Establishing New Converts

Establishing new converts in the car­dinal doctrines of the third angel's message is of supreme importance, a great objective of our work. How do we do this?

By GEORGE S. RAPP, Pastor, Capital Memorial Church, Washington, D.C.

Establishing new converts in the car­dinal doctrines of the third angel's message is of supreme importance, a great objective of our work. Peter emphasizes it in his second epistle: "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth."

1. Instruction.—The evangelist must work diligently in order for new converts to make progress and to persevere in grace. Although they have to a degree learned the truth, it must from time to time be reiterated, lest they forget. If the evangelist has done a thorough job, his converts will be started in the right direction. Then it is the pastor's duty to keep them steadfast.

Just as the truth of the resurrection was un­popular among many in Paul's day, so the Sabbath and kindred truths of the Bible will be unpopular in this, our day. Just as the people were admonished "to be steadfast and unmovable" then, so we should admonish new church members today. Steadfastness is not acquired in a day, but gradually. Mature growth comes only with time. It is one thing to be baptized, and another thing to be stead­fast to the end. In Ephesians 3 :17 Paul uses the expression "rooted and grounded in love." This kind of steadfastness is like that of a tree the roots of which have so grown as to take hold and be able to resist the storm and the tempest. He who is able to bear up in the tempest and storm is rooted and grounded in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The more new converts are acquainted with Christ, the firmer they will be. Christ and the great truths of the third angel's message are bound up together. Well did Paul say, Be no more children "tossed to and fro." In other words, No longer comply with the other fel­low's whims and humor. This idea of being tossed to and fro is a metaphor that signifies the mischievousness and subtlety of seducers. Our teaching in the pulpit and in the homes must be of such a nature as to strengthen new converts in the message. They must be made to understand that the message was not born overnight. We must instruct them to know assuredly that the message was wrested from the deep caverns of Biblical research, and that our devoted fathers placed the truth upon the same high pedestal on which Paul, Peter, John, and others placed it.

2. Visitation.—Along with teaching and instructing from the pulpit comes the impor­tant work of visiting in the homes of the peo­ple. Mrs. White said that the minister's work simply begins in the pulpit, and a Methodist bishop once stated that 85 per cent of the minister's work is in the home. Here the reeds of the people are learned, and personal contact strengthens.

To cite an illustration, I was much concerned over a certain family who were intensely in­terested, but who were hesitant about taking their stand. Upon this particular occasion when I called I prayed that God would give me a lead. I noticed a rather distinguished-looking guest leaving the house, and my hostess informed me that he was her minister. She said he had left a book by H. G. Wells that would enlighten her against the teachings of Seventh-day Adventists. This was my lead, and at once I capitalized upon it. After glanc­ing through the book, I asked, "Have you read this book?"

She replied, "No." I hurriedly told her of its contents, and said that it would poison her mind against the Bible, and have a damaging effect upon her husband and son. After a word of prayer, she requested admission into the church at once by the rite of baptism. Her son followed her, and we think her hus­band will soon unite with the church.

Yes, it pays to visit—it pays big dividends. The home is the preacher's laboratory. Visit­ing is indeed a vital part of his work. The home is a recruiting station for the church.

3. Bible Classes.—Teaching the message in Bible classes and in the Sabbath school is of vital importance. Every minister should be a Bible teacher and a teacher in the Sabbath school. If it is a fact that two out of every five who are baptized leave the faith, then these losses are creating an appalling situation among us. This situation can often be reme­died by faithful pastoral work.

"God's work is not to be done in a bungling, slip­shod manner. When a minister enters a field, he should work that field thoroughly. He should not be satisfied with his success until he can, through ear­nest labor and the blessing of heaven, present to the Lord converts who have a true sense of their respon­sibility, and who will do their appointed work. If he has properly instructed those under his care, when he leaves for other fields of labor the work will not ravel out; it will be bound off so firmly as to be secure."—"Gospel Workers," p. 369.

After all, it is not so much a question of how many have been baptized, as of how many will remain faithful after the effort has come to a close. Yes, let the evangelist start his converts straight in the message, and I am sure that a faithful pastor will keep most of them going in that direction. Christ said, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain."

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By GEORGE S. RAPP, Pastor, Capital Memorial Church, Washington, D.C.

November 1940

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