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Gospel Order


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Gospel Order

This thread is for the examining of the phrase, "Gospel Order" and/or "Church Order." Related topics include oversight of ministers, membership, ownership of property, etc.

The Seventh-day Adventist church began as a movement based on inspired initiatives. For these early developments to continue, it became obvious that organization, or order, would be necessary.

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George Storrs, February 15, 1844

"Take care that you do not seek to manufacture another church. No church can be organized by man’s invention but what it becomes Babylon the moment it is organized.”

The Midnight Cry, Feb. 15, 1844

Storrs' statement has been cited in many works. Usually a secondary source is given for the reference.

For a portrait of George Storrs see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GeorgeStorrs.jpg

A brief biography of George Storrs:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Biography_of_George_Storrs

Meet the Pioneers: A 58 minute vimeo video on George Storrs

http://vimeo.com/11445102

George Storrs. Six Sermons on the Inquiry is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?: Also ... (1856)

http://archive.org/details/sixsermonsoninq00storgoog

George Storrs learned of the State of the Dead from Henry Grew. Thus, it seems appropriate to include links to Grew's work here:

Henry Grew. The Intermediate State.

http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/history/grew%20intermediate%20state.htm

Henry Grew. Future Punishment: Not Eternal Life in Misery but Destruction

http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/history/grew%20future%20punishment.htm

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Ellen White Looks Back

The following is part of a larger work on the life of Solomon.

Quote:

Lessons from the Life of Solomon—No. 5

Order and Organization

Our God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 1)...

The Result of Organized Effort

It is nearly half a century since order and organization were established among us as a people. I was one of the number who had an experience in laboring for their establishment. I know of the difficulties that had to be met, the evils that organization was designed to correct, and I have watched its influence in connection with the growth of the cause. At an early stage in the work, God gave us special light upon this point; and this light, together with the lessons that experience has taught us, should be carefully considered. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 11)

From the first our work was aggressive. Our numbers were few, and mostly from the poorer classes. Our views were almost unknown to the world. We had no houses of worship, but few publications, and very limited facilities for carrying forward our work. The sheep were scattered in the highways and byways, in cities, in towns, in forests. The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus was our message. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 12)

“Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh shall glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (RH October 12, 1905, par. 13)

Our numbers gradually increased. The seed that was sown was watered of God, and he gave the increase. At first we assembled for worship, and presented the truth to those who would come to hear, in private houses, in large kitchens, in barns, in groves, and in schoolhouses; but it was not long before we were able to build humble houses of worship. As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully.

To provide

* for the support of the ministry,

* for carrying the work in new fields,

* for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members,

* for holding church property,

* for the publication of the truth through the press, and

* for many other objects,

-- -- organization was indispensable. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 14)

Yet the feeling against organization was very strong among our people. The Adventists generally, who had withdrawn from the churches of the various denominations under the call of the second angel’s message to come out of Babylon, opposed organization, and many Seventh-day Adventists were fearful that church organization would bring us under condemnation. We sought the Lord with earnest prayer that we might understand his will, and light was given to us by his Spirit, that there must be order and thorough discipline in the church,—that organization was essential. System and order are manifest in all the works of God throughout the universe. Order is the law of heaven, and it should be the law among God’s people on the earth. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 15)

We had a hard struggle in establishing organization. Notwithstanding that the Lord gave Testimony after Testimony upon this point, the opposition was strong, and it had to be met again and again. But we knew that the Lord God of Israel was leading us, and guiding us by his providence. We engaged in the work of organization, and marked prosperity attended this advance movement. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 16)

As the development of the work called us to engage in new enterprises, we were prepared to enter upon them. The Lord directed our minds to

* the importance of educational work. We saw the need of schools, that our children might receive instruction free from the errors of false philosophy, that their training might be in harmony with the principles of the Word of God.

* The need of a health institution had been urged upon us, both for the help and instruction of our own people and as a means of blessing and enlightenment to others. This enterprise also was carried forward. All this was missionary work of the highest order. Our work was not sustained by large gifts and legacies; for we have few wealthy men among us. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 17)

Our work has steadily advanced. What is the secret of our prosperity?—We have moved under the orders of the Captain of our salvation. God has blessed our united efforts. The truth has spread and flourished. Institutions have multiplied. The mustard seed has grown to a great tree. The system of organization has proved a grand success. Systematic benevolence was entered into according to the Bible plan. The body has been “compacted by that which every joint supplieth.” As we have advanced, our system of organization has still proved effectual. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 18)

In some parts of the work, it is true, the machinery has been made too complicated; especially has this been the case in former years in the tract and missionary work; the multiplication of rules and regulations made it needlessly burdensome. An effort has been made to simplify the work, so as to avoid all needless labor and perplexity. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 19)

The business of our conference session has sometimes been burdened with propositions and resolutions that were not at all essential, and that would never have been presented if the sons and daughters of God had been walking carefully and prayerfully before him. The fewer rules and regulations that we can have, the better will be the effect in the end. When they are made, let them be carefully considered, and, if wise, let it be seen that they mean something, and are not to become a dead letter. Do not, however, encumber any branch of the work with unnecessary, burdensome restrictions and inventions of men. In this period of the world’s history, with the vast work that is before us, we need to observe the greatest simplicity, and the work will be stronger for its simplicity. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 20)

Let none entertain the thought, however, that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study, and many prayers for wisdom that we know God has answered, to erect this structure. It has been built up by his direction, through much sacrifice and conflict. Let none of our brethren be so deceived as to attempt to tear it down, for you will thus bring in a condition of things that you do not dream of. In the name of the Lord, I declare to you that it is to stand, strengthened, established, and settled. At God’s command, “Go forward,” we advanced when the difficulties to be surmounted made the advance seem impossible. We know how much it has cost to work out God’s plans in the past, which has made us as a people what we are. Then let every one be exceedingly careful not to unsettle minds in regard to those things that God has ordained for our prosperity and success in advancing his cause. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 21)

The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history. (RH October 12, 1905, par. 22)

(emphasis added)

Source:

Review and Herald, October 12, 1905, p. 8

http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH19051012-V82-41__B.pdf#view=fit

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