Emphasis!—Deep, original Bible study is lagging among us. This is noticeable in our literature. We seek to bestow literary skill and erudition upon the analysis and discussion of world conditions; but searching Bible study and exposition lag.
Needed! —That largeness of soul and breadth of mind that will recognize and respect the conscientious convictions of men who differ with us, recognizing that God uses varying personalities and diverse methods to His glory in order to appeal to different types of the human mind. Infallibility of judgment belongs only to Him who dwelleth in the heavens. Narrow prejudices and spiritual bigotry are not fitting in God's remnant church.
Exposition!—We need to give a more prominent place in our preaching to the expository sermon. There is a tendency in topical presentations, to wander away from the word and its basic message, and consequently to inject a heavy proportion of man's theories and opinions. Thus truth is liable to be distorted or misinterpreted. Expositional preaching fosters a greater knowledge of Scripture, and conveys more simple, Scripture truth.
Unseemly!—Wholesome humor undoubtedly has a proper place in human life, but that place is assuredly not in the sacred desk where solemn truth is being presented. Puns and witticisms injected into sober discourse are not only unsuitable, but unseemly. Cheap, humorous turns and flippant phrases brought in to provoke laughter are utterly incongruous in such time and place. They constitute a breach of ministerial etiquette, a reproach to the ministerial brotherhood, and an affront to the high-minded worshipers in the pew.
Agitate, Educate, Persuade!—Such is the program for every gospel worker in the current temperance issue. We must build up the moral force in the consciences of men. We are constantly to use "voice and pen," as well as "vote." Failure here is the cause of the present backset. Dependence upon the force of law instead of an educated conscience wrought the havoc, and herein is a lesson for us in gospel work. The same principle holds true in all matters involving restraint. Men must be led to keep the law of God from conviction and love rather than from a mere sense of compulsion, or from fear of punishment for violation. All such observance is but formal, legal, and transient, because not founded upon character, and is therefore unacceptable to God. We must build solidly here.
Persuade!—Our business is not merely to arrest the attention of men, to attract them, to convict or warn them; it is to move them to an acceptance of the "everlasting gospel." This is our goal. We are to persuade, win, secure them for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the purpose of our ministry, the object of the great gospel commission, the test of our stewardship of divine truth.
Stagnation!—Beware of the ministerial deadline—that point in many a preacher's life, visible to others rather than to himself, when he ceases to grow intellectually. From then on he either marks time or begins to retrograde. Such individuals are often perplexed over waning power and frequent changes resorted to by conference leaders in an attempt still to use them to advantage. But unless their course is stayed, from that moment they are headed toward the ranks of the "unprofitable," who are the first to be released in times of economic pressure, and the last to be taken on when times are brighter. This stagnation point often comes in middle life, but need not come at all. A continuously studious ministry is demanded in these undeniably strenuous and selective times. Read "Taking the Next Step," on page 15. It is not an advertisement, but an important announcement written upon request of the editors in the belief that it will interest and profit many of our workers.
Absurd!—To contend, as some have done, that the taking of lower animal life is an infraction of the larger intent of the sixth command of the decalogue, violates the law of logical reasoning and of sound sense, and is also contrary to the uniform testimony of Scripture. God never, either by oral permission or written code, gave liberty to violate principles and precepts of the moral law. But early in the history of the race authorization was given to slay clean animals for sacrifice and for food, and to use their skins for clothing; and for four thousand years a definite command imposed upon the individual the slaying of the sacrificial victim. However, the culminating evidence is the precept and example of Jesus in the various fishing episodes recorded in the Gospels, and in the preparation for the final Passover. Let there be no confusion here. Truth must not be strained to sponsor a strong personal antipathy against the taking of animal life. Carried to its logical conclusion, such a position would preclude the killing of destructive insect and animal pests, and even vermin. Reduced to this absurdity, the contention is too preposterous to merit further consideration.