Initial Steps Toward Church Organization

September 1852

Late in 1853 Ellen White prepared a comprehensive article on organization based largely on a vision given in September 1852. In it she pointed out:

The Lord has shown me that gospel order has been too much neglected and feared. That formality should be shunned; but in so doing, order should not be neglected. There is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth; and after His departure, order was strictly observed among His apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of faith, there is more real need of order than ever before (Supplement to Christian Experience and Views, p. 15 [see also EW, p. 97]).

In view of the great importance of this testimony in relation to the emerging church, let us consider some of the high points:

  1. Men are hurried into the field who lack wisdom and judgment (EW, p. 97).
  2. Men whose lives are not holy and who are unqualified to teach the present truth enter the field without being acknowledged by the church or the brethren generally, and confusion and disunion are the result (ibid.).
  3. Some have a theory of the truth, and can present the argument, but lack spirituality, judgment, and experience; they fail in many things which it is very necessary for them to understand before they can teach the truth (ibid., p. 98).
  4. Others have not the argument, but . . . are pressed into the field to engage in a work for which God has not qualified them (ibid.).
  5. The church should feel their responsibility and should look carefully and attentively at the lives, qualifications, and general course of those who profess to be teachers (ibid., p. 100).
  6. It is the duty of the church to act and let it be known that these persons [those who are not called of God, but profess to be teachers] are not acknowledged as teachers by the church (ibid.).
  7. I saw that this door at which the enemy comes in to perplex and trouble the flock can be shut. I inquired of the angel how it could be closed. He said, "The church must flee to God's Word and become established upon gospel order, which has been overlooked and neglected" (ibid.).
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