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Discussion of . . . ( 83 )
Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .

Discussion  of  .  .  .
As the controversy extends into new fields and the minds of the people are called to God's downtrodden law, Satan is astir. The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it. The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and, in this work, papists and Protestants unite. As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment keepers. They will be threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some will be offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith. But their steadfast answer is: "Show us from the word of God our error"--the same plea that was made by Luther under similar circumstances. Those who are arraigned before the courts make a strong vindication of the truth, and some who hear them are led to take their stand to keep all the commandments of God. Thus light will be brought  before thousands who otherwise would know nothing of these truths.  Great Controversy, page 607.1   {RH, April 27, 1911 par. 20}  {4SP 425.1}

Satan has gained many victories over the professed followers of Jesus through their unchristlike spirit and behavior toward their brethren who do not agree with them, and toward unbelievers. The discussion of doctrines has not resulted in bringing union, but variance. A bitter spirit has been cherished, bitter words have been spoken. The words of the True Witness should be carefully studied by all: "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love,"-- grown cold, unsympathetic; hardness of heart has taken the place of brotherly, Christlike love. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." This warning should be heeded by every church in our ranks. New elements of Christian life must be brought into the church. Love for Christ means a broad, extended love for one another, that love which is now so sadly wanting. The lack of love leads to the lack of respect for each other, and the neglect of true courtesy. There is criticising, fault-finding, reporting words spoken in confidence, and using these to second the accusations of Satan, who is ever busy in sowing distrust, jealousy, and bitterness. Why do the members of the church run so readily into this evil work, overlooking the precious things? Why do they not speak words of approval and encouragement to one another, and thus water the precious plant of love, that it may not die out of the heart?  {RH, February 9, 1892 par. 16}

This was the method in Christ's teaching. As He spoke to the people they would question as to His meaning. To those who were humbly seeking for light He was always ready to explain His words. But Christ did not encourage criticism or cavilling, nor should we. When men try to provoke a discussion of controverted points of doctrine, tell them that the meeting was not appointed for that purpose.  {PH130 42.4}  {6T 69.1}
The experience of the apostle Paul in meeting the philosophers of Athens has a lesson for us. In presenting the gospel before the court of the Areopagus, Paul met logic with logic, science with science, philosophy with philosophy. The wisest of his hearers were astonished and silenced. His words could not be controverted. But the effort bore little fruit. Few were led to accept the gospel. Henceforth Paul adopted a different manner of labor. He avoided elaborate arguments and discussion of theories, and in simplicity pointed men and women to Christ as the Saviour of sinners. Writing to the Corinthians of his work among them, he said:  {MH 214.1}
Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. Nicodemus received the lesson, and carried it with him. He searched the Scriptures in a new way, not for the discussion of a theory, but in order to receive life for the soul. He began to see the kingdom of heaven as he submitted himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  {DA 175.2}
Discussions  of  such  matters
Those who in their preaching pass by the great truths of God's word to speak of minor matters, are not preaching the gospel, but are dealing in idle sophistry. Let not our ministers spend time in the discussion of such matters. Let those who have any question as to what they should teach, any question as to the subjects upon which they should dwell, go to the discourses of the great Teacher, and follow His lines of thought. The subjects that Jesus regarded as essential are the subjects that we are to urge home today. We are to encourage our hearers to dwell upon those subjects which are of eternal moment.  {GW 313.3}
Do not spend your time in the discussion of such matters. If you have any question as to what you should teach, any question as to the subjects upon which you should dwell, go right to the discourses of the Great Teacher, and follow His instructions. . . .  {CW 48.1}
Do not spend your time in the discussion of such matters. If you have any question as to what you should teach, any question as to the subjects upon which you should dwell, go right to the discourses of the Great Teacher, and follow His instructions. Study the counsel He gave the lawyer regarding the keeping of the law.  {RH, August 13, 1901 par. 5}

Discussion  of  the  Sabbath  question

In August, 1858, we attended a conference at Crane's Grove, Ills. This was a meeting of considerable interest. It was immediately followed by a discussion of the Sabbath question between Elders J. H. Waggoner and J. M. Stephenson. Eld. S. was on the ground before our conference closed, and immediately commenced his lawless interruptions of our meeting, such as are very common with the no-Sabbath, age-to-come men. The discussion resulted in some good in the place, as it established one dear sister who had become unsettled as to the Sabbath by Eld. S., and another sister, who was much prejudiced when we first visited the place by the statements of Eld. S., came out decided upon the truth. But the influence of that meeting and the discussion, upon those who came in from other places, was decidedly good. Those Sabbath-keepers who came to the place sympathizing somewhat with Eld. S. went away satisfied that he was unworthy of their sympathy. Eld. S. did more to settle the minds of the wavering by manifesting the dragon-like spirit of the no-Sabbath, age-to-come heresies, than all the testimonies for truth there given. The opposition gained not a single victory.   {2SG 273.1}

As these false doctrines were urged, differences sprang up, and the eyes of many were turned from beholding Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith. The discussion of unimportant points of doctrine, and the contemplation of pleasing fables of man's invention, occupied time that should have been spent in proclaiming the gospel. The masses that might have been convicted and converted by a faithful presentation of the truth were left unwarned. Piety was rapidly waning, and Satan seemed about to gain the ascendancy over those who claimed to be followers of Christ.  {AA 580.2}