Editorial Postscripts

From the Ministry back page.

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

Collective!—The theory that the church could make no mistake, and is obligated to defend or explain every state­ment made by a past or present leader, is unsound. We are not called to defend every position advocated by individual leaders throughout our history. Men in the pioneer days were rather independent-minded in their search for truth. They sometimes held divergent opinions on details and saw light from different angles. A great many things can be "proved" by their individual writings and personal opinions—if that be the methcid of proof. It is the general or collective teaching of the body that is the criterion in ascertaining any fundamental position held.

Unifier!—The human mind, unaided by the guidance vouchsafed this remnant people through the gift of prophecy, cannot traverse the mass and maze of church history, systematic and historical theology, with its often contradictory details, without inevitable confusion on doubtful points—just as we find it tragically existent in the denomi­nations about us. The divergence and division of the equally eminent and sincere is pathetic. And such would be our plight were it not for this unifying agency that places all factors in right relationship because it represents not merely the human mouthpiece, but the divine Mind behind it all. Happy the lot of this people as they follow the counsel of the gift. But sad the plight and the finale of those who choose their own fallible wisdom as the final arbiter on disputed perplexing points.

Music!—Some musicians con­tend that the majestic hymns of the Reforma­tion will supply our every need today, as they were brought forth in the period when those Protestant bodies constituted God's true church for the hour. But that is spurious and faulty reasoning. Were that wholly true, then the doctrinal beliefs and teachings of that glorious day would likewise suffice for this hour; and no need would exist for the separate remnant church of today. It was because of their clinging to so much papal error that we were compelled to separate from them when the hour came for the completion of the arrested Reformation. Surely, some of the hymns of the ages that are the heritage of all God's children belong also to us. But we likewise need new songs keyed in vision, spirit, and doctrine to this specific hour and message, just as verily as the Reformers had to produce a Reformation hymnology embodying their re­covered truths and fundamental positions for that time. We have failed to encourage or to produce such, commensurate with our needs today.

Builders!—A heavy majority of the critics of sermons, articles, books, read­ing courses, executive policies, or evangelistic methods, could not begin to equal, much less to improve upon them. It is comparatively easy to conduct a "post-mortem" dissection and analysis, but far more difficult to create originally. When events are past, the ele­ment of time and perspective give to the ex­pressions of the critic, in his analysis of de­fects and weaknesses, the flair of a wise man; but his real test would lie in a foresight that intuitively sweeps in all the problematic ele­ments, and in an ability to construct without those advantages upon which he depends for his acumen. We need builders today, not wreckers, men of understanding hearts and sympathetic minds, who would rather take a less perfect plan and make it succeed than to demand an idealistic perfection that rarely comes in this defective old world.

Sincerity!—No man should preach or write upon a point which he does not personally and sincerely believe. Never should he merely repeat a denominational position in a purely professional sense, with mental reservations. Intellectual honesty for­bids it, and self-respect likewise. It is far better to remain silent upon a point that is still blurred, than to play the hypocrite. How can one invite or expect the Spirit to bring conviction to another if he himself does not truly believe his own words? Or how can he trust the words of another if he has no con­fidence in his own assertions. Honesty in all points is foundational.

Expression!—There are those who feel that untrammeled utterance of honest thought by our workers is dangerous, that it should be controlled by restraining limitations. Let such never forget that in the free expres­sion of opinion this advent movement was born, and in such expression of opinion every advancement has been made. It is our historic heritage, and constitutes the vindicated method of arriving at sound and united conclusions, and of achieving effective and concerted ac­tion. Thank God for free expression in the advent movement.                                         

L. E. F.

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

January 1938

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More Articles In This Issue

God's Call to His Church

Autumn Council Highlights

Undue Losses in Church Membership—No. I*

Any study of the trends which cause loss of church membership in North America must be approached in a spirit of hum­ble consecration to the task of holding our be­lievers in a fellowship with the Saviour, and with an earnest prayer that they may be sancti­fied.

Imparting A World VisionImparting A World Vision—No. 1

Address at Blue Ridge Educational Convention, August, 1937.

Successful Short Efforts

Efficient Evangelistic Methods and Pastoral Technique

Poster Advertising Profitable

Correct methods of advertising do much to make evangelistic meetings successful.

Reaching Youth Not of Our Faith

Young People's Night for Evangelism.

Build For Lasting Membership

In recent months we have heard much con­cerning the need for conserving our con­verts. Our leaders have urgently appealed by voice and pen for us to put forth every pos­sible effort to stem our losses through apostasy.

Filing Sermon Materials

Please suggest a method of keeping notes, clippings, ideas for sermons, etc., in orderly arrangement so that they are available at a moment's notice.

Momentous Implications At Oxford—No. 1

Religious liberalism has undermined the meaning of the nature and citizen­ship of the kingdom of God, together with the time and manner of its establishment,—turns vainly to the creations of its own reasonings and fancy in unwitting harmony with the impending events so clearly revealed.

Transfer of White Estate Materials—No. 1

It is fitting at this time that we should re­view with our workers throughout the world field certain facts regarding the activities of the White Estate during the past twenty-two years, and that we should make a statement regarding the provisions made for the future conduct of its work.

Position and Balance of Parts

How may I overcome slight disadvantages of certain weak parts?

Ministers I Have Heard

There were four main classes of preachers: the long-winded, the dry, the concise, and the interesting.

Editorial Keynotes

Our three-point enlargment.

Our New "Medical Missionary" Section

Introducing our designated medium for the new medical missionary association

The Worker's Study Life

A look at books, reviews, and discussions

Launching the New Association

The launching of any plan intended to extend the work of God in the earth is, I am sure, of interest to every Seventh-day Adventist worker.

A Call to United Action

Sensing our responsibility in giving leader­ship to this part of our work, as well as to all others, the General Conference leaders call upon all, leaders and people alike, to stand before the world as living exponents of health reform principles.

Battle Creek Medical Council

Our Medical Administrators' Council, held October 17-19, 1937, in the Battle Creek Sanitarium, prior to the Autumn Council, proved from several viewpoints to be a most profitable occasion.

Basic Principles of Health Teaching No. 1—Avoid Extreme Views and an Uncharitable Spirit

Health education is one of the impor­tant objectives the Medical Department is seeking to promote through its Asso­ciation.

Medical Missionary Association of Seventh-Day Adventists

Authorized by Action of Battle Creek Autumn Council, October 22, 1937.

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