How to Meet a Controverted Point of Doctrine

From the Spirit of Prophecy.

By Mrs. E.G. White

Nothing frightens me more than to see the spirit of variance mani­fested by our brethren. We are on dangerous ground when we cannot meet together like Christians, and cour­teously examine controverted points. I feel like fleeing from the place, lest I receive the mold of those who cannot candidly investigate the doctrines of the Bible. Those who cannot impar­tially examine the evidences of a posi­tion that differs from theirs, are not fit to teach in any department of God's cause. What we need is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without this, we are no more fitted to go forth to the world than were the disciples after the crucifixion of their Lord. Jesus knew their destitution, and told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high. Every teacher must be a learner, that his eyes may be anointed to see the evidences of the advancing truth of God. The beams of the Sun of Right­eousness must shine into his own heart if he would impart light to others.

No one is able to explain the Scrip­tures without the aid of the Holy Spirit. But when you take up the word of God with a humble, teachable heart, the angels of God will be by your side to impress you with evidences of the truth. When the Spirit of God rests upon you, there will be no feeling of envy or jealousy in examining an-other's position; there will be no spirit of accusation and criticism, such as Satan inspired in the hearts of the Jewish leaders against Christ. As Christ said to Nicodemus, so I say to you, "Ye must be born again." "Ex­cept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." You must have the divine mold before you can discern the sacred claims of the truth. Unless the teacher is a learner in the school of Christ, he is not fitted to teach others.

We should come into a position where every difference will be melted away. If I think I have light, I shall do my duty in presenting it. Suppose I con­sulted others concerning the message the Lord would have me give to the people, the door might be closed so that the light could not reach the ones to whom God had sent it. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, "the whole mul­titude of disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a 'loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that corn­eth in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto Him, Master, re­buke Thy disciples. And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."

The Jews tried to stop the procla­mation of the message that had been predicted in the word of God, but prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says, "Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Some­body is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say, "You are too earnest; you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message."

There are many who cannot distin­guish between the work of God and that of man. . . . If you continue to find fault, to have a spirit of variance, you will never know the truth. Jesus said to His disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." They were not in a condition to appreciate sacred and eter­nal things. But Jesus promised to send the Comforter, who would teach them all things, and bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever He had said unto them. Brethren, we must not put our dependence in man. "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" You must hang your helpless souls upon Jesus. .

If there is a point of truth that you do not understand, upon which you do not agree, investigate, compare scripture with scripture, sink the shaft of truth down deep into the mine of God's word. You must lay your­selves and your opinions on the altar of God, put away your preconceived ideas, and let the Spirit of heaven guide you into all truth.. . .

There are many among us who are prejudiced against the doctrines that are now being discussed. They will not come to hear, they will not calmly investigate, but they put forth their objections in the dark. They are per­fectly satisfied with their position. "Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of noth­ing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint, thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." This scripture applies to those who live under the sound of the message, but who will not come to hear it. How do you know but that the Lord is giving fresh evidences of His truth, placing it in a new setting, that the way of the Lord may be prepared? What plans have you been laying that new light may be infused through the ranks of God's people? What evidence have you that God has not sent light to His children?

All self-sufficiency, egotism, and pride of opinion must be put away. We must come to the feet of Jesus, and learn of Him who is meek and lowly of heart. Jesus did not teach His disciples as the rabbis taught theirs. Many of the Jews came and listened as Christ re­vealed the mysteries of salvation, but they came not to learn; they came to criticize, to catch Him in some incon­sistency, that they might have some­thing with which 'to prejudice the peo­ple. They were content with their knowledge, but the children of God must know the voice of the true Shep­herd. Is not this a time when it would be highly proper to fast and pray be­fore God? We are in danger of vari­ance, in danger of taking sides on a controverted point; and should we not seek God in earnestness, with humilia­tion of soul, that we may know what is truth? . . .

We should wrestle with every diffi­culty, but when some controverted point is presented, are you to go to man to find out his opinion, and then shape your conclusions from his? No, go to God. Tell Him what you want; take' your Bible and search as for hid­den treasures.

We do not go deep enough in our search for truth. Every soul who be­lieves present truth will be brought where he will be required to give a reason of the hope that is in him. The people of God will be called upon to stand before kings, princes, rulers, and great men of the earth, and they must know that they do know what is truth. They must be converted men and wo­men. God can teach you more in one moment by His Holy Spirit than you could learn from the great men of the earth.

The universe is looking upon the controversy that is going on upon the earth. At an infinite cost, God has provided for every man an opportunity to know that which will make him wise unto salvation. How eagerly do angels look to see who will avail him­self of this opportunity!

When a message is presented to God's people, they should not rise up in op­position to it; they should go to the Bible, comparing it with the law and the testimony, and if it does not bear this test, it is not true. God wants our minds to expand. He desires to put His grace upon us. We may have a feast of good things every day; for God can open the whole treasure of heaven to us. We are to be one with Christ as He is one with the Father, and the Father will love us as He loves His Son. We may have the same help that Christ had, we may have strength for every emergency, for God will be our front guard and our rearward. He will shut us in on every side, and when we are brought before rulers, before the authorities of the earth, we need not meditate beforehand of what we shall say. God will teach us in the day of our need. Now may God help us to come to the feet of Jesus and learn of Him, before we seek to become teach­ers of others.—Review and Herald, Feb. 18, 1890.

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By Mrs. E.G. White

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