Editorial Keynotes

From the editor's desk.

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

Deterrents to Truth

The stressing to extremes of any essential  truth, so often followed by disastrous conse­quences to those urging it, makes the proper and balanced proclamation of that truth much more difficult thereafter. Prejudice is almost inevitably created by such a course, militating against a favorable and unbiased consideration, and often seriously retarding its reception.

A notable example within the scope of this movement stands on record in the late eighties and early nineties. Two prominent ministers were burdened to see the divine truth of righteousness by faith more fully received and emphasized throughout our ranks. They had the strong and continuous personal support of Ellen G. White for their teachings at the time. Indeed, she stood almost alone with them at one critical juncture, so marked was the apathy of some and the opposition of others.

Strange as it may seem to us today, when this truth is generally recognized, many who had battled in pioneer days for the Sabbath and the law, feared that the stressing of righteous­ness by faith would neutralize the basic princi­ple of obedience to God, and jeopardize its in­separable corollary—corresponding works. But the story is clearly told in the book, "Christ Our Righteousness." And the declarations of the Spirit of prophecy therein cited take the episode outside the realm of challenge as to fact. This affords guidance for our attitude.

But the later deflection of those two principal exponents has made all subsequent presenta­tions of this truth in its normal, balanced form more difficult because of the pitiful slip of those two champions. To this day some still look askance at any who proclaim with solemn earnestness this truth bearing the signet of Heaven, wondering if its present exponents will not go the way of those prominent heralds of several decades ago.

But such a conclusion does not necessarily nor logically follow. The validity and the claims of truth are unaffected by either the constancy or the disaffection of its earlier ex­ponents. A careful scanning of our denomi­national history discloses the fact that from 1844 onward many a stalwart who had either introduced or urged the sanctuary truth, the Sabbath, conditional immortality, health re­form, religious liberty, or some other funda­mental and impregnable doctrinal truth, left us to walk no more with us. But man's disloyalty in no way disannuls God's truth, which marches on through the years, claiming the allegiance of every honest heart.

Here, then, is the lesson: Woe to him who through the unwisdom of his course creates prejudice against heavenly truth, and so frus­trates, or rather retards, God's design for the upbuilding of His children and His church by its promulgation. He who has genuine rever­ence for the sanctity and sovereignty of truth will carefully watch his own steps, lest any be caused to stumble thereby.

Transgressions of Artistry

The pictorial illustration of a thought makes its impress vastly more vivid and lasting. It is this visual enforcement that causes devotees of the stereopticon to regard their slides an invaluable asset in evangelism. But where slides are used, if the lecturer does not himself have an artistic sense or training, then for the sake of the many in every audience who do, he should studiously avoid everything crude or inconsistent in form, color, or fidelity to fact. Glaring daubs and clashing dis­harmonies of color distress those who sense the eternal fitness of such things. The public is today extremely "picture conscious" because of the artistry of the movies. It is likewise "color conscious" through the artistic colored posters greeting the eye on every highway and entering every home via the magazine "ad" and illustra­tion route.

When billowy clouds attending Christ's re­turn are pictured, they should be atmospheric, —not solid, giving one the impression of rolling hills. The New Jerusalem walls of translucent jasper should not resemble the enclosing stone-block wall of a medieval fortress; nor the toppling buildings of the Lisbon earthquake be made to appear like towering twentieth-century skyscrapers. Simply pictures will not suffice. They should be appropriate and true. Especially should figures of heavenly beings be stately and appealing, and preeminently portrayals of Christ. Glaring inconsistencies with fact or gross transgressions of artistry make slides a deterrent instead of an aid. They give occasion for scoffing, and hence are a handicap to a substantial group in the audi­ence, who will naturally judge the truth pre­sented in the light of the grotesque similitudes that accompany. Let those who use slides de­mand quality workmanship of those who produce them.                                                   

L. E. F.

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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

April 1937

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More Articles In This Issue

Principles, Problems, and Policies No. 2

Countering the questioning of authority and the breaking down of responsibility.

Preaching Our Distinctive Message* No. 1

Why is it that so many of our evangelists wait so long to proclaim the third angel's message?

Motion Pictures in Evangelism

The showing of harmful pictures should not close our eyes to turn the minds of people toward good pictures that will be a blessing and not a curse.

"Before Whom Three Fell" Daniel 7:20

Considering the two possible meanings of the expression occurring in Daniel 7:20.

This Matter of Musical Leadership

Not long ago a young friend of mine was placed in charge of the music activities of one of our training schools. Desirous of being of some help to him, I wrote him a letter. And believing it may prove helpful to others in similar places of opportunity, I give here that part of the letter referring to musical leader­ship:

Avoid Extremes

The enemy of our souls would gladly lead us to take extreme positions. It does not matter much to him in which direction we go, whether to the right or to the left, if only we become extreme in the position which we take.

Qualifications for True Leadership No. 1

A leader in any capacity in the cause of God is a watchman, and his office carries with it most solemn responsibility.

My First Year as an Intern

Many things awaited me, of which I was unaware that day in the union president's office when I accepted a Bible worker's intern­ship.

The Challenge of Islam

The presentation of the gospel message to Moslems constitutes one of the greatest problems confronting the Christian missionary today.

The Alcohol Problem No. 4

Alcohol as a narcotic.

Gratifying Results in the South

To those who are waiting for that soon-coming day when truth shall triumph glo­riously, there is nothing more cheering than news of fresh victories won on the battle front.

The Conflict of the Ages Series No. 4

Part four of our series on Mrs. White's writings.

Meaning of "Breath" and "Soul"

In 1 Kings 17:17, 22, we find the expressions, "There was no breath left in him," and "The soul of the child came into him again, and he revived." Kindly give an effectual explanation for believers in immortality, and also give the Hebrew meaning of "breath" and "soul." Are they identical words?

Valuable Quotations

Verified extracts from current literature.

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