Editorial Keynotes

Our Purpose in the World

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

The hour comes in every reformatory movement when, with its founding fathers all sleeping in their graves, and a new generation of leaders in respon­sibility facing new and unprecedented conditions, it must review its founding purpose and determine anew that nothing shall deflect from that original course and objective. It comes, as it were, to an inev­itable fork in the road. It must either go on with undeviating purpose, or swerving from that course, begin from that moment to lose its distinctive character and impelling force. Its primal objective must, in such an hour, be re­studied and reaffirmed, else its witness becomes blurred and ineffective, and its power will in­evitably wane. Thus it degenerates into just another of the impotent compromises in the field of truth. The history of Protestantism is replete with tragic examples of such deflections from the founding purpose.

That we as a people have reached such an hour of review and reaffirmation, will become increasingly clear to all who give it thought. Let us scan briefly our present position. As is well known, the early pioneers are all gone. Their stanch convictions were wrought out through the process of welding into one co­ordinated whole the truths that constitute our message. These were indelibly stamped upon their very souls through vivid personal expe­rience. This experience spanned the unparal­leled '44 movement, with its bitter disappoint­ments, superseded by the discovery of impreg­nable truths timed for disclosure with the precision of eternity,—the Sabbath, the sanctu­ary truth, and the gift of the Spirit of prophecy.

The majority of the pre-'44 advent leaders, however, who had associated with William Miller, turned back from the unfolding light. A titanic test came. The issue, involving the separation of certain prevalent errors from the truth of God, resulted in many a conflict, many a scar. These pioneers of this message gave their all, their very lives, that this last gospel message, based on the full threefold commission of Revelation 14, might come into being. And now these men are gone.

We constitute the new generation, or group, that has come onto the stage of action. These precious truths have been bequeathed by them to us as a sacred legacy, but without that untransferable personal experience which made them mean so much to them. We must now go on with the banner of truth, or we shall go back. We must complete the task they so nobly began. We must consummate the movement they initiated, else we shall retrograde and lose our distinctive purpose in the world, and so be­come just another of the Fundamentalist move­ments, and fail to fulfill God's designated pur­pose for us in the world. Surely this will not, nay, it cannot be!

There are dangers, however, that persistently dog our footsteps. There are tendencies that struggle for a foothold among us. It is so easy for our interest and concern to become dispro­portionately centered upon the mechanics of the work with which we are personally connected, and so forget its essential relation to the finali­ties of the plan of redemption. It is likewise easy for us to confuse accessories with funda­mental objectives in our gospel program. Let us review a few typical perils that we need to rec­ognize and which we should seek diligently to avoid.

We are not here to build up an intricate sys­tem of dogmatic and systematic theology, with its philosophical ramifications, patterned after the worldly churches. We are to proclaim the simple "everlasting gospel," recovered from the obscuring, perverting traditions of the Catholic and Protestant churches—perversions accumu­lated through the centuries. This gospel we are to ring forth so as to herald the last things, embraced under the scope and authority of the threefold message.

We are not here to build up costly and com­plicated organizations. All earthly structures, even in the church, will soon pass away. We are planning to leave this old world soon, not to stay on here for centuries.

We are not here to build up vast institutions. These piles of brick and stone that are designed to be a benediction to mankind now, will all be consumed in the impending fires of the great day of God. We are to use them only as agen­cies or instrumentalities.

We are not here to build up a great educa­tional system competitive with the world, and designed to match its philosophy. The basic urge in our training should be to finish our mis­sion on the earth, and to develop that character that shall fit the soul to pass through the great final test about to come upon all the world.

We are not here to vie with the vast human­itarian enterprises functioning impressively all about us, only as worthy features shall serve as adjuncts to the one primal purpose of reaching the hearts of men with our witness. The world will care for the other.

We are not here to blend into Protestantism's plans for the hour; to find a, place in the Fed­eral Council of Churches, nor an allotment in their mission program. We have a commission direct from heaven that transcends all human authority, let, or hindrance. We stand apart and distinct from all these alliances.

We could continue at length, but must for­bear.

What, then, is our purpose on earth? We are here to give a specific message to men just prior to, and as the preparation for, the second coming of Christ. That message is unique, and its specifications are clearly re­vealed. It proclaims the work of final judg­ment, now nearing its end, and announces the impending close of Christ's priestly ministry in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, which will terminate forever God's overtures of mercy to humanity. It is the most startlingly solemn message ever committed to men. It creates a responsibility never before placed upon any body of people. Moreover, our work will terminate differently from all previous movements. Others planned for a place with the righteous dead; we look for speedy deliver­ance through translation. They rightly ex­pected the overtures of mercy to remain open to their dying day; we know that human proba­tion will soon close by divine decree.

We are, here to complete a given task, before our deliverance. Previous agencies built for those who were to follow them; we are not to bequeath our work to other hands.

We are here to proclaim the hour of God's judgment now in solemn session, with the standard of that judgment flaunted by the reli­gious world, and man's relationship to the Sab­bath precept of that standard—which has been a recognized issue through the ages—becoming in these last days the supreme sign of human loyalty or rebellion as relates to the Creator of the universe.

We are to protest and warn against the moral fall of Christendom, because of the retention or adoption of manifold moral and spiritual per­versions ascendant in the popular churches. This means a separation, a conflict that never ceases, a spiritual war that terminates at last in the literal death decree for the saints be­ cause they will not compromise 'or capitulate.

This, then, constitutes the issue. It is foretold in prophecy, and is based upon proph­ecy. Will we meet it, or retreat? Will we go on to perfection, traveling the appointed road, seeking an ever fuller concept of God's change­less truth, repudiating every deviation from that truth discovered, embracing every addi­tional ray of light cast by our Lord upon the pathway, or be turned aside? That is the cru­cial question. There can be but one answer. We must not, cannot, and by the grace of God will not fail. We dare not trim our message, soften our witness, nor blend into the religious world about us. To do so would spell, spiritual disaster and everlasting death. God is count­ing on us, and we will not disappoint Him.

L. E. F.

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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

November 1933

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