Editorial Postscripts

From the Ministry back page.

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

Reflection!—That "like at­tracts like" is a profound truth compactly ex­pressed. Light, frothy, superficial preaching or writing attracts light, frothy, superficial people. On the other hand, serious, sound, substantial preaching and writing attracts se­rious, substantial, worth-while people. We workers are therefore responsible for the class of people we reach. They are, to a large degree, the reflection of the character, con­tent, and emphasis of our public messages. This is a principle that needs to be carefully studied by all evangelists and editors, and by all directing committees and boards who are responsible, in the ultimate, for the conduct of our evangelistic efforts and our evangelistic literature. A change in emphasis on the part of some of our public representatives is called for. This will come, however, only as a change of vision and values comes into the life. Sober, searching, and vital messages are the manifest order of the hour. These alone are commensurate with the times.

Hypocrisy!—Nothing is more odious than hypocrisy, or pretense, on the part of a minister of the gospel—urging others to surrender their hearts to a Christ to whom he has never himself personally yielded, or from whom he has withdrawn his allegiance; asking others to accept and hold fundamental truths and relationships upon which he himself enter­tains doubts, reservations, or denials ; exalting prayer and holy living, while at the same time living in cherished sin, and scarcely on speaking terms with God. What terrible ef­frontery ! What mocking blasphemy ! Its practice seems almost unbelievable; yet it happens in the case of every bright light that goes out in darkness. It is the inner, secret story of every soul who falls off the advent pathway of light down to the wicked world of inky darkness below. Fearful will be the retribution for such sacrilegious pretense on the part of a shepherd and example of the flock—though its heinousness is seldom sensed or acknowledged by the victim of sin's victory. Such is the blighting, damning effect of sin on the soul. Every one of us should periodically read the Master's woe chapter (Matthew 23). The curse of God is upon all hypocrisy, par­ticularly on the part of a leader, whose greater light and more prominent influence but brings the greater accountability. It is a fearful thing to become a castaway because of cherish­ing sin and playing the hypocrite. We should be warned and solemnized by every example that comes to our notice. We are the target of the devil's relentless venom.

Authority!—This movement is no longer confined chiefly to one division. In fact, the larger proportion of its worker force and membership now lies outside North Amer­ica. It has become as God designed it to be, truly a world movement. This means also that decisions or pronouncements on fundamental policies and projects, and particularly upon fundamental teachings of the movement, are not to issue forth from some one section, group, or institution, or even from someone division, but from the full church in representative assembly. No one segment may rightfully assume to denominate the positions of any or all other segments as true or false. The recognized, directing leadership of this move­ment is vested, between actual sessions of the General Conference, in the full General Con­ference Committee, which is comprised of more than two hundred members, and repre­sents, and speaks for, the entire sisterhood of unions, and their constituent parts throughout the world field. The General Conference is divinely denominated "the highest authority that God has upon the earth."—"Testimonies," Vol. III, p. 492. To this authoritative voice all are to give heed, surrendering "independ­ence and private judgment."—Id., Vol. IX, p. 260. To its full executive committee is given the appointed direction of our work, and in it is vested the power to plan, to define, and to administer between sessions. To all presump­tive local voices, a recognition of basic rela­tionships and constituted authority should come.

Discrimination!—The Spirit of prophecy writings are all-comprehensive. They have counsels for virtually every situa­tion. But all counsels are not equally applica­ble to a given problem. Given parallel condi­tions, old counsels apply, being written for our admonition. But they must be "rightly divided," like the word of truth. And some portions were written to meet new and strange conditions, then future, that would arise. We need to study the circumstances, the chrono­logical, or time, setting, and the context, before we use a statement. Divine wisdom is needed and is available. Not all parts are equally applicable to a given problem. It is failure to observe this principle that often leads to difficulty and distortion.                              

L. E. F.

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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

September 1939

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