Selections from the Testimonies for the Church For the Study of Those Attending the General Conference in Oakland, Ca., March 27, 1903


Chapter 20—The Ministry is Ordained of God

Every watchman on the walls of Zion is under sacred obligation to watch for souls as he that must give an account. Through God's grace he can do a work that heaven shall approve, in laboring to keep the church in unity and peace. Let him remember that he is to publish peace, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3. PH151 83.1

The church should respect the gospel ministry; for it is God's appointed means of communicating His messages to His people. The work of His ministers is to open to men and women the living oracles of truth. Let Church-members sustain the ministers by their prayers and their co-operation. Let no one venture to make a tirade on a minister; for in so doing he would be making a tirade against Christ in the person of one of His saints. PH151 83.2

Christ is represented by those whom He sends forth to work for Him; therefore those who oppose His ministers are opposing Him. This is just as verily the case when those who claim to have an experience in the things of God pursue a course that hinders and afflicts one of God's servants, by misstatements and false charges, setting themselves up as judges of his course of action, which they claim to understand, but which has been misrepresented to them, and which, therefore, they do not understand. PH151 83.3

Let our people remember that the way in which they treat the Lord's workers means much to them. Let every one attend to his own work, and not regard himself as appointed by the Lord to watch for something to criticize in the work that his brother does. If a worker sees that a fellow-laborer is in danger of doing wrong, let him go to him, and point out his danger, listening kindly and patiently to any explanation that may be offered. He dishonors the Saviour when, instead of doing this, he tells others of the mistakes that he thinks his fellow-worker is making. PH151 83.4

My brother, my sister, you are forbidden to make the mistakes of a fellow-worker a subject of conversation. By speaking evil of another, you sow the seeds of criticism and denunciation. You cannot afford to do this. Go to the one who you think is in the wrong, and tell him his fault “between thee and him alone.” If he will hear you, and can explain the matter to you, how glad you will be that you did not take up a reproach against him, but instead followed the Saviour's directions! PH151 84.1

Let us refuse to bear evil reports concerning our fellow-laborers. The reputation of men and women is held in high value by Him who gave His life to save souls. He has told us how those in fault should be dealt with. No one is sufficiently wise to improve on God's plan. PH151 84.2

Parents should teach their children to speak ill of no man. Insinuations, words that hurt the reputation of one who is doing the Lord's work, grieve and dishonor the Saviour. And God's word declares, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37. To those who have educated themselves to speak unadvisedly, I am instructed to say: “Unless you cease encouraging evil-speaking, unless you guard as Christians should the reputation of your fellow-workers, you will endanger your own soul and the souls of many others. No longer talk about the wrong that some one is doing. Never, never, repeat a scandal. Go to the one assailed, and ask him in regard to the matter. God has not appointed any man to be the judge of another man's motives and work. He who feels at liberty to dissect the character of another, he who intentionally detracts from the influence of a fellow-worker, is as verily breaking God's law as if he openly disregarded the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.” PH151 84.3