Making Friends for the Truth

This truth is a great magnet drawing to itself all the children of truth.

L.C.K. is an associate editor of the Ministry.

This truth is a great magnet drawing to itself all the children of truth. Truth seeking is a progressive experience, the progress of which is too often dependent upon other experi­ences in the lives of those with whom we study the Bible. Our mission is to teach truth from the Scriptures, and Christ is the central figure of the Word. We may feel a great responsibil­ity to give men and women this message, but teaching them how to find the truth in Christ must also bring them to the Source of all truth, if they are really sincere.

The enemy has hedged in our way to spread this truth by means of deep-seated prejudice, doubt, and unconcern. Our peculiar doctrines are bound to be unpopular, but we need not apologize for them. We are aware that we are constantly cutting across men's paths by teach­ing truth. Only a sound conviction of what really is truth causes the teacher to press ahead with unflinching ardor to tell its message to all men. It is not denominationalism that drives us ahead with our unpopular cause, for Sev­enth-day Adventism, as such, cannot save. Jesus Himself, the saving Truth, has challenged us to teach all things that He has commanded us.

While there is an urge and a holy drive to truth teaching, the heart of the soul winner must be filled with deep interest in lost hu­manity. To make an appeal for the truth which we wish to unfold, we must know human nature. Again, we must train ourselves to make our appeal to hearts in a manner that will win men and women.

First, we must surrender to God our person­alities, so that we may become winsome for the message, for long before a soul is convinced of the beauty of the Scriptures and their authority, he may be charmed by the earnest and holy ways of the agent through whom the Scriptures are revealed. Next, to transfer this attraction so that it is deeply centered in Christ is an­other holy technique. Then to rivet that devo­tion to the structure of truth of the advent message is a sublime accomplishment.

Truth teaching does not make the same prog­ress in all lives. The fault is not always with the teacher; it is more often with the seeker who may not be ready to surrender everything for Christ's sake at least not at that moment. The human teacher cannot hope to do the work that the Holy Spirit Himself is not successful in accomplishing in the inquirer's life because of sin standing in the way. Too often men choose the hard course of disappointment and sorrow before they completely surrender to the demands of Bible truth. We wish it might be otherwise, but the long history of the human race and the examples of Scripture reveal that this is true.

There is, however, an experience in our truth-teaching work which we can well afford to watch —that of avoiding hard climaxes which sever us forever from those we have tried to reach with our message, but who have not yet responded to all our appeals. Some workers feel that they have not done their duty for the message unless they have brought about in the inquiring indi­vidual's experience an abrupt decision for the message or a sudden turning away from it. When those who study the Bible with them will not accept the points presented at the planned-for time, then these workers feel that they are through with them in every sense of the word. But this is a mistake we should avoid.

While we will be greatly saddened by the fact that some people, with whom we may have been carefully studying, do not take their stand, and while we may have tried in every human way possible to impress them with the urgency of such a course, our interest in them must not cease. We may not be able to continue our former studies with the same regularity be­cause our labors may be needed elsewhere; yet we should make provision to follow up every ray of interest, letting all men know that we are truly interested in their souls. We simply can­not leave them to their condemnation when it is our sole business to save them for Christ.

We can personally point to a number of very remarkable experiences when souls with whom we had studied and labored years ago eventu­ally took their stand and declared that the truth previously studied had burned its way into their lives. The final decision may have come through another worker's effort, when the gospel net was again cast in their community. The Holy Spirit was calling and calling through the years; and later, circumstances they were not at all conscious of at the time led them to take their full stand. Perhaps no one had recently studied the Bible with them, but this was not necessary. Long ago they had been convinced of the truth. Back of such experiences may be the history of someone's noble Christian effort, or a genuine friendly spirit that would not let them go through those long years until their hearts were won for this message. This is Christian love and genuine soul winning!

Why is it that some people are truly loved by saints and sinners alike, while others do not kindle a spirit of love? Why is it that some workers, without at any time sacrificing one principle of truth, are welcomed even by those who have not yet seen it necessary to accept our message? We observe how such workers vibrate cheer and Christian fellowship, even among those who cannot agree with them on doctrine. They are the ones who cause men everywhere to speak highly of Seventh-day Adventists. It is definitely a talent God lends them to help His church in her difficult and unpopular cause, for it is these very souls that break down the cold walls of prejudice which so often divide the various Christian camps.

The whole question must lead us all to find the more perfect way to the hearts of our fellow men with this truth—the path of Christian love. An unfavorable observer once remarked in our presence that Seventh-day Adventists would never need to face in the judgment their neglect to tell other people what was what! They might, however, be found guilty of not reveal­ing the more gracious way to live with their neighbors after these people could not agree with them in their religious views. This is in­deed something to think about! But it is not the usual experience. Only the other day some­one else remarked to us, "My dearest neighbor is a Seventh-day Adventist. We truly enjoy Christian fellowship together even though we cannot see alike in every point of religion. I believe in my very soul that she will someday win me to her lovely way of life." As instruc­tors in this precious truth, let us learn more and more to present it in the friendly, loving spirit that will win its way not only to the mind, but also to the heart.                      

L. C. K.

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L.C.K. is an associate editor of the Ministry.

March 1944

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