The Loud Cry in the Face of Injustice

A Search for Understanding

In my own limited lifetime, I have seen so many needless and pointless killings. We have experienced endless wars, perpetual economic failures, and flaccid leadership from governments. But what really breaks my heart is the consistent and persistent choice of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to avoid clear and decisive action equal to the needs of our time. And so, what do I do? Do I leave, do I fight? How should I protest? And like a good Adventist, in moments between my grief and rage, I seek guidance through prayer, the scriptures, and especially the inspired writings of Ellen G. White. And I enter into this spiritual dialogue with serious questions in my heart. Are we really supposed to stay apolitical? Is that even possible given the suffering that we see around us? What should be our public response when we hear our brothers and sisters crying out for help? These hard questions require a renewed focus on Ellen White’s most challenging counsels around race relations. A good place to start is in the Testimonies Volume 9. It is this counsel which, to me, is one of the most challenging texts that I have come across in my spiritual walk, but it also serves as one of her clearest prophetic expressions applicable for such a time as this.

To the Law and to the Testimony

I believe that what we find in Testimonies Vol. 9 has been misunderstood, much like how the current protests have been misunderstood. It is easy to look at the chaos and uncertainty as an isolated occurrence, but we know that what we have seen is part of a continued cry for justice that has gone on from slavery, to “freedom,” to the fall of the Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow, and from the Civil Rights Movement to today where social outrage has once again erupted after the public execution of George Floyd by four police officers. Along this vein of unfulfilled dreams, most of our treatments of Sr. White’s statements around race relations have either overemphasized the need to separate along ethnic boundaries or have sought to minimize such an untenable position with a more hopeful interpretation. “Until there is a better way” offers this message of hope that someday our church can get it together. And yet, this truly hopeful position tends to avoid the challenges in the text. For she also says, “proclaiming the truth is not to be hindered by an effort to adjust the position of the Negro race” (T9: 214), which suggests Sr. White would have us remain silent in the face of social injustice, especially over issues of race. And indeed, this interpretation rings throughout the minds of our most influential leaders throughout this precious world church. But, in my prayerful study of this passage, I would like to suggest a revolutionary reading. A reading that I believe is critical for us moving forward with Holy Spirit power. Everything Sr. White said in these pages was meant to prepare this Adventist movement to become a center for justice and integration.

Guerilla Warfare

Sr. White abided most closely to the principles of Booker T. Washington and it was his industrial education model which she trumpeted from 1890 to the end of her life. With this bit of information, it becomes easier to find Sr. White’s thesis statement within “The Color Line.” Just after she states her unwillingness to publicly promote racial justice, she states:

If we move quietly and judiciously, laboring in the way that God has marked out, both white and colored people will be benefited by our labors (T9: 214-5).

To support her thesis, she offers historical and prophetic precedence. And, as a church, I believe we have misunderstood both. In the section “Proclaiming the Truth” she refers to a council meeting in 1895 at Armadale, Melbourne in Victoria, Australia where she clarified how we were to effectively share truth in the Jim Crow South. Found in The Southern Work, it is here where we find important clues into her rationale in T9. The problem was that Adventist missionaries were convincing African American converts to work on Sunday, which was illegal in the South. These Northerners did not fully comprehend that incarceration for a Black body could be deadly. But Sr. White did: “Punishment for any offense would be visited unsparingly and unmercifully upon the colored people” (Swk 75). As a practical solution, she challenged any Bible workers in the Southern field to become more strategic in their efforts. After quoting 1 Co. 9:20-23, Sr. White states:

We know that the apostle did not sacrifice one jot or principle. He did not allow himself to be led away by the sophistry and maxims of men… This was the manner of his working — adapting his methods to win souls. Had he been abrupt and unskillful in handling the Word, he would not have reached either Jew or Gentile (Swk 76-7).

Her counsel to Adventist workers was to initiate strategies that allowed for sustained interactions with Southern communities in order to subvert prejudice:

Here is our sufficiency. Our defense is in the preparation of the gospel. The Lord will give wisdom to all who ask Him but let those who are to work difficult and peculiar fields study Christ’s methods (Swk 76).

She had in mind a gospel initiative that taught people the truth about Jesus in order to counteract society and she knew that such a proposal was so dangerous that she had to say at the end of this letter:

I would not advise that this be published in our papers, but let the workers have it in leaflets, and let them keep their own counsels (78).

Her vision for Adventist mission was one that internally cherished and celebrated all human life, but externally was able to navigate all human depravity in order to undermine it: Spiritual Guerilla Warfare.

The Loud Cry

It was with this position in mind that Sr. White gave her counsel against open opposition to Jim Crow. Her thesis, to move in the way God had established, meant continued acts of spiritual subversion to racism and prejudice around the country. Now… The church ultimately rejected such a task and would create a segregation compilation of her words stripped of their power. For my purposes here, I must save that exposition for another article, but I would like to now expose what I believe to be Sr. White’s prophetic vision for what God’s Spiritual Guerilla Warfare was to produce. In “Proclaiming the Truth,” Sr. White lays out a prophecy that has been unfortunately neglected by this movement:

The men of talent among the colored believers are to be laborers together with God for their own people. And yet there will sometimes be opportunities for them to bear a testimony in tent meetings and in large assemblies, which will reach many, many souls. These opportunities will appear as the Southern field is worked and the loud cry is given. When the Holy Spirit is poured out, there will be a triumph of humanity over prejudice in seeking the salvation of the souls of human beings. God will control minds. Human hearts will love as Christ loved. And the color line will be regarded by many very differently from the way in which it is now regarded. To love as Christ loves, lifts the mind into a pure, heavenly, unselfish atmosphere (I9 209).

When we understand that Sr. White’s counsel from God was to strategically sustain the loud cry in the South, this prophetic utterance erupts into a staggering realization: The Seventh-day Adventist Church was meant to be a beacon for racial social justice in three key ways: By our Testimony, by remaining internally integrated, and by rebuking the sin of racism.

By our Testimony

Notice that the reason for training Black leaders was not just for them to effectively reach their own demographic, but that they could bear their testimony to the entire assembly. Sr. White envisioned that Black leadership would testify openly within our church about the struggles and the triumphs of African Americans living in America.

Internally Integrated

Sr. White expected that White laborers in the South would work under the principles of 1 Cor. 9:20-23. They were to never compromise their convictions that every person is created in the image of God. The loud cry is especially important here, because it is a call for God’s children to flee the fallen systems of Babylon (Rev. 18). The subversive message of the loud cry, in its very nature, undermines oppressive systems. Sr. White’s references to these two passages mean that she expected our church to operate internally integrated, and in doing so our external actions would ultimately subvert racism.

Rebuke the Sin of Racism

The internally integrated SDA church, with its externally subversive tactics, was to accompany the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, according to the Spirit of Prophecy, was to accompany the loud cry message that made clear the sin of racism and prejudice in this country. Unfortunately, that is not our history. We as Seventh-day Adventists marginalized, segregated, and fought against racial justice. And our actions in times of trial, when we should have stood up for our values, led to some of the most tragic moments in our church’s history — and I am thinking here of our hypocritical actions during WWII or our participation in the Rwandan Genocide. Of course, there have always been among the faithful those who took on unjust practices and brought comfort to the voiceless. Amen! But this prophecy speaks of the whole Seventh-day Adventist Church that would carry out this loud cry rebuke over social injustices.

A Prophecy for this Time

What I would like to suggest here is that it is not too late for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to take up its proper role in regard to social justice. I am convicted that if we as a movement had adopted Sr. White’s tactics for meeting the complexity of human bigotry, we would have in place an institution that was wholly integrated and equipped to meet this current crisis that befalls this country and the world.

Our leaders perpetuate the sins of our fathers by ignoring the clear counsel of our prophet. We can no longer avoid our clear responsibility to offer the loud cry message that includes the clear rebuke and action against all injustices that are before us. Although we missed numerous opportunities in the twentieth century, we need not miss this opportunity here and now. It is time for us to turn away from the theological bickering that threatens to turn this movement into another fallen institution. It is also time for us to reject the efforts of some to decentralize this church. It is time that we fully activate all our ministers (female and male; young and old) into the gospel work of reconciliation.

As we look upon the fires that are raging here in the United States and around the world. As we see the oppressive hand of Satan so bold and uncaring for humanity. Where are we? What are we doing? Where is our voice of protest against the enemy? To stand on the wall is to stand for racial justice. It is to stand for the cessation of all oppression. It is to reject the deception that America was ever great and to once again trumpet the proclamation that this system has fallen but we still have a Savior who is able to break every chain. Let us pray. Let us fast. And let us champion justice.

Jon-Philippe Ruhumuliza has a BA in Religion and a BA in history from Andrews University. He recently graduated with his Master of Theological Studies degree from Emory University: Candler School of Theology and is currently preparing for PhD studies. He is a proud and active member in the Decatur Seventh-day Adventist Church in Decatur, Georgia.

Image: The Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct building was set on fire on the evening of May 28, 2020. On the third evening following the death of George Floyd, Minneapolis Police Department officers abandoned the 3rd Precinct at around 10:00 p.m. Afterwards, protesters breached the building and then set it on fire. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

A most interesting read! Thanks.

We as Christians see the injustice taking place and often don’t know what we can do about it. Seems to me that we need to maintain a focus on respect. People are all God’s children, His creation, lives with value. The officers in Minneapolis did not see people that way so their minds were clouded with prejudice and abuse of power, in my opinion. The rioters in numerous cities do not see people with respect so their actions are clouded with rage and violence. Some protesters do not see all people with respect and favor some over others and their behaviors show selfishness and thoughtlessness. Within a matter of two weeks we have seen the true colors of humanity from the tier of law enforcement to the citizens of lawlessness, all an injustice. Satan is definitely amongst the world. We as Christians must keep our focus on respect or we can fall into prejudice very easily.

One of the most alarming events that I’ve ever seen is the momentary collapse of the 1st amendment that happened a few days ago close to a Church in D.C… It’s scary to think of it, guessing that it may have been just a little test of how far can people be abused and how much will they tolerate in terms of being denied Constitutional rights. I wonder if it was a “Pre Martial Law” experiment? A declaration of Martial Law is the most efficient way to ‘win elections’ without having elections…
Stay tuned!

I hope that when respected retired Generals start talking, active Generals will start thinking…

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you must think Truman should have listened to MacArthur in the Korean war

I know many who struggle to understand why protesters, as some phrase i,t poke at the hornets nest (police), and cry when they get stung.

Why are the police hornets one might ask, they are not animals of habit or nature but are men and women of conscience they are endowed with free will. When Cain killed Able God explained to Cain that the blood of his brother cried out to him for justice. We see the living now who have been denied justice crying out loudly, one can only imagine that of dead whose blood also cries out. How can we so casually disregard the voices throughout American history of those who have been and still denied justice?

It is this reason that those who have been treated unjustly protest to bring awareness to those who have not and for those who longer can.

The protest started precisely because of perceived and empirical evidence of police acts of injustice. In the case of Floyd his alleged crime did not rise to the moral standard of extrajudicial killing. In the case of the man who was pushed to the ground there is no evidence yet revealed that his actions warranted violent subduing. Indeed these were acts that violated the police code of conduct and as a result are being dealt with accordingly.

Going to a protest has its risks and one should be mindful of this. However when one who has answered the call to protect and serve view all but their own as a mortal threat and an enemy to be destroyed they have become the very thing that they were by oath to protect and defend the people against. By word and deed one demonstrates their true beliefs, traits of character whether they just or unjust.

By contrast consider that when second amendment rights protesters should up with all manner of weapons and approached police their response was not considered agitation and the hornets did not sting.

The Constitution provides for assembly and free speech just as much as the other rights (i.e. second amendment and others) we hold dear. It is also true that those who use protests as a cover to commit violent acts (looting, burning, battery and murder) should expect government authorities to act against them. By the same token those who assemble in accoradnce with lawful peaceful protest should not be subject to random acts of violence by these authorities.

Can we say that protests should be forbidden because some may subvert them by criminal acts or that government authority like the police must be abolished because some commit criminal acts? Only fool thinks so.

When the authorities however cannot discern friend from foe, basic right from wrong, follow orders that are morally abhorrent or inconsistent with their responsibilities and the Constitution they have abjured their oaths.

We must all be vigilant and remember that freedom is not free. The rights afforded to us by the Constitution must be upheld by both the government authority and the people. What we are witnessing is the fruit of apathy on the part of the people and incompetence of the government. These are the things which allow injustice and tyranny to take root and become so commonplace that neither government authority nor the people realize the danger.


What I think is far from being important.
Do you have an input, an opinion of that attack on the crowd that was exerting their right guaranteed by the 1st amendment?
Do you agree with General Mattis’ remarks on the incident, and on the “photo-oops?”…

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Pastor Dwight Nelson mentioned this quote from Ellen White in his sermon today:

“The desire to show their masterly authority over the blacks is still burning in the hearts of many who claim to be Christians, but whose lives declare that they are standing under the black banner of the great apostate. When the whites commit crimes, they are often allowed to go uncondemned, while for the same transgressions the blacks . . . are treated worse than the brutes. . . . Will not God judge for these things? As surely as the whites have brought their inhuman cruelty to bear upon the negroes, so surely will God’s vengeance fall upon them” (14LtMs, Lt 99, 1899). (emphasis mine)

Nothing has changed in 120 years! In the last year, we have seen high profile white criminals called “good men” and allowed to avoid prison sentences, while black men are killed in public before watching crowds. Adventists should consider that staying silent is not an option. 'You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem '. Why invoke God’s curse and vengeance?
‘Let the people of Meroz be cursed,’ said the angel of the Lord. ‘Let them be utterly cursed, because they did not come to help the Lord—to help the Lord against the mighty warriors. Judges 5: 23

the park police said they were some throwing bottles so I think theres a little more than !st ammendment rights at stake here. INo tear gas was used as jubilantly reported in the press

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I think the police officer was universally condemned and is facing trial-I dont think the justice dept would allow him to be hung in the square immediately. Dont know if there are many whites who think he is innocent or was justified in what he did


Where did you see this information? Fox News?
Yes, this is what someone said, but none of them could find any footage of people throwing something at them. On the other hand, CNN and MSNBC showed several footages showing how calm the crowd was; reporters also informed that they didn’t see anybody throwing anything at the officers.

In our days I bet there were hundreds of people with their phones videotaping the event. If something had been thrown at the officers, I am sure it would be quickly in the news, don’t you think so? Did Fox show any proof of people throwing objetcts at the officers?

Let’s keep looking for facts; there may be more in the next few days. Maybe next “photo-op” will be not holding the Bible upside down, or even reading something from the book of “Two Corinthians”… :wink:

As hard as it may seem let’s lurch away from our political biases and try to remember the Bible doesnt indicate the Little Horn is orange


"The officers in Minneapolis did not see people that way so their minds were clouded with prejudice and abuse of power, in my opinion. The rioters in numerous cities do not see people with respect so their actions are clouded with rage and violence. Some protesters do not see all people with respect and favor some over others and their behaviors show selfishness and thoughtlessness."

Well said…lack of empathy can exist in all the players in this sad occasion.


Really? You think nothing has changed I the past 120 years?

You mean, there wasn’t a Civil Rights Act. There wasn’t integration? There wasn’t efforts by various heros and leaders to bridge the perception gaps? There weren’t athletes like Jackie Robinson who went from fans and players spitting at them to earning their respect. There were no 50 years of Affirmative Action policies and dismantling of redlining. There were no welfare policies that gave boost those in poor black neighborhoods. There were no anti-discrimination laws and lawyers who are ready to file lawsuits. There wasn’t a boom in music industry that propelled black artists to a steady and consistent top20 positions in pop music. There were no American black icons developing as a process. There were no black billionaires and millionaires who built their businesses. There wasn’t black politicians at high political offices… including US President. And there aren’t any markers that we can compare like 60% of employed black women were working as house hold servants 50 years ago, and today 60% of black women hold white collar jobs while only 2% work in household servant position.

But you are right. Nothing has changed. Care to broaden your definition of “change” a bit? Or, perhaps, you are intending to forever keep the self-perception of black people as perpetually victimized by “superior whites”?


Mini sermon from Jocko is on the way

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Yes…a wonderful incident retold well. Humanity won.

For a little bit, until leadership failed it again. But there’s a moral lesson in how that story ended. We probably can do much better as individuals and communities looking out for each other than when we are mediated by people who tell us about our “identities”.

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Most, but no means all, of the necessary structural reforms in the US are color blind and would benefit the disadvantaged at the bottom of the ladder, whoever they are.

It just so happens that in many instances it’s the black community but one of the most neglected communities are the poor white working class of Appalacia.

I am talking about doing away with sub-state level police force’s, improved conditions to attract the right police, better selection processes and training of police, equal distribution of taxes across state level at least in funding education, access the basic affordable healthcare for all without completely socialising the system, a criminal justice system more akin to other developed countries that doesn’t impose ridiculously long sentences, liveable min wages and so forth…

Marches etc and fiddling at the edges of reform will make some difference but practical changes will produce much better outcomes than trying to force feed changes of mindset overnight.

More important than weeding out racists in terms of real and timely change is coming to grips with making structural reforms that many would decry as socialism in the US but not elsewhere.

The reality is that white middle class Americans have been too comfortable living with a cavernous disparity of living standards, no matter the color, and closing this gap may be harder than demonstrating one’s wokeness on social media.

Will people make the necessary structural reforms or take the knee off their brothers neck but pull back from paying him a decent wage etc.

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Yes. I’ve already heard that somewhere before. Oh, I remember! It was from my grandmother’s stories about the people who came and claimed that they were living too comfortable on their farm in Ukraine, and that it’s time for them to give up that comfort for the good of all.

I wonder who gets to decide what is the acceptable comfort level, without taking into account how much these people got to work for what they got? You?

I know that’s not what you mean to do, but at the same time I’m fairly certain people like Jacob Frey didn’t mean for it to come to the calls of disbanding the PD and refunding it before he promote “woke” rhethoric. These people are not woke. They are in a deep trance right now.

You have no idea the fire you guys are playing with now.

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Pretty much every other Western country has managed their own version of the decision making you refer to without too much complaint and hence don’t have millions of people in jail.