Objectives!—Clear vision is needed today, with no blurring of objectives, issues, or relationships. We have one supreme mission in the world as a movement, and one divinely bequeathed commission for us as ministers. We have a specific work to do, a forsaken gospel to herald, a terrific warning to proclaim, and a basic reformation to effect. We are to prepare a people to meet God. Woe to him who is diverted onto a tangent, who muffles or distorts his message, or who contents himself with generalities or inconsequentials!
Imperative!—Personal piety is not a lawful substitute for human skill, when skill is required. We go not to a merely good—that is, godly—Christian doctor, when a difficult surgical operation is indicated. We seek out the best surgeon obtainable. We select not simply a good, earnest professor in history or the sciences, but the master of his subject, if we wish to obtain real knowledge in a special field. Thus also with the Bible teacher, editor, writer, or evangelist! Godliness is imperative in all spiritual work; but godliness was never designed to take the place of painstaking, extended, and adequate scholarly preparation. No, this is not minimizing piety; it is but giving reverent learning its rightful place.
Designated!—It is well that we watch the character and content of the evangelical literature produced by our authorized denominational presses. If or when an editor or author abandons or submerges our distinctive message, it is at the price of unfaithfulness to our definitely designated commission. Thereby he forfeits claim to the interest and support of the constituency of the advent movement. Message-less literature has no rightful place in our activities. We were never commissioned to compete with news venders of the world, but to interpret the news by God's word. We were never authorized to entertain or merely instruct the world, but to save the honest-hearted through winsome presentation of the all-encompassing provisions of the everlasting gospel. This is no narrow program, but it is a very definitely defined one.
Detrimental!—It is regrettable that in the zeal of some to promulgate the invulnerable truths of our message—such as the law, Sabbath, sanctuary, judgment, nature of man, Spirit of prophecy, and outline prophecies—unsound evidence is sometimes carelessly used, and unworthy argument as well. Regrettable as are these unfortunate instances, they in no way invalidate the truths involved. But they do tend to discredit them in the eyes of the informed and thoughtful, for such individuals naturally consider the truth presented in terms of the evidence submitted and the argument employed. It is thus that truth is "wounded in the house" of its friends.
Problems!—II is tragic when honest-hearted truth seekers fear to go to their comrades with problems for study. None should look askance at the man who is honest and sincere enough to recognize the existence of real problems, and who is seeking a loyal adjustment between reason and research, history and revelation. Occasion for such reticence is unwholesome. Bigotry should ever be banned, and suspicion curbed, for truth is paramount and invulnerable. We must know our platform and its foundations.
Phraseology!—Truth is vastly more than a matter of phraseology, and the deeper Christian life than a question of certain set phrases. Take, for example, a triumphant Christian experience. Some call it the "victorious life;" others, without the term, recognize and have the experience. Surely that is the essential thing. Then there is "revival and reformation." This is not a shibboleth, but a great and solemn need for the remnant church—else Spirit of prophecy stands impeached. There is no alternative. But God wants not lip assint to a theory, but a genuine transformation of life. The Lord Christ is coming. And unless His blessed righteousness is first received experimentally, all our profession, our formulas and activities, our knowledge of the theory of truth, and our claims to heavenly citizenship will be in vain. Let us not stumble nor haggle over phraseology, but seek the reality until we find it, and then lead others to the same blessed provisions of and for life.
Coordination!—An exemplification of coordination and unity was offered recently by the superb United States Marine Band. It was playing a glorious symphony, floodlights illuminating the majestic shaft of the Washington Monument in the background. Each musician was skilled, alert, responsive, sympathetic. All had but a single purpose. The leader was a master, -Ind blended the tonal effects into one coordinated whole. But the success of the rendition was the result of training, unity, submergence of individual starring, and absolute response to the leader's slightest indication. Here are lessons suggested that we may well ponder as we participate in God's "Great Gospel Symphony" now approaching its finale. The qualities which make the Marine Band supreme in its field are those imperative for the ministerial band of the remnant movement.
L. E. F.