No class was spared from the desolating influence of the “new theology” which subtly undermined several basic positions of the historic church. Worldly conformity had paved the way for Satan to confuse the minds of thousands whose convictions had already been damaged by the spirit of compromise. The confusion and falling away continues. A serious sifting process is weeding out many whose hearts have not been firm for the truth. But the greatest testis still just before us. We have seen nothing compared to that approaching crisis when the majority will forsake us. It will seem as though the church might fall and never recover, but the true Christians will remain secure and unshaken while the chaff is blown away.
Where will the greatest sifting occur? Sister White wrote:
“Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 81.
What a dramatic portrayal of the approaching trauma, and how it challenges every one of us to a deeper commitment! Not a soul among us needs to be in that cloud of chaff. Oh, how we need to hide ourselves in Christ and be consumed with a hunger for His abiding presence. It is only the Holy Spirit within who can groom us for that terrible hour of test. Not one of us should depend on any other human being for spiritual strength or doctrinal integrity. We must know the truth for ourselves and be able to put every sermon to the test of God’s Word. Furthermore, our personal relationship with Christ must be the source of our daily walk of faith.
Now is the time-and the only time we will have-to store our minds with the precious counsels of the Word. All our doctrines and life practices must be based upon what we have drawn from personal Bible study, rather than pronouncements of the church. There are many faithful pastors who are sounding the alarm, but some are bending with the Laodicean majority. We have been warned that false doctrine will invade the pulpits of our own churches.
Consider this inspired statement:
“Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.” Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 409, 410.
At the same time such heresies are being boldly proclaimed, God will raise up equally bold defenders of the true doctrine. With fearless zeal, these faithful servants of Christ will challenge every corruption of truth which appears in high places or low. It is this open, impartial exposure of error, under the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit, which will cause the shaking.
Who are those men whom God will use to proclaim the straight testimony which will precipitate the separation of wheat and chaff?
The answer is given by God’s servant:
“Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. . . . In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80.
“He will call men from the plow and from other occupations to give the last note of warning to perishing souls.” Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 170.
“As the time comes for it [the third angel’s message] to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments... . The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open.” The Great Controversy, p. 606.
“He will raise up from among the common people, men and women to do His work, even as of old He called fishermen to be His disciples.” Unabridged Loma Linda Messages, p. 83.
There is a reason for the last warning call of God to be designated “the Elijah message.” The fearless exposure of Satan’s final deceptions must be done by the faithful survivors of the shaking. Just as the Old Testament Tishbite prophet spoke boldly against compromising with pagan sun worship, so the modern Elijah message will expose the devious work of Satan’s agents to amalgamate the day of the sun with Christian worship. Just as John fulfilled the type of Elijah by his courageous preaching against Herod’s unlawful marriage alliance, so the remnant will speak out against sin in all of its ugly ramifications.