We Had Standards in 1945--How About Today?

This excerpt from the 1945 Review and Herald is shared today for two reasons:  For it's illuminating footprint in the sands of time, and as a measuring rod of contrast between the Church and a world passing away.   We hope you enjoy it.







"Church Standards

LAST week we emphasized in some detail the standards of Christian conduct.

This expressed not merely the opinion of the writer but principles held by the church through long years.  The Autumn Council of the General, Conference Committee for 1935 was held in October at Louisville, Kentucky…..There came into our possession a few days 'ago a series of recommendations unanimously passed by a recent joint meeting of the workers and church officers of the Southern California Conference.  These were later approved by the conference executive committee, who arranged for their publication in leaflet form to be sent to the church members of the conference.  It is interesting to note how closely these resolutions tally with the church standards adopted by the two Autumn Councils held in 1935 and 1938.  We believe our readers will be interested to read this fine statement, under its title, "Christian Conduct in the Crisis Hour."

"HEALTH:  “We appeal to young and old to recognize God as the Creator and owner of these living temples and to live in obedience to all the laws of health which He has ordained. Violation of physical law is also a violation of divine law.  Our diet should be simple and nourishing; we should obtain sufficient sleep; our recreation should be found in uplifting physical labor.

"PURE SPEECH:  “Speech is a God given talent that should be used only to His glory; and both the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy caution against levity, cheapness in conversation, coarseness in language, and the use of slang, all of which are wholly at variance with the ideals of Christian attainment.  Now is the time to become proficient in the court language of heaven.

 “MUSIC:  “We counsel the most careful discrimination in the selection of music; for here is an influence that may be employed to cultivate the finest qualities, or may be used to debase the soul and break down the morality.  The jargon that comes over the radio, and too often into Adventist homes, is depraving the musical ear of the world.  Any melody partaking of the nature of ragtime and jazz, any language expressing foolish, trivial, inane sentiments, should never be heard in a Christian home.  We commend the use of uplifting and ennobling music to the exclusion of all other, and place our special approval upon religious music and the selection of hymns which combine majestic harmony with divine truth.”

"AMUSEMENTS:   We entreat our dear people to guard well their social and recreational activities, remembering that mere amusement is the idle wasting of empty hours.  Surely no one preparing--for the coming of Jesus--will be found at the theater, the carnival, the movie house, the opera, the circus, the dance, the card table, or in  attendance at commercialized sports.  Public recreational activities, unless under careful Christian supervision, are frequently employed by Satan in destroying souls.  We strongly urge separation from worldly associations at skating rinks and public bathing beaches.  Friends, do not spend your precious hours in playing chess, checkers, or similar games that consume the time we should spend in missionary endeavor and helpful ministry, for such infatuating amusements are opposed to spiritual growth and have no place among us.

"DRESS:   In the choice of attire, we a appeal to Christian manhood and womanhood for dignity, modesty, good taste, and simplicity, avoiding extravagance, flashiness, extreme fashions, and fads.  Very low necks, short sleeves, and short skirts fail to accord with Christian standards. 

"Satan is constantly devising some new style of dress, . . . and he exults when he sees professed Christians eagerly accepting the fashions he has invented"  (Testimonies, Vol. IV, pp. 634, 635). 
Remembering also that our bodies are temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, let there be no artificial aids to change,  detract, disfigure, or discolor the handiwork of the Creator.  Neither will the true Christian desire to adorn the person with jewelry; and in lands where the customs is not obligatory, no 'circlet of gold' should be a worn as a testimony to marriage vows (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 181, 182; Testimonies, Vol. IV, p. 630.)

"SOCIAL RELATIONS:   In an age of shattered social ideals and standards, let our young men and women stand forth as representatives of purity and virtue.  Let the associations of all be characterized by Christian cordiality, reserve, and dignity, avoiding all a levity, cheapness, and undue, familiarity.  With demoralizing conditions about us that rival the orgies of Sodom and Gomorrah, let all the approaches to an untarnished character be sacredly guarded.

"CHAPERONAGE:   Many a girl and many a lad have mourned too late the parental neglect or their own impatient refusal of protection which became responsible for the spoilation of their own unguarded virtue.  Young people, will you not welcome and acclaim chaperonage, no longer as an irksome and repugnant association, but as an honored and happy relation?  Will you not establish among yourselves a code of honor which takes pride and delight in associating with older men and women whose lives and principles you respect?  Such an attitude becomes the crowning evidence of your good and noble intentions.

"MARRIAGE:  God designs that every Christian home in its harmony, peace, and love should be a model of the home in heaven.  In fulfillment of this ideal there can be no marriage with unbelievers, for in homes established under the unequal yoke, 'the shadows are never lifted.' Our ministers will honor the divine counsel given by refusing to officiate at marriages mixed with unbelievers.  Courtships should likewise be conducted in harmony with the highest Christian principles.  'Marriage has been perverted by sin; but it is the purpose of the gospel to restore its purity and beauty'—Mount of Blessing, p. 100.

We deplore the tragic abandonment of the family altar in many an Adventist home and urgently appeal for its revival and faithful maintenance.  In these days of lowered standards careful heed should also be given to the vital counsel from the Lord:

'Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her that is put away doth commit adultery' (Matt. 19:8, 9).

"SABBATH OBSERVANCE:   We appeal for wholehearted revival in true Sabbath observance. Greet the sacred hours with prayer and song; close the day with prayer and praise.  Keep worldly music, worldly reading, worldly activities, worldly conversation, out of this day.  Lay aside all secular papers and refrain from the use of the radio.  Sacredly guard the beginning and ending of the Sabbath, especially having all the preparations fully made before the setting of the sun.  Faithfully attend the services of the house of God.  Refrain from unnecessary automobile journeys, pleasure trips, social visiting, and from the purchase of gasoline, newspapers, or food supplies.  Instead of our own pleasure, our own words, our own business, and our own thoughts, let us call the Sabbath a delight and employ its holy hours in prayer, Bible study, devotion, and spiritual ministry for others.

Standing amid the perils of these last days, facing a judgment whose decisions are final, we should live daily in readiness to meet Jesus.  But says one, 'Do you think this one little thing will keep me from heaven ?"  It is not for us to judge,' we reply, 'but your attitude toward the principles set forth in the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy will certainly decide your eternal destiny."  The Christian's Life is to be in sharp contrast to the world about us. 

And when the long-anticipated Day of Days shall dawn, the Saviour's smile will rest upon a little company, and to the angel reapers we hear Him say/in effect:

'These are genuine Christians who have walked in My steps; they talk like Christians, dress like Christians, and [love] like Christians.  In their work, their recreations, and their social relations, they have witnessed wholly for Me; they do not belong here; go, gather them for translation; I have chosen them as citizens of a better world.'

Let us unitedly seek God for clear vision, courage to do right, and divine strength for a life of victory.  How are Seventh-day Adventists today relating themselves to these Christian principles?  Is not this something we may well consider?  Has the time not come in such a crisis hour as this for a renewal of consecration on the part of every member?  Of writer as well as reader?  Are not many in need of a revival and reformation in their Christian experience?  This question we plan to consider next."      



It is this editor's prediction that hostility to these standards in our day is stinging evidence of a heart in love with the world.  If we fail to make correct moral choices today, there is no guarantee that the person we are tomorrow will be able to recognize the choices we faced today, G.