A Study of Three Christian Walks, Part 2 of 2

Before we continue let us review what has transpired.

David was seeking to find some answers on the 144,000 issue. As the church hadn’t spoken much about it, he was left to search on his own. Finding an online sermon, he thrilled to know that much of the subject had been made clear. In his joy and desire to spread these wonderful truths, he began to go to others within the church.

Deborah searched the subject out as well, studying with David. Both felt the importance of  Ellen White’s strict instruction to “strive with all power God has given to be among the 144,000.  “Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven.”Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.They obviously deducted that one can only strive with “all power” if they thoroughly study the subject.

David and Deborah never thought to inquire from whom the teachings were from before listening to the study. They listened without prejudice in order to give it a fair chance.  Both had one goal in mind–to know more about the 144,000. Their focus keen, their thoughts pure, their mind open.

Let us continue with the story.

The next day Deborah was still very troubled, so later that day she decided to call David. “Hi David, this is Deborah” she started. “Oh hi Deborah, how you doing?” David responded. “Not well” she solemnly said. “What happened?” he responded. “I got a call from Johnny and he said what we’re studying is from an offshoot group from the 30’s, he said it’s error.” she said flatly. “What?” David responded incredulously.

“Yes, you heard right I’m afraid” she lamented. “Oh sister, something is terribly wrong, we must get together. I have been doing nothing but further studies on this teaching and I have some insight into what is happening here.” David advised.  So later that week they got together and David explained the history. It was nothing like Johnny had said or implied. He showed Deborah the specific historical writings of what exactly took place on the one and only supposed “investigation” of the teachings of the “Shepherd’s Rod” by Victor T. Houteff. (read here for history of the one historical meeting between VTH and the SDA leaders http://www.shepherds-rod.org/Tracts/trac007.html )

In other words, Johnny’s claim of a thorough investigation was not accurate. After the study Deborah was comforted but still was perplexed. David was as well. They couldn’t figure out why the teachings were wrong and why Johnny counselled against something which he had obviously not investigated himself. The total lessons were all based on Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy. They both knew a serious discussion with Johnny would have to take place.

So David and Deborah went before the Lord in prayer in order to be prepared to sit down and have a serious discussion with Johnny. “Study to show your selves approved..”(2 Tim. 2:15)  and ” If you will search the Scriptures on your knees, then you will know them and you will be able to give to every man who asketh you a reason of the hope that is within you” {1888 Materials P.152). These were guiding words of God that they depended on.

A few days after the aforementioned study, Johnny called David. Here is the conversation.

David: Hello

Johnny: Hi David, this is Johnny from the church.

David: Hi Johnny

Johnny;  I’m sure you’ve probably heard from Deborah the reason for my call

David: Yes I have

Johnny: We’ve had some good fellowship together David and as an elder, I’m sure you know it’s my responsibility to warn our members of any false teaching coming into the church

David: With all due respect Johnny, can you give me one example of false teaching as presented in the Shepherd’s Rod teachings?

Johnny: Not off-hand but I know the church leaders looked into this thoroughly way back in the 30’s and found it in error.

David: Oh yeah. Well give me the documentation on the “thorough study” so I can review it.

Johnny: Listen David, do yourself a favor and don’t get involved in that teaching, trust me.

David: Sorry Johnny but we are counselled to trust no man. Please read Jeremiah 17:5. For your information I have studied this subject well and have found it is not as you say it is.

The conversation ended shortly after with both holding on to their positions. A few weeks went by and then Deborah called Johnny to ask for a study together. Herself, David, Johnny and someone Johnny would like to bring  could all get together and discuss the issue. Johnny never returned her call or went to her in church to discuss the matter.

Fast forward to 3 years later.

David has continued to study the Bible, Spirit of prophecy and the Shepherd’s Rod (Elijah message). He’s spread the message to many all over, including around the world. He has sent literature, dvd’s and cd’s. He has kept busy in the Lord’s vineyard. David was no longer asked to speak before the church. He experienced murmuring against him as word spread that he was involved in “false teaching” yet no one from the church ever inquired to meet with him to see why he was  zealous about this  new light message of  Elijah.

Deborah has also continued to study, being convinced in the Lord’s Elijah message as one of truth. She also spread the message. She also has been murmured against. But has stood firm in the faith. Both her and David have stopped serving in the capacity of “tithe helpers”. This required them to participate in a custom that they found to be an abomination to the Lord in His sanctuary on the Sabbath. They both learned that Sunday (the first day of week) was scriptural  correct day for tithe collection. (for more info on this see —https://godsloveandlaw.com/2013/06/22/the-sdas-original-systematic-benevolence/

Johnny has never looked into the teachings he claims are in error. He has trusted in the former and present church leaders to tell him what is truth and what is error. His position is set and is unmovable. Although he is not aware of it, he is fulfilling prophecy – ‘I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” (Rev. 3:17)

Summary-

This two-part story is an example of what has been played out time and again through out the years and even decades in the SDA church. Even today a similar situation is frequently occurring worldwide in our church. Once we decide to search out the truth we must look to the Lord first and foremost. Notice that David came upon that sermon that showed him the light of truth he sought (the real 144,000 answers). This did not come by happen stance. The Spirit of Truth  had guided him (John  16:13).

We also saw that Deborah was just like David, was an active “searcher” of the truth. In this she was rewarded as the promise said “..seek and you shall find”(Matt. 7:7). They continued to “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good”(1 Thess. 5:21) in spite of the opposition and murmuring. Johnny attempted to block their path in finding truth “…You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”(Luke 11:52).

Below are some Scriptural and SOP  and Elijah references that you can read and see if they apply to the 3 characters in our story. We MUST take into our own hands the awesome responsibility to seek the Lord and His Truth before He comes suddenly and surprisingly (Mal. 3:1-3). Seek Him in study and prayer. If this is done sincerely we are promised to be guided into “all truth” (John 16:13).

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“How shall we search the Scriptures in order to understand what they teach? We should come to the investigation of God’s word with a contrite heart, a teachable and prayerful spirit. We are not to think, as did the Jews, that our own ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said.” (Test. to Min., p.105)

“Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true—in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.

The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits—because it is truth.” (Test. to Min. p.105-106).

“To hold yourselves aloof from an investigation of truth is not the way to carry out the Saviour’s injunction to ‘search the Scriptures.’ Is it digging for hidden treasures to call the results of someone’s labor a mass of rubbish, and make no critical examination to see whether or not there are precious jewels of truth in the collection of thought which you condemn?

Will those who have almost everything to learn keep themselves away from every meeting where there is an opportunity to investigate the messages that come to the people, simply because they imagine the views held by the teachers of the truth may be out of harmony with what they have conceived as truth? Thus it was that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. No one of those who imagine that they know it all is too old or too intelligent to learn from the humblest of the messengers of the living God.

“When asked to hear the reasons of a doctrine that you do not understand, do not condemn the message until you have given it a thorough investigation, and know from the word of God that it is not tenable.

“When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness.”–CSW 28-32.

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5)

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Prov. 18:13.

“Truth is eternal, and conflict with error will only make manifest it’s strength. We should never refuse to examine the Scriptures with those who. we have reason to believe, desire to know the truth. Suppose a brother held a view that differed from yours, and he should come to you, proposing that you sit down with him and make an investigation of that point in the Scriptures; should you rise up, filled with prejudice , and condemn his ideas, while refusing to give him a candid hearing?

The only right way would be to sit down as Christians and investigate the position presented in the light of God’s word, which will reveal truth and unmask error.” (Test. to Ministers , p105-106)

“The best way to expose the fallacy of error is to present the evidences of truth. This is the greatest rebuke that can be given to error.”–E. G. White, Pacific Union Recorder, Oct. 23, 1902.

“What a fearful responsibility rests upon those who carelessly handle the Word of God, who pose as soul guardians over the people!  Both they and their abominations will fall in the ditch.  Indeed, if any reform is needed in Christendom, this one is.

Having now learned better, let us no longer make idols of men; let us no longer give place within us to unclean spirits.  Let us rather give the Spirit of God a chance to lead us into His ever-advancing Truth with personal understanding.” (Timely Greetings, vol.1, no.18, p.17)

“When a point of doctrine that you do not understand comes to your attention, go to God on your knees, that you may understand what is truth, and not be found as were the Jews, fighting against God. While warning men to beware of accepting anything unless it is truth, we should also warn them not to imperil their souls by rejecting messages of light, but to press out of the darkness by earnest study of the word of God.”–TM 109, 110.

“Even as it is a blessed thing to accept the truth, so it is a fearful thing to reject it. And rejection need not include all truth. To reject a part may be just as fatal as to reject the whole. So all should beware.” (Shepherd’s Rod, vol. 1, p.160)

Note: although the SDA leaders as a body had the one meeting with Victor Houteff, there has been many SDA individuals down through the years that have challenged the Lord’s Elijah message and tried to expose it as error. Here is an example of a “Pastor’s study” against the message and the counter points from an Elijah messenger (Jemmy E. Bingham). http://www.shepherds-rod.org/dsdaboard/study/reply.htm

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