The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 4—God's Purpose in the Publishing Work

Reveal the Beauty of Christ's Character—An appearance of wealth or position, expensive architecture or furnishings, are not essential to the advancement of the work of God; neither are achievements that win applause from men and administer to vanity. Worldly display, however imposing, is of no value with God. PM 40.1

While it is our duty to seek for perfection in outward things, it should ever be kept in mind that this aim is not to be made supreme. It must be held subordinate to higher interests. Above the seen and transitory, God values the unseen and eternal. The former is of worth only as it expresses the latter. The choicest productions of art possess no beauty that can compare with the beauty of character which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit's working in the soul.... PM 40.2

Our institutions will give character to the work of God just according to the consecrated devotion of the workers—by revealing the power of the grace of Christ to transform the life.—Testimonies for the Church 7:143, 144. PM 40.3

Demonstrate Christian Principles—We are not only to publish the theory of the truth, but to present a practical illustration of it in character and life. Our publishing institutions are to stand before the world as an embodiment of Christian principles. In these institutions, if God's purpose for them is fulfilled, Christ Himself stands at the head of the working forces. Holy angels supervise the work in every department. And all that is done in every line is to bear the impress of heaven, to show forth the excellence of the character of God.... PM 40.4

Even in mechanical lines, God desires that the perfection of His character shall appear. The exactness, skill, tact, wisdom, and perfection which He required in the building of the earthly tabernacle, He desires to have brought into everything that shall be done in His service. Every transaction entered into by His servants is to be as pure and as precious in His sight as were the gold and frankincense and myrrh which in sincere, uncorrupted faith the Wise Men from the East brought to the infant Saviour. PM 41.1

Thus in their business life Christ's followers are to be light bearers to the world.—Testimonies for the Church 7:142, 143. PM 41.2

My brother [an editor], when will you learn this lesson? It is not houses, lands, carriages, expensive furniture, outward display, which make a man stand high in the sight of a holy God and the ministering angels. God looks at the heart. He reads every purpose of the mind. He knows the motives which prompt to action. He reads between every line of writing sent out. He can distinguish between the true and the false. He places His seal upon the deeds that are done and the books that are written in humility and contrition of heart. He values sincerity and purity of principle above everything else.—Letter 3, 1901. PM 41.3

Witness for Truth—“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord,” “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.” PM 41.4

Our publishing work was established by the direction of God and under His special supervision. It was designed to accomplish a specific purpose. Seventh-day Adventists have been chosen by God as a peculiar people, separate from the world. By the great cleaver of truth He has cut them out from the quarry of the world and brought them into connection with Himself. He has made them His representatives and has called them to be ambassadors for Him in the last work of salvation. The greatest wealth of truth ever entrusted to mortals, the most solemn and fearful warnings ever sent by God to man, have been committed to them to be given to the world; and in the accomplishment of this work our publishing houses are among the most effective agencies. PM 41.5

These institutions are to stand as witnesses for God, teachers of righteousness to the people. From them truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Like a great light in a lighthouse on a dangerous coast, they are constantly to send forth beams of light into the darkness of the world, to warn men of the dangers that threaten them with destruction.—Testimonies for the Church 7:138, 139. PM 42.1

Every institution that bears the name of Seventh-day Adventist is to be to the world as was Joseph in Egypt, and as were Daniel and his fellows in Babylon. In the providence of God these men were taken captive, that they might carry to heathen nations the knowledge of the true God. They were to be representatives of God in our world. They were to make no compromise with the idolatrous nations with which they were brought in contact, but were to stand loyal to their faith, bearing as a special honor the name of worshipers of the God who created the heavens and the earth.—Testimonies for the Church 8:153. PM 42.2

As our work has extended and institutions have multiplied, God's purpose in their establishment remains the same. The conditions of prosperity are unchanged.—Testimonies for the Church 6:224. PM 42.3

God's Appointed Instrumentalities—The Echo Office [Australian Publishing House in Melbourne] is God's appointed instrumentality, over which He has a constant, watchful care. The Lord has shown me that there has not been among the workers a sense of the sacredness of this important center; they have not realized that it is God's by appointment, designed by Him to accomplish the work essential to be done in this part of the world, to prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord.... PM 42.4

The Lord calls for the men who are connected with sacred things to be as true as steel to His work and to the cause of God. His instrumentalities are to be first in all their thoughts and plans; they are to be guarded as a sacred matter. The Lord's coworkers are to use every jot of their entrusted ability and knowledge for Him.... PM 42.5

The enemy moves very slowly and cautiously if he sees that this will deter the work from advancing. At times, moderation has been a sin of unbelief. But when he sees that delay will injure his plans, he creates circumstances which apparently make it necessary to move hastily, without due consideration.... PM 43.1

The work is not yours, but the Lord's; and none are to become fainthearted. The angels have a constant care over the work.... The enemy is seeking to use every device which will cripple this institution. He seeks to make it a common thing through those whom He connects with it. When the workers are educated to think of this great center as related to God and under His supervision, when they realize that it is a channel through which light from heaven is to be communicated to the world, great respect and reverence will be shown to it. The best thoughts and noblest feelings will be cultivated and brought into the work, that the heavenly intelligences may cooperate with human beings. PM 43.2

As the workers realize that they are in the presence of angels, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, what strong restraint they will place on thoughts, words, and actions. They will be given moral strength; for the Lord says, “Them that honor Me, I will honor.” Every worker will possess a precious experience, and a power and faith that is stronger than all circumstances. They will be able to say, “The Lord is in this place.” The angels of God will be in every room. The power of an inward life will circulate through the office. There will be a power in the lives of the workers that will be felt throughout the entire institution. PM 43.3

Brethren, you must rise higher in your service. The office is not to be regarded as a common business institution. All who acknowledge God in His appointed channels, who act as faithful stewards in any place where they can do God service, will be honored by God.... PM 43.4

Will all who work in our institutions take heed to these things? The Lord sees not as man sees. He looks beneath the surface. He looks at the mind, from whence all our actions proceed. Especially does He note everything that glorifies His name before the people.—Letter 27, 1896. PM 44.1

The Press a Powerful Means of Spreading Light—The press is a powerful means to move the minds and hearts of the people. The men of this world seize the press, and make the most of every opportunity to get poisonous literature before the people. If men, under the influence of the spirit of the world and of Satan, are earnest to circulate books, tracts, and papers of a corrupting nature, you should be more earnest to get reading matter of an elevating and saving character before the people. PM 44.2

God has placed at the command of His people advantages in the press, which, combined with other agencies, will be successful in extending the knowledge of the truth. Tracts, papers, and books, as the case demands, should be circulated in all the cities and villages in the land. Here is missionary work for all. PM 44.3

There should be men trained for this branch of the work who will be missionaries, and will circulate publications. They should be men of good address, who will not repulse others or be repulsed. This is a work which would warrant men to give their whole time and energies as the occasion demands. God has committed to His people great light. This is not for them to selfishly enjoy alone, but to let its rays shine forth to others who are in the darkness of error. PM 44.4

You are not as a people doing one twentieth part of what might be done in spreading the knowledge of the truth. Very much more can be accomplished by the living preacher with the circulation of papers and tracts than by the preaching of the word alone without the publications. The press is a powerful instrumentality which God has ordained to be combined with the energies of the living preacher to bring the truth before all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. Many minds can be reached in no other way.—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 216, 217. PM 44.5

Printed Page and the Spoken Word—The truth must be published far more extensively than it yet has been. It must be defined in clear, sharp lines before the people. It must be presented in short but conclusive arguments, and plans must be laid that at every meeting where the truth has been set before the people, it may be followed by the distribution of tracts and pamphlets. At the present time it may be found necessary to give these away, but they will be a power for good, and nothing will be lost. PM 45.1

The discourses given in the desk would be far more effective if reading matter were circulated, educating the hearers in the doctrines of the Bible. God will make many willing to read, but there will also be many who will refuse to see or hear anything upon the present truth. But we should not even think these cases beyond hope, for Christ is drawing many to Himself.... You should go forth with your hands filled with proper reading matter, and your heart filled with the love of God.—Evangelism, 159. PM 45.2

Preached Word Alone Nearly Fruitless—Several speakers had addressed large and attentive congregations at the camp meeting at Rome, N. Y., on first day, Sept, 12, 1875. The following night I dreamed that a young man of noble appearance came into the room where I was, immediately after I had been speaking. He said: PM 45.3

“You have called the attention of the people to important subjects, which, to a large number, are strange and new. To some they are intensely interesting. The laborers in word and doctrine have done what they could in presenting the truth. But unless there is a more thorough effort made to fasten these impressions upon minds, your efforts will prove nearly fruitless. Satan has many attractions ready to divert the mind; and the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches all combine to choke the seed of truth sown in the heart. PM 45.4

“In every effort such as you are now making, much more good would result from your labors if you had appropriate reading matter ready for circulation. Tracts upon the important points of truth for the present time should be handed out freely to all who will accept them. You are to sow beside all waters.... PM 45.5

Where Labor and Means Produce Best Results—“Here is true missionary work in which labor and means can be invested with the best results. There has been too great fear of running risks, and moving out by faith, and sowing beside all waters. Opportunities have been presented which have not been grasped and made the most of. There has been too great fear of venturing. True faith is not presumption, but it ventures much. Precious light and powerful truth need to be brought out in publications without delay.”—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 216-218. PM 46.1

The Press and Unprecedented Opportunities—In these days of travel, the opportunities for coming in contact with men and women of all classes and of many nationalities, are much greater than in the days of Israel. The thoroughfares of travel have multiplied a thousand-fold. God has wonderfully prepared the way. The agency of the printing press, with its manifold facilities, is at our command. Bibles and publications in many languages, setting forth the truth for this time, are at our hand, and can be swiftly carried to every part of the world. PM 46.2

We are to give the last warning of God to men, and what should be our earnestness in studying the Bible, and our zeal in spreading the light!—Evangelism, 702, 703. PM 46.3

Act Quickly to Present Truth in Publications—The Lord has shown the error of many in looking to those only who have property to support the publication of the paper and tracts. All should act their part. Those who have strength to labor with their hands, and earn means to help sustain the cause, are as accountable for it as others are for their property. Every child of God who professes to believe the present truth, should be zealous to act his part in this cause.... PM 46.4

I saw that the truth must go and that we must not be too fearful, that tracts and papers might better go to three where they were not needed than to have one deprived of them who prizes them and can be benefited by them. I saw that the last-day signs should be brought out clearly, for the manifestations of Satan are on the increase. The publications of Satan and his agents are increasing, their power is growing, and what we do to get the truth before others must be done quickly.—Early Writings, 95, 96. PM 46.5

Publications to Go in Every Language—To give all nations the message of warning—this is to be the object of our efforts. A way will be prepared for the faithful worker to labor at all times and seasons for the conversion of souls. Upon all who have received the word of God there rests the burden of doing this work. From city to city, and from country to country, they are to carry the publications containing the promises of the Saviour's soon coming. These publications are to be translated into every language; for to all the world the gospel is to be preached. To every worker Christ promises the divine efficiency that will make his labors a success. PM 47.1

There is too much hovering round our institutions; too much ease-loving. The commission of Christ is to be carried out to the letter. God's people must consecrate to Him their means and their capabilities. The faithful soldiers of the cross of Christ are to go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach and following in the path of self-denial trodden by the Redeemer.—The Review and Herald, February 9, 1905. PM 47.2

There is great need of men who can use the press to the best advantage, that the truth may be given wings to speed it to every nation, and tongue, and people.—Gospel Workers, 25. PM 47.3

Silent Messenger Their Only Preacher—I was shown that the truth once published now, will stand, for it is the truth for the last days; it will live, and less need be said upon it in future. Numberless words need not be put upon paper to justify what speaks for itself and shines in its clearness. Truth is straight, plain, clear, and stands out boldly in its own defense; but it is not so with error. It is so winding and twisting that it needs a multitude of words to explain it in its crooked form. I saw that all the light they had received in some places had come from the paper; that souls had received the truth in this way, [The Review and Herald, which at that time, 1853, was published semimonthly.] and then talked it to others; and that now in places where there are several, they had been raised up by this silent messenger. It was their only preacher. The cause of truth should not be hindered in its onward progress for want of means.—Early Writings, 96. PM 47.4

Truth-filled Literature Largely Determines Church's Power—The power and efficiency of our work depend largely on the character of the literature that comes from our presses. Therefore great care should be exercised in the choice and preparation of the matter that is to go to the world. The greatest caution and discrimination are needed. Our energies should be devoted to the publication of literature of the purest quality and the most elevating character. Our periodicals must go forth laden with truth that has a vital, spiritual interest for the people. PM 48.1

God has placed in our hands a banner upon which is inscribed: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. This is a distinct, separating message, a message that is to give no uncertain sound. It is to lead the people away from the broken cisterns that contain no water, to the unfailing Fountain of the water of life.—Testimonies for the Church 7:150. PM 48.2

Exalt the Claims of God's Law—Our publishing institutions are to exalt the claims of God's downtrodden law. Standing before the world as reformers, they are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all His commandments. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to cooperate with Him in building up the old waste places, raising up the foundations of many generations. They are to stand as repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in. Through their testimony the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a witness, a constant reminder of God, to attract notice and arouse investigation that shall direct the minds of men to their Creator.—Testimonies for the Church 7:139. PM 48.3

Cooperate in Proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages—Let it never be forgotten that these [publishing] institutions are to cooperate with the ministry of the delegates of heaven. They are among the agencies represented by the angel flying “in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” Revelation 14:6, 7. PM 49.1

From them is to go forth the terrible denunciation: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Verse 8. PM 49.2

They are represented by the third angel that followed, “saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Verses 9, 10.—Testimonies for the Church 7:140. (See also Selected Messages 2:117, 118.) PM 49.3

Make Plain the Issues in the Great Controversy—The great conflict that Satan created in the heavenly courts is soon, very soon, to be forever decided. Soon all the inhabitants of the earth will have taken sides, either for or against the government of heaven. Now, as never before, Satan is exercising his deceiving power to mislead and to destroy every unguarded soul. We are called upon to arouse the people to prepare for the great issues before them. We must give warning to those who are standing on the very brink of ruin. God's people are to put forth every power in combating Satan's falsehoods and pulling down his strongholds. To every human being in the wide world who will give heed, we are to make plain the principles at stake in the great controversy—principles upon which hangs the eternal destiny of the soul. To the people far and near we are to bring home the question: “Are you following the great apostate in disobedience to God's law, or are you following the Son of God, who declared, ‘I have kept My Father's commandments’?” PM 49.4

This is the work before us; for this our publishing institutions were established; it is this work that God expects at their hands.—Testimonies for the Church 7:141, 142. PM 50.1

Accomplish “the Work of That Other Angel”—And in a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power and who lightens the earth with his glory. PM 50.2

Solemn is the responsibility that rests upon our houses of publication. Those who conduct these institutions, those who edit the periodicals and prepare the books, standing as they do in the light of God's purpose, and called to give warning to the world, are held by God accountable for the souls of their fellow men. To them, as well as to the ministers of the word, applies the message given by God to His prophet of old: “Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ezekiel 33:7, 8. PM 50.3

Never did this message apply with greater force than it applies today.—Testimonies for the Church 7:140, 141. PM 50.4

Establish New Centers in Missionary Lines—Our publishing houses are God's appointed centers, and through them is to be accomplished a work the magnitude of which is yet unrealized. There are lines of effort and influence as yet by them almost untouched in which God is calling for their cooperation. PM 50.5

As the message of truth advances into new fields, it is God's purpose that the work of establishing new centers shall be constantly going forward. Throughout the world His people are to raise memorials of His Sabbath, the sign between Him and them that He is the One who sanctifies them. At various points in missionary lands publishing houses must be established. To give character to the work, to be centers of effort and influence, to attract the attention of the people, to develop the talents and capabilities of the believers, to unify the new churches, and to second the efforts of the workers, giving them facilities for more ready communication with the churches and more rapid dissemination of the message—all these and many other considerations plead for the establishment of publishing centers in missionary fields. PM 50.6

In this work it is the privilege, yea, the duty, of our established institutions to participate. These institutions were founded in self-sacrifice. They have been built up by the self-denying gifts of God's people and the unselfish labor of His servants. God designs that they shall manifest the same spirit of self-sacrifice and do the same work in aiding the establishment of new centers in the fields. PM 51.1

For institutions as for individuals the same law holds true: They are not to become self-centered. As an institution becomes established and gains strength and influence, it is not to be constantly reaching out to secure greater facilities for itself. Of every institution, as of every individual, it is true that we receive to impart. God gives that we may give. Just as soon as an institution has gained a standing place for itself, it should reach out to aid other instrumentalities of God that are in greater need.... PM 51.2

The Lord will withdraw His blessing where selfish interests are indulged in any phase of the work; but He will put His people in possession of good throughout the whole world, if they will use it for the uplifting of humanity. The experience of apostolic days will come to us when we wholeheartedly accept God's principle of benevolence—consent in all things to obey the leadings of His Holy Spirit. PM 51.3

Train for Missionary Service—Our institutions should be missionary agencies in the highest sense, and true missionary work always begins with those nearest. In every institution there is missionary work to be done. From the manager to the humblest worker, all should feel a responsibility for the unconverted among their own number. They should put forth earnest effort to bring them to Christ. As the result of such effort many will be won and will become faithful and true in service to God. PM 51.4

As our publishing houses take upon themselves a burden for missionary fields, they will see the necessity of providing for a broader and more thorough education of workers. They will realize the value of their facilities for this work and will see the need of qualifying the workers, not merely to build up the work within their own borders, but to give efficient help to institutions in new fields. PM 52.1

God designs that our publishing houses shall be successful educating schools, both in business and in spiritual lines. Managers and workers are ever to keep in mind that God requires perfection in all things connected with His service. Let all who enter our institutions to receive instruction understand this. Let opportunity be given for all to acquire the greatest possible efficiency. Let them become acquainted with different lines of work so that, if called to other fields, they will have an all-round training and thus be qualified to bear varied responsibilities. PM 52.2

Apprentices should be so trained that, after the necessary time spent in the institution, they can go forth prepared to take up intelligently the different lines of printing work, giving momentum to the cause of God by the best use of their energies and capable of imparting to others the knowledge they have received. PM 52.3

All the workers should be impressed with the fact that they are not only to be educated in business lines, but to become qualified to bear spiritual responsibilities. Let every worker be impressed with the importance of a personal connection with Christ, a personal experience of His power to save. Let the workers be educated as were the youth in the schools of the prophets. Let their minds be molded by God through His appointed agencies. All should receive a training in Bible lines, should be rooted and grounded in the principles of truth, that they may keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. Let every effort be made to arouse and encourage the missionary spirit. Let the workers be impressed with a sense of the high privilege proffered them in this last work of salvation, to be used by God as His helping hand. Let each be taught to work for others, by practical labor for souls just where he is. Let all learn to look to the word of God for instruction in every line of missionary effort. Then, as the word of the Lord is communicated to them, it will supply their minds with suggestions for working the fields in such a way as to bring to God the best returns from all parts of His vineyard.—Testimonies for the Church 7:144-148. PM 52.4

Missionary Institutions With Missionary Spirit—In the providence of God we have institutions established among us to advance the promulgation of truth, but they do not reach the efficiency that they might if the workers were wholly consecrated to God.... PM 53.1

These instrumentalities are missionary institutions. The Lord designed that they should be a power for good; and if all who are connected with them are consecrated, if they are meek and lowly in heart, Christ will give them most precious lessons in His school. In our health institutions, our publishing houses, our schools, all should work harmoniously to carry out the purpose of God, and everything connected with the institutions should tend toward reform. The managers and helpers should have the true missionary spirit as a daily, abiding principle; for they are in a field that requires the highest kind of missionary work. Our institutions, properly conducted, will exert a far-reaching influence, and if the managers and the workers are Christians, they will be as shining lights.—Letter 74, 1896. (Special Testimony to the Managers and Workers in our Institutions, 3, 4.) PM 53.2

Follow Divine Not Worldly Policy—I was shown that the publishing work was arranged and established under the special supervision of God. Those connected with this work must also be under the supervision of God, else an order of things entirely contrary to the light of His word will be established. Those who trust to their own wisdom will plan to carry out their special ideas. This will bring results unfavorable to the advancement of God's cause. There are those who undertake to mold and fashion things according to their own perverted judgment, when it is plainly revealed that their own hearts need to be softened and broken under the controlling influence of God. How can it be safe to allow such men to control in your decisions? PM 53.3

A great work is in danger of being misshaped and deformed by human plans. It is in danger of being marred by men who do not lay their foundation upon the eternal Rock. They may regard some things as all right and other things as all wrong, just as they may be influenced in regard to the work. Their defective spiritual eyesight leads them to adopt a course of action that leaves God almost entirely out of their plans. They catch at ideas advanced by men who have not carried the burden of the work from the formation of the church called Seventh-day Adventists.... PM 54.1

The work of God will be greatly marred if left in the hands of men who reason from their own human judgment. Self comes in, and traits of character that are not in accordance with the character of Christ put their impression on the work. A worldly policy is regarded as wise, while the divine policy, singular in the eyes of the world, is thought to be foolishness. A mark will thus be left on the work which will not appear objectionable, but which will receive God's disapproval.—Letter 26, 1899. PM 54.2

One Agency Among Others—God works by means of instruments, or second causes. He uses the gospel ministry, medical missionary work, and the publications containing present truth to impress hearts. All are made effectual by means of faith. As the truth is heard or read, the Holy Spirit sends it home to those who hear and read with an earnest desire to know what is right. The gospel ministry, medical missionary work, and our publications are God's agencies. One is not to supersede the other.—Evangelism, 547. PM 54.3