Preaching on Nonimmortality

Delay Presentation of Objectionable Features—Great wisdom should be used in the presentation of a truth that comes directly in opposition to the opinions and practices of the people. Paul's habit was to dwell upon the prophecies when with the Jewish people, and bring them down step by step, and then after some time open the subject of Christ as the true Messiah. Ev 246.2

I have been shown that our ministers go too rapidly through their subjects and bring the most objectionable features of our faith too early into their effort. There are truths that will not involve so great a cross, that should be kept before their minds, day after day and even weeks before the Sabbath and immortality questions are entered upon. Then you gain the confidence of the people as being men who have clear, forcible arguments, and they think you understand the Scriptures. When once the confidence of the people is gained, then it is time enough to introduce publicly the Sabbath and immortality questions. Ev 246.3

But men who are not wise advance these questions too soon, and thus close the ears of the people, when with greater care and more faith and aptness and wisdom they could have carried them along step by step through the important events in the prophecies and in dwelling upon practical subjects in the teachings of Christ.—Letter 48, 1886. Ev 246.4

One of the Great Delusions—Every species of delusion is now being brought in. The plainest truths of God's Word are covered with a mass of man-made theories. Deadly errors are presented as the truth to which all must bow. The simplicity of true godliness is buried beneath tradition. Ev 247.1

The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul is one error with which the enemy is deceiving man. This error is well-nigh universal.... Ev 247.2

This is one of the lies forged in the synagogue of the enemy, one of the poisonous drafts of Babylon. “All nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”—The Review and Herald, March 16, 1897. Ev 247.3

Emphasize Life Through Jesus—The question of the nonimmortality of the soul also needs to be treated with great care, lest in introducing the subject there be started a deep and exciting controversy which will close the door to further investigation of the truth. Ev 247.4

Great wisdom is required in dealing with human minds, even in giving a reason of the hope that is within us....What is the hope of which we are to give a reason? The hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.... You dwell too much upon special ideas and doctrines, and the heart of the unbeliever is not softened. To try to impress him is like striking upon cold iron.... Ev 247.5

We are in constant need of wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep silent. But there is always perfect safety in talking of the hope of eternal life. And when the heart is all melted and subdued by the love of Jesus, the inquiry will be, “Lord, what must I do to be saved?”—Letter 12, 1890. Ev 248.1

Wisdom Required in Presenting Testing Truths—Our growth has been, in untried fields, generally slow because of the seventh-day Sabbath. There stands a sharp cross directly in the way of every soul who accepts the truth. Ev 248.2

There are other truths, such as the nonimmortality of the soul and the personal coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven to our earth in a short time. But these are not as objectionable as the Sabbath. Some will conscientiously accept the truth for its own sake, because it is Bible truth, and they love the path of obedience to all the commandments of God. These objectionable features of our faith will bar the way to many souls who do not wish to be a peculiar people, distinct and separate from the world. Therefore, great wisdom is required to be exercised in the matter of how the truth is brought before the people. There are certain clearly defined ends to gain at the very introduction of missionary effort. If the plans and methods had been of a different character, even if they necessarily involved more outlay of means, there would have been far better results.—Letter 14, 1887. Ev 248.3

Lay Off Combative Armor—Some ministers, when they find before them unbelievers who are prejudiced against our views upon the nonimmortality of the soul out of Christ, feel all stirred up to give a discourse on that very subject. This the hearers are in no way prepared to receive, and it only increases their prejudice and stirs up their opposition. Thus all the good impressions that might have been made if the worker had pursued a wise course are lost. The hearers are confirmed in their unbelief. Hearts might have been won, but the combative armor was put on. Strong meat was thrust upon them and the souls that might have been won were driven farther off than before. Ev 248.4

The combative armor, the debating spirit, must be laid off. If we would be Christlike we must reach men where they are.—Manuscript 104, 1898. Ev 249.1

Correct Understanding Vital—A correct understanding of “what saith the Scriptures” in regard to the state of the dead is essential for this time. God's Word declares that the dead know not anything, their hatred and love have alike perished. We must come to the sure word of prophecy for our authority. Unless we are intelligent in the Scriptures, may we not, when this mighty miracle-working power of Satan is manifested in our world, be deceived and call it the workings of God; for the Word of God declares that, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Unless we are rooted and grounded in the truth, we shall be swept away by Satan's delusive snares. We must cling to our Bibles. If Satan can make you believe that there are things in the Word of God that are not inspired, he will then be prepared to ensnare your soul. We shall have no assurance, no certainty, at the very time we need to know what is truth.—The Review and Herald, December 18, 1888. Ev 249.2