Manuscript Releases, vol. 20 [Nos. 1420-1500]


MR No. 1488—The Importance of Medical Missionary Work; Health Reform to Be Practiced

(Written October 29, 1901, from St. Helena, California, “To the Brethren in Iowa.”)

“The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:7-11). 20MR 326.1

The churches in Iowa are in need of far greater spiritual life. When we separate from God we assert our own independence and raise the standard of revolt. Men desire to govern their fellow men, to gain jurisdiction over them. But it is impossible for man to exercise authority over his fellow men without making himself liable to collide with their interests, which should be carefully guarded. Every man is to remember that every other man has an identity which must not be submerged in any human being. Supreme love for God is the great principle that keeps men close to one another in unselfish fellowship. The love of Christ leads man to see the good there is in his fellow beings. But he who is absorbed in correcting his neighbor neglects to give attention to his own defects and loses God out of his reckoning. He does not appreciate God enough to seek to be like him, and he loses the power to bring forth the fruits of righteousness. He watches for the defects in his brother, forgetting that he is the purchase of the blood of Christ. 20MR 326.2

For three years the disciples had before them the wonderful example of Christ. Day by day they walked and talked with him, hearing His words of cheer to the weary and heavy laden and seeing the manifestations of His power in behalf of the sick and afflicted. When the time came for him to leave them, He gave them power to work as He had worked. He bestowed on them His grace, saying, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” They were to go forth into the world to shed abroad the light of His gospel of love and healing. The work He had done they were to do. 20MR 326.3

And this is the work we also are to do in the world. In sympathy and compassion we are to minister to those in need of help, seeking with unselfish earnestness to lighten the woe of suffering humanity. As we engage in this work we shall be greatly blessed. Its influence is irresistible. By it souls are won to the Redeemer. The practical carrying out of the Saviour's commission demonstrates the power of the gospel. This work calls for laborious effort, but it pays, for by it perishing souls are saved. Through its influence men and women of talent are to be brought to the cross of Christ. 20MR 326.4

Man has a body as well as a soul to save. Both are to be restored to health by God's simple but efficacious methods which appeal to men and women of intelligence. Through a belief in the truth souls are awakened to a need of a preparation for life's duties. As the health of the body is restored, the powers of the mind are put forth to grasp the great truths of the gospel. 20MR 327.1

The denominational churches in our land are doing something in the line of Christian help work. Some are working actively, walking in all the light they have. They would do much more if they understood the truth. And many of those who know the truth, who claim to believe that the last message of mercy is being given to the world, are fast asleep. Many like the sluggard are folding their hands in inactivity. 20MR 327.2

The Lord has a work for everyone to do. There are those who suppose that they can be saved by merely assenting to the truth. But this cannot be. True conversion acts like leaven, permeating every part of the being, filling the man with a desire to serve Christ. Received into the heart, the truth transforms the entire being, bringing it into conformity to the Spirit of Christ. There is a development of all the powers, for the heart is changed. 20MR 327.3

Man can increase in knowledge without experiencing a change of heart, but this does not bring salvation. Paul declares, “Though I ... understand all mysteries, and all knowledge ... and have not charity, I am nothing.... Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” It is not position or profession that makes a man of value in God's sight. It is being good and doing good. 20MR 327.4

Christ says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He who has only an emotional religion is controlled by “another spirit,” not the Spirit of Christ. Flighty and sentimental, he is a burden to the church. At times his imagination soars high, but it goes down correspondingly when the cause of excitement is removed. 20MR 327.5

By the death of His only begotten Son God has made it possible for man to reach the high ideal set before him. We can do God no greater dishonor than to remain in indolence and indifference, caring not to save the souls perishing in sin. 20MR 327.6

Is Christ your personal Saviour? He says, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me” (Isaiah 27:5). There is power in Christ to enable us to gain the victory over every sinful practice. 20MR 328.1

There is a great work to be done, a work in which we shall meet with many difficulties. Workers with clear minds are needed to devise methods for reaching the people. Something must be done to break down the prejudice existing in the world against the truth. 20MR 328.2

Our sanitariums have done more than sermons could possibly do to show the enlightening, restoring influence of medical missionary work. In a special manner the Lord has given prominence to the work done in our medical institutions. He has brought into connection with these institutions men who can teach the truths of the Bible. God has wrought through Dr. Kellogg, using him as His helping hand. Dr. Kellogg has been signally blessed in bearing the responsibilities given him, but he has taken too many burdens. 20MR 328.3

Dr. Kellogg has placed himself where he could accomplish much good. He has not sought to divorce medical missionary work from the gospel. But while the ministers should have acknowledged medical missionary work to be the Lord's helping hand, many of them have stood aloof from it, refusing to cooperate with those who were trying to cooperate with Christ. The position taken by some claiming to be Seventh-day Adventists has brought a heavy burden on Dr. Kellogg, and at times he has become almost desperate because he has not received the sympathy which he should have received, but has met with prejudice and opposition from those who should have helped him. Some among our people have gone to worldly physicians, passing by the physician God has blessed and honored. Some have stood in Dr. Kellogg's way, to harass and oppose him. This pleased the enemy, for Dr. Kellogg has at times reproached them unsparingly in a way that grieved the Holy Spirit. 20MR 328.4

There are ministers who in their habits of eating have wholly disregarded the light God has given His people on health reform. Their self-indulgence has weakened their piety and diseased their spirituality. They have set the church members an example of intemperance in eating and drinking, and this has cut Dr. Kellogg to the quick. He has lost confidence in many of our ministers and church members. He has been led to this by their failure to give up the use of flesh meat and other harmful articles of diet. 20MR 328.5

The dangers of the position which Dr. Kellogg has occupied for so long have been presented to me, and I gave him the warning. Had he not had confidence in the testimonies given him, had he not feared God and believed the truth, he would have separated from Seventh-day Adventists to take up work among those who would have appreciated his labors and sustained him by pen and voice. But God sent him words of warning. He who knows all things, who sees the motives which prompt to action, would not permit His servant to be overborne. 20MR 329.1

God approves of the work which has been done in behalf of suffering humanity. Those who have stood opposed to the principles of health reform have stood where the Lord could not work for them or through them. God says, “That servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47). It is intemperance in eating that causes so much invalidism and robs the Lord of the glory due to him. Because of a failure to deny self many of God's people are unable to reach the high standard of spirituality He has set for them, and though they repent and are converted, all eternity will testify to the loss they have sustained by yielding to selfishness. 20MR 329.2

The Lord calls for volunteers to enter His army. Sickly men and sickly women need to become health reformers. Eat fewer kinds of food at one meal. Discard pastries, cakes, and dishes prepared to tempt the appetite. 20MR 329.3

Eat simple, wholesome food, and eat it with thanksgiving. God will cooperate with you in preserving your health if you eat with care, refusing to put unnecessary burdens on the stomach. God has graciously made the path of nature sure and safe, wide enough for all who will walk in it. He has given for our sustenance the wholesome and health-giving productions of the earth. 20MR 329.4

Let the physicians who are burdened with ill health take time to study from cause to effect. Take your meals as regularly as you can, and eat slowly. I beseech ministers and physicians not to dig their graves with their teeth. Remember that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that it is to be kept pure and undefiled, fit for a dwelling place for Christ. 20MR 329.5

He who does not heed the instruction God has given in His Word and in His works, who does not obey the divine commands, has a defective experience. He is a sickly Christian. His spiritual life is feeble. He lives, but his life is devoid of fragrance. He fritters away the precious moments of grace. 20MR 329.6

Many have done the body much injury by a disregard of the laws of life, and they may never recover from the effects of their neglect, but even now they may repent and be converted. Man has tried to be wiser than God. He has become a law unto himself. God calls upon us to give attention to His requirements, to no longer dishonor him by dwarfing the physical, mental, and spiritual capabilities. Premature decay and death are the result of walking away from God to follow the ways of the world. He who indulges self must bear the penalty. In the judgment we shall see how seriously God regards the violation of the laws of health. Then, as we take a retrospective view of our course of action, we shall see what knowledge of God we might have gained, what noble characters we might have builded, if we had taken the Bible as our counselor. 20MR 329.7

The Lord is waiting for His people to become wise in understanding. As we see the wretchedness, deformity, and disease that have come into the world as the result of ignorance in regard to the proper care of the body, how can we refrain from giving the warning? Christ has declared that as it was in the days of Noah, when the earth was filled with violence and corrupted by crime, so shall it be when the Son of man is revealed. God has given us great light, and if we walk in this light, we shall see His salvation. 20MR 330.1

There is need of decided changes. It is time for us to humble our proud, self-willed hearts and seek the Lord while He may be found. As a people we need to humble our hearts before God, for the scars of inconsistency are on our practice. 20MR 330.2

God calls upon His people to be converted. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7-9). 20MR 330.3

“Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be?” (Revelation 22:12). “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for him: behold, His reward is with him, and His work before him” (Isaiah 40:9, 10).—Letter 152, 1901. 20MR 330.4

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

March 8, 1990.

Entire Letter.