The Ministry and Human

The Ministry and Human

Dealing with relationship problems.

R.A.A. is editor of The Ministry.

Ours is a great hour of history—an hour filled with opportunity but also packed with problems. The church faces big issues today, and as church leaders we need to study the methods of the Master.

Jesus never attacked the state directly, but what He taught, if observed, would have reformed political governments. Though His teachings are moral, yet when heeded they naturally bring about social adjustments. It is a fact that New Testament teaching contains no overt con­demnation of slavery. Because of that some assume it was permitted, if not condoned, even by Christ. Yet His whole life was an unanswerable argument to the contrary. The apostle Paul did not write against slavery. He did something greater. He taught that the slave and his master were brothers, members of the body of Christ, and that "there should be no schism."

Right now our world is passing through a social revolution. We cannot close our eyes to this. On the other hand, the church cannot dictate to the state. It can only in­struct its own members to regard all men as brothers and accord them fraternal fel­lowship. While the church must not be found fighting in the political arena, yet we must accord to all members of the church the Christian privileges within the communion. Most of our members can quote James 2:10, but James 2:9 is a doc­trine we need to study also. It is not love for some men but for all men that receives the approbation of Heaven. Divine love embraces the whole human family. This we must preach!

There has been at times confusion of tongues on the question of brotherhood. Some have labeled it a socio-political ques­tion, hence outside the church's sphere of responsibility. To some extent that is true but it also vitally affects the church. Some things we cannot escape and this is one, nor should we try to. However, it requires pa­tience and mutual understanding, and cer­tainly an absence of any extremism. What we do to one another is important. Jesus said: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40). Man can­not despise his visible brother and love an invisible God.

To be sure, great tact must be exercised in preaching this message of love, for in some areas it is the most sensitive of all subjects. The purpose of the gospel is to reconcile man with God and man with man. As ministers we must teach this, but with tenderness and patience. And we must teach with the same conviction that all men are brothers and by virtue of their human­ity are worthy of our love and respect.

Problems in relationships between groups will not "go away," if let alone. They will not just "work themselves out." The New Testament church faced its problem be­tween the Jews and Greeks. Both Paul and Peter preached on the brotherhood of man. The growth of the church was bound up with it. With the love of Jesus in their hearts the early believers moved the world.

The problem we face in many countries today is not new. And it is delicate. But dare we permit our caution in regard to certain phases of social and political rev­olution to paralyze our internal reforma­tion in brother-to-brother relationships? Only love, the love of God, can break down the barriers that separate man from his fellow man. Our members will not acci­dentally receive this spirit. They must be prayerfully taught and tactfully led into it.

Long years ago the messenger of the Lord gave counsel to the church in regard to a problem in North America. Today this problem has assumed international proportions, involving not only the ques­tion of race but even touching the matter of tribal relationships within the same ethnic group. The principle stated here so succinctly is vital to the progress of God's work all over the world.

"Let national and denominational dis­tinctions be laid aside. Caste and rank are not recognized by God and should not be by His workers. Those who esteem them­selves superior to their fellow-men, on account of position or property, are exalting themselves above their fellow-men, but they are esteemed by the universe of heaven as the lowest of all. Let us take a lesson from the words of inspiration that reprove us for this spirit, and also give us great encouragement: 'Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteous­ness, in the earth; for in these things I de­light, saith the Lord.' "—Review and Her­ald, April 2, 1895.

When love rules our hearts the long awaited revival will come, and the whole world will again be lighted by His glory. 'Tis a bush that can't be beaten around; 'Tis a jewel desired where it is found; 'Tis the tie with which our hearts are bound.

'Tis love.

R. A. A

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R.A.A. is editor of The Ministry.

June 1964

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***** PERMANENTLY UNPUBLISHED: Ministry Magazine does not want to promote this author's works. *****

A recent book by Norman F. Douty, Another Look at Seventh-day Adventism, attacks what he calls "the fallacious year-day theory," which is basic in Seventh-day Adventist prophetic chronol­ogy. Desmond Ford, head of our Australasian Mis­sionary College Bible department, here answers Douty on this important year-day principle of in­terpretation. We are sure our ministers will find this a timely and helpful article.—EDITORS.

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