To every issue there are two sides. It would be unfair to present just one side of any story. Yet, it must be conceded that both sides cannot be right, for then there would be no truth, justice or righteousness. So we shall proceed to investigate a number of objections to this Reform Movement, and then see if they are valid in view of all that has been presented thus far.
OBJECTION NO. 1
Did not Sister White remain in the large Seventh-day Adventist Church until her death?
ANSWER: Yes! But at the time of her death on Friday, July 16, 1915, America had not yet entered the war. The United States joined in the war effort in 1917, two years after Sister White died. So the test concerning the war question had not even developed in America, for which reason Sister White had no occasion to make any special comment or decision beside her printed testimony. When someone inquired about the European situation and what to do, she is supposed to have said, “I think the brethren should do their duty, ” which can be interpreted in any way.
OBJECTION NO. 2
We are told that the whole Reform Movement started with some fanatics, such as Wieck, Kersting, and others. Is this so?
ANSWER: If standing firmly for God’s law in the face of death is fanaticism, then the Reform Movement is guilty of it. But there is no argument now that the reformers took the right stand on the military and Sabbath question when the crisis came in 1914, and that the Seventh-day Adventist denomination yielded and apostatized at that time.
The facts are that Wieck never belonged to the Reform Movement, and obviously whatever he did cannot be charged to them. Mrs. Kersting, a false prophetess, tried to force her views on the Reform Movement members but did not succeed. Why cast this reflection on the Reform Movement? But such accusations are not new. Listen to God’s servant’s statement:
“In the days of the Reformation its enemies charged all the evils of fanaticism upon the very ones who were laboring most earnestly against it. A similar course was pursued by the opposers of the Advent Movement. And not content with misrepresenting and exaggerating the errors of extremists and fanatics, they circulated unfavorable reports that had not the slightest semblance of truth.” – Great Controversy, p. 397.
No, this Movement did not start with fanaticism and fanatics. It begun solely with the issue of keeping or violating God’s commandments.
OBJECTION NO. 3
Christ said, “Let the wheat and the tares grow together. . ., ” which means that we must not try to separate sinners, or even apostates, from the church. They are all to stay together until Jesus comes.
ANSWER: This favorite objection is based upon a completely wrong understanding of the meaning of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Who are the “tares”? The Spirit of prophecy makes it very clear in Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 73:
“How was it with the early church? Ananias and Sapphira joined themselves to the disciples. Simon Magus was baptized. Demas, who forsook Paul, had been counted a believer. Judas Iscariot was numbered with the apostles. The Redeemer does not want to lose one soul; His experience with Judas is recorded to show His long patience with perverse human nature; and He bids us bear with it as He has borne. He has said that false brethren will be found in the church till the close of time.” (Emphasis ours. )
The interesting fact is that neither Ananias and Sapphira, nor Simon Magus, nor Demas, nor Judas – all those mentioned – were “open sinners.” They were not revealed as false to the church members until one main test proved their infidelity. They were therefore “hidden sinners,” which makes a great deal of difference.
In contrast to the Biblical examples mentioned above, the European apostasy was done in the open and was revealed to everyone; therefore, it must be classified as “open sin.” Of this category of sin, Sister White says in Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 71:
“Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church, but He has not committed to us the work of judging character and motive.” (Emphasis ours.)
In conclusion, the tares do not at all represent open sinners in the church. They refer to weak, erring souls among God’s people who must be carried in the love of Christ.
OBJECTION NO. 4
The Reform Movement is not fulfilling the description of Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 126: “The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought. . . . Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families. . .” etc. Therefore, it cannot be the right Reformation.
ANSWER: We must say, again, “It is written,” by quoting from Medical Ministry, p. 16:
“There must be a reformation throughout our ranks; the people must reach a higher standard before we can expect the power of God to be manifested in a marked manner for the healing of the sick. . . .” (Emphasis ours.)
It is therefore obvious that Sister White sees this Reformation in the statement from Testimonies, vol. 9 as it will be in its ultimate triumph during the Latter Rain. This coincides with other descriptions of the latter rain experience in which the sick will be healed and signs and wonders will follow the believers. But let us remember that the church militant is not the church triumphant. In the second statement quoted above, it is shown that a reformation is needed now to prepare God’s people for the final triumphant work. When the shaking is finished, then the latter rain will finish the work begun through the power of the Holy Spirit.
OBJECTION NO. 5
You have no schools, hospitals, or other large institutions. How can you finish the work?
ANSWER: Speaking of the Loud Cry message, God’s servant said:
“The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions.” – Great Controversy, p. 606.
“He will raise up and exalt among us those who are taught rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the outward training of scientific institutions.” – Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 82.
Martin Luther is quoted as saying:
“‘God never selected as a prophet either the high priest or any other great personage; but ordinarily He chose low and despised men, once even the shepherd Amos.'” – Great Controversy, pp. 142,143.
“There is constant danger among our people that those who engage in labor in our schools and sanitariums will entertain the idea that they must get in line with the world, . . . This is one of the greatest mistakes that could be made. . . .
“Those who seek the education that the world esteems so highly, are gradually led further and further from the principles of truth until they become educated worldlings.” – Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 534-536.
We believe in establishing church schools whenever it is possible to have them in accordance with the divine directions.
As to the objection that we have no hospitals, we believe that “. . . drugging should be forever abandoned;. . .” – Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 311.
“More deaths have been caused by drug-taking than from all other causes combined. If there was in the land one physician in the place of thousands, a vast amount of premature mortality would be prevented. Multitudes of physicians, and multitudes of drugs, have cursed the inhabitants of the earth, and have carried thousands and tens of thousands to untimely graves.” – Selected Messages, Book 2, p. 450.
“As to drugs being used in our institutions, it is contrary to the light which the Lord has been pleased to give. The drugging business has done more harm to our world and killed more than it has helped or cured. The light was first given to me why our institutions should be established, that is, sanatoriums were to reform the practices of physicians.” – Medical Ministry, p. 27 (Emphasis ours.)
Was this warning heeded? Just the opposite happened! Adventist sanitariums were changed into worldly hospitals under the pressure of the American Medical Association. Drug therapy is practiced universally today in all Seventh-day Adventist medical institutions, the same as in all worldly hospitals. If this is not an outright apostasy from the divine blueprint, then what is apostasy? A divine reformation is called for in this area also. The Reform Movement strongly protests having hospitals of such a nature and has established successful sanitariums and health centers in several locations. Here all treatments are based on physiotherapy and other natural treatments.
In our next lesson we shall discuss some more objections.