Manuscript Releases, vol. 15 [Nos. 1136-1185]


MR No. 1164—Different Talents Are Needed in the Ministry

[Written October 9, 1903, from St. Helena, California, to Elder A. G. Daniells and W. W. Prescott.]

Yesterday evening I wrote a letter to Elder J. I have been reading over the letters of caution, reproof, and warning that I have sent him from time to time. 15MR 214.1

It has been clearly laid out before me that Elder J is not fitted to take charge of churches. He is not a thorough health reformer. His habits of living are not right. At times he sits up nearly all night preparing the maps and charts that he uses in his meetings. These are of great advantage to him in impressing the truth on the minds of his hearers, but the strain under which he places himself in night work and study is an injury to him. 15MR 214.2

Elder Haskell and Elder J could have been a wonderful power for good in New York City. But they failed to unite and draw together. 15MR 214.3

Elder J is impulsive, and he often treats church members as if they were school children. Then when his authority is questioned, he loses control of himself, and a tornado of angry words falls from his lips. Afterward he is sorry for this explosion of feeling. But such experiences shake the confidence of his brethren in him as a man who is led and controlled by the Holy Spirit. His influence is to arouse dissension and alienation. His treatment of Elder Haskell was most unChristlike. A man who does as he has done cannot be regarded as a safe teacher, a wise shepherd. 15MR 214.4

Light was given me that Elder J was especially fitted to labor for unbelievers in our large cities. He could labor with success in speaking to them and bringing the truths of the scripture before them. The truth does not languish on his lips. I was shown that he could stir the ungodly as but few could do, but that in doing this the church members are so wrought up that he can do them but little good. 15MR 215.1

After laboring heroically to win souls to the truth he will for a short time work earnestly for those who are interested. He will be patient with them and will help them if they will do as he wishes them to do. But it is at this stage of the work that he needs the help that Elder Haskell and his wife are especially fitted to give. They could labor wisely to instruct those who are interested, carrying [them] forward until they were established in the faith. 15MR 215.2

But Elder J has not been willing to unite with Elder Haskell in this way. He wanted to have the entire charge of those who through his efforts have become interested in the truth. But he cannot carry them forward wisely, consistently, instructing them step by step. I was shown that Elder Haskell and his wife were specially fitted for this part of the work, and that great good would be accomplished if they and Elder J could unite in labor. Elder Haskell has had a wide experience in establishing souls in the truth, and in union with his wife he is most successful in this work. 15MR 215.3

A wonderful work has been done in the city of New York and its suburbs. For this God's name is to be given all the glory. A Paul may plant and an Apollos water, but it is God who gives the increase. It is the Holy Spirit, working with men who will be influenced, that impresses minds with the need of repentance and conversion. 15MR 215.4

Elder J, through his stirring discourses, has been enabled to reach the worldly class, and to strike terror to the hearts of those dead in trespasses and sins. But when those convicted by his preaching have been brought thus far, they need other help. They need to be taught to study the word of God. They need to be led, step by step, to take their stand firmly on the true foundation. Different workers are needed in the ministry, just as different workers are needed in the erection of a building. The law of development must guide; the work must be carried forward from point to point. 15MR 216.1

The old, experienced teachers, who have been in the work from the beginning, are especially fitted to carry the work forward from point to point. But they can not do this alone. They must have helpers. The Lord would have His workers unite their efforts, as the workmen do in the building of a house. Elder J has his line of work, but there are other parts that he must leave to others. 15MR 216.2

The Lord is to be the great Teacher. His Holy Spirit, if allowed to control, will bring in harmony among the different workers, and the building will be symmetrical in all its parts. And all the glory is to be given to the Lord Jesus, who has had supervision of the whole work. It is foolish for those who are but God's instrumentalities, to take glory to themselves. It is only by the wisdom that God imparts that they are enabled to do successful work.—Letter 227, 1903. 15MR 216.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

November 7, 1985.

Entire Letter.