Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Ms 144, 1903


“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

November 17, 1903

Portions of this manuscript are published in 8T 236-238; 1BC 1117-1118.

In the daily papers of various cities there have appeared articles which represent that there is strife between Dr. Kellogg and Mrs. Ellen G. White as to which of them shall be leader of the Seventh-day Adventist people. As I read these articles, I felt distressed beyond measure that any one should so misunderstand my work and the work of Dr. Kellogg as to publish such misrepresentations. There has been no controversy between Dr. Kellogg and myself as to the question of leadership. No one has ever heard me claim the position of leader of the denomination. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 1

I have a work of great responsibility to do—to impart by pen and voice the precious instruction given me, not alone to Seventh-day Adventists, but to the world. I have published many books, large and small, and some of these have been translated into several languages. This is my work—to open the Scriptures to others as God has opened them to me. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 2

God has not set any kingly power in our church to control the whole body or to control any branch of the work. He has not provided that the burden of leadership shall rest upon a few men. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 3

Every conference, every institution, every church, and every individual has a voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in our General Conference, and responsibilities are distributed among a large number of competent men. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 4

In the early days of our denominational work, the Lord did designate Elder James White as one who, in connection with his wife, and under the Lord’s special guidance, was to take a leading part in the advancement of this work. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 5

The history of how the work grew is well known. The printing plant was first established at Rochester, N.Y., and was afterward moved to Battle Creek. And in after years a publishing house was established on the Pacific Coast. I thank the Lord that He gave us the privilege of acting a part in the work from the beginning. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 6

But neither then nor since the work has grown to large proportions, during which time responsibilities have been widely distributed, has any one heard me claiming the leadership of this people. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 7

From the year 1846 until the present time, I have received messages from the Lord and have communicated them to His people. This is my work—to give to the people the light that God gives me. I am commissioned to receive and communicate His messages. I am not to appear before the people as holding any other position than that of a messenger with a message. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 8

For many years Dr. J. H. Kellogg has occupied the position of leading physician in the medical work carried on by Seventh-day Adventists. It would be impossible for him to act as leader of the general work. This has never been his part, and it never can be his part. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 9

I write this that all may know that there is no controversy among Seventh-day Adventists over the question of leadership. The Lord God of heaven is our Leader. He is a leader whom we can safely follow; for He never makes a mistake. Let us honor God and His Son Jesus Christ, through whom He communicates with the world. It was Christ who gave to Moses the instruction that He gave to the children of Israel. It was Christ who delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Moses and Aaron were the visible leaders of the people. To Moses instruction was given by their invisible Leader, to be repeated to them. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 10

Had Israel obeyed the directions given them by Moses, not one of those who started on the journey from Egypt would in the wilderness have fallen a prey to disease or death. They were under a safe guide. Christ had pledged Himself to lead them safely to the promised land if they would follow His guidance. This vast multitude, numbering more than a million people, was under His direct rule. They were His family. In every one of them He was interested. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 11

Of himself, Moses could not have guided this people. But he was strengthened by the knowledge that God was their Leader, and that he was acting under Him. The people were given evidence that Moses did indeed talk with God, receiving from Him the instruction given them. When they kept this evidence in mind, the Lord preserved them from all harm. But when unbelief came in, and the people grew rebellious, and murmured against Moses and Aaron for bringing them out of Egypt, punishment came upon them. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 12

In wonderful ways the Lord wrought to deliver His people from bondage and to lead them into the promised land. But instead of being filled with thankfulness, they sought to exalt themselves. The work of their divine Leader in their behalf was not appreciated. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 13

The Lord would work mightily for His people today if they would place themselves wholly under His guidance. They greatly need the constant abiding of the Holy Spirit. They need to devote more of their time to prayer. If there were more prayer in the councils of those bearing large responsibility, more humbling of their hearts before God, we should see abundant evidence of divine leadership and greater advancement in our work. 18LtMs, Ms 144, 1903, par. 14