Homeland!—Descending from some lofty mountain range, one occasionally gets a never-to-be-forgotten view of the surrounding plains, stretching out beauteously clear to the horizon line, as far as the eye can see in every direction. Fields of green of varying hues, dotted with grazing sheep and placid herds, extend out before the eye over plains and rolling hills, interlaced with winding streams —with perchance a sylvan lake. At such times the mind instinctively goes back to Moses on Mt. Nebo, as he viewed the Palestinian Promised Land. We, too, can visualize from some such height, spread out in panorama before us, the token of our eternal homeland. We should never cease to herald its imminent establishment and its glorious character. We are pilgrims and strangers here. But we shall soon enter the eternal Promised Land. Courage, brother, courage!
Honestly!—It is neither ethical nor wise—not to mention the element of simple honesty—to continue to use a discredited, inaccurate, or spurious quotation after its dubious character is known. Yet some have been known to persist in employing such dubious supports, just because the phrasing is apt and sounds impressive or convincing. The same principle applies, of course, to unsound arguments and evidences that might be employed. But the willful, continued use of such discredited citations is the almost certain forerunner of ultimate personal catastrophe. There can be no respect for, or personal confidence in, such untenable presentations. And with such, sooner or later, there will be repudiation not only of that faulty point, but possibly of the full truth as well. An honest mind and a clear conscience are imperative to the successful and continued propagation of truth.
Scientific!—To the scientifically informed, a serious scientific misstatement on the part of the preacher of truth—or even a slip—will often cause a blackout, of greater or lesser duration, as concerns everything else in the sermon, however good it may be. The entire presentation thus is inadvertently brought under question, and there arises doubt concerning the soundness and accuracy of the preacher in the other matters he is presenting. Doubt will suggest, "Perhaps he is equally careless, misinformed, and untrustworthy on other points, on which I am not informed." Such scientific breaks" in our oral or written presentations inject an element of reproach, and constitute a real deterrent to winning a large group of hearers who either have to hurdle these handicaps or, more likely, turn away in pity, contempt, or disgust. When we deal with astronomy, creationism, deluge geology, or food facts, or enter other scientific fields, let us for the sake of truth and of the souls of our listeners, be scientifically sound and accurate in our statements.
Assumption!—No conference, church, or institution can of right arrogate itself to the position of custodian of the faith of the denomination, and corrector of its heretics. Definitions of doctrine and statements of faith, to be valid, must come from the sisterhood of conferences with their constituent churches and institutions, through our one authorized and authoritative body—the General Conference in session, or the full General Conference Committee as its delegated body of administration. All volunteer attempts to control the faith are encroachments upon this principle and prerogative. They are assumptions of authority that are automatically invalid and unseemly. We must move forward unitedly in these basic relationships.
Rectifying!—One of the distinct services rendered this cause by the Voice of Prophecy national broadcast is the exaltation of Christ before the world in the setting of the message. His deity and His vicarious, atoning death are made central in every doctrine presented and in the prophetic truths of the message. The fact that we, even more than others, believe in salvation only by grace, before the cross as well as during the Christian dispensation, was a telling point made recently. In our anxiety to honor the law and to exalt the Sabbath, we have not always made clear our real position on the gospel. The public has had occasion to misunderstand, and to censure us as legalists. Why? Because we have too often departmentalized and segregated our presentations in this way : When we preach salvation by grace through Christ, that is usually clear and sound. But when we preach on the law, the Sabbath, and many other doctrines and prophecies, this basic gospel principle is often crowded into the background and we become dogmatic and doctrinarian. These national broadcasts are setting us before the world in true perspective. This should have been done long ago.
L. E. F.