrative job offer that would have placed him in the way of temptation, and yet another realized his unfitness for marriage and decided to work on his own life before seeking a companion. Another gave up his job at a meat packing house, when he concluded that he could not be giving people the message of health with the right arm and with the left be serving meat.
We sat in a testimony meeting after conducting the Lord’s Supper and listened to many of these testimonies of which we were previously unaware. We had not known the effect of the words being spoken, but it was a powerful and moving experience.
One family in the heart of the big city has put their home up for sale, determined to move to the country. A husband and wife have come together after being separated for a while. A pastor and his wife are more determined than ever to homeschool their children and to live in the country. When we left Europe tears were shed, including when Brother Morgan, Brother Maurizio Esposito, and I parted company in Italy. Brother Morgan and I spent a couple of months on a mission trip together in the USA and in Canada and then a couple months together in Europe. Brother Chris from Restitution Ministries in Australia was with us for a month in Europe, and Brother Bill Pinto, also from Restitution Ministries, was with us for two weeks.
With disease becoming more rampant, health is a major concern while traveling. Such travel as is often needed for mission work takes a huge toll on one’s health, with many new time zones, with different foods and then seldom being able to find healthful food, with traveling at all hours, and with very busy and tight schedules which demand long hours. As I have sought to do my part in following the health principles, God has sustained and blessed me with excellent health and strength. I praise him for this. We shared the principles of true education and God’s call for gospel and medical missionary laborers. About nine people from Europe have said they would like to join our missionary training school in the South Pacific.
We praise him for the marvelous success of this missionary trip in Europe.
Pastor David Preaching in Paris
Baptism in Serbia
Having a meal in Norway
Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland
Preparing for a hike in Norway
(Pastor Sims is now working in the Philippines, and we ask for your prayers for his work there. Editor)
Youths CornerYoung Converts of the Mission Fields
(Our story this month continues Chapter 19 in the book Youthful Witnesses, written by W. A. Spicer)
ENDURING HARDNESS FOR THE NAME
A young Chinese colporteur-evangelist, at the Hankow meeting of our Central China Union Mission, was bearing joyful testimony for Christ. He was pointed out to us as having come into the Christian faith through tribulation well endured. His was a placid, happy face; and this is his story, as related by Evangelist Frederick Lee:
Some years before, as he began to follow Christ, his father saw that he was forsaking the gods and the ancestral worship. To see his own son following after these hated foreigners was more than the parent could endure. He determined to break the young lad of this foreign religion.
When he found that his son would not yield to persuasion, he bound him with strong cords, then while crowds of people stood around in the family compound, they scraped the flesh from the inside of his mouth. They thought by so doing to scrape out of his soul all the words that he had heard of the hated doctrine.
Then the father had a very heavy iron bar bound to his back. In this condition he was compelled to sit for several days in front of the compound where hundreds of people came to see him—strangers, friends, and relatives. They at first felt sorry for him and tried to persuade him to give up this strange religion; but finding him steadfast, they jeered and threatened him. He still was dauntless and would not dishonor the Name he had taken.
His father was becoming more and more angry with him, willing, if necessary, to kill his own offspring, rather than to have the doctrine of the “foreign devil” in his family. He once more bound the boy with his hands behind his back. Then tying a bundle of fagots to his hands, he lighted it and had him led through the streets.
The heat from the burning fagots was almost unendurable. Then as the fire came nearer to his flesh, it scorched him. Just as the fire was approaching his body and hands, a man came rushing down the street, pushing the crowd right and left.
The lad looked up and saw his uncle coming toward him. He could not understand what to make of it, for this uncle, bound by the opium habit, very seldom left his house. He would lie day in and day out upon his bed, smoking his pipe in a dazed state. It was found later that the uncle could not smoke that day, having no desire for it. Something told him to go out on the street. Coming out, he saw the crowd and took in what they were doing.
He rushed forward, and when he reached the boy, he snatched the burning fagots from his hands, cut the cords, and angrily turning to the crowd and the father, commanded them to let the boy alone.
Nothing daunted, and in no wise embittered, the young man continued faithful to Christ.
And what about the father now? we asked.
“The father and the uncle have heard more of the gospel from the young man’s mouth in the meantime,” was the reply, “ and the father is hopefully inclined toward learning more. He and the uncle have asked us to open a chapel in their village.”
INCA INDIAN WITNESSES
“Do you see that young Indian with the white scar across his head?” said Missionary Stahl at an Indian gathering by Lake Titicaca some years ago.
“Yes,” we said, looking more closely into the crowd.
“Well,” the missionary continued, “ that is where his master cut his scalp open, beating him to keep him from coming to the mission; but the young man wore out his master’s anger and has become a Christian.”
At that same gathering, the young Inca Indian with the scar came to the missionary and said: “Now, I have learned much about Jesus; and I can read the word of God. Let me go over among those wild Indians around the lake, who fight the mission. I will get a plot of land and live among them, and teach them what I know. It may be that I can prepare the way for the missionary to go among them.”
The workers present said, “All right; go.” The result was that after a few years those wild Indians were tamed and were calling for a mission school. And today numbers of them are baptized believers.
Inca Indian Chiefs petitioning for a school, Lake Titicaca Mission
Anna and Ferdinand Stahl--first Adventist Missionaries in Bolivia
Listen to our "Story Hour" to hear about missionary work
The young Indian had little of cultivated gifts to dedicate to the Master. But what he had he gave, and his labor was owned of God according to the promise: “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Cor. 8: 12.
At that time a young boy, Luciano, was helping the missionary family about the home and on their journeys, while attending school. He was a steady, faithful lad, with a good face. He became after a few years the first Indian pastor of the Lake Titicaca Indian Mission, holding forth in the work on some of the rough frontier stations. Of his decision for Christ, Missionary Stahl has said in the little book, In the Land of the Incas:
After he was baptized and had been walking in newness of life for about two years, his people came to him and demanded that he give up all, threatening that if he did not he would be disinherited. I remember well how he came to me at that time and asked what he could do to help his people. Finally he went to them one night and called them together, and told them earnestly that he never would give up Jesus, but that he was willing to give up all for Jesus.
In less than one year from that time, all his people had accepted Christ, because of Luciano’s steadfastness. — Page 277.
These are but two of many youth among these descendants of the old-time Children of the Sun, of the ancient empire of the Incas, who have borne the good witness and helped on the wonderful work going forward high on the roof of the world by the shores of Lake Titicaca.?
Listen to our Story Hour to hear about missionary work in China, as we share from the book Yankee on the Yangtze. See details below.
Broadcast Services Available
We wish to inform our new readers and remind our old readers that we broadcast our main services each week. This includes our Wednesday night prayer meeting (7 pm EST), our Sabbath morning song service (9:15 am), a Youth/Adult Sabbath school class (9:35 am), and Sabbath Worship services (11 am).
These services can be accessed over the phone by dialing 16193262730 and entering the reference code 755896 when prompted. Follow the rest of the prompts to be a part of the service. This connection includes a feature that allows you to interact with the service. You may also use this phone connection for our weekly story hour on Mondays at 7 pm. The story being read at this time is Yankee on the Yangtze.
For those who have Internet access and wish to view the service as well as hear it, you may access the service at www.webmeetinglogin.com/go/church/services. Log in using any user name you wish, and you may see and hear the services, as well as use the chat board for prayer requests and comments.
New Online Videos
Many of our video sermons are available on our YouTube channel, many in higher quality and some in a mobile version good for phones and when bandwidth is limited. We also have some excellent science demonstrations that teach valuable spiritual lessons. We encourageyou to subscribe to our channel so that you may receive a notification whenever we upload new videos. The address for our URL is: http://www.youtube.com/user/swiftkayak. Check out the latest two videos noted below. There is a high definition version, as well as a version for mobile devices.
These presentations are also available on DVD upon request.