Editorial Keynotes

The Involvements of Extremism

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

There is, unfortunately, a type of mind that tends to extremes. Whether it be a distorted use of the Spirit of prophecy counsels, excessive emphasis upon cer­tain angles of health reform, or some other bur­den that assumes extreme, or at least unbalanced, proportions, such a temperament overstresses cer­tain points or phases of a truth, and thereby gives a one-sided, distorted emphasis to that truth. Such an attitude lacks the balance of well-rounded con­sideration, which full knowledge and perspective would give.

If the influence and effect of such extremism were confined to one's personal views and prac­tices, it would not be so serious. Everyone has the right and privilege of holding his own con­cepts. But when a person takes advantage of his official capacity as a minister in this cause, with the public opportunities automatically afforded a teacher in the church and an official representative of the faith, to impose his extreme views upon his congregation or to project them upon the public, he thereby becomes instead, a misrepresentative of the faith.

Under such conditions the situation passes from purely personal to denominational concern. If per­sisted in, this distortion will unavoidably become subject to censure and ultimately to discipline. No denominationally accredited and church-sup­ported worker, holding his papers from the denomi­nation and receiving his salary and sustentation provision from the denomination, has a right to project variant personal views that misconceive and misrepresent the position of the church as a whole. He has no right to contravene its clear positions in such a way as to cause confusion or alienation of the people and involve the rest of the ministerial fraternity in embarrassment.

One of the most serious trespasses of all involves a legal aspect. When an evangelistic worker, standing before the public as an official represen­tative of Adventism, encroaches in his public claims upon the domain of the practice of medicine and, as a layman, uses titles and makes claims and assertions concerning the cure of specific diseases, such as cancer and heart trouble, he thereby as­sumes the role of a medical quack and makes him­self liable to the just and full weight of the law. The line between the right and the wrong might be defined thus:

We should distinguish sharply between the enunciation of sound health principles and the attempt to prescribe and treat specific ailments. It is one thing to educate for healthful living, but it is a vastly different matter to give pseudoprofessional advice as to specific organic diseases where wrong counsel or neglect of competent professional care may be inimical to health or may even prove fatal. It is one thing to teach healthful cookery, but it is an entirely different matter to prescribe a specific diet for a person with a chronic disease which may have serious consequences. It is one thing to demonstrate simple treatments and remedies, but it is wholly another matter to treat maladies that may involve the issue of life and death. It is one thing to commend remedies that are helpful, while it is another matter to prescribe or dispense medicinal herbs and formulas. Such is the more serious side to the issue, involving a moral as well as a legal aspect.

Aside from the serious and foolhardy risk of dealing ignorantly with human life, such a tres­passer lowers himself in the eyes of the intelligent public by dragging the ministry of the gospel down to the level of quackery and charlatanism. He thereby brings disgrace upon the high and holy cause we represent before the world. More than that, he alienates the professionally trained, such as physicians, nurses, and scientists, and forces his ministerial brethren to bow their heads in shame and to disavow and repudiate all such en­croachments. Those who follow him have to work under a serious handicap in the community for perhaps a period of years before the odium is overcome. In the very nature of the case this situation cannot be complacently tolerated by the church.

Fortunately, not many drift into these extremes, but such cases stand as glaring examples of what not to do. May God deliver us from the reproaches of the few and keep all the rest of us from follow­ing in their footsteps. Nearly every extremist brings trouble upon himself and disgrace upon the cause he is seeking to advance. Brethren, let us pray that God will give us balance and keep us from extremes.

L. E. F.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

April 1945

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Trends Toward Union of Protestant Churches

Is there evidence of Protestant Churches joining forces?

Churchmen Make Pronouncement on World Order

As an observer at this significant meeting of influential church leaders I was impressed with the spirit of deep earnestness that prevailed throughout.

Approach to Catholics in Latin America

A survey of mission problems, methods, and relationships.

New Edition of "Daniel and the Revelation"

Here is the true story of the revision of "Daniel and the Revelation."

Christadelphians and The Pentecostal Bodies

Our continued look at various religions and denominations.

Concrete Ways to Increase Tithe

Our system of tithes and offerings is not merely an arrangement of convenience, a policy that can be changed or altered or set aside. It is Heaven's appointed means for the sup­port of the work of God.

Training Young Workers

The training of young men and women as strong and successful ministers and Bible in­structors begins in college and in the canvassing field.

Successful Ingathering Methods

Any force which tends to unite the membership of our churches is valuable.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

If somehow we could only catch the vision of what it means to be united workers in this last great message, giving each department of the effort the amount of credit due, I believe the Lord would bless very definitely with more souls.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up

Recent issues

See All