The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 9—Quality Message Literature Needed

Circulate Books Containing Present Truth—Let more time be given to the publication and circulation of books containing present truth. Call attention to books dwelling on practical faith and godliness and to those that treat on the prophetic word. The people are to be educated to read the sure word of prophecy in the light of the living oracles. They need to know that the signs of the times are fulfilling. PM 95.1

It is God alone who can give success either in preparing or in circulating our publications. If in faith we maintain His principles, He will co-operate with us in placing the books in the hands of those whom they will benefit. The Holy Spirit is to be prayed for, trusted in, believed in. Humble, fervent prayer will do more to promote the circulation of our books than will all the expensive ornamentation in the world.—Testimonies for the Church 7:158, 159. PM 95.2

Articles to Honor Family Religion—Let our periodicals be devoted to the publication of living, earnest matter. Let every article be full of practical, elevating, ennobling thoughts, thoughts that will give to the reader help and light and strength. Family religion, family holiness, is now to be honored as never before. If ever a people needed to walk before God as did Enoch, Seventh-day Adventists need to do so now, showing their sincerity by pure words, clean words, words full of sympathy, tenderness, and love. PM 95.3

There are times when words of reproof and rebuke are called for. Those who are out of the right way must be aroused to see their peril. A message must be given that shall startle them from the lethargy which enchains their senses. Moral renovation must take place, else souls will perish in their sins. Let the message of truth, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cut its way to the heart. Make appeals that will arouse the careless and bring foolish, wandering minds back to God. PM 95.4

The attention of the people must be arrested. Our message is a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. The destinies of souls are balancing. Multitudes are in the valley of decision. A voice should be heard crying: “If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21. PM 96.1

At the same time nothing savoring of a harsh, denunciatory spirit is, under any circumstances, to be indulged. Let our periodicals contain no sharp thrusts, no bitter criticisms or cutting sarcasm. Satan has almost succeeded in expelling from the world the truth of God, and he is delighted when its professed advocates show that they are not under the influence of truth which subdues and sanctifies the soul. PM 96.2

Let the writers for our periodicals dwell as little as possible upon the objections or arguments of opponents. In all our work we are to meet falsehood with truth. Put truth against all personal hints, references, or insults. Deal only in the currency of heaven. Make use only of that which bears God's image and superscription. Press in truth, new and convincing, to undermine and cut away error. PM 96.3

God wants us to be always calm and forbearing. Whatever course others may pursue, we are to represent Christ, doing as He would do under similar circumstances. Our Saviour's power lay not in a strong array of sharp words. It was His gentleness, His unselfish, unassuming spirit, that made Him a conqueror of hearts. The secret of our success lies in revealing the same spirit. PM 96.4

Those who speak to the people through our periodicals should preserve unity among themselves. Nothing that savors of dissension should be found in our publications. Satan is always seeking to cause dissension, for well he knows that by this means he can most effectually counteract the work of God. We should not give place to his devices. Christ's prayer for His disciples was: “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” John 17:21. All true laborers for God will work in harmony with this prayer.... PM 96.5

The editors of our papers need the co-operation of our laborers in the field and of our people far and near. In our papers should be found communications from the workers in all parts of the world—articles giving living experiences. We do not need romance; but in the daily life there are real experiences that, if told in short articles and in simple words, would be more fascinating than romance, while at the same time they would be an invaluable aid to Christian experience and to practical missionary work. We want truth, solid truth, from consecrated men, women, and youth. PM 97.1

You who love God, whose minds are stored with precious items of experience, and with the living realities of eternal life, kindle the flame of love and light in the hearts of God's people. Help them to deal with the problems of life. PM 97.2

The articles that go to thousands of readers should show purity, elevation, and sanctification of body, soul, and spirit on the part of the writers. The pen should be used, under the control of the Holy Spirit, as a means of sowing seed unto eternal life. Let the space in our papers be occupied with matter of real worth. Crowd in subjects weighty with eternal interests. God calls us into the mount to talk with Him, and when by faith we behold Him who is invisible, our words will be indeed a savor of life unto life. PM 97.3

Literature Dealing With Daniel and Revelation—Let all have more to teach, to write, and to publish in regard to those things that are now to be fulfilled and that concern the eternal welfare of souls. Give meat in due season to the old and the young, to saints and to sinners. Let everything that can be said to awaken the church from its slumbers be brought forward without delay. Let no time be lost in dwelling on those things that are not essential, and that have no bearing upon the present necessities of the people. Read the first three verses of the Revelation, and see what work is enjoined upon those who claim to believe the word of God: [Revelation 1:1-3 quoted].—Testimonies for the Church 7:155-158. PM 97.4

The books of Daniel and the Revelation should be bound together and published. A few explanations of certain portions might be added, but I am not sure that these would be needed. PM 98.1

This is the suggestion that I made to Elder Haskell which resulted in the book he published. [The reference here is to a book entitled The Story of Daniel the Prophet, Published in 1901 by Elder S. N. Haskell. It is a volume presenting a brief comment on the prophecies of Daniel. This statement by Mrs. White was penned in the year 1902. A few years later Elder Haskell published a companion volume entitled The Story of the Seer of Patmos, commenting on the book of Revelation.] The need is not filled by this book. It was my idea to have the two books bound together, Revelation following Daniel, as giving fuller light on the subjects dealt with in Daniel. The object is to bring these books together, showing that they both relate to the same subjects. PM 98.2

A message that will arouse the churches is to be proclaimed. Every effort is to be made to give the light, not only to our people, but to the world. I have been instructed that the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation should be printed in small books, with the necessary explanations, and should be sent all over the world. Our own people need to have the light placed before them in clearer lines.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 117. PM 98.3

Textbooks for Children and Youth—Why should not the lessons which children and youth learn be pure, elevating, and ennobling? Cannot books be written that are free from every species of error? Is there not talent enough among Seventh-day Adventists to write books containing the simple lessons of the Old and New Testaments? [SDA literature evangelists now have an abundance of quality children's books to sell to their customers, and denominational ABCs offer excellent Bible storybooks for boys and girls.]—Manuscript 5, 1890. PM 98.4

No Questionable Books for the Youth—Why do our people, in the instruction of their children, depend upon books which contain objectionable errors? When the children ask what these stories mean, which are so contrary to all they have been taught, the parents answer that they are not true, and yet they continue to place the books before their children.... No one seems to realize that the ideas presented in these books mislead children, and that the imaginary stories, novels, and fables which are dealt out to feed their minds beget a taste and encourage an appetite for the unreal things of life. PM 99.1

When we have an abundance of that which is real and that which is divine, why do we not feed the minds of children with this kind of food? Books which contain a perversion of truth and which will mislead growing minds should never be placed before children or youth, and those with mature minds would be far better, far purer, stronger, and more noble if they had nothing to do with them.—Manuscript 5, 1890. PM 99.2

Guarding Against Publishing False Theories—I can see plainly that should everyone who thinks he is qualified to write books follow his imagination and have his productions published, insisting that they be recommended by our publishing houses, there would be plenty of tares sown broadcast in our world.... PM 99.3

As long as there are printing presses and publishing houses, erroneous matter will be presented for publication, and books will be prepared for public circulation. PM 99.4

Should there be no guard against the publication of erroneous theories, our own publishing houses would become the agents for disseminating false theories. Writers make a world of one or two items of theory, which others cannot regard as important, and then the writer thinks his ideas are greatly belittled. PM 99.5

Two or three days ago I received a chart from one who professes to be a Sabbathkeeper in California, and he feels very sore over the fact that the Pacific Press does not pay respect to his productions, and accept the light he would present to the world. PM 99.6

There will be gods many, and lords many that will be struggling for recognition; but should the persons that feel such a burden to pour out something original upon the world walk humbly with God, in meekness and contrition of spirit, the Lord would recognize them and give them the grace of His Holy Spirit in order that they might do the very work, according to their ability, which God would have them do.—Letter 49, 1894. PM 100.1

Necessity of Diversity in Writing—The Lord gave His Word in just the way He wanted it to come. He gave it through different writers, each having his own individuality, though going over the same history. Their testimonies are brought together in one Book, and are like the testimonies in a social meeting. They do not represent things in just the same style. Each has an experience of his own, and this diversity broadens and deepens the knowledge that is brought out to meet the necessities of varied minds. The thoughts expressed have not a set uniformity, as if cast in an iron mold, making the very hearing monotonous. In such uniformity there would be a loss of grace and distinctive beauty. PM 100.2

We are not to feel that we must speak the very same things, giving the same representation in the same words, and yet there is to be unity in the diversity. All the different testimonies unite to form one whole, as the books of the Bible are brought together, and bound under one cover.... One must not labor to have everything that comes from his mind entirely different from that which comes from another man's mind. But he is to follow in the line where the Spirit of the Lord shall direct; then there will be different figures and different ways of presentation that will interest and educate different minds.—Letter 53, 1900. PM 100.3

Unity in Spite of Diversity—The Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction. The fact that this difference exists should not perplex or confuse us. It is seldom that two persons will view and express truth in the very same way. Each dwells on particular points which his constitution and education have fitted him to appreciate. The sunlight falling upon different objects gives those objects a different hue.—Letter 53, 1900. PM 100.4

Our work is to proclaim the third angel's message. Men are needed who understand the truth to be proclaimed, who realize what class of matter should come from our printing presses. We are to adhere steadfastly to the truth for this time, seeking in every way possible to block the wheels of Satan's car. PM 101.1

Satan and his agents have been and are working diligently. Will God give His blessing to the publishing houses if they accept the deceptions of the enemy? Shall the institutions which have been kept before the people as holy unto the Lord become schools in which the workers eat the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge? Shall we encourage Satan in his stealthy entrance into the citadel of truth to deposit his hellish science, as he did in Eden? Are the men at the heart of the work men who cannot distinguish between truth and error? Are they men who cannot see the terrible consequences of giving influence to wrong? PM 101.2

If you should gain millions of dollars by work of this kind, [that is, the printing of questionable literature, dealing with spiritism, Indian wars, et cetera, accepted as commercial jobs by our publishing houses.] of what value is this gain when compared with the terrible loss that is incurred by giving publicity to Satan's lies, by making it possible for the world to say that books containing errors were published at the Seventh-day Adventist publishing house, to be scattered broadcast to the world? PM 101.3

Awake, and realize that your presses have published the devil's lies. Let the men who know the truth act like wise men, placing the whole weight of their influence on the side of truth and righteousness.—Letter 140, 1901. PM 101.4

Through the inspiration of His Spirit, the Lord gave His apostles truth, to be expressed according to the development of their minds by the Holy Spirit. But the mind is not cramped, as if forced into a certain mold. Men may not have precisely the same way of viewing or expressing truths as we have, yet they may be just as precious in the sight of God as we are. PM 101.5

There is not to be a thread of selfishness or self-exaltation in our work, for we are drawing our spiritual supplies from the same storehouse, and are wholly and entirely dependent upon God for His grace and His Spirit's working. PM 102.1

In strict loyalty, for the glory of God, we are to bring to the people all the light and evidence possible. In order to do this, we must be constant learners in the school of Christ. We are to learn His meekness and lowliness. Only thus can we, by our words and in our character, impart the Holy Spirit's unction.—Letter 53, 1900. PM 102.2

Danger of Straining to be Original—Some are always straining to get something original. This places them in great danger. They produce something new that is not according to the Word of God, and they have not the discernment to see the real harm that results from their ambition to excel some other one in new and strange productions. Thus error comes to appear to them as truth, and they present it as wonderful new light, when it is an innovation that makes of none effect a “Thus saith the Lord.” PM 102.3

Let all be under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit of God. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, one may use the same expressions used by a fellow worker under the same guidance. He should not make an effort to do this, or not to do it, but leave the mind to be acted upon by the Holy Spirit. There is one thing all should do: Endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”—Letter 53, 1900. PM 102.4

Work of No Human Author Is Perfect—The work of no human author is perfect. The depth of human intellect may be measured. The richest mines of human production are not inexhaustible. But the highest, deepest, broadest flight of the imagination can not find out God. There is infinity beyond all that we in our own strength can comprehend: the Holy Spirit must reveal Him to us. Many are too well satisfied with the surface truths of revelation. Precious gems of truth are passed by because their value is not seen.—The Signs of the Times, December 22, 1898. PM 102.5

Improving Church Papers—Both papers, [Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times] need more help ..., that the papers shall not bear the stamp of one man's mind and of his peculiar temperament. All have their strong points and their weak points; and all have prejudices and likes and dislikes which will be in danger of cropping out in the paper. There should be several whose judgment should blend together; while one is weak in some points the others will be able to supply the deficiency. This is what God designed should exist in the carrying forward of His work upon the earth. His servants, diverse in temperament, in tastes, in habits, should all blend together and compose a perfect whole. PM 103.1

None should feel that he can accomplish the work of making the paper all it should be, without the help of another. You [Elder James White] cannot do this; Elder Waggoner cannot do it. Elder Smith cannot do it; for these papers must not bear the stamp of any one man's mind. Not one is sufficient of himself. All will not run in the same groove, but all will have the same object in view and all will harmonize in bringing about the best results. PM 103.2

No one man is to pick the work up in his hands and be so tenacious for his own ways of doing the work that no one can work with him, and he can work with no one unless that one follows the same manner of labor he has trained himself to follow. We cannot all labor in the same armor. Elder B is peculiar in this respect. He is shortening his days because he lifts the burdens all himself. He thinks no one can make a success unless his plans and ideas of carrying forward the work are exactly after his own order. He is not well balanced in this respect, and the work that ought to be more widespread and nearly self-sustaining is retarded and circumscribed; but it will be difficult to correct this state of things without having an almost fatal influence on Elder B. He believes his ideas and ways the only right way. PM 103.3

Is it so? No, no.—Letter 49, 1876.

One Man Supplies Deficiency of Another—Jesus chose men for His disciples who were diverse in character, that the work should be done with perfection. There is a disposition in men to think they are the only ones who can do the work right and make it a success, when they are most sadly deficient in essential qualities which must be supplied to make the work a success. Thus it is with our beloved Elder C. We must all give room for others to come by our side and work harmoniously with us that one may supply the deficiency of another and all blend together in perfect harmony. The Review and Herald can be improved, and it ought to be made a much better paper than it is. PM 104.1

The Signs of the Times may be made more perfect; but take away and divert the interest to a new paper [James White was at this time contemplating the printing of a new journal, and in this letter Ellen White discourages the plan for several reasons—one being the lack of talented editors to make the paper a success.] and it will decrease the interest in those already established, and it will be a trial enterprise. It will not be kept alive. It will dwindle out after a time. Let all the talent and all the means be employed in building up our offices now in operation and making the papers now printed a perfect success. Do well what is on hand to do, and God will help if the workers are devoted, God-fearing, self-sacrificing men.—Letter 49, 1876. PM 104.2