Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just a Beginning

by Bill Brace

You hold in your hands the first issue (and, hopefully, not the last) of a modest instrument we pray will assist the Lord’s cause in this area of His vineyard—here in New England, the birthplace and cradle of Seventh-day Adventism.

It is our objective, Shawn’s and mine, as pastors who reflect both recent vintage and decades of ministry, to provide you with another “voice” with which to proclaim the uniqueness of an everlasting gospel as it has been bestowed through the Third Angel’s Message to this Church, which we love so dearly. This magazine is a testimony to our belief that God has given our denomination a message designed to lighten the world with His glory as promised in Revelation 18:1.

You many wonder why yet another magazine. No doubt you already feel somewhat inundated with that which arrives in your mailbox on a regular basis. Certainly, most are helpful. However, we believe there is a need for one that gives emphasis to the wonderful theme of Christ Our Righteousness. In fact, we are convicted, the times beg for it! Hence, this humble, yet in our opinion, much needed journal.

Let us be honest. New England does have its challenges. Secularism, humanism, the postmodern mind, disregard for anything of a spiritual nature—they all are evident and, at times, dominant in this culture of ours. There seems to be little interest in scripture. (The Bible Belt we are not!) Sin (unbelief) abounds. It all can create an atmosphere that can tend to discouragement for any pastor. And, consequently, we are tempted to wonder if God’s work will ever be completed in this generation, especially here in New England.

But no matter how gargantuan the challenges, we take comfort in the knowledge of a “much, more abounding grace.” The gospel does have a power within it. Two millennia ago Jesus Himself assured, “And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to Me and gather them around Me” (John 12:32, author’s paraphrase). That promise is for us to claim in our day.

My entire pastoral ministry has been spent in New England. It has been so because I am convicted that God laid upon me, soon after I graduated from seminary, a deep burden for this specific locale of the world.

Along with that conviction, I have relished for decades the inspired quote, given elsewhere in this magazine, from the humble instrument of God, Ellen White, “I saw that when the message shall increase greatly in power that God will open the way for much more to be accomplished in the East than can presently be accomplished.” May you well note that it is a message and not a method which brings great results.

However, methods (and they are needed) do change. While we do not wish to depreciate methodologies, we want to remind ourselves that the gospel is a timeless message. And it can still change hearts and lives and bring about a promised revival. Why can’t that time be now? Why can’t that be for us who labor here in this environ today? Yes, take heart—there is a message designated by God which overcomes all challenges, both personally and corporately.

Each issue of this biweekly journal, edited by New Englanders and for New Englanders, (of course, others outside this region are welcome to subscribe if they would like) will feature articles imbued with the theme of righteousness by faith. That will ever be our focus.

We are grateful to those who consented to write for our inaugural issue. We thank in advance those who have committed to do likewise for future issues. Although our objective is primarily to assist pastors who fight the good fight of faith here in New England, our contributors will come from various locales throughout the land and from a multitude of positions and ministries within the church structure, including clergy and laypersons alike.

So, enjoy! And take courage. Remember, by God’s direction and grace, “the best is yet to come” here in New England! This is what God meant when He promised that He would “do better for [us] than at [our] beginnings.”

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