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


MR No. 1490—Minds to Be Spiritual, Not Carnal: The Cross to Be Central in Preaching; Fanaticism and Trivial Ideas to Be Avoided

(This manuscript, entitled, “What Is the Chaff to the Wheat?” was dated July 30, 1901, when copied from Ellen White's diary; however, one section of the manuscript is dated “April 14, 1899.”)

There is a special work to be done at this time. Please read and study carefully the first, second, and third chapters of First Corinthians. I present these chapters as of great importance. The Lord desires His people to understand and practice the instruction they contain. 20MR 335.1

Paul writes, “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it.... For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). 20MR 335.2

Those addressed in these words had not been feeding on Christ, and therefore they were not advanced in spiritual knowledge. Paul said, “I have fed you with milk”—the plainest, most simple truths, suitable for converts young in the faith; “not with meat”—the solid, nourishing, spiritual food suited to those who have made progress in a knowledge of divine things. They were living on a low level, dwelling on the surface truth which call for no thought, no deep research. 20MR 335.3

“For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” (Verse 4). Their contentions did not reveal growth in grace, but a narrow, limited comprehension, a defective experience. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one” (Verses 5-8). He who is a partaker of the divine nature will not seek to stand at the head of a party. True workers for God will not attract men to themselves, but to Christ. They will preach the truth which makes all men one in Christ Jesus. 20MR 335.4

“And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor” (Verse 8). “Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Christ declared. “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 7:16-19). 20MR 335.5

A banquet has been prepared for us. The Lord has spread before us the treasures of His Word. But we must not come to the repast clothed in citizen's dress. We must have on the white robe of Christ's righteousness which has been prepared for all the guests. But the spirit of the world is carnal. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The more spiritual knowledge one has, the better able is he to distinguish between good and evil. 20MR 336.1

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” He is not with Christ in mind and heart, and he cannot rightly appreciate or enjoy the high, exalted truths of God's Word. It seems foolishness to him to put on the white garment of Christ's righteousness. With him the religious experience is a matter of chance. He is not born of the Spirit, therefore he cannot judge correctly concerning spiritual things. Many of those who claim to believe in Christ reveal by their words and actions that they are not partakers of the divine nature. They do not appreciate the truths of eternal value. 20MR 336.2

The Lord meets men where they are. The Apostle declares, “We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). The Holy Spirit teaches those who are willing to be taught, not only what they should impart but how they should impart. To the believing Christian the highest purest instruction is given. Heavenly wisdom is imparted to him. 20MR 336.3

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary and in connection with the wondrous central truth of the Saviour's atonement. Those who study the Redeemer's wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge. 20MR 336.4

I present before you the great, grand monument of mercy and regeneration, salvation and redemption—the Son of God uplifted on the cross of Calvary. This is to be the theme of every discourse. Christ declares, “And I, if I be lifted up ... will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). 20MR 336.5

“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). The more deeply the ministers of God feel their inefficiency and their entire dependence upon Christ for success, the less they will seek to be head and shoulders above their brethren. Hiding in Christ, self will not appear. Christ will be revealed as the chiefest among ten thousand and the One altogether lovely. They will know the meaning of Paul's words: [1 Corinthians 2:3-10, quoted]. 20MR 336.6

If we would love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves, we must come to Christ to be imbued with His love. Let every member of the church try to realize what he is and what he may be if he yields to Christ's control. Under the Saviour's guidance he will exert upon others a saving, restoring influence. Christians must be brought into family relationship with Christ. He must be formed within, the hope of glory. 20MR 337.1

April 14, 1899. I am awakened this morning at one o'clock. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me in the night season. I was bearing a message to persons assembled in council. I present to you this morning the words of the apostle Paul to the believers at Colosse: [Colossians 1:1-6, 9-14, 21-25, quoted]. 20MR 337.2

This is the work we are to do for the saving of the souls ready to perish. We have truth, present truth, to give to those in the darkness of error. 20MR 337.3

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (chap. 2:6-10). These are the vital, practical truths upon which we are to dwell. 20MR 337.4

Those who present the truth should be men of solid minds, who will not lead their hearers into a field of thistles, as it were, and there leave them. What is the chaff to the wheat? There are those teaching others who need that one teach them how to labor for the present and eternal good of those they instruct. Some readily catch up trivial theories, calling them truth, and neglecting for them the immortal principles which must be interwoven with the life-experience of him who is saved. They are ready to open the mind to any fallacy that is presented. These are in danger of bringing in vain things, which make of none effect the important truths of God's Word. This Word is the Lord's revealed will, given for the instruction of His people. Let no one bring dishonor to the precious truth by mingling with it theories which have no foundation in the Word of God. 20MR 337.5

When Christ came to this world He found the Jewish people burdened with a heavy weight of traditions and ceremonies which the religious teachers had handed down from generation to generation. So great was the mass of tradition brought in that the commandments of God were made of none effect. Today there are those who are doing a work similar to that done by the Jewish teachers. They are dishonoring the law of God by their extreme teaching. There are those who say that nothing, not even insects, should be killed. God has not entrusted any such message to His people. It is possible to stretch the command “Thou shalt not kill” to any limit, but it is not according to sound reasoning to do this. Those who do it have not learned in the school of Christ. 20MR 338.1

This earth has been cursed because of sin, and in these last days vermin of every kind will multiply. These pests must be killed, or they will annoy and torment and even kill us, and destroy the work of our hands and the fruit of our land. In places there are ants [termites] which entirely destroy the woodwork of houses. Should not these be destroyed? Fruit trees must be sprayed that the insects which would spoil the fruit may be killed. God has given us a part to act, and this part we must act with faithfulness. Then we can leave the rest with the Lord. 20MR 338.2

God has given no man the message, Kill not ant or flea or moth. Troublesome and harmful insects and reptiles we must guard against and destroy, to preserve ourselves and our possessions from harm. And even if we do our best to exterminate these pests, they will still multiply. At camp meeting held at Brighton, Australia, the people were obliged to wear veils to keep the poisonous flies from their faces. While speaking, I was obliged to fan myself continually. 20MR 338.3

As long as this life shall last, we shall have to fight the evils which have come in as a result of the curse. Evil will cease only when Satan ceases to exist. With the agencies which he has employed to annoy and grieve the people of God, Satan will at last be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. Then sin will be no more. 20MR 338.4

Those who advance the theory that vermin should not be killed know not of what they speak. There is nothing of this order in the teachings of Christ. It is not the Spirit of God that brings such theories as this to the mind. They originate with Satan who prepares every idle tale he can devise for the itching ears which cannot distinguish between truth and fiction. Discard all such theories for your own good and for the good of those with whom you associate. Those who go to such extremes do great harm. They bring the truth into disrepute. They place principles which are as precious as gold on a level with fables. Men might better let the fables rest in the silence of the grave than to speak and teach those things which have no foundation in the Word of God. 20MR 338.5

The people of God should not fill their minds with theories which Christ never taught when enshrouded in the pillar of cloud or when as a man among men He taught in the streets and synagogues of Judea. There is a rich abundance of precious truths in God's Word—truths which are of vital consequence to the people of God, truths which will fill the mind with fragrant thoughts of heavenly things and provide a solid foundation for character building. Discard fables and vain imaginings. Present only the words, “It is written.” Let Jesus take possession of mind and heart. Let those who teach be sure that the Word of Christ dwells in them richly. Let them instruct church members and students in the lessons of the Saviour. 20MR 339.1

What should we teach? The answer to this question is found in Paul's dying charge to Timothy, his son in the Gospel: [2 Timothy 4:1-5, quoted]. 20MR 339.2

Peter declares, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:16). 20MR 339.3

Like the serpent gliding stealthily along, fanaticism has been stealing in to cause variance and strife, to take the attention of the people of God from elevating, eternal truth. I charge my brethren and sisters not to give heed to fables. Do not put into the minds of others the erroneous theories which should never be entertained. Teach what Christ taught. He said, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). His lessons contain just what is needed in these last days. There is no need to bring in a mass of rubbish which in the end will be consumed. Let us not give to the world the impression that we are a body of fanatics. 20MR 339.4

The first chapter of Second Peter contains instruction which should be given in our schools and churches. The flock of God is to be fed with pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from the chaff. The minds of those who have mixed truth and error, presenting fables as truth, need to be purified and elevated, that they may grasp the immortal truths which concern the soul's salvation. The work for these last days is a most solemn, important work. No man has a right to give the people of God a message not indited by the Holy Spirit. Those who do this are doing a work which must be counter-worked. 20MR 339.5

I warn my brethren in the educational work not to allow the threads of fanaticism to be interwoven with the church-school work. Preach and teach the words of eternal life. In establishing church schools, do not move uncertainly. Let the foundation of your building be solid rock, not shifting sand. Before you attempt to educate, be sure that you have a message bearing the divine credentials. No one can teach others of God who does not first learn in the school of Christ. Leave out everything which will divert the mind from the truth as it is in Jesus. “Preach the Word.” 20MR 340.1

I have had to deal with fanaticism of every grade. From my first experience in the work I have had to combat fanaticism on the right hand and on the left. God forbid that the closing years of my life should be made sad through having to deal with this evil.—Manuscript 70, 1901. 20MR 340.2

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

March 8, 1990.

Entire Ms.