Superiority!—The term "inferiority complex" is a familiar one. But the converse—"superiority complex"—is as verily a reality. It is strange indeed how men who can scarcely carry a tune can easily give forth dictums on sacred music; who have but a smattering of history, can unhesitatingly declare themselves on historical problems; who are not scientists, but tremble not to adjudge an article or book written by an expert; who have no literary gifts or training, but who blithely criticize the skilled products of others. And it is likewise a strange confidence that leads some who have but scratched the surface of theology or prophecy to assume to speak with finality. Let us nourish the admirable virtue of modesty, and recognize the confines of our own limitations.
Uncertainty!—Uncertainty possesses the world—uncertainty as to the past, the present, the future. The modern mind questions everything. It challenges everything. It has cast away its moral standards and its Guidebook. It has lost its bearings and is drifting blindly. And the spirit rife in the world about seeks to invade the church. This sinister uncertainty threatens to rob many Adventists of an effectual witness. They are not quite sure of their beliefs. They do not know. And this is not with reference to details wherein there is lack of decisive evidence, but of elemental truths and positions upon which, if we do not speak with certainty, we are gravely remiss as heralds of this specific advent message—the great prophetic outlines, the immovable historical foundations of this movement, and above all, such elemental verities as the assured nearness of the end, the sanctuary truth, and the gift of the Spirit of prophecy. God preserve the ministry of the advent movement from the blighting corrosion of uncertainty!
Friendship!—Distinction must be made, unfortunately, between the sincere friendship and comradeship that springs from wholesome attraction of soul to soul, with admiration of some noble trait of character or achievement of life, or even of pity for some worthy unfortunate who needs a friend, and that expediency that cultivates a friendship and an accompanying sense of obligation preparatory to seeking some favor, and which often lapses with the end achieved. Akin thereto is that patronizing of those in positions of authority and influence who may prove helpful in case of need, or whose disfavor would be disadvantageous. This detestable sort is a travesty, a utilitarian perversion of the beautiful scheme of friendship. Unfortunately, this spurious thing sometimes creeps into church matters, though it is contrary to the whole spirit of the gospel and consequently of this message.
Perils!—Solemn are the lessons of history. Every church that has struggled into being as the movement of God for a specific time and purpose, has, to this present moment, drifted or shifted from its founding platform of following the unfolding light of God, and the simplicity and candor of its early positions. Losing the ardor of its pioneer message and messengers, it has begun to conform to surrounding conditions and attitudes. It has codified and creedalized its beliefs, and driven in its stakes in protection against apostates and assailants. It has institutionalized and grown conservative. It has lost the basic evangelistic passion, and has become a great and efficient organization. Seriously and soberly should we review the history of past catastrophies, and brace against a fatal repetition in our own movement.
Institutionalism! —The very life of our movement as an expanding, evangelizing force, in harmony with our heavenly charter, is dependent upon unceasing and increasing emphasis on evangelism. The expansion of our lines is built upon fidelity to this basic principle. Our evangelists are our major constituency builders, our greatest producers. And an enlarging membership in both home base and foreign mission field is the designated program of this movement. We will swing to any overemphasis of institutionalism, with its consuming financial burdens, only at great peril to the fundamental objective of our commission. Let us observe the proper balance, keeping the evangelistic ministry sharply in the forefront.
Enlargment!—We have ample reason for expecting a large influx from honest truth seekers of every persuasion as the final issues are sharply drawn and men take their stand in the climax of the last great conflict of truth with error. Some of those who will join us are richly endowed by nature, training, or experience. Serious thought should be given as to adequately using such conspicuous recruits. At present we are not flexible enough to utilize them to advantage, when they have not grown up in our organization. They would feel cramped and ,restive, as is sometimes now the case. Should we not lay larger plans and expect greater things? The counsels of the Spirit of prophecy warrant, and common sense enforces, this thought. The hour is upon us for enlargement.
L. E. F.