Rescue!—The world is aflame. Tongues of fire spurt forth from every part of the old earth's structure. Souls are perishing in the conflagration. The supreme need of the hour is rescue. Formalities are out of place under such conditions. Jokes and entertainment are decidedly out of order at such a time. Dissertations on ethics, the state of the world, or the political horizon, educational or travel lectures, however interesting or helpful, are wholly inappropriate in the face of life-and-death issues. Our business for God is to rescue souls from the besom of destruction. It matters little what color of uniform the fireman uses, or whether the rescue ladder is appropriately painted—so long as life is saved. Nonessentials and extravagances are most decidedly out of place when a life is in danger. Platters of sandwiches and other refreshments, however delightful and appropriate at times, would be an insult if offered to the perishing, and an indictment of the judgment of the rescuer. Emergency conditions call for the abandonment of many things that are proper in normal times. Let us grip the principle of the figure of the flaming world, and revise our approach, methods, and emphasis.
Feeders!—It is hungry sheep that stray away from the fold and seek the stranger's voice. The sheep and lambs of God's flock are hungry. Feed them. They are anxious and often bewildered. Guide them, counsel them, instruct them, build them up, and they will rise up and call you blessed. You will have their confidence, affection, and moral support, if you supply their needs. They look to you, and rightly, for this help. One will always have an audience if he feeds his sheep as the Master enjoined. Husks will not suffice. Nourishing, building foods are necessary for healthy, contented, wool-bearing sheep. We need to heed anew the Master's command, "Feed My sheep."
Research!—More and more is competent research work destined to fill a vital place in the finale of this movement—despite the fact that we have not been particularly research-minded. We are decidedly utilitarian in our interests and outlook, and preponderantly material in our emphasis. We love action, achievement, advance We have time, money, effort, encouragement, and patience for activities and material projects. Yet the greatest thing in this movement, upon which all else is built, is confidence in the certainties of the truths we profess and the verities we champion. Stronger, clearer, fuller evidences concerning the great pillars of the faith await our discovery and utilization. Here is the supreme means provided for substantially building confidence. The highest and loudest of affirmations will never do it, nor will formal resolutions of confidence. It must spring from conviction, and conviction comes from convincing, inescapable evidence. Here is the instrument for the defense of truth, the overthrow of error, and the discomfiture of critics.
This is more important than institutions, expansions, or equipment, for this has to do with the heart of it all—the very spirit and life of the movement itself. Let us give rightful research the support which it deserves.
Professionalism!—An unconscious drift into a mechanical professionalism in the gospel ministry is a very real peril to the individual worker in this movement. There is danger that we may through carelessness, prayerlessness, and drift from God, come merely to play a part, going through the motions, depending upon a form, relying upon organization, oratory, salesmanship, and psychology—and missing the reality, the throbbing, spiritual impulses, the Holy Spirit's presence.
Unifier!--It is the Spirit Of prophecy that has made this people what it is in doctrinal unity and organizational achievement. Without this guiding, unifying gift in our midst, we would long ago have been rent by divisions or diverted into tangents. The Bible is our sole rule of faith and practice, but without inspired interpretation we would be in conflict over its interpretation on expounded fundamentals, just as some are prone to be confused over nonessentials upon which it is silent. Nominal Protestantism is without such a guide, and does not profess to possess it. On the contrary, Catholicism professes to have the continued inspiration of tradition vouchsafed for its rule of infallibility. But such is spurious, and contrary to all Scripture and true experience. In only one church or movement is this to be found today—the divinely chosen, called, and respondent remnant. Look with justifiable suspicion on those who question the Spirit of prophecy's vital place, who soften or hide its counsels, or who evade and avoid its guiding voice.
L. E. F.