Advanced Training for Our Ministers

Great tasks are before every Seventh-day Adventist preacher, tasks which will tax to the utmost the mental and physical powers. We are responsible to God for the use of the gifts He has given us.

By M. E. KERN, President, Theological Seminary

The "great scholar, Paul, writer of most of the New Testament, cried out as he looked into the bosom of the great ocean of God's truth and wisdom: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" Chosen instrument of the early church, Paul was a man of depth and understanding, of astonishing breadth of vision, with a far-reach­ing program and a great, loving heart. We who have been chosen as heralds of the closing gospel message likewise need depth of under­standing, breadth of vision, wideness of pro­gram, and loving hearts. Paul was a thinker! We, too, need to be thinkers and not mere re­flectors of other men's thinking.

"The intellect is to be kept thoroughly awake with new, earnest, wholehearted work." "Strong minds are needed. The human intellect must gain expan­sion and vigor and acuteness and activity. It must be taxed to do hard work, or it will become weak and inefficient. Brain power is required to think most earnestly; it must be put to the stretch to solve hard problems and master them, else the mind de­creases in power and aptitude to think. The mind must invent, work, and wrestle, in order to give hardness and vigor to the intellect."—"Fundamentals of Christian Education," pp. 227, 226.

Great tasks are before every Seventh-day Adventist preacher, tasks which will tax to the utmost the mental and physical powers. As someone said at our recent educational con­vention, "It is a great responsibility to be pos­sessed of a brain." God means for us to use and improve our intellects. We are responsible to God for the use we make of the gifts with which He has endowed us. Unfortunately it could have been said of our ministry some years ago:

"The men who now stand before the people as representatives of Christ have generally more ability than they have training, but they do not put their faculties to use, making the most of their time and opportunities.. . . There has been but little ambition to put their powers to the test to reach an elevated standard in knowledge and in religious intelligence. They might have done tenfold more work intelligently had they cared to become intellectual giants.

Let everyone examine himself in the light of this rebuke to the ministry. Have we been wasting time in unimportant conversations? Have we entangled ourselves with the affairs of this life? Have we dawdled over newspapers or unworth-while books? Surely God expects every minister to gird up the loins of his mind and not allow the intellectual powers to go to waste. It has been truly said that "without deep, wide, and hard reading, and strong per­sonal thinking, a revolting shallowness that destroys both poise and power settles like a blight on the minister."

Realizing the great need of our workers for the opportunity to do systematic research under the leadership of men who have specialized in the various fields of theological study, the Gen­eral Conference has, at great expense, provided a school for advanced training. Its first objec­tive was to strengthen the Bible and history departments in our schools; and a good work is being done in these fields. One college Bible teacher said, "My few weeks' stay here has opened to me a new horizon. I see the Book in a light in which I never saw it before. I see the Bible teacher from a different per­spective."

Our ministers, facing new problems and strange currents of thought, also need the ad­vantages of a graduate school. Some ministers have come to each of our four summer sessions, but now that sessions are to be held in winter—the best time of the year for ministers in most sections of North America to get away—it is hoped that a goodly number of our ministers will be able to avail themselves of this oppor­tunity. The winter quarter this year will begin December 7 and close February 28. Compre­hensive courses in theology, prophetic interpre­tation, history of Eastern antiquity, church history, Greek, Hebrew, and homiletics are of­fered.

If you desire the privilege of attending, it is proper to talk with your conference president about it. Perhaps some plan can be arranged for a leave of absence. There may be some who can come wholly at their own expense. In any case, we shall be glad to send further information to those who are interested. Ad­dress the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Takoma Park, D.C.

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By M. E. KERN, President, Theological Seminary

November 1937

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