Simplicity!—The gospel worker should be an indefatigable student. He should think deeper, farther, and more fully than his auditors are prepared or asked to follow. He should always be on the alert to add to his store of knowledge. His background of information, as a reserve, should, to be most effective, be manyfold more than he ever uses publicly. But while all this is true, it is not only unLecessary, but most unwise, to place the deeper and more complex thoughts before one's auditors, or before less experienced associates. They would, because of their limitations, only be confused and harmed by such a course. Simplicity, and emphasis upon essentials, should mark our public work. And the essentials we should stress are comparatively few, but foundational. Recognition of this restrictive principle is essential.
Odium!—Winsome dignity should characterize the public witness of the Seventh-day Adventist ministry, both oral and written. Everything for dissemination should be worthy of this message, and in harmony with its spirit. All that is crude, and that causes a revulsion on the part of the refined and thoughtful, is wholly out of place. No one need repulse in order to warn, nor disgust that he may impress. All that is done should be upon a high spiritual and ethical plane. Coarse thrusts, crude poetry, loose expressions, and repulsive exaggerations have no rightful place in the publicizing of our message. Emphatic disapproval of such transgressions should be registered by fellow workers, as such individual conduct disgraces us all. Some think they are inflicting a telling blow against error, when they are but making themselves ridiculous in the eyes of all save a few flatterers. They are cheapening truth, lowering the message in the eyes of the public, and bringing odium upon their fellow workers. 0 that some candid friend would hold up a faithful mirror before such, that they might see how ridiculous and disgusting they appear to others! We should take seriously the solemn responsibility accepted through ordination, and maintain our work undeviatingly upon a plane that will merit approval by Christ Himself.
Press Cards!—Designed to be a blessing through legitimate and profitable use, ministerial press cards become a curse when abused through misuse. Created to advance, and only to advance, the message, they do immeasurable harm when prostituted to secure admission to places a worker in this cause has no moral right to enter. Something is decidedly wrong with the spiritual life and vision of a preacher who presumes to venture into places where angels turn back at the threshold. And to thus use a denominational press card for illegitimate ends, should not pass without rebuke and proper discipline. Something is fundamentally wrong with the ideals and viewpoints of one who consents to such a practice.
Confessional!—No man is either commissioned or authorized to set up a confessional for the introspective, or to encourage people to tell their difficulties to the human ear. Sins should be confessed to God. But sometimes sins involve inescapable human relationships, and the one in difficulty knows not which way to turn. Sometimes one person's problems involve some other person or group, or possibly there is a complication that involves the law, such as theft. True conversion means a right-about-face. It involves confession and restitution, the making of things right so far as is humanly possible. This at times necessitates human counsel, or even the services of an intermediary. In such instances, the true minister should be prepared to serve; but he should never violate the confidence reposed in him as a minister of God. A good rule is to ask the inquirer if he understands what to do; and if he does, will he do it? You could state that you have no desire to intrude upon the privacies of his life or to have him confide them to you; but if he does not know what to do, and must have help, you stand ready to do what you can. Enunciate general principles that will guide in cases of this nature. There are people all around us, young and old, who are in desperate need of help. God help us to reach them.
Accountability!—Ours is a special witness to the world. Ours is the giving of a distinctive message to mankind. And we shall be held accountable to just the degree that its distinctiveness is blurred, hidden, or lost from sight. We have the most momentous warning against the combined apostasy of Catholicism and Protestantism, ever committed to man. We are accountable for its faithful enunciation.
Strange!—Occasionally, when we hear a distorted and unjustifiable pressure upon goals or pennants,—with the fundamental appeal to local pride, emulation, shame, competitive rivalry, and kindred unworthy motives, instead of the consuming love of Christ and a passion for perishing souls,—we cannot keep the words, "strange fire," from thundering in our ears. This we know: that such an emphasis closes instead of opens many a pocketbook. If the mind of the Spirit were expressed, what would be the rebuke?
L. E. F.