Unity!—True heart unity among all groups of workers and all phases of work is devoutly to be desired and diligently to be fostered. We are, in the plan, purpose, and provision of God, one body, with one objective and but one reason for our existence—that of finishing our work of witnessing to the world through the winning of as many souls as will respond to God's final warning and entreaty to men. We are to beware of divisive influences and alienating methods. We are to guard against separating into rival groups to foster mere phases of our work, and are sedulously to avoid jealousies and rivalries between such special groups. We must not permit division or misunderstanding to come, for example, between the evangelistic ministry and the departmental workers, or between field and institutional groups. Unity of heart and objective is one of the manifest needs of the hour. With the world arrayed against us and our task increasingly stupendous, sympathetic understanding, interest, and coordination are too obviously essential to need further elaboration. It is the steadfast purpose of this journal to serve as a uniting, coordinating agency to the full worker body of this movement, lifting the ideals, improving the methods, broadening the vision, and deepening the passion for soul winning on the part of all workers in this message. "Forward Together!" must be our watchword.
Crucial!—The "forties" constitute the turning point in many a ministerial life. Thenceforward men rarely stand still, but go either forward or backward. Most men have been growing and climbing until then. But reaching the age when there is less physical vitality, some begin to relax mentally, as well as to take a less strenuous pace physically. They neglect to study. They begin to lean on past attainments. They become less elastic and adaptable, and soon they find themselves falling back in the race, while the more aggressive forge ahead. The tragedy of it!—for at fifty a man should have but reached the threshold of his greatest work. He should then have an acceptable complement of experience, knowledge, maturity, perspective, and vision as his equipment, and should be prepared for his greatest contributions and achievements. Yes, many fail just here. Every day we see this self-engendered segregation among workers going on before our eyes. It should startle and spur everyone who has reached this crucial decade.
Touchy!—Some are prone to be oversensitive about expressions of opinion as regards methods of labor that differ from their own. They seem fearful of permitting any discussion—even in the workers' own journal—that may bring out the advantages of other ways of working, or methods of procedure differing from their own. Such seem needlessly jealous of any seeming slight or possible encroachment on the, part of evangelist or pastor, as concerns their own particular department, institution, or line of work. But such an attitude of apprehensiveness is neither wise nor persuasive. And it certainly does not reveal largeness of soul or vision. Let us never forget that the right of worker expression is sacred in this case. Men have a right to differ as to methods of work, emphasis, and approach —differing methods reaching different types of mind and temperament. The movement will not be jeopardized because someone follows plans different from ours—so long as we are all basically sound, and loyal, and united in the fundamentals of the faith. On fundamental beliefs there can be no compromise, and no essential variation. It is confusion of the two that causes variance and grief.
Separation!—Why do some who have long been in the work of God, held important positions, and seemingly had success in their line of endeavor, go crashing down from the heights of ministry for God to the sordid mire of sin, to the consternation of their associates and the grief of all lovers of the cause and of righteousness? Such a curse never comes without an adequate cause. Separation between the soul and God usually starts through neglect of personal prayer and study of the Word for one's own soul. Ministry then ultimately degenerates into professionalism. Pride, shame, or fear, may drive some on in hypocrisy to performing as an ecclesiastical actor, depending upon ability, argument, personality, logic, psychology, organizational ability, financial acumen, or oratory. This goes on until the one who is walking and living apart from God meets some enticing temptation without divine help, and weakened by soul poverty, he has insufficient power to resist. The last step is possible only because the first step in separation from God was taken. To anyone who has taken the first step, or any succeeding steps, we say, Do for your own soul's sake. for the cause you represent, for the honor of God, retrace ! Go back to His side—the only place of safety and protection.
L. E. F.