Reformation

We have pages here on Bright Beams covering the subjects of both personal and corporate revival. But revival cannot stand alone, else it will not be genuine and lead to a false experience without God. Hence, we introduce this page on the equally critical subject of reformation. In fact, it is mentioned about four times more than revival in the writings of Sister White. It is the more difficult to accept of the two, especially if revival does not accompany it, for it requires us to bear a cross. We pray that you will review this information with prayer, soul-searching, and maybe even fasting. Please make a determination now to bear the cross for your Saviour.

Introductory Inspired Statements on Reformation

Reformation Must Blend with Revival

A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.

— E.G. White, Review and Herald, 2/25/1902

We Must Focus on Reformation Individually

By heart-searching and many prayers we may be more than conquerors through Him who has loved us. Self-reformation is all-essential. Step by step we must advance heavenward, leading others in safe paths. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift.

— E.G. White, Gospel Herald, 1/1/1901

There Will Be Shaking

A great reformation is needed among the people of God. Many sapless and unfruitful branches are to be removed from the parent vine. Everything will be shaken that can be shaken, that that which can not be shaken may remain.

— E.G. White, Bible Training School, 3/1/1915

Ministers, It Begins with You

A reformation is needed among the people, but it should first begin its purifying work with the ministers. They are watchmen upon the walls of Zion, to sound the note of warning to the careless, the unsuspecting; also to portray the fate of the hypocrite in Zion. . . .

One important part of the work of the ministry is to faithfully present to the people the health reform as it stands connected with the third angel’s message as part and parcel of the same work. They should not fail to adopt it themselves, and should urge it upon all who profess to believe the truth.

— E.G. White, 1 Testimonies, pp. 469-470

Reforms for Our People

Our studies over the years include several reforms, both old and new. In our pioneer days, we practiced many of these. Some, though, we never studied as a people at all. Ultimately, our goal is to completely restore the spirit, the power, and the practices of the Apostolic church. We pray that these pages and documents that we share below will bless, encourage, and challenge you.

Please remember, dear reader, that this is not about you. It is all about God and pleasing Him, because we love Him. This must always be our focus and motivate everything we do, otherwise we will slip into either legalism, by using various rules as a means of attaining, or Pharisaical pride, by showing how much better we are than others for reforming.

1. Reformation of Biblical Reverence

This is the first part of our reformatory series here, since nothing is more foundational than reverence for God, being a key part of the greatest commandment, which is to worship Him; and it consists of several parts—(a) through (d).

(a) Reverent Worship Postures

Before thou prayest, prepare thyself; and be not as one that tempteth the Lord.

— Ecclesiasticus 18:23

Are we practicing this? Are we prostrating ourselves in contemplation of the majesty of the Most High, who is in the heavenly sanctuary, which we enter by faith? Or do we enter right into prayer without any pause or thought? And after we enter into prayer do we take a kneeling position (if able)? And do we continue with our faces down, or do we lift up our heads in a position of revival, up to God, who is above us? Also, do we fold our hands, or do we raise them as an offering (1 Tim. 2:8; Psalm 28:2; 63:4; 134:2)? Find out in the presentation below, where we dig deep into the Scriptures and see also what our pioneers practiced and what Sister White counsels us to do; you may be very surprised what you read by their statements.

(b) Veiling the Glory of Man

As we experience corporate revival of true reverence for God and love for one another, we will see a restoration of important biblical ordinances. We have collectively forgotten these ordinances, at least in part; now, we need to restore them to their rightful place in the body of Christ. The following study contains two of them—both in 1 Corinthians 11: first, the woman’s head covering, which definitely fits under this category of reverence, and, second, the full Supper of the Lord. You may have read the second one already in our revival series since it is linked to there, as it is both a reviving and a reformatory practice.

Two Forgotten Apostolic Ordinances of 1 Corinthians 11

Remember:

In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored.

— E.G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 678

(c) Reverencing God and His Holy Name

Do we have reverence and awe when we speak His Holy Name? Or do we carelessly say or read it with the same tone and speed as the rest of the sentence we are speaking it in without much thought? How much does this really matter? Should it be made an issue? To find out, please read our study:

Reverencing God and His Holy Name

(d) Reverence in the House of God

Is it okay to visit with each other when it is not our turn to speak to the congregation in the sanctuary where we worship? And should we be gazing about lost in our thoughts, or on a smart device there? Find out the answers to these and much more in the following compilation by Ellen White on this very important subject:

Behavior in the House of God

2. Reformation of Dress

Introduction

Is this subject all that important, or should we not make a big deal about it? Is it a matter of salvation, or is it fanatical to exhort the Assembly on this? The following quotes should more than sufficiently answer these questions:

Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God.

There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.

— E.G. White, 4 Testimonies, pp. 647-48

Great neglect has been shown in the matter of bringing our church-members up to the standard of the Bible in this matter. After admonition, after time for Bible study and reflection, those who are walking contrary to the Scriptures, and will not reform, should be suspended from the church. The church is weakened, her power is enfeebled, her influence is limited, because church-members fail to live in accordance with the directions of the Bible. The example of those who follow the fashions of the world has a disastrous effect upon other members of the church.

— E.G. White, Review and Herald, 6/2/1891

a) Covering Nakedness (A Biblical Principle)

In Sister White’s day, the main problem was the extravagance of dress, which is still a problem today. It is up to the leadership of the Assembly to make sure nothing is worn in the House of God that would attract attention to self, whether through flashiness, decorations, drawing attention to the unique shape of the woman’s body, or worse yet, exposing its nakedness; and, for that matter, the nakedness of men should not be exposed either. The latter is a serious problem today, not just mainstream, but Reform and independent Seventh-day Adventist assemblies, and it must be corrected in order for the demoralization of its members—whether in the form of pornography, secret sin, or just general impiety and worldliness—to discontinue.

But what is biblical nakedness? It is not what cultural nakedness is. Did you know that it is having any part of the leg bare? And do you understand the spiritual ramifications of this—that physical nakedness is a sign of spiritual nakedness, which is an absence of the character of the Messiah? Did you know that public nakedness, or even nakedness seen by members of the same household, is abhorrent to God and that He has outlawed it in Chapters 18 and 20 of Leviticus? The following is a good study on biblical nakedness—both from a physical and spiritual standpoint:

Shame of Nakedness (by Lynford Heron, Centurion Press)

Then how does a woman cover herself, since a skirt cannot cover her lower legs when standard footwear is worn, and if it goes down to the shoes it would likely catch dirt and be unhealthful? Some have worn tall boots, and this may work for the sake of modesty. However, that is still not following a very important, but nearly universally neglected principle (even by those who, in ignorance, may profess to be “reformers”) of health reform: the covering of the limbs. The purpose is for equal blood flow in the body, which, without, can lead to various health problems, especially when it is colder. But the principle applies in all weather conditions, as the Spirit of Prophecy makes it clear that women are to be just as covered as men on the legs, which skirts alone cannot accomplish as they cannot block the airflow. Even in warmer weather, air current will still flow under a skirt making the legs cooler than the upper body, which creates an unequal distribution of circulation. And the principle even applies to men when it is cold, such that just as much, or more, warm layers are to cover the legs as rest of the body, which is generally not practiced. In the article below by Ellen White, this is covered; and the link below that gives some more historical context. Please go through both articles.

Reform in Dress (by E.G. White)

History of Women’s Dress in Pictures (by Remnant Raiment)

b) Women’s Head Covering (A History)

The latter article above does not cover the history of the woman’s head covering, but the following Wikipedia article covers this well, showing that the practice of not wearing the veil in public did not come until well into the 19th century, while it was still worn for public worship into the 20th century, even in the Western world; hence, both the woman’s dress and her head covering were dispensed with together in the women’s liberation movement. Feel free to browse through the material; no need to read it all. It also includes how Bible interpretation regarding it in 1 Corinthians 11 compares in different groups and how it has changed over time.

Christian Head Covering (by Wikipedia)

c) Covering of Limbs (for Health)

Though it is good to know, we don’t want to dwell much on history lessons, but rather on what God counsels for us, so back to the Spirit of Prophecy and the covering of limbs. Please keep in mind that though covering the legs with pants under skirts on women is more important the colder it gets, it is the all-season Spirit of Prophecy standard of dress—that includes in the summer, when even stockings are insufficient for modesty’s sake:

I inquire, Is it reasonable, or even modest, to see the limbs of your daughters exposed, to the bend of the knee, without any covering, except a cotton stocking in summer, and flannel, in winter? Why should not mothers clothe their daughters sensibly, modestly, and healthfully, irrespective of prevailing fashions?

— E.G. White, Review and Herald, 6/2/1891

d) Women’s Dress Over Pants (for Femininity )

So, then, since pants are required for health, why do then skirts need to be placed over the pants? We have already covered how it distinguishes between the sexes, but many would then argue that men wore skirts in biblical times, just like women, and women today commonly wear pants and even have their own styles of pants. However, women have always historically worn skirts, whether the men have or not. And, remember, women’s pants (uncovered by skirts) are a very recent invention designed by the women’s liberation movement, which, according to the Spirit of Prophecy, was pioneered by Spiritualists. Do we really want to be wearing that which was invented by spiritualists, who were servants of Satan to sexualize women and make them more like men so as to demoralize society? We think not.

e) Sufficiently Covering the Feminine Form

In addition, skirts have a very practical purpose in terms of modesty. If properly done, they veil the legs and buttocks, which even though may be clothed, the shapes are still exposed if no skirts are covering these parts which men are not supposed to see, as with the shape of the breasts. So, it is not just the bare skin, but also the shape, which can expose nakedness. This can be demonstrated below, realizing that in her day drawers were still worn under the skirts and that was enough to be indecent exposure. Watch how serious this is, according to the words used by the messenger of God—”abomination” … “indecent” … “grievous sin” …

Also, as seen in Ellen White’s article, “one light skirt, or two at most, is all that is necessary.” Back then, sometimes women wore many skirts, giving the dress a lot of body, which was fashionable. But today, even among professed reformers, often no skirts are worn underneath the main dress, and the result is indecency in showing the shape of the buttocks. This is yet further proof that pants alone are not to be worn, because it is impossible to obscure the form without multiple layers, and God is dishonored by the immodesty, whether through pants alone or one dress or skirt alone. But when all counsel is followed, the dress will be feminine and not masculine, and for the purpose of covering the feminine form, which is why clothing is distinct for the distinct sexes.

f) Suspension of Clothes

One last issue is that of health, but still in the realm of dress reform. It was only briefly touched upon in Ellen White’s article, and this principle applies for men as well: suspending what covers the legs, either by suspenders or overalls.

Every article of clothing should be suspended from the shoulders. The habit of fastening the skirts about the body with bands, allowing the weight to rest upon the hips to keep them from slipping off is decidedly injurious to health. For exactly where these bands girt are nerves, and large blood-vessels, which carry the blood into the limbs. These veins and nerves should not be pressed, but allowed the most perfect freedom to fulfill the purpose for which nature designed them.

— E.G. White, Health Reformer, 4/1/1872

Resources for Dress Reform

One last thought. According to the divine counsel we have read, many of us will need to drastically change our wardrobe—men (with suspenders and lined pants for winter) and women (in many ways). This could be burdensome for people. But here are a couple of ideas that could greatly alleviate that. First, the local assembly should have a fund for this cause for those who cannot afford the expense. And secondly, perhaps most importantly, every assembly should have a clothing ministry, in which women sew for other women modest apparel as well as teach other women how to sew for themselves, as it can be challenging and quite expensive to attain already made clothing.

Nevertheless, there are a number of online stores that sell pre-made modest apparel as well as plain (single color) patterns. The best kind of place to look for is one that is for the Plain People (Anabaptists, Amish, Mennonites, Quakers, Hutterites, etc.). We should be plain people ourselves, with plain styles of clothing and living, and it is a shame that Seventh-day Adventists are not ever mentioned as being among the plain people. Just keep in mind that not even the plain people have standards as high as we do in the Spirit of Prophecy. For example, they do not cover their limbs and head coverings may not always sufficiently cover the head and the sides of the face, as Sister White saw (in vision) they should.

On that note, bonnets are not the only option for head coverings. The biblical style of head scarves, as worn by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Muslim women, if plain and properly draped down the sides of the face, can also serve the purpose of covering the collar bone, giving the flexibility of wearing tops with lower necklines so they don’t need to be thrown away. Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon will have such headscarves.

The website below is a good place to start for modest dresses and bonnets, with both pre-made apparel and patterns through links to various webstores. The advantage of a dress over a skirt is that suspenders are not necessary; also, it is simpler, not needing to match clothes. Just remember when purchasing that plain colors without designs should be chosen over designs as to not attract attention to self; the same applies for men. Dress is biblically for covering our nakedness and in the honor God, not for displaying our personalities, so it is best to err on the side of simplicity, especially for our Sabbath ware. And according to a very important testimony, plain colors have also been commanded by God in the 20th century, for this, along with the rest of dress reform, was part of perhaps the greatest revival of that century; please read that testimony if you have not yet. We may not be able to change our entire wardrobe immediately, but we ought to at least start buying only plain clothing and dispensing of the most gaudy colors and patterns, for gaudiness destroys godliness.

Plain Dress (by Quaker Jane)

(Don’t miss the Anabaptist Books link on there, where you can get dresses very custom made, just for your body size and shape.)

3. Reformatory Gospel Order

There’s too much to this reform to include on this page. Please see our dedicated page below where there are excellent resources showing what true, apostolic gospel order is, as it was practiced by the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers.

Gospel Order

Reforms of gospel order can be summarized as follows:

(a) Tithe-paid ordained ministers/evangelists not hovering over the existing local assemblies but continually moving into new areas and raising up new ones

(b) Ordained elders voluntarily serving to lead out in order and discipline, to provide counseling/visitation to members, to lead out in services of the assembly, including preaching if he is able, and training members for organized service

(c) Every member being given some role or roles in the organized service of bringing the gospel to the community

(d) The practice of male headship so that women do not teach or lead out in the services of the assembly

(e) Discipline carried out on the members by preaching and enforcing of the standards, headed by the elder, and the assembly voting for disfellowship if all other avenues have failed to restore a disobedient member, so that all open sin (all violation of the commandments of God that is known to the public) is banned and kept out of the assembly, with an enforced dress code based on the Testimonies

(f) Local assemblies apostolically considered to not be at a particular place where worshipers gather but all the members of the ecclesiastical society in a given area defined by the major city, so that members can hold communion with each other in a larger area and worship in different houses of assembly to bond with more people and unitedly work an area better

(g) All presidents of conferences acting only as chairs, with elections each year and working with a group of men so that there is no kingly power

(h) Assemblies being congregational, or self-governing, though still overseen by conference officers, just as the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers assemblies were governed

(i) Absolutely no man-made creed, so that beliefs are not made a test of fellowship other than the pillars of our faith stated in the Spirit of Prophecy—the commandments of God (including the seventh-day Sabbath, and now the seven other holy days), the faith of Jehoshua, the non-immortality of the soul, the 2300 days, and the heavenly sanctuary and its cleansing

(j) A weekly missionary meeting for planning local missions, in addition to the necessary business meetings

(k) Wireless radiation banned from all assembly meetings and their premises to mitigate its harmful health effects and distractions

(l) All ministries organized under the General Conference, rather than being self-supporting, so that there is no kingly power within the ministries or independence from the Assembly

4. Escaping the Entertainment Trap

Living in Sin Is Living a Lie by E.G. White

(More to come!)