The Church: Its Organization, Order and Discipline



THERE is a current saying (not Bible, as some have supposed), that “order is heaven’s first law.” The Scriptures, however, do state that the starry heavens “declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1. The handiwork of the Lord is especially manifest in the precise circuit of the celestial bodies in their orbits. “Lift up your eyes on high,” saith the Lord, “and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:26. COOD 3.1

So exact and certain are the planets in their courses that the variation of a minute in their return to a certain position in the heavens is not perceivable. This is verified by a statement made in an English translation of a French work on “God’s glorious creation,” by Harmon Kline and Thome, Vol. 1, page 22, where it is stated that “in two thousand years the day has only increased in length the eighty-third part of a second.” And that “observations made since 1850 show that the earth in its passage around the sun has gained only two seconds.” COOD 3.2

What a marvel of precision in the movements of the heavenly bodies is this, that the earth in its yearly journey around the sun, for about fifty consecutive years, at the rate of over two thousand miles a minute, has only gained two seconds in that fifty years. COOD 3.3

God’s order is not confined to the planets alone, for there is perfect order and system among the heavenly beings. We read of the angels that they “do his commandments, harkening unto the voice of his word.” Psalm 103:20. And they are “all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1:14. COOD 3.4

“Angels work harmoniously. Perfect order characterizes all their movements. The more closely we imitate the harmony and order of the angelic host, the more successful will be the efforts of these heavenly agents in our behalf.... Never will these heavenly messengers place their endorsement upon irregularity, disorganization, and disorder.”-Testimonies for the Church 1:649, 650. COOD 4.1

In the following pages we have endeavored to show the position the Lord’s church should occupy; the order and discipline which he has taught in his Word should prevail in the church, and how, in the rise of the cause of third angel’s message, order was established among this people; that order of which we are told the Lord “wrought in the organization that has been perfected.”Christian Education, 136, edition of 1894. COOD 4.2

Of this organization we read, “to provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying on the work in new fields, for protecting both the church and ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for other objects, organization was indispensable.-Mrs. E. G. White, in General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 29, 1893. COOD 4.3

We quote still further as the importance of order at the present time: “As we near the close of time, ... order must be observed, and there must be union in maintaining order, or Satan will take the advantage.”-Testimonies for the Church 1:210. COOD 4.4

As to the present organization and its practical working, we find this statement: “The divisions of the General Conference into district union conferences was God’s arrangement. In the work of the Lord for these last days, there should be no Jerusalem centers, no kingly power.”-Testimonies for the Church 8:233. COOD 4.5

Again, “every member of the church has a voice in choosing officers of the church. The church chooses the officers of the State conferences. Delegates chosen by the State conferences choose the officers of the union conferences; and delegates chosen by the union conferences choose the officers of the General Conference. By this arrangement every conference, every institution, every church, and every individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in the General Conference.”-Ibid., 236, 237. COOD 5.1

We request a careful consideration of the facts introduced in the following pages concerning that development of order among Seventh-day Adventists, which “set in order the things that are wanting,” at just such time as the necessity was seen, and which order has saved this cause from the confusion Satan otherwise would have produced among the people; and which confusion would now soon appear should the Lord’s “established” and “perfected” order be disregarded. J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH. Mountain View, Cal., April 1, 1906. COOD 5.2