Predicators! —The preconceptions and presumptions of some, concerning the precise course by which certain unfulfilled portions of the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation will ultimately reach their fulfillment, leads them to assume the role of predictors, and virtually to prophesy the course of fulfillment instead of interpreting the fulfillment when it comes to pass, which is the clearly enunciated Bible plan. The outline and the ultimate we know, but the precise method of accomplishment we can only recognize as it becomes actuality. This we should never forget. A review of dogmatic assertions that have been made through past years on such details—and that failed to come to pass—does not make for complacency. It should cause us to be more humble and careful, and to keep within the recognized confines of propriety in the realm of prediction.
Honor!—All honor to the humble evangelist who labors away, faithfully and efficiently, with little equipment and a small staff, without a balanced budget, favoring circumstance, or conference publicity, but who achieves results, and whose tangible fruitage compares favorably with that of those who have the spotlight. After all, that is the real test of success,—the fruitage, in comparison to the number of associates and favoring circumstances.
Perversion!—Modern religious apostasy is not confined to perversion just of certain specific doctrines and beliefs, with others remaining unsullied. Instead, this dread pollution now involves and permeates each and every element of truth, as a drop of ink stains all the water in a glass. So with the truths of the gospel, virtually none remain untainted. They have all been wrenched and distorted. Their purity has been blighted and their efficacy impaired. This may be illustrated with a single group, centering about the person of Christ. Modern religious apostasy has taken away our divine Saviour. It has perverted the truth, not only concerning His incarnation, but concerning His sinless life, the authority of His words, the authenticity of His work, His substitutionary, sacrificial death, His literal resurrection and ascension, His priestly ministry, His heavenly judgeship, and His second, personal, premillennial advent. Belief in its reality and efficacy has been destroyed. We must, therefore, in our work and witness, begin with the foundations, and build step by step anew. We must restore that which has been lost through apostasy. We must reenunciate what has been perverted, neglected, and repudiated both through the centuries and in recent times.
The pristine truths of the apostolic faith delivered by our Lord must all be renewed. We are to restore reality instead of mysticism, certainty instead of skepticism, assurance instead of doubt, fact instead of fancy, and truth instead of falsehood. All this is involved in our great commission.
Writers!—Sometimes we hear, concerning some certain man, "He is a natural writer. Writing is so easy for him. The words fairly flow from his pen, and they are so clear and full of meaning." Banish once and for all the idea that great thoughts aptly expressed come easily. Words are but the vehicles of thought transmission. There are no magic pens that form the impressive phrases. Men toil for them. The smoothest, most flowing language is often the result of intensest labor,—labor such as most others are unwilling to bestow. Merely neat combinations of words, no matter how happily phrased, will never be mistaken for great thoughts. Great writers simply study deeper, read more widely, meditate more intensively than others do. That is the difference. There is no magic formula. It takes hard thinking to produce great writing. This field is open to all.
Forfeiter! —Misrepresentation is a form of deception wholly at variance with ethical and Christian standards. We very naturally and properly resent the distorted quotation of our own denominational teachings by religious opponents in their attempts to expose the alleged fallacies of our positions. Such tactics are not likely to win us because of the manifest bias, ignorance, or twisting of our teachings. If these distortions are exposed, and the writer continues to use the same statements in the same false way, we then say there is willful and wicked misrepresentation, and we challenge his regard or quest for truth. Conversely, when we write concerning Roman Catholic or other religious beliefs, the moral principle involved in our relation to truth is intensified because of our position and profession. We are not apt to make a favorable impression upon those involved if we distort or misapply their teachings, or carelessly repeat some fabrication. There are false and unjustifiable quotations current. We continue to use them knowingly only at the price of traitorship to truth, for he who carelessly or consciously continues to employ questionable quotations and disqualified or disproved citations, thereby forfeits his position as a devotee to truth. This is too serious a matter to pass merely with assent.
Let us check up on our quotations.
L. E. F.