Many a Protestant educational system, starting out auspiciously on its way, has foundered on the submerged rock of scholasticism. Shall the remnant church follow this fateful course to the same disastrous end? Despite the tragic wreckage discernible all about us, shall we sail over the same alluring course and meet with the same results—merely because the course is charted as "scholastic"? God forbid !
Shall we, for example, form our conclusions from largely skeptical or Catholic historical sources—conclusions that with us involve lifeand-death issues, but are purely objective to others ? Shall we, to take a concrete case, put aside clear Spirit of prophecy leads and clues, and accept at face value the biased, contravening testimony of hostile Catholic records concerning the Waldenses? Or, to cite another example, shall we take as final the antagonistic witness of state church writers, concerning the eighteenth-century child-preachers of Sweden? Shall we not rather search on until the full facts are uncovered, which will be found to tally with the inspired clues ?
Yet again, it makes a vast difference whether one reads and is contented with the cynical, skeptical portrayals of the early revivals of the nineteenth century, or takes instead the record of reverent, godly participants. One presents a gross caricature, based on those extremes on the fring-es that mar every religious movement. The other gives the true picture of the real spirit and character of the development under-girding the great advent awakening.
Or, take the monumental Millerite movement. Shall we accept the unsympathetic evaluations and misconceptions of the contemporary ecclesiastics and the secular scholars who rejected the judgment-hour message, and who report everything pertaining to the movement through distorted, prejudiced vision? Rather, shall we not form our conclusions from the actual participants? If we wish to know what minority heralds of truth have taught in any age, let us read their own representative writings and official declarations to gain our information.
Would, or could, a Catholic or skeptical scholar give a fair and understanding evaluation of Seventh-day Adventism today ? To ask the question is to have the answer. The same principle applies to others. We must go to the writings of the body concerned to find what was really believed and accomplished, and the spirit and purpose that lay back of its course of action or achievement.
But more than that, when available records are partial or defective or have been destroyed, we must have more than human guidance if we are not to misjudge, and thus to reach wrong conclusions. That vital guidance is available to us through the Spirit of prophecy. But it is denied to those rejecting that gift. And that is the crux of the difference between worldly scholastics, and the favored remnant church whose reverent students have not only what the world has, but in addition, have vouchsafed to them this infinite gift of guidance through the bewildering maze of conflicting opinion and bias that often marks the scholastic dicta of the day. Thank God for His gracious provision ! We wander not as others who are without this guiding safeguard.