It has "pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Ours is truly a most sacred work, calling for a deep spiritual experience based on a profound conviction of duty, and with a background of thorough preparation. We read in "Testimonies," Volume V "When the time of trial shall come, there are men now preaching to others, who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory reason."—Page 707.
We have come to the time of trial. This is a crisis hour, not only in the world, but in the personal experience of every man who is called to the sacred work of the ministry. Every minister in this cause today needs to be powerfully equipped to preach the message with a challenging conviction. Men are needed who are mighty in the Scriptures.
"In this age of the world, when Satan is seeking, through manifold agencies, to blind the eyes of men and women to the binding claims of the law of God, there is need of men who can cause many to 'tremble at the command of our God.' . . . There is need of men mighty in the Scriptures."—"Prophets and Kings," pp. 623, 624.
No preacher can hope to become mighty in the Scriptures unless he continually digs deep into the mine of truth given of God. In other lines of endeavor men toil steadily, long, and earnestly in order to qualify themselves for their chosen professions. How much more should a man who is called to stand between the living and the dead, strive earnestly to qualify himself for the work laid upon him by divine commission.
We should never rest satisfied with our attainments.
"Let none think that there is no more knowledge for them to gain. . . . We have seen only' the glimmering of divine glory and of the infinitude of knowledge and wisdom; we have, as it were, been working on the surface of the mine, when rich golden ore is beneath the surface, to reward the one who will dig for it. The shaft must be sunk deeper and yet deeper in the mine, and the result will be glorious treasure."—"Christ's Object Lessons," p. 113.
In order to present the great fundamental principles of this message every minister ought to have a wide grasp of Biblical knowledge. Intensive Bible study based on wide reading and deep personal thinking is the need of this hour. The Watchman-Examiner, one of the leading organs of the Baptist Church, announced some time ago that "pastors who yearn for a return to their old school days will again have opportunity to sit under competent Bible instructors at the postgraduate school for preachers conducted by the Moody Bible Institute." But our preachers cannot attend the Moody Bible Institute or other theological institutions and universities for advanced study in the fundamentals of the advent message. The reasons for this are so obvious that no argument whatever is needed to establish this fact.
It was to meet the needs of our preachers, editors, Bible and history teachers, and other workers, that the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary was established. I feel profoundly thankful to God that we have a graduate school of our own. Often I have had reason to be deeply grateful for the work that it is doing. It is a school where our ministers can come aside for a period of study, meditation, and prayer, where they can gather new material for their work, do intensive research in the great truths that have made us a people, and go back to their fields refreshed and strengthened for their work.
The courses of instruction listed in the Seminary bulletin for 1943 present material of great value to all our preachers. For the winter term there are listed in theology : "Modern Religious Problems and Perils," "Principles of Prophetic Interpretation," "The Sanctuary," and "Doctrinal Teachings of Jesus." Under archaeology and history of antiquity are listed courses which bring to light the history of the nations that existed contemporaneously with ancient Israel—records that have been buried thousands of years, and have now been brought forth to confirm the word of God. In this age of skepticism these throw new light on the messages of the Old Testament. Under church history the winter term provides courses in "The Early Church, the State, and the Papacy," "The Medieval Church, the Papacy, and the Pre-Reformation Sects," and "American Church History." Our ministers will greatly profit by advanced study in these vital subjects. Under Biblical languages are listed courses in "Beginning Hebrew," "Hebrew Translation," "Hebrew Exegesis," "New Testament Greek Exegesis," and "Ecclesiastical Latin."
In the homiletics and Christian leadership section there have been added to the course in "Methods of Evangelism" two new courses, "Securing Decisions" and "Evangelistic and Pastoral Preaching," to be taught during the new spring term. Then there is the course in "Advanced Bible Instructors' Methods" to be given in both the winter and spring terms. This course will be of special value in adding to the efficiency of our Bible instructors.
For the spring term there is listed a very valuable course in "Conference Administration." Every minister should have a thorough understanding of the principles of our church organization, and the proper methods of administering the work in all its parts.
A few lectures on radio work have been planned for the winter term.
The dates for the winter term are January 31 to March 31; for the spring term, April 4 to June 2. We earnestly hope that arrangements can be made for a large number of our ministers to attend the Seminary during one or both of these terms. I am sure that the time thus spent will so add to the efficiency of those who enroll for these courses that they will be stronger and better workers in the future.
J. L. McELHANY.