Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20

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Ms 10, 1905

Nonessential Subjects to be Avoided

Omaha, Nebraska

September 12, 1904

This manuscript is published in entirety in 17MR 303-307. +Note

Those who take upon themselves little responsibility as Christians become dwarfed in religious growth, and their spiritual dwarfage, unless checked, results in spiritual death. But workers who perform faithfully the duties given them of God receive more and more grace. From their lives the truth shines forth more and more clearly. They are given power to glorify God. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 1

All who follow on to know the Lord will have increased knowledge. They will be enabled to help and bless others by setting a Christlike example. The path in which they walk grows brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Their conversion becomes more and more decided, and they are vessels unto honor. God’s purpose for His workers is that they shall grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 2

Avoid Nonessential Subjects

There is to be an avoidance of controversy. We are to speak the truth in love. False doctrines of every kind will be brought in to divert the mind from a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Wherever we go, we shall find men ready with some side issue. While I was at Melrose, a man came with a message that the world is flat. I was instructed to present the commission that Christ gave His disciples just before His ascension, as recorded in Matthew 28:16-20. “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 3

We are not to allow our minds to be occupied by subjects such as that presented by this man. In regard to such subjects, God says to every soul, “What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.” [John 21:22.] I have given you your commission. Dwell upon the great testing truths for this time, not upon matters that have no bearing upon our work. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 4

Again and again these nonessential subjects have been agitated, but their discussion has never done a particle of good. We are not to allow our attention to be diverted from the proclamation of the message given us. For years I have been instructed that we are not to give our attention to nonessential questions. There are questions of the highest importance to be considered. “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” the lawyer asked Christ. The Saviour answered, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Luke 10:25-27.] The questions that Christ considered essential are the questions that we are to urge home today. We are not bidden to enter into discussion regarding unimportant subjects. Our work is to lead minds to the great principles of the law of God. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 5

The Need of a Thorough Preparation for Ministerial Work

During the night many scenes passed before me, and many questions in reference to the work that we are to do for our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, have been made plain and clear. Words were spoken by One of authority, and I will try to repeat in finite words the instruction given regarding the work to be done. The heavenly messenger said, “The ministry is becoming greatly enfeebled because men are assuming the responsibility of preaching without gaining the needed preparation for this work.” 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 6

Those who give themselves to the ministry of the Word of God enter a most important work. The gospel ministry is a high and sacred calling. Properly done, the work of the gospel minister will add many souls to the fold. Many have made a mistake in receiving credentials. They will have to take up work to which they are better adapted than the preaching of the Word. They are being paid from the tithe, but their efforts are feeble. Their efforts are feeble, and they should not continue to be paid from the tithe. In many ways the ministry is losing its sacred character. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 7

Those who are called and chosen to the ministry of the Word will be true, self-sacrificing workers together with Christ. “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,” Christ said. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] This commission is given to every ordained minister. The minister who is merely a speaker, who does not labor as Christ labored, putting his whole soul intelligently into the work, needs the true conversion. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 8

Those who preach the gospel without putting the whole being, heart, mind, soul, and strength, into their work, are consumers and not producers. God calls for men who realize that they must put forth earnest action, men who bring thought, zeal, prudence, capability, and the attributes of Christ’s character into their work. The saving of souls is a vast work, which calls for the employment of every talent, every gift of grace. Those engaged in this work should constantly increase in efficiency. They should have an earnest desire to strengthen their powers, realizing that they will be weak without a constantly increasing supply of grace. They should seek to attain larger and still larger results in their work. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 9

When this is the experience of our workers, fruit will be seen. Many souls will be brought into the truth. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 10

*****

Our churches are becoming enfeebled by receiving for doctrines the commandments of men. Many are received into the church who are not converted. Men, women, and children are allowed to take part in the solemn rite of baptism without being fully instructed in regard to the meaning of this ordinance. Participation in this ordinance means much, and our ministers should be careful to give each candidate plain instruction in regard to its meaning and its solemnity. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 11

*****

Our church members see that there are differences of opinion among the leading men, and they themselves enter into controversy regarding the subjects under dispute. Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices. The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines. He calls sin and impenitence by the right name. He does not gloss over wrongdoing with a coat of untempered mortar. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 12

I urge our brethren to unify upon a true, scriptural basis. The Lord calls for intelligent, industrious workers, who will do that which needs to be done. Sanitariums are to be established in many places. To the poor and to the rich is to be given the message of healing through Christ. My brethren, work earnestly and seriously. This does not mean that you are not to be cheerful, but that you are to put your whole heart into the work of preparing the way for Christ’s coming. He calls for wholehearted, unselfish men to sound the note of warning. 20LtMs, Ms 10, 1905, par. 13