Editorial Defenders of the Faith

Editorial Defenders of the Faith-2

In article No. 1, Professor Andreasen set forth several guiding principles which show how our editors and periodicals may be defenders of the faith. Near the close, he pointed out certain landmarks which all workers would do well to keep in mind. Those discussed were, maintaining true Funda­mentalism, and the right use of the Testimonies. He continues with the next point, on the doctrine of creation.

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

In article No. 1, Professor Andreasen set forth several guiding principles which show how our editors and periodicals may be defenders of the faith. Near the close, he pointed out certain landmarks which all workers would do well to keep in mind. Those discussed were, maintaining true Funda­mentalism, and the right use of the Testimonies. He continues with the next point, on the doctrine of creation.—Editor.

The Doctrine of Creation.—There should be unity of doctrine in regard to creation. We are indeed united in the general proposi­tion of a divine-fiat creation, but at times we hear strange doctrines and strange scientific ideas propounded by those of a scientific bent of mind. It would be well for our editors and ministers to read the record of the Scopes trial, for there were theories and questions propounded by the opposition that have not as yet been answered by us or by anybody else.

We are people of the Bible, and in a specific sense we are people of the first chapter of Genesis. The three angels' messages call at­tention to "Him that made heaven and earth," that is, to the God who in the beginning created. This belief and this message are in a definite sense a challenge to the theory of evolution, and we cannot avoid the conflict that this message involves. We are not con­vinced that this denomination has yet formu­lated an adequate and, satisfactory answer to the questions raised by this theory, one in harmony with the Bible account and one not at variance with scientific facts as found and as agreed upon. I am not convinced that it is our duty to present to the world a complete scientific theory that will satisfy men who have rio faith in divine revelation, but neither am I convinced that any worthy object is gained by ridicule of that of which we have insufficient scientific knowledge.

I believe that much harm has been done to the cause of God by loose and incorrect state­ments made by those who evidently are out of their field when they speak of evolution. It is a matter of distress to hear some sermons preached which contain arguments which ridi­cule and show contempt. I am convinced that thinking men have been driven away from our meetings and from the truth by such preaching. The minister simply succeeds in eliminating from his audience men whom he cannot afford to drive away. When to such preaching are added other "scientific" lectures, in which loose historical statements are made, gradually the audience is reduced to those whose intellectual level corresponds to the statements made, and we have missed an op­portunity to bring the truth to those who might become pillars in the church of God.

Someone will object that what has been said applies to the minister, and that this is an editors' council. Need it be stated that editors are not entirely free from letting things slip into their papers that will not stand the light of investigation? An evangelist of the type just described is likely to let some of the ideas here described influence his writings as well as his speaking, and unless the editor is on the watch, things will appear that should not. The loose and indiscriminate use of the three or four different words in the first chapter of Genesis to denote the formation of matter used, may yet arise to plague us. Eternal vigilance is needed by everyone entrusted with the editing of a paper.

We are very anxious that our ministry, teachers, and editors present a united front. Perhaps we ought to know all things, but we do not, and it is well for us to admit it. But if we have enough wisdom to know what not to say, we may yet be accounted wise. We stand as the guardians of the faith committed to this people. The truth must not be per­verted and made of none effect in passing through our hands. Rather, we are to take such material as we must work with, and make it and fashion it, not merely a thing of artistic beauty, but also of intellectual and spiritual value. We are not merely makers of typo­graphical masterpieces and immortal phrases. We are makers of lives, and on us rests the responsibility of souls. Great as is the need of artistic excellence and rhetorical beauty, it is, after all, not the mere production of an acceptable literary composition that is the goal. More, much more, thought must be given to the man for whom the paper is in­tended than to the paper itself.

The true editor will produce a paper that will meet the highest standards of mechanical excellence; but he will do more than this. He will fashion a document out of the hetero­geneous matter submitted to him that will have unity, coherence, beauty, and appeal, and he will do this without destroying the individuality of the writers. He will not rest satisfied until he has welded into a consistent whole the production of many minds, and is able to present to his readers what he believes to be a message of unity without uniformity, a message of life unto life or of death unto death. He is a creator, a fashioner, a molder, not merely of a paper, but of words, of ideas, of life-giving messages, and in a certain sense a molder of souls. He is to receive of God and bring to men the message from heaven. His is a most vital work, equal to and in certain aspects exceeding in importance that of the minister. The qualifications of such a person must not be less than those of the min­ister, nor must his sense of responsibility be less.

The editor has the world for his field. He speaks to men in legislative halls; he speaks to the king on his throne afar off. His mes­sages in a certain sense are imperishable. He speaks also to the church, and he has a very definite responsibility to its members. The editor must be a man of vision. He must consider the state of the church, and no less than the minister, he must hold himself ac­countable. He must never consider that his work is the production of a paper and that there his responsibility ends. Editors and ministers must work together for the upbuild­ing of the church. If abuses creep in, it is the work of the editor as well as of the minister to stem the tide. He must keep in close touch with the ministry and be willing to lend a helping hand whenever a problem arises.

The ministry alone can never do the work that must be done. We all need to stand to­gether. There are things that need attention in the church, some of which I have men­tioned. Shall we not study these needs to­gether? Shall we not work together more closely than ever before, for the upbuilding of the church, for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the saints of God? We must not forget that first of all we are engaged in a spiritual work, that our aim is souls, and that in the day of God we will be held respon­sible for the opportunities afforded us.

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

December 1939

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