Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9


Chapter 24—The Color Line

I have some things to say in regard to the colored people of the Southern States of America and the relation that we should sustain to them. So long were they under the curse of slavery that it is a difficult problem to know how they should now be treated. 9T 213.1

When God's workers allow His Spirit to work upon their minds, much will be accomplished in the saving of souls. The Lord is our helper. He will guide us in all matters if we will trust in Him. One thing is certain: We must have faith in God—faith that He will arrange matters in a way that will enable us to work successfully. No one ever trusted God in vain. He will never disappoint those who put their trust in Him. 9T 213.2

We are to avoid entering into contention over the problem of the color line. If this question is much agitated, difficulties will arise that will consume much precious time to adjust. We cannot lay down a definite line to be followed in dealing with this subject. In different places and under varying circumstances, the subject will need to be handled differently. In the South, where race prejudice is so strong, we could do nothing in presenting the truth were we to deal with the color line question as we can deal with it in some places in the North. The white workers in the South will have to move in a way that will enable them to gain access to the white people. 9T 213.3

It is Satan's plan to call minds to the study of the color line. If his suggestions are heeded, there will be diversity of opinion and great confusion. No one is capable of clearly defining the proper position of the colored people. Men may advance theories, but I assure you that it will not do for us to follow human theories. So far as possible the color line question should be allowed to rest. 9T 213.4

The cities of the South are to be worked, and for this work the best talent is to be secured, and that without delay. Let white workers labor for the white people, proclaiming the message of present truth in its simplicity. They will find openings through which they may reach the higher class. Every opportunity for reaching this class is to be improved. 9T 214.1

Let colored laborers do what they can to keep abreast, working earnestly for their own people. I thank God that among the colored believers there are men of talent who can work efficiently for their own people, presenting the truth in clear lines. There are many colored people of precious talent who will be converted to the truth if our colored ministers are wise in devising ways of training teachers for the schools and other laborers for the field. 9T 214.2

The colored people should not urge that they be placed on an equality with white people. The relation of the two races has been a matter hard to deal with, and I fear that it will ever remain a most perplexing problem. So far as possible, everything that would stir up the race prejudice of the white people should be avoided. There is danger of closing the door so that our white laborers will not be able to work in some places in the South. 9T 214.3

I know that if we attempt to meet the ideas and preferences of some of the colored people, we shall find our way blocked completely. The work of proclaiming the truth for this time is not to be hindered by an effort to adjust the position of the Negro race. Should we attempt to do this we should find that barriers like mountains would be raised to hinder the work that God desires to have done. If we move quietly and judiciously, laboring in the way that God has marked out, both white and colored people will be benefited by our labors. 9T 214.4

The time has not come for us to work as if there were no prejudice. Christ said: “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16. If you see that by doing certain things which you have a perfect right to do, you hinder the advancement of God's work, refrain from doing those things. Do nothing that will close the minds of others against the truth. There is a world to save, and we shall gain nothing by cutting loose from those we are trying to help. All things may be lawful, but all things are not expedient. 9T 215.1

The wise course is the best. As laborers together with God, we are to work in the way that will enable us to accomplish the most for Him. Let none go to extremes. We need wisdom from above; for we have a difficult problem to solve. If rash moves are made now, great mischief will be done. The matter is to be presented in such a way that the truly converted colored people will cling to the truth for Christ's sake, refusing to renounce one principle of sound Bible doctrine because they may think that the very best course is not being pursued toward the Negro race. 9T 215.2

We must sit as learners at the feet of Christ, that He may teach us the will of God and that we may know how to work for the white people and the colored people in the Southern field. We are to do as the Spirit of the Lord shall dictate, and agitate the subject of the color line as little as possible. We must use every energy to present the closing gospel message to all classes in the South. As we are led and controlled by the Spirit of God we shall find that this question will adjust itself in the minds of our people. 9T 215.3

Let us individually seek the Lord. Let those whose religious experience in the past has been only a surface work, draw near to God. Repent, repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. 9T 216.1

When we are prepared to take hold of the work in earnest we shall be better able than we are now to deal with the questions involved in this work. Let every believer do his best to prepare the way for the gospel missionary work that is to be done. But let no one enter into controversy. It is Satan's object to keep Christians occupied in controversies among themselves. He knows that if they do not watch, the day of the Lord will come on them as a thief in the night. We have no time now to give place to the spirit of the enemy and to cherish prejudices that confuse the judgment and lead us away from Christ. 9T 216.2

It will take money and earnest, persevering effort to do that which needs to be done among the colored people. Every man needs now to stand in his lot and place, confessing and forsaking his sins, and working in harmony with his brethren. God's workers are to be of one mind and one heart, praying for the impartation of the Spirit and believing that God will fulfill His word. 9T 216.3