Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

any great movements and leaders seem to have their origin in obscure corners. With Herods trying to slay them,  Iscariots trying to betray them, mobs trying to crucify them, and even sepulchers trying to confine them, they at last burst forth into recognition and appreciation, rising above suspicion, calamity and defeat. That vindication, however, usually requires time and the untiring labors of some stalwart supporters who, with a sense of fairness and the ability to expose error, unsheath the sword of justice to lay bare the facts and reveal truth.

I recommend to the leaders of our beloved church to reread the story of Nehemiah─that great reformer of Israel─of when he was superintending the rebuilding program in Jerusalem. In describing the real situation that challenged the leadership of Nehemiah the Bible says, "In this state of alert we continued to work with half the men standing guard from dawn to dark with their weapons in hand, while the other men worked on the wall" (Neh. 4:21).

The Advent Movement also began in obscurity, but it came at a time, in a way, and in a place which Providence had foreordained. Not recognizing this divine purpose, many have severely criticized the church's origins. Bitter invectives have been hurled at its leadership and teachings, with special denunciations of the prophetic ministry of Ellen G. White─messenger of the Lord. Occasionally a reply has been made to these criticisms, but for the most part, especially in more recent times, these charges have been allowed to go unchallenged.

Those who recognize truth, however, are not disturbed by the attacks of enemies from outside as well as from inside the church. Realizing that we are called to do a great work, we could find little reason to stop working and come down from the walls to defeat the enemies.

It is true that a new generation of local leaders has arisen, and the builders need to have in their possession information that will strengthen their confidence in God's remnant (Rev. 12:17) thus enabling them to defend the flock of the Lord. There is a time to keep silent but there is also a time to speak, for error that goes unchecked and unchallenged often increases in prestige. There may be some who have reservations concerning the need of defending the church and the truth as "it is presented in Jesus."

A minister who had recently come into the message from another Christian body once came to see us. He had just returned from visiting a number of his former ministerial associates. Many in this group were anxious to know the reason for his change in belief. Eagerly they listened as he unfolded the message to them. A number inquired especially regarding Mrs. White and her prophetic role. Remarking on this, this newly baptized brother said, "I am confident we would be amazed if we could but know how far reaching is the influence of our message upon the thinking of hundreds and perhaps even thousands of ministers of other faiths."

During the past few years a growing number of charges have been made concerning some landmarks that have characterized us as the Adventist Movement and the Remnant for these last days. And it is not surprising to note that as each modern Sanballat or Tobiah have appeared, they have built on the premise of some earlier enemy. Consequently, for some, the picture is confusing, and in many instances even friends of the cause have no way of distinguishing between truth and falsehood.

Our answer should not be presented in a spirit of combat or hostility. However it is sometime necessary for us to speak out because of potential danger to the spiritual life of faithful members, and to the resources needed to proclaim the gospel in fulfilling the Great Commission which the Lord gave to His church.

Thus, in some circumstances we need to be men and women who work with trowels and also handle the sword. At the same time that we are to work for our people we have to watch over their spiritual security. "And the men carrying building materials worked with one hand while carrying their swords in the other"(Neh. 4:17).

So today as in Nehemiah's time, it appears that our task is twofold; work and watch over the flock which the Lord has entrusted to us until the "wall is finished."