Dirty Test Tubes

REALIZING that I have labored twenty-five years under "baptism conformity" makes me ashamed before my God, my fellow Christians and myself. As MISSION '72 has marched into the picture with great opportunities, the overbearing, burdening question of my soul is, Are my test tubes cleaned and ready? And how about those of my church?

-Bible Instructor, Oak Park, Illinois, at the time this article was written

REALIZING that I have labored twenty-five years under "baptism conformity" makes me ashamed before my God, my fellow Christians and myself. As MISSION '72 has marched into the picture with great opportunities, the overbearing, burdening question of my soul is, Are my test tubes cleaned and ready? And how about those of my church?

It is a condition that really began with the Levites who lived by the tithe of the land.

Many present the doctrines and theories of our faith; but their presentation is as salt without savor; for the Holy Spirit is not working through their faithless ministry. They have not opened the heart to receive the grace of Christ; they know not the operation of the Spirit; they are as meal without leaven; for there is no working principle in all their labor, and they fail to win souls to Christ. They do not appropriate the righteousness of Christ; it is a robe unworn by them, a fullness unknown, a fountain untouched. . . . When we bring our hearts into unity with Christ, and our lives into harmony with His work, the Spirit that fell on the disciples on the day of Pentecost will fall on us. --Evangelism, pp. 697, 698.

The Individual

As a worker for Christ my personal surrender to Him determines whether my test-tube life is a clear channel for the Holy Spirit.

Many . . . will be seen hurrying hither and thither, constrained by the Spirit of God to bring the light to others. The truth, the Word of God, is as a fire in their bones, filling them with a burning desire to enlighten those who sit in darkness. Many, even among the uneducated, now proclaim the words of the Lord. Children are impelled by the Spirit to go forth and declare the message from heaven. The Spirit is poured out upon all who will yield to its promptings, and, casting off all man's machinery, his binding rules and cautious methods, they will declare the truth with the might of the Spirit's power. Multitudes will receive the faith and join the armies of the Lord. --Ibid., p. 700.

The Church

The whole church of Christ is included in the promise just stated. The church as a unit makes up another test tube that must be clean.

It is not the opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ. It is the evil cherished in the hearts of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God's cause. There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, fault finding, and evil surmising. On the other hand, the strongest witness that God has sent His Son into the world is the existence of harmony and union among men of varied dispositions who form His church. . . .

Unbelievers are watching to see if the faith of pro fessed Christians is exerting a sanctifying influence upon their lives; and they are quick to discern the defects in character, the inconsistencies in action. --The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 549, 550.

One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation. When the people realize that darkness is settling upon them, and they do not know the cause, they should seek God earnestly, in great humility and self-abasement, until the wrongs which grieve His Spirit are searched out and put away. --Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 265.

A Time for Heart Searching

Are our church members searching their hearts and putting away all sins, large and small, from their hearts? Do they even begin to sense that they are test tubes as a whole and as individuals? The ministry of the church need to be training the soldiers under them for their solemn obligation.

God will not be trifled with. It is in the time of conflict that the true colors should be flung to the breeze. It is then that the standard-bearers need to be firm and let their true position be known. It is then that the skill of every true soldier for the right is tested. Shirkers can never wear the laurels of victory. Those who are true and loyal will not conceal the fact, but will put heart and might into the work, and venture their all in the struggle, let the battle turn as it will. God is a sin-hating God. And those who encourage the sinner, saying, It is well with thee, God will curse.--Ibid., p. 272.

How often we feel a little "picky" when we point out sin. Especially is this true when it is something that is considered to be of a minor nature, but nothing of the sin picture is considered to be of small importance to God.

The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin. Here, as well as elsewhere, we should not despise the day of small things. It is one of Satan's most successful devices, to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the mind to the danger of little indulgences, little digressions from the plainly stated requirements of God. Many who would 'shrink with horror from some great transgression, are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But these little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul. The feet which enter upon a path diverging from the right way are tending toward the broad road that ends in death. When once a retro grade movement begins, no one can tell where it may end. --The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7-A, p. 79.

Baptism Conformity

Oh, yes, baptism conformity. I haven't forgotten about it. As a worker I have almost drowned in its flood. For twenty-five years I have been preparing my baptismal candidates to live with the inconsistencies that they will so soon find in the church. Just one step beyond the baptismal font will be someone to say, Come be an Adventist like I am. It's the right way. And soon the new Christian is conformed to a lower standard than he has learned. The invitations come in many forms. I think of a classic example that took place after our summer evangelistic meetings.

Jean was baptized one Sabbath and the very next Sabbath "the girls in the church" took her to a restaurant for Sabbath dinner. The lessons about buying on the Sabbath were weakened in their force and obligation in her life from the foundation of her Christian experience. "Baptism conformity" had gotten in her venomous sting. I have had the same thing happen to many of the new members in the past few years.

The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. --Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 371.

This is baptism conformity. Oh, that each of us in the church might cleanse the test tubes of our hearts until our mission can be the baptism of the Holy Spirit.


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-Bible Instructor, Oak Park, Illinois, at the time this article was written

June 1972

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