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The Church: Its Organization, Order and Discipline

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    Annoyed by Advocates of Freedom

    In our assemblies, in those early times, when, through lack of proper order and organization, no restraint was upon any one-where one claimed just as much right to occupy the time and direct affairs in our public meetings as another-we were greatly annoyed by turbulent-spirited men. At one of our gatherings in Battle Creek, Mich., a minister from another denomination, who had lately begun the observance of the Sabbath, a stranger to all of us, actually undertook to open and control the meeting. In the gathering of 1860, when it was finally decided to legally organize, we were much annoyed with advocates of “freedom.”COOD 120.5

    All this led to a careful study of what was “wanting” to promote union and harmony in our yearly State meetings. Taking the Scriptures, and noting the councils of the Jewish church upon questions that interested all the congregation, we observed that the action taken seemed to be by elders and rulers elected by the people. So also in the Christian church, as we have seen in their proceedings at Jerusalem on the question of circumcision.COOD 121.1

    In Testimonies for the Church 1:652, we read that “the travels of the children of Israel are faithfully described, .... Their perfect organization and special order, their sin in murmuring, ... and rebellions, ... this faithful picture is hung up before us, as a warning lest we follow their example of disobedience, and fall like them.”COOD 121.2

    The same writer, speaking of the apostolic church, said, “We should take as special measures as they did to secure the peace, harmony, and union of the flock.”-“Supplement to Experience and Views,” page 16.COOD 121.3

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