[The statements which follow were not made for publication. They are the candid expression of established heartfelt indorsement and appreciation of the effectiveness of the Bible work, made by prominent leaders in our denominational work on special occasions, and duly noted by a silent observer alert for items which furnish encouragement to the faithful sisterhood of Bible workers in the field.— Ed.]
At the Atlantic Union institute, a series of resolutions * pertaining to the Bible work was presented, at which time a number of speakers gave indorsement to the Bible work in a most emphatic manner. The following introductory remarks were made by--
Elder L.E. Froom: " If all delegates to this conference had been permitted to see the intense interest and enthusiasm manifested in the Bible workers' round table meetings, there might be a clearer understanding as to what led to these recommendations. In view of the evangelization of the great cities of the East and the possibilities placed before us through the Bible work, I believe every consideration should be given to the realization of the objectives here set forth. I know of nothing that will make for greater strength and efficiency in carrying on the work in this great Eastern field than the rightful recognition and development of the Bible work."
Prof. W.E. Howell (Secretary, Gen. Conf. Educational Dept.) : " These resolutions, which have just been read, really voice what I have hoped and prayed would come hack to this people — the placing of the proper estimate upon the efforts of the Bible worker. I think we have no more profitable class of helpers among us than the consecrated Bible worker. The Bible worker is a teacher, just as the minister is a teacher. I like the term Bible teacher,' rather than Bible worker, and I hope this term will become effective all the way around the circle.
" For years I have carried a burden to see the Bible work really revived; and the more I think of it, the more I feel convinced that we have no class of public workers upon whom we can place more dependence for bringing souls into the truth. It is the Bible worker who engages in heart-to-heart work with the people, who enters the home and wins her way into the family circle, and there reasons with the people out of the Scriptures and feeds their souls with the bread of life. These workers have advantages, with attendant responsibilities, which the evangelist, minister, or the teacher in the school does not have. It is this class of workers who must deal with people in that critical period of their experience when they decide either for or against the truth, and by prayerful interest and wisdom and tact, bring them over the line to the acceptance of the truth. No minister can do this work from the desk alone. There must be the personal touch. The Bible worker is associated with the minister in the gospel work as the disciples were with Christ, carrying the truth presented from the desk right to the individual in the home, and through this contact bringing to the point of decision. I owe my knowledge of the truth to the faithful effort of a Bible worker, and I know scores of people whose experience is the same as mine in this respect.
" Another word in behalf of the Bible workers: I have the impression quite distinctly that the Bible workers are often directed in their work in such a way as to exhaust their energies by the doing of many things which other people could and should do. I think the qualified and consecrated Bible worker has just as divine a gift for engaging in spiritual ministry as the preacher. The Bible workers are always ready to do anything that needs to be done, and as I have often heard different ones state, they do not feel above doing the most menial thing to help in the work. Yet, as a matter of expediency, it is very poor judgment to use up the physical energy and time of the Bible worker in doing the things which the lay members of the church should do, and could do, perhaps not equally well, but rendering very acceptable service in certain lines of necessary work. I might refer in particular to the work at camp meetings, — getting things ready for the meeting, looking after the details of fitting up tents, and making all arrangements. Because of the heavy pressure of these things, many Bible workers are worn to a frazzle before they come to the real spiritual work of the camp meeting. The same principle applies in the churches. Often pastors seem to consider the Bible worker a general ' handy man,' expecting her to do this and that, instead of upholding her in the legitimate duties of the Bible work.
" I consider it a privilege to improve every opportunity to lift my voice in behalf of the Bible work, and to encourage young women in our schools to make this their life work. I have observed that during recent years young women have been attracted to other lines of work in preference to the Bible work; but I believe there should be a change in this respect, and that there should be very definite appeal made to young women, accompanied by decided effort to direct young women into this line of service."
Pam O.M. John (President Atlantic Union College): " In looking over the courses of study provided in Atlantic Union College, and the students enrolled, I am surprised that I do not find a single prospect for the Bible workers' course of training. I shall go from this conference with new ideas and new purposes to see if we cannot enlist a large number of our young women to take up training for this work. At the time of my recent connection with the Atlantic Union College, I was somewhat disappointed to find that there was no course providing for the ' B. A.' degree. But I am beginning to think that this is a good thing. Possibly we are sending out too many ' B. A.'s,' and that we should be sending out more B. W.'s; ' in other words, training students to do successful Bible work. May I request that all conference workers present the Bible work in its true light to the young women in the churches, and also that you put me in touch with individual cases, and we will endeavor to stress our institutional training along this line."
Elder E.K. Slade (President of Atlantic Union) : " We have been neglecting this important line of our ministry, but the time has come when we should put forth unusual effort to train young women [and perhaps some who are not so young] to engage successfully in Bible work. I greatly appreciate the help which we are receiving from the Ministerial Association along this line. We should endeavor to put forth greater effort to co-operate with the Association in developing the Bible work, and do all in our power to encourage women possessing the necessary qualifications to secure proper training. I wish that we might combine, more than we do, the medical training with the training in teaching the Scriptures. I like the proposed term ' Bible teachers,' rather than Bible workers. Although we have held to this latter term so long, I believe we can adjust ourselves to the new name, and that it will be more appropriate."
Elder O. Montgomery (General Conference Vice-President) : " I can say a hearty ' Amen ' to the aims and purposes of these recommendations. I believe in the. Bible work with all my heart. I am praying to God that the day will speedily return when we shall have a whole force of Bible workers in every city. I trust that our conference presidents, ministers, and all our workers will experience a new sense of the need and the importance of developing this class of workers."
At one of the Bible workers' round table meetings, held in connection with the Atlantic Union Conference session, a personal testimony by Elder M. C. Strachan (colored), of New York City, was recorded as follows: " It was thirty-two years ago that I learned of this message, and it was brought to me by a white lady Bible worker. Had it not been for the Bible work, probably I never would have heard of the third angel's message, in which I rejoice to-day. For twenty-eight years I have been constantly employed in proclaiming this truth to my people, and am proud of the distinction of being the only black man in North America to have such an extensive record."
These interesting statements are but echoes from the somewhat obscure field of expression. There is need that we " tune in " more frequently and catch the air waves of inspiration and appreciation for the Bible worker and her task.
Mrs. J.W. Mace
* See The Ministry for June, 1928.