Read the Missionary Report below
from the General Conference Ministerial Department

Sabbath, October 29, 2016

“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions….

“As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power….

“The doctrine of man’s consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 588, 551.

God’s command

1. What did God always command His people?

Deuteronomy 18:10, 11 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

“Modern spiritualism, resting upon the same foundation, is but a revival in a new form of the witchcraft and demon worship that God condemned and prohibited of old. It is foretold in the Scriptures, which declare that ‘in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’ 1 Timothy 4:1. Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, points to the special working of Satan in spiritualism as an event to take place immediately before the second advent of Christ. Speaking of Christ’s second coming, he declares that it is ‘after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

“The word of the Lord to ancient Israel is addressed also to His people in this age: ‘Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them;’ ‘for all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.’ Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:12.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 686, 689.

2. To what words of Scripture must God’s people refer so as not to fall into Satan’s snares concerning the state of the dead?

Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

“But none need be deceived by the lying claims of spiritualism. God has given the world sufficient light to enable them to discover the snare. As already shown, the theory which forms the very foundation of spiritualism is at war with the plainest statements of Scripture. The Bible declares that the dead know not anything, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun; they know nothing of the joys or sorrows of those who were dearest to them on earth.

“Furthermore, God has expressly forbidden all pretended communication with departed spirits. In the days of the Hebrews there was a class of people who claimed, as do the spiritualists of today, to hold communication with the dead. But the ‘familiar spirits,’ as these visitants from other worlds were called, are declared by the Bible to be ‘the spirits of devils.’ (Compare Numbers 25:1-3; Psalm 106:28; 1 Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 16:14.) The work of dealing with familiar spirits was pronounced an abomination to the Lord, and was solemnly forbidden under penalty of death. Leviticus 19:31; 20:27.” –The Great Controversy, p. 556.

Under a Christian guise

3. How does Satan operate in these last days?

2 Timothy 4:3, 4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

“It is true that spiritualism is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise….

“Even in its present form, so far from being more worthy of toleration than formerly, it is really a more dangerous, because a more subtle, deception. While it formerly denounced Christ and the Bible, it now professes to accept both. But the Bible is interpreted in a manner that is pleasing to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God’s justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight. The people are taught to regard the Decalogue as a dead letter. Pleasing, bewitching fables captivate the senses and lead men to reject the Bible as the foundation of their faith. Christ is as verily denied as before; but Satan has so blinded the eyes of the people that the deception is not discerned.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 557, 558, italics added.

“But the mass of mankind despise the truths of God’s word and prefer fables. 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11: ‘Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’ “ –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 300.

4. How far will Satan’s deceptions go?

2 Corinthians 11:13, 14 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

“Among the most successful agencies of the great deceiver are the delusive teachings and lying wonders of spiritualism. Disguised as an angel of light, he spreads his nets where least suspected. If men would but study the Book of God with earnest prayer that they might understand it, they would not be left in darkness to receive false doctrines. But as they reject the truth they fall a prey to deception.

“Another dangerous error is the doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, claiming that He had no existence before His advent to this world. This theory is received with favor by a large class who profess to believe the Bible;… 

“Still another subtle and mischievous error is the fast-spreading belief that Satan has no existence as a personal being; that the name is used in Scripture merely to represent men’s evil thoughts and desires.” –The Great Controversy, p. 524.

Our only safeguard

5. What words of the prophet Isaiah are a standard that exposes the seductions of so-called miracle workers? In addition, what principle will keep God’s people from being deceived by false christs?

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Micah 3:5, 6 Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. 6Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. 

“We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.” –(Preach the Word, p. 5

[1905]) Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 32.

6. How will those who are faithful to God overcome spiritualism?

Ephesians 6:11, 12, 17 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness In high places…. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

“Those who oppose the teachings of spiritualism are assailing, not men alone, but Satan and his angels. They have entered upon a contest against principalities and powers and wicked spirits In high places. Satan will not yield one inch of ground except as he is driven back by the power of heavenly messengers. The people of God should be able to meet him, as did our Saviour, with the words: ‘It is written.’ Satan can quote Scripture now as in the days of Christ, and he will pervert its teachings to sustain his delusions. Those who would stand in this time of peril must understand for themselves the testimony of the Scriptures.

“Many will be confronted by the spirits of devils personating beloved relatives or friends and declaring the most dangerous heresies. These visitants will appeal to our tenderest sympathies and will work miracles to sustain their pretensions. We must be prepared to withstand them with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything and that they who thus appear are the spirits of devils.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 559, 560.

“The only safety now is to search for the truth as revealed in the word of God, as for hid treasure. The subjects of the Sabbath, the nature of man, and the testimony of Jesus are the great and important truths to be understood; these will prove as an anchor to hold God’s people in these perilous times.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 300.

7. Is it possible for those who have departed from Christ to return to the right path?

Isaiah 55:6, 7 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 

Hosea 12:6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.

“I was shown that Satan cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. Those who depart from the right are in serious danger now. They separate themselves from God and from the watchcare of His angels, and Satan, ever upon the watch to destroy souls, begins to present to them his deceptions. Such are in the utmost peril; and if they see and try to resist the powers of darkness and to free themselves from Satan’s snare, it is not an easy matter. They have ventured on Satan’s ground, and he claims them. He will not hesitate to engage all his energies and call to his aid all his evil host to wrest a single human being from the hand of Christ. Those who have tempted the devil to tempt them will have to make desperate efforts to free themselves from his power. But when they begin to work for themselves, then angels of God whom they have grieved will come to their rescue. Satan and his angels are unwilling to lose their prey. They contend and battle with the holy angels, and the conflict is severe. But if those who have erred continue to plead, and in deep humility confess their wrongs, angels who excel in strength will prevail and wrench them from the power of the evil angels.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 301.

For personal study

Matthew 4:4, 7, 10.

“Spiritualism is a lie. It is founded upon the great original lie, ‘Ye shall not surely die.’ “ –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 301.

Early Writings, pp. 262-266.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 297-302.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 171-173.

The Great Controversy, chapter 34.

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Missionary Report
from the General Conference Ministerial Department

To be read on Sabbath, October 29, 2016

The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered
on Sabbath, November 5, 2016

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28.

“Those who give themselves to the ministry of the Word enter a most important work.” –Review and Herald, October 6, 1904.

Dear fellow believers in Christ,

The Lord established His church as an organized body, making the apostles (ministers) responsible for the advancement of His cause and the instruction of the believers in sound doctrine. The Ministerial/Sabbath School Department in a special sense watches over the doctrine which is preached in the spoken and written word by the church organization.

One of the main institutions for the believers’ growth in knowledge and unity in the faith is the Sabbath school. Under God’s guidance, the Department determines the sequence of subjects to be studied in the weekly Sabbath School Lessons. In addition, with the assistance of primarily my wife, I produce a video every week in English and one in Spanish for ministers and teachers to facilitate the unity of belief in doctrinal points through the Sabbath school. Thousands of people (both members and non-members) have watched these online video programs. Some active members also use them as missionary tools to establish study groups for interested souls. These videos are promoted on Facebook, Google, YouTube, and the Ministerial Department’s website. However, because the General Conference has limited financial resources, all the media activities of the Department are financed by private donations. More funds are needed to maintain the website and to facilitate Internet outreach.

Another important function of the Department is the support and supervision of missionary schools. There are currently six such schools in Latin America, one in Asia, and two in Africa. The schools in Latin America are financed by the unions and fields benefiting from the schools, but the ones in Africa and Asia depend on outside support. The financial needs of the missionary schools are great not only because teachers’ salaries, materials, food, and lodging must be paid but also because many students need financial aid in the form of scholarships. Very often young people desire to obtain missionary training but cannot afford it. Your generous donations can make it possible for a young brother or sister to be educated as a missionary.  

The Ministerial Department is responsible for preparing doctrinal materials and manuals and supervising doctrinal publications. At present the Church Manual is being updated, and manuals for ministers and leaders are being prepared. Position papers on doctrinal questions are also required from time to time. All of the Department’s projects are carried out in accordance with the requests of the General Conference delegates in session. Unfortunately, some projects have to be put on hold because of lack of funds, even though there is a desire to have such things as an online school for ministers and workers, a book on the church’s history, an online missionary school, and other spiritual resources.

In 1902, Sister Ellen G. White wrote: “In all departments of ministerial work, there is need of greater earnestness. Time is passing, and the work that should be far advanced is almost at a standstill.” –Review and Herald, August 19, 1902. Unfortunately we are still confronted with this situation today. Your contributions, prayers, and support are urgently needed. May God bless your generous heart.

–Tzvetan Petkov
General Conference Ministerial Department Leader