Greetings MOL Family!
After several weeks, this is the final class of our survey through our inspired Advent Movement! We thank you for joining us along this historic journey, and we pray that this series has been a blessing to you! We encourage you to review over these studies, and understand what specific lessons the Lord has for you to learn from the experiences of our pioneers.
We have nothing to fear for the future except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us and His teaching in our past history. – Life’s Sketches, pg. 196
The Advent Movement Survey: The Conclusion
Now, going back in our study. Who was raised up in this denomination to lead out in a strong way, and did for many years, in the two great lines of medical missionary work and health reform? Dr. Kellogg. Did he carry on through to the end? Why not? Is there something there that we need to study and ponder over lest we fall after the same example of unbelief? Ah, yes.
I want to ask you something. Did he give up the cross of self-denial in appetite? No. Did he give up the humanitarian, philanthropic ministry to suffering humanity? No. But watch: He forgot that the medical missionary work and health reform was only a part of the message, and only a part of the movement. He lost his vision of the evangelistic purpose of the message. He lost his love for the organization which alone could carry the program through to final victory.
We have studied some of the things that led into and led out of that great crisis over 100+ years ago. And I trust that the lesson has come home to our hearts, friends, that we will love this movement and this organization so much that we will never allow our vision of medical missionary work and health reform to separate us from our brethren, never. In review, just one or two statements on this:
Those who disparage the ministry and try to conduct the medical missionary work independently are trying to separate the arm from the body. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, pg. 288
The medical missionary work should be a part of the work of every church in our land. Disconnected from the church it would soon become a strange medley of disorganized atoms. … Conducted independently, it would not only consume talent and means needed in other lines, but in the very work of helping the helpless apart from the ministry of the word, it would place men where they would scoff at Bible truth. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, pg. 289
Very meaningful, and yet, friends, sounding down the line, the warnings are clear to us that while we should never let health reform and medical missionary work separate us from our brethren, neither should we let any opposition, any pressures, cause us to leave the work that God has given us in health reform and medical missionary lines. Notice how clear the counsels are:
The medical missionary workers are doing the long neglected work which God gave to the church in Battle Creek. …
… The Lord has moved upon Dr. Kellogg and his associates to do the work which belongs to the church and which was offered to them, but which they did not choose to accept. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, pg. 71
Those who are doing medical missionary work should have the full sanction and cooperation of the church. If they do not have this they are hindered. Nevertheless, they will advance. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, pg. 72
Brethren, be careful, very careful. There is a work being done by the medical missionaries which answers to the description given in [Matthew 24] verses 48-51. …
… If you feel no interest in the work that is going forward, if you will not encourage medical missionary work in the churches, it will be done without your consent; for it is the work of God, and it must be done. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, pg. 75
So it’s very clear, friends, that while God wanted the medical missionary workers to cooperate with the ministry, and to be loving and kind, and cooperative, He never intended that they should allow any pressure to weaken their testimony concerning health reform, or to lessen their ministry for the poor, and the sick, and the suffering.
Ah, but somebody says, “That’s a difficult thing to do.” Yes, it is a difficult thing to do, at times – to maintain the ties of love and unity with the organization, and at the same time do that work which was given to the medical missionaries. But just because a task is difficult, shall we avoid it or shirk it? Ah, no, friends. That’s our mission. That’s our destiny. Let’s see the glorious vision and enter into it fully. What do you say?
Now, I come to the next decade. That decade brings us especially to the development of our educational work. In the same year that our first missionary went overseas, 1874, our first college began its work.
You remember how that while it was the Spirit of Prophecy that had urged upon our people the need for Christian education, that this first educational institution was established, not where the prophet of God had pled for it to be, in the country, but rather on the edge of this town of Battle Creek. And the servant of God wept.
We studied the educational crisis that came to Battle Creek in 1881 and 1882 as given in the first hundred pages of Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5. We found that the great issue there was over what? Over educational standards, whether the worldly standards were to be followed or the Spirit of Prophecy standards. We found that basic in that crisis was whether the Spirit of Prophecy writings were to be believed on all points, on all issues.
I ask you, friends, whether that has light for us today? I ask you whether the study of those visions and those issues can bring light that will focus upon our present problems. Yes.
Following still the study of the educational development, we studied how, in the 1890s, God led His servant over to where? Australia. There at Avondale, a pattern school was established. As we studied that wonderful blueprint for educational reform, we saw that the call was to establish educational institutions where? In the country, but near enough to a territory that could be evangelized – not some retreat in the desert miles beyond or away from people that need help. A retreat in the country, yes – but like Enoch’s outpost, near enough to reach the cities and towns and villages with the message of saving truth.
We saw how the light that was kindled at Avondale, through the revelations of the Spirit of Prophecy, was reflected to this country; how, at Walla Walla, Sutherland and those with him studied those counsels, making reformations that led to his being called to Battle Creek College. The changes there led to the re-location at Berrien Springs, and the work of reform carried on there and led to the establishment, by Magan and Sutherland and their co-workers, of the Nashville Agricultural and Normal Institute at Madison, Tennessee. That was a wonderful story we studied, wasn’t it? – all documented by the references from the Spirit of Prophecy dealing with the various steps.
And we read that, in that educational work – of carrying out those wonderful principles of using the Bible as the basis of education, of making practical work a part of the curriculum and the program, of working in simplicity, of seeking to prepare thousands of workers in simple ways to do simple service – those principles were again and again recommended and commended by the Spirit of Prophecy. Sister White plainly stated that if many more in other schools were receiving a similar training, what would be the result? The message would be quickly carried to every country.
In our last class, we studied those wonderful statements which showed that a program was already in operation, that God designed to be multiplied. Again, we want to note the relation to organization, that God purposed that self-supporting educational work to sustain. We should meditate much upon those statements and their bearing upon our duty, our destiny, in this work that individually and as a group we were called to.
I want to read a statement found in Series B of the Testimonies, Number 2, pages 40-42. I am reading this to show you how Sister White sent messages of counsel to these dear men that were leading out in the self- supporting educational work, cautioning them against words of criticism concerning their brethren in official position. If they needed these words, we need them!
This was written in the summer of 1904, after the resignation at Berrien Springs, and after it had been decided to go ahead with the work at Madison, right at that time:
Dear Brethren Magan and Sutherland. I have words of counsel for you. There must be harmony between you and the men in responsible positions in the General Conference. You catch at straws in matters concerning Elder Daniells and Elder Prescott. – Series B of the Testimonies, Number 2, pg, 40
(Elder Daniels was the president of the General Conference. Elder Prescott had heavy responsibilities with him in the General Conference.)
You catch at straws in matters concerning Elder Daniells and Elder Prescott. Why? — Because they have not harmonized with you in all your plans, and have not given you the credit that you deserved. But when the Lord corrected errors, and spoke encouraging words concerning your efforts, why did you not praise Him, and show your gratitude by manifesting thankfulness and a forgiving spirit, and by showing an appreciation of the burdens borne by these fellow workers of God’s appointment? Why did you cast imputations upon them, or allow others to cast imputation upon them?
Your feeling in regard to Elder Daniells and Elder Prescott are not correct. If you expect them to harmonize with you, you must harmonize with them.
Elder Daniells and Elder Prescott have made some mistakes. But where can you find men of capability who have not made mistakes? A grave mistake was made when you and Elder A. T. Jones set yourselves to the defense of the movement for the re-opening of the Battle Creek College. …
In this perilous time the Lord has given us men of His choice to stand as the leaders of His people. … God has chosen Elder Daniells to bear responsibilities. … The Lord desires every church to offer prayer for him as he bears these heavy responsibilities. – Series B of the Testimonies, Number 2, pgs. 40-41
Now listen to these next two sentences. And again, I ask you if they are not present truth, meat in due season, words for the hour?
Our brethren and sisters should not stand ready to criticize and condemn those who are bearing heavy burdens. Let us refuse to listen to the words of censure spoken regarding the men upon whom rest such weighty responsibilities. – Ibid., pg. 41
If we would do that, brethren, we could save precious time. To listen to the reports, the accusations, the censures that come by word of mouth and in the mail against the General Conference brethren, to either swallow them whole, or get them out and dissect them and run down all the rumors and see whether they are true or not, to do it in any way accurately would take quite a bit of time, wouldn’t it? The remedy here is very simple, and the prescription comes from Heaven:
Let us refuse to listen to the words of censure spoken regarding the men upon whom rest such weighty responsibilities. – Series B of the Testimonies, Number 2, pg. 41
If I chose to do it, friends, I could bring to you evidence that those very men that Sister White was upholding were not as strong on all the reforms as you and I would wish they had been. That’s putting it very mildly on some points. Yet, on this very page, she says, “I know that Elder Daniells is the right man in the right place.”
Oh, brethren, if there is anything that self-supporting workers need, if there is anything that reformers need, it’s a vision of the fact that God is leading a movement, not just individuals. And we must learn to take our place in a movement, and be a part of a movement, and support the leadership of this movement. That is the message that God gave to those workers in the self-supporting program.
But, having made that as clear as language can make it, let me turn, friends, to the other side of the picture. The same Spirit of Prophecy that urged upon our self-supporting workers the need for close co-operation with the organized work, that urged upon them that they should refuse to listen to words of censure and not cast forth any words of criticism, that same Spirit of Prophecy, recognizing that they had been and would be criticized by some of their brethren for the way in which they did self-supporting work, plainly told them that they should go right ahead with their work and not allow the lack of encouragement from their brethren to stop them.
Let me read it. From this little tract, “Words of Encouragement to Self Supporting Workers”, the very words that Sister White spoke to the first convention of Southern self-supporting workers, gathered at Madison, April 26, 1909. I read from page 13 – 15:
Some may say, If I were to engage in this sort of work, some connected with the church would discountenance me. What if they should? – Words of Encouragement to Self Supporting Workers, pg. 13
Let not any living hand of minister or laymen be laid upon you with the statement, You cannot go here. You must not go there. We shall not support you if you do not go at our bidding. – Ibid., pg. 14
To those who are connected with our various school enterprises in the south I would say, let not a single hand be laid upon you to say you cannot do this work. You must not spend your time in this way. – Ibid., pg. 15
Will you tell me why, within ten minutes, the servant of the Lord, talking to that group of self-supporting workers, three times repeated the statement; “Let no one lay his hand upon you and say you must not do this”? Why? Ah, there must have been a need for it, friends. There must have been a reason for it. In 1907, you find it on the last page of Series B, Number 11, called “The Madison School”, we have the clear statement:
In the organization and management of the Madison school, it was not placed under the control of the conference. But the reasons why this school was not owned and controlled by the conference have not been duly considered. …
The Lord does not require that the educational work at Madison shall be changed all about before it can receive the hearty support of our people. The work that has been done there is approved of God, and He forbids that this line of work shall be broken up. – Series B, Number 11, The Madison School
So you see, dear friends, the double counsel. The strong counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy to these dear workers, to refrain from criticizing their brethren, to hold up the hands of and pray for the leaders of the General Conference, to refuse to listen to words of censure concerning their brethren; and at the same time, even if they were criticized, to go right ahead with their work, given them of the Lord.
You may say, “Well, that’s a difficult thing to do.” It would seem that, in the endeavor to be cooperative, they might be led to the place where it would seem necessary for them to give up part of their work in order to prove they were cooperative. Or, on the other hand, in the endeavor to be faithful to their commission and go ahead and do the work, it might seem that it would be necessary to make explanations and defend themselves in a way that smacked of criticism. For that very reason, because of the double peril, there was given the double warning. And that commission has lost none of its strength or relevancy.
Today, you and I are given the wonderful opportunity of demonstrating that self-supporting workers can be just as loyal as though they were all paid with a conference paycheck; that they can refrain from criticizing or listening to criticism; and that they can do that and be that cooperative without abandoning the special work to which they believe God has called them.
Now, in closing, you remember that a number of weeks ago we studied how, in 1888, God brought to this people at Minneapolis, a message on righteousness by faith with Jones and Waggoner. For several weeks in this course we followed those men and their message, the opposition awakened by it, and the results of it in lives.
Take Heed Lest We Fall
In this closing moment, I would like to suggest, friends, that one of the greatest things that we can take from this course in “The Advent Movement Survey” is this fact: that the very men who led out in that great message of righteousness by faith, Jones and Waggoner, along with the very man who led out in the great health reform and medical missionary work, Dr. Kellogg, spent their closing years outside this movement. And not a one of those three, so far as I know, ever admitted that he had left the message. I suppose they thought the message or the movement had left them.
I say to you, dear friends, that’s a great warning to you and me. We need to have such an experience in practical righteousness by faith that we will have such deep love for our brethren that no amount of misunderstanding shall drive us from the movement which God has established.
With that, this closing thought: What is the great message of righteousness by faith? Who is its center? Christ, Christ our righteousness. He says in John 15:5, “Without Me ye can do” what? “Nothing.” Can we carry the prophetic message of the midnight cry and the Sanctuary without Jesus? Can we make a success of integration with organization without Jesus? Can we make a success of health reform and medical missionary work without Jesus? Can we make a success of educational work and self-supporting work without Jesus? No.
We will be successful in all these great lines, only as individually, in the secret place of prayer, we receive Christ as our righteousness, and depend for righteousness not upon our knowledge of doctrine, not upon our efforts to live out reforms in health or education or any other line, but upon Jesus and His intercession at the mercy seat.
Let me tell you this, friends. Through the history of this movement, there have been men that emphasized this point, that point, the other point. Somewhere, sometime, God is going to have a people that gather up all these rays of light, all these lines of evidence, and focus them upon their own characters and upon their work.
Shall we be numbered among them? May God grant it, my dear friends. I trust that in many hearts, there is a spirit of intercession, as we see the glorious vision of what could have been and what still can be, what still must be. And who knows, oh, who knows but what we have been called for such a time as this, friends.
Loving heavenly Father, I thank thee for sending Thy Spirit to makes things so clear, to give us that hope that can go to the Kingdom. May this truth live in our hearts; may we live in peace. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This concludes our Advent Movement Survey. Please feel free to comment below, to share what lessons you have been blessed to receive, and to encourage others along this Christian journey!
Next week, we will begin a new series on the standards of Christian living, presented in their beauty, as a happy way of life. Please invite at least two friends to participate in His “Beautiful Way”…
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.