Editorial Keynotes

Towards a more powerful ministry.

A.G. Daniells

The minister of the gospel is called to a superhuman task, and hence he must be endued with superhuman power. No minister can, in his own strength, live up to the standards he is called to preach to others. " Man needs a power out of and above himself to restore him to the likeness of God," is the statement from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White, found in the Review and Herald, Nov. 1, 1892. " No man can steadily maintain before his fellow men a pure, forceful life, unless his life is hid with Christ in God."—" The Minis­try of Healing," p. 136. If, then, the minister himself cannot reach the Ideals he is called to preach, without " a power out of and above himself," in how much less degree can he hope to be able to help others to reach the high standard set before them! The minister of the gospel does indeed need divine power, not only for himself per­sonally, but as the means for lifting men and women from the sinking sands of sin and connecting them with the divine current of saving and keep­ing Power.

At the beginning of my ministry, I received a very impressive and helpful lesson regarding the minister's need of power. I was holding a series of meet­ings In a country schoolhouse, and a brother minister, who had been preach­ing for a number of years, passing through that section of the State, yielded to my solicitation to stop off and preach to my little congregation one evening. While taking this highly esteemed friend to the place of meeting with my horse and carriage, I experi­enced a sense of joy and pride because my people were going to hear a real preacher.

As we neared the schoolhouse, this minister said to me, " Arthur, can't we stop here and pray? " Leaving the car­riage, we went off a little way from the road, and knelt down to pray. I was profoundly impressed as I saw this minister, who had many times preached to large audiences, bow prostrate on the ground and plead with God for help to deliver the message to the people he was soon to meet. He prayed for the presence of the Holy Spirit, and to be clothed with the power of God. That was a tremendous object lesson to me, and although the incident occurred nearly fifty years ago, the impression is still fresh in my mind, and the min­ister who taught me this valuable les­son is still my dearly beloved asso­ciate in service, Elder E. W. Farns­worth. Such experiences were very common among us fifty years ago. They are more rare now, but they should be even more general than in those early days.

The minister's need of power was fully understood by the Saviour when He chose that small group of humble men, and commissioned them to carry on the work which He had established. He called men to His work; He taught them the vital truths they were to preach; and He directed them in gain­ing experience in actual work. What a wonderful course of training those first disciples had! Yet even such teaching and training, continued for three and a half years, did not fully prepare them for the great work to which they were called. They needed more than a knowledge of what they were to preach; they needed more than training and experience in preaching. Above all else, they needed the power of God to attend their preaching and to make their ministry effective. Jesus pointed out this fundamental essential in His service, as recorded in the fol­lowing Scripture:

"Then opened He their mind, that they might understand the Scriptures; and He said unto them, Thus it is writ­ten, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remis­sion of sins should be preached in His name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send forth the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high." Luke 24: 45-49, A. R. V.

This record is all-important, as it reveals to us the supreme need of the minister of the gospel. The chosen disciples had witnessed the marvelous life, the teaching, and the works of Christ during His entire ministry; their minds had been opened to under­stand the Scriptures, which contained the message they were to preach. But they were not yet ready. One thing, the supreme thing, they still lacked,—the enduement with power from on high. They needed to be filled with the power of God, so that their preach­ing would not be in " persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power," and that the hearers might become established in the faith, not " in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." 1 Cor. 2: 4, 5, A. R. V.

This vital truth regarding the ele­ment of power in ministerial efficiency should be burned into the minds and hearts of the young men taking the ministerial course in our colleges, in such a way that they dare not take the final step into the field of actual serv­ice without this bestowal of divine power; and never, during the life of the minister, should the sense of the imperative need of this divine power be lost.

In obedience to their Teacher's com­mand, the disciples tarried in the city until they experienced the fulfillment of His promise, and were clothed with power from on high. Immediately thereafter they entered upon their work. Peter was the first to break the ten-day silence in preaching the gospel following the crucifixion, and the mys­terious mighty power that attended his message is recorded for our encourage­ment. Peter preached to a hardened, hostile audience, but so great was the convincing, convicting, moving power that attended his preaching, that thou­sands cried out for mercy; and when the way of escape from sin was pointed out, three thousand men and women responded, and with joyous hearts were buried by baptism with the Christ whom they had been mocking and re­jecting but a few days before. O, won­drous power that can work such amaz­ing changes in cold, rebellious hearts! And this triumphant power remained with the apostles to the close of their lives.

The apostle Paul, that preacher of mighty deeds, recognized the need and worth of power, and placed on record a statement of inestimable value for ministers of the gospel to the close of time. His estimate of the worth of divine power led him to suffer the loss of all things earthly in glad exchange for the knowledge of Christ and the power of His resurrection. This is his testimony: " Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weak­nesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Cor. 12: 9, 10, A. R. V.

The enduement of divine power was not confined to the ministers of apos­tolic times. It is also for ministers in this last generation. " As the disciples, filled with the power of the Spirit, went forth to proclaim the gospel, so God's servants are to go forth to-day." " What the Lord did for His people in that time, it is just as essential, and more so, that He do for His people to-day." " To every one who offers himself to the Lord for service, with­holding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results." —"Testimonies," Vol. VII, pp. 32, 33.

A.G. Daniells

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A.G. Daniells

May 1928

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