Long has the church awaited the coming of this volume, and long has it been needed. Dealing, as it does, in a unique and larger way with the divine provision for the abiding of the gift of prophecy in God's true church in all ages and dispensations, it presents a full-rounded survey of the most misunderstood and maligned of the three great identifying marks of the true church of the last days. These are the commandments of God, the faith of Jesus, and the spirit of prophecy. It is this remnant church which completes the arrested Reformation of the sixteenth century, which restores the fullness of apostolic faith and practice, and which, significantly enough, is to have as one of its distinguishing characteristics, the manifestation of the promised gifts of the Spirit.
The church has greatly needed this book, not only for the uniqueness and largeness of its concept, but for the comprehensiveness and adequacy of its treatment. It has needed it for the soundness and saneness of its conclusions, and for the reasonableness and winsomeness of its approach. Serious misconceptions have obtained, in the minds of many, concerning all spiritual gifts, but especially as regards the gift of prophecy. Crude and distorted concepts have been formed and fostered by others. Deceptive counterfeits have appeared to simulate and harass the true bestowals, thus to bring the whole divine provision into doubt and disrepute.
It is truly refreshing, therefore, to have a presentation so conspicuous for soundness and balance. These basic qualities have been happily blended with unswerving loyalty to the word of truth, and fidelity to the facts of record. Dignified, chaste, scholarly, and Biblical,these are terms that may fitly describe this presentation, destined, I believe, to be a classic in its field.
This volume lifts the gift of prophecy wholly above the strange, weird, and fantastic, and presents it as God's chosen, revealed, established, and uniform method of communicating with the people of His choice on earth, separated as they have
been from His presence, since the fall of man, by that dreadful thingsin.
As the supreme claim to our acceptance of this gift, the author presents the character and content of the prophetic messages themselves. The internal evidence is set forth as the determining factor, subject to definite and well-defined moral tests. Physical phenomenawhich may, or may not, accompany the giving of visions and revelations from Godmay serve at times to arrest attention and to convince the beholder. These unquestionably have their time and place in the manifestation of the gift to the church, especially in the early exercise of the gift, before there are written records or a body of literature prepared and authorized by the chosen instrument. But when such appear as the fruitage of the gift, these then become, logically and inevitably, the supreme test of validity, and the criteria of truth or falsity.
The material phenomena, Satan can and has duplicated in connection with false prophets, to the harassing and bewilderment of those who would judge chiefly by the physical tests. But neither man nor devil can simulate the exalted purity, the truth, and the consistency of the genuine, marked as it is by harmony with historic and scientific fact, fidelity to the principles of truth, the dictates of conscience, and the mandates of common sense,and, to crown all, insight into both the secrets of human hearts and the wisdom and foreknowledge of God. The author has given us satisfying evidence on the basis of these determining factors, particularly as relates to the manifestation of this gift in the last days.
It is this high concept that at once removes the gift in the remnant church from the realm of something new and strange; something heretofore unknown or inoperative, and therefore difficult for the conservative and the incredulous to receive. Such a comprehensive view takes away that instinctive and otherwise inevitable hesitancy about presenting the evidence of the latter-day manifestation of the gift to a materialistic and scoffing world. It banishes that very natural inclination to keep it in the background because of the odium that commonly attaches to the
name and thought of prophet in these skeptical and unspiritualalbeit professedly advanced and highly enlighteneddays.
One of the distinct contributions of this volume is the section spanning the centuries between the death of the apostles and the gracious bestowal of the prophetic gift upon the remnant church. No one, so far as I am aware, has before attempted so comprehensive a survey. The presentation here given is not offered as an exhaustive and final statement, but rather as an introduction. It is designed to establish, upon evidence, the fundamental principle and attested fact of the continuance of the prophetic gift beyond the death of the apostles through the present as well as all other ages and dispensations since the fall of man.
The fundamental premise of the writer is incontrovertiblethat when sin had broken direct communion between heaven and earth, God gave the prophetic gift to men, vouchsafing it to His church, and that gift has never been permanently withdrawn since its bestowal. There have, of course, been intervals when no prophetic voice was heard. But this, as well as the other spiritual gifts, has reappeared periodically through the centuries, to direct in crises, to instruct and to warn, and at times to predict, as God might elect and as the church might need.
Now a word as to the fitness of the author for preparing this work. No one has been better qualified by close and unique relationship both to the remnant church at large, and to the one whom God chose to be His special messenger and mouthpiece in these closing days of human history. For fifty years a minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he was for twenty-one years president of our General Conference. And the time of his world leadership of the advent movement included the period not only of laying the foundations for its great expansion, but also the time of certain of its greatest crises. It embraced, likewise, the consummating years of Ellen G. White's wonderful witness to the advent movement, together with the cessation of her life activities in the sleep of death,though her writings live on, and speak forth increasingly the marvelous messages she was commissioned to impart to the remnant church.
The author's personal acquaintance with Mrs. White covered the last twenty-eight years of her life, which ended in 1915. For the last twenty-three years of this timewhile he was president, first of the Australasian Conference and then of the General Conferencethere existed, because of the official relationships involved, a close and continuous contact that afforded every opportunity of knowing her life, her character, and her work.
The episodes set forth by the author as illustrative of the conspicuous and satisfying evidence of this divine gift in the remnant church have been drawn from this large background of personal contact and observation, but have never before been written out in comprehensive form. The early incidents of Mrs. White's life, already available in print, are not stressed in this volume, but rather those larger, later experiences in which mighty issues were involved, and in some instances wherein the very destiny of the denomination was at stake. These consequently form an invaluable record for our learning and admonition, and they constitute incontrovertible evidence for the confirmation of our faith.
Brought forth in the sunset of the author's life, this volume embodies the matured conclusions of long and effective study, strengthened by decades of oral presentation on every continent, and ripened by recent years of intensive review and research. Though profound as to principles involved, it is simple in style and direct in statement, as befits a theme of such lofty character. This treatise has attached to it, therefore, a maturity of appeal and a weight of utterance that is most satisfying. It is bequeathed as a sacred legacy to the church so greatly beloved by our veteran leader, and in whose ministry he so long and fruitfully served. It is sent forth with his benediction to bless and to enlighten, to comfort and to strengthen, the church of God's tender choice and care.
LeRoy Edwin Froom.
Los Angeles, California,
February 24, 1935.<