Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

My dear Elder, I have a question right at the beginning of this Editor's Forum. Where do you stand today in your attitude toward the Word of God? When I refer to the Word of God I refer unequivocally to the Bible.

I believe firmly that the gobbledygook of mystic, unintelligible, theological terms that undermine the sacred Scriptures have absolutely no place in preaching the Advent Message.

Theologians and preachers today are mitigating and diluting the testimony found in the Scriptures with theories based on an "IF theology" instead of giving people the certainty and surety of the testimony. Words like maybe, perhaps, or possibly largely used even in our pulpits are generating confusion among members and decreasing the intensity of the work toward the fulfilment of the mission for which Jesus established His church.

The other day I listened to an outstanding Adventist preacher in one of our largest churches in North America speak on the subject of the Second Coming. His sermon was full of quotations from theologians, philosophers and newspapers. Just once he quoted from the Scriptures. His appeal was solely based on the productions of man's fallible mind. What a contrast this is to the true minister of God who fearlessly declare, "Thus says the Lord . . ."

And I have a point to make here. Because Jesus is revealed in the Bible, a message without the Bible is a message without Jesus Christ. In John 5:39 (NIV), Jesus Himself gives us the reason why we must rely on the Scriptures: "You diligently study the Scripture because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me. . . ." According to these words the Scriptures are important because they give us the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thus a message without the Bible is a message without the revelation of Jesus, and a sermon without Jesus has no reason to be preached in the pulpit of any church.

C.H. Spurgeon said it well: "The best sermons are the sermons which are full of Christ. A sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution. If you leave Christ out, you have left the sun out of the day and the moon out of the night. You have left the waters out of the sea and the floods out of the river. You have left the harvest out of the year, the spirit out of the body, you have left the joy out of heaven.

"A sermon without Christ! You may as well talk of a loaf without any flour in it. How can you feed the soul? It is a sort of sermon that will make the devils in hell laugh, but make the angels of God weep."

Dear elder, we are living very close to the end of time and the pure and clear message of the Bible alone will help our members to make right decisions in relationship to their eternal destiny. It is not time to amuse people in the pulpit of our churches.

In the book The Great Controversy E. G. White says: "The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true, that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested" (page 593).

Let us leave out of our message the human speculations that many times receive the name of theology. Let us preach the clear message of the Scriptures and in doing so we are giving the best to our people-the real Gospel-Jesus Christ.

*All texts in this article are from NIV, the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission ofZondervan Bible Publishers.