"There is too much formality in the church. Souls are perishing for light and knowledge. We should be so connected with the Source of light that we can be channels of light to the world....Those who profess to be guided by the word of God, may be familiar with the evidences of their faith, and yet be like the pretentious fig tree, which flaunted its foliage in the face of the world, but when searched by the Master, was found destitute of fruit." - EGW
"A formal round of religious services is kept up; but where is the love of Jesus? Spirituality is dying." - EGW
"A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work....We must pray more, and talk less. Iniquity abounds, and the people must be taught not to be satisfied with a form of godliness without the spirit and power....We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world....Every temptation, every opposing influence, whether open or secret, may be successfully resisted, 'not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.'...Alas, what pride is prevailing in the church, what hypocrisy, what deception, what love of dress, frivolity, and amusement, what desire for the supremacy! All these sins have clouded the mind, so that eternal things have not been discerned." - EGW
"Without the presence of Jesus in the heart, religious service is only dead, cold formalism." - EGW
These were messages from 1887 and 1888 when Ellen White was noticing the love of many church members growing cold, and much formalism coming in. These solemn warnings preceded the great message of the General Conference in Minneapolis to the church of "Righteousness by Faith".
Indeed these messages could just as easily apply to the church today, yet we must be careful how we try to fix this problem. The pattern is that the pendulum swings from one extreme to another, never settling on a well-rounded view of God and Christianity.
With those in their 20's and 30's beginning to take the reigns of the church in hand, I have seen that, in trying to break away from the cold formalism that so permeates the church, many are swinging to the opposite, and equally dangerous, extreme.
Many proclaim that love for Christ is above all, and they're right. But they forget that Christ said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments.", John 14:15. They forget that scriptures say "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.", 1 John 2:4-5
Many proclaim that we must only have faith, and they are right. But they forget that scripture says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.", James 2:26
Let the young men and women in the Adventist church, or anywhere else, take special heed to these messages, and be wary of swinging to dangerous extremes. Usually the truth is found somewhere in the middle. God sends a well-rounded message to us through His word. Let us abide in that Word, for the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.