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


Church Authority to Be Recognized

It becomes us to cultivate a deference to other people's judgment when we are absolutely dependent to a greater or less extent upon one another. We should cultivate true Christian courtesy and tender sympathy even for the roughest, hardest cases of humanity. Jesus came from the pure courts of heaven to save just such.... 15MR 129.3

The world's Redeemer has invested His church with great power. He states the rules to be carried in cases of trial with its members. After He has given explicit directions as to the course to be pursued, He says, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever (in church discipline) ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 8:18). Thus the highest authority, even the heavenly, ratifies the discipline of the church in regard to its members when the Bible rule has been followed. 15MR 130.1

The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. Unless there was church discipline and church governments, the church would go to fragments. They could not hold together as a body.... 15MR 130.2

In the conversion of Paul is given us important principles, which we should ever bear in mind. 15MR 130.3

The Redeemer of the world does not sanction the experience and exercises in religious matters independent of His organized and acknowledged church, where He has a church. 15MR 130.4

Many have the idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and their experience independent of Christ's acknowledged body in the world. But this is condemned by Jesus Christ in His teachings and in the examples of facts given to us for our instruction. Here was Paul directly brought into the presence of Christ,—One whom Christ was to fit for a most important work, one who was to be a chosen vessel unto Him—yet He does not teach him the lessons of truth he must learn; He arrests his course, He convicts him. He asks Christ, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” The Saviour does not tell him directly but places him in His direction in connection with His church—They will tell thee what thou must do. 15MR 130.5

Jesus was the sinner's friend; His heart was ever open, ever touched with human woe. He has all power both in heaven and upon earth, but He respects the means He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men. He directs Saul to the church, thus acknowledging the power He has placed upon the church as a channel of light to the world. It is Christ's organized body upon the earth, and respect was required to be paid to His ordinances. Ananias represents Christ in the case of Saul. He also represents Christ's ministers upon the earth who are appointed to act in Christ's stead. 15MR 131.1

Saul was a learned teacher in Israel, but while [he was] under the influence of blind error and prejudice Christ reveals Himself to him and then places him in communication with His church, the light of the world. They were to instruct this educated, popular orator in the Christian religion. In Christ's stead, Ananias touches his eyes that they may receive sight. In Christ's stead he lays his hands upon him, and praying in Christ's name, Saul receives the Holy Ghost. All is done in the name and authority of Christ. 15MR 131.2

Christ is the foundation; the church is the channel of communication. Those who boast of personal independence need to be brought into closer relation to Christ by closer communion with His church upon the earth.—Letter 54, 1874, pp. 12, 19, 24-26. (Written October 24, 1874, from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Brother Lee.) 15MR 131.3