Forward and Upward

Articles for inspiration, counsel, and caution

By Meade Macguire

By F.D. Nichol

By O. Montgomery

J.H. Schilling

Motives — and Destiny

By Meade Macguire

A man's eternal destiny will not be decided simply by what he believes, for thousands believe the Scriptures, but do not obey their teachings. Nor will it be decided by his outward con­duct, for he may feel like indulging every evil propensity, yet restrain him­self from fear of consequences. But his destiny will be decided by the great underlying motive from which his thoughts, words, and actions spring.

The author of " History of Christian Missions in China," makes the follow­ing very comprehensive statement con­cerning the Itiddhist religion: " Bud­dhism gives as its motive for action, not love for God, but the desire for one's own salvation." I am impressed with the fact that the spirit of the Buddhist is not confined to the Orient. In the Christian religion, all the thoughts and acts of a man's life spring from his love for God. No act is per­formed with the idea of meriting or securing salvation. He leaves that with God. He is not thinking of him­self, but of the One he loves. The Buddhist's motive centers in himself. His great concern is saving himself; and he performs all his religious serv­ices with the hope of making sure his own salvation.

It may be worthwhile to ponder: Am I a Christian or a Buddhist?

Modesto, Calif.

Truth and Trustworthy Evidence

By F.D. Nichol

Every week there comes to our desk a great variety of journals. Not in­frequently we read some article that presents a very powerful line of evi­dence and argument in regard to a certain proposition. We feel confident that the position taken by the author cannot be overthrown. And with to small interest we wait to see what will be the comment of other journals that we know hold a different view on the subject.

Sometimes there is a candid reply acknowledging the force of the general argument. But more frequently the reply will ignore the main outline of evidence,— for it is too strong to at­tack,— and will pick out some unfor­tunately worded phrase, some doubtful historical statement, or some ques­tionable bit of reasoning, and hold it up to ridicule. The objective, of course, is to convey the impression that the whole line of argument is no stronger than the little piece that is being held up for scrutiny. This is a favorite method of reply, and is gen­erally very effective, because those who read the criticism have not, in most instances, read the article that is being attacked. They unwittingly are led to believe that it is all as ridiculous or as unsupported as the fragment that has been cited.

The more powerful the case in behalf of a proposition, the more certain is it that this method of attack will be used. And the more militantly a proposition is set forth, the more certain are its adversaries to scrutinize every line to find some statement that can be made the butt of ridicule or invective, or perhaps even of a pompous piece of reasoning.

Now this fact has a very real im­portance to Seventh-day Adventists. We not only make out a most excellent case in behalf of our views, but we set forth our proofs as we may properly do— with great vigor. The result is that we are subjected to the sort of attack here described. When we have read in some journal, or perhaps in a special pamphlet, a reply to some Sev­enth-day Adventist worker's doctrinal statement, we have been mortified to find betimes that occasion has been afforded for our adversaries to riddle a particular part of the logic or evidence.

To denounce our adversaries as ene­mies of righteousness because of such tactics, may relieve our souls a little, but will not undo the damage that has been done to the cause. Our task is to be sure of our every statement, his­torical and logical, before we rise up impressively to declare that we have the truth, and that, by inference, all others are mistaken in their belief.

We need to make a clear distinction in our minds between the basic doc­trines we believe, and the arguments and evidence we employ to expound and defend those doctrines. It does not follow that because a doctrine is true therefore every argument used to support it is also true. The argu­ment does not acquire sanctity or in­fallibility simply because of its asso­ciation with an inspired doctrine. To this, all will theoretically agree. Yet unconsciously we are likely to attach a peculiar value to any line of reason­ing employed in support of doctrine. If the piece of reasoning is sound, well and good; but if not, and our adver­saries expose its fallacy, there is likely to arise in the minds of many the idea that the doctrine itself is in a class with the particular piece of fallacious reasoning.

We might state the matter in this way: Our primary doctrines, such as the second advent; the Sabbath, life only in Christ, et cetera, are so many mighty pillars. The arguments, the evidence, the illustrations we employ, are so many paths over which we en­deavor to bring men to a, close contact with and acceptance of these doctrines. Now the pillar is one thing and the path leading to it is another. But if we have laid one of these paths over a piece of treacherous ground, or con­tinuing the metaphor, perhaps by bridging a chasm, and have failed to re-enforce the bridge work sufficiently, great trouble is likely to arise. An enemy will point out the weakness of the underpinning, and perhaps even shake it a little while the traveler is journeying over. The very likely re­sult will be that the traveler will turn back. Yet this need not have occurred, for there are enough safe and solid paths over which we might have guided the traveler.

As guides to truth, our constant work should be to discover which paths of approach to a doctrine are absolutely solid and which are not. Nor should a guide risk leading men over an un­steady path, simply because this par­ticular route has long been used. Time and weather — to speak figura­tively -- may serve to make dangerous a bridge that formerly was only weak. And on the other hand, we should be slow to build new paths to the pillars of doctrine until we are certain that every bit of the ground is solid.

Let us therefore ever maintain a clear distinction in our minds between the pillars of truth and the various paths of argument, evidence, and illus­tration, over which we bring people to the truth. And let us be slow to ques­tion the sincerity and soundness of a fellow guide who doubts the wisdom of employing certain avenues of ap­proach to a doctrine. Happily there is not necessarily any close relation between the foundation of a highway to a doctrine and the foundation of the doctrine itself. It should be possible to examine the one without endanger­ing the other. Let us continually af­firm our faith in the eternal stability of the doctrines, but let us ever be studying to improve the paths that lead to them.

Washington, D. C.

The Successful Minister

1. Keeps personal connection with Christ strictly intact.

2. Is fervent in secret prayer.

3. Filled with the Holy Spirit; lives the life of faith.

4. Exerts a pious and godly influence.

5. Is directed by God in his work.

6. Recognizes himself a debtor to his fellow men.

7. Thirsts for knowledge and studies diligently.

8. Is ever ready to impart knowledge.

9. Possesses adaptability.

10. Is inventive.

11. Uses tact.

12. Is thorough in all he does.

13. Maintains an impartial attitude among colleagues and in dealing with churches under his care.

14. Is able to make quick decision.

15. Produces fruit which remains.

16. Is an organizer and leader in ever-enlarging church activity. The minister who possesses these faculties, and uses them wisely and carefully, will always have good suc­cess in his work for God.

J.H. Schilling.

London, England.

The Kind of Recruits Needed for the Mission Field

By O. Montgomery

The kind of recruits needed for the mission field are just the kind needed for the home field. The qualifications to which special emphasis is here given are only a few of the out­standing traits of character which, by the grace of God, must be developed more and more strongly in every Chris­tian worker who would successfully meet the requirements of service!

1. Men of God.— They must know God experimentally, and know Jesus as a sin-pardoning, soul-cleansing Sav­iour; they must know and be firmly established in the truths of the third angel's message.

2. Men of Prayer.— They must know how to pray, how to prevail in prayer, and live the prayer life; they must, like John Russ, know by per­sonal experience that " prayer changes things."

3. Men of Vision.— They must see clearly, and in right proportions and relationships, the needs of the hour, and have an understanding heart of what Israel ought to do. Where there is no vision, there is no burden; where there is no burden, there is no sacri­fice; where there is no sacrifice, there is no reward.

4. Men of Strong Character.—There must be integrity which will not admit of compromise with evil,— strong mind, loyal heart, determined pur­pose,— unyielding to the subtle tempta­tions which the enemy brings to bear upon the Christian worker in mission lands.

5.  Men of Adaptability.— There must be quick adjustment to new con­ditions, associations, environment, customs, and manner of living.

6.  Men of Initiative.— They must not only see what needs to be done, but set about to the task, directing their own efforts wisely and successfully.

7.  Men Capable of Good Teamwork. — There must be harmonious and strong pulling together with others.

8.  Men of Humble Mind.— A teach­able spirit is essential; they must be without the semblance of a feeling that " I know it all."

9.  Men Who Can Endure Hardness. — Adverse conditions, unfavorable cir­cumstances, limited equipment, meager facilities,— all these must be endured with courage, fortitude, and joy.

10. Men With Skilled Hands.— They must be willing to attempt anything that needs to be done, and be able to do it well.

11. Men Who Love the People.—When " the love of Christ constrain­eth," the most ignorant and benighted quickly understand and respond to such ministry of love.

12. Men Who Are Able to Learn a Difficult Language.— People in mission lands are to hear every man speak the gospel message in their own tongue, and diligent study for mastering a difficult language is a first essential.

13. Men of Good Health.— Vigorous strength, which is the accompaniment of good health, is a large factor in suc­cessful ministry anywhere, and it is a most important factor in foreign service.

14. Men of Experience.—Recruits for the mission field should be gov­erned by the admonition of Paul to Timothy, when he said, " Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." A few years of successful service in the homeland is very desirable.

15. Men of Discernment and Guid­ance.— There must ever be maintained a high regard for the opinion and judgment of other workers. " In the multitude of counselors there is safety."

Washington, D. C.

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By Meade Macguire

By F.D. Nichol

By O. Montgomery

J.H. Schilling

January 1930

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