What did Ellen White say about Adventist communities?

///What did Ellen White say about Adventist communities?
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INTRODUCTION

  • Communities are a violation of the will of God.
  • By creating a community, you would be providing an opportunity for people to violate the instructions communicated in the word of God and in the writings of Ellen White.

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NOT TO COLONIZE

  • God counseled that we are not to live in communities. God’s people are to be scattered throughout the world.

In our day the Lord desires that His people shall be dispersed throughout the earth. They are not to colonize. Jesus said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. When the disciples followed their inclination to remain in large numbers in Jerusalem, persecution was permitted to come upon them, and they were scattered to all parts of the inhabited world.
For years messages of warning and entreaty have been coming to our people, urging them to go forth into the Master’s great harvest field and labor unselfishly for souls. { 8T 215.3 }

True missionary workers will not colonize. God’s people are to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth. The investment of large sums of money in the building up of the work in one place is not in the order of God. Plants are to be made in many places. Schools and sanitariums are to be established in places where there is now nothing to represent the truth. These interests are not to be established for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of spreading the truth. Land should be secured at a distance from the cities, where schools can be built up in which the youth can be given an education in agricultural and mechanical lines.” { 8T 215.5 }

Many of the members of our large churches are doing comparatively nothing. They might accomplish a good work if, instead of crowding together, they would scatter into places that have not yet been entered by the truth. Trees that are planted too thickly do not flourish. They are transplanted by the gardener, that they may have room to grow and not become dwarfed and sickly. The same rule would work well for our large churches. Many of the members are dying spiritually for want of this very work. They are becoming sickly and inefficient. Transplanted, they would have room to grow strong and vigorous. { 8T 244.2 }

It is not the purpose of God that His people should colonize or settle together in large communities. The disciples of Christ are His representatives upon the earth, and God designs that they shall be scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, as lights amidst the darkness of the world. They are to be missionaries for God, by their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour. { 8T 244.3 }

The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which, as yet, they have scarcely begun. None should move into new places merely for the sake of worldly advantage; but where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well grounded in the truth enter, one or two families in a place, to work as missionaries. They should feel a love for souls, a burden of labor for them, and should make it a study how to bring them into the truth. They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to these meetings. Thus they can let their light shine in good works. { 8T 245.1 }

Those who feel like settling close to our publishing house or our sanitarium and school at Takoma Park should take counsel before they move. { CL 22.3}
To those who are looking toward Mountain View as a favorable place in which to live, because the Pacific Press is to be established there, I would say: Look to other parts of the world, which need the light that you have received in trust. Remember that God has given to every man his work. Choose some locality where you will have opportunity to let your light shine forth amid the moral darkness. { CL 22.4}
It is always the case that when an institution is established in a place, there are many families who desire to settle near it. Thus it has been in Battle Creek and in Oakland, and, to some extent, in almost every place where we have a school or a sanitarium. { CL 22.5}

Our people are not … to regard——as a Jerusalem center. Let them not think, because a number of our brethren are called here to connect with the publishing work, that this is a place for large numbers of our people to settle with their families. And let everyone connected with the office hold himself in readiness to leave, if God shall call him to some new place.—Manuscript 148, 1905. { CL 23.1}

Do not crowd into one place, making the same mistake that has been made in Battle Creek. There are hundreds of places that need the light God has given you.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 495 (1904). { CL 23.2}

I think how the angels must feel seeing the end approaching, and those who claim to have the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, huddle together, colonize, and attend meetings, and feel discouraged and dissatisfied if there is not much preaching to benefit their souls and strengthen the church, while they are doing literally nothing.—Letter 16e, 1892. { CL 23.5}

The plan of colonizing, or moving from different localities where there is but little strength or influence, and concentrating the influence of many in one locality, is removing the light from places where God would have it shine.—Testimonies for the Church 2:633. { ChS 178.2}

If the church of Christ were fulfilling the purpose of our Lord, light would be shed upon all that sit in darkness and in the region and shadow of death. Instead of congregating together and shunning responsibility and cross-bearing, the members of the church would scatter into all lands, letting the light of Christ shine out from them, working as He did for the salvation of souls, and this “gospel of the kingdom” would speedily be carried to all the world.—Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 42, 43. { ChS 178.3}

This is no time to colonize. From city to city the work is to be carried quickly. The light that has been placed under a bushel is to be taken out and placed on a candlestick, that it may give forth light to all that are in the house. { MM 302.2}

Jesus says: “Go work today in My vineyard. Get away from the places where you are not needed. Plant the standard of truth in towns and cities that have not heard the message. Prepare the way for My coming. Those in the highways and hedges are to hear the call. ’ { 8T 216.2}

The light given over and over again by the Spirit of God is, Do not colonize. { TM 400.2}

Among the people of God there is to be no colonizing. The word of the Lord to them is, “Thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left” ( chap. 54:3). They are to make plants in all places. Everywhere the truth for this time is to be proclaimed. Those into whose hearts the light has shone are to remember that they are God’s workmen, His witnesses. To serve and honor Him is to be their science. They are to call upon others to keep His commandments, and live. Obedience to the law of God is the question that is to test the world…. { TDG 325.5}

Believers are not to colonize in any place. It is a sin in the sight of God for those who know the truth to settle down as has been done in Battle Creek, and then refuse to see that the time has come to change the base of operations, because there are other parts of the vineyard in need of help. { RH August 20, 1903, par. 3 }

ONLY THOSE INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT, MISSION, SCHOOL, SANITARIUM, ETC TO LIVE NEARBY

  • Yes, it is fine to live together to work on projects, but only those that are involved in the projects and ideally, there is to be plenty of space between the families that live there.

Those who are tempted to gather about our institutions should understand that it is skilled workers that are needed, and that heavy burdens fall upon all who are properly related to the work. Those who are connected with our institutions must be producers as well as consumers. To those who desire to change their location, and settle near one of our institutions, I would say: Do you think that in settling near an institution you will be able to get a living without perplexity or hard work? Have you counseled with the Lord in regard to this matter? Have you evidence that your desire for a change of location is free from selfish motives, and would be for the honor of God?…. { PM 188.2 }

Let those who are thinking of settling at Mountain View remember that this is not wisdom unless they are called there to connect with the publishing work. The world is large; its needs are great. Go, make new centers in places where there is need of light. Do not crowd into one place, making the same mistake that has been made in Battle Creek. There are hundreds of places that need the light God has given you.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 493-495. { PM 188.5 }

THE MISTAKE NEARLY MADE IN AUSTRALIA

  • Ellen White was warned against the selling of land to church members so that they may live near the schools and other projects.
  • Isaiah 5:8 “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”

In Australia, we went into the forest and secured a large tract of land for our school. Plans were laid to sell to our brethren building lots near the school homes and near the meetinghouse. But I was instructed to protest against permitting families to settle near our school homes. The counsel given was that it would be much better for families not to live near the school, and not to live too close to one another. { FE 494.4 }

CONSEQUENCES

If they cannot hear the voice of God saying, “What doest thou here Elijah?”, God will speak more plainly. It is not God’s plan to have men of the same faith colonize and dwell together. We are living in the last days, and unless God moves the men, this moving mania will prove a snare perhaps to the loss of souls of those who move, as well as to the loss of many souls left discouraged in the small churches. { 1888 59.2 }

I have a message for our people in Graysville. Christ sent forth his disciples to go to all countries and people and tongues. He is not pleased when many who are well instructed in the truth remain together in one place; for they are in danger of imbibing a spirit of criticizing and faultfinding. He desires them to engage in his work in new fields. He desires them to educate people who know not the truth. { SpM 397.5 }

THOUGHTS

  • The only time that Ellen White ever talks about buying large lands for use by multiple persons is in respect to training schools and sanitariums, or as a resting place for mission workers.
  • Those who would seek to be part of such a colony lack faith and true Christian experience. Those who have tasted of the love of Christ and correctly understood the gospel would not be afraid to settle in a new district and work to build up the interest in that area. Because of the type of individuals seeking the security of a colony, the spirituality of the colony would quickly decline, and those who had invested the last of their possessions in this so-called safe-haven, will be placed in a precarious situation. The spiritual among them will be placed in a precarious situation and presented with two choices – lose their spirituality, or leave the community.
  • Communities create a sense of safety, and carelessness in spirituality. Even if the place is temporary, having such a location available to others is like putting the couch before the lazy man. Many people are seeking a false sense of security. They feel safer in numbers because they have no personal relationship with Jesus. They have no depth of spirituality in themselves and their influence will be detrimental.

LANDS/HOUSES WILL BE NO USE IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE

  • “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
  • There can be no plans made for the time of trouble, except for development of faith. Houses, lands, etc must be sold previously and the money put into the work before the time of persecution begins. Or else they will be of no use in that time. The saints will be in the caves and dens of the earth during the time of trouble.

The Lord has shown me repeatedly that it is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. If necessary He would send ravens to feed us, as He did to feed Elijah, or rain manna from heaven, as He did for the Israelites.
Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.
I saw that if any held on to their property and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them, and they would try to dispose of it, but would not be able. I heard some mourn like this: “The cause was languishing, God’s people were starving for the truth, and we made no effort to supply the lack; now our property is useless. Oh, that we had let it go, and laid up treasure in heaven!” I saw that a sacrifice did not increase, but it decreased and was consumed. I also saw that God had not required all of His people to dispose of their property at the same time; but if they desired to be taught, He would teach them, in a time of need, when to sell and how much to sell. Some have been required to dispose of their property in times past to sustain the Advent cause, while others have been permitted to keep theirs until a time of need. Then, as the cause needs it, their duty is to sell. { EW 57.1 }

LAND FOR TRAINING SCHOOLS OR SANITARIUMS, NOT COMMUNITIES

Let men of sound judgment be appointed, not to publish abroad their intentions, but to search for such properties in the rural districts, in easy access to the cities, suitable for small training schools for workers, and where facilities may also be provided for treating the sick and weary souls who know not the truth. Look for such places just out from the large cities, where suitable buildings may be secured, either as a gift from the owners, or purchased at a reasonable price by the gifts of our people. Do not erect buildings in the noisy cities.—Medical Ministry, 308, 309 (1909). { CL 30.3}

 

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