The Review and Herald


March 23, 1911

A Study of Principles—No. 3

Warning Against Extreme Views

D. E. Robinson


In some of the communications from Mrs. White early in 1895, there are found warnings and cautions against the danger of adopting wrong principles, and accepting extreme views in studying the principles of religious liberty. RH March 23, 1911, par. 1

In teaching the separation of church and state, some had urged that to be consistent in our dealings with the government, we should insist upon paying taxes on our church and sanitarium properties, even though these might be by law exempt from taxation. RH March 23, 1911, par. 2

It was also maintained and strongly urged in the American Sentinel that our brethren in South Africa would violate right principles if they were to accept from the British South African Company a gift of land that had been offered to them for mission purposes by Cecil Rhodes. It was stated that those missionaries who had accepted such grants had “sold themselves for a mess of African pottage,” and it was felt that the General Conference should insist upon paying for the land. RH March 23, 1911, par. 3

When these propositions were brought to the attention of Mrs. White, she wrote the following, expressing her disapproval of the positions taken: RH March 23, 1911, par. 4

“Solemn, serious times are upon us, and perplexities will increase to the very close of time. There may be a little respite in these matters, but it will not be for long. I have letters to write that must go in the next mail to Battle Creek. Our brethren there are not looking at everything in the right light. The movements they have made to pay taxes on the property of the sanitarium and Tabernacle have manifested a zeal and conscientiousness that in all respects is not wise nor correct. Their ideas of religious liberty are being woven with suggestions that do not come from the Holy Spirit, and the religious liberty cause is sickening, and its sickness can only be healed by the grace and gentleness of Christ. RH March 23, 1911, par. 5

“The hearts of those who advocate this cause must be filled with the Spirit of Jesus. The Great Physician alone can apply the balm of Gilead. Let these men read the book of Nehemiah with humble hearts touched by the Holy Spirit, and their false ideas will be modified, and correct principles will be seen, and the present order of things will be changed. Nehemiah prayed to God for help, and God heard his prayer. The Lord moved upon heathen kings to come to his help. When his enemies zealously worked against him, the Lord worked through kings to carry out his purpose, and to answer the many prayers which were ascending to him for the help which they so much needed. RH March 23, 1911, par. 6

Extreme Positions

“I am often greatly distressed when I see our leading men taking extreme positions, and burdening themselves over matters that should not be taken up nor worried over, but left in the hands of God for him to adjust. We are yet in the world, and God keeps for us a place in connection with the world, and works by his own right hand to prepare the way before us, in order that his work may progress along its various lines. The truth is to have a standing- place, and the standard of truth is to be uplifted in many places in regions beyond. RH March 23, 1911, par. 7

“Be sure that God has not laid upon those who remain away from the foreign fields of labor, the burden of criticizing the ones on the ground where the work is being done. Those who are not sent to mission fields know little about the necessities of the situation, and if they can not say anything to help those who are on the ground, let them not hinder, but show their wisdom by the eloquence of silence, and attend to the work that is close at hand. I protest against the zeal that they manifest when they ventilate their ideas about foreign fields of labor, for it is not according to knowledge. RH March 23, 1911, par. 8

“Let the Lord work with the men who are in the mission fields, and let those who are not on the ground walk humbly with God, lest they get out of their place, and lose their bearings. The Lord has not placed the burden of criticizing the work upon those who have taken this burden, and he does not give them the sanction of his Holy Spirit. Many move according to their own human judgment, and zealously seek to adjust things that God has not placed in their hands. Just as long as we are in the world, we shall have to do a special work for the world; the message of warning is to go to all countries, and tongues, and peoples. RH March 23, 1911, par. 9

“The Lord does not move upon his workers to make them take a course which will bring on the time of trouble before the time. Let them not build up a wall of separation between themselves and the world by advancing their own ideas and notions. There is now altogether too much of this throughout our borders. The message of warning has not reached large numbers of the world, in the very cities that are right at hand, and to number Israel is not to work after God's order. Just as long as we are in this world, and the Spirit of God is striving with the world, we are to receive as well as to impart favors. We are to give to the world the light of truth as presented in the Sacred Scriptures, and we are to receive from the world that which God moves upon them to do in behalf of his cause. RH March 23, 1911, par. 10

“The Lord still moves upon the hearts of kings and rulers in behalf of his people, and it becomes those who are so deeply interested in the religious liberty question not to cut off any favors, or withdraw themselves from the help that God has moved men to give for the advancement of his cause. We find examples in the Word of God concerning this very matter. RH March 23, 1911, par. 11

“Cyrus, king of Persia, made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it into writing, saying: ‘Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his peoples? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel.’ A second commandment was issued by Darius for the building of the house of the Lord, and is recorded in the sixth chapter of Ezra. RH March 23, 1911, par. 12

“The Lord God of Israel has placed his goods in the hands of unbelievers, and they are to be used to help in the accomplishment of the work that must be done for a fallen world. The agents through whom these gifts come may open up avenues through which the truth may go. They may have no sympathy with the work, and no faith in Christ, and no practise in his words; but their gifts are not to be refused on that account. RH March 23, 1911, par. 13

“It is very strange that some of our brethren should feel that it is their duty to bring about a condition of things that would bind up the means that God would have set free. God has not laid upon them the responsibility of coming in conflict with the authorities and powers of the world in this matter. The withstraining [restraining] hand of God has not been withdrawn from the earth. Let the leaders in the work bide their time, hide in Christ, and move and work with great wisdom. Let them be as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves. I have repeatedly been shown that we might receive far more favors than we do in many ways if we would approach men in wisdom, acquaint them with our work, and give them an opportunity of doing those things which it is our privilege to induce them to do for the advancement of the work of God.” (January 31, 1895.) RH March 23, 1911, par. 14

Receiving Gifts

“Who is it that owns our world? Who is the real owner of houses and lands? Is it not God? He has an abundance in our world which he has placed in the hands of men by which the hungry might be supplied with food, the naked with clothing, the homeless with homes. The Lord would move upon worldly men, even idolaters, to give of their abundance for the support of the work, if we would approach them wisely, and give them an opportunity of doing those things which it is their privilege to do. What they would give we should be privileged to receive. RH March 23, 1911, par. 15

“We should become acquainted with men in high places, and by exercising the wisdom of the serpent, and the harmlessness of the dove, we might obtain advantages from them; for God would move upon their minds to do many things in behalf of his people. If proper persons would set before those who have means and influence the needs of the work of God in a proper light, these men might do much to advance the cause of God in our world. We have put away from us privileges and advantages that we might have had the benefit of, because we chose to stand independent of the world. But we need not sacrifice one principle of truth while taking advantage of every opportunity to advance the cause of God. RH March 23, 1911, par. 16

“The Lord would have his people in the world, but not of the world. They should seek to bring the truth before the men in high places, and give them a fair chance to receive and weigh evidence. There are many who are unenlightened and uninformed, and as individuals we have a serious, solemn, wise work to do. We are to have travail of soul for those who are in high places, and go to them with the gracious invitation to come to the marriage feast. Very much more might have been done than has been done for those in high places. The last message that Christ gave to his disciples before he was parted from them, and taken up into heaven, was a message to carry the gospel to all the world, and was accompanied by the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Lord said, ‘Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ RH March 23, 1911, par. 17

“‘The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.’ ‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.’ ‘Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.’” (Reprinted from Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers 3:32-35, 29, 30.) RH March 23, 1911, par. 18

Mountain View, Cal.