Neglect!—Caution can easily become weakness, carefulness degenerate into timidity, and conservatism drift into recreancy toward duty—if we allow delicate situations to keep us from declaring the divine portent of the times. The long forecast but now present fulfillment of prophecy, and the current accomplishment of predicted signs of the times, are inescapable realities. We have a divine mission to perform, a divine message to give. That commission is not confined to conditions of peace, safety, and prosperity. If we are silent in the„ hour of storm and peril, we shall prove recreant to duty and faithless to our task. The more difficult that task, the .greater our need of fidelity. The more forbidding the world situation, the greater the need of guidance, comfort, and security for bewildered mankind. The preacher who falters here seals his lips, and is guilty of moral cowardice. Likewise, the advent writer who today stills his pen from fear is guilty of neglect as a watchman on the walls of Zion.
Contacts!—Friendly contacts with religious leaders and organizations not of our faith, and participation in some of their meetings and conventions when invited, is to be commended—so long as there is no compromise of principle, no surrender of truth or of freedom of evangelistic action. These fundamentals we must never yield. We ourselves have lost much because of our clannishness and isolation. We have missed real opportunities, and because of our aloofness and our separation, our views and our motives have often been misunderstood. On the other hand, we have certain bounden obligations to discharge toward these religious leaders in witnessing to our faith, in correcting misconceptions, and in implanting seeds of truth. Many of the honesthearted among these groups are yet to embrace this message. Others will someday stand forth in our behalf when pressure and persecution arise. Still others will have their lips silenced as they see our sincerity, and sense the frankness, the soundness, and the reasonableness of our positions. Finally, we must warn men of every estate concerning impending disaster for neglect or defiance of God's final message to mankind. So, both for their sakes and for our own, let us mingle with these religious leaders without compromising, as witnesses justly proud of our faith, and conscious of its vital import to all the inhabitants of earth.
Misunderstandings!--If you wish to misunderstand a fellow worker, if you wish to remain suspicious of him, be sure to keep your distance from him. Really knowing him might change your preconceptions and melt away your prejudices. Close acquaintance might reveal a nobility of character that would wholly disillusion you. You might find a devotion to God and truth, a sacrificial life of service, a spirit of fellowship and cooperation, that would call for a radical revision of early evaluations. So, if you wish to keep on disliking someone, be sure to keep away from the object of your antipathy.
Latitude!—We do not concede that there is but one accepted norm in preaching. Neither should we expect all writers to conform to one matter-of-fact, unadorned style in denominational literature, excellent though it be. Surely there is rightful scope for effectiveness and true elegance in writing forth the glories of this matchless message. Not all minds and tastes are represented by those who usually play the role of critic to our literature, but who themselves rarely offer serious writing for others to criticize. For the sake of effectiveness in reaching different types of minds, let us recognize legitimate latitudes in style. Due leeway must be left for the expression of variant personality in our denominational writing. May Heaven spare us from the deadly monotony of a standard literary style that alone would be orthodox !
Scholasticism!—A growing attitude of uncertainty and tentativeness regarding fundamental positions is making inroads among some who are molded by university training, and who have unconsciously adopted the attitude of modern, skeptical scholasticism. Some of the points at issue, however, have been established and settled by competent study, and confirmed and validated by inspiration. To contend for perpetual uncertainty concerning such, under the guise of the "open mind" appeal—ever studying and never coming to certainty and finality—is contrary to the whole genius of revealed truth, and ruinous to the propagation of a movement that must spread by conviction and establish itself through certainties. We are not as others without Spirit of prophecy guidance. Beware of the leaven of skeptical scholasticism!
L. E. F.