Remarkably constructive and spiritual Autumn Council has just closed. Marked by reformatory action and wise provision, the full story of its value will be told only by the days to come. But there is rejoicing over certain immediate and obvious results. Matters vital to the life, work, and witness of the ministry itself were faithfully and fearlessly grappled with, and conclusions arrived at were brought into the form of affirmatory declaration and recommendatory action.
There is every occasion for encouragement as we frankly face our needs and shortcomings, and recognize and heed God's requirements and His provision for us. Our appointed leaders have taken their stand against trends and encroachments, fraught with peril, which had been a source of concern to the discerning. Although the general report of the Council will of course appear in the Review and Herald, those specific items of special concern to the individual worker will be appropriately discussed in these columns. Some of these must wait until later for discussion, as the time of the Council was too close to our date of issue for inclusion in this number. We are happy, however, to present in this issue, Elder McElhany's closing address of admonition, with its enunciation of pertinent principles, affording an intimate glimpse into the Council, as revealed by the reporter's stenographic notes.
Elder Wilcox has also prepared for this number, upon our request, an article introductory to one of the most significant actions of the Council, which all readers of the Ministry will peruse with great profit. Sound health-reform principles, in their rightful and integral relation to the full-rounded message of reform, are here set forth. The sober and sincere reaffirmation by the appointed leaders of this movement, with the initial emphasis given by our General Conference president, is indeed most heartening.
Elder Campbell's stenographically reported introduction to the study of how to check our membership losses, with typical discussions from the floor, also appears as it was presented in the preliminary presidents' council. It was later formulated into Autumn Council action.
To two items affecting all Ministerial Association members we shall refer here. First, we quote the recommendations "On the MINISTRY," which magazine broadens its constituency of readers to include the faculties and staffs of our institutions, educational and medical, and its use in the Bible departments of our colleges and academies. It reads thus:
"On the 'Ministry'
"Whereas, The Ministry, after ten years of service to the evangelical workers of the advent movement, has its clearly established place in the denominational plan and program, and is now provided annually for all English-reading evangelical workers of the movement in home base and overseas divisions; therefore,
"We recommend, 1. That the subscription clubs to the Ministry annually renewed by our home-base conferences and institutions, and overseas divisions, be hereafter considered perpetual (though subject, of course, to cancellation at any time), the list being supplied by the publishers to the various organizations each autumn for correction to date and return, thus avoiding any unnecessary break in continuity.
"2. That our educational and medical institutions be urged to adopt a similar policy in providing the Ministry for those members of the faculties of the senior and junior colleges, and larger academies, responsible for the training of oncoming ministers and Bible workers ; and similarly for all leading members of the staffs of our sanitariums and medical college, in which the physicians and nurses for our conferences and mission fields are being trained.
"3. That the theological departments of our senior and junior colleges and larger academies be invited to utilize the Ministry for collateral reading and class assignment for their ministerial and Bible-worker students, availing themselves of the special theological-student club concession offered at the beginning of each school year."
Second, we refer to the activities and recommendations relating to the Ministerial Reading Course. It was really a remarkable scene that last night of the Council. I. H. Evans told of the value of the Wilcox volume, "Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War," and M. E. Kern showed the vital character of the Nichol volume on "The Answer to Modern Religious Thinking." Then J. E. Shultz revealed the valuable character of "Historical Studies" on the Papacy, by Lawrence; and Arthur L. White explained the series of articles to appear in the Ministry giving the setting of circumstance and the historical background of Volume IV of the "Testimonies" (Volumes 7, 8, and 9 of the old set), to throw light on the import of these significant messages.
Next, our General Conference president, in a few well-chosen words, told of the necessity of continual study, of the value he saw in this particular course, of his own enrollment, and closed by inviting those present to enroll. Considerably over one hundred of the leaders of this cause—divisional, union, and local executives, and departmental and institutional leaders—signed the enrollment card in a few moments. Many general leaders had already registered for the course previous to the Autumn Council. This augurs well for by far the greatest enrollment in the history of the plan.
Such an enrollment is indeed appropriate to the value of this specific course. Here is the recommendation adopted: On the Ministerial Reading Course "Whereas, The 1937 Ministerial Heading Course offers a quartet of books of exceptional value to every English-reading conference and institutional worker of the advent movement, highly desirable, first, for a
better understanding of the momentous religious world drift, and its inevitable bearing upon, our own position and witness of specific warning to the world; and, secondly, because of our inescapable counselor relation to the youth of our church, as regards the question of noncombatancy, involving both the principles at issue, and our historic position; therefore, "We recommend, 1. That the entire English-reading working force of the advent movement, conference and institutional, be urged to enroll for the 1937 Ministerial Beading Course, so as to unitedly profit by this exceptional offer; and, "2. That the theological students of our colleges and larger academies, the nurses in training in our sanitariums, and the medical students in the two divisions of the College of Medical Evangelists, be likewise urged to read, availing themselves of the library sets these several institutions are asked to provide; and, "3. That our lay evangelists and colporteurs be likewise invited to participate, along with the workers and students, in this important united study program."
Other actions and discussions will appear in subsequent numbers. Thus we seek to bring to our readers the gist of the Council as it affects the individual workers who constitute
the membership of the Association.
L. E. F.