Questions!—Do we as a ministry live and labor as though we were actually on the verge of the close of our work for the world, and the finale of all human history? With intensity from beneath taking hold of the world about, has an equivalent intensity from above laid hold of us? When we observe the sacrifice and abandon exercised by ecclesiastical organizations like the Jesuits, or by secular youth and military organizations for fatherland or some political philosophy, do we see a paralleling spirit of sacrifice and abandon in our own ranks for a cause which transcends any earthly program or objective? When we „ see the subserviency of an individual for the general welfare, the sacrifice even unto death for an earthly kingdom, are we alarmed as we see apathy, jealousy, indifference, love of ease, manuevering for position, and fascination with this present evil world appearing all too often in our own worker ranks? Are we training our national workers to lead on competently when European laborers must withdraw because of difficult conditions? Are we instilling principles that will hold our people and meet the exigency when, denied freedom of worship and assembly, our people and workers will be cut off from communication with one another? Are We preparing for self-support when whole sections will be isolated from the usual home-base supplies? When do we anticipate finishing our task at the rate at which we are now progressing? These are golden days, preparatory days, testing days, when Heaven expects every man to do his duty—and more than his duty.
Dishonesty!—Beware of the man who presses a Spirit of prophecy counsel upon you when it supports his contention, but who side-steps another counsel from the same source which counters or modifies his contention. His honesty is to be regarded with suspicion when he is so blinded With his own 'rightness that he refuses to have his position modified by its neutralizing declarations.
Marked!—If you wish to become the target of suspicion and challenge by some that will persist throughout your days, just set forth a position that varies a little from theirs on some inconsequential detail of prophecy that has no essential bearing on sal-. vation or the basic outline of prophecy held by this movement. Your aspirations will then be realized. Such will thereafter always question both your loyalty and your orthodoxy. Irrespective of your allegiarfee to every fundamental of the faith, and your implicit belief in and submission to every declaration of the Spirit of prophecy, you will thenceforth be the object of suspicious scrutiny by such. Your words will be watched, and ofttimes the worst possible construction will be placed upon them. Such are the strange anomalies of a movement that has stood through the years without a formal creed. It is a spirit that should react definitely against those who foster it.
Unity! Outward unity concerning doctrine or interpretation that comes through mere authoritarian decision is perforce of spurious and transitory character. It is only submission to a decision made by a council, committee, or group, and not true acceptance of a position, springing from the personal conviction of a persuaded mind. That unity is alone genuine and abiding which comes through weight of evidence and personal perception of light—from conclusions based upon free and full discussion and the manifest leading of the Holy Spirit. This is the only kind of doctrinal unity that harmonizes with the spirit and genius of this movement, or that has rightful place in its operations. We should eschew all other.
Discussion!—Discussion is not only proper and wholesome, but is esseirtial to safety in a representative form of church government. It is designed td' reveal the weaknesses and involvements of a proposition, as well as its strength and values. It is the basis upon which all sound committee work proceeds. Contributing speeches do not all represent mature and final conclusions, or even necessarily convictions, on the part of those who make them. Rather, they are frequently the thoughts of men spoken aloud as they weigh matters under consideration, seeking to bring out all sides of the question, so as to arrive at a clear personal conclusion before a united group conclusion is reached. Oft-times questions are asked just to see how a certain objection can be answered, or to cleart up a doubt. This calls for mutual respect and tolerance, and for crediting others with equal honesty and good sense with our own—and also with recognition of the fact that we ourselves may be wrono-s and those holding an opposite view may be right. In a multitude of counselors—with their candid discussions—there s safety and unity.
L. E. F.