Our Task in Time of War

In the crisis hour many are asking, What is our task? What can we do to help a world in distress?

By J. I. ROBISON, Secretary of the Northern European Division

We are living in momentous times. In­ternational tension, which has been growing more and more threatening for several years, has at last broken out into open conflict. We now face the crisis hour of history, and all that men have tried to build up in international good will and peace has come crashing to earth, and no one can foretell the outcome.

In the crisis hour many are asking, What is our task? What can we do to help a world in distress? We cannot hope to effectively in­fluence the international situation itself ; nor do we attempt to intervene in the affairs of state. That is, of course, not our task. We can and should pray for those in authority, and ask that God will direct them into ways of justice and peace. Above all, we should pray that God's will may "be done in earth, as it is in heaven." But our task is larger than this alone. There is active service that we should render. Who knows but that we, like Queen Esther, have been called to the kingdom for just such a time as this ? I will mention a few of the definite responsibilities that we, as Chris­tians and believers in this advent message, face in time of war.

Disentangle Patriotism and Religion.—First we should "render . . . unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." Matt. 22 :21. There is a strong tendency in wartime to exalt the state, and put loyalty to the nation as supreme, even above loyalty to God. It is our duty, I believe, to disentangle patriotism and religion. While rendering every service to the state that we possibly can as Christians, we should fearlessly teach that even though the state should be obeyed in those things which pertain to its sphere, God only is absolute, and He alone has a claim to our unconditional loyalty and obe­dience.

Keep Spirit of Brotherhood.—We need to take care that our preaching and praying be truly Christian and characteristic of this world-wide movement which has gathered its harvest from every land. Our God is the Father of all peoples, and He "bath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." Acts 17:26. That spirit of brotherhood that has characterized this movement since its very inception must not be lost. We may not always be able to keep in touch with our brethren across some of the world's frontiers, but in our prayer circles and in the citadel of our own hearts we must never allow any spirit of hatred to be cherished. It is our task to call men to repent of the sin of hatred that war engenders, and this can be done only as our own hearts are filled with His love. We should therefore refuse to give way to words or thoughts of ill will toward those whom the world may class as enemies.

Presentation of Positive Message.—We should see in the present world conflict the fulfillment of the prophecies of the word of God. We are without doubt in the time of the end foretold by the prophets of the Bible and through the Spirit of prophecy in the remnant church. The nations are now angry. See Revelation 11:18. Men are inquiring every­where what the outcome of all this carnage and warfare will be. They are asking, "When shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world ?" Matt. 24:3. We have the answer. Now as never before we should, by voice and by pen, let the world hear a message which alone can bring hope and comfort in this hour of distress when men's hearts are failing for fear. In the presentation of the message at this time let us emphasize the love of Christ and His redeeming power, and our joyous hope of a better land where there shall be no more war or sorrow or hatred or death.

Revival of Prayer and Bible Study.—We should be often in prayer during these days of war. Would it not be well if there should be a real revival of prayer in our churches, in our homes, and in our hearts? In too many of our churches the prayer meeting has almost died. It is attended by only a handful, while the great body of the church prefers to remain at home around the comfort of their firesides. There can be no revival in the church, nor can we present this message to the world with con­vincing power, without prayer. So in this crisis hour, while the Lord is still lingering in mercy in the sanctuary above, let us as workers and laity renew our appointments with God in the hour of prayer.

Lastly, let us not neglect the earnest study of God's word, and the messages that have come to us through the Spirit of prophecy. There alone may we find light in this dark hour. Let us not allow the radio, the news­paper, and the popular magazine to steal from us the Bible study hour. As never before we need to study the Word for ourselves, that we may be able to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us.

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By J. I. ROBISON, Secretary of the Northern European Division

January 1940

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