BROADENING!—There is increasing danger that as we grow large and spread out as a people, we shall lose that oneness and simplicity and that fidelity to the simple faith of this movement that characterized our early days, and be tinctured by the subtleties and philosophies of the world about—a world that has lost its way and wandered from God and the truth of God. There is real danger that our young men and young women attending the universities of the world will unconsciously absorb ideas that blur the clear vision of truth, a condition resulting in the yielding of a little here, the compromising of a shade there, and the disastrous broadening of ideas in another place. These little changes become tangents that lead farther and farther away from our basic platform. That has been the way of every historic religious body that once had a mission and a message from God. We need to apply ourselves one and all to the study of the blueprint. We need to check up on our attitudes. We need to watch and to adjust. Some have gone from us. Others will go. The Advent pathway will become too narrow for some. Remember that broad is the way that leadeth away from God and vital truth, and ends in destruction of the faith. So let us each examine ourselves to see whether we have departed in some degree from the faith. If so let us repent and return. This is no academic matter. It is a question of vital moment.
FRIENDSHIPS!—Make friends for the faith with the leaders of men—not by compromise, not by concealment, but by frank, friendly contacts, by kindness, helpfulness, cooperation, openness, integrity to principle. Meet civic leaders, lawyers, doctors, judges, teachers, ministers, editors, librarians, public officials.
Gain their respect for Adventism. Win their admiration for our Christian courtesy, our intelligent interest in community and civic affairs, and our understanding of religious trends and developments. Gain confidence by sincerity, manliness, intelligent understanding, honesty with facts, and fair use of history. Use tact and good sense. It is not necessary to bring in the Sabbath, the sanctuary, the nature of man, and the Spirit of prophecy when we first meet these leaders. We do not always have to give a Bible study. In time they will inquire. Then is our golden opportunity to explain. But do so winsomely, wisely, tactfully. Whet their appetite to know more rather than to feel we have taken advantage of them and imposed on them. Plant the seed. Another will water it; and a third will cultivate. Use temperance, religious liberty, health principles, the prophetic portrayal of the times. Let them know our loyalty to the Bible and to the fundamentals of Christianity—that we are Christians first of all. Such friendships will stand us in good stead in times of oppression and encroachment. Such men will stand up for us among friends we could never reach. They will be protectors of our rights, our interests, our character. And some will ultimately take their stand with us in the crisis hour. We have been too aloof, too evasive, or too aggressive. The children of this world are often wiser than some of the children of light. Make friends for the faith among leaders of men.
REINSTATE!—We compass earth and sea to make converts to the faith, and rightly so. But when former church members who have left the faith turn again to God, some would exclude them because grave complications may have developed during the period of their past ungodly life. Perhaps un-Biblical divorce and remarriage took place during the period of worldly wandering, and children came into the home to comPlicate the situation. What should be done when such repent and wish to return ? Should they be told not to request re-baptism and membership ? Should they be counseled to break up the home and separate their children ? No! Two wrongs never make one right. What do we do when people come to us for the first time from the world with all sorts of complicated backgrounds? Do we not recognize that God forgives and buries the past ? Should we not seek to save every soul that turns from the world to the church and righteousness? Should not we rejoice over the recovery of such, just as the angels rejoice in heaven ? Should we not sincerely welcome them? There is no case too hard or too hopeless for God. None have passed the line of His forgiveness and the limit of His grace, if only they repent. Let the church emulate the compassionate heart of God. In this we refer, of course, only to membership in the church. A vastly different situation obtains in the case of the worker who has fallen, and thereby forfeits credentials and membership. We seek the sincere repentance and rebaptism of such. But they have henceforth forfeited the right to function as our public representatives. Their relationship to the church should thenceforth be that of inconspicuous laymen saved by grace.
L. E. F.