Monday, April 28, 2008

J.H.B. Williams 1918 Editorial

As noted yesterday, J.H.B. Williams served for several years as editor of The Missionary Visitor published monthly by the Church of the Brethren General Mission Board. The following excerpt is from his editorial in the May 1918 issue which included several articles on the Tithe.

"Beware lest thou forget the Lord thy God ... when thou has eaten and art full and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied." [Deuteronomy 8:11-13]

The message of this writer must surely have been meant for us members of the Church of the Brethren, the setting is placed so fine, and the outstanding words are so familiar to our vocabularies. So many of these Old Testament truths sound so commonplace and familiar because of conditions now that fit them. It is not strange that we employ the warnings and exhortations of the prophets, when our twentieth century sins are beheld as being old sins in new clothes.

But strange it is when these things are true that we are willing to deny the obligation of the tithe as resting upon us. Surely we can not give less than the Jew; surely our opportunities are greater, our privileges better safeguarded, and our prosperity more evenly distributed. When other conditions and experiences and environments fit so well with ours we cannot easily avoid the one obligation while accepting the other conditions of life and tendencies towards covetousness and forgetfulness of God.

The conditions implied in the verses above quoted have come to pass -- are being fulfilled literally before our very eyes. What prosperity we are enjoying at this time! And with that prosperity what a tendency to forget the obligations of God upon us! Our prosperity stands out in bold relief when given a background of the world's needs.

Source: The Missionary Visitor. May 1918