Adventists and Lawsuits
Messages Book 3, page 299, paragraph 1
Church Difficulties to Unbelievers.
When troubles arise in the church we should not go for help to
lawyers not of our faith. God does not desire us to open church
difficulties before those who do not fear Him. He would not have us depend
for help on those who do not obey His requirements. Those who trust in
such counselors show that they have not faith in God. By their lack of
faith the Lord is greatly dishonored, and their course works great injury
to themselves. In appealing to unbelievers to settle difficulties in the
church they are biting and devouring one another, to be "consumed one
of another" (Gal. 5:15).
men cast aside the counsel God has given, and do the very things He has
bidden them not to do. They show that they have chosen the world as their
judge, and in heaven their names are registered as one with unbelievers.
Christ is crucified afresh, and put to open shame. Let these men know that
God does not hear their prayers. They insult His holy name, and He will
leave them to the buffetings of Satan until they shall see their folly and
seek the Lord by confession of their sin.
connected with the church are to be kept within its own borders. If a
Christian is abused, he is to take it patiently; if defrauded, he is not
to appeal to courts of justice. Rather let him suffer loss and wrong.
will deal with the unworthy church member who defrauds his brother or the
cause of God; the Christian need not contend for his rights. God will deal
with the one who violates these rights. "Vengeance is mine, I will
repay, saith the Lord." Rom. 12:19. An account is kept of all these
matters, and for all the Lord declares that He will avenge. He will bring
every work into judgment.
interests of the cause of God are not to be committed to men who have no
connection with heaven. Those who are disloyal to God cannot be safe
counselors. They have not that wisdom which comes from above. They are not
to be trusted to pass judgment in matters connected with God's cause,
matters upon which such great results depend. If we follow their judgment,
we shall surely be brought into very difficult places, and shall retard
the work of God.
who are not connected with God are connected with the enemy of God, and
while they may be honest in the advice they give, they themselves are
blinded and deceived. Satan puts suggestions into the mind and words into
the mouth that are entirely contrary to the mind and will of God. Thus he
works through them to allure us into false paths. He will mislead,
entangle, and ruin us if he can.
it was a great sin for the people of God to give themselves away to the
enemy, and open before them either their perplexity or their prosperity.
Under the ancient economy it was a sin to offer sacrifice upon the wrong
altar. It was a sin to offer incense kindled by the wrong fire.
are in danger of mingling the sacred and the common. The holy fire from
God is to be used in our efforts. The true altar is Christ; the true fire
is the Holy Spirit. This is our inspiration. It is only as the Holy Spirit
leads and guides a man that he is a safe counselor. If we turn aside from
God and from His chosen ones to inquire at strange altars we shall be
answered according to our works.
us show perfect trust in our Leader. Let us seek wisdom from the Fountain
of wisdom. In every perplexing or trying situation, let God's people agree
as touching the thing they desire, and then let them unite in offering
prayer to God, and persevere in asking for the help they need. We are to
acknowledge God in all our counsel, and when we ask of Him, we are to
believe that we receive the very blessings sought. Undated Manuscript
you engaged in that lawsuit against R, I said if S has gone so far as to
enter into that business, it will be a blot upon his life. I have sorrowed
because of your course in this; I know that it is not right, and will not
in the least relieve the situation for you in any way. It is only a
manifestation of that wisdom which is not from above.
was informed that you intended to institute a suit against me, on the
ground that you had been wronged by the testimonies given in your case. A
letter came to me, threatening that if I did not acknowledge that I had
wronged you, the suit would be entered upon. Now, I could hardly believe
that you had gone so decidedly on the enemy's ground, knowing my lifework
as well as you do.
that I have written to you, every word of it, was the truth. I have no
retractions to make. I have done only that which I know to be my duty to
do. My only motive in publishing the matter was the hope of saving you. I
had no thought but of sincere pity and love for your soul. You yourself
know that I have great interest for your soul. . .
anyone shall seek to hinder me in this work by appealing to the law, I
shall not abate one jot of the testimonies given. The work in which I am
engaged is not my work. It is the work of God, which He has given me to
do. I did not believe that you would do so terrible a thing as to lift
your finite hand against the God of heaven. Whoever shall do this work,
let it not be you. . . .
I want to say to you. Do not extort money from anyone because of words spoken against you or yours. You harm yourself by so doing. If we are looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, we shall be ableto pray, "Lord, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." Jesus did not appeal to the law for redress when He was unjustly accused. When He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He was threatened, He did not retaliate. Letter 38, 1891.
Very Thing God Told Them Not to Do.
have written largely in regard to Christians who believe the truth placing
their cases in courts of law to obtain redress. In doing this, they are
biting and devouring one another in every sense of the word, "to be
consumed one of another." They cast aside the inspired counsel God
has given, and in the face of the message He gives they do the very thing
He has told them not to do. Such men may as well stop praying to God,
for He will not hear their prayers. They insult Jehovah, and He will
leave them to become the subjects of Satan until they shall see their
folly and seek the Lord by confession of their sins. . . .
Appeals to the Courts Reveal.
world and unconverted church members are in sympathy. Some when God
reproves them for wanting their own way, make the world their confidence,
and bring church matters before the world for decision. Then there is
collision and strife, and Christ is crucified afresh, and put to open
shame. Those church members who appeal to the courts of the world show
that they have chosen the world as their judge, and their names are
registered in heaven as one
with unbelievers. How eagerly the world seizes the statements of those who
betray sacred trusts!
action, of appealing to human courts, never before entered into by
Seventh-day Adventists, has now been done. God has permitted this that you
who have been deceived may understand what power is controlling those who
have had entrusted to them great responsibilities. Where are God's
sentinels? Where are the men who will stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to
heart, with the truth, present truth for this time, in possession of the
heart? Manuscript 64, 1898.
saints are to judge the world. Then are they to depend upon the world, and
upon the world's lawyers to settle their difficulties? God does not want
them to take their troubles to the subjects of the enemy for decision. Let
us have confidence in one another. Manuscript 71, 1903.
lean upon the arm of the law is a disgrace to Christians; yet this evil
has been brought in and cherished among the Lord's chosen people. Worldly
principles have been stealthily introduced, until in practice many of our
workers are becoming like the Laodiceans, half_hearted, because so much
dependence is placed on lawyers and legal documents and agreements. Such a
condition of things is abhorrent to God. Manuscript 128, 1903.
any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust,
and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the
world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge
the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much
more the things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of
things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed
in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not a wise
man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his
brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the
unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye
go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not
rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud,
and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God?" (1 Cor. 6:1_9). . . . When church members have
this knowledge, their practice will be of a character to recommend their
faith. By a well-ordered life, and godly conversation, they will reveal
Christ. There will be no lawsuits between neighbors or brothers.
call upon you in the name of Christ to withdraw the suit that you have
begun and never bring another into court. God forbids you thus to dishonor
His name. You have had great light and many opportunities, and you cannot
afford to unite with worldlings and follow their methods. Remember that
the Lord will treat you according to the stand that you take in this life.
. . .
tell you solemnly that if you take the action which you now purpose to
take, you will never recover from the result of it. If you open before the
world the wrongs that you suppose your brethren have done you, there will
be some things that will have to be said on the other side. I have a
caution to give you.
regard to the case of those who shared large responsibilities with you in
the Review and Herald, and who have turned to be enemies of the work, you
will not wish to hear the verdict that shall be passed upon them when the
judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, and every man shall be
judged according to the things written in the books. I want to save you
from following a course that would link you up with those who have linked
themselves up with fallen angels, to do all the harm they possibly can to
those who love God, and who, under great difficulty, are striving to
proclaim present truth to the world.
Publishing House Not Blameless.
against whom you bring your charges know that I have not approved of their
manner of dealing with you, and that I have reproved them for their
unfeeling management of your case. There are those who have not acted
honorably. They have not done as they would be done by. But because of
this, should you, in the face of the warnings given, move so manifestly
against the instruction given? I beg of you not to cut yourself off from
the confidence of your brethren and from taking a part in the publishing
would rather share your loss than to have you push this matter through to
the injury of your soul, giving Satan an opportunity to present your case
before unbelievers in a most ridiculous light, and to hold up the office
of publication in a disparaging light. . . .
this case out of the lawyers' hands. It seems awful to me to think that
you will go directly contrary to the plain word of God, and will open to
the world your cruel work against God's commandment-keeping people. If
this action of yours were to tell only against those who have done
injustice, the harm would not be so far-reaching; but can you not see that
it will arouse prejudice against God's people as a body? Thus you will
bruise and wound Christ in the person of His saints, and cause Satan to
exult because through you he could work against God's people and against
His institutions, doing them great harm. Letter 301, 1905.