No autumn council of our church leadership within my memory has been more characteristically Adventist in spirit, emphasis, and scope, than the Denver Biennial Council, held October 18-28, 1948. It was pre-eminently a world council, attended by representatives of all divisions save one—and neighboring divisions told of heartening advances even there. It was wholesomely and militantly evangelistic in tone. It called for definite readjustment of emphasis lest institutionalism overshadow direct field evangelism and overthrow the divine balance. It was mission centered in emphasis. The devotional periods were all conducted by overseas leaders, blending spiritual lessons with the most gripping rehearsals of mission advances ever given in our history.
God is undeniably leading us forward as never before. The Spirit of God is opening such an array of doors that bid us enter, as to be almost bewildering. The clear call and the accompanying challenge is so utterly beyond our apparent financial resources and man power as to drive us all to our knees in supplication for means to flow into the treasury for the answering of these heaven-born calls. We have manifestly reached the crucial hour in the course of the remnant movement.
Never have there been such advances on every hand. Never have there been such heart-gripping recitals of the triumphs of the cross. Never have there been such urgent needs as now confront us. Age-old barriers are giving way. Walls that have for ages been adamant are crumbling. Groups that seemed impervious are beckoning earnestly for light. Lands that for centuries have been hostile to Christianity are now asking insistently for the evangel. And if we do not move in, in response, others will. We must not fail our God; we will not fail Him. This people will rise to His call. All the resources of Omnipotence are on our, side. The truth of God is in our hands. The commission of God is behind us. The divine urge of the Spirit is the witness to the leadership of God in our midst.
We must move forward. We dare not retreat; that would be to be recreant to our trust. We dare not mark time; that would mean to ignore the clear signals to advance. We cannot await better times ; they will evidently never come. The world unrest is in our favor. It is loosening the grip of the world on the affections of men, and driving them to God. The world's sorrow, unrest, and breakdown is turning vast numbers of men's hearts Godward. Our greater advances come under the greater difficulties. We should pray, not for the return of normalcy, but for adequacy to meet the emergency. We should seek, not for a long-time program of advance, but for a short, quick work in the earth. We are soon to leave this old world. Our every plan and investment should reflect that central fact. There should be no needless extravagance in material things that will soon be swept away. There should be no pandering to pride and appearance. Our material structures should be representative, but should not belie our message of the imminent Advent of Christ.
A world vision and outlook should characterize every worker's attitude in every home base. We are all going home together. Our united task will be finished in mission and home land together. We must curb certain selfish and extravagant trends. We must keep the home bases strong so as to furnish the sinews of war for world advance. We must economize for God. We, as workers, must lead in sacrifice and consecration to a world task. We must be willing to go, to give, to lead, or to follow, to inspire and to marshal the resources of this movement for the finishing of its commissioned task. It is a glorious but sobering hour in which to live. It is a call to prayer to renewal of consecration, to redoubling of effort, to laying hold of the resources of omnipotence—to arise and finish the work of God. That is the meaning and the spirit of the 1948 Autumn Council.
L. E. F.