One has to deal differently with different persons relative to the matter of conversion. With some you can say, "Let us kneel down and pray about this now," and hold them to the issue until they have obtained the experience. Many times I have led my readers along that pathway. There are times when the decision should be definitely called for. If that moment passes, you may never have another opportunity of that kind.
With others, in fact with many persons, conversion is a gradual thing. They seem to advance spiritually as they learn. With these I seek to make the subject as clear as I can, leave something with them to read, and recommend that they study and pray about it carefully. Then I spend a number of weeks going over practical subjects before broaching this particular subject again. Often I find that they have decided for themselves, and that there is an evident change in their experience. One can see the joy and happiness in their lives.
Many Bible workers and ministers consider it necessary that the decision be gained the instant a person sees the truth. But some people are so easily embarrassed and upset by what they feel to be emotionalism, that it is not wise to try to clinch matters right then. With such I make the matter as clear as I can, and then give them "Steps to Christ" or some similar book to read, urging that they pray and study. At my next visit, if they have followed the suggestion made, I give another study on conversion. It takes such people longer to make the decision, but usually they remain firm afterward.
For instance, take a conservative, elderly Presbyterian. It is difficult for her to get down on her knees with you and pray about conversion. It may be that she should not feel that way, but she does. I have sensed it very strongly. With such a person I ask, "Is this clear to you?" "Do you understand this?" "Do you see clearly what you should do?" Then I add, "I recommend strongly that you follow your conscience, and I shall pray for you. But if this isn't clear, we will go over it again. You must understand this before you can go any farther."
Sometimes, of course, I ask a person to make the decision right at the time, but not often. And seldom do I say to a reader, "Now about the Sabbath; are you going to keep it?" However, when a person takes a long time to make up his• mind, I do make the direct, personal appeal. Often when I visit a person to give a reading, he will say, "I kept my first Sabbath last week." I remember an experience with one family that I had not asked to keep the Sabbath or join the church. One Friday afternoon I came to give them a Bible study. The house was all in order, and they were dressed in clean clothes. I asked if they were going somewhere, and they smiled, and said, "No; we have decided to keep the Sabbath."
I never leave a subject until I know my reader has accepted it heart and soul; but I seldom say, "Don't you think it is about time now that you were baptized and joined our church? You know this is the truth. Don't you think you should make the definite decision now?" I believe my readers stick to the truth, and I am sure they are really converted. But I only read with them, and pray for them. It is God who converts them.
Washington, D. C.
*What is the best way of achieving this supreme end? Temperaments vary, and so must our methods in dealing with individuals of differing background and dispositions. Wise is the worker who recognizes and operates in harinonV with this principle. We therefore welcome this helpful discussion. It will act as a preventive to getting into a rut.—Editors.