Calling Sin by Its Rightful Name
In the traditions of my life-long faith family--the Seventh-day Adventist Church--Ellen G. White stands head-and-shoulders above any other historical voice defining principles of life-style, theology, cultural mores, and social graces. Many tradition-oriented Adventists love to lift a judiciously chosen EGW quotation from her copious writings to reinforce their personal positions on a myriad of issues.
One often quoted passage comes from Ellen White's book Education, p.57.
The greatest want of the world is the want of men-men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.
Look carefully at this often misused statement from EGW, especially at the "call sin by its rightful name" phrase.
Notice that it is both preceded and followed by phrases that call for *personal* integrity *within* the heart of the godly man himself. Thus, the standard of calling sin by its rightful name is not to be directed outward at other sinners. Instead, it is recognition and confession of the sinfulness of our own fallen nature and our relentless proclivity to act out the desires of sinful hearts.
The Apostle Paul said it this way: "You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad" (Romans 2:1 NLT).
Jesus himself said, "Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" (John 8:7).
Let's admit it. We're ALL sinners standing in constant need of God's saving grace. None of us has the moral ground to point our fingers at someone else and accuse them of sinning. That is the exclusive right of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to bear witness to what God has done for us personally and individually. This is the gospel message that is to go to all the world (Revelation 14:6): "Jesus saves!"