We are stunned with the unbiblical thinking by many in the church with regards to public controversies. How should one address errors or distortions of truth? How do we relate to the Omega of Apostasy that is within our midst? Should we only deal with these matters privately? Or is there a time and place to rebuke these things publicly? This is not a complicated subject. The Bible is actually very clear: private sin is to be rebuked privately (Matthew 18:15-19) and public sins are to be rebuked publicly (1 Corinthians 5:1-11; 1 Timothy 5:20; Galatians 2:11-14).
We often get correspondence and messages from well-meaning people who want to chastise us for daring to publicly address certain issues. Some erroneously believe that wrongs are never to be addressed in public. Sadly, many of these individuals do not know the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy. They may have memorized a verse or two, but that is all. They believe, like others, that errors that may be critical in nature should not be publicized under any circumstances. So then how do the biblical principles work?
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” Matthew 18:15.
Matthew 18 talks about how two brothers should deal with a sin or dispute between each other. This is a private matter. But what happens when a brother errs in public? What if the gospel of Christ is being scandalized in the eyes of the world? What if certain behavior, questionable theology or unbiblical practices are being circulated before men and angels? What then is our duty?
Whenever the everlasting gospel or the three angels’ message is in jeopardy, then an immediate public discussion is necessary and a public reprimand may be necessary. We find this biblical principle all through the Scriptures.
“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Galatians 2:11-14.
When the apostle Paul saw that the truth was being publicly slandered before the church and others were “carried away” by wrong examples, what did Paul say or do? Did he quietly call Peter to the side and ask him to set up an appointment in the coming weeks to discuss a private matter? No, not at all. An immediate public rebuke was given in order to avoid further damage to the cause of Christ.
This was not the first time that Peter was publicly rebuked. Jesus also had to publicly reprove Peter for opposing His teaching about His crucifixion. (Mark 8:31-33). Then Paul speaks publicly about how the church in Corinth failed to deal with an open sin that was giving the church a bad reputation. In fact, Paul was amazed that no one dared rebuke a member who was actually sleeping with his own father’s wife. Carefully read 1 Corinthians 5:1-11. Paul writes to the church saying that they should have immediately removed him from membership. Now if Paul heard about this while not being present (verse 3), one can only imagine that the whole city knew about this scandal. Paul actually included in his letter to Corinth his judgment/rebuke upon the offending member.
This is the problem we are facing today. We have some people in leadership who refuse to do or say anything – just like the Corinthians. They cave to any pressure from having to speak up. They run from their apostolic duty. These men will have blood on their hands in the day of judgment. Every silent and compromised leader who tries to please everyone might as well turn in their ministerial credentials. They are not worthy of their calling.
The notion that we must apply Matthew 18 to cases when open, public wrongs are committed is simply not biblical. Public apostasy that is being pushed in media is not private. To ask for a private meeting is these instances conflict with God’s commandments. When believers have no concern for their actions and publicly spread their misdeeds in social media, and especially in the name of the church, God’s word tells us which methodology to use in these cases:
“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” 1 Timothy 5:20.
How many in the church would chastise Paul today? This idea that there is no room for public rebukes does not harmonize with God’s word. In fact, someone tried to rebuke Ellen White for not following Matthew 18. Did you know this? Not many people do. Ellen White gave public rebukes. In one case there was a sister whose influence was affecting the entire church. Sister White addressed this issue to the entire church. The offending person didn’t like that and so she and her husband accused Sister White of not following Jesus’ counsel about having a private talk with your brother:
“Her husband seemed to feel unreconciled to my bringing out her faults before the church and stated that if Sister White had followed the directions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 he should not have felt hurt: (Matthew 18:15-17 quoted) My husband then stated that he should understand that these words of our Lord had reference to cases of personal trespass, and could not be applied in the case of this sister. She had not trespassed against Sister White. But that which had been reproved publicly was public wrongs which threatened the prosperity of the church and the cause. Here, said my husband, is a text applicable to the case: 1 Timothy 5:20 – ‘Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.'” (Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 15).
Even with these examples found in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, some will still not accept this sacred duty. They might have to rewrite the entire Bible and remove the grievous sins, or as some say ‘gossip,’ recorded therein. The Bible records the horrible sins of God’s ancient people for the whole world to see. Why? God has a purpose for the public rebukes recorded in sacred history.
“The unbelief and sins of ancient Israel were presented before me, and I saw that similar wrongs and iniquity exist among modern Israel. The pen of inspiration recorded their crimes for the benefit of those who live in these last days, that we might shun their evil example” (Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 491).
What was the reason? So that we can learn from their mistakes and not repeat them. Would some paint a pretty picture of sacred history? It would appear so. But it’s not just the Bible. Ellen White gave both public and private rebukes. Would people today also rewrite the Spirit of Prophecy and clean up our own history? Ellen White actually tells us that the reason for so much spiritual death is because our pastors and leaders are neglecting this sacred “public” duty of speaking out in times of danger:
“When will the voice of faithful rebuke be heard once more in the church? ‘Thou art the man.’ 2 Samuel 12:7. Words as unmistakably plain as these spoken by Nathan to David are seldom heard in the pulpits of today, seldom seen in the public press. If they were not so rare, we should see more of the power of God revealed among men. The Lord’s messengers should not complain that their efforts are without fruit until they repent of their own love of approbation and their desire to please men, which leads them to suppress truth.” (Prophets and Kings, p. 141).
So many church growth experts fail to understand that the cause for such stagnation today is because we lack the power of God in our ministries. The spiritual void is due to our continued silence during the Omega of apostasy. When the straight testimony of the true witness is revived again, then the church will feel the power of God moving.
The Omega Must be Confronted Publicly
“In the providence of God, the errors that have been coming in must be met.” (Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 205).
“I am instructed to speak plainly. ‘Meet it,’ is the word spoken to me. ‘Meet it firmly, and without delay’ … The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.” (Ibid., p. 200).
The Omega of Apostasy is here. We were warned that it would come, and when it comes, it will be hostile to our historic, fundamental beliefs. Notice how Ellen White described the Omega of Apostasy in Selected Messages, Book 1, pp. 204, 205:
- Giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith
- The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded.
- Our religion would be changed.
- The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error.
- A new organization would be established.
- Books of a new order would be written.
- A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.
- The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it.
- Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement.
- They would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless
- Their foundation would be built on the sand
- Storm and tempest would sweep away the structure
We are facing the greatest crisis and historical confrontation Seventh-day Adventists have ever known. We don’t seem to fully understand this. This is not some conspiracy theory. We are entering a time when God’s people have to be courageous and face the Omega. But if you look at what is happening, for the most part, we are being anything but courageous.
Our religion is being changed before our eyes. It is being replaced with feminism, Pentecostalism (music), Romanism, environmentalism (Mother Earth), ecumenism, political activism, social justice, the LGBT+ agenda and other liberal left-wing philosophies? The Seventh-day Adventist faith is under direct Satanic attack as we speak, and it takes brave men and women to make a godly stance. But where are these godly men and women? Tragically, whenever anyone does speak out publicly about the assault against the faith they are characterized by those in leadership as “divisive” and as “accusers of the brethren.”
Understand this, dear fellow believers: It’s not those who are resisting the Omega of Apostasy that are being divisive for speaking truth. It’s the ones who are failing to speak out in behalf of the historic landmarks of the faith that are being divisive. We are appalled and ashamed of the attitude of some leaders, not all, just some, and unfortunately the most prominent. And we speak to their shame because we have some who will not lift one finger or say one word about the evil influence of the Omega that is exploding all around us, BUT the only time they come out of hibernation is to attack those who dare speak out publicly against the apostasy. Unbelievable!
“The prejudice which has arisen against us because we have reproved the wrongs that God has shown me existed, and the cry that has been raised of harshness and severity, are unjust. God bids us speak, and we will not be silent. If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty” (Testimonies, Vol. 3 p. 265).
“Those who have too little courage to reprove wrong, or who through indolence or lack of interest make no earnest effort to purify the family or the church of God, are held accountable for the evil that may result from their neglect of duty. We are just as responsible for evils that we might have checked in others by exercise of parental or pastoral authority as if the acts had been our own” (Patriarch and Prophets, p. 57).
“The church as a whole is in a degree responsible for the wrongs of its individual members because they countenance the evil in not lifting up their voice against it” (Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 490).
A false, simulated and pretended moral outrage is being directed against those who are actually speaking out in defense of truth. Unfortunately, it seems that many are more upset with those who dare speak out against sin than with those who are advancing the Omega within the church. If we only had to contend with the Omega, that would be enough. However we also have to contend with timid preachers who would rather be nice than right. It’s these timid, quiet, non-confrontational, lackadaisical leaders who do more harm because of their neutrality in a time of crisis.
We pray for the Latter Rain to help us finish the work. We ought to pray for the Latter Rain to give our preachers boldness so that they can become valiant soldiers for Jesus Christ. We don’t need any more silent men or timid preachers (we already have enough of those). We need mighty men of valor who will stand up against evil and fight. Let us contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3) and in the power of God, let us take back what the devil has stolen.
“Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked.” (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 267).