Gospel Workers 1915


Sound Doctrine

“The time will come,” Paul wrote to Timothy, “when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:3-5.] GW 311.1

“Sound doctrine” is Bible truth—truth that will promote piety and devotion, confirming God's people in the faith. Sound doctrine means much to the receiver; and it means much, too, to the teacher, the minister of righteousness; for wherever the gospel is preached, every laborer, whatever his line of service, is either true or untrue to his responsibility as the Lord's messenger. GW 311.2

Paul wrote again, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” [2 Timothy 2:11-14.] GW 311.3

Some who in Paul's day listened to the truth, raised questions of no vital importance, presenting the ideas and opinions of men, and seeking to divert the mind of the teacher from the great truths of the gospel, to the discussion of non-essential theories and the settlement of unimportant disputes. Paul knew that the laborer for God must be wise enough to see the design of the enemy, and refuse to be misled or diverted. The conversion of souls must be the burden of his work; he must preach the word of God, but avoid controversy. GW 311.4

“Study to show thyself approved unto God,” he wrote, “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” [2 Timothy 2:15, 16.] GW 312.1

The ministers of Christ today are in the same danger. Satan is constantly at work to divert the mind into wrong channels, so that the truth may lose its force upon the heart. And unless ministers and people practice the truth and are sanctified by it, they will allow speculation regarding questions of no vital importance to occupy the mind. This will lead to caviling and strife; for countless points of difference will arise. GW 312.2

Men of ability have devoted a lifetime of study and prayer to the searching of the Scriptures, and yet there are many portions of the Bible that have not been fully explored. Some passages of Scripture will never be perfectly comprehended until in the future life Christ shall explain them. There are mysteries to be unraveled, statements that human minds cannot harmonize. And the enemy will seek to arouse argument upon these points, which might better remain undiscussed. GW 312.3

A devoted, spiritual worker will avoid bringing up minor theoretical differences, and will devote his energies to the proclamation of the great testing truths to be given to the world. He will point the people to the work of redemption, the commandments of God, the near coming of Christ; and it will be found that in these subjects there is food enough for thought. GW 312.4

In time past there have been presented to me for my opinion many non-essential, fanciful theories. Some have advocated the theory that believers should pray with their eyes open. Others teach that, because those who ministered anciently in sacred office were required, upon entering the sanctuary, to remove their sandals and wash their feet, believers now should remove their shoes when entering the house of worship. Still others refer to the sixth commandment, and declare that even the insects that torment human beings should not be killed. And some have put forth the theory that the redeemed will not have gray hair—as if this were a matter of any importance. GW 313.1

I am instructed to say that these theories are the production of minds unlearned in the first principles of the gospel. By such theories the enemy strives to eclipse the great truths for this time. GW 313.2

Those who in their preaching pass by the great truths of God's word to speak of minor matters, are not preaching the gospel, but are dealing in idle sophistry. Let not our ministers spend time in the discussion of such matters. Let those who have any question as to what they should teach, any question as to the subjects upon which they should dwell, go to the discourses of the great Teacher, and follow His lines of thought. The subjects that Jesus regarded as essential are the subjects that we are to urge home today. We are to encourage our hearers to dwell upon those subjects which are of eternal moment. GW 313.3

When at one time a brother came to me with the message that the world is flat, I was instructed to present the commission that Christ gave His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations: ...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.] In regard to such subjects as the flat-world theory, God says to every soul, “What is that to thee? follow thou Me. 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.” GW 314.1

Workers for God should not spend time speculating as to what conditions will prevail in the new earth. It is presumption to indulge in suppositions and theories regarding matters that the Lord has not revealed. He has made every provision for our happiness in the future life, and we are not to speculate regarding His plans for us. Neither are we to measure the conditions of the future life by the conditions of this life. GW 314.2

To my ministering brethren I would say, Preach the word. Do not bring to the foundation wood, hay, and stubble,—your own surmisings and speculations, which can benefit no one. Subjects of vital importance are revealed in the word of God, and these are worthy of our deepest thought. But we are not to search into matters on which God has been silent. GW 314.3

When questions arise upon which we are uncertain, let us ask, What saith the Scripture? And if the Scripture is silent upon the question at issue, let it not be made the subject of discussion. Let those who wish for something new, seek for that newness of life resulting from the new birth. Let them purify their souls by obeying the truth, and act in harmony with the instruction that Christ has given. GW 314.4

The only question asked in the judgment will be, “Have they been obedient to My commandments?” Petty strife and contention over questions of no importance has no part in God's great plan. Those who teach the truth should be men of solid minds, who will not lead their hearers into a field of thistles, as it were, and leave them there. GW 315.1

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary. I present before you the great, grand monument of mercy and regeneration, salvation and redemption,—the Son of God uplifted on the cross. This is to be the foundation of every discourse given by our ministers. GW 315.2


Men are needed for this time who can understand the wants of the people, and minister to their necessities. The faithful minister of Christ watches at every outpost, to warn, to reprove, to counsel, to entreat, and to encourage his fellow-men, laboring with the Spirit of God, which worketh in him mightily, that he may present every man perfect in Christ. Such a man is acknowledged in heaven as a minister, treading in the footsteps of his great Exemplar.—Testimonies for the Church 4:416. GW 315.3