We are a people of prophecy. When in the history of this world the hour had arrived for the proclamation of the gospel message of the kingdom to all the world, there arose a simple, trustful people, born of poverty, dedicated to this great task. Their humble faith and steadfast conviction grew out of their searchings for truth as revealed by earnest, careful study of the Word of God, their minds being illumined by the Holy Spirit. Not only has this conviction of the truths of the message been the rudder to guide through the storms which have beset her past, but the truth itself is the power, the propeller, which will drive us on to our desired haven.
With clearing vision regarding the obligations of the message, came the conviction that the message of the kingdom must be proclaimed by the living witness in lands beyond the seas. It was no doubt providential that the sending out of our first missionary was coincidental with the founding of our first educational institution in which our young people might be established in the truths of this message.
With the passing of the years, this educational superstructure was strengthened with the foundational underpinning of church schools, where practice as well as study of truth yields its largest returns. Later, the structure was broadened, until now hundreds of colleges, junior colleges, and schools of lesser rank are devoted to the upholding of the principles of truth before the youth of the church. The change of years brought new demands. A medical school, where our youth might be trained as Christian physicians, was established, and God has richly prospered this step of faith.
Under the blessings of God, the cause of truth so humbly begun in poverty has now extended until work is conducted in 353 countries and islands, and the message is printed in 171 languages and carried forward by living witnesses in 578 tongues.
These successes themselves bring new challenges and create new demands. And with this growing work have come changed times. A spirit of tensity has taken possession of the hearts of men. In the political world, revolution and chaos reign. Bolshevism, communism, and state socialism threaten democracy. Evolution, materialism, and Modernism have sapped the lifeblood of the Protestant world, while the blighting influences of Catholicism widen and intensify. These have brought attendant evils. Intense nationalism and racialism prevail, bringing influences which unfortunately are sometimes seen even in the church.
Because of added demands and new challenges, it has seemed to the General Conference leaders that in the providence of God the time has come when this cause should make specific provision in scholastic training and equipment for the advanced training of those upon whom the leadership of this movement will increasingly rest. This is necessary in order to enable them to elevate the truth in these challenging times which have made us a peculiar people in the earth.
In the interests of a better training in leadership, in history, Bible, and similar essential lines, and the interests of unity in world leadership, this seminary has been established. Here are gathered educational leaders from many lands, such as we have before us tonight. We have confidence that the work of the Theological Seminary will mean much in the unity, stability, and promulgation of our worldwide work.
We endorse as a laudable ambition the desire on the part of these mature students to secure the best in true education.
Of God's plans we read, "Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children." And again, in "Education:" "So long as the great purpose of education is kept in view, the youth should be encouraged to advance just as far as their capabilities will permit." In the confidence that this session, and all succeeding sessions of the school, may contribute to the stability, unity, and advancement of our cause in this and other countries, on behalf of the General Conference, I gladly endorse this opening of the Theological Seminary, and wish you every blessing in your search for ever-expanding truth.