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Ministers and Adultery

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Should a minister who committed adultery by reinstated? Should he be forgiven? How should the church deal with him?

Should a minister who committed adultery by reinstated? Should he be forgiven? How should the church deal with him?

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  • 1. Sin is sin even when the seducer is a minister.--If the sisters were elevated and possessing purity of heart, any corrupt advances, even from their minister, would be repulsed with such positiveness as would never need a repetition. Minds must be terribly befogged by Satan when they can listen to the voice of the seducer because he is a minister, and therefore break God's plain and positive commands and flatter themselves that they commit no sin. Have we not the words of John: "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him"? What saith the law? "Thou shalt not commit adultery." When a man professing to keep God's holy law, and ministering in sacred things, takes advantage of the confidence his position gives him and seeks to indulge his base passions, this fact should of itself be sufficient to make a woman professing godliness to see that, although his profession is as exalted as the heavens, an impure proposal coming from him is from Satan disguised as an angel of light. I cannot believe that the Word of God is abiding in the 60 hearts of those who so readily yield up their innocency and virtue upon the altar of lustful passions.--2T 457, 458. {PaM 59.3} Ministers violating the seventh commandment must not be entrusted with guardianship of souls.--I have no real ground of hope for those who have stood as shepherds to the flock, and have for years been borne with by the merciful God, following them with reproof, with warnings, with entreaties, but who have hid their evil ways, and continued in them, thus defying the laws of the God of heaven by practicing fornication. We may leave them to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, after all has been done to reform them; but in no case entrust to them the guardianship of souls. False shepherds! Oh, can it be that the men who have been engaged in this work for a long time will corrupt their ways before the Lord after great experience and special light?--TM 428. {PaM 60.2} Scenes of Familiarity and Adultery.--While in Europe the things that transpired in ----- were opened before me. A voice said, "Follow me, and I will show you the sins that are practiced by those who stand in responsible positions." I went through the rooms, and I saw you, a watchman upon the walls of Zion, were very intimate with another man's wife, betraying sacred trusts, crucifying your Lord afresh. Did you consider that there was a Watcher, the Holy One, who was witnessing your evil work, seeing your actions and hearing your words, and these are also registered in the books of heaven? {3SM 44.2} She was sitting on your lap; you were kissing her, and she was kissing you. Other scenes of fondness, sensual looks and deportment, were presented before me, which sent a thrill of horror through my soul. Your arm encircled her waist, and the fondness expressed was having a bewitching influence. Then a curtain was lifted, and I was shown you in bed with -----. My Guide said, "Iniquity, adultery."--Letter 16, 1888. {3SM 44.3}
  • 2. MR No. 612 - Personal Testimony to a Worker in a Responsible Position In my dreams I was at the Health Retreat, and I was told by my guide to mark everything I heard and to observe everything I saw. I was in a retired place, where I could not be seen, but could see all that went on in the room. Persons were settling accounts with you, and I heard them remonstrating with you in regard to the large sum charged for board and room and treatment. I heard you with firm, decided voice refuse to lower the charge. I was astonished to see that the charge was so high. You seemed to be the controlling power. I saw that the impression made by your course on the minds of those who were settling their bills was unfavorable to the institution. I heard some of your brethren pleading with you, telling you that your course was unwise and unjust, but you were as firm as a rock in your adherence to your course. You claimed that in what you were doing, you were working for the good of the institution. But I saw persons go from the Retreat anything but satisfied. . . . {8MR 315.1} In the night season I saw you in the company of the matron of the institution. As far as your attentions to each other were concerned, you might have been man and wife. Your conduct toward each other was wrong in the sight of God, and my heart was grieved by the condition of things. I asked, "Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?" God is displeased. You have grieved His Holy Spirit. Sister H_____ will never again be what she once was. Both of you are guilty before God.--Letter 30, 1887, pp. 1, 11. (To Brother R., June 11, 1887.) -316- {8MR 315.2} If I had my diary here, written during my last trip to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, I could read to you some things therein. In a vision of the night I was passing through the rooms of the institution, and saw the very scenes which did take place there in this familiarity men with women and women with men. My soul was deeply troubled, and I arose and wrote out these things at 1 o'clock in the morning. . . . {8MR 316.1} I was shown at a certain time when the Spirit of the Lord was working upon those connected with the Institution, some confessions were made. They seemed to be assembled in a meeting of worship. Elder R_____ was standing upon his feet, and the Spirit of God was deeply moving upon his heart to confess his way out of darkness into the light. But he only spoke in general terms. He in no wise cleared his soul from the stains of wrong on his part in connection with Sr. H_____. He trembled for a while under the promptings of the Spirit of God, but refused to humiliate his soul before God in lifting the cross.--Letter 33, 1888, pp. 4-6. (To M. J. Church, March 21, 1888.) {8MR 316.2} While in Europe the things that transpired in . . . [the sanitarium] were opened before me. A voice said, "Follow me, and I will show you the sins that are practiced by those who stand in responsible positions." I went through the rooms, and I saw you, a watchman upon the walls of Zion, were very intimate with another man's wife, betraying sacred trusts, crucifying your Lord afresh. Did you consider that there was a Watcher, the Holy One, who was witnessing your evil work, seeing your actions and hearing your words, and these are also registered in the books of heaven?
  • 3. -317- {8MR 316.3} She was sitting in your lap; you were kissing her, and she was kissing you. Other scenes of fondness, sensual looks and deportment, were presented before me, which sent a thrill of horror through my soul. Your arm encircled her waist, and the fondness expressed was having a bewitching influence. Then a curtain was lifted, and I was shown you in bed with _____. My guide said, "Iniquity, adultery.". . . {8MR 317.1} You have talked over matters as you viewed them, that the communications from Sister White are not all from the Lord, but a portion is her own mind, her own judgment, which is no better than anybody else's judgment and ideas. This is one of Satan's hooks to hang your doubts upon to deceive your soul and the souls of others who will dare to draw the line in this matter and say, this portion which pleases me is from God, but that portion which points out and condemns my course of conduct is from Sister White alone, and bears not the holy signet. You have in this way virtually rejected the whole of the messages, which God in His tender, pitying love has sent to you to save you from moral ruin. God presents to you His will and ways which is in marked contrast, in just that way which your case requires, and you are hereby tested whether you will accept the reproof, fall on the Rock and be broken, or will you become vexed over plain statements that come close to your soul, because it is the truth and condemns you, and then you feel at enmity with me. Hebrews 4:12. There is one back of me which is the Lord who has prompted the message, which you now reject, and disregard, and dishonor. By tempting God you have unnerved yourself, and confusion and blindness of mind has been the result. A fierce determination has sprung up in your heart in a spirit of defiance to brave it through. . . . -318- {8MR 317.2} You have a work to do for your soul that no one else can do for you. Your course of error and wrong has been the means of helping others in the same direction. You were never alone. The same hand that traced the characters over against the wall of Belshazzar's palace was registering in the books of heaven the deeds and words that made Christ ashamed of you. You had no respectful courtesy for those whom you should have treated with respect and to whose wants you should have been attentive. These unholy things unfitted you to do the work of the Lord; but in your holy hands you took your Bible and led the worship, and as mouth-piece for God you were foremost to preach to the people. Where was your conscience? Where was your humility? Where was your fear of God? Where was your faithful work to keep the Health Retreat up to the highest standard?--Letter 16, 1888, pp. 4, 5, 7, 8, 16, 17. (To Brother R., April 30, 1888.) {8MR 318.1} We had a private meeting where humble confessions were made by Elder R_____ and Brother and Sister H_____.--Letter 27, 1888, p. 2. (To S. N. Haskell, May 29, 1888.) Released March 17, 1978. {8MR 318.2}
  • 4. Appeal to Ministers Clean Hands and Pure Hearts. We are nearing the judgment, and those who bear the message of warning to the world must have clean hands and pure hearts. They must have a living connection with God. The thoughts must be pure and holy, the soul untainted, the body, soul, 236 and spirit be a pure, clean offering to God, or He will not accept it. . . . {TSB 235.5} The youth, for misdemeanors of a comparatively light character, are treated with much severity. But when men and women of large experience, who have been considered patterns of piety, are revealed in their true character --unsanctified, unholy, impure in thought, debased in conduct--then it is time for such to be dealt with in a decided manner. The greater forbearance that is exercised toward them has only had, as far as my knowledge extends, the influence to cause them to regard their fornication and adultery as a very light matter; and all their pretense has proved to be like morning dew when the sun shines upon it. {TSB 236.1} False Shepherds of the Flock. No sooner are they placed in temptation than they reveal their moral defects--that they are not partakers of the divine nature, neither have they escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, but that they are earthly, sensual, devilish. Satan finds in them something that he can work up into marked iniquity, and he improves his opportunity. And the result is [that] those who claim to be shepherds of the flock are carnally minded, leading the sheep of their care, whose purity, modesty, and virtue they should strictly guard, into licentiousness and lewdness. {TSB 236.2} Accursed Thing in the Camp. Angels of heaven are looking on with shame and grief and disgust. How can the pure angels of heaven minister unto this class? How can they bring heavenly light into the assemblies where such ministers are advocating the law of God, but breaking that law whenever a favorable opportunity presents itself, living a lie, pursuing an underhanded course, working in secret, nursing their polluted thoughts and inflaming their passions, 237 and then taking advantage of women or men who are tempted, like themselves, to break down all barriers and debase their bodies and pollute their souls? How can they do this thing? How can they have any fear of God before them? How can they have any love for God in their souls? Of what value is their faith in the truth? {TSB 236.3} Cleanse the camp of this moral corruption, if it takes the highest men in the highest positions. God will not be trifled with. Fornication is in our ranks. I know it, for it has been shown me to be strengthening and extending its pollutions. There is much we will never know, but that which is revealed makes the church responsible and guilty unless they show a determined effort to eradicate the evil. Cleanse the camp, for there is an accursed thing in it. {TSB 237.1} The words of God to Joshua are: "Neither will I be with you anymore, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you" [Joshua 7:12, 13]. These things are written for our benefit, upon whom the ends of the world are come. {TSB 237.2}
  • 5. No Real Ground of Hope. I have no real ground of hope for those who have stood as shepherds to the flock, and have for years been borne with by the merciful God, following them with reproof, with warnings, with entreaties, but who have hid their evil ways, and continued in them, thus defying the laws of the God of heaven by practicing fornication. We may leave them to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, after all has been done to reform them, but in no case entrust to them the guardianship of souls. False shepherds! Oh, can it be that the men who 238 have been engaged in this work for a long time will corrupt their ways before the Lord after great experience and special light?--TM 426-428. {TSB 237.3} Adulterous Ministers More Guilty than Belshazzar. It is a truth which should make every one of us weep that those living in these last days, upon whom the ends of the world are come, are far more guilty than was Belshazzar. This is possible in many ways. {TSB 238.1} When men have taken upon themselves the vows of consecration, to devote all their powers to the sacred service of God; when they occupy the position of expositors of Bible truth, and have received the solemn charge; when God and angels are summoned as witnesses to the solemn dedication of soul, body, and spirit to God's service--then shall these men who minister in a most holy office desecrate their God-given powers to unholy purposes? Shall the sacred vessel, whom God is to use for a high and holy work, be dragged from its lofty, controlling sphere to administer to debasing lust? {TSB 238.2} Definition of a Harlot. Is not this idol worship of the most degrading kind?--the lips uttering praises and adoring a sinful human being, pouring forth expressions of ravishing tenderness and adulation which belong alone to God--the powers given to God in solemn consecration administering to a harlot, for any woman who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will listen to his advances, and whose ears will be pleased with the outpouring of lavish words of affection, of adoration, of endearment, is an adulteress and a harlot.-- TM 434, 435. {TSB 238.3} Right Example by Ministers. Ministers of the gospel would be powerful men if they set the Lord always before 239 them and devoted their time to the study of His adorable character. If they did this, there would be no apostasies, there would be none separated from the conference because they have, by their licentious practices, disgraced the cause of God and put Jesus to an open shame. The powers of every minister of the gospel should be employed to educate the believing churches to receive Christ by faith as their personal Saviour, to take Him into their very lives and make Him their Pattern, to learn of Jesus, believe in Jesus, and exalt Jesus. The minister should himself dwell on the character of Christ. He should ponder the truth, and meditate upon the mysteries of redemption, especially the mediatorial work of Christ for this time.--3SM 187. {TSB 238.4}- , Testimonies on Sexual Behaviour, Divorce and Adultery, Section IX- Counsels to Church Administrators.
  • 6. Secret Faults to be Overcome There are sinners in the ministry. They are not agonizing to enter in at the strait gate. God does not work with them, for He cannot endure the presence of sin. It is the thing that His soul hates. Even the angels that stood about His throne, whom He loved, but who kept not their first estate of loyalty, God cast out of heaven with their rebel leader. Holiness is the foundation of God's throne; sin is the opposite of holiness; sin crucified the Son of God. If men could see how hateful sin is, they would not tolerate it, nor educate themselves in it. They would reform in life and character. Secret faults would be overcome. If you are to be saints in heaven, you must first be saints upon the earth. 146 {TM 145.1} There is great need that our brethren overcome secret faults. The displeasure of God, like a cloud, hangs over many of them. The churches are weak. Selfishness, uncharitableness, covetousness, envy, evil-surmising, falsehood, theft, robbery, sensuality, licentiousness, and adultery, [SEE APPENDIX.] stand registered against some who claim to believe the solemn, sacred truth for this time. How can these accursed things be cleansed out of the camp, when men who claim to be Christians are practicing them constantly? They are somewhat careful of their ways before men, but they are an offense to God. His pure eyes see, a witness records, all their sins, both open and secret; and unless they repent and confess their sins before God, unless they fall on the Rock and are broken, their sins will remain charged against them in the books of record. Oh, fearful histories will be opened to the world at the judgment--histories of sins never confessed, of sins not blotted out! Oh, that these poor souls might see that they are heaping up wrath against the day of wrath! Then the thoughts of the heart, as well as the actions, will be revealed. I tell you, my brethren and sisters, there is need of humbling your souls before God. "Cease to do evil," but do not stop here; "learn to do well." You can glorify God only by bearing fruit to His glory. {TM 146.1} Ministers, for Christ's sake, begin the work for yourselves. By your unsanctified lives you have laid stumbling blocks before your own children and before unbelievers. Some of you move by impulse, act from passion and prejudice, and bring impure, tainted offerings to God. For Christ's sake cleanse the camp by beginning, through the grace of Christ, the personal work of purifying the soul from moral defilement. A jovial minister in the pulpit, or one who is stretching beyond his measure to win praise, is a spectacle that 147 crucifies the Son of God afresh and puts Him to open shame. There must be thorough repentance, faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ, vigilant watchfulness, unceasing prayer, and diligent searching of the Scriptures. God holds us responsible for all that we might be if we would improve our talents. We shall be judged according to what we ought to have been, but were not; what we might have done, but did not accomplish because we did not use our powers to glorify God. For all knowledge that we might have gained but did not, there will be an eternal loss, even if we do not lose our souls. All our influence belongs to God. All that we acquire is to be used to His glory. All the property that the Lord has entrusted to us is to be held on the altar of God, to be returned to Him again. We are working out our own destiny. May God help us all to be wise for eternity. {TM 146.2}
  • 7. My brethren, we are living in a most solemn period of this earth's history. There is never time to sin; it is always perilous to continue in transgression; but in a special sense is this true at the present time. We are now upon the very borders of the eternal world and stand in a more solemn relation to time and to eternity than ever before. Now let every person search his own heart, and plead for the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to expel all spiritual darkness and cleanse from defilement. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Through faith, irrespective of feeling, Jesus, the Author of our salvation, the Finisher of our faith, will, by His precious grace, strengthen the moral powers, and the sinner may reckon himself "to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ." Simple faith, with the love of Christ in the soul, unites the believer to God. While toiling in 148 battle as a faithful soldier of Christ, he has the sympathy of the whole loyal universe. The ministering angels are round about him to aid in the conflict, so that he may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper," "the Lord is my strength and my shield;" I shall not be overcome. "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." {TM 147.1} The infinite wisdom and power of God are exerted in our behalf. The heavenly host are surely fighting our battles for us. They are always looking with intense interest upon the souls purchased by the Saviour's blood. They see, through the sacrifice of Christ, the value of the human soul. It is always safe to be on the Lord's side, not halfheartedly, but wholly. It is this halfhearted, indifferent, careless work that separates your souls from Jesus, the source of your strength. Let this be your prayer: "Take everything from me, let me lose property, worldly honor, everything, but let Thy presence be with me." It is safe to commit the keeping of the soul to God, who reigns over all heaven and earth. {TM 148.1}