Manuscript Releases, vol. 6 [Nos. 347-418]


MR No. 398—Church Architecture and Furnishings

No means are to be invested for unnecessary display, with the plea that it will give character to the work. Character is not given to the work by investing means in large buildings, but by maintaining the true standard of righteous principles, with noble Christlikeness of character.... 6MR 319.1

It is the planning and devising of men which has placed increased burdens upon our institutions. The Lord did not approve many of the plans which have been carried out. How much better it would have been if men had walked and worked humbly, as servants of Jesus Christ, not exalting themselves, and placing great value upon labor which the Lord does not approve because it does not represent His character. It is not wealth, parentage, position, or high accomplishments which God regards as of value. The imposing display of large buildings is valueless for the accomplishment of His purpose. The Lord values each human being just in accordance as He can put His Spirit into the soul-temple. The work that bears God's image is the work that He will accept. The ineffaceable characteristics of His immortal principles are the credentials which Christ would have His people bear to the world. This will rivet the soul to God. It testifies of His fostering care, His patient forbearance, His honor, His glory, revealing that He has a people that He can honor because they are loyal and true to His Sabbath and bear the last message of warning to a doomed world.... 6MR 319.2

The Lord has made human agents trustees of His goods. They are stewards in trust. The Lord is the owner of all they possess, and His stewards will one day have to render a strict account as to how they have administered the entrusted capital. No one can with safety waste his Lord's goods merely to gratify a desire for expensive dress or furniture.—Letter 93, 1899, pp. 3, 5-7. (To “My Brethren in America,” June 19, 1899.) 6MR 319.3

From house-building precious spiritual lessons may be learned. “Ye are God's building.” The Lord desires His people to teach their children the importance of bringing good timbers into their character-building, to teach them that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. 6MR 320.1

All the work done in the home should be done with such painstaking effort, such care and thoroughness, that God can place His signature upon it. Nothing is to be slighted. Some may say, I cannot spend so long over one piece of work. Time is so short.” But for this very reason—because time is short—we are to do our work well. 6MR 320.2

While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, yet all about our persons and our buildings is to be neat and attractive. Our young people are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, so that the world cannot speak of us as cheap and common. They are to be taught that while our work must be carried forward with strict economy, it is not therefore to lose the charm of good taste and perfect order.—Manuscript 127, 1901, 2, 3. (“Nature of Buildings,” November 26, 1901.) 6MR 320.3

In Oakland we need a church building. Soon a simple and inexpensive place of worship should be erected. In this the brethren and sisters in Oakland are to show that they fear the Lord, by refusing to build a stylish and costly church. We are living in perilous times; judgment is to follow judgment. Let us now reveal in our works that we believe that the time of God's judgments is come, that we are approaching the day when there will be no certainty regarding anything in this world. By our works as well as our testimony we are to tell that the end of all things is at hand. 6MR 320.4

We are to take heed to the warnings given in the calamity that has overtaken San Francisco. The people of Oakland must not give the people of San Francisco cause to think that they feel secure. But that is what they would understand your action to mean if at this time you should erect a large and costly meeting-house.... 6MR 321.1

At this time the building of costly meeting houses in any place is not in accordance with our faith. There are many places where meeting houses will soon have to be built; therefore we should not put large sums of money in any one place.—Letter 10, 1907, pp. 1-3. (To the Members of the Oakland Church, January 18, 1907.) 6MR 321.2

The churches are fast being converted to the world. They have beautiful music and splendid decorations. But they are fruitless trees, bearing nothing but leaves. As the Lord unmasked the fig tree, so He will unmask these pretentious hypocrites.—Letter 45, 1891, p. 4. (To “My Brother,” December 28, 1891.) 6MR 321.3

The instruction that has been given me in regard to the buildings to be erected in Washington is that it is not the Lord's will for an imposing display to be made. The buildings are to show, to believers and to those not of our faith, that not one dollar has been invested in needless display. Every part of the buildings is to bear witness that we realize that there is before us a great, unworked missionary field, and that the truth is to be established in many places. 6MR 321.4

If the buildings erected correspond to the truth that we are proclaiming, a telling influence will be exerted on minds. Actions speak louder than words. Say frankly, “God has charged us not to invest a large amount of means in one place, and He has charged us also not to invest means in gratifying the desire for display.” The principles that we are to follow in our work are exemplified in the life of Christ. He was the Majesty of heaven, and yet He worked at a carpenter's bench. And however lowly His task, it was done with the utmost exactitude.—Letter 83, 1904, pp. 1, 2. (To A. G. Daniells, W. W. Prescott, and Dr. Hare, February 15, 1904.) 6MR 322.1

Released December 2, 1974.