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This is the True Work: Welfare Ministry

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Written by: Christopher Sernaque

Dear Reader,

This article is going to cover both doctrine and personal experience. The personal experience comes in the form of an exciting testimonial. The doctrinal portion of this article will refute a common misconception that has arisen about Welfare Ministry. The term “Welfare Ministry” is the name of a book which is a compilation of statements from the writings of Ellen White. I highly recommend reading this book, especially if you are a Seventh-day Adventist who truly wants to show your love for God and for your fellow man. There is a misapprehension about doing charity work amongst a small minority of professed Seventh-day Adventists. This confusion arises from misapplying an out of context quote from Ellen White. There are some false ministries, that claim to be Adventist, that teach that charity work is not to practiced among God’s people, despite clear Biblical evidence to contrary. The Bible says, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:15-17) In other words, you cannot both claim to be a Christian and ignore those in need. These fanatics will object with this Ellen White quotation as a justification for their cessation of the work of charity, “As a people we are not to imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods. This is not the work that the Lord has given us to do.” (8T 184.3) Their faulty line of reasoning goes like this, “If Ellen White said that we are not to ‘fall in line with Salvation Army methods’, and the Salvation Army does charity, the Seventh-day Adventists must forgo the work of charity and must stick to preaching.” This line of reasoning is faulty because it is based off an incomplete quotation that has been taken out of context. This is the quotation in its entirety:

“The Lord has marked out our way of working. As a people we are not to imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods. This is not the work that the Lord has given us to do. Neither is it our work to condemn them and speak harsh words against them. There are precious, self-sacrificing souls in the Salvation Army. We are to treat them kindly. There are in the Army honest souls, who are sincerely serving the Lord and who will see greater light, advancing to the acceptance of all truth. The Salvation Army workers are trying to save the neglected, downtrodden ones. Discourage them not. Let them do that class of work by their own methods and in their own way. But the Lord has plainly pointed out the work that Seventh-day Adventists are to do. Camp meetings and tent meetings are to be held. The truth for this time is to be proclaimed. A decided testimony is to be borne. And the discourses are to be so simple that children can understand them.” {8T 184.3}

The Salvation Army has been described as “a Protestant Christian church and an international charitable organization.” In other words, the Salvation Army is another denomination, apart and distinct from Seventh-day Adventists. Ellen White commends the work of the Salvation Army and instructs Seventh-day Adventists not to in any way ridicule or speak negatively of them. In fact, Ellen White implicitly endorses the work of charity in her statement by saying that those in the Salvation Army are “sincerely serving the Lord.” If the charity work of the Salvation Army was immoral, then no Salvation Army member would truly be serving the Lord. After Ellen White counsels Seventh-day Adventists not to become Salvation Army members, she closes this quotation by calling for the proclamation of the unique messages of the Seventh-day Adventist faith in “camp meetings and tent meetings.” Thus, this quotation is not a denunciation of the Salvation Army or the work of Welfare Ministry, it is a call for Seventh-day Adventists to remain faithful to their distinctive God-given message in all their work, including their charity work. For fanatical pretended Seventh-day Adventists who are not satisfied with implicit evidence, there are a multitude of explicit quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy that condone, endorse, and outline the work of charity:

1. Hypocrisy Taints Christianity’s Cause

“True godliness is measured by the work done. Profession is nothing; position is nothing; a character like the character of Christ is the evidence we are to bear that God has sent His Son into the world. Those who profess to be Christians, yet do not act as Christ would were He in their place, greatly injure the cause of God. They misrepresent their Saviour, and are standing under false colors....” {WM 37.3}

2. Religion is not Genuine Without Welfare Ministry

“Pure and undefiled religion is not a sentiment, but the doing of works of mercy and love. This religion is necessary to health and happiness. It enters the polluted soul temple, and with a scourge drives out the sinful intruders. Taking the throne, it consecrates all by its presence, illuminating the heart with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. It opens the windows of the soul heavenward, letting in the sunshine of God’s love. With it comes serenity and composure. Physical, mental, and moral strength increase, because the atmosphere of heaven as a living, active agency fills the soul. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. —The Review and Herald, October 15, 1901.” {WM 38.1}

3. Christ did Charity Work (He is our example 1 John 2:6)

“Make Christ’s work your example. Constantly He went about doing good—feeding the hungry and healing the sick. No one who came to Him for sympathy was disappointed. The commander of the heavenly courts, He was made flesh and dwelt among us, and His lifework is an example of the work we are to do. His tender, pitying love rebukes our selfishness and heartlessness.” —Manuscript 55, 1901. {WM 53.1}

“Christ stood at the head of humanity in the garb of humanity. So full of sympathy and love was His attitude that the poorest was not afraid to come to Him. He was kind to all, easily approached by the most lowly. He went from house to house, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, comforting the mourners, soothing the afflicted, speaking peace to the distressed.... He was willing to humble Himself, to deny Himself. He did not seek to distinguish Himself. He was the servant of all. It was His meat and drink to be a comfort and a consolation to others, to gladden the sad and heavy-laden one with whom He daily came in contact.” {WM 53.2}

4. A Charitable Spirit is Necessary for Perfect Character

“Christ stands before us as a pattern Man, the great Medical Missionary—an example for all who should come after. His love, pure and holy, blessed all who came within the sphere of its influence. His character was absolutely perfect, free from the slightest stain of sin. He came as an expression of the perfect love of God, not to crush, not to judge and condemn, but to heal every weak, defective character, to save men and women from Satan’s power. He is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the human race. He gives to all the invitation, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” {WM 53.3}

5. Charity Testifies of Christianity’s Cause

“What, then, is the example that we are to set to the world? We are to do the same work that the great Medical Missionary undertook in our behalf. We are to follow the path of self-sacrifice trodden by Christ.” —Special Testimonies, Series B 8:31, 32. {WM 54.1}

From the above quotations, any honest reader will reach the conclusion that Welfare Ministry is part and parcel of the work of any truehearted Seventh-day Adventist. With that as our worldview, Christ Jesus Ministries undertook a Welfare Ministry project, and as of 2/15/2020, Welfare Ministry is officially apart of the work done by Christ Jesus Ministries.

The Spirit of the Cheerful Giver

Ever since I was a young-man I have seen the generous spirit of my parents. Not only were they kind to my siblings and I, but they would also care for the homeless and downtrodden. I remember that there was one homeless individual, whom we shall call Mark Smith, who lived under a bridge. My Mother would make him sandwiches, which my Father would give to him when he drove by that bridge. My Mother has the habit of buying extra food, like bananas and coconut cookies, to give to the needy that she sees on the way to the store. My parents instilled this same spirit in my siblings and myself. There was a homeless man in a wheelchair who sat outside the Dollar Tree store. He was grateful for whoever stopped to help him, including my Mother, my siblings, and myself. My Father was at work when we met this man, whom we shall call John. John was a homeless veteran who had lost the use of his legs. My brother and I purchased him food, water, and a new Bible. Our sister prayed over John with Casey and me. He looked at His new Bible. John cried upon receiving the Bible. He said it was the greatest thing anyone had ever given to him. I can tell you of countless similar stories, but I am exceedingly grateful that the Heavenly Father has always provided for my family and helped us give unto others.

Testimony: 2/15/2020 Evangelism and Welfare Ministry Outreach

My Father met a coworker named Denise who, out of her own intuition and love, decided to help feed the homeless at a shelter near her home. She invited my Father and us to help her in her endeavors. My Mother made rice and my Father had purchased socks to give to the homeless men. I had bought Bibles to give out the Word of God to those who needed an uplifting Word. Our family traveled to Denise’s house. Denise had made everything from green beans to spaghetti to give to the men at the shelter. My family got into an assembly line and placed the food into Hefty Take Out containers and then loaded the food into our cars. At least 5 such cars that were loaded with food and necessities arrived at the shelter. We had over 120 plates of food. At the shelter we met numerous interesting figures. I met two Christian men from Cuba, Carlos and Freddy. Carlos was grateful for the Bible, food, and necessities. He introduced me to Freddy, a blind individual who sat on the side of the shelter. He asked me to pray over Freddy. I did. Freddy said that he was grateful that there are still people who care in the world. A met another homeless man, he was a veteran named Keith. Keith had lost both of his legs and rolled up to me in his wheelchair. He was grateful for the food and necessities, but he turned down the Bible. He said he already had a large print Bible that someone else had given him and he did not want to take one that could go to someone else. I had brought full Bibles and New Testaments. I had given a New Testament to a homeless man named Randy, but he came back and humbly asked if he could have “the whole Word.” I gave him a full Bible and I would like to close this article by giving full honor and glory to Christ Jesus. May we forever reflect His Image and never idolize man.

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