The Church and the World

STUDY 6

 

In the word of God we are warned, repeatedly, about the danger of uniting with the world. This is apostasy from the truth.

A clear distinction must be made between individual apostasies and denominational apostasy, which may be followed by a denominational rejection and a denominational disaster.

Balaam induced the Israelites to attend a heathen festival at the Jordan. Not all ventured upon forbidden ground. In exceptional cases, some were not entangled in the snare of Satan. Yet the nation or the church fell in apostasy.

"The rulers and the leading men were among the first to transgress, and so many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became national." PP 454.

As a matter of fact, the Bible says that "Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor" (Num. 25:3, emphasis supplied).

In the days of the apostles, the Jews failed to realize their position before God (Rom. 11:15). They never knew they were rejected.

"God had forsaken the Jews as a nation.... Individuals among the Jews will be converted; but as a nation they are forever forsaken of God." 1SG 107.

In our days, God does not recognize Catholicism or Protestantism as His church. From a denominational standpoint, they became Babylon. Yet "the great body of Christ's true followers are still to be found in their communion." GC 390. These faithful believers are not the rule; they are only exceptions. They will not save the church from being destroyed (Rev. 18:4).

When we come to the SDA Church, we must distinguish between (l) the great majority, i.e., "the church" proper, and (2) a faithful few sighing and crying ones, who will be saved as individuals, but will be unable to avert the prophesied denominational disaster, because it is written that the great majority will be destroyed as an organized church (5T 210, 211), after the separation of the small minority has been completed. Sister White refers to one of her visions:

"Like ancient Israel the church has dishonored her God by departing from the light, neglecting her duties, and abusing her high and exalted privilege of being peculiar and holy in character. Her members have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only. They have joined with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin have been cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church. Satan works side by side with professed Christians.... But the Lord is dishonored and His cause reproached by His people's being in bondage to the world. They are in friendship with the world, the enemies of God. Their only hope of salvation is to separate from the world and zealously maintain their separate, holy, and peculiar character. Oh! why will not God's people comply with the conditions laid down in His word? . . . I have stated before them that, from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth would eventually be saved-not because they could not be saved, but because they would not be saved in God's own appointed way." 2T 441-445.

It cannot be maintained that the denomination as a church will be saved and that just a few individuals will be lost, when the Spirit of Prophecy says exactly the opposite.

In spite of all the warnings contained in the word of God, the church has continued on her chosen track retreating toward Egypt (5T 217). The oft-repeated question, "What evidence can they produce that they have reversed their course?" is still unanswered.

 

I-THE SACRED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

We as SDA's have been inclined to think that there is no real danger for us as a people because we have the truth.

"It is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives; and Satan, with all his arts and hellish power, cannot change the truth of God into a lie." 4T 595.

Who will make us believe false doctrine, such as Sunday-keeping, the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ, etc.? No one. Yet, if our knowledge of the truth does not keep us from uniting with the world, we are not better than those churches who were before us.

Every successive church believes that it is the last church and refuses to admit the possibility of being succeeded to by a remnant. The Jews never recognized the Christians. The Catholics never recognized the Protestants. The Protestants never recognized the Adventists. If there is a faithful remnant in the Laodicean period, we may rest assured that the Adventists will not recognize them (GC 608). The church, in each successive period, proclaims its own infallibility. What will happen, however, if we follow in the track of our ecclesiastical predecessors and unite with the world like they did? This we will see in this publication.

One thing is certain: We can have full confidence in the message because "it is infallible" (4T 595) but we cannot blindly trust in denominational names or organizations, because men will disappoint us.

"We are not saved as a sect; no denominational name has any virtue to bring us into favor with God." RH Feb. 10, 1891.

1. Conditions Under Which God Recognizes a People as His People

"Those who have been purified and made white through suffering, and have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world, He will own as His." 1T 133.

"Christ's followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise. A profession of Christianity is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to His requirements designates the children of His adoption, the recipients of His grace, the partakers of His great salvation. Such will be peculiar, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Their peculiar, holy character will be discernible, and will distinctly separate them from the world, from its affections and lust. I saw that but few among us answer to this description. Their love to God is in word, not in deed and in truth. Their course of action, their works, testify of them that they are not children of the light but of darkness." 2T 441.

"We are co-workers with Christ, or co-workers with the enemy. We either gather with Christ or scatter abroad. We are decided, wholehearted Christians, or none at all." 1T 126.

"God has a people upon this earth. Who are they? They are those who will purify their souls by obeying the truth as it is in Jesus." GCB, April 20, 1901, p. 423.

2. Conditions Under Which God Does not Recognize a People

"Those who will be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ to the immortal inheritance, will be peculiar. Yes, so peculiar that God places a mark upon them as His, wholly His. Think ye that God will receive, honor, and acknowledge a people so mixed up with the world that they differ from them only in name?" 1T 287.

"Jesus is coming; and will He find a people conformed to the world? and will He acknowledge these as His people that He has purified unto Himself? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will He acknowledge as His." 1T 133.

"We cannot be half the Lord's and half the world's. We are not God's people unless we are such entirely." 5T 83.

3. A Solemn Covenant

"In the Bible the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and His church is represented by the union of marriage. The Lord has joined His people to Himself by a solemn covenant, He promising to be their God, and they pledging themselves to be His and His alone." GC 381.

"The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow." GC 381.

 

II-COMPARISON BETWEEN DIFFERENT CHURCH PERIODS

1. Israel's Fall

"It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot." GC 382.

"The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan." DA 36.

2. The Apostasy of the Nominal Christian Churches

"Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation." GC 382.

"What was the origin of the great apostasy? How did the church first depart from the simplicity of the gospel? By conforming to the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity by the heathen." GC 384.

"Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome's example of iniquitous connection with 'the kings of the earth'-the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And the term 'Babylon'-confusion may be appropriately applied to these bodies." GC 383.

"The existing confusion of conflicting creeds and sects is fitly represented by the term 'Babylon,' which prophecy (Rev. 14:8; 18:2) applies to the world-loving churches of the last days." PP 124.

Union with the world is so offensive to God that this sin is mentioned as the main characteristic of Babylon. Despite Sunday-keeping and other heresies, the Protestant denominations stood in the favor of God for a long time.

"But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel-the desire of imitating the practices of courting the friendship of the ungodly." GC 383.

The other features of these churches are mentioned only in the second place. We read: "Besides a sinful union with the world, the churches that separated from Rome present other of her characteristics." GC 383 [emphasis supplied].

3. The Spiritual Situation of the SDA Church

"Satan has come in with specious temptations, and has led the professed followers of Christ away from their Leader, classing them with the foolish virgins." TM 130.

"Take heed, brethren and sisters. Who is your leader-Christ, or the angel that fell from heaven?" 8T 299

"Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world." 8T 119.

"The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, 'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."' TM 265.

This prediction (TM 265) is confirmed by undeniable facts which can be witnessed today. Evidently, the repeated warnings of God through the Spirit of Prophecy have not been taken to heart. The Adventist people were warned:

"[A]s the human heart throws its living current of blood into all parts of the body, so does the management at this place, the headquarters of our church, affect the whole body of believers. . . . If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence." 4T 210.

"If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become as corrupt as the churches of other denominations." 4T 513.

 

III-ADVENTISTS AND POLITICS

The most outstanding example of unity with the world can be seen in the compromise of the church with the State in totalitarian countries, such as Germany during the time of Hitler, Russia, China, etc.

For statements concerning the combatant stand taken by Adventists, especially in time of war, we refer the reader to our Study #11, Conscientious Objection or Combatancy.

To give you a general idea of the unfortunate departure from fundamental principles and the concessions to the powers of darkness, which have marked the church since World War I, we quote a few references hereunder:

Germany

"The period of National Socialist rule was a difficult one for German Seventh-day Adventists, and one about which they were and are still reluctant to speak....

"With the introduction of the compulsory military training and labor service in 1935, Adventists faced the problem of adjusting themselves to government service.... [I]t was difficult or virtually impossible to observe the seventh-day Sabbath in the labor service or in the army....

"With each succeeding year of the National Socialist regime, government restrictions against religion became more severe. Seventh-day Adventists realized that the authorities were watching them more closely to see that government orders [which were often in conflict with Bible principles] were obeyed; the church realized that it must follow these orders to save itself from closure....

"The prewar Nazi years were filled with trial and difficulty for Adventist children and parents. Since the Adventist church did not operate elementary and secondary schools, attendance at public schools six days a week was obligatory. It was usually impossible for Adventist parents to obtain permission to have their children excused from attendance on Sabbath."-Spectrum, Vol. 8, No. 3.

Russia

"The G.C. 1985 session at New Orleans witnessed the fact that religious interests are courting the civil power by forming unhealthy alliances with the State....

"The registration of a church with the Department of Cults allows the State to control the worship services as well as collect the offerings. Such an illicit relationship of a God-rejecting government with a God-professing church makes a poor marriage from the start.

"The price paid reaches beyond the high cost of the State handling the money. The real loss comes from compromising 'religious truth.' The cost of being unequally yoked is the sacrifice of conscience....

"Churches joined to the State are required to compromise any religious practice that conflicts with the pursuit of the materialistic value system espoused by the . . . government. In the case of Seventh-day Adventists, parents are required to send their children to school on Sabbath.... Sabbath observance is lightly regarded by the State-recognized church. It is common to see an SDA minister lead a young person away from the church on Sabbath to a government school to do school work. The ministers tell them: It is not a sin to go to school on Sabbath....

"The Sabbath problem has existed since 1924, when the State gave recognition to the churches in Russia. It was then that the General Conference supported a compromise with [the atheistic State]. This encouraged the majority in the church to give lip-service to the commandments, but become 'doers' of [antibiblical] rules made by atheists.

'Young men are required to 'bear arms' in compulsory military service [also on Sabbath]. Others are often required to do routine work on Sabbath in accordance with the situation and circumstance. The compromise of conscience destroys the faith and the will of the members in the power of God to challenge the State....

"The General Conference, as the administrative arm of the church, is compounding the 'problem' by supporting the [State]-controlled local leadership in breaking the law of God to obtain favor of the State. The [atheists] love the G.C.'s support, because it helps cover up their brutality against SDA's who are faithful and remain 'underground.' Many suffer in prisons where they are not 'visited,' but denied and denounced by their own brethren....

"The commandments of God were designed to protect both divine and human rights, but the church is being used by [the atheistic State] to destroy any religious element that does not sacrifice the commandments of God to the gods of atheism. Souls are misled in the Lord's name.

"The General Conference gives recognition to the [atheistic State]-directed church organization as the 'Seventh-day Adventist Church.' Those upholding the commandments are denounced as dissidents. Thus, the Word is made of none effect by a 'State-run' church [which is] given support by the General Conference."-Transcribed from writings issued by individual Adventists.

China

"Near the end of October 1951, a special three-day meeting was convened at division headquarters for the purpose of appointing new division officers.... Delegates appointed a new division committee....

"The delegates passed several resolutions: to pledge allegiance to the government and the . . . Party, to support the volunteers fighting with the North Koreans, to adopt and promulgate the Three-Self Movement program, . . . At the banquet celebrating the close of the meeting, alcohol, cigarettes and unclean foods were freely served. The new division chairman freely indulged in these things and soon had a goodly number of his colleagues at the division headquarters following his example. The practice also spread to other places.

"Those attending the meeting condemned strict Sabbath observance and the church's dietary restrictions as the poisonous teachings of the American missionaries, not in harmony with the Bible. This action received the strong support of representatives of the Three-Self Movement Committee. The writings of Mrs. Ellen G. White and Adventist hymnbooks at the publishing house and division headquarters were destroyed. Several of our leading ministers gave up their copies of Mrs. White's books with their allegedly imperialistic and poisonous teachings....

"Through 1957, the China Division continued to operate with division and union headquarters at their traditional locations. But the unions lost most of their former usefulness. Instead of carrying out division policy, as they once had done, they began taking their orders from the government."-Spectrum, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Feb. 1976).

Other Countries

a) SDA's in East Germany

"At the conference (GC delegation session held in Atlantic City, USA, June 11-20, 1970), there were 1700 delegates from 190 countries. Among them there were also representatives of the Church from the socialist countries, such as Poland, Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia. As all the delegates were solemnly marching in with their national flags, of course the flag of our republic was also carried along, for Seventh-day Adventists do not stand apart from political realities. They do not discriminate against any State. This was revealed again and again in the course of the conference."-Neue Zeit (daily paper published in East Germany), July 18, 1970.

b) SDA's and Project Whitecoat

"It is profoundly unnatural to use medicine to kill for men to assist the primordial enemies of human life that every instinct moves us to abhor and combat. Yet we have in America a thriving biological warfare establishment, developing and preparing for use virulent agents more deadly than were ever contrived by nature itself. This lethal machinery is not directed and operated by some band of hellish necromancers-some inhuman magicians of death. It is run as part of the ordinary business of society, involving in its operations not only huge military bases and the highest political institutions, but also several universities and even a pacifist church.... Project Whitecoat [is] conducted by the Army with the assistance of the Adventist Church."-Ramparts, December 1969.

c) SDA's and the Poll

In an election in New Zealand in 1975, a news article appeared in the Auckland Star of November 28, headed "Adventists Saturday Vote." Here is the short article:

"Seventh-day Adventists who have not already cast their votes for the General Election may do so on Saturday, but it will be a matter of individual conscience.

"The church does not encourage members to perform secular tasks on Saturday, but it would not disallow its members to vote on Saturday, said Pastor D. I. Jenkins, spokesman for the Church."

Many more examples of forbidden flirtations here and serious involvements there could be added. In view of these facts, it is clear to us that the denomination is united with the world. Her religion, which was a reality in the past, has degenerated into a hollow formalism a profession of faith plus some appearance of Christianity and a partial obedience to the word of God whenever possible and convenient.

Involvement in politics and subservience to totalitarian States, with a consequent reversal of values and loyalties, places the church in a position where God cannot use her any more. This warning from the Spirit of Prophecy settles the question:

"Consider, my brethren and sisters, that the Lord has a people, a chosen people, His church . . . and He intends that no authority should be known in it, no laws be acknowledged by it, but His own.... His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world, and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of Jehovah. If in defiance of God's arrangements the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext, if the church waver here, there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ." TM 16, 17

As we are often asked why we do not vote, we explain our position by quoting from the writings of E. G. White hereunder:

"The Lord desires all who bear the message for these last days to understand that there is a great difference between professors of religion who are not doers of the word, and the children of God, who are sanctified through the truth, who have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The Lord speaks of those who claim to believe the truth for this time, yet see nothing inconsistent in their taking part in politics, mingling with the contending elements of these last days, as the circumcised who mingle with the uncircumcised, and He declares that He will destroy both classes together without distinction. They are doing a work that God has not set them to do. They dishonor God by their party spirit and contention, and He will condemn both alike.

"The question may be asked, Are we to have no union whatever with the world? The word of the Lord is to be our guide. Any connection with infidels and unbelievers which would identify us with them is forbidden by the word. We are to come out from them and be separate. In no case are we to link ourselves with them in their plans or work." FE 482.

 

IV-ADVENTISTS AND SABBATH OBSERVANCE

"And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." Ezek. 20:20.

"The observance of the Sabbath, the seventh day, by God's people, is the sign to the world that they are linked to the God of heaven as His loyal subjects, who trust in His everlasting veracity and His power as the Creator of the heavens and the earth; and it is the sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people." ST Nov. 22, 1899.

"The enemy knows that if the church can be controlled by political enactments, if she can be led to unite with the world, she virtually acknowledges him as her head. Then the authority of man-made commandments will work to oppose the rule of the government of heaven. Under the leadership of Satan men will dispense with the righteous, holy enactments of God concerning the Sabbath, the observance of which is to be a sign between God and His people forever." ST Nov. 22, 1899.

Our great danger as individuals and as a people is that of substituting an appealing profession for true obedience. Therefore, the warning of Christ in Matthew 23:3 should make us think seriously. The Spirit of Prophecy says to us, 'Your profession is not of any value without the practical doing of the Word." 7BC 935.

"Ten thousand times ten thousand may profess to obey the law and the gospel, and yet be living in transgression." 5T 536. Could this be our case as far as the fourth commandment of the law of God is concerned? To be sure, unity with the world makes the sign of distinction undistinguishable.

It is well known to us that, in the plan of God, only complete obedience finds acceptance before Him.

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Jas. 2:10.

"The law of God will be satisfied with nothing short of perfection, of perfect and entire obedience to all its claims. To come halfway to its requirements, and not render perfect and thorough obedience, will avail nothing." 1T 416.

It would be to our advantage to learn a lesson from the experience of King Saul. In his presumption, he professed to be an obedient servant, saying: "I have performed the commandment of the Lord." 1 Sam. 15:13. In fact, he had done almost everything according to the word of God. And what did the Lord say about the king's incomplete obedience? "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." 1 Sam. 5:23.

"Yet with the sin of Saul and its result before us, how many are pursuing a similar course. While they refuse to believe and obey some requirement of the Lord, they persevere in offering up to God their formal services of religion. There is no response of the Spirit of God to such service. No matter how zealous men may be in their observance of religious ceremonies, the Lord cannot accept them if they persist in willful violation of one of His commands." PP 634.

1. The Sabbath Test

"After Jesus opened the door of the most holy, the light of the Sabbath was seen, and the people of God were tested, as the children of Israel were tested anciently, to see if they would keep God's law." EW 254.

"The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the test for this time." 7BC 920.

And the keeping of the Sabbath, in obedience to God's law, will be the great test of loyalty to God in the final conflict (GC 605).

Many of those who profess to believe the threefold message of Revelation 14 cannot see that, in the eyes of God, incomplete observance of the Sabbath is tantamount to complete rejection of the Sabbath commandment.

"A partial observance of the Sabbath law is not accepted by the Lord and has a worse effect upon the minds of sinners than if you made no profession of being a Sabbathkeeper.... It is the grossest presumption for mortal man to venture upon a compromise with the Almighty in order to secure his own petty, temporal interests. It is as ruthless a violation of the law to occasionally use the Sabbath for secular business as to entirely reject it; for it is making the Lord's commandments a matter of convenience." 4T 248, 249.

If, in spite of our high profession, we are only partial Sabbathkeepers, ignoring the claims of the fourth commandment once in a while, in the books of heaven our attitude is recorded as rejection of God's commandment. We are classed with those who have given up the Sabbath altogether. A few examples given hereunder will show how this is actually taking place among the professed people of God.

Through the connections existing between our church members and the Adventist brethren, through our contacts with members and officers of the SDA Church, and through our own observations, we know for sure, and many Adventists will agree with us, that a great reformation is needed in the field of Sabbath observance. We do not think that the following procedures are in harmony with the requirements of the fourth commandment:

(l) To leave the people without sufficient instruction as to proper Sabbathkeeping, so that many think nothing of coming home late from work on Friday night, or playing games, reading worldly magazines, buying, cooking, traveling long distances for personal interests, and even doing secular work, on the Sabbath.

(2) To sell publications on the Sabbath (in local churches) or to sell meals on the Sabbath 1in the institutions).

(3) To overlook the requirements of the fourth commandment in denominational institutions.

(4) To attend public schools and take exams on the Sabbath (which is a very serious problem in socialist countries):

"Our brethren cannot expect the approval of God while they place their children where it is impossible for them to obey the fourth commandment." 2TT 182.

(5) To have on the church rolls multitudes of members who are not Sabbathkeepers at all, as is the case in very poor countries, where people have a hard time finding work to make a living, or in countries under political restrictions, where people were or are required to work in the factories also on the Sabbath.

(6) To do regular military service, especially in time of war. The Spirit of Prophecy says, "In the army they cannot obey the truth and at the same time obey the requirements of their officers." 1T 361. This is "opposed to every principle of their faith." This has been a serious problem since World War I.

Not all Adventists endorse these transgressions. There are those who are sighing and crying for these things (3T 267). These have our support.

"God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them." 3T 269.

"For evils that we might have checked, we are just as responsible as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves." DA 441.

2. Found Wanting?

"In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: 'Found wanting.'" 8T 247.

The Spirit of Prophecy makes it clear that the acceptance or rejection of the church depends on her complying or failing to comply with certain conditions-8T 247; AA 600, 601; 8T 250; TM 16, 17; etc.-which are, unfortunately, omitted or overlooked by the leadership when they say that the church is going right through into the kingdom. Such statements are misleading.

It is a fearful thought that, while only a small remnant will be approved, the great majority will be found wanting. Sister White narrates one of her visions concerning the Adventist people after the close of probation:

"Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, 'Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.' I asked who this company were. The angel said, 'These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.' I heard them cry with a loud voice, 'We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.' And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet-trodden the Sabbath underfoot-and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting." EW 37 [emphasis supplied].

Here is a clear picture of the two distinct companies of SDA believers: (l) "the saints," namely the "l44,000" and (2) the "company" who will be found "howling in agony."

After the close of probation these Adventists continue as a church, as can bee seen from these facts: (l) They still form a "company." (2) They still speak in the name of this company, using the first person plural ("We . . . "). (3) They have not given up their nominal faith, nor have they severed themselves from their denominational work. They say: 'We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy." (4) Contrary to the open sinner in the world, they see nothing wrong in their stand, and they cannot see why they should be rejected, until their eyes "fall upon their garments and see the writing."

Having known the truth, they have "fouled the residue with their feet," and "trodden the Sabbath underfoot." As "a partial observance of the Sabbath law is not accepted by the Lord," and as "it is as ruthless a violation of the law to occasionally use the Sabbath for secular business as to entirely reject it" (4T 248, 249), they are considered by the Lord as having "given it up." In view of the fact that "they had drunk of the deep waters,"since they had received "great light"

(8T 249)-they are even more guilty before the law of God than Sundaykeepers.

Unfortunately "modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps [of ancient Israel], and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them" (5T 94)

History teaches that apostasy does not dissolve a church, and that when the majority are in apostasy, they do not leave the church, but hold control. (Consider the Jewish Church, the Catholic Church, and the Protestant Churches.) This can also be seen today in the period of Laodicea.

 

V-CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Unity with the world can also be seen in the hesitancy to disfellowship open sinners.

The parable of the wheat and tares is often used as an excuse to keep open sinners on the church rolls. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy (Matt. 18:15-18; 7T 260-264) teach that those who persist in transgression should be disfellowshiped.

"The health and purity of the church must be preserved, that she may stand before God unsullied, clad in the robes of Christ's righteousness." 7T 263.

One of the most heinous sins in these last days, which demands prompt and decided action on the part of the church, is the transgression of the seventh commandment. "If they [those who claim to be keeping all of God's commandments] commit fornication and adultery, their crime is of tenfold greater magnitude than is that of [those] . . . who do not acknowledge the law of God as binding upon them." 2T 451. "Cleanse the camp of this moral corruption, ... Fornication is in our ranks.... There is much we will never know; but that which is revealed makes the church responsible and guilty unless they show a determined effort to eradicate the evil." TM 427, 428. In no case is this sin to be overlooked by the church. The instruction concerning those who have violated the seventh commandment is very clear:

"They [the young people] see how lightly the sin of breaking the seventh commandment is regarded, and the one who commits this horrid sin thinks that all he has to do is to confess that he was wrong and is sorry, and he is then to have all the privileges of the house of God and be held in embrace or fellowship of the church. They have thought it not so great a sin, but have lightly esteemed the breaking of the seventh commandment. This has been sufficient to remove the ark of God from the camp, . . . Those who break the seventh commandment should be suspended from the church and not have fellowship or the privileges of the house of God." MS 3, 1854.

 

VI-WORLDLY FASHIONS

Since the sinful union with the world is the most abominable characteristic of the churches that constitute Babylon (read GC 382, 383), and since the adopting of worldly fashions is an important step in this direction, we should close the door against this evil. The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether those who profess to be converted are simply taking the name of Seventh-day Adventist, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord's side to come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. When they give evidence that they fully understand their position, they are to be accepted. But when they show that they are following the customs and fashions and sentiments of the world, they are to be faithfully dealt with. If they feel no burden to change their course of action, they should not be retained as members of the church." TM 128.

"I saw that decided efforts should be made to show those who are unchristian in life their wrongs, and if they do not reform, they should be separated from the precious and holy, that God may have a clean and pure people that He can delight in." 1T 117, 118.

"As soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. They are the children of the world and of darkness." 1T 137.

"It is these things that separate God from His people, that shut the ark away from them." 1T 136.

"Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God." 4T 647.

"If we enfeeble the body by self-gratification, by indulging the appetite, and by dressing in accordance with health-destroying fashions, in order to be in harmony with the world, we become enemies of God." 3T 63.

What the church members should understand is that, by following the fashions of the world, they transgress the law of God (4T 632) and, in their self-deception, place themselves on the broad road that leads to perdition. They automatically come under this prophetic description:

"I saw many traveling in this broad road who had the words written upon them: 'Dead to the world. The end of all things is at hand. Be ye also ready.' . . . They were in the broad way, yet they professed to be of the number who were traveling the narrow way. Those around them would say: 'There is no distinction between us. We are alike; we dress, and talk, and act alike."' 1T 128.

 

VII-OTHER EXAMPLES

The issues brought up so far show how easy it is to form adulterous bonds of unity with the world. But this is not all. There are other areas, too, where a compromise with the world is condemned. Examples:

(1) Joining trade unions: 2SM 142.

(2) Yoking up with the world in the educational work (following worldly plans and practices contrary to specific instructions): 5T 25-28,61,587; 6T 130,134,142-144; 8T 305; 9T 170; etc.

(3) Yoking up with the world in the medical work: CD 162; MM 27,288; Te 88; 6T 225; 5T 443; 2SM 286-291; CH 249; 8T 215; etc.

When the spiritual situation of the church was much better than it is today, when Adventists as a people were still far from reaching the present state of involvement with the world, Sister

White wrote:

"The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt." 5T 217.

"The professed people of God have compromised with the

power of darkness." 5T 222.

"On every hand we see those who have had much light and knowledge deliberately choosing evil in the place of good. Making no attempt to reform, they are growing worse and worse." 7T 62.

Read TM 130; 8T 299,119; TM 265; 4T 513, quoted before.

What would the servant of the Lord say today?