Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 12, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 12

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“The Sin Against the Holy Spirit”



A startling fact comes to light when one studies this subject in the writings of Ellen G. White. Over and over again she speaks of this sin in connection with Seventh-day Adventist church history. She speaks of it specifically in connection with the persistent resistance against the message of righteousness by faith.


“Now, I tell you, God will not be trifled with. God is a jealous God, and when He manifests His power as He has manifested it, it is very nigh unto the sin of the Holy Ghost* to disbelieve it. The revealings of God’s power have not had any effect to move and to stir persons from their position of doubting and unbelief. God help us that we may remove ourselves out of the snares of the devil! If ever a people needed to be removed, it is those that took their position in Minneapolis at that time on the wrong side” (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 613).


“These testimonies of the Spirit of God, the fruits of the Spirit of God, have no weight unless they are stamped with your ideas of the law in Galatians. I am afraid of you and I am afraid of your interpretation of any scripture which has revealed itself in such an unchristlike spirit as you have manifested and has cost me so much unnecessary labor. If you are such very cautious men and so very critical lest you shall receive something not in accordance with the Scriptures, I want your minds to look on these things in the true light. Let your caution be exercised in the line of fear lest you are committing the sin against the Holy Ghost. Have your critical minds taken this view of the subject? I say if your views on the law in Galatians, and the fruits, are of the character I have seen in Minneapolis and ever since up to this time, my prayer is that I may be as far from your understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures as it is possible for me to be” (1888 Materials, p. 631, 632).


It is doubtful that one can find stronger words of solemn warning in all the writings of Ellen White, specifically concerning the sin against the Holy Spirit, than those relating to the resistance manifested against the “most precious message.” Not only do they reveal the danger of committing that sin, they also reveal that there were “some” who committed that sin. Some went “too far to return and to repent” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers [TM], p. 89). The “stand” taken at Minneapolis “proved their ruin” (1888 Materials, p. 1125).


What was the essence of the message which came to us in 1888 at Minneapolis? Why was opposition to it such a serious matter?


The message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines, that the world should no longer say that Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not teach or believe Christ” (TM92).


“I have no smooth message to bear to those who have been so long as false guideposts, pointing the wrong way. If you reject Christ’s delegated messengers [A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner], you reject Christ. Neglect this great salvation, kept before you for years, despise this glorious offer of justification through the blood of Christ and sanctification through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, and there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” (TM97).


The message which began to be proclaimed at the 1888 General Conference Session was “the gospel.... in clear and distinct lines.” To believe the gospel means to believe in Christ. During the decades leading up to the 1888 General Conference Session, Seventh-day Adventists had been so preoccupied with the objective of defending the law and the Sabbath, that “Many had lost sight of Jesus” (TM92). Thus that “most precious message,” the message of the gospel “in clear and distinct lines” was sent to bring us back to Jesus, that the “world” might know we “believe Christ.” Therefore, to reject the message inevitably involves a rejection of Christ. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that Christ was rejected in the person of His messengers (see Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 472). Thus we conclude that what was really at stake during the 1888 era was the “sin against the Holy Ghost.” In rejecting “the message of the gospel” some were committing “the sin against the Holy Spirit,” the “unpardonable sin.”


In rejecting Christ the Jewish people committed the unpardonable sin; and by refusing the invitation of mercy, we may commit the same error (The Desire of Ages, p. 324).


The primary mission of the Holy Spirit is to lead us to Jesus. Therefore to refuse Christ is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and commit the unpardonable. Those who truly believe in Christ need never be concerned about committing the unpardonable sin.

Kelvin (Mark) Duncan


*Emphasis in quotations is that of the “Insights” author’s.


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