Sarcasm!—Sarcasm is effective, very effective. But it doesn't really pay. It leaves a bad aftereffect, for it stings, and often wounds. True moral earnestness does not include sarcasm in its armory, nor employ it in defending the right or exposing the wrong. Arguments won or points gained through this device, rather than through reasoned discussion, are purchased dearly. Furthermore, is sarcasm really Christian? Can one picture Christ with the biting sting of sarcasm punctuating or propelling His words? To ask the question is to have the answer. Christ was love incarnate; and love is kind, while sarcasm is unkind.
Multitudes!—Milling multitudes, battling for bread without the bread of life; anxiety written large upon their faces because they know not Him on whom to cast their burdens; rushing to and fro under the deafening roar of conditions that virtually drown out the still small voice; seeking pleasures of a low and earthly level—how are we to reach them? How are we to arrest their attention, and gain their ear? Only men of God's choosing, with methods bearing His approval, and a message fresh from the throne above, can make any impression upon the great cities of earth. Pray for the men placed in these giant centers of population. Theirs is a terrific burden.
Scrutiny!—Is it, can it, dare it, be true that some are unwilling to face the full facts of historic research, lest they be compelled to modify some detail of belief, or to discard some bit of spurious argument or pleasing evidence accepted without scrutiny or verification from the past? We are persuaded this is but the occasional, and not the general, attitude. Nevertheless, it is perilous to any. Such is blind traditionalism. Nay, more; it is disloyalty to the very sovereignty of truth, and a species of mental dishonesty. The honest mind has nothing to fear, for truth unmixed with error is the sole object of its quest. The foundations of our faith are not jeopardized but established by investigation—the truth shining brighter the more it is tested.
Substitutes!—Listen to the sermons of some men, or read their writings. Analysis reveals that they comprise simply a string of quotations, frequently from the Spirit of prophecy, with a few connecting comments. Such men rarely vary from this procedure. One instinctively expects such from them, and is rarely disappointed. We yield to none in appreciation of, or belief in, the Spirit of prophecy. But such a procedure was not its intended use, nor is such a product real preaching or writing.
It is, of course, an easy way—the way of least resistance. It saves time and serious, original thinking. But it is a lazy substitute for intensive, personal digging into the exhaustless mine of truth. With such moving events as thicken all about us, with the unprecedented revelations of vital truth vouchsafed to us in these last days, and with the fast-closing hours of earth's history to impel us, let us rise to the privileged heights of real preaching—Spirit indited, mighty preaching for God and perishing humanity. Nothing more and nothing less is commensurate with this hour.
Radio!—Nothing short of a personal visit to the incomparable Radio City NBC studios in New York City, with an intimate "backstage" tour, can ever reveal the almost unbelievable heights of perfection to which this greatest of all publicity vehicles ever devised has been brought. Now reaching the largest audiences of all human history—tens of millions of listeners—the increase of sheer mechanical knowledge and efficiency in the radio field has reached unprecedented proportions for good or ill. This vast NBC organization alone sends out a hundred broadcasts a day—good, bad, and indifferent. And all over the earth less pretentious stations literally fill the air lanes over land and sea. Tragically enough, the children of this world are wiser in their generation than are the children of light, in monopolizing this most powerful and penetrating of all propaganda vehicles ever devised by man. And increasing restrictions are making it steadily harder to get access for religious broadcasts. Let us capitalize this matchless medium while it is still open to us.
Principles!—Infinitely better than the issuance of rules or rulings governing specific items in the field of recreational motion pictures, music, or reading, is the enunciation of fundamental determinative principles that will form the basis of right judgment in any or all cases. Thus the individual, the group, or the institution makes its own decision on any particular item in the light of the basic principles involved —principles that will stand the test of scrutiny and of challenge. This develops character through intelligent evaluation, and the application of underlying principle. Through such orderly thinking and analysis, the mind and the will are strengthened, and character development is given its sovereign place as the individual is enabled to reach right personal conclusions for the guidance of his own conduct. Surely this is better than a set of "do's" or "don't's," no matter how accurately they may reflect the right.