Make Public Evangelism Foremost

Those of us who live in Eastern lands must guard against a tendency to think that, because public evangelistic work may be difficult in our part of the world field, it is not a satisfactory method for propagating the gospel where we work, but is more suitable for Western lands.

By N. C. WILSON, President, Southern Asia Division

Those of us who live in Eastern lands must guard against a tendency to think that, because public evangelistic work may be difficult in our part of the world field, it is not a satisfactory method for propagating the gospel where we work, but is more suitable for Western lands. The Saviour was in an Eastern land when He gave the commission to preach the gospel to every nation. He used this method in an Eastern country.

The apostle Paul and the early Christian workers were active and successful evangelists in the East. Paul definitely declared that in his day the best method of revealing Christ to the world was through "the preaching of the cross." His admonition to his fellow work­ers was to "preach the Word." And we have every reason to believe it is the best method for our day and time. Whether in the Occi­dent or the Orient, the human heart is much the same; and God's method of evangelism through the active preaching of the Word is obviously the best plan.

There is room in the advent movement for every gift. For this reason there are various activities in the church of God. Hearts are impressed through the exercise of the gifts of God's people as represented in the various ac­tivities of the church. All these activities com­bine to make one complete whole. But fore­most and uppermost in all our plans for God's work must be the thought of public evangelism. The various gifts of the church are to be fo­cused on a program of world evangelism.

To take our eyes off the goal of public evan­gelism often means to turn them toward useful but less important matters. Any policy or tendency which places public evangelism in a position of secondary importance is a move in the wrong direction. Such a policy leads to retrogression and defeat. Nothing inspires the church of God in all its activities and gifts as much as the keeping of the program of public evangelism always in the forefront.

No other plan will ever finish God's work in India or any other vast mission field. The methods which have brought the greatest bless­ing and success to the cause at the home base and to the church of God ever since the days of Christ are the safe and successful methods for the advent movement around the world in this late hour of human probation.

A world-wide program of evangelism in which every preacher and missionary has an active part, in which every activity of the de­nomination very definitely centers, will speed­ily bring to pass the condition foretold by the servant of God in which "jets of light like stars" were seen, "dotted all through" the dense darkness of the world. "I saw another and another added light, and so all through the moral darkness the starlike lights were increasing. . . . I saw then these little jets of light growing brighter, shining forth from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and lighting the whole world."—"Gospel Workers" (old edition), pp. 378, 379.

[The following informal paragraphs taken from a subsequent letter of Pastor Wilson's show bow the Southern Asia Division is seeking to apply these sound principles,—Editor]

We feel very much encouraged over the fine way the brethren are cooperating in the evan­gelistic program of our division, and find a live interest in public evangelism throughout the field. Of course, efforts of this nature are ex­tremely difficult in India, for throughout the years all Christian bodies have worked in a very quiet, conservative way here. Public evangel­ism has not been employed by them, and this has been largely true of our own work also. But now we hope for greater things.

At our recent Tamil meeting, we had an in­teresting discussion and a good report of the evangelistic work done in this section during the first half of the present year. Nine efforts had been conducted on a regular, full-time basis. More than sixty people took their stand definitely and were organized into baptismal classes. We laid plans for further work in this local field. Details were worked out for twelve efforts, some of which were to be held in large centers, such as Madras and Madura.

T. J. Michael, our new superintendent for Northwest India, has a great burden for public evangelism, and is conducting an effort on the large hill station at Mussoorie. Another evan­gelist is associated with him, and the young people from the college, together with several missionaries on hill leave, are assisting.

Over in Burma, we have laid out an evangel­istic program that has resulted in great blessing to the field. Four efforts have been held in the large delta section, and about 125 people have definitely taken their stand and are prepar­ing for church membership. This is a new thing for Burma, and has brought rejoicing to the hearts of the brethren there.

I am now in Lahore arranging for an evan­gelistic campaign in this large city of nearly a million population. I have associated with me fourteen Indian evangelists, and we are really making this an evangelistic training school. We shall also keep two other efforts going in the suburbs of this city, with experienced Indian workers in charge. All of us meet frequently to plan the work and pray for its success. This is a new experience for north India, and so we are approaching the problem with humility, but nevertheless with great courage. We recognize that it is only as God pours out His spirit and impresses the hearts of the people that we can hope to succeed.

I am enclosing the opening announcement for our effort in Lahore. We also have billboards for each of the three tents in the effort. These are attractively painted, size, 10 x 6 feet. The upper six feet of the billboard has permanent wording. The lower four feet is left blank for daily changes. Each day a local artist adver­tises our subject on colored paper, and this is placed in position.

We have arranged with a local music house for a gramophone and an amplifier for each tent, and shall have a good selection of English and Urdu records. The weather is very hot day and night; so we have installed large overhead fans. We also have stereopticon, filmstrip, and moving-picture machines. So our equipment and physical arrangements seem to be satisfac­tory. This is a large, important campaign, and we are indeed anxious that the work shall be definitely successful. We feel that this kind of program is in harmony with God's plans, and are most anxious to do everything possible to place public evangelism on a firm basis in all parts of this division.

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By N. C. WILSON, President, Southern Asia Division

December 1937

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