Indepedence and domination are strongly developed, prominent characteristics of the present age. Though presenting contrasts, they are closely allied to each other, and force their way into the church; and just to the degree that either or both find entrance and a field of operation, is the safety and interest of the work of God imperiled. For the purpose of a careful and we trust profitable survey of these ruinous tendencies, it is well to consider them first as separate characteristics, and then as they relate to each other.
The Lord has given us counsel concerning the dangers attending the operating of independence, and if this counsel is heeded, catastrophe will be averted. The columns of The Ministry do not admit of the reprint of this timely admonition, but it is within the easy reach of every minister and worker in that well-known book, " Gospel Workers; " and I would request that before going on with this article the reader turn to pages 486-490, 443, 444, and note carefully every paragraph on those pages.
Having read as requested, it is now clear to the mind that the spirit of independence and self-direction in service among workers is entirely contrary to the Spirit of Christ and to His purpose for His church. An attitude of independence, of disregard for counsel on the part of the worker, carries with it, as stated, " grave danger to the prosperity of our work." It is also clear that for the worker to " neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people," And further, we are told, " For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by, and to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy, and overthrown."
When the spirit of independence takes possession of the heart of a worker, sanctified judgment and discernment are dethroned; for the spirit of independence is not of God, and cannot bring to the heart of the worker the wisdom from above. " The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way," is the promise found in Psalms 25: 9. Meekness and independence are opposites in character; sympathetic understanding and confidence are strangers to the spirit of independence.
While admonished to be on guard, and earnestly to contend against everything that savors of a spirit of independence and " pulling away from one another," there is held before the laborer the duty of exercising his own judgment and developing to the highest degree initiative in carrying forward the work to which he has been called. Never should the impression prevail that he is restricted in access to the Source of power and blessing when laboring under the direction of a committee. He should ever seek the Lord in earnest prayer for counsel, discernment, and for power and efficiency in his ministry. " The Lord desires His workers to counsel together, not to move independently." " Draw together, press together, draw in even lines," are words of counsel which should be heeded at this time.
God has established in His remnant church a system of organization through which has come great strength and blessing. Committees and boards have been duly constituted and vested with administrative authority for the direction of the work of God in the earth. God is working through His appointed agencies, and directing His work around the circle of the world through the organization He has established. Notwithstanding human frailties, and the mistakes of men in official positions, and in some instances the misuse of administrative authority, God is in this movement which is encircling the globe with light and power; and every worker in the movement, from the oldest to the youngest, should cultivate a high regard and wholesome respect for, and willingness to take counsel from, those who have been " appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership."
Washington, D. C.
(To be concluded)