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The Climax of the Protestant Apostasy
Two primary principles upon which the Protestant Reformation
was built were (1) that the Scriptures are the sole rule of Christian doctrine;
and (2) the church is not to seek to control the state, and neither is the
power of the state is to be used to aid the church—to enforce religious
doctrine or to punish “heretics.” Earlier we cited Ellen White’s evidence that
Protestantism has begun to compromise in both of these areas.
Because of these compromises, Protestants no longer
recognize a significant reason that they should look upon Roman Catholicism
with the disfavor with which they once did. Thus, it will not be difficult for
Protestants to seek the aid of Rome in accomplishing its final prophetic act
before its complete demise—that of enforcing Sunday observance. Note: If
you have not yet read the material on "The Lord’s Day Controversy",
it would be good to do so at this point.
Regarding the Protestant movement to enforce Sunday worship,
Ellen White writes:
movements now in progress in the United States to secure for the institutions
and usages of the church the support of the state, Protestants are following in
the steps of papists. Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to
regain in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the Old World.
And that which gives greater significance to this movement is the fact that the
principal object contemplated is the enforcement of Sunday observance—a custom
which originated with Rome, and which she claims as the sign of her authority. It
is the spirit of the papacy—the spirit of conformity to worldly customs, the
veneration for human traditions above the commandments of God—that is
permeating the Protestant churches and leading them on to do the same work of
Sunday exaltation which the papacy has done before them.
If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed in
the soon-coming contest, he has but to trace the record of the means which Rome
employed for the same object in ages past. If he would know how papists and
Protestants united will deal with those who reject their dogmas, let him see
the spirit which Rome manifested toward the Sabbath and its defenders.
The Great Controversy, pp. 573-574
With Protestant teachers there is the same
claim of divine authority for Sundaykeeping, and the same lack of Scriptural
evidence, as with the papal leaders who fabricated miracles to supply the place
of a command from God. The assertion that God’s judgments are visited
upon men for their violation of the Sunday-sabbath, will be
repeated; already it is beginning to be urged. And a movement to enforce Sunday
observance is fast gaining ground.
Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is
the Roman Church. She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing that
the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their acceptance of the false
sabbath and that they are preparing to enforce it by the very means which she
herself employed in bygone days. Those who reject the light of truth
will yet seek the aid of this self-styled infallible power to exalt an
institution that originated with her. How readily she will
come to the help of Protestants in this work it is not difficult to conjecture.
Who understands better than the papal leaders how to deal with those who are
disobedient to the church? . . .
And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never
changes. The principles of Gregory VII and Innocent III are still the
principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And had she but the power, she would
put them in practice with as much vigor now as in past centuries.
Protestants little know what they are doing when they propose to
accept the aid of Rome in the work of Sunday exaltation. While they are bent
upon the accomplishment of their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish her
power, to recover her lost supremacy. Let the principle once be
established in the United States that the church may employ or control the
power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws;
in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience,
and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured.
God’s word has given warning of the impending
danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the
purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare.
The Great Controversy, pp. 579-581
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.
The Great Controversy, p. 607
As the Sabbath has become the special point
of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities
have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal
of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of
universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition
to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be
tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be
thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen hundred years
ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of the people.” “It is expedient
for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that one man should die for the people, and
not that the whole nation should perish.” John 11:50. This argument will appear
conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against
those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as
deserving of the severest punishment and giving the
people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old
World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward
those who honor all the divine precepts.
The Great Controversy, pp. 615-616
It will appear that all who refuse to go along with the rest
of the world in the observance of the Sunday will be utterly destroyed.
Will the Lord forget His people in this trying hour? Did He
forget faithful Noah when judgments were visited upon the antediluvian world?
Did He forget Lot when the fire came down from heaven to consume the cities of
the plain? Did He forget Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did He forget
Elijah when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the prophets of
Baal? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal pit of his prison house?
Did He forget the three worthies in the fiery furnace? or Daniel in the den of
“Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten
me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son
of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed
you on the palms of My hands.” Isaiah 49:14-16. The Lord hosts has said: “He
who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” Zechariah 2:8.
The Great Controversy, p. 626
To get a more complete picture of the battle between
Sabbath-keepers and the rest of the world, read the last six chapters of
The Great Controversy.
You might be glad you did.
All Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version,
including those originally quoted by Ellen White from the King James
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