By A.D. Bohn
During the first four years of my ministry I spent a large part of my time organizing new companies of believers in small cities and villages. The membership of these companies ranged from twenty to thirty, which made it possible for me to visit each individual at frequent intervals, and I experienced no difficulty in holding all within the fold. Later I was called to a church having a membership of one hundred seventy-five. There was a live interest awakened in the community, which kept me busy day and night, and resulted in the baptism of about fifty new members each year. It was not long until I realized that some of the new members were not attending the services, and I observed that they were losing ground. I at once set about getting into close touch with, these members, visiting as many as I possibly could myself, sending the Bible worker to call on some, and soliciting the aid of some of the faithful and tactful church members in reaching others. The blessing of God attended this personal visitation, and most of those who had become discouraged were brought back. I am fully persuaded that we must keep in touch with all who become members of the church, even though it necessitates a very busy program. For a period of at least six months after baptism, I endeavor to call on new converts at least once each week, except in special cases where a call every two or three weeks seems more appropriate. When this program is too large for me, I ask members of the church, usually church officers, to help me, and they do good work.
Bifocals of Missionary Vision
By J.W. Mace
There is danger that our missionary vision will become defective, in that we see more clearly at long range than close at hand; and it becomes essential at times to adjust our vision through the aid of bifocals, which clarify the field both far and near. While viewing the wide expanse of missionary territory across the seas, let us not overlook the neglected spots within immediate focus.
We must not lose sight of the magnitude of the closing gospel message. It is 'not merely to be proclaimed to groups of earth's inhabitants, such as nations, tribes, families, but it is to reach the individual, in the high, the low, the most obscure places, of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. And it is in behalf of the individual, rather than the masses, that our great personal ministry becomes effective in the finishing of the Lord's work.
In North America there are not only neglected cities, but also a vast number of neglected counties where the message has never been proclaimed. For example, in the three Eastern unions of the United States — the Atlantic, Lake, and Columbia — there are more than five hundred counties, many of them rural territory, where nothing is being done to reach the people with the truth. Here is a vast unwarned population right at our very doors. The headquarters of our conferences are usually established in the cities, and our summer tent and hall efforts are conducted in the larger cities. But what about the smaller cities and towns, and the rural districts the " hedges," the " hills," the " holes in the rocks "? Where are the " fishers " and the " hunters " whom God desires to send with the compelling message that " all things are now ready " and the Master bids them come to the feast?
Recently I was in southern Indiana. One of the appointments took me to one of the oldest churches in the denomination,— a small, weather-beaten structure, destitute of paint or repair. I was informed that the Sabbath congregation consisted of four Seventh-day Adventists, representing pioneer days. I was somewhat dubious as to the prospect of securing an audience for a Monday night meeting, and yet I was urged to go, as an announcement of the service had been published in the county paper, and the appointment must be met.
When we reached the little church, we were surprised to find the woods dotted with parked automobiles, and the church packed with people glad of an opportunity to attend a religious service in the community. Among the number present was the minister of one of the small local congregations of another church, who entered most heartily into the service. As I stood before that rural congregation, and in the dim light of the kerosene lamps and gasoline torch viewed the earnest expression on the faces of the people as they listened to the message of the soon coming of Christ, I was impressed as never before that the people in the rural communities are ready and waiting for the Lord's " hunters " and " fishers " to gather them into the kingdom.
As we left that little church and drove on through the country, we passed many small churches. Some of these had been transformed into garages or cider mills or storage houses; and some were standing, as they had for many years, with bolted doors impressive signposts of declining religious fervor. The conference Missionary Volunteer secretary told me of an effort made by one of their societies to hold meetings in one of these neglected churches. The young people chose a little brick church which had been closed for years, but was still in good repair, and began by visiting the farmers in the vicinity and explaining to them their desire to conduct religious services. The farmers welcomed the suggestion. They told the young people that recently it had been decided to tear down the church, but some were opposed to the plan, and had insisted on keeping the church building in repair, although they knew of no definite reason for doing so. The keys were turned over to the young people and they found everything in readiness to begin the meetings. The pews, so long unoccupied, made mute appeal for an audience, and the old organ responded with its notes of melody. At the first Sunday evening service the old church was surrounded by automobiles, and 165 interested people filled the building.
There can be no doubt of the fact that scattered through these rural counties there are scores and hundreds waiting for the light. In the majority of cases they are not attending church services anywhere, as the people find themselves beyond the boundaries of the city churches; and even if they made the attempt to go in to the city for church services, there is a tendency on their part to feel strange and odd among the members of city congregations.
We must go with the compelling message for this hour to every neglected spot throughout the whole earth, just as the members of the early church " went everywhere preaching the word." The unentered counties in the North American Division are calling to Seventh-day Adventists at this hour in no uncertain tones, and the call must be answered by the coming of the men and the women who are following the dictates of the Holy Spirit. Let us bear this message to the little churches.
Takoma Park, D. C.
Creation Vindicated by Modern Science
By George McCready Price
The ancient Greeks taught the eternity of matter, or the uncreatedness of the stuff of which the world and universe are composed. They attributed the physical evil of suffering and death, and the moral evil that we call sin, to something being wrong with the stuff of which the world and universe are composed. When chemistry became established, and the law of conservation of matter was discovered, it was thought, by many scientists, that the theory of eternity of matter was confirmed. Newton's law of universal gravitation, together with the law of the conservation of energy, discovered about the middle of the nineteenth century, seemed to support the view held by some, that the universe is a great self-running machine, grinding away with horrid iron laws, fatalistic in their awful gloom, without design or purpose; and that, if there were a God at all, He is so far back in the shadow that nothing can be learned concerning Him through nature.
But the newer discoveries in physics and astronomy are changing all this, particularly the discoveries connected with radioactivity, which had their origin about thirty years ago. It is now made very clear that the subatomic world is not subject to these conservation laws of matter and of energy which prevail among gross bodies. These laws are still all right in their place, but are now known to be merely statistical laws, and have nothing whatever to do in supporting the theory of the eternity of matter and the doctrine of determinism which so strongly prevailed during much of the nineteenth century.
A. S. Eddington, in his recent book entitled, " The Nature of the Physical World," makes the following statements: " On the scientific side a new situation has arisen. It is a consequence of the advent of the quantum theory that physics is no longer pledged to a scheme of deterministic law. Determinism has dropped out altogether in the latest formulations of theoretical physics, and it is at least open to doubt whether it will ever be brought back."
Regarding the supposed eternity of matter, that theory has also been discarded. Radioactivity proved that some kinds of matter, and perhaps all, are disintegrating, and the disintegration results in radiation, which eventually vanishes into space. And science does not know of any instance where the opposite process, or the building up of matter out of radiation, has been observed occurring by either a natural or an artificial process. It is now taught that the radiation from the sun and stars is due to the disintegration or the annihilation of matter.
Sir J. H. Jeans, secretary of the Royal Society, states: " The fundamental process by which radiation is released is the falling into one another of a pair of oppositely charged electric particles. When this happens, the particles annihilate one another and disappear."
He also states: " The universe is like a clock which is running down; a clock which, so far as science knows, no one ever winds up, which cannot wind itself up, and so must stop in time. It is at present a partially wound-up clock, which must, at some time in the past, have been wound up in some manner unknown to us."
And this eminent man of science, in his book published in 1928, does not hesitate to draw the inevitable conclusion that all these things point to the absolute creation of matter at some period in the past. He says: " Everything points with overwhelming force to a definite event, or series of events, of creation at some time or times, not infinitely remote. The universe cannot have originated by chance out of its present ingredients, and neither can it have been always the same as now."
I am sure that we as Sabbath keepers, who believe in the memorial of a literal creation, and that God is sending a special message to call the attention of the world today to the great truth of creation, cannot but rejoice in the statement made by a man who stands at the very forefront of the scientific world. One thing is certain, — belief in a literal creation in the beginning stands in far better scientific company today than was the case a few years ago.
Berrien Springs, Mich.