Reflections on the church and the world from the desk of the editorial team.

By the Ministry Staff. 

Good Credit Risks

ACCORDING to Al Griffin, Midwest cor­respondent of Burrows Clearing House, religious financing to construct, expand, and remodel schools, hospitals, retirement homes, and other facilities in addition to the church itself totals more than one bil­lion dollars a year.

The long-standing policy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to build free from debt. Members of the congregations seem to appreciate this principle and have sacri­ficed liberally to see their churches dedi­cated free from debt when officially opened for worship and service. This principle has been followed generally throughout the world with a 1964 total investment in de­nominational properties of $709,835,387.05.

Are religious organizations good credit risks? E. C. Siegler Company, of West Bend, Wisconsin, which underwrites religious in­stitution bonds exclusively, and operates on a nationwide basis, thinks so.

According to Siegler's chairman, Del­bert J. Kenny, with forty-three years' ex­perience: "Usually the more hierarchical the control within a faith and the more numerous its communicants, the higher the credit rating. This is why Roman Cath­olics find it easiest to borrow. The Luther­ans, with an excellent business organiza­tion, are second...Nonetheless, groups like the Seventh-day Adventists, who take their religion seriously, can virtually write their own tickets."

We should appreciate this testimony of good faith and plan to continue a careful program of sound business principles. Let us desire to shun debt as we would leprosy, but if we do have to borrow funds in an emergency, let us do so cautiously and within the limits of sound judgment. We must be as honest in our business dealings with men as we are with our God. As a denomination, institution, church, or in­dividual may our rating continue to be "Seventh-day Adventists are good credit risks." 

A. C. F.

Old and New Evangelism

A FEW weeks ago the National Council of Churches in their six-day long sev­enth general assembly at Miami Beach heard evangelist Billy Graham deliver one of his persuasive, standard evangelistic mes­sages. Graham, to some minds is a symbol of the "old evangelism," while the National Council of Churches emphasizes and sym­bolizes a so-called "new evangelism." Some claim Graham stresses the individual soul while the council stresses involvement with the world. The unique part of the whole affair was that Mr. Graham, the most prom­inent exponent of traditional evangelism was invited by the most powerful coop­erative religious agency in the nation, The National Council of Churches, to deliver an address.

The National Council of Churches is composed of 34 Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox denominations, which represent a total of 41.5 million church members, 144,302 churches, and 114,423 clergymen. Its constitution clearly commands the coun­cil to speak and to act on the "moral, eth­ical, and spiritual" problems of the day. Its attitude toward old-time evangelism is summed up by the Reverend Colin W. Williams, an Australian Methodist, who is the National Council's chief exponent of the new evangelism. He declared, "We simply got to tell Billy, in all love, that he's dead wrong. Sentimentality will never save the world." Such "eighteenth-century evangelism is no longer an adequate symbol for contemporary society."

This recent confrontation between the so-called "old" and "new" evangelistic id­eology is merely a continuation of an age-long conflict. Satan's diversionary tactics have been in force since sin began. He delights to drive individuals and groups into positions of extreme. To preach the gospel of salvation with no thought of a man's physical needs is useless. On the other hand, to be totally involved with the environmental needs of a man with no thought of aiding him spiritually is just  as useless. The end result of the latter  course would fill hell with well-fed, well-clothed, bad-habit-free people. Looking at the other side of the coin, the gospel has  a greater chance of making a deeper impression on the man whose physical conditions and surroundings are not reduced to an  animal level. James undoubtedly referred  to this point when he said, "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" (James 2:15, 16).

The solution to the problem is a combined thrust. To teach a man physical and spiritual truth is our task. To give both Bible and bread is fulfilling Isaiah 58. Adventists are in a unique position to render  this type of evangelism. Call it old, new, or  what-have-you this is Christ's method of evangelism.


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By the Ministry Staff. 

February 1967

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