False Tests and Man-Made Standards

Teach Fundamental Truths—Those who would labor in word and doctrine, should be firmly established in the truth before they are authorized to go out into the field to teach others. The truth, pure and unadulterated, must be presented to the people. It is the third angel's message that bears the true test to the people. Satan will lead men to manufacture false tests, and thus seek to obscure the value of, and make of none effect, the message of truth. Ev 211.4

The commandment of God that has been almost universally made void, is the testing truth for this time.... The time is coming when all those who worship God will be distinguished by this sign. They will be known as the servants of God, by this mark of their allegiance to Heaven. But all man-made tests will divert the mind from the great and important doctrines that constitute the present truth. Ev 212.1

It is the desire and plan of Satan to bring in among us those who will go to great extremes—people of narrow minds, who are critical and sharp, and very tenacious in holding their own conceptions of what the truth means. They will be exacting, and will seek to enforce rigorous duties, and go to great lengths in matters of minor importance, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law—judgment and mercy and the love of God. Through the work of a few of this class of persons, the whole body of Sabbathkeepers will be designated as bigoted, Pharisaical, and fanatical. The work of the truth, because of these workers, will be thought to be unworthy of notice. Ev 212.2

God has a special work for the men of experience to do. They are to guard the cause of God. They are to see that the work of God is not committed to men who feel it their privilege to move out on their own independent judgment, to preach whatever they please, and to be responsible to no one for their instructions or work. Let this spirit of self-sufficiency once rule in our midst, and there will be no harmony of action, no unity of spirit, no safety for the work, and no healthful growth in the cause. There will be false teachers, evil workers who will, by insinuating error, draw away souls from the truth. Christ prayed that His followers might be one as He and the Father were one. Those who desire to see this prayer answered, should seek to discourage the slightest tendency to division, and try to keep the spirit of unity and love among brethren.—The Review and Herald, May 29, 1888. Ev 212.3

Little Fables—Not Worth a Straw—We are not to give the call to those who have received the truth and understand it, to whom it has been repeated over and over again till someone thinks he must bring in something original. He brings in little fables which are not worth a straw. These he brings forward as tests God has given, when Satan has originated them to divert minds from the true tests God has given.—The General Conference Bulletin, April 16, 1901. Ev 213.1

New and Strange Human Tests—No one is to put truth to the torture by placing a forced, mystical construction upon the Word. Thus some are in danger of turning the truth of God into a lie. There are those who need in their hearts the touch of the divine Spirit. Then the message for this time will be their burden. They will not search for human tests, for something new and strange. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the test for this time, and all connected with this great memorial is to be kept before the people.—Manuscript 82, 1894. Ev 213.2

Freedom From Human Suppositions—The work of God is a great work. Wise men are needed, to keep Bible principles free from a particle of worldly policy. Every worker is being tested. Paul speaks of those who bring to the foundation wood, hay, and stubble. This represents those who bring in as truth that which is not truth, even their own suppositions and fabrications. If these souls are saved, it will be as by fire, because they conscientiously thought they were working in harmony with the Word. They will only be as brands snatched out of the burning. Ev 213.3

The work which might have been pure, elevated, and noble, has been mingled with fallacies brought in by men. Thus the beauty of the truth has been marred. Nothing stands forth untainted by selfishness. The mingling of these fallacies with the work of God makes that which should stand out clearly and distinctly before the world, a jumble of conflicting principles in its practical working.—Letter 3, 1901. Ev 214.1

Preach the Word—I have words to speak to the young men who have been teaching the truth. Preach the Word. You may have inventive minds. You may be expert, as were the Jewish teachers, in getting up new theories; but Christ said of them, “In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9. They presented to the people traditions, suppositions, and fables of all kinds. The forms and ceremonies they enjoined made it simply impossible for the people to know whether they were keeping the Word of God or following the traditions of men. Ev 214.2

Satan is well pleased when he can thus confuse the mind. Let not ministers preach their own suppositions. Let them search the Scriptures earnestly, with a solemn realization that if they teach for doctrine the things that are not contained in God's Word, they will be as those represented in the last chapter of Revelation. Ev 214.3

Let those who are tempted to indulge in fanciful, imaginary doctrines sink the shaft deep into the mines of heavenly truth, and secure the riches which mean life eternal to the receiver. Precious treasure will be secured by those who study God's Word with earnestness, for heavenly angels will direct the search.—Manuscript 82, 1894. Ev 214.4

When Men Weave in Human Threads—When men begin to weave in the human threads to compose the pattern of the web, the Lord is in no hurry. He waits until men shall lay down their own human inventions and will accept the Lord's way and the Lord's will.—Letter 181, 1901. Ev 215.1

Making a World of an Atom—O how many might do a noble work in self-denial and self-sacrifice, who are absorbed in the little things of life! They are blind and cannot see afar off. They make a world of an atom and an atom of a world. They have become shallow streams, because they do not impart to others the water of life.—Manuscript 173, 1898. Ev 215.2

Message Impaired by One-Idea Men—There was precious talent in the church at -----, but God could not use these brethren until they were converted. There were some who had capabilities to help the church, but who needed first to set their own hearts in order. Some had been bringing in false tests, and had made their own ideas and notions a criterion, magnifying matters of little importance into tests of Christian fellowship, and binding heavy burdens upon others. Thus a spirit of criticism, fault-finding, and dissension had come in, which had been a great injury to the church. And the impression was given to unbelievers that Sabbathkeeping Adventists were a set of fanatics and extremists, and that their peculiar faith rendered them unkind, uncourteous, and really unchristian in character. Thus the course of a few extremists prevented the influence of the truth from reaching the people. Ev 215.3

Some were making the matter of dress of first importance, criticizing articles of dress worn by others, and standing ready to condemn everyone who did not exactly meet their ideas. A few condemned pictures, urging that they are prohibited by the second commandment, and that everything of this kind should be destroyed. Ev 215.4

These one-idea men can see nothing except to press the one thing that presents itself to their minds. Years ago we had to meet this same spirit and work. Men arose claiming to have been sent with a message condemning pictures, and urging that every likeness of anything should be destroyed. They went to such lengths as even to condemn clocks which had figures, or “pictures,” upon them.... Ev 216.1

A few in ----- had gone so far as to burn all the pictures in their possession, destroying even the likenesses of their friends. While we had no sympathy with these fanatical movements, we advised that those who had burned their pictures should not incur the expense of replacing them. If they had acted conscientiously, they should be satisfied to let the matter rest where it was. But they ought not to require others to do as they had done. They should not endeavor to be conscience for their brethren and sisters.—Historical Sketches, 211, 212 (1886). Ev 216.2