Why and Wherefore?
WITH the appearance of this issue, "Precious Seed" enters upon its twelfth year of service and we cannot let the occasion pass without recording our gratitude to God for all the help received during those years. Among our readers are many of our original subscribers who will be well acquainted with the history and outlook of the magazine, but this may be an appropriate moment to explain for the benefit of new readers, the reasons for its inception in September, 1945.
At that time concern was growing in many quarters, at the gradual decline of clear teaching as to the revealed mind of God in matters of assembly life and order, and there was a ready response from a number of brethren in Somerset and Devon when Mr. C. Gahan (now the Secretary of " Precious Seed ") took the initiative by calling a meeting at Taunton to discuss the situation. Although there was understandable reluctance to add to the magazines already circulating, it was nevertheless agreed that this special need called for a publication which would make the dissemination of appropriate teaching its chief aim. When, despite the adverse conditions created by the Second World War. " Precious Seed " made its debut, we were encouraged by discovering that brethren elsewhere, who had been equally concerned, had come to the same conclusion and were contemplating a similar step.
Perhaps few of the brethren responsible expected to see more than an eight-page pamphlet circulating in the West of England, but developments have amply justified Mr. Gahan's wider vision. Well over 10,000 people are now receiving the magazine in nearly sixty countries.
The stand we took was summed up in the following paragraph, which introduced the first issue :—
" We firmly believe, not only that there is a definite responsibility upon Christians to follow the New Testament pattern in Church life and service, but that when spiritual conditions are right this has, in fact proved, and always will prove, to be the best method for building up a healthy and vigorous assembly life, maintaining a clear and pure witness to the truth of God. promoting true unity and encouraging aggressive gospel work."
As we weigh these words afresh we can only say that our experience since has served to confirm that conviction. Our own observations and opinions, expressed by others, encourage us to believe that God has graciously used the witness of the magazine to awaken many to the need of re-emphasizing these divine principles, and to their possibilities in increased effectiveness and blessing.
The importance of proper balance is fully realized and we have no intention of fostering the false and enervating idea that adherence to a form, however scriptural that form may be, can compensate for spiritual power and love. But, whilst we welcome those who expose complacency and point the better way, we cannot accept that kind of reasoning which suggests that where human frailty has failed to Implement the divine pattern the remedy is to abandon the divine pattern, On the other hand, we are fully alive to the fact that obsession with one aspect of truth leads lo extremes and then to error, and we arc not tempted to become so occupied with ' assembly truth ' that all else is overlooked. Although the subject is of great importance, and although its neglect calls for increased attention to it, we have been careful not to ignore other aspects of truth and we strive to provide a. proper proportion of healthy devotional ministry and general exposition.
We are not fond of controversy with, or criticism of, others; we prefer to present what we believe to be the truth in a positive and constructive way and to leave it to do its own work. Conscious of our inadequacy and our need of divine help, we count upon the prayers of our readers, that in the mercy of God we may be enabled to ensure that the ministry of these pages shall always be well-balanced and edifying.