Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Lt 35b, 1901

Brown, [M. H.]; Wilcox; Jones


March 6, 1901 [typed]

Previously unpublished. +Note

Brethren Brown, Wilcox, and Jones,—

I am very much surprised at the winding up of the work [in] Healdsburg. I understand that Brother Santee advanced the idea that when local elders were appointed in the churches, these elders were to have authority in all things, that they were to act toward the Lord’s ministers as superiors rather than subordinates. This is not in accordance with the light which for the last forty years God has been giving me, but is entirely contrary to the Lord’s order. Why should Brother Santee advance such ideas without first consulting those who are older in experience than he is? My brother has certainly made a grave mistake. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 1

There is and always has been the greatest danger of local elders assuming too much and exercising too much authority, regardless of the ministers of the gospel, especially if they are not experienced. The ideas that Brother Santee has advanced regarding those in the ministry being subordinate to local elders are the very ideas that ought not to be advanced. He could not give instruction that would be more injurious to the youth he has been teaching. His ideas are out of harmony with consistency and order, and would do much harm should they prevail in the church. “O consistency, thou art a jewel.” 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 2

Brother Santee, yoke up with Christ. He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] I am instructed that unless Brother Santee shall make changes in his attitude and spirit, unless he feels less self-confidence, he will have trouble. Learn, my dear brother, in the school of Christ. He says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] I would be much pleased to see you standing in the attitude spoken of by David: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” [Psalm 121:1, 2.] 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 3

The special idea is that constantly we must look higher and still higher, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. As we look higher, we shall live daily in a higher, pure atmosphere, an atmosphere untainted by self or selfishness. We must all have continual help from heaven if we form character which will enable us to reach heaven. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 4

Those who are in responsible positions must be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. They must be vivified by the Holy Spirit. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 5

The words spoken to the church in Healdsburg, leaving the impression that the local elders in the church have, in their official responsibilities, a supremacy over the gospel ministry, are not correct. That when a minister goes to a place to labor, he must be invited by the local elders to speak, that it is the prerogative of the elders to say whether the minister shall speak to the people, that if the minister is not invited to speak, he is to keep silent, that he is to work by the permission of the elders, this is all a fallacy. When God in His providence sends His ministers to a place to labor, they are under His supervision. They are to be respected and accepted, and are to take their position as superiors, not as subordinates. The Lord sends His servants from place to place as evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Everywhere the work is to be done unitedly. The local elders are to be proved and tested. Some should not occupy the pulpit as ministers. They are not fitted for this place, and would give inferiority to the work. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 6

The ministers of the gospel are not to be treated as subordinates. Thus the scribes and Pharisees tried to treat Christ, but it would not work. Neither should the gospel ministers be looked upon as subordinate to the local elders. The ministers of the gospel are to be respected. Local elders are ever to be subordinate to the higher authority of the gospel ministry. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 7

Unless a change takes place in Brother Santee, he will give instruction that will call for someone to follow after and make things straight. Pastors, teachers, and elders of churches must be learners in order to be safe teachers. They are to increase in mental capacity. The intellect is to be constantly stored with the rich treasures of truth. We need to broaden, not to contract. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 8

Brother Santee, draw close and still closer to Jesus Christ. Hide the man Santee in God. In giving you the office of president of the California Conference, your brethren have made a mistake. You can make this mistake very apparent if you pursue your own course of action. You certainly are not the man that can accomplish all that needs to be done in California. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 9

This is all I can write now, but I have much more to say. 16LtMs, Lt 35b, 1901, par. 10