Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


A Disciplinary Recommendation

On Thursday, July 8, Ellen White had a conversation with Elder Matteson about the church situation. She told him that members of the church who persisted in their fierce spirit and were “overbearing, critical, and denunciating” should not be retained as members. “The Saviour has told us the course we should take in dealing with these offending ones,” she said, “and the Bible rule should be followed.”—Manuscript 66, 1886. EGWE 202.4

“No church can be in a healthy, flourishing condition unless its leaders shall take firm, decided measures to repress this fault-finding, accusing spirit wherever it exists. Its indulgence should be made a matter of church discipline.”—The Review and Herald, October 19, 1886. EGWE 202.5

Matteson confirmed the seriousness of the situation. He related how one member accused another of being a thief right in a meeting when there was no truth whatsoever in the allegation. What made the situation worse was that this person was on the church board. EGWE 203.1

Ellen White told Matteson that he should not have neglected to take action in these cases, but Matteson wanted her to assume the unpleasant task of speaking to the church about the matter. She dreaded to do so, remembering how she had labored with the people during her previous visit. “How hard it is to take up dropped stitches, how hard to put a new mold upon a people when they have been permitted to go on year after year in a demoralized condition!” she remarked (Manuscript 57, 1886). But if others would not act she had to! EGWE 203.2

Sabbath morning she urged upon the people the message of John 5, where the story of the healing of the sick man by the pool of Bethesda is told. The believers needed to be reconverted before they could become righteous. This was the burden of her appeal. EGWE 203.3

The next morning she had another Bible message for them—this time on Luke 19:10; “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Then she met with the trustees of the publishing house and helped them resolve a troublesome problem: a portion of the building directly beneath the meeting house had been rented thoughtlessly to a blacksmith, and nearby another space had been let to a gravestone maker. EGWE 203.4

“Prayers are ascending from the minister and people amid the sound of the hammer and the anvil, the handling and rattling of iron; and just on the other side of where we live is the marble factory where the noisy, continuous sound of chisel and hammer is mingled with the prayers and preaching and the exhortation.”—Letter 19a, 1886. EGWE 203.5

All this on the Sabbath day. EGWE 203.6

Standing before the committee, Ellen White gave a testimony that surprised everyone. She told them that while she was still in America the condition of things in Christiania and other churches in Europe had been presented to her in vision. The angel informed her that the sound of hammer and anvil and chisel were heard along with the prayers of the people, but she had not understood what was meant at the time. Now she did. “And the angel said to me that God could not let His blessing rest upon a people who have so little respect for His word.... But here the matter is under your control and right on your own premises,” she said with a note of incredulity in her voice (Manuscript 7, 1886). EGWE 203.7

As she concluded she admitted that the things she was saying probably appeared to them merely as a tale being told, but she added solemnly, “You must meet them in the judgment, and I must meet them” (Letter 113, 1886). EGWE 204.1