A loving message from Jesus to the Laodicean Church

Misuse of the Testimonies


"I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies." Psalm 119:125

There is a right use and a wrong use of the Testimonies. Sometimes people misuse the Testimonies in a way that causes others to despise them. To "hit someone over the head" with inspired counsel, or to "shove it down their throat" usually refers to the act of trying to force an unconverted individual to conform to the high standards found in the Spirit of Prophecy.

As you read the Testimonies, remember that they are primarily for YOU, not for someone else! Read them prayerfully, and apply them to your life. As you live the truth, those who are sincere will be drawn to it. Their hearts will be prepared to listen to your testimony if you have a genuine connection with Jesus. That way you will disarm their prejudice and remove their resistance.

Let not individuals gather up the very strongest statements, given for individuals and families, and drive these things because they want to use the whip and to have something to drive. Let these active, determined temperaments take the Word of God and the testimonies, which present the necessity of forbearance and love and perfect unity, and labor zealously and perseveringly. With their own hearts softened and subdued by the grace of Christ, with their own spirits humble and full of the milk of human kindness, they will not create prejudice, neither will they cause dissension and weaken the churches. {3SM 286.3}

It is vital that the Testimonies be read and shared in the Spirit of Jesus, with love and encouragement. Unconverted persons are generally not interested in hearing about holy living. It will do no good to try to impose high standards on them if they are not connected with the Source of power. Ellen White refers to it as "picking leaves off of a living tree."

There are many who try to correct the life of others by attacking what they consider are wrong habits. They go to those whom they think are in error, and point out their defects. They say, "You don't dress as you should." They try to pick off the ornaments, or whatever seems offensive, but they do not seek to fasten the mind to the truth. Those who seek to correct others should present the attractions of Jesus. They should talk of His love and compassion, present His example and sacrifice, reveal His Spirit, and they need not touch the subject of dress at all. There is no need to make the dress question the main point of your religion. There is something richer to speak of. Talk of Christ, and when the heart is converted, everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will drop off. It is only labor in vain to pick leaves off a living tree. The leaves will reappear. The ax must be laid at the root of the tree, and then the leaves will fall off, never to return. {Ev 272.1}

If they force themselves to comply, when then have not received a new heart, they will become proud of their works, and feel that they have earned merit with God. Their self-righteousness is more disgusting to God than their former lack of obedience.

The Testimonies are designed to first show us our need of repentance and conversion. Then, we will WANT to hear God's counsel and respond to it.

Others misuse the testimonies by intentionally twisting them and taking them out of context.

It will be found that those who bear false messages will not have a high sense of honor and integrity. They will deceive the people, and mix up with their error the Testimonies of Sister White, and use her name to give influence to their work. They make such selections from the Testimonies as they think they can twist to support their positions, and place them in a setting of falsehood, so that their error may have weight and be accepted by the people. They misinterpret and misapply that which God has given to the church to warn, counsel, reprove, comfort, and encourage those who shall make up the remnant people of God. Those who receive the Testimonies as the message of God will be helped and blessed thereby; but those who take them in parts, simply to support some theory or idea of their own, to vindicate themselves in a course of error, will not be blessed and benefited by what they teach. To claim that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, is to make the same claim as does Satan, who is an accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before God night and day. By this misusing of the Testimonies, souls are placed in perplexity, because they cannot understand the relation of the Testimonies to such a position as is taken by those in error; for God intended that the Testimonies should always have a setting in the framework of truth. {TM 42.1}

The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy. These are not to be twisted and turned to mean what man may want them to mean, to carry out man's ideas and sentiments, to carry forward man's schemes at all hazards.--Letter 92, 1900. {3SM 30.3}

Some misuse the Testimonies by taking a very strong statement that should be read only in the context of which it was given. The surrounding text would clarify the statement so that it appears more balanced and reasonable. It is always a good idea to read the surrounding text. That is why we encourage the reading of the Testimonies from their original source. Fanatics would not have an audience if everyone would study these things out for themselves. We need to guard against all fanaticism.

Your zeal carries you too far in advocating that which you claim to be truth. You believe in health reform. That is good, but you are in danger of making your ideas of it too prominent. You take too strong positions, carry your remarks to extremes, and thus prejudice people against our denomination. Here you show lack of tact and wisdom. Minds to whom this subject is new are not prepared to receive strong statements. {10MR 311.4}

Many are doing this same thing. They leave impressions on minds that are hard to efface. Many think that health reformers are fanatics. We are misrepresented on this subject, therefore we need to handle it with great wisdom, lest the false impressions that have prevailed be deepened and our efforts to convince people only fasten them more strongly in their own ways. --Letter 12, 1890, pp. 14, 16, 17. (Written at Petoskey, Michigan, Aug. 12, 1890, to Brother and Sister Garmire.)

All of these uses of the Testimonies will result in harm to the cause of God. Let us consider the inspired counsel as a blessed gift from God, and use it in the way He intended.


Go to Attitudes and Emotions

Home  -  About Us   -  Site Map  -  Links  -  Contact
© The Straight Testimony 10-10-10


Revelation 3

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.