Editorial Keynotes

Indispensability of the Spirit of Prophecy

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

It is the definite conviction of this writer, deliberately expressed, that the human mind, unaided in its quest for truth, will at times inevitably be­come confused if it depends for its conclusions solely upon its own rea­soning powers and judgment, and upon the sheer findings and dictums of human scholarship. And this principle, particularly evident in the field of history, we would like­wise carry into the realm of Biblical inter­pretation. This is true because scholars of equal eminence and authority differ in conclu­sions based upon the same set, or partial set, of facts. And, obviously, there is a seemingly sufficient foundation for these divergent opin­ions, or reputable scholars would not be lined up behind opposite positions.

The limitations of the human mind and the often unconscious prejudices or preconceptions of the historical narrator, together with the frequently biased or inadequate sources of his information, impose at times limitations that cannot be surmounted without outside aid. To come to unity of view in such situations, we must have an authoritative arbiter in which all can have implicit confidence. It is to fur­nish the needed help under such conditions that we believe the Spirit of prophecy was given, in one particular phase of its full-rounded operation. And we believe, further­more, that when this gift has spoken, we are to accept the light disclosed as the decisive factor in reaching our personal conclusions in such perplexing matters.

But, someone asks, Have we not the prom­ise of guidance into all truth by the Spirit? Yes, we reply, but the Spirit of prophecy is per­haps the most distinctive and direct means em­ployed by the Holy Spirit, in these last days, in guiding into all truth and accuracy, and away from subtle error and grave mistake. Truly the Holy Spirit speaks to all yielded minds, stimulating and guiding; and at times in a marked way, as we all know. But there are limitations even to such guidance because of the human element, the background, view­point, faulty or inadequate sources of informa­tion, conscious or unconscious prejudices in­volved,—and for this reason the Spirit of prophecy was given, choosing an instrument for complete control so that these limiting ele­ments are virtually eliminated in the communi­cation of the counsel of God.

So we repeat, with emphasis, that there are crucial times and places in our searchings and reasonings wherein it is not safe to trust our own faulty and fallible judgment. But when the Spirit of prophecy has decisively spoken thereupon, we who accept the writings of that gift as of heavenly origin are to take the coun­sel of the divine Spirit that uses that desig­nated gift as the medium through which to give clear and unimpeded expression of the mind and judgment, the knowledge and wis­dom, of the Spirit of God. And this counsel is to bring unity otherwise unattainable. Hence, its indispensability.

Furthermore, when this gift has not spoken upon a moot point, it will doubtless prove to be of but relative importance, or at least one upon which further light is yet to be revealed. We are constrained, therefore, to believe that personal opinions should not, under such a condition, be pressed and made the self-imposed test of another's orthodoxy or loyalty to truth, as some have been prone to do, and for which unsound course they have been rebuked by that authoritative gift.                                 

L. E. F.

Sympathetic Understanding

Sympathy, understanding, and tact are im­perative to the successful winning, holding, or reclaiming of our youth today. Never before in human history have such subversive influ­ences crushed upon them from all sides. Pic­ture the situation: Newsstands reek not only with debasing fiction, but with a flood of sala­cious stories and seductive pictures. Immod­esty of dress needs no comment, and nudism progresses apace. Smoking is general among both sexes, and alluring cigarette advertise­ments catch the eye from nearly every bill­board and magazine cover. And now the beer bottle and maid compete for equal prominence and acceptance. Subversive philosophies, such as Modernism, evolution, and atheism, permeate the schools and the literature of the day. Chris­tian doctrine and faith are devitalized. Crime, marital infidelity, and divorce crowd the pages of the press until sin has been robbed of its hideousness, and moral values have been fatally blurred in this sophisticated age. God pity our youth, in view of all these facts; and may He put within our hearts a sympathetic under­standing of, a serious concern for, and a divine tact in dealing with, our young people who constitute the denomination's greatest human asset.                                                         
 
L. E. F.
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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

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