After the Scriptures
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write
unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and
exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3.
Study Help: Early
Writings, 222–226; Maranatha,
John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, Martin Luther and Zwingli, Cranmer, Latimer,
and Knox, the Huguenots, John and Charles Wesley, and a host of others brought
to the foundation material that will endure throughout eternity.” The Acts of the Apostles,
is the main key to victory and genuineness in the Christian life? Matthew 4:4.
“This word [of God] is the bread of heaven, and those who read and study it,
making its truths a part of the life, will be given power from above.” The Review and Herald, March 24, 1904.
important is Scripture to the Christian faith? Acts 20:32; II Timothy 3:16, 17.
“Spiritual life must be sustained by communion with Christ through His Word.
The mind must dwell upon it, the heart must be filled
with it. The Word of God laid up in the heart and sacredly cherished and
obeyed, through the power of the grace of Christ can make man right, and keep
him right; but every human influence, every earthly invention, is powerless to
give strength and wisdom to man. It cannot restrain passion, or correct
deformity of character. Unless the truth of God controls the heart, the conscience
will be warped.” Selected Messages,
CHURCH IN THE WILDERNESS
a. In the early centuries after the
Scriptures were penned, what happened to the true believers in Bible religion,
as symbolized by a pure woman? Revelation 12:12–14.
“The faith which for centuries was held and taught by the Waldensian
Christians was in marked contrast to the false doctrines put forth from Rome.
Their religious belief was founded upon the written word of God, the true
system of Christianity. But those humble peasants, in their obscure retreats,
shut away from the world, and bound to daily toil among their flocks and their
vineyards, had not by themselves arrived at the truth in opposition to the
dogmas and heresies of the apostate church. Theirs was not a faith newly
received. Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers. They
contended for the faith of the apostolic church—‘the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3. ‘The church in the wilderness,’ and not the
proud hierarchy enthroned in the world’s great capital, was the true church of
Christ, the guardian of the treasures of truth which God has committed to His
people to be given to the world. …
were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the
Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the
Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated,
and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution.” The Great Controversy,
was one of the key doctrines which these persecuted saints upheld? Luke 6:5.
“Among the leading causes that had led to the separation of the true church
from Rome was the hatred of the latter toward the Bible Sabbath. As foretold by
prophecy, the papal power cast down the truth to the ground. The law of God was
trampled in the dust, while the traditions and customs of men were exalted. The
churches that were under the rule of the papacy were early compelled to honor
the Sunday as a holy day.” The Great Controversy, 65.
precious promises did Christ give to the faithful few living in the era of
Thyatira during the Dark Ages? Revelation 2:24–28. How was the prophecy of the
“morning star” fulfilled?
“In the fourteenth century arose in England the ‘morning star of the
Reformation.’ John Wycliffe was the herald of reform, not for England alone,
but for all Christendom. The great protest against Rome which it was permitted
him to utter was never to be silenced. That protest opened the struggle which
was to result in the emancipation of individuals, of churches, and of nations.”
The Great Controversy,
beautiful, yet hidden, gems of truth were rediscovered by men such as Martin
Luther? I Timothy 2:5; Romans 1:16, 17.
“Notwithstanding all the persecution of the saints, living witnesses for God’s
truth were raised up on every hand. Angels of the Lord were doing the work
committed to their trust. They were searching in the darkest places and
selecting out of the darkness men who were honest in heart. These were all
buried up in error, yet God called them, as He did Saul, to be chosen vessels
to bear His truth and raise their voices against the sins of His professed
people. Angels of God moved upon the hearts of Martin Luther, Melanchthon, and
others in different places, and caused them to thirst for the living testimony
of the Word of God. The enemy had come in like a flood, and the standard must
be raised against him. Luther was the one chosen to breast the storm, stand up
against the ire of a fallen church, and strengthen the few who were faithful to
their holy profession. He was ever fearful of offending God. He tried through
works to obtain His favor, but was not satisfied until a gleam of light from
heaven drove the darkness from his mind and led him to trust, not in works, but
in the merits of the blood of Christ. He could then come to God for himself,
not through popes or confessors, but through Jesus Christ alone.
“Oh, how precious to Luther was this new and
glorious light which had dawned upon his dark understanding and driven away his
superstition! He prized it higher than the richest earthly treasure. The Word
of God was new. Everything was changed. The book he had dreaded because he
could not see beauty in it, was now life, eternal
life, to him. It was his joy, his consolation, his blessed teacher.” Early Writings, 222, 223.
did William Miller, a meticulous Bible student, begin to realize in the 1830s?
“He [William Miller] was forced to the conclusion, from the study of Scripture
alone, that the period allotted for the continuance of the earth in its present
state was about to close.” The Great Controversy, 323.
some of the important prophecies which came to light among the believers in the
second-advent movement. Daniel 8:14; Revelation 1:7; 14:1–12.
c. Despite the great light entrusted and
the urgency of the hour, why has Christ been disappointed in the church of this
era? I Corinthians 14:8; Revelation 3:14–17.
“We are in danger of giving the third angel’s message in so indefinite a manner
that it does not impress the people. So many other interests are brought in
that the very message which should be proclaimed with power becomes tame and
vol. 6, 60.
d. Due to the lukewarm state of
spirituality, what does Christ warn? Revelation 3:18, 19. Yet with the passing
of time, has this problem become better—or worse?
“Of those who boast of their light and yet fail to walk in it Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And
thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art
exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be
brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until
this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more
tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee’ [Matthew
11:22–24].” The Review and Herald,
August 1, 1893. (All explanations in brackets were penned by the author.)
MOVEMENT OF REFORMATION SEPARATED
the highest level of church-body leadership turns from its original course, to
persecute and condemn to imprisonment and death those upholding the very
principles on which the body was founded, what does that indicate? Matthew
“By the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the
gospel.” The Desire of
“There are clear, decided distinctions to be
restored and exemplified to the world in holding aloft the commandments of God
and the faith of Jesus. The beauty of holiness is to appear in its native
luster in contrast with the deformity and darkness of the disloyal, those who
have revolted from the law of God. Thus we acknowledge God and recognize His
law, the foundation of His government in heaven and throughout His earthly
dominions. His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world,
and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of
Jehovah. If in defiance of God’s arrangements the world be allowed to influence
our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious
the pretext, if the church waver here, there is
written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred
trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers,
does God endorse a separation in such circumstances? Psalm
11:3; Jude 3.
“Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a
people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there
is a people who will bear the ark of God.” Testimonies to Ministers and
Gospel Workers, 411.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How can I develop a greater
appreciation for the Bible as the foundation of faith?
2 Why are we to be inspired by our
church forefathers in the wilderness?
3 What made Martin Luther’s experience
such a joyous one?
4 Why does God place all church
organizations on probation?
5 When God calls forth a reformatory
movement, what is its continual duty?