The Training Class — No. 3
The instruction given the Bible Workers' Training Class of the Detroit (Mich.) church, by Mrs. Eda Ferguson, conference Bible worker, began in the January issue of The Ministry, continued in February, and now reaches conclusion in the presentation of the blackboard outline covering points 22 to 34.
XXII. Be Tactful— Avoid putting the reader on the defensive, or arousing in him an antagonistic spirit.
1. Do not directly contradict any statement; instead, teach the truth on the controverted point at some other time, when there will be no appearance of contradiction, leading up to the, point by presenting relative truths in an interesting, convincing manner.
2. Present the least objectionable features first.
3. Win confidence at the start.
4. Convince the reader that you have the love of souls at heart.
5. Do not drive a point so hard as to arouse a combative spirit; lead, do not drive.
6. Use God's word to bring comfort and hope and joy, not as a whip to bring into line. (See Luke 4:18.)
XXIII. Seek Increased Efficiency.-It is possible to increase efficiency by diligent cultivation of the talent of speech.
1. Aim to speak clearly, distinctly, impressively. (See Neh. 8:8.)
2. Avoid a shrill tone or a high pitch to the voice.
3. No idle word or slang expression should escape the lips.
XX/V. Make Christ the Central Theme.- Whatever the doctrinal subject presented, make Christ the central theme.
1. " No sooner is the name of Jesus mentioned in love and tenderness than angels of God draw near."- Mrs. E. G. White, in "Manual for Canvassers," p. 37.
2. Philip " preached Jesus " when he caused the eunuch to understand the need of baptism. Paul said he determined to know nothing but " Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (See Acts 8:5; 1 Cor. 2:2.)
3. Instead of being thankful to God for " this blessed truth " as an abstract set of doctrines, thank Him for the truth as it is in the Person of Jesus as it radiates from Him.
XXV. Mere Intellectual Assent to Truth Is Not Sufficient-Do not permit the reader to get the impression that a mere intellectual assent to truth constitutes righteousness.
1. Our aim is to be the conversion of men and women. A formal religion is to be avoided. (Read " The Desire of Ages," pp. 309, 347; " Gospel Workers," pp. 158, 159.)
XXVI. Essential Qualifications.
1. Earnest in prayer.
2. Burden for souls.
3. Tactful. Better lose an argument and win the soul, than win the argument and lose the soul. Kindness is akin to tact.
4. Consecration. " When every act bears witness that we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves, then will the church have power to move the world."
5. Filled with the Holy Spirit. Only the instrument, like the pencil in the hand of the writer.
6. Strong confidence in God and recognizing the co-operation of holy angels. (See " The Acts of the Apostles," p. 154.)
7. Diligently studious.
XXVII. Aim High.- Seek to attain larger and larger results.
1. " Many whom God has qualified to do excellent work accomplish very little, because they attempt little."-"Christ's Object Lessons," p. 331.
2. " Future reward will be proportioned to the integrity and earnestness with which they serve the Master."- Mrs. E. G. White, in Review and Herald, March 1, 1887. (See also Ps. 126: 6; Eccl. 11: 6.)
XXVIII. Answering Questions.
1. Let the Bible do the answering.
2. Be sure to have the questioner see and acknowledge that the question is satisfactorily answered.
3. Do not speculate regarding questions of minor importance. (See 2 Tim. 2: 16.)
4. It is a true statement that "mysteries not yet revealed, or texts not clearly comprehended by any, might better remain undiscussed."
XXIX. Cheerfulness.- Visits in the homes should bring sunshine and cheer.
1. A smiling face is a testimony to the joy of Christian experience.
2. If you don't feel happy, refrain from talking about your feelings. Cast no shadow upon the lives of others.
3. Talk of your blessings; talk of God's promises; cultivate thankfulness.
XXX. Personal Appearance.-" Women professing godliness " should give attention to neatness and modesty of apparel, avoiding those things which the Bible condemns. (See 1 Peter 3:3, 4; 1 Tim. 2:9, 10.)
XXXI. Social Relationship.— Generally speaking, the wise plan is for Bible workers to seek to help those of their own, sex.
XXXII. Implicit Trust in God.— Remember that God, not man, is the burden bearer, and lead your readers to this plane of experience.
XXXIII. Be Friendly.— Do not be exclusive; do not seek out the few with whom you delight to associate. Remember, " A man that hath friends must show himself friendly." Prov. 18: 24.
XXX/V.—Blend Prayer With Each Bible Study.— Offer prayer, either in beginning or in closing the Bible study, for " never should the Bible be studied without prayer. Before opening its pages we should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and it will be given."—" Steps to Christ," p. 96. In homes where the voice of prayer is never heard, and people are unaccustomed to the attitude of prayer, it may at times be perplexing to know just how to arrange for audible prayer. The position assumed in prayer, whether kneeling, standing, or bowing the head, should be governed by circumstances, making the matter of prayer as natural and simple as possible. The instruction found in " Testimonies," Volume IX, page 35, should guide the Bible worker in combining prayer with Bible study.
How to Win Catholics—Concluded
By Mary E. Walsh
It is an indisputable fact that in the proclamation of the third angel's message our Catholic friends have been greatly neglected, and possibly this is the reason why so few of them have accepted the message. If every worker could but realize the intense darkness which surrounds these dear souls, and could understand the secret longings of their hearts for peace and satisfaction, there would be more earnest prayer ascending to God for their deliverance from the thralldom of this dark system of iniquity which holds them.
It is true that no two workers can follow the same methods in laboring for souls. Even David could not use Saul's armor. Circumstances and conditions alter plans and methods for reaching all classes; but the only way to win Catholics is to possess a deep love for them,— a love which will not only be expressed, but will be felt through our personal contact with them. They must be made to realize that our great desire is to have them saved in the kingdom of God, and that we are seeking their good even though we do not agree with their doctrine. We must hold to the affirmative in the presentation of truth. As we hold up the light, darkness will vanish.
One of the first steps in dealing with the Catholic is to prove to his satisfaction that the Bible is an inspired book. And by all means use the Catholic Bible in working with them, as it is most important to establish confidence by demonstrating that it is their Bible which is inspired, and not some Protestant book which they have heard about. Catholics are not familiar with either the Catholic or the Protestant Bible, as they are not permitted to read or study this infallible guide.
One of the best means of convincing a Catholic that the Bible is true and speaks with divine authority is through the study of the prophecies. The prophecies concerning the Messiah are most attractive and interesting, for as the Catholic observes in the New Testament Scriptures the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, his confidence is strengthened. The study of the life and teachings of Jesus appeals to him, and it is essential to place due emphasis on the fact that Jesus is the center of every doctrine we teach. A Catholic has great respect for the very name of Jesus, and we should always mention this name with reverence and respect. When offering prayer, it is always essential to kneel, if we would make a favorable impression, for Catholics are accustomed to kneeling reverently during prayer.
The prophecy of Matthew 24 may be presented with good effect, for the fact that this prophecy contains the words of Jesus Himself will appeal to the Catholic. Thus there is brought to his attention the nearness of the end of this world's history, and the preparation which is necessary in order to meet Jesus when He returns for all who hear His word and obey His voice.
The subject of the sleep of the dead should be carefully explained. This is one of the most important subjects to present to a Catholic, for much depends upon a correct understanding of this truth. His preconceived ideas concerning hell, purgatory, and the invocation of saints are all at stake. If it is explained to his comprehension and satisfaction that the dead are neither in heaven nor in hell, and the condition of the dead is clearly brought to view, then he begins to lose confidence in his preconceived convictions, and becomes more willing to accept light on other themes to be presented according to their relative importance.