The Autumn Council held in Omaha, Nebraska, last October recommended that a marked "home base advance" be attempted during 1932. We have often talked of making advances in mission lands, and have rejoiced when new tribes were entered, new languages mastered, and new churches established as memorials for God. But we have not heard so much in regard to advancing into new fields in the countries constituting our home bases.
The need, however, of advance is just as great in these countries as in heathen lands. This fact is clearly pointed out in the following recommendations, passed by the Council. Each worker is urged to reread carefully the recommendations appearing in the Review of November 26, 1931, pages 15 and 16, especially the preamble and sections 1 and 2.
Surely this is timely counsel to our conferences. These cities and towns where we have no churches are just as much a part of the vineyard of the Lord as are the sections where our established centers are found. And certainly it is in the order of God that these places should be evangelized. Many times has our attention been directed to this great need. Let us read again the following earnest appeals:
"Look, I beg of you, at the many, many places that have never yet been even entered. Look at our workers treading over and over the same ground, while around them is a neglected world, lying in wickedness and corruption,—a world as yet unwarned."—"Testimonies," Vol. VII, p. 103.
"Place after place is to be visited; church after church is to be raised up. Those who take their stand for the truth are to be organized into churches, and then the minister is to pass on to other equally important fields."--p. 20.
"Open new fields, is the word from the Lord."—Id., Vol. VI, p. 416.
Years ago the servant of the Lord was shown a map of the world which revealed His plan for the dissemination of His truth among men. In relating this experience she said:
"I seemed to be in a large gathering. One of authority was addressing the company, before whom was spread out a map of the world. He said that the map pictured God's vineyard, which must be cultivated. As light from heaven shone upon any one, that one was to reflect the light to others. Lights were to be kindled in many places, and from these lights still other lights were to be kindled.. . . I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world."—Id., Vol. Ix, pp. 28, 29.
Think of it! God's plan calls for a memorial in every city and village. There should be no "desolate cities" where there are no representatives of God's truth. The whole earth should be illuminated with the glory of the message.
But let us look at the other side of the picture. The Lord's servant continues the narrative thus:
"Then this map was removed, and another put in its place. On it, light was shining from a few places only. The rest of the world was in darkness, with only a glimmer of light here and there. Our Instructor said: 'This darkness is the result of men's following their own course.' "—Id., p. 29.
We may well ask ourselves, Which of these maps most accurately represents the present situation in our work? In some sections most of the cities have memorials for God, but there are many States and provinces in which scores and hundreds of cities and towns can be found that are still without representatives of the advent message. We have passed them by. We have been so engaged in the places where we have established work that these others have been forgotten. But here are millions of blood-bought souls to whom we are under bonds to give the message of the soon-coming Saviour. Surely the word of the Lord through Isaiah on this point is pertinent:
"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited." Isa. 54:2, 3.
This program may call some of our pastors of city churches away from their established parishes for certain portions of the year to raise up believers in new places; but if these periods are chosen between campaigns, this work can be carried on without serious interference with the regular pastoral duties of the church. Church elders can carry a large part of the leadership in the churches during the absence of their pastors, and thus the church work will not suffer. Young ministers who do not carry heavy pastoral duties should be able to spend most of their time in this pioneer work. Capable laymen should also be encouraged to conduct small efforts in homes and halls, and our entire membership should be encouraged to assist in thus establishing the banner of truth in every place where it has not been unfurled hitherto.
Let us definitely plan for this "home base advance." These "desolate cities" must hear the warning before the Lord comes. Why not give it this year?
"Washington, D. C.