everlasting-gospels.gif A Foundation For Cooperation-3

April 20  A Foundation For Cooperation-3



They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. Isa. 41:6.

Redefining the shut door and Babylon laid the foundation for the Sabbatarians to cooperate with those who differed from them theologically. But on what principles?

Once again the Sunday sacredness supporting Women's Christian Temperance Union provides us with a good example. "The light has been given me," Ellen White penned, that "while there is to be no sacrifice of principle on our part, as far as possible we are to unite with them in laboring for temperance reforms. . . .

"I have been shown we are not to shun the WCTU workers. By uniting with them in behalf of total abstinence we do not change our position regarding the observance of the seventh day, and we can show our appreciation of their position regarding the subject of temperance.

"By opening the door, and inviting them to unite with us on the temperrance question, we secure their help along temperance lines; and they, by uniting with us, will hear new truths which the Holy Spirit is waiting to impress upon hearts"(RH, June 18, 1908).

It was that same irenic spirit that led Ellen White to suggest that Adventist pastor should become acqauinted with other clergy in their district, letting them know that Adventists "are reformers, but not bigots." Her advice was to focus on truth as it is in Jesus" rather than to run down other churches. Using such techniques, Adventist pastors could "come near to the ministers of other denominations" (Ev 143, 144, 227, 562).

We need to beware of shooting the "Babylon gun" at everyone who does not view things as we do. Adventist history is informative on that point. The redefinition of Babylon in the 1850s provided a crucial foundation for the participation of Adventism in a world that just won't come to an end.

Such is the fruit of James White's growth in the understanding of the two stage fall of Babylon in 1859. We need to learn to live in the tension of working with those who differ with us while firmly maintaining and standing for those beautiful and biblical truths that have made us a people. The only alternative is the Adventist cloister.

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Help me, Lord, to learn the principles and the necessities of cooperation as we reach out to change our world.