Editorial Defenders of the Faith

Editorial Defenders of the Faith--No.1

A devotional study from the morning of August 25.

By M. L. ANDREASEN, of the S.D.A. Theological Seminary

When the popular newspaper of today is challenged as to its portrayal and treatment of news, it answers, accord­ing to popular custom, that it is what it is because the public wants it so. It is merely catering to public taste, and if the public wanted to be different, the paper would readily adjust itself to the demands made upon it. A statement like this is, of course, an admis­sion that the paper concerned has lost its sense of public responsibility, that it has neither vision nor mission, that publishing involves no moral obligation, and that it intends to make a livelihood out of the dissemination of filth and disaster.

The press has again and again announced itself as mightier in influence than the pulpit or the teaching profession, and claims that its only real competitor is the radio. We are facing an evil day when these mighty agencies lose sight of their moral accountability and become mere reflectors of public opinion, catering to the morbid, the sensational, the vulgar, or even the vile and degrading. While there are still many that have a lively sense of their public trust as purveyors of news, there are altogether too many that have lost in the battle with the circulation department. The editorial policy is determined by the pub­lic as indicated by circulation figures and the intake of the advertising department.

Our periodicals are not exempt from the struggle for existence. They have the double problem of presenting an appearance to the public that will attract and hold circulation, and at the same time maintaining the high standards demanded by the dignity of the truth committed to them. They must at once be popular and dignified, progressive and con­servative, attractive without being sensational. Our editors deserve much commendation for the work they are doing. While they may not be in the position of the public official who stated that he was expected to have both ears to the ground while riding two horses going in opposite directions, and at the same time straddle a fence, their position is not an easy one. We can thank God that they are doing as good work as they are. We have reason to be proud of the literature which this de­nomination publishes. We are proud of our editors.

If we accept the evident truth that our periodicals are to be moral and intellectual leaders and not mere reflectors of public trends and beliefs, the position of editor is a most responsible one. While he must have due re­gard for popular taste, to the extent that he furnishes his paper sales appeal and attrac­tive appearance, he must carefully guard against all cheapness of content or appearance. Jazz is not confined to music. It is found in literature as well. The thinking, cultured, sub­stantial individual recoils instinctively from certain popular exhibitions of current literary taste. As our denominational belief has special appeal to the thinking, conservative class, we must not clothe our doctrines in a sensational dress that will repel the very class of people to whom our message should especially appeal.

As surely as our ministers ordinarily attract and bring into the truth very few people above their own intellectual and spiritual level, so surely do our periodicals select by their appearance and content the kind of people attracted by the form of the message presented therein. Sensational, loose, inconsistent state­ments will attract people of like characteristics.

When the loss of even one soul should cause us serious concern, can we afford to close our eyes to the disturbing increase of apostasy among us ? As men of God charged with the cure of souls, we cannot longer afford to ignore the conditions which confront us. As in times of national peril men are called to­gether to consider the state of the nation, so in times of crisis in the church men should seriously consider the state of the church. We are now in such a crisis. Defections from an army are always grounds for serious con­cern. When the defections reach the total which they have with us, the time has come for action. We should not delay.

IN this work we are counting on the editors of our journals and periodicals. They are set for the defense of the faith. They are reaching larger audiences than are our min­isters, and their responsibilities are corre­spondingly greater. They speak to our own people, and they speak to the world. They are reaching statesmen and officials to whom few of our ministers have access. To a large ex­tent the denomination is judged by the work done by our editors. When the time comes when we are called to defend our faith before councils and kings, it is the work of our editors that will tip the scales.

Our ministers are representative in a much smaller degree than are our editors. What a minister spoke twenty years ago is largely for­gotten. What an editor wrote twenty years ago is still a witness against him and against the denomination, and someone may dig it up and present it, at an inconvenient time, to confound him. We hope and pray that when we have to appear before representative as­semblies and in courts of law, our editors will not have permitted to appear in their papers that which is capable of misunderstanding or perversion, or worse still, that which cannot be misunderstood, but is definitely anti-Christian and antidenominational. The responsibility of the editor is not easily overestimated.

May I call attention to some things in con­nection with which I believe our editors can be of definite help? There are certain ten­dencies in the church that may be considered danger signals which we will do well to heed. We are admonished in the book of Hebrews to give "earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." Heb. 2 : . Other translations present the idea of the danger of drifting. The picture is a significant one. A person who is drifting may be unaware of the fact. He is making no effort of any kind; he is not actively attempting to get away; he is merely passively drifting. His immediate sur­roundings give no indication that he is moving; to all appearances he seems to be standing still. Only as his eyes are fixed upon some landmark does he discern motion.

There are certain landmarks that we will do well to keep in view. As we do so, we may be able to discern the drift, if indeed there be any. Some of these landmarks we shall mention. It should cause us tremendous concern if we discover that we are drifting away from any of them.

Maintain True Fundamentalism.—This people is a people of the Bible. Belief in the Holy Scriptures is a cardinal doctrine among us. We have taken our stand upon the inspira­tion of the word of God as opposed to the claims of higher criticism. We are Funda­mentalists in every sense of the word, and destructive criticism is not once to be named among us. We are among the few church bodies who are not divided upon the issue of inspiration. We believe the Bible to be the word of God in verity.

It causes us some concern to find statements in print that savor of higher criticism, doubt­less not intentional, nevertheless tending in the wrong direction. There are those who find difficulty with some of the miracles mentioned in the Bible, and follow the lead of the higher critics in considering them largely the result of natural causes. But why should any who believe in a religion that is based on the miracle of the incarnation and on the miracle of the resurrection make any attempt to ex­plain that which God has not explained? What is gained by it? Is the intent to make faith easier? Is the intent to show that a so-called miracle is really not a miracle ? Does such reasoning help to establish faith in the truly miraculous nature of the new birth, or can this also be shown not to be miraculous?

It is our opinion that it is both useless and dangerous to attempt to do away with miracles, and that no good purpose is served by such "proof." Neither the church nor the world is served by such explanation.

True Concept of Godhead.—Belief in the Godhead is the most vital factor in any re­ligion. By the Godhead is here meant Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have not had from the beginning a perfectly developed conception of all that we now believe. We have not always observed the Sabbath from sunset to sunset. We have not always taught and prac­ticed tithing. We have not always made health reform a vital part of the message. All these were a matter of increased light. So with the Godhead. We have not always had a devel­oped doctrine of the Trinity. We have not always given the Son His place as God. It was only in the nineties that this doctrine came into prominence. It was the new book, "The Desire of Ages," that saved the day. That definitely taught the doctrine of the Trinity.

There are countries in which Jews are not wanted, and some countries in which they are persecuted. It is not a far cry from a Jew to a Seventh-day Adventist. We keep the Sabbath as do they. We abstain from pork as they do. We reverence the Old Testament as they do. By many we are called Jews. We may yet find that the doctrine of the Trinity will stand us in good stead in the days to come. It might be well if our papers had this in mind, so that once in a while references would appear that would make our stand clear in this respect. Such references are altogether too few. The world should be made aware that we are Trinitarians. This does not ap­pear from a perusal of some of our journals.

By this is not meant that we should begin to argue the theological side of this doctrine. It is better to leave this alone. But there should be left no doubt in the mind of the public that we are Trinitarians, and thus Christians. And this should be done not merely as a defensive measure for a possible future situation. It should be done because we in very truth are Trinitarians and are giving the Saviour of mankind His true status as God.

Right Use of Testimonies.—We are con­cerned about the use of the Testimonies. There are those who use them, there are those who misuse them, and there are those who neglect them. We are concerned about all three classes.

Some use the Testimonies when they should use the Bible. They spend more time on them than they spend in reading the Word. This should not be. What Christ said concerning another matter may apply here: "These ought ye to have done, and not . . . leave the other undone." There is no substitute for the Bible,

__ Please turn to page

Advertisement - Ministry in Motion 300x250

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By M. L. ANDREASEN, of the S.D.A. Theological Seminary

November 1939

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Hold Steady Under Crisis Conditions

Shun the temptation to prognosticate what has not been revealed.

Blessings of Sacrificial Giving

Whether our responsibility centers in the local church or in general admin­istrative work in any capacity, as leaders in the cause of God we need to be reminded often of the spiritual objectives that are before us and our believers, and need to have a knowl­edge of how these are attained.

Adventist Editorial Council

Denominational editors meet in council convened at Washington, D.C. on August 23-29.

Cultural Cycles and Religious Trends

This is the first of four studies that lay bare the notable revolution that is taking place in religious world thought.

Facing the India Problem No. 1

India presents such a variety of conditions—geographical, economic, sociologic, and religious—that it is well-nigh futile to attempt any general statement about the country which would apply accurately to all parts or to all classes of people found there.

Schools, an Evangelizing Agency

One of the difficulties that stands in the way of carrying on evangelistic work in a large way in the native reservations and villages of Africa, is the inability of the people to read.

Statistical Report for 1938

Have you stopped to think that nearly one hundred years have passed since this movement began?

Principles of Hymn Choice—No. 1

Hymns and hymn tunes, gospel songs, and other types of music used in the work of the church are often criticized. Why this difference of opinion?

Baptism for the Dead

How may one deal effectively with the Latter-day Saints' (or Mormons') contention on vicarious baptism for the dead, which they base on 1 Corinthians 15:29?

Editorial Keynotes*

Ideals of Presentation--No. 1

The Art of Tactful Approach

I have found that a frank, practical, sym­pathetic appeal to the people through avenues of natural approach is a wonderful success in the country.

How to Deal With Hecklers

If we find that our meetings are being regularly interrupted, there is either some­thing wrong with our manner of lecturing or with our method of advertising.

A Departmental Secretary's Duty

As a home missionary secretary, I view with grave misgivings the alarming in­difference toward Christian education which is manifested by many parents.

Medical Missionary Activities

The following postscript on a letter under date of August 8, 1939, is from one of our College of Medical Evangelists graduates in New Mexico, who located in that State in 1935.

Extending Our Influence

This paper was presented at a meeting of the Southern Institute of Hospital Administrators, held at Duke University, Au­gust 4.

Medical Relief at Chungking

We feel that the following excerpt from a letter written by Dr. Herbert Liu, of China, will be of interest to our medical group at this critical time.

Daily Nutritional Needs*

Fasting for short periods is physically beneficial and health promoting for those who overeat. Were it not for overeating, fast­ing would be largely unnecessary, and entire abstinence from food would be harmful.

Medical Work in South China

From about the middle of 1937 and onward our people in China have been given a rare opportunity for service. This is espe­cially true of our medical workers.

Dispensationalism's Basic Fallacies--No. 1

Professor Price's article on dis­pensationalism in the August, 1938, Ministry, is most timely, and worthy of careful study by every Seventh-day Adventist minister. But I believe that we con­cede too much when we classify dispensa­tionalists as fundamentalists.

Carefulness in All Utterances

Of all people, Seventh-day Adventists should be the most careful of what they present orally or publish in written form.

Ambassadors for Christ

What careful­ness it should beget in us to be fit representa­tives of the government of God and His grace to lost humanity! What zeal we should have to improve ourselves, and to advance His work!

Editorial Postscripts

From the Ministry back page.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (160x600)