Family Altar for New Believers
MARGARET COSBY: Bible Instructor, New Jersey Conference
Special joy thrills each Bible instructor's heart whenever she has helped a family to accept the truth. Another Christian home has become "an object-lesson, illustrating the excellence of the true principles of life," "to give to the world in their home life, in their customs and practices and order, an evidence of what the gospel can do for those who obey it." Ministry of Healing, pp. 352, 196.
How can the Bible instructor impress this great responsibility upon parents who accept the high standards of gospel truth? How can she help them to mold their homes after the divine pattern? The building and maintaining of a family altar will provide a vitalizing, stabilizing influence that will establish the home in present truth and make it a stanch witness in the community.
Too many of the homes today are prayerless homes. Many times the parents themselves must be taught to pray before they can teach their children. The prayers of the worker in the home serve as object lessons in this respect. Studies on prayer and Christian home life lay the foundation on which the family altar will be built. As the regular Bible studies progress, parents and children should be encouraged to pray audibly. Any problem relative to the devotional program of the home is made the subject of earnest prayer and study.
Personal guidance is invaluable in establishing correct habits of family worship. The worker may at first meet with the family for Sabbath worship, perhaps leading out a few times. These new Christians are helped if the Bible instructor suggests the procedure of worship, encouraging the younger members of the family to pray too. The father should be encouraged to exercise his office as priest of the home.
This can be done even though the mother has not been baptized. And the mother who is alone in the truth cannot afford to lose this opportunity of teaching her children to love God's Word and faithfully obey it. Prayerful planning will bring tact and wisdom to know how to make the family altar a sanctifying influence upon every person in the home, even before the family is united in the faith.
Principles of Worship
Each family is to be encouraged to plan its own program of worship. We are blessed with a wealth of suitable material, such as pamphlets and books on the Morning Watch texts, the Morning Watch, Sabbath schools lessons, devotional articles in our many periodicals, and rich treasures in our denominational books. Let the purpose of the family altar govern every plan and let the basic principles of worship be carefully studied and followed. These principles, which follow, are clearly set forth by God's messenger.
1. Set a fixed, brief, but unhurried time for morning and evening worship.
2. "Let it be understood that into these hours no troubled, unkind thoughts are to intrude." Rather, they are to be "the sweetest and most helpful of the day," "the most pleasant and enjoyable," "intensely interesting." Education, p. 186; Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 43.
3. The program is to be varied and appropriate for everyone, especially the younger children.
4. There must be careful preparation and planning. "To make such a service what it should be, thought should be given to preparation. ... It will require effort and planning." Education, p. 186.
The purpose of family worship is definitely stated.
1. "To meet with Jesus, and to invite into the home the presence of holy angels." Ibid.
2. To seek pardon for sins committed, to present thanks and praise, and requests for needed blessings. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 374; Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 42.)
3. To consecrate parents and children to God for the day.
"Fathers and mothers, each morning and evening gather your children around you, and in humble supplication lift the heart to God for help. Your dear ones are exposed to temptation. . . . Each morning consecrate yourselves and your children to God." Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 44.
4. To "make a hedge about their children . . . that holy angels will guard them." Ibid., pp. 42, 43.
5. To instruct the children how to become followers of the Lamb, to teach respect, reverence for God and divine things, discipline, thoughtfulness. (Ibid., vol. 5, pp. 423, 424.)
The home in which the family altar is established upon these sacred principles, will be a truly Christian home, exerting an influence "far more powerful than any sermon . . . upon human hearts and lives." Ministry of Healing, p. 352. Parents so instructed and established will "work for their households, until with joy they can come to God saying, 'Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me.' " Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 195, 196.
Making Friends for the Message
By: Louise C. Kleuser
During the summer months it was necessary for me to spend some weeks in Elk- hart, Indiana. "Youth for Christ" meetings were then conducted nightly, and during my first week I made these meetings an occasion of observation for our own work. At the close of the series it seemed advisable to send a little message to the speaker expressing my appreciation for his earnest messages. I suggested in my note that I was "an S.D.A. worker." Our denomination was then about to begin a series of tent meetings in that city, and we needed these friends. A little later this evangelist responded to my message in the kindest way.
While eating my dinner in a cafeteria one Sunday, I was seated with a charming conversationalist. She was the manager of the Good Will Store. We discussed the morning's sermon in her church, and this naturally led up to our own meetings. She told me she was most busy in her church, but would certainly make an effort to attend the Seventh-day Adventist meetings.
At the hotel it was a pleasure to alert the elevator operators, desk clerks, and other help regarding our evangelistic meetings. After a few days they had an opportunity to meet the evangelist, and were on a friendly basis immediately. Stopping at the Chamber of Commerce for maps one morning, I had a delightful time with the employees. Soon we were discussing our meetings with frankness, and it opened the way for follow-up interest.
The site of Horace Shaw's tent meetings was just outside the city limits, near a trailer camp reputable for its superior homemade ice cream. Though I had not yet sampled this refreshment, several friendly businessmen previously visited would stop me on Main Street asking if I had, always concluding, "When we stop for that good ice cream we will visit your fine tent meetings."
Reflecting on these coincidences, I think they seem to be a far cry from our evangelistic attitude some years ago. Then we too often were timid about letting folks know Seventh-day Adventists were in town.
Christian Science and the Bible
BERNARD P. FOOTE
[EDITORIAL NOTE. Bernard P. Foote is a layman who gives many Bible studies during the year. He must constantly meet those of other religious per suasions and has become skillful in handling their confusions. He considers these step by step and then presents what the Bible teaches on each point. We believe that the field will be interested in these investigations regarding Christian Science. It is not because we enjoy argument that we review these errors; the gospel teacher must meet them in evangelism and should be prepared to teach Bible truth. L. C. K.]
The numbered paragraphs below are quoted from the 1917 edition of Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, stated to be "authorized literature of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts."
Quotations from the Bible that are applicable to those from Science and Health will be found under the subhead "The Bible." For speedy and easy comparison read a paragraph below, under "Christian Science," and then turn to the paragraph under "The Bible" having the same paragraph number.
1. "We cannot escape the penalty due for sin." Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, p. 6, line 1.
2. "One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin." Ibid., p. 23, lines 3 and 4.
3. "God is not influenced by man." Ibid., p. 7, line 23.
4. "The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon 'the accursed tree,' than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father's business." Ibid., p. 25, lines 6-9.
5. "That God's wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son, is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is manmade." Ibid., p. 23, lines 5-7.
6. "The danger from prayer is that it may lead us into temptation." Ibid.., p. 7, line 27.
7. "Man, being immortal, has a perfect indestructible life." Ibid., p. 209, lines 1 and 2.
8. "The sin and error which possesses us at the instant of death do not cease at that moment, but endure until the death of these errors." Ibid., p. 290, lines 23-25. "In reality man never dies." Ibid., p. 486, lines 10, 11. "Sight, hearing, all the spiritual senses of man, are eternal. They cannot be lost. Their reality and immortality are in Spirit and understanding, not in matter, hence their permanence." Ibid., lines 23-26.
9. "No final judgment awaits mortals, for the judgment-day of wisdom comes hourly and continually, even the judgment by which mortal man is divested of all material error." Ibid., p. 291, lines 28-31.
10. Death. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being.
(Read each paragraph below only after having read the foregoing paragraph with the same number under the subhead "Christian Science.")
1. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction." Ps. 103:2-4.
2. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Heb. 9:24-28. "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God." Heb. 10:12. "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." Verse 14.
3. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4:8. "Be thou faithful unto death, and / will give thee a crown of life." Rev. 2:10, latter part. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Verse 7, latter part, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Rev. 21:7. (It will be noted that all of the above promises are conditional; God will not fulfill any of them to any individual who fails to fulfill his part of the contract.) "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16, latter part. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Ps. 66:18.
4. "And without shedding of blood is no re mission." Heb. 9:22, latter part. "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, ... by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Col. 1:20. "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." 1 Peter 1:1, 2. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Rev. 5:9. "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. . . . Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." Rev. 1:5-7.
5. "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isa. 53:4-6. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, . . . My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt. 27:46. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
6. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Matt. 26:41. "Pray without ceasing." 1 Thess. 5:17. "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. ... Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:13-16.
7. "Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality." 1 Tim. 6:15, 16, first part. "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on im mortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." 1 Cor. 15:51-54. "But the wicked shall perish and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Ps. 37:20. "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." Mal. 4:1.
8. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Eze. 18:4, last part, and verse 20, first part. "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun." Eccl. 9:5, 6. God will make "an utter end" of His enemies. (Nahum 1:9, 10.)
9. "And as he [Paul] reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled." Acts 24:25. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Heb. 9:27. Even the angels that were cast out of heaven with Lucifer are "reserved . . . unto the judgment of the great day." Jude 6. "The Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all." Jude 14, latter part, and 15, first part.
10. See 7 and 8, above.