The Publishing Ministry


Section 3—Perils Facing Publishing-House Leaders

Chapter 12—Not Kingly, but Christlike Leadership

The Highhanded Use of Power—A man's position does not make him one jot or tittle greater in the sight of God; it is character alone that God values. The highhanded power that has been developed, as though positions had made men gods, makes me afraid, and ought to cause fear. It is a curse wherever and by whomsoever it is exercised. This lording it over God's heritage will create such a disgust of man's jurisdiction that a state of insubordination will result. The people are learning that men in high positions of responsibility cannot be trusted to mold and fashion other men's minds and characters. The result will be a loss of confidence even in the management of faithful men. But the Lord will raise up laborers who realize their own nothingness without special help from God.... PM 127.1

Let men be connected with God's work who will represent His character. They may have much to learn in regard to business management; but if they pray to God as did Daniel, if with true contrition of mind they seek that wisdom which comes from above, the Lord will give them an understanding heart. Read carefully and prayerfully the third chapter of James, especially verses 13-18. The whole chapter is an eye-opener, if men wish to open their eyes.—Letter 55, 1895. PM 127.2

Warned Not to Make Flesh Our Arm—Men think they are representing the justice of God, and they do not represent His tenderness and the great love wherewith He has loved us. Their human inventions, originating with the specious devices of Satan, appear fair enough to the blinded eyes of men, because it is inherent in their nature. A lie, believed, practiced, becomes as truth to them. Thus the purpose of the satanic agencies is accomplished, that men should reach these conclusions through the working of their own inventive minds. But how do men fall into such error? By starting with false premises, and then bringing everything to bear to make the error true. In some cases the first principles have a measure of truth interwoven with the error, but it does not lead to any just action, and this is why men are misled. In order to reign and become a power, they employ Satan's methods to justify their own principles. They exalt themselves as men of superior judgment, and they have stood as representatives of God. These are false gods.—Letter 55, 1895. PM 127.3

Sinful man can find hope and righteousness only in God; and no human being is righteous any longer than he has faith in God, and maintains a vital connection with Him. A flower of the field must have its root in the soil; it must have air, dew, showers, and sunshine. It will flourish only as it receives these advantages, and all are from God. So with men. We receive from God that which ministers to the life of the soul. We are warned not to trust in man, nor to make flesh our arm. A curse is pronounced upon all who do this.—Letter 55, 1895. PM 128.1

Dangers Foreseen in Vision at Salamanca—November 3, 1890, while laboring at Salamanca, N.Y., as I was in communion with God in the night season, I was taken out of and away from myself to assemblies in different States, where I bore decided testimony of reproof and warning. In Battle Creek a council of ministers and responsible men from the publishing house and other institutions was convened, and I heard those assembled, in no gentle spirit, advance sentiments and urge measures for adoption that filled me with apprehension and distress. [One such measure recommended that the Sentinel magazine, a religious liberty journal, cease publication unless its pages were limited to purely state-church issues with little or no space allowed for presenting the distinctive Adventist message. Ellen White opposed this scheme as of purely human devising: “We are not to make less prominent the special truths that have separated us from the world and made us what we are.... With pen and voice we are to proclaim the truth to the world.”—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 329. In resolving the issue the Spirit of Prophecy counsel was followed by publishing leaders.] PM 128.2

Years before, I had been called to pass through a similar experience, and the Lord then revealed to me many things of vital importance, and gave me warnings that must be delivered to those in peril. On the night of November 3, these warnings were brought to my mind, and I was commanded to present them before those in responsible offices of trust, and to fail not nor be discouraged. There were laid out before me some things which I could not comprehend; but the assurance was given me that the Lord would not allow His people to be enshrouded in the fogs of worldly skepticism and infidelity, bound up in bundles with the world; but if they would only hear and follow His voice, rendering obedience to His commandments, He would lead them above the mists of skepticism and unbelief, and place their feet upon the Rock.—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 319, 320. PM 129.1

Disregarding the Rights of Humanity—Everything entered into for the sake of ministering to pride or unsanctified ambition is to be cleared away before the Lord's institutions shall stand securely upon the eternal Rock. We need no crafty inventions to sustain the cause of God. We need no unjust dealing. Let the Lord breathe upon His work the spirit of heavenly principles, and it will live. Nothing that man can manufacture can take the place of God's Holy Spirit! Nothing that man's wisdom can invent will justify the violation of truth, or a disregard of the rights of humanity. Truth is too pure to set her delicate feet off the elevated platform of love to God and love to our fellow man.—Letter 83, 1896. PM 129.2

Church Authority Not Vested in One Man—When this power which God has placed in the church is accredited to one man, and he is invested with the authority to be judgment for other minds, then the true Bible order is changed. Satan's efforts upon such a man's mind will be most subtle and sometimes overpowering, because through this mind he thinks he can affect many others. Your position on leadership is correct, if you give to the highest organized authority in the church what you have given to one man. God never designed that His work should bear the stamp of one man's mind and one man's judgment.—Testimonies for the Church 3:493.(See Testimonies for the Church 9:260, 261.) PM 129.3

No Jerusalem Centers—In the work of the Lord for these last days there should be no Jerusalem centers, no kingly power. And the work in the different countries is not to be bound by contracts to the work centering in Battle Creek, for this is not God's plan. Brethren are to counsel together, for we are just as much under the control of God in one part of His vineyard as in another. Brethren are to be one in heart and soul, even as Christ and the Father are one. Teach this, practice this, that we may be one with Christ in God, all working to build up one another. PM 130.1

The kingly power formerly revealed in the General Conference at Battle Creek is not to be perpetuated. The publishing institution is not to be a kingdom of itself. It is essential that the principles that govern in General Conference affairs should be maintained in the management of the publishing work and the sanitarium work. One is not to think that the branch of the work with which he is connected is of vastly more importance than other branches.—Testimonies for the Church 8:232, 233. PM 130.2

God has not set any kingly power in the Seventh-day Adventist Church to control the whole body or to control any branch of the work. He has not provided that the burden of leadership shall rest upon a few men. Responsibilities are distributed among a large number of competent men.—Testimonies for the Church 8:236. PM 130.3

One Rule for Directors and “Inferiors”—Let men in responsible positions consider to a purpose that there is not one rule of action for the men in authority and another for the class who are expected to submit to their decisions; not one rule for the director and another for the supposed inferiors. I say supposed, for many who are treated as inferiors are men whose principles and course of action are such as heaven approves. They may be regarded as inferior in this world of iniquity, of semblance and sham, but in the sight of God they are counted more precious than gold, though it be tried with fire; they shall be found unto praise, and honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. The true learners of Christ, combining faith and truth and righteousness in their life practice, will keep the way of the Lord; there will be no conniving in selfish practices. Every path that God has not marked out for men to pursue is that of the destroyer. PM 130.4

I have risen a long while before day to write these words, for I see a great deal that needs to be done in heart and practice for men in authority who are very officious to make laws and restrictions for others, while they themselves do not obey the law of God. They will learn sometime that there is prosperity and happiness in no other path than the way of the Lord. Men's reason may be obscured, the conscience seared by long practice in their own way, but it is not a way of peace or security. Wherever the peace of God reigns in the heart, there is the tenderness and love of Christ.—Letter 75, 1895. PM 131.1

God the Chief Director—It was shown me that those who preside over our institutions should ever bear in mind that there is a chief director, who is the God of heaven. There should be strict honesty in all business transactions in every department of the work. There must be firmness in preserving order, but compassion, mercy, and forbearance should be mingled with the firmness. Justice has a twin sister, Love. These should stand side by side. The Bible should be our guide. There can be no greater deception than for a man to think that he can find a better guide, when in difficulty, than the word of God. The blessed word must be a lamp to our feet. Bible precepts must be carried into the everyday life.—Testimonies for the Church 5:559. PM 131.2

Managers Controlled by the Holy Spirit—How important is the work of the one who stands as manager of such an institution! How necessary that he be a man led and controlled by the Holy Spirit, a man who daily receives wisdom from on high! PM 131.3

Upon the managers of our publishing houses there rests a great responsibility—the responsibility of doing their best to secure the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the workers, that God may be glorified.—Letter 115, 1902. PM 132.1

No Kingly Authority in Publishing Houses—There is to be no ordering, no exertion of kingly authority. Enough of this kind of work has been done in our publishing house at Battle Creek. Its influence has soured those in the office, who now need converting through and through. This harsh management, this ordering and scolding, is not of God but of the enemy.—Letter 55, 1901. PM 132.2

Avoid a Hard, Loveless Religion—I raise my voice against this ... iron, hard, loveless religion. If A and B had cherished far less of self and far more of Jesus Christ, they would have been continually learning, continually growing into Christ's spirit and Christ's mind, reflecting His character in unselfishness and love while connected with the publishing office; and today they would have been connected with the publishing house and would have been on vantage ground. But, oh, what a lack has there been of the genuine, holy love of God in the Review and Herald office. Had the first love been burning on the altar of their hearts, it would have been exhibited in tenderness, in compassion, in unselfish acts, and God's blessing would have been upon them; but when self is continually cherished, God has no use for such workers. PM 132.3

Brother C needs to be transformed in character before he is in condition to be at all times a safe counselor. When the love of Jesus pervades his soul, he will diffuse it. When he has learned meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ, he will reveal a Christlike patience, an invincible charity, and an omnipotent faith in the grand work of saving souls for whom Christ has died. Every soul must come to the trial of all the Christian graces. The heart must be warmed with the glowing fire of God's goodness. When the Lord moves upon the earth by His Holy Spirit, there will be a submitting to the discipline and influence of the Holy Spirit. Painstaking effort, which is requisite to the attainment of true virtue and wisdom, and is indispensable to him who will be chosen to become a coworker with Jesus Christ, will be manifested.—Letter 42, 1893. PM 132.4

Oppression and Domination Rebuked—For years a spirit of oppression has been coming into Battle Creek. The human agents are lifting up themselves unto selfishness and domination. Not a work can be published but they try to gain control of it, and if authors do not concede to their propositions, those who publish the work will exert an influence with canvassers and other agents that will hinder its sale, and this wholly irrespective of the value of the book. And when every institution is merged into the one that is greatest—that is, measured by her power of control—that one will indeed be a ruling power, and if the principles of action in the most powerful institution are corrupted, as is now the case, and as has been in the history of the past, every other institution must follow the same path, else a determined influence will be brought to bear against it. The difficulty is not in the institution, but in the members. PM 133.1

This disposition to press men into hard places if you cannot bring them to your ideas is not according to God's order. Those who do this when it suits them are bringing souls into unbelief and temptation, and driving them on Satan's battlefield. They forget that God will deal with them as they deal with their fellow men. God's cause is not to be molded by one man, or half a dozen men. All His responsible stewards are to bear a share in the devising, as well as in the execution, of the plans. Men must not forget that the God of heaven is a God of justice; with Him is no partiality, no hypocrisy. He will not serve with men's selfishness, nor sanction their plans to rob one soul of his rights because they can press him inconsiderately, and make statements and plans that compel surrender, or leave him helpless.... PM 133.2

By no sharp dealing or underhand advantage is the Lord to be glorified or His truth served. Money acquired in this way to supply the treasury will benefit no one, for God will not serve with the sins of oppression and selfishness. PM 134.1

It should be written on the conscience, as with a pen of iron upon a rock, that no man can achieve true success while violating the eternal principles of right.—Letter 4, 1895. (Selections from the Testimonies Setting forth Important Principles Relating to Our Work in General, 13-15.) PM 134.2

God Works to Humble Human Pride—There is no position so lofty that God cannot cut down those occupying it. There is no humiliation so great that God cannot raise up humble men to enjoy the richest blessings. The Lord works to humble human pride in whomever it is found, that men may learn to develop a spirit of true submission to His will. He cannot work with men who counteract His purposes. Those who use their perceptive powers to create an order of things which turns aside God's purposes will lose the powers, which if exercised aright would have increased and strengthened. God honors those who seek Him in sincerity, humbling self and exalting Him. But when men will not consent to walk in the counsel of God, their wisdom is removed from them. They become incapable of knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.—Letter 35, 1900. PM 134.3

When Pharisaism Sprang Up—For years a degree of Pharisaism has been springing up amongst us which has separated some from the Bible standard. If the preconceived ideas of those actuated by this spirit are crossed, they immediately assume a controversial, combative attitude, as a man puts on armor when preparing for battle. Much pride and loftiness and a spirit which desires to rule have been manifested, but very little of the spirit which leads men to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him has been shown. Human inventions and human plans are eclipsing sacred things and excluding divine instruction. Men are taking the place of God by seeking to assume authority over their fellow men. But they rule without a vestige of the authority of God, which alone can make their ruling a healthful element; and others are becoming leavened by this wrong influence. If the principles of truth had been enthroned in the hearts of these men, human passions and human affections would have been guided and controlled by the spirit of Christ. The atmosphere surrounding the soul would not be deleterious and poisonous, for self would be hid in Jesus.—Letter 81, 1896. PM 134.4

Overseers to Avoid Severity—Less long, sweeping journeys across the continent, and more close investigation of the true inward working of the heart, are essential. The rooms in the office need inspection, that the things you know not, you may discern and search out. The temple of God must be cleansed, that His name shall not be dishonored by men who are not connected with Him. My heart is pained as, in my dreams, I am visited and appealed to by different ones placing the corruptions in the office of publication before me. I awaken to find it a dream, but know it to be the truth. My dear brother, the spirit of severity, of lording it over the ignorant and helpless, is being opened before me. In the place of the office being an educating school to prepare the youth to give their hearts to the Lord, the teachers and overseers, by their course of action, drive them onto Satan's battleground. It is not a place where the Lord Jesus is entertained as a heavenly Guest. Some of the overseers, and the workers under their supervision, give little time to thoughts of a high and holy order; the Lord is not glorified.—Letter 86, 1896. (Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, and The Work in Battle Creek, 1, 2.) PM 135.1

Fewer Overseers—More Faithful Doers—The superintendent of the publishing house is a watchman, to guard its interests. In order that he may do this, he must not have various other responsibilities placed upon him. Brethren, you should lighten the burdens that Brother Jones [C. H. Jones was for about fifty years manager of the Pacific Press. He was appointed as one of the first Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate Board.] is carrying outside the office. He is only a mortal man, and if he does his duty fully in the office, he has all that one man can possibly attend to. Without faithful supervision from him, some things will not receive the attention that they should have, and will go sadly wrong. Be careful how you place work upon him relative to the burdens of the church. He should have one to stand by his side who is reliable, devoted, and God-fearing, that nothing connected with the office may be neglected. But men have been placed in charge of the work at the office who act more as overseers than as interested, unselfish workers. If there were fewer overseers, and more faithful doers of the work, there would be a marked improvement in the managing force in the office. If Brother Jones has for his co-workers mere overseers, who shun work, choosing to tell others what to do, he might better stand alone.—Manuscript 14, 1891. (Special Testimonies Concerning the Work and Workers in the Pacific Press, 21.) PM 135.2

Tenderness in Dealing With Workers—I entreat those who have charge of the office here to be kind and courteous in dealing with the apprentices. Win their souls by kindness. If they do wrong, go to them in the spirit of meekness, and talk and pray with them. Work for the salvation of every one of them. Do not rest till this is accomplished. Let them see that you act as tender fathers and brothers, that you are meek and lowly in heart. Do not rest until you see that their feet are planted firmly on the Rock of Ages. Then everything will move harmoniously. PM 136.1

If our ministering brethren pass through the office, let them speak kindly and encouragingly to the workmen. Shake hands with them, and inquire as to what progress they are making. Encourage them to climb to the very highest round of the ladder of progress. PM 136.2

If you see something in a brother that needs to be corrected, go to him and say, “Let us pray about this; let us talk with God about it.” If you should weep, this will not hurt you. If you were to break your heart before God, He can bind it up and give you that grace which is unto eternal life. But God has not set you as dictators. He has not committed to you the work of punishing sinners. He desires you to search your own heart and put away your sins, to work away from every defect of character.—Manuscript 73, 1906. PM 136.3

A word of love and encouragement will do more to subdue the hasty temper and willful disposition than all the faultfinding and severe censure that you can heap upon the erring ones.—Letter 86, 1896. PM 137.1

Back to Egypt or On to Canaan?—While at Fresno [in 1902] I passed through a peculiar experience. I seemed to be in an assembly where a number of brethren were in council. There seemed to be a cloud over the company. I could not discern faces, but I could hear voices. I thought that in one speaker I recognized the voice of Elder A, but his manner of speech and his words seemed to be Brother B's. At first I could not understand the things that were said by this speaker. Afterward I heard something said in regard to the way in which he thought the publishing work should be carried on. The assertion was made that this work should be placed on a more sure and elevated basis. PM 137.2

When I heard these words, I thought to myself, What do these statements mean? I have been instructed that the arbitrary authority exercised at one time in Battle Creek to control all our publishing houses was never again to have sway. To make such propositions was more like going back toward Egypt than on to Canaan. PM 137.3

From the light given me, I knew that such a change as was proposed by this speaker would bring into the publishing work a ruling power claiming jurisdiction over the entire field. This is not God's plan.—Manuscript 140, 1902. PM 137.4

Exact and Impartial Justice—There should be no giving of special favors, or attentions to a few, no preferring of one above another. This is displeasing to God. Let all bear in mind the words of inspiration: “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” When you pass by one who is in need of your sympathy and kindly acts, and bestow your favors upon others simply because they are more pleasing to you, remember that Jesus is insulted in the person of His afflicted ones.... PM 137.5

The bruised and wounded, the lame of the flock, are among us, and these test the character of those who claim to be children of God. The Lord will not excuse the wrongdoer. He will never sanction partiality to the wealthy or oppression to the weak. He requires exact and impartial justice; more than this, He requires that His followers shall always have compassion for the suffering, pity and love for the erring.—Letter 74, 1896. (Selections from Testimonies to the Managers and Workers in our Institutions, 13.) PM 137.6

God Guards the Interests of Every Soul—The Lord God of heaven, who made our world, and who created man, guards the interests of every soul. To every man He has given his work. We are laborers together with God. There are diversities of gifts, and every man should appreciate the moral and spiritual capital which God has entrusted to him. No one should treat these entrusted talents with indifference. No one is accountable for the talents he has never had; none should complain of the smallness of their gifts. Everyone is to trade on that which God has entrusted to him, working where he can, doing the best possible service for the Master. One talent, well used, will gain other talents, and these still others. The man with a few pence can serve God faithfully with his pence. If he does this, he is judged as faithful in the sight of God as the one who has improved pounds. PM 138.1

But all are to realize their individual responsibility to employ their talents to the glory of God according to their ability. Let no man or council of men assume the responsibility of making as little as possible of these talents, according to their human estimate of God's entrusted qualifications. No man is to weigh in the balances of human judgment the talents God has given to other men. Let every man appreciate God's gifts to himself, and faithfully trade upon them. No man is to merge his individuality into that of any other man. No man should be urged to make another man his steward. There are diversities of gifts, and a large work to be done in our world in the use of God's entrusted goods.... Let us never forget that we are here to be fashioned by the hand of God, fitted to do the work He has given us to do. That work is our own, the accountability is our own; it cannot be transferred to another. Let not human agents interpose to take another's work out of the hands of God into their own finite hands.—Letter 55, 1895. PM 138.2

How to Exercise Authority—God will not vindicate any device whereby man shall in the slightest degree rule or oppress his fellow man. The only hope for fallen man is to look to Jesus, and receive Him as the only Saviour. As soon as man begins to make an iron rule for other men, as soon as he begins to harness up and drive men according to his own mind, he dishonors God, and imperils his own soul and the souls of his brethren.... PM 139.1

He [God] expects His workers to be tenderhearted. How merciful are the ways of God! (See Deuteronomy 10:17-20; 2 Chronicles 20:5-7, 9; 1 Peter 1:17.) But the rules God has given have been disregarded, and strange fire has been offered before the Lord.... PM 139.2

If a man is sanguine of his own powers, and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and only safe course is to remove him, lest great harm be done, and he lose his own soul, and imperil the souls of others. “All ye are brethren.”.... Those in authority should manifest the spirit of Christ. They should deal as He would deal with every case that requires attention. They should go weighted with the Holy Spirit.—Letter 55, 1895. (Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, and The Work in Battle Creek, 32, 33.) PM 139.3

The Glory Belongs to God—The lesson that the Lord would have all humanity learn from the experience of the king of Babylon is that all who walk in pride He is able to abase. By stern discipline Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the lesson that God, not man, is Ruler, that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. So man today must learn that God is supreme. When men gain success in the work of the Lord, it is because God has given them this success, not for their own glory, but for God's glory. He who seeks to steal a ray of light from the glory of the Lord will find that he will be punished for his presumption. PM 139.4

David declares, “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” PM 140.1

Let a people boast themselves in their own wisdom, let them exalt self and indulge pride, and the result will surely follow. As surely as the sun shines by day, so surely does pride go before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Let a church become proud and boastful, and that church will be laid low. Let those in charge of any institution become presumptuous, taking to themselves the credit for the success that has come to them in certain lines, let them glory in their wisdom and their efficiency, and they will certainly be brought to humiliation.—Letter 114, 1903. PM 140.2