by Cody Francis
On June 6, 2014, Hartland’s Board of Directors voted that beginning July 1, 2014, the institution will no longer accept donations designated as tithe from known Seventh-day Adventist church members. This brief article seeks to answer why Hartland is taking this step of faith.
Why does Hartland no longer accept donations designated as tithe?
Paul stated, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22. Paul’s overarching desire was to lead men and women to our Savior that they may be saved for His kingdom. He was willing to do anything possible without compromising principle to achieve this one great aim. Another time he said, “But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably…. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” Romans 14:15, 21.
Paul would give up any right without sacrificing principle in order to not offend others or to increase his ability to minister for the salvation of souls. We have taken this lesson to heart. Our tithe acceptance has built unnecessary barriers between us and our brethren in the denomination. We believe it is our Christian duty to do all in our part to remove these roadblocks.
Is this decision in accordance with the Spirit of Prophecy?
There were times when Sister White gave her tithe and the tithe of others to neglected southern workers, Bible workers, and others. From this we realize that it is not wrong for an individual to take personal responsibility in the giving of their tithe. Yet Sister White does recommend a “better way.”
“You ask if I will accept tithe from you and use it in the cause of God where most needed. In reply I will say that I shall not refuse to do this, but at the same time I will tell you that there is a better way. It is better to put confidence in the ministers of the conference where you live and in the officers of the church where you worship. Draw nigh to your brethren. Love them with a true heart fervently, and encourage them to bear their responsibilities faithfully in the fear of God.”2 Thus there is nothing in the Spirit of Prophecy that Hartland would be violating with this decision.
How will this decision be a blessing to the work of Hartland?
By seeking to be peacemakers and do all in our part while not compromising principle, we gain the blessing of being “called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9. While Hartland cannot unite with those who are promoting false doctrines, there are many faithful brethren that we can unite with in proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages.
Like-minded believers working together will increase the effectiveness of everyone’s ministry for the Lord. This will open up many more doors for our students and graduates to minister more effectively to souls within and without the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It will help to remove the barrier of prejudice that has hindered the witness within the church of many Hartland staff and students.
It will also open up doors for us to share our unique calling and mission with more potential students, possible lifestyle guests, and others interested in the special work that God has given Hartland to do. We believe that our seeking to unite upon the high standard of present truth with our brethren will be a blessing to God’s work in the church and in the world, ultimately leading to the salvation of more souls for His kingdom! Please pray with us that this will be the case.
How can I continue to support Hartland’s ministry?
There are exciting things happening in God’s work, and we believe that God has called Hartland “for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14. As we look to increase and expand the work at Hartland, we need your fervent prayers and support more than ever before. Our needs are much the same as before and here are some of our main funds:
Where Needed Most donations may be used anywhere in the institute according to the greatest need.
Ministry meets the needs of our Bible teachers and those engaged in various lines of ministry work.
Evangelism covers our many evangelistic projects including Bible studies, health ministry, literature ministry, and so forth.
Our Missionary Training Fund provides scholarships for worthy students to be trained as missionaries.
We greatly appreciate your partnership with us as we strive to train young people to spread the everlasting gospel. Together we can all have a part in preparing others for Jesus’ soon return.
1 White, Ellen G., The Spalding-Magan Collection, p. 215
2 White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, p. 101