"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
WHAT IS AND IS NOT A TEST OF FELLOWSHIP quotes
1) Growing Hops, Tobacco or Swine Is NOT A Test of Fellowship
“In answer to many inquiries, we would say that we believe there is business for Seventh-day Adventists to enter upon for a livelihood, more consistent with their faith than the raising of hops, tobacco, or swine.
“And we would recommend that they plant no more hops, or tobacco fields, and that they reduce the number of their swine. They may yet see it duty, as most consistent believers do, to keep no more. We would not urge this opinion upon any. Much less would we take the responsibility of saying, ‘Plow up your hop and tobacco fields, and sacrifice your swine to the dogs.’
“While we would say to those who are disposed to crowd hop, tobacco, and swine growers among our people, that they have no right to make these things, in any sense, a test of Christian fellowship, we would also say to those who have these miserable things on hand, ‘If you can get them off your hands without great loss, consistency with the faith of this people whose publications and oral teachings have so much to say on the subject of reform, more than suggests that you should get them off your hands as soon as possible.’” Selected Messages, book 2, p 338, par 1-3.
This inspired statement reveals that those who are growing hops, tobacco or swine are to continue to be fellowshipped with; these things are not to be made into a test of fellowship, and it is just an opinion that they should give up this type of livelihood.
Hops are grown to be used in making beer; tobacco is grown to be used in making cigarettes, cigars, snuff, etc.; and swine are raised for eating. Wouldn’t those who are growing and raising these things be guilty of actually aiding others in the use of all these? Perhaps. But these brethren did not actually themselves break any of the 10 commandments, and thus were not themselves living in open sin.
2) What is sin?
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.
What will happen if we continue breaking God’s commandments and committing sin?
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:20.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
These inspired passages reveal that God’s 10 commandment law is the standard for determining what is sin, versus what is not sin. Those who choose to break God’s law and commit sin will die. Growing hops, tobacco and swine are not in themselves breaking God’s 10 commandment law, and those who are growing these should not be forbidden fellowship.
3) Unrepentant Open Sin Is A Test of Fellowship
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11.
“It is true that open sin excludes the guilty. This the Holy Spirit plainly teaches.” 1 Corinthians 5:11.” Desire of Ages, p 656.
Breaking any of the commandments of God is sin, and if a brother or sister chooses to continue living in open known sin without repentance and overcoming, then it’s a serious enough issue to involve forbidding them fellowship.
4) Tobacco Use Is NOT A Test of Fellowship
“Some have taken a position that those who use tobacco should be dealt with and turned out of the church. In all of our experience for many years not a case of this kind has thus been treated by us. We have borne with them and labored with and prayed with them for years, and if after a time they did not reform, they became lax in other things and causes of a grievous character occurred which required an action on the part of the church, but then the responsibility was not assumed by merely the resident elder, the deacon, or any church member, but the church waited in patience for help, for wise counselors, and then moved with the greatest caution. These hasty movements in such cases tend to ruin a church. It shows a self-sufficient, self-important, bigoted spirit, which if indulged will ruin any church.” Manuscript Releases, vol 9, p 195, par 2.
Isn’t using tobacco a sin?
“Those who acquire and indulge the unnatural appetite for tobacco do this at the expense of health. They are destroying nervous energy, lessening vital force and sacrificing mental strength.
“Those who profess to be the followers of Christ yet have this terrible sin at their door cannot have a high appreciation of the atonement and an elevated estimate of eternal things. Minds that are clouded and partially paralyzed by narcotics are easily overcome by temptation, and cannot enjoy communion with God....this sinful indulgence has bound them in slavery.” Signs of the Times, January 6, 1876.
These inspired passages reveal that using tobacco is a sin, as it destroys health and defiles the temple of God! Wouldn’t those who know this and yet continue to smoke, snort, or use snuff be going directly against inspired counsel and committing sin? Yes. Wouldn’t this sin be considered sufficient enough to forbid them fellowshipping with us? Inspiration clearly states no. These tobacco using individuals did not actually themselves break any of God’s 10 commandments, and thus were not themselves living in that kind of open sin.
Breaking any of the commandments of God is a great sin, and choosing to continue living in open sin without repentance and overcoming, becomes a serious enough issue to involve the loss of fellowship. But those that were using tobacco were not themselves involved in any open breaking of God’s 10 commandment law, and thus fellowshipping with them was not to be made into an issue.
But because of the continued use of tobacco and openly refusing to follow clear inspired counsel, “they became lax in other things and causes of a grievous character occurred which required an action on the part of the church”. Or in other words, their rejection of the inspired counsel led them to become lax in regard to keeping one or more of God’s 10 commandments, and then because of their open sin in breaking God’s law their fellow church members were required by God to take action against them in this regard. But it was not their open disregard of inspired counsel that led the church to act, but their open breaking of God’s 10 commandment law.
5) Meat and Flesh Eating Is NOT A Test of Salvation
“If meat eating was ever healthful, it is not safe now. Cancers, tumors, and pulmonary diseases are largely caused by meat eating.
“We are not to make the use of flesh-meat a test of fellowship, but we should consider the influence that professed believers who use flesh-meats have over others. As God's messengers, shall we not say to the people, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God"? Shall we not bear a decided testimony against the indulgence of perverted appetite?” Review and Herald, March 3, 1910, par 3-4.
“We should consider the situation of the people, and the power of lifelong habits and practices, and should be careful not to urge our ideas upon others, as if this question were a test, and those who eat largely of meat were the greatest sinners.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, p 462.
“I advise every Sabbathkeeping canvasser to avoid meat eating, not because it is regarded as sin to eat meat, but because it is not healthful. The animal creation is groaning.” Manuscript Releases, vol 5, p 400.
Meat or flesh eating was permitted after the flood, but it is so full of disease today as to be completely harmful to our body, and thus is counseled against in the Spirit of Prophecy. Wouldn’t those who know this and yet continue to eat flesh meat be going directly against inspired counsel? Yes. Wouldn’t this be considered a sin sufficient enough to involve the issue of our fellowshipping with these continued meat eaters? Inspiration states no. This is because these meat eating individuals are not actually themselves breaking any of God’s 10 commandments, and thus they were not themselves living in that type of open sin.