The Church: Its Organization, Order and Discipline



THE following form of organization, and questions used in organizing the North-side Swedish church in Chicago, has been considered by some of the General Conference Committee as a suggestive form of questioning to be used in organizing a church, and so we introduce it here. COOD 174.1

After speaking a few minutes concerning the principles of Seventh-day Adventists, the elder said he would take three persons who were desirous of entering into church fellowship, and question them closely concerning the principles to be recognized in entering into church fellowship, and he desired all the others who wished to enter into the organization to note closely every point, for as they should present their names they would be asked if they endorsed these principles, without, on this occasion, asking each one the separate questions. Three persons were then selected to be questioned, who were to constitute the nucleus, or beginning of the church organization. COOD 174.2

The elder then said, “Instead of forming a creed in which is expressed every item of our faith, those entering into church fellowship attach their names to a church covenant which reads as follows: ‘We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together as a church, taking the name Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.’ In a covenant of this character we endorse the entire Bible as a rule of faith, and leave room for the Spirit of God to enlighten us in regard to the truths of his Word, not being bound down by any creed.” COOD 174.3

The following questions were asked the three candidates for membership, who answered each question heartily in the affirmative:- COOD 174.4

1. Do you accept the Bible as the rule of your faith and practise? COOD 175.1

2. Will you study to learn the truths of the Word, and practise those truths in your lives? COOD 175.2

3. Do you understand the doctrines taught by the Seventh-day Adventists, and do you believe them? COOD 175.3

4. Have you confessed your sins to God as far as they have been made known to you, and have you on your part, as far as in you lies, tried to make matters right with your fellow men? COOD 175.4

5. Do you claim by faith in Christ that God for Christ’s sake has forgiven our past sins, and that he is yours, and you are his? COOD 175.5

6. Do you recognize the fact that as truly as God claims the seventh part of time as his, so he claims one tenth of all our income as his for the support of his work in advancing the glorious gospel of Christ, and will you faithfully render to his his own-the tithe? COOD 175.6

7. Will you submit to the decisions of the body of the church in matters of church discipline? In other words, will you seek the peace, harmony, and unity of the church, rather than press an individual opinion to cause confusion in the church, which is in harmony with Volume V of the “Testimonies,” page 107? COOD 175.7

8. Will you besides this contribute of your substance as God may prosper you, for the upbuilding of the various branches of his cause? COOD 175.8

9. Will you seek to build up the interests of the church by attendance upon its meetings, ordinances, and adding your influence to extend its work, while the church, on their part, exercise their watch-care over you? COOD 175.9

10. Do you understand the principles of Christian temperance as taught by the Seventh-day Adventists, and will you carry out those principles, abstaining from the use of liquors, tobacco in all its forms, coffee, tea, and swine’s flesh? In short, will you truly study the subject of Bible temperance, and practise it in your life? COOD 175.10

11. In the matter of dress will you follow the Bible rule of plainness of dress (1 Timothy 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3, 4), abstaining from plumes, feathers, banging the hair, and the wearing of gold as ornaments, and “costly array,” as taught it Volume VI, page 97? COOD 176.1

12. Do you believe the Bible doctrine of “Spiritual Gifts,” and do you understand the nature of the gift of prophesy which has been manifested through Sister E. G. White, and which has been connected with the message from its very commencement? And as far as you understand the instructions from that source, are in harmony with them? COOD 176.2

13. You of course recognize all ten of the commandments as spoken from the Lord from Mount Sinai as still binding, and by God’s grace will you keep those commandments, the fourth with the rest, rendering to the Lord as his sacred time the seventh day, by the world called Saturday? COOD 176.3

14. By submission to Christ and his grace, will you seek to grow in grace as well as in the knowledge of his truth? COOD 176.4

15. Have you been immersed (baptized) in the likeness of Christ’s death, and so now walk in the new life, having been raised to the likeness of his resurrection? COOD 176.5

16. Are you three in Christian fellowship with each other, and do you each by uplifted hand accept the other to constitute the nucleus of this church? COOD 176.6

At this point each of the three persons were voted upon by the others, and were then declared a church, ready to receive other members. The others one by one were asked to endorse the questions which had been propounded, and were voted in by the first three and others who were accepted. COOD 176.7