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A Lesson For the Future
Satan's appearing at the finish as an angel of light is described in the book, "Great Controversy," Evidently the special message of preparation for his coming is after this order of speculative teaching that flooded in upon us in the first decade of this century. In one document, "Teach the Word," dated July 24, 1904, at Washington, it was said:
Having the fact nailed down forever in Scripture, and set forth in the Spirit of prophecy (especially in "Early Writings") we know that the Person of the Deity rules from heaven above. In the vision given in "Early Writings" His form upon the throne was veiled from sight by the cloud of glorious light. We are
not called to try to pierce that veil by speculative reasonings or definitions about Deity. We know that the Father is there. The "man Christ Jesus," the "express image" of His Father's person, ministers there before Him as our High Priest. All Holy Scripture records the universal ministry of the Spirit and to the angels in behalf of men. And we see God's power"upholding all things by the word of His power"manifested in all creation. We know that by faith we can pray to our heavenly Father, before a throne of grace, and that His ear is ever open to hear.
It is so plain and concrete that a child can understand it.
But the moment the touch of mysticism is given to it the concrete and substantial vanish into mist. And mysticism is what the speculative teaching was declared to be: "We need not the mysticism that is in this book."Series B, p. 52.
It was this mysticism that the Spirit of prophecy met in the early days, when Mrs. White was but a young woman. She then wrote:
It was mysticism that flavored the theory that set aside the truth of the heavenly sanctuary with its services of the holy and most holy places, when A. F. Ballenger brought the spiritualizing method from his study of the popular commentators in England. At the General Conference of 1905, Mrs. White bore testimony to him and to all the workers:
The most pitiful exhibitions of weakness in the truth have come in all our history from those who felt the urge to turn our something that would be recognized as deep and profound. This was apparently the urge that led the
late Brother Ballenger in England to take on what appeared to his brethren there as an air of spiritual exaltation. His brethren there were distressed over it, long before he brought forth the old theories that to him were new. Out of it came the teaching about the sanctuary that the Spirit of prophecy classed with the mysticism of the "Living Temple" school:
In warning against the perils of the last days the Spirit of prophecy at the time of this crisis continually spoke of the danger of speculative philosophy that obscured and cast a mist over the plain and concrete and substantial things of truth. In Volume 8 of the "Testimonies," brought out in those days, there is much said after this order:
All these speculative, mystifying methods were abroad in apostolic days. It was the heart of Gnosticism, that ancient system, that spiritualized everything of Christian teaching. The apostles fought it day and night. And the Spirit of prophecy called us to study the apostolic warnings against these same things:
Especially the second chapter of Colossians was commended to our attention. In other parts Paul referred to this so-called knowledge ("Moses") which the Gnostics felt so sure of. It was a mingling of Christian phrase with spiritualistic pantheistic teaching that was like germs of a contagion in those early times. The apostles fought it by the plain things of the word of God. So, as these ideas of mysticism came flooding in upon us, the Spirit of prophecy led
Mrs. White to appeal to us the preach the fundamental things of the advent movement. She wrote:
Those foundation principles, the plain truths of the advent message, are our defense. They are God's answer to all the winds of error that can ever blow. But we must handle the truth with humility of heart, and teach it in simplicity and plainness. The more one know of it the less deep and complicated and philosophical one needs to be in holding it and teaching it. Above all, it must be held in the surrendered heart. In a time of controversy and mysterious working of evil Paul wrote: "Let him that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." The clean heart sees more clearly than the clever mind. We do not know what forms the final attacks may assume, but the same message that has built up this work will finish it.
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