Do you consider it proper to receive into church fellowship in a Seventh-day Adventist church, on profession of faith, a man who has been a member of another church and who was baptized into that church by immersion, but has been using tobacco up to the time he desires to be taken into the Adventist church on profession of faith?
From the early years of our experience as an organized body, new converts to the faith of Seventh-day Adventists have been accepted into church fellowship on their profession of faith and former baptism by immersion, if they came to us from one of the evangelical churches. This should be done only when the person desiring membership has maintained his Christian experience since his baptism, according to the light he has had.
A new convert may have ignorantly violated the Sabbath commandment. He may have defiled his body temple by using tobacco or other forbidden things without being conscious that he was displeasing God. But after accepting the greater light of this message, he can no longer maintain his Christian experience and continue to live as he formerly did. "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. Baptism is "the answer of a good conscience toward God." I Peter 3:21. "Christ has made baptism the sign of entrance to His spiritual kingdom."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 91.
Having received greater light from the teaching of Paul after they had been baptized "unto John's baptism," certain disciples were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Although it is not wise to urge rebaptism upon those already baptized who accept the greater light of this last message, yet we believe it proper to place before them the blessing that comes as the result of rebaptism into the faith of the third angel's message. Note what is said in the last paragraph of the chapter on "Church Membership" in the "Church Manual :"
"It is not the practice of the church to require baptism on the part of those coming to us from other churches who have already been baptized by immersion and who have lived consistent Christian lives in harmony with the light they then had, unless they should themselves desire to be rebaptized. However, it is recommended that in all cases rebaptism would be desirable."—Page 87.
I can bear witness in my own personal experience to the blessing that comes as the result of being rebaptized. As we cease violation of the fourth commandment of God, even though hitherto we thought we were obeying this commandment by keeping Sunday, and as we turn away from other habits and practices that we had supposed were harmless, how appropriate that we go down with our Lord into the watery grave and rise to walk in newness of life. We would find such an experience to be truly a new conversion followed by a new baptism of the Spirit.
E. E. Andross. [Field Secretary, General Conference.]
The Oxford Group Movement *
"Is the Group Movement, sometimes called the Oxford Group, connected with the Oxford Conference held in 1937 in that city? I have heard it stated that the conference was held under the auspices of Dr. Frank Buchman's organization.
There is no connection between the Oxford Conference of the Universal Christian Council for Life and Work, and the so-called Oxford Group Movement. The city of Oxford [England] has been a favorite meeting place for organizations of religious and educational character, several of which have taken over the name for their own purposes. . . . A. meeting of the group organized by Doctor Buchman was held in Oxford in the early stages of the movement which was then calling itself the 'First Century Christian Group.' Since that time it has appropriated the title, 'The Oxford Group,' to the great regret and even resentment of most Oxford residents, whether of the town or the university. That the members of the Group have done much to capitalize this relationship is patent to all observers. They organized this summer a series of Group meetings in Oxford continuing through the entire period of the Conference on Life and Work, and even sent to every member of that conference a personal invitation to attend their meetings and a garden party with which they were inaugurated. ... There have been at least four genuine Oxford movements which have left a deep and lasting influence upon Christianity. The first was the ministry of John Wycliffe in the thirteenth century which had as its basis the translation of the Bible and which issued in the Lollard preaching mission, the first of its kind in the English-speaking world. The second was the great Wesleyan revival which began in Oxford with the work of John Wesley, an Oxford man. The third was the Tractarian or pro-Catholic] movement, inaugurated a century and more ago with the work of Pusey, Keble, Newman, and Manning. And the fourth is the recent Conference on Life and Work, a truly ecumenical gathering, a fitting successor of the Stockholm Conference of ten years ago and closely related to the Conferences on Faith and Order at Lausanne ten years since and in Edinburgh in August of this year. These four great movements are historic and may rightly claim Oxford as their place of origin."
*Seldom are we able to quote with approval from the Modernist Christian Century's "Question Box." But the issue of Sept. 15, 1937, contains this very accurate and illuminating answer to a question on the Oxford Group Movement, in relation to other Oxford movements of similar name, about which there is frequent confusion. We as workers should be correctly informed thereon.—Editors.