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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, August 02, 1922, Image 3

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1922-08-02/ed-1/seq-3/

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"SOME THINGS HARD TO BE UNDER
STOOD."
Some people stumble over t lie difficulties of
Scripture. It is not enough for them that there
is a vast amount of comforting, helpful truth;
they must needs dig up the difficult passages
and disturb the tenor of their peace by wrest
ing these.
No doubt many people read the Imprecatory
Psalms, and wonder, how a man after God's
own heart, could write such severe prayers of
condemnation, just as they do not understand
how such a sinner as David, could be the
spokesman for God. It may well be noted
that, if we condemn David because he called
down judgment upon the heads of his (appa
rently, his) enemies, we must condemn Paul
and John, and worse still, our Lord Jesus
Christ.
These all spoke at times in terms of severest
condemnation of certain men. John often
called such "liars." Paul said, "If any man
preach any other gospel let him be anathema."
Jesus rang out many a "woe" upon the false
hearted men of I lis day.
It will hardly do to say that these vitriolic
effusions are just examples of bad temper, and
were repented of later. And that they are put
here to show us, first that these men were not
perfect and second, that we in like manner
ought to repent of our evil words, as well as
deeds. This coidd hardly apply to Jesus Christ,
unless we deny His deity and sinlessness.
We hardly need a number of imprecations
on this plea, to prove, what we already know
about Panl and John and David. We are ac
quainted with their frailties and know that
they were men of like passion with us. We
are also sure that we need more often to repent
of words said, than of deeds done. In fact,
any such explanation smacks of the critic, who
does not believe in the inspiration of Scripture.
Of course to him the Bible is as any other
book, and is to be judged by other formulae.
And worse still, these men have no clear-cut
idea in their soids of the difference between
good and evil, between God, as the source of
righteousness, find Satan, as the author of all
unrighteousness.
David, John, Paul and Jesus are expressing
the mind of God toward the nnally impenitent,
the blasphemously obstructive to the progress
of God's kingdom. These words then are
strong, but not too strong, condemnations of
those who finally and fatally oppose God in
His course of Salvation and Providence.
There is nothing personal about it. If ex
pressed in personal language, it is only to
gather up the force. David identifies himself
with God, his plan with God's plan. Now to
do this in uninspired fashion may be rather
presumptuous, but by the direct teaching of
the Holy Spirit who directed these men he is
justified.
They are recorded to increase our horror
and hatred for sin. And to warn us against an
evil course of life.
There are other hard things: the reconcilia
tion of predestination and free agency in the
creature; the intermediate state; the time of
the second coming of our Lord.
In regard to these it may be said, the Bible
is a divinely produced book. It is natural that
there should be some things clear enough to
God, but to finite minds as ours, not yet made
manifest. So our patience is encouraged to
wait.
There is this danger. To the men unlearned
by the Spirit, men who study the Word as a
science, it is dangerous. It is equally so to
those that try to straighten out, as by a hand
screw; who distort facts and who instead
comparing Scripture with Scripture, or wait
ing patiently for the Spirit's guidance, leap
to any peculiar views.
These arc the "unlearned and unstable" of
Peter's admonition; and tlio serious danger is
that, hr.ving wrested one Scripture, they -will
wrest others to their own and others' destruc
tion. When religion is studied as a science,
nothing is more obstruse. "When studied to
know and do our duty, nothing is clearer.
A. A. L.
Contributed
"GROWING PAINS.''
Is the Church and Our Progressive Program
Threatened?
By Rev. M. E. Mel v in, 1). J)., General Secretary
Stewardship.
In the issue of the Christian Observer of
July 19th there appears an article entitled "A
Had Mistake," by Rev. John I. Armstrong.
Ordinarily, it would be better to let an attack
of this sort go unnoticed, but the writer be
lieves that the Church is entitled to a clear
statement 011 somo of the "Mistakes" the Stew
ardship Committee is making.
To be sure, this Committee has made "Bad
Mistakes" and will make more in the future.
But the thing that he calls a bad mistake we
do not believe to be a mistake at all. Practi
cally all of his article is based on false pre
mises.
There will always be two attitudes of mind
in the Church on the matter of spending money
for promotional work. There are those who
believe in spending nothing, feeling that it is
an unwarranted waste. There are those who
we believe they constitute the great majority
of our people) who believe that a sane but lib
eral use of money in the right place and at
the right time is the policy to follow.
When we were boys we remember the aches
that our parents told us were "growing pains."
The Church has this same sort of pain. It is a
growing, throbbing organism. .There will al
ways be demands to meet expanding forces in
the Church. There will always be men who
will protest. In the scheme of things they are
necessary. They serve to hold down these
young upstarts who want to run away with
things.
But to say that his protest is a sign of a
"growing pain" and to dismiss his charge thus
does not answer. And all that he says can be
answered to the complete satisfaction of any
man who really wants to get at the facts.
In the paper presented at the Assembly en
tilled "Before and After," the writer under
took to show just one thing only : that it pays
the Church to spend money wisely for promo
tion work. He plainly stated that all the
growth in gifts in the last six years as com
pared with the six years ending 1915, was not
due to the money spent for promotion. No
such claim was a^t up. lie was fully conscious
of the large returns that had come from the
Graham Building Fund Campaign and the Edu
cational Campaigns.
Now that the whole matter has been ques
tioned, let us look at the figures again."
For six years ending 1915 the total gifts
were $26,969,449.
For six years ending 1921 the total gifts were
$44,562,878.
During the first six years nothing was spent
for promotion.
of During the last six years $44,802 was spent,
beginning with the monumental work of 11. L.
Walkup in 1916.
In order to be fair and make the deductions
/
the distinguished complainer demands, let us
take oil' the following sums during the last six
year period :
Receipts Educational Institutions
1920 and 1921 $ 1,601,330
Graham Building Fund (Minutes
'21, p. 131) 831,582
Total Special efforts $ 2,432,913
The Six Years of Promotion end
ing 1921 ? total gifts $44,562,878
Deductions for special purposes... 2,432,912
Net total for six years ending 1921 .$42,129,966
Net total for six years ending 1915. 26,969,449
Net increase over period when no
money was spent $15,160,517
Now, how would he explain this marvellous
increase? Many of us believe that it was in
large measure the result of the work of R. L.
Walkup, Homer, McMillan, S. VV. McGill and
W. F. Gailbraith, anil the Committees they
worked under during this period wheu they
were spending money to get the whole Church
to accept the Progressive Program. There
was practically no increase in the first period
of six years from year to year, and it must be
remembered, too, that this was the time when
the country was giving big sums and people
were spending freely.
Dr. Armstrong makes an argument which is
unworthy of a thinking man when he as
sumes that the money spent for promotion in
any given year will show up its full results
within that year. Everybody knows better
than this. We are now reaping the results of
the investment made three or foifr years ago.
So far as the writer is concerned, he is ab
solutely sure that the Church at large has ap
preciated the wise expenditure of money for
promotion purposes. On this he is willing to
rest the ease.
But there is another bad mistake being made.
A crowd of so-called "experts" are being
turned loose on the Church to put over the
Progressive Program ; an innovation is about
to wreck our splendid Program. The Doctor is
having nightmares, evidently. lie is seeing
troubles that do not exist.
Only a few of the Synods have full time,
paid managers. | Some feel that the cost is too
great to maintain them. Our Committee feels
that at much less expense we might use about
four tactful men for a few months in the year
to help the Synodical Managers, who are busy
pastors, reach the smaller churches which have
not yet accepted the Progressive Program. In
fact, the writer believes that this will be the
solution finally of the problem where Synods
are unable to maintain fidl time Synodical
Managers. Work is needed on this for only a
few months. Men who can be used at other
tasks can be used in January to March to work
under the direction of the Synodical and Pres
byterial organizations to hold conferences, ad
dress churches, visit vacant fields, etc., to help
put on the canvass in the 40 per cent of our
churches which have not yet accepted the As
sembly's Program. The Progressive Program
will not have to carry them for the other eight
months.
In conclusion let the writer assure the Church
that it need not be afraid of a wild expenditure
of money4 Already we have lopped off a total
saving of at least $3,000. We are carrying a
publicity department without employing an
extra man. The appropriations to Synods will
be less than last. year. Every dollar we spend

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