It is generally agreed that such church members as read their way into an acceptance of the message constitute its soundest members. Further, we know that those who continue to read message-filled books and publications cause little concern regarding their spiritual welfare.
Unfortunately, however, not all our members are thus maintaining their spiritual and intellectual balance. We live in a busy age. Our interests are diverted, and too often the days pass with but little time for study and meditation. Such conditions are a growing peril to Seventh-day Adventists.
It is gratifying to note that more of the Spirit of prophecy books are going into the homes of Seventh-day Adventists than ever before. It is with difficulty that the publishers are able to supply the ever-increasing demands for these books. It is well to promote the sale of this literature, and to know that such promotion is effective. But our efforts should not cease with the securing of the books by those to whom we minister. We should be equally concerned with the question as to whether these books are receiving thoughtful study, or whether they are merely an ornament to grace the living room table or the bookshelf. Only as they are opened and their pages studied can they make effective their helpful messages of counsel and information.
It was this problem, discerned four years ago and carefully studied, that led the General Conference officers to recommend the plan of the Spirit of Prophecy Reading Program. By this simple method, thousands of our laity and some of the worker group have been encouraged to undertake a systematic reading of the Ellen G. White books. Already, through ten or fifteen minutes daily, during the brief period of this endeavor many have read such soul-stirring books as The Great Controversy, The Ministry of Healing, The Desire of Ages, Early Writings, Messages to Young People, Patriarchs and Prophets, Education, and Testimonies for the Church, Volume I.
Not a few of these readers have confessed that prior to the beginning of this systematic plan, these books were little read, and they also report that their lives have been greatly blessed and their experience enriched by their daily reading of the recommended assignments. The results already reached surely warrant our putting forth well-planned efforts to broaden the group of regular readers, that others may share in the blessings of the course. While a number of the workers are taking advantage of the reading schedules, there is reason for most concern over our nonreading lay members.
The volumes selected by the General Conference Committee for the 1944 reading course are Christ's Object Lessons and The Acts of the Apostles. This is certainly an excellent selection. May we not count on you, the pastor or the district leader, at the beginning of this new year to lead the members of your church or district to join the widening circle of readers. Mention of the plan to them, and an encouraging word from you, will be of help.
D. E. Robinson