Usually the ministry of the churches about us are not classed among the neglected. And yet will not their seeming advantages be worthless without an acceptance of the message for this time? How will they hear unless we tell them? Ours is a great responsibility, especially in view of the following quotation from the Spirit of prophecy:
"We have a work to do for the ministers of other churches. God wants them to be saved. . . . We must labor for them earnestly. . . . God wants them to have a part in His special work for this time. He wants them to be among the number who are giving to His household meat in due season. Why should they not be engaged in this work ? Our ministers should seek to come near to the ministers of other denominations. Pray for and with these men, for whom Christ is interceding. A solemn responsibility is theirs. As Christ's messengers, we should manifest a deep, earnest interest in these shepherds."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, pp. 77, 78.
Each new reading of these words stirs my heart. Not long ago I decided to make an endeavor along this line. The Pacific Press gave a few sample copies of Health, and the Modesto church provided some subscriptions, which were given to local ministers complimentarily. The Lord has surely given us a wonderful "entering wedge" in our medical and health work.
I began to visit these various ministers. Sometimes there was a little prejudice, but this was soon broken down by the Health magazine and the medical approach. The pastor of a large Baptist church was a returned missionary. I learned that upon his return to America, he contemplated enrolling in our medical school at Battle Creek about the time it was closing. Though he did not study medicine, he was deeply impressed with our health and medical work, and has used our health foods ever since. One of our doctors is his family physician, and not long ago he had one of them give a tobacco lecture in his church.
I called on the Episcopalian minister and found him to be pleasant. He had just returned from a conference at which the bishop had been urging upon the preachers the need of educating their churches to a more liberal program of giving. He cited Adventists as an example of what could be done. The pastor's wife then told that she was a cousin of the late A. G. Daniells. How often we learn that certain men and women in important positions have Adventist relatives who have been supplying them with our good literature.
The Methodists have the largest church in this city. The pastor and his wife were very agreeable when I called on them. After a short visit, I invited this minister to speak in our church one evening, and tell of a recent trip he had made to Europe. He was recently called to a large church at Cristobal in the Canal Zone, and his wife wrote back to one of our doctors, thanking him for his kind, Christian medical service in behalf of their health.
Matchless Entering Wedge
A Presbyterian minister came to one of our doctors here. After coming and going quietly for some time, he explained why he had come. He told that he had been at our St. Helena Sanitarium twenty years before, and said, "If I had done as they told me, I would be well today." From the day he visited St. Helena, he believed in our medical work. He is now retired, living with his son who is an attorney in San Francisco, and is reading the Signs and studying our message.
The leading Catholic priest in Modesto is a patient of one of our doctors. On a special occasion when our church was in need of a large hall, this doctor called the priest. He not only let us use their hall, but made no charge. He likes our medical work.
When one of our doctors first came to town, he waited quite a while for his first patient. That patient was the daughter of a Dunkard preacher. Last year we received that Dunkard minister into our Modesto church. Thus, we might go on and on to prove that our medical missionary work is a wonderful "entering wedge." But one more story will suffice.
One of our doctors telephoned the other day, requesting that I come down immediately and meet a minister from a Presbyterian church just outside Modesto. This minister's family had for years been under his medical care, and the busy doctor had been able now and then to drop words about our message. This had aroused the interest of the minister, and he telephoned me several days later and wished to have another visit. After a moment of greeting, I asked him upon what subject he would like to talk. He wanted to, know about the Sabbath. We had prayer, and then for two hours earnestly studied the Sabbath question.
He seemed staggered, for though many of the texts were familiar to him, yet now they seemed new. When we were through with the study, we talked of several subjects closely related to the Sabbath. We again knelt and prayed, and when we arose, the tears were still on his cheeks. He took the texts home to study over again with his wife. He seemed touchingly honest, earnest, hungry, interested, and that interest was awakened through the kindness of a Christian doctor. God has many such honest men scattered through the high ranks of the world, It seems that the doctor is about the only one who will ever be able to arouse any interest in some of these men. What a responsibility belongs to the doctor !
"The Christian physician should regard his work as exalted as that of the ministry. He bears a double responsibility; for in him are combined the qualifications of both physician and gospel minister. His is a grand, a sacred, and very necessary work." —"Gospel Workers," p. 360.
"Into the medical missionary work should be brought a deep yearning for souls. To the physician equally with the gospel minister is committed the highest trust ever committed to man. Whether he realizes it or not, every physician is entrusted with the cure of souls."—"Ministry of Healing," p. 119.
"The physician who ministers in the homes of the people, watching at the bedside of the sick, relieving their distress, bringing them back from the borders of the grave, speaking hope to the dying, wins a place in their confidence and affection, such as is granted to few others. Not even to the minister of the gospel are committed possibilities so great, or an influence so far-realhing."—Id., p. 132.
We might wonder if any of the seed sown in the hearts of these ministers will ever grow and bear fruit. But we are not left in the dark on this point. Many of these men of importance will come in during the "latter rain," according to the following statement:
"Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord's side."—"The Great Controversy," p. 612.
May God greatly bless the medical missionary in his important work, especially for the neglected non-Adventist ministry.