Essentials! — After all, the great essentials of salvation are those that can be grasped by toe limited capacity of a child, an untutored heathen, or a dying soul to whom the intricacies of our elaborate system of doctrinal and prophetic interpretation cannot possibly be unfolded. There are many things that are interesting, helpful, and proper, but are not essential to salvation. One's salvation is not dependent upon a special interpretation of the king of the north, the "daily," or other controverted points. There are scores of related questions that have little or nothing to do with salvation. Shall we not therefore in our public presentations through evangelism elevate to their proper place of relative importance these essential principles of personal salvation ?
Responsibility! — Take your pencil and jot down the net increase in membership in your field. Divide this by the total number of evangelical workers, and you will find the average net increase per evangelical laborer. Does the result alarm you ? Then ask yourself this series of questions : Dare this continue? What is my personal contribution to this total ? While gross additions of such and such a number have been recorded in my church, district, or conference, how many have been dropped? How many have apostatized? What, then, is my net worth to this movement? These are transcendent questions that demand a personal as well as a collective answer.
Preeminent! — When we gather in institutes, conventions, or councils, what is the transcendent question? About what does the discussion center? Is it plans, methods, slogans, expedients — or a right relation to the Holy Spirit, so that He can do His blessed work to the full through us? " But," inquires Brother Practical, " are not these other things proper and essential ? " Eminently so. But this plea is that in all proper things, the spiritual shall have pre-eminence.
Conduct! — How significant that the breath of scandal is never whispered concerning certain men, while there are periodic rumors afloat about others. There is a reason,— there is no opportunity for remarks about this former group. Barely is a minister the subject of designing scandalmongers determined to besmirch an innocent character. One's conduct controls the whole situation. So walk that we shall not stumble, nor shall others stumble over us.
Changed! — We are inclined to hold to the methods of the fathers of this movement, forgetting that conditions among men have changed as truly as modes of transportation have been revolutionized. The mental attitude and the spiritual experience of this generation are radically different from the past. Bven so must our approach be different. Often the children of this world are wiser than the children of light.
Consistency! — Strange, isn't it, how loyal a man may be to the spirit of prophecy, and how freely he quotes it in substantiation of the things that appeal to him as necessary and important, and yet how easily he overlooks portions that condemn his favorite schemes and indulgences as if there were no counsel thereon?
O for consistency ! Let us either follow the entire counsel, or be more modest in presenting the citations we choose to use.
Harmony! — There is no antagonism between doctrinal truth and spiritual life. We live the life because we stand on the granite foundations of understood eternal verities. It is the one without the other that is defective, partial, perilous. God forbid that we should for an instant minimize the distinctive truths that have kept and must keep us a separate people. Blessed, harmonious provision designed of God for this hour!
Fidelity! — How often truth is wounded in the house of its friends through the parrotlike repetition of unsound evidence, unchecked " facts," and easy assertions. We who present the truth must do it with scrupulous fidelity to fact.
Far-fetched interpretations have no rightful place in this movement. Let every use of the 'Word be in harmony with context and intent of the chapter and book, and with the teaching of the whole Scriptures. Let historical allusions be verified from standard authorities. There is so much loose chaff afloat to-day that it is possible to " prove " anything, if one is indifferent about whom he quotes.
Let us command the./admiration of even our enemies for our veracity, fairness, scholarship, and fidelity to truth.