Editorial Keynotes

From the Ministry back page.

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry. 

Scortched Earth! — The  scorched-earth policy is ruinous for the evange­list who attempts to follow a predecessor. Yet virtually continuous evangelism is mandatory for carrying the message to our larger cities. The concept of delivering one's message, warn­ing with fearsome denunciations, alienating all who fail to respond, and then shaking the dust from off one's shoes has not been uncommon. Some consider that duty is thus discharged. But is that necessarily sound or true? Should we so burn over the ground that the one who follows will find but scorched earth? Does not the limitation imposed by the radio—leaving some things for personal teaching and reading—suggest a better way? Does not the plan of continuous evangelism in our great cities—often with one man succeeding another—de­mand a different method of handling some sub­jects, as to manner and place?

Changes! — Too frequent changes are costly in money and fruitage. Min­isters should stay long enough to establish con­verts and to glean the full potential harvest. Frequent transfers are a serious matter, as souls are at stake, but periodic changes are also de­sirable. They broaden and stimulate and in­crease one's value and fruitage. A lad—Bob or Jim—completes his ministerial training, and everyone is glad. But he is still Bob or Jim. He should ordinarily stay in the conference providing his internship until he has been or­dained and had fair experience. Then he may well transfer to another field. He will then have the advantage of being Elder Smith or Elder Jones, with a start and a prestige be­yond the place of his boyhood.

Bible Teaching! —The preacher in the desk and the writer in the de­nominational magazine or book, can usually avoid moot, secondary questions in the prophe­cies. But the Bible teacher in the classroom, in a verse-by-verse study of the prophetic books (Daniel or Revelation, for example) cannot avoid some kind of statement concerning every portion of these key books. (The Huns versus the Alemanni would be a case in point.) Some teachers candidly state that there are two posi­tions held on certain minor points. There are others, however, who take exception to a state­ment of the indisputable fact that sincere men in our ranks hold differing positions on some of these secondary matters. Such insist that the teacher should declare that there is only one true view or exposition—the one held by himself, the head of the department. the presi­dent of the institution, or the board—irrespec­tive of the fact that the majority of our other colleges, or the bulk of our teachers, preachers. and writers, may hold another view. We must recognize the honesty and loyalty of men who differ from us, and the legitimacy of difference of view upon nonessentials.

Breaking! It is tragic to watch strong men break—men who have borne the heat and brunt of the battle. Cracking under the weight of advancing years and failing strength, from burdens once easy but now too great for mind and body, failing memory, irascibility of disposition, increasing rigidity of mind and at­titude, waning power in the pulpit, inability to handle big problems—these are the telltale evi­dences, with a physical break or senility as the climax. Then come heartaches and conflicts that would have been unthinkable in the days of their strength and virility. And the sad part is that such victims of the years do not see what all others see. They feel they can carry on as before, but they are the only ones under such illusion. So they drive themselves on to still greater exertions beyond a waning strength, thus inviting catastrophe. Wise are those few who, having observed the plight of others before them, resolutely retire from the heavy burdens before they themselves repeat the story of nearly all mankind.

Transfigured!—Traveling up the valley road between parallel mountain ranges, en route to Hot Springs, Virginia, as the sun was sinking in the west, we beheld one of the most gorgeous color spectacles this old earth ever affords. Autumnal frosts had transformed the wooded hillside into a riot of color. Then, as the full strength of the wester­ing sun passed over the top of the lower western range and rested like a gigantic spotlight upon the higher eastern range, it touched those va­riant hues of the forest with the gleam of scin­tillating gold. These irradiated pastel shades ran the full range of the rainbow spectrum, only intermingled and repeated with surpassing art­istry—brilliant yellows, flaming reds, soft greeps, gray, and browns, deep purples, and brilliant orange. Truly it was a spectacle sublime. God must love the beautiful. If this old earth, after six thousand years of the scourging and scarring of sin, still holds such lingering scenes of Edenic beauty, what will not the earth made new hold in store in supernal beauty! O God, haste the day of restoration!

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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry. 

February 1944

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