Problems That Persist

Thoughts from the editor.

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

We wonder if simplification is not one of the crying needs of the hour,— simplification in personal tastes and requirements, simplification in our conference and institutional expenses, simplification in our elab­orate activities and churchly services, yes, even in our teachings. And we wonder if simplification does not come only as the result of spiritual­ization of the individual.

We wonder if, the advent expectancy isn't being crowded too far into the future when men speak of what will happen " twenty-five years hence," or of our little children's "finishing college and getting into the work," or of " doubling our membership in thirty-five years," and similar expressions. Is it simply thoughtlessness? or is it the mouth speaking out of the abundance of the heart?

We wonder if we should rest satisfied with the dent we are making on the consciousness of the world. Time is far spent and our task is unfinished. The generation is nearly past, and men and women are being born faster than we are reaching the living, despite our growth. Ought not this message to be stirring whole cities around the world? Ought it not to be the theme of world conversation? O God, give us power and greater results!

We wonder if emphasis on the great fundamentals of the spiritual life and sound doctrine, would not crowd minor, moot points into the background of silence where they belong. There is no conflict between the spiritual and the practical, or the spiritual and the doctrinal; but there is a profound conflict between the essential and the nonessential, the vital and the inconsequential. Hasn't the hour come for this prin­ciple to become more fully operative?

We wonder just what it will take to awaken and jar us, as workers, from attitudes of ease and contentment with things as they are, to the most intensive and persistent searching for things as they ought to be. Without the living voice of the Spirit of prophecy to check or spur, to encourage or repress, should we not to a man become the most ardent students of the Bible and the Testimonies to catch the revealed will of God? And do we not need more " knee-ology " than theology?

We wonder, if the expression " lecture " is not the only name that can be rightfully given many evangelistic deliverances. Assuredly they are not sermons. Though historic, prophetic, and Biblical in content and intent, they cannot be rightfully classed as preaching. There is a deadly accuracy in that word " lecture." Hard and heavy, cold and convincing, there is little to warm,the life that has been chilled by sin, little to soften the hard spirit or to comfort the heavy heart. Such presentations fur­nish the basis for an intellectual assent. They offer incontrovertible evidence. They present a system of religious belief. But what the souls of men are dying for is the saving gospel. Is there not too much separation between the two?                                                                             

L. E. F.

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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

January 1930

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