A Layman's Appeal

The rebuke and appeal in the following letter, sent recently to one of our evangel­ists, touch upon a point that unfortunately makes it personal to many who are engaged in the gospel ministry.


[The rebuke and appeal in the following letter, sent recently to one of our evangel­ists, touch upon a point that unfortunately makes it personal to many who are engaged in the gospel ministry. For this reason the letter is given, as it was written, setting forth one layman's viewpoint of the min­ister's privilege and duty.]

Dear Brother: "The love of Christ constraineth me" to write to you, His avowed representative, touching a cer­tain matter that weakens your influ­ence. I refer to your habit of prais­ing men in the pulpit, and of telling amusing stories in your sermons. If you could be in the audience and hear these stories, you would realize that they cheapen your discourse instead of adorning it. Often I have heard ear­nest Adventists express the wish that you would cease this practice.

God has given to you a beautiful presentation of the message of salva­tion, as exemplified in the life and min­istry of His Son. Will not the message for this time be most effectively pre­sented if it is given as Jesus would give it, were He standing in your pul­pit? Can you imagine Him interspers­ing funny stories with the words of life and warning?

In His ministry, Christ testified: "I do always those things that please Him." So must His followers do. How finely Paul sets forth the privilege of high standards in speech for one who is a minister of the gospel: "As we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God." 1 Thess. 2:4. And again: "Do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." Gal. 1:10.

Very clear instruction is given in the Spirit of prophecy on this point. In "Testimonies to Ministers," page 318, we read:

"Neither is it the object of preach­ing to amuse. Some ministers have adopted a style of preaching that has not the best influence. It has become a habit with them to weave anecdotes into their discourses. The impression thus made upon the hearers is not a savor of life unto life. Ministers should not bring amusing stories into their preaching. The people need pure prov­ender, thoroughly winnowed from the chaff. 'Preach the word,' was the charge Paul gave to Timothy, and this is our commission also. The minister who mixes story-telling with his dis­courses is using strange fire. God is offended, and the cause of truth is dis­honored, when His representatives de­scend to the use of cheap, trifling words."

It is always painful to an audience to hear ministers praise other minis­ters as they introduce them in the pul­pit. Many warnings have been given to us against indulging in this prac­tice, which harms all who hear it or take part in it. In "Ministry of Heal­ing," page 449, we read:

"That which I have seen of eternal things, and that which I have seen of the weakness of humanity, has deeply impressed my mind, and influenced my life work. I see nothing wherein men should be praised or glorified."

I have written these things in the spirit of love, and with an earnest prayer that many may be blessed and strengthened through your ministry.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus


March 1932

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The Sure Foundation

In order to build on the sure founda­tion, the word of God, one must seek for the true meaning of the word.

The Leaders Should Lead in Evangelism

It is easy for us to see how institu­tionalism has hindered evangelism in mission lands in the case of other mis­sion boards; but are we not in danger of drifting in the same direction?

Making Successful Contact

There is one sure, certain way to have success in working for souls——the way of personal contact.

Others Are Also Watching

Readers of the Ministry will be interested in a report of the recent Student Volunteer Movement convention held in Buffalo, December 30 to January 3.

Editorial Keynotes

Next to the direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart, the profound and sincere belief of the preacher in the integrity of the message he proclaims is doubtless the most potent influence that can be brought to bear upon the hearer.

Hints for Amateur Song Leaders

Often our young men, and older ones too, are pressed into the service of conducting the music in our meetings, even when without previous experi­ence. For such, a few suggestions may be timely.

The Prophetic Periods

Reviewing the method of understanding the prophetic periods of Daniel and Revelation.

Sunset Musings

When in 1875 I accepted "present truth," my whole outlook was changed, and life seemed to take on a new meaning.

Open-Air Meetings

To speak successfully in the open-air forum, one needs to have a very definite conviction that he has a divine message, and must not be moved from its presentation.

Receiving the Offerings

Giving to the support of the work of God is an act of worship, and has been so regarded from the earliest times.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)