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Manuscript Releases, vol. 17 [Nos. 1236-1300]

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    MR No. 1289—Non-Essential Subjects to be Avoided; Soul Winners to Educate and Use All Talents; Baptismal Candidates to be Fully Instructed

    (Written September 12, 1904, in Omaha, Nebraska.)

    Those who take upon themselves little responsibility as Christians, become dwarfed in religious growth, and their spiritual dwarfage, unless checked, results in spiritual death. But workers who perform faithfully the duties given them of God receive more and more grace. From their lives the truth shines forth more and more clearly. They are given power to glorify God.17MR 303.1

    All who follow on to know the Lord will have increased knowledge. They will be enabled to help and bless others by setting a Christlike example. The path in which they walk grows brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Their conversion becomes more and more decided, and they are vessels unto honor. God's purpose for His workers is that they shall grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ.17MR 303.2

    There is to be an avoidance of controversy. We are to speak the truth in love. False doctrines of every kind will be brought in to divert the mind from a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Wherever we go, we shall find men ready with some side issue. While I was at Melrose, a man came with a message that the world is flat. I was instructed to present the commission that Christ gave His disciples just before His ascension, as recorded in Matthew 28:16-20. [Matthew 28:16-20, quoted.]17MR 303.3

    We are not to allow our minds to be occupied by subjects such as that presented by this man. In regard to such subjects, God says to every soul, “What is that to thee? Follow thou Me. I have given you your commission. Dwell upon the great testing truths for this time, not upon matters that have no bearing upon our work.”17MR 304.1

    Again and again these non-essential subjects have been agitated, but their discussion has never done a particle of good. We are not to allow our attention to be diverted from the proclamation of the message given us. For years I have been instructed that we are not to give our attention to non-essential questions. There are questions of the highest importance to be considered. “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” the lawyer asked Christ. The Saviour answered, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.”17MR 304.2

    The questions Christ considered essential are the questions that we are to urge home today. We are not bidden to enter into discussion regarding unimportant subjects. Our work is to lead minds to the great principles of the law of God.17MR 304.3

    The Need of a Thorough Preparation for Ministerial Work. During the night many scenes passed before me, and many questions in reference to the work that we are to do for our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, have been made plain and clear. Words were spoken by One of authority, and I will try to repeat in finite words the instruction given regarding the work to be done. The heavenly messenger said, The ministry is becoming greatly enfeebled because men are assuming the responsibility of preaching without gaining the needed preparation for this work.17MR 304.4

    Those who give themselves to the ministry of the Word of God enter a most important work. The gospel ministry is a high and sacred calling. Properly done, the work of the gospel minister will add many souls to the fold. Many have made a mistake in receiving credentials. They will have to take up work to which they are better adapted than the preaching of the Word. They are being paid from the tithe, but their efforts are feeble, and they should not continue to be paid from the tithe. In many ways the ministry is losing its sacred character.17MR 305.1

    Those who are called and chosen to the ministry of the Word will be true, self-sacrificing workers together with Christ. “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,” Christ said. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” This commission is given to every ordained minister. The minister who is merely a speaker, who does not labor as Christ labored, putting his whole soul intelligently into the work, needs the true conversion.17MR 305.2

    Those who preach the gospel without putting the whole being—heart, mind, soul, and strength—into their work, are consumers and not producers. God calls for men who realize that they must put forth earnest action, men who bring thought, zeal, prudence, capability, and the attributes of Christ's character, into their work. The saving of souls is a vast work, which calls for the employment of every talent, every gift of grace. Those engaged in this work should constantly increase in efficiency. They should have an earnest desire to strengthen their powers, realizing that they will be weak without a constantly increasing supply of grace. They should seek to attain larger and still larger results in their work.17MR 305.3

    When this is the experience of our workers, fruit will be seen. Many souls will be brought into the truth.17MR 306.1

    Our churches are becoming enfeebled by receiving for doctrines the commandments of men. Many are received into the church who are not converted. Men, women, and children are allowed to take part in the solemn rite of baptism without being fully instructed in regard to the meaning of His ordinance. Participation in this ordinance means much, and our ministers should be careful to give each candidate plain instruction in regard to its meaning and its solemnity. Our church members see that there are differences of opinion among the leading men, and they themselves enter into controversy regarding the subjects under dispute. Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices. The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines. He calls sin and impenitence by the right name. He does not gloss over wrongdoing with a coat of untempered mortar.17MR 306.2

    I urge our brethren to unify upon a true, Scriptural basis. The Lord calls for intelligent, industrious workers who will do that which needs to be done. Sanitariums are to be established in many places. To the poor and to the rich is to be given the message of healing through Christ.17MR 306.3

    My brethren, work earnestly and seriously. This does not mean that you are not to be cheerful, but that you are to put your whole heart into the work of preparing the way for Christ's coming. He calls for whole-hearted, unselfish men to sound the note of warning.—Manuscript 10, 1905. (“Non-Essential Subjects To Be Avoided,” September 12, 1904.)17MR 306.4

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    August 6, 1987.

    Entire Ms.