The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 11—Relationship Between the Publishing House and the Church

Treat Publishing Houses With High Respect—The Lord designs that through our publishing houses, our sanitariums, and our schools, bright beams of light shall shine to the world. Every branch of the work connected with or attached to these instrumentalities should be treated with the highest respect.... PM 114.1

The publishing house at North Fitzroy is either the Lord's appointed center, or it is not. If it is the Lord's instrumentality, all should regard it thus, and work always with the glory of God in view.—Letter 27, 1896. PM 114.2

Duty of the Church to the Publishing House—The members of a church within whose borders one of our publishing houses is situated are honored in having among them one of the Lord's special instrumentalities. They should appreciate this honor and should realize that it involves a most sacred responsibility. Their influence and example will go far in helping or hindering the institution in the accomplishment of its mission. PM 114.3

As we approach the last crisis, it is of vital moment that harmony and unity exist among the Lord's instrumentalities. The world is filled with storm and war and variance. Yet under one head—the papal power—the people will unite to oppose God in the person of His witnesses. This union is cemented by the great apostate. While he seeks to unite his agents in warring against the truth he will work to divide and scatter its advocates. Jealousy, evil surmising, evilspeaking, are instigated by him to produce discord and dissension. The members of Christ's church have the power to thwart the purpose of the adversary of souls. At such a time as this let them not be found at variance with one another or with any of the Lord's workers. Amidst the general discord let there be one place where harmony and unity exists because the Bible is made the guide of life. Let the people of God feel that a responsibility rests upon them to build up His instrumentalities. PM 114.4

Brethren and sisters, the Lord will be pleased if you will take hold heartily to sustain the publishing institution with your prayers and your means. Pray every morning and evening that it may receive God's richest blessing. Do not encourage criticism and complaining. Let no murmurs or complaints come from your lips; remember that angels hear these words. All must be led to see that these institutions are of God's appointment. Those who disparage them in order to serve their own interests must render an account to God. He designs that everything connected with His work shall be treated as sacred.... PM 115.1

Every institution will have to battle with difficulty. Trials are permitted in order to test the hearts of God's people. When adversity befalls one of the Lord's instrumentalities, it will be shown how much real faith we have in God and in His work. At such a time let none view matters in the worst light and give expression to doubt and unbelief. Do not criticize those who carry the burdens of responsibility. Let not the conversation in your homes be poisoned with criticism of the Lord's workers. Parents who indulge this criticizing spirit are not bringing before their children that which will make them wise unto salvation. Their words tend to unsettle the faith and confidence not only on the children, but of those older in years. All have little enough of respect and reverence for sacred things. Satan will unite most zealously with the criticizer in fostering unbelief, envy, jealousy, and disrespect. Satan is always at work to imbue men with his spirit, to quench the love which should be sacredly cherished between brethren, to discourage confidence, to excite envy, evil surmisings, and the strife of tongues. Let us not be found acting as his co-workers. One heart open to his suggestions may sow many seeds of disaffection. Thus may be wrought a work whose results in the ruin of souls will never be fully manifest until the great day of final judgment. PM 115.2

Christ declares: “Whoso shall cause one of these little ones which believe on Me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling! for it must needs be that the occasions come; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh!” Matthew 18:6, 7, R.V. A great responsibility is here placed upon the members of the church. Let them beware lest through inattention to the souls of those young in the faith, lest through sowing seeds of doubt and unbelief under the instigation of Satan, they be found guilty of the ruin of a soul.... PM 116.1

Instead of co-operating with Satan, let everyone learn what it means to co-operate with God. In these depressing times He has a work to be done that demands the firm courage and faith which will enable us to sustain one another. All need to stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart as laborers together with God.... PM 116.2

As you have opportunity, speak to the workers; speak words that will be a strength and an inspiration. We are altogether too indifferent in regard to one another. Too often we forget that our fellow laborers are in need of strength and cheer. In times of special perplexity and burden, take care to assure them of your interest and sympathy. While you try to help them by your prayers, let them know that you do it. Send along the line God's message to His workers: “Be strong and of a good courage.” Joshua 1:6. PM 116.3

Youth to Respect Institutional Managers—The managers of our institutions have a most difficult task to maintain order and to discipline wisely the youth under their care. The members of the church can do much to stay up their hands. When the youth are unwilling to submit to the discipline of the institution, or in any matter of difference with their superiors are determined to have their own way, let not parents blindly sustain and sympathize with their children. PM 116.4

Better, far better might your children suffer, better lie in their graves, than be taught to treat lightly the principles that lie at the very foundation of loyalty to truth, to their fellow beings, and to God. PM 117.1

In cases of difficulty with the ones who have them in charge, go directly to those in authority and learn the truth. Bear in mind that the managers of the various departments understand much better than others can what regulations are essential. Manifest confidence in their judgment and respect for their authority. Teach your children to respect and honor the ones to whom God has shown respect and honor by placing them in positions of trust.—Testimonies for the Church 7:182-186. PM 117.2

Duty of the Publishing House to the Church—While the church has a responsibility to the publishing house, so also has the publishing house to the church. Each is to uphold the other. PM 117.3

Those in positions of responsibility in the publishing houses should not allow themselves to be so pressed with work that they have no time for maintaining the spiritual interest. When this interest is kept alive in the publishing house, it will exert a powerful influence in the church; and when it is kept alive in the church, it will exert a powerful influence in the publishing house. God's blessing will rest on the work when it is so conducted that souls are won to Christ. PM 117.4

All the workers in the publishing house who profess the name of Christ should be workers in the church. It is essential to their own spiritual life that they improve every means of grace. They will obtain strength, not by standing as spectators, but by becoming workers. Everyone should be enlisted in some line of regular, systematic labor in connection with the church. All should realize that as Christians this is their duty. By their baptismal vow they stand pledged to do all in their power to build up the church of Christ. Show them that love and loyalty to their Redeemer, loyalty to the standard of true manhood and womanhood, loyalty to the institution with which they are connected, demands this. They cannot be faithful servants of Christ, they cannot be men and women of real integrity, they cannot be acceptable workers in God's institutions, while neglecting these duties. PM 117.5

The managers of the institution in its various departments should have a special care that the youth form right habits in these lines. When the meetings of the church are neglected or duties connected with its work are left undone, let the cause be ascertained. By kind, tactful effort endeavor to arouse the careless and to revive a waning interest. PM 118.1

None should allow their own work to excuse neglect of the Lord's sacred service. Much better might they lay aside the work which concerns themselves than neglect their duty to God.—Testimonies for the Church 7:187, 188. PM 118.2

Investments in Publishing Houses [Early Adventist institutions were built with money exchanged for stock certificates. In time the believers who held stock were either paid off by the corporations or donated their shares. In most cases earnings on the stock was kept by the institutions with the shareholder's consent.]—The Lord calls upon His people to arouse and to show their faith by their works. In times past, when our numbers were few, when those who were able felt it their duty to take stock in our publishing house, their prayers and their alms, the fruit of persevering, self-denying effort, came before God as a sweet savor. Our brethren and sisters who have received the precious bread of life brought to them in our publications should be even more willing to give of their means to support the cause than were those who loved the truth in former years. PM 118.3

Brethren, God would bless you in showing your interest in our houses of publication by making them your property. Those who own no stock in these institutions have the privilege of investing their means in this good work. We need your sympathy, your prayers, and your means. We need your hearty cooperation. We hope that all whose hearts the Lord shall make willing will come forward with their means to invest in these institutions. Is it indeed true that we have the last message of mercy to be given to the world? Is it true that our work will soon close? Thus saith the word of God. The end of all things is at hand. Then the warning should be sent to all parts of the earth.... PM 118.4

You have nothing to fear; invest your means where it will be doing good; scatter rays of light to the darkest parts of the world. There is no such thing as failure in this work. It is your privilege and duty to do now as your brethren did when there were but few friends of the cause of truth. Take stock in our houses of publication, that you may feel that you have an interest in them. Many invest their money in worldly speculations, and in doing this are robbed of every dollar. We ask you to show your liberality by making investments in our publishing work. It will do you good. Your money will not be lost, but will be placed at interest to increase your capital stock in heaven. Christ has given all for you; what will you give for Him? He asks your heart; give it to Him, it is His own. He asks your intellect; give it to Him; it is His own. He asks your money; give it to Him, it is His own. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.” God wants you and yours. Let the words of the royal psalmist express the sentiment of your hearts: “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.”—Testimonies for the Church 4:592-596. PM 119.1

Men of Means to Contribute to Publishing Interests—When Jesus ascended to heaven, He committed His work on earth to His disciples, and bade them carry it forward in His name. As followers of Christ we are to be His representatives among men. The salvation of perishing souls calls for our personal effort and for our means. This should be the great object continually before us. It is to accomplish this that God has intrusted us with means. Let us then render to Him that which is His own. Let the men of means make a freewill offering to God by liberal gifts for our publishing houses and other institutions. These important instrumentalities in the cause of God are heavily burdened and seriously crippled in their work for want of means. There are still debts upon some of our houses of worship. If we would this year deny ourselves, and by our offerings clear these from debt, would it not be pleasing to our heavenly Father? [Written to encourage debt liquidation on churches and institutions at the year-end holiday season.]—The Review and Herald, December 26, 1882. PM 119.2

Printing Kept in SDA Publishing Houses—I have been considering the question whether we might not print our books and then place them with other publications to be bound, and thus relieve ourselves of the work of binding them in our own office. But I have recently been shown how this would work. If these books are entrusted to others, they will come out in a cheap form, because those who handle them do not take a special interest in the work. It will not be wise to place our work in the hands of unbelievers, when we have right among us those who are ready to do the work conscientiously and well. If our workers will endeavor to become efficient in the various lines of work, if they will strip for the race and harness for the battle, the Lord will bless them in becoming more and more intelligent and capable to do the work acceptably. Instead of seeking for amusements, they will find their highest pleasure in carrying forward faithfully to the very end of time the sacred work of the Lord. PM 120.1

In regard to the distribution of the work on our publications among unbelievers, the light that has been given me is that it will cost us more in the end than it would to have done the work ourselves in the name and fear of the Lord. The Lord desires the workers in our publishing houses to become very proficient, for they will be taken to distant countries. Many who think they will never be moved from their homes will be moved away unexpectedly, and unless they have improved their opportunities to obtain an education, they cannot stand upon the eminence that Christ desires them to stand upon.—Manuscript 73, 1906. PM 120.2

Church Printing to Be Done by Skilled Adventists—There should be seen in the office at Mountain View a work of education. The workers should become proficient in every part of the work of printing and book binding. They should be trained to do missionary work. But there are many who need first to learn lessons in the control of their spirit, and the careful selection of their words. If there is a hardness in your voice, if you are in the habit of speaking unkindly, you must have, before you can enter the kingdom of glory, an education in the grace and gentleness of Christ. PM 120.3

There is a great work to be done in the publishing of Seventh-day Adventist literature. It would not be well pleasing to the Lord for us to plan that the work of publishing our books and periodicals, for which we have well-trained workers, should be placed in the hands of unbelievers. If our offices depend upon unbelievers to do their binding, they will often be disappointed in the quality of the work. God desires that all the work we do for Him shall be well done. All the work done in our offices of publication should be so perfect that we may know that the Lord is glorified by its perfection. Let us do our best, and then we can say, “Lord, I have done the best I can; now I ask thee to bless the efforts put forth.” Then we may expect large results.—Manuscript 71, 1906. PM 121.1

Not to Discredit SDA Publishing Houses—I have received your letter in which you speak of a plan for you to print and sell a large number of my book Early Writings, brought out in a new style of binding. PM 121.2

In the past I have given my consent to your suggestions regarding this matter, [Stephen Haskell on several occasions urged Ellen White to place certain of her book manuscripts in the hands of non-SDA publishers to be produced at less cost and sold in larger quantities. Steps to Christ, when first printed in 1892, was handled in this way, but later it was withdrawn and placed in the hands of SDA publishing houses. The instruction Ellen White received from the Lord ran counter to Haskell's proposals, though his suggestions were prompted by unselfish missionary objectives.] but recently I have received such positive instruction regarding the necessity of unity that I dare not give my consent to your proposition.... PM 121.3

I would not wish to handle my books, nor to see you handle your books, in a manner that would seem to throw discredit upon the publishing houses. We must manifest wisdom in this matter. To carry out the plans you suggest would, to many, seem that we were taking advantage of circumstances to benefit ourselves. PM 121.4

In your office as president of this conference, the Lord would have you do everything possible to bring about a spirit of unity. Let the idea of unity be the keynote of all your actions. This instruction has been given me for you, that not one move must be made that will create feelings of discord.... PM 122.1

Let your whole influence be cast to create a spirit of unity with the men who are carrying responsibilities in the publishing work. Then your words will have more influence. PM 122.2

You and I are being watched very critically. If we were to carry out plans that would create dissension, this might result in the loss of souls.... PM 122.3

The Lord would be pleased for you to modify your plans regarding the selling of books at low prices, lest you lead some to feel that our publishing houses were charging exorbitantly for their labor.... PM 122.4

It would be a great mistake to follow methods in the publication and sale of your books that would injure your influence. Therefore, I say that it would not be wise, my brother, to carry out plans that seem to some to be contrary to fair dealing in the sale of our books. PM 122.5

Therefore I cannot give my consent to have any of my books handled at the present time in the way you suggest.—Letter 94, 1908. PM 122.6

Wrong to Steal Away Confidence in Others—Several weeks ago I was instructed by the Lord that Brother A was doing a work that God had not appointed him to do. This message I sent to the recent council held in Battle Creek. Brother B was not appointed of God to unite with Brother A in doing such a work. These brethren have not been instructed by the Lord to leave upon the minds of the workers in South Africa the impression that the Echo Publishing Company [Australian publishing house] was selfishly endeavoring to take unfair advantage of the South African brethren. Men must be very careful in regard to leaving upon the minds of their brethren the impression that the Lord's workers in a certain place are dealing unfairly and dishonestly. Such impressions mean a great deal. When some of our brethren accuse the brethren in charge of a publishing house, a reflection is cast upon the managers of the institution.—Letter 212, 1902. PM 122.7

Temptation to Bypass God's Institutions—Yesterday I had presented to me [by one of the workers] the advisability of supplying my books direct to agents in fields where few are sold. Thus I would receive a larger income. I laid the matter before my son W. C. White as it had been presented to me. Then he told me how he regarded the proposition, and in conclusion said, “Mother, unless you have a special direction from the Lord, I advise you to make no new moves. It will bring perplexity to others and additional care and burden to you; and you have cares and burdens enough. In every new move we must consider the interests of the whole work.” PM 123.1

During the night I had instruction as to the best course to follow at this crisis. Our work now is large; many new books must be brought out, and we must handle all parts of the work wisely. We must do our best to encourage our publishing houses in America and in foreign countries. Should I as author take up the work of handling my books myself, discouragement would be brought in our offices of publication. We have urged our publishing houses to give up commercial work, and they have done this. Should we bring confusion into the subscription book work, it would give them occasion to return to commercial work, and this would bring in delays and hindrances to the work of filling the world with our literature. PM 123.2

At this period of our work we must guard every step we take in reference to the publication of our books.... PM 123.3

I was instructed by One of authority that our work is to be carried on conscientiously by our own believing people. We are to unite our forces solidly, and work for the glory of God, multiplying the evidences of truth in every possible way. The Lord God is our counselor. Christ is our mediator and Saviour. We are to bring into the work every living agency who feels that he is chosen of God to do, not a common, commercial work, but a work that will give light and truth, Bible truth, to the world.—Letter 72, 1907. PM 123.4

Handle Books That Strengthen the Cause—The ability of our people to circulate literature is a precious talent for which we shall be held accountable. We are not to do a work that will bring in a revenue for persons who have departed from the faith, and who are working counter to God's appointed ministry. Various ones will offer flattering inducements for agents to circulate their books. Let our people be on guard. A portion of the revenue derived from the circulation of the books handled by our canvassers should be used in strengthening the work of our publishing houses. PM 124.1

Instead of engaging in a work that will place money in the hands of those engaged in a work of opposition, let our book agents give their attention to the books that are filled with the gospel message for this time, the gospel that will prepare a people to meet their God.—Letter 66, 1907. PM 124.2

SDA Publishing Houses to Print Ellen White's Books—We have advised Pacific Press to give up commercial work. This has been done. The Review and Herald also is giving its principal energies to our own work. The Nashville house is doing less outside work and is making great exertions to secure good agents and to sell our denominational books. To take my books into my own hands now would bring a great trial upon that work, and I cannot do it. I shall let the work go on as it has been going. We must press together and take no step that will bring confusion to our publishing work. PM 124.3

You can do as you think best, but I have concluded to have my books handled just as they have been in the past. I shall encourage our brethren to scatter them like the leaves of autumn, but I shall leave my books to be handled by the publishing houses and shall prepare for larger sales in the future.—Letter 70, 1907. PM 124.4