In this contribution on evangelistic techniques for illustrating truth, the experimentation and experience of years have been gathered together, R. Allan Anderson, associate secretary of the Ministerial Association, and of the editorial staff of the Ministry, has labored as an evangelist in a number of different countries and has had opportunity to observe the methods of many men. These, with his own original contributions, have produced something of real value to our evangelists. When he was head of the Bible department at La Sierra College, he built up a strong field evangelism department. All types of equipment were Prepared at the college, and during these years Robert Correia was secretary of this active department. Since leaving college Brother Correia has worked with some of our leading evangelists. Recently he associated with, Elder Anderson in a large and fruitful city effort in Cleveland, Ohio. The symbols in this illustration were all used at that time. We are confident that the principles and suggestions here considered will prove both interesting and helpful to our readers.--L. E. F.
There must have been a special reason why the Lord used such striking symbols as those found in Daniel and Revelation as a medium for prophecy. Our message has a distinctively prophetic setting, and therefore has great natural appeal if given according to its primary background of prophecy. This we may well capitalize upon through effective reproduction that will appeal to the eye.
Certain remarkable conclusions are derived from close observation of the technique used and the manner in which the prophecy was given originally. The great prophetic symbols reveal progression. They start from the simple and work toward the complex. And there is a natural sequence in these symbols presented. In Daniel we start with a very simple pattern of the four great kingdoms. As we proceed this simple pattern becomes a basis for a broadening interpretation which unfolds naturally and gathers momentum as it progresses.
There is a beautiful symmetry in the prophetic symbols. This is particularly noticed in the, natural balance in the books of Daniel and Revelation. Daniel sees some things in preview, and John sees them in review. In Daniel we find certain animals coming up out of the sea ; and in Revelation we also find some beasts appearing from the sea. Similarly, land animals are discovered in Daniel ; and in Revelation we find a notable beast coming up out of the earth. In Daniel we have a great image in the form of a man, and in Revelation we find the church pictured as a woman. In these two major prophetic books many of the great beasts are used, but no two are alike.. As no duplication of animals is to be found, there is no need for confusion or wrong application.
Truly the foundation of our message rests upoll Biblical prophecy, for there is great natural appeal in prophetic symbols. The closer the original prophetic setting is depicted, the greater will be the attraction, for there is power in prophecy.
Commercial advertising has capitalized on the drawing power of cutout displays. Along the modern highway and in the store window the cutout is rapidly coming into prominence. This method of illustration can be effectively adapted to evangelism. The book Gospel Workers says:
"By the use of charts, symbols, and representations of various kinds, the minister can make the truth stand out clearly and distinctly. This is a help, and in harmony with the Word of God."—Page 355. Several reasons why cutouts can be used to advantage in evangelism may be noted.
I . Cutouts are progressive.—Experimentation has revealed that some charts show too much at one time. While the evangelist is referring to one part, trying to direct the minds of his auditors to some specific point, some people go ahead of the evangelist and look at some other portion of the chart. In this way they lose some of the value of the message being presented, because they are trying to listen to one thing and look at something else at the same time. Thus the powers of comprehension are divided and weakened. The real beauty and natural force of the truth being presented are not fully grasped nor completely understood.
Good salesmanship maintains that one item at a time should be placed before the customer in order to absorb his attention. This principle is also applicable to evangelism. By the use of cutout charts as individual units, the attention of the audience can be focused upon each separate part as it appears at the right time, thus building up the points of truth progressively. Such was the manner in which the great prophecies were first given, and the closer the original pattern is followed, the more effective will be our illustration of the prophecy.
2. Cutouts are workable.—Made of three-ply wood, cutout symbols do not tear, crease, or roll up on the edges. They are sturdy, reliable, and durable. It is to the advantage of the evangelist for his prophetic beasts to stand up straight and keep their shape. In auditoriums with lofty ceilings and walls uninviting to cloth charts, how useful it is to have equipment which appears from the floor upward rather than from the ceiling downward.
3. Cutouts are adaptable.—Evangelism finds its way into all types of halls, tents, and auditoriums. Some evangelists have stages ; others have only a platform. At times one does his work in the open air. Those who have used cutout symbols over a period of years find them adaptable to any and all types of meeting places.
4. Cutouts are realistic.—A cutout is a chart that stands out in bold relief. It looks natural, because it is not attached to a background, nor is it hung in space. It rests upon its own base and is easily adaptable to simple mechanical movement. Those who have used cutout symbols find them most effective in presenting the truth.
Making the Cutout Symbols
Of several common methods of making cutouts, projection seems the most practical for evangelistic purposes. By the aid of a good slide picture and a projector, the picture of the animal is thrown on a section of plywood. After adjusting the picture to proper size, the animal is painted by starting with the base color first and then working in the detail.
Whatever method is followed, the evangelist should endeavor to uphold a high standard in design, material, and method of display, remembering there is beauty in simplicity, and everything should bend to the ultimate objective—that of making the "truth stand out clearly and distinctly."
The grotesque, crude, and gaudy in style should be avoided, In the Bible there is to be found but one nondescript ; so if the other prophetic beasts are made true to form, they will be in sufficient contrast to be effective. Should the evangelist not possess artistic ability of his own, he should secure the services of a commercial artist or someone who can do acceptable work.
For evangelistic purposes the animals need to be painted in contrasting shades in order to make the various features distinguishable from a distance. High lights are invaluable in making these outstanding features prominent. The poster style should be maintained, keeping in mind that details are not seen at a distance.
Of all types of materials tried, experimentation has revealed three-ply wood as the most workable for cutout purposes. Three-ply wood is reinforced at least three ways, thus giving maximum support for its size. It is not brittle, nor does it fray on the edges. All sharp projections such as horns or crowns have sufficient reinforcement. Plywood also provides a smooth painting surface. It can be fastened with screws, nails, or bolts.
The durability of plywood is an outstanding feature. It stands up to usage and handling. Certain evangelists have been using the same set for ten years and still find their plywood cutouts serviceable.
Finally, plywood is reasonable in cost. For the same price of a good set of slides, enough plywood could be purchased to provide ample material for a complete set of prophetic beasts. Some types of plywood are still available, even in wartime.
Construction of Daniel 2 Image
The metallic image of Daniel 2 is the basis for a good portion of our prophetic interpretation and therefore should be constructed and displayed in such a manner as to give the maximum effect, Many of our evangelists prefer to have the size of the image exceed that of a normal man, which makes it more impressive. One of the most important parts of the image is its feet, for that is where the evangelist makes his strongest points. Therefore the feet should be visible from every seat in the auditorium. It is a good plan to place the image on a pedestal, so that the feet are more easily seen. This pedestal can be made as the top of a globe. If one desires further detail, he might have the image standing on the continent of Europe.
Some prefer to have the image collapsible. If it is made of plywood, it is quite a simple matter to construct the image so that it can be taken apart. In order to do this smoothly, the various parts should be waxed occasionally. If the image is quite tall and too high to reach with the hand, a strip of wood fastened downward from the back of the head will solve the problem of easily lifting off the head.
One effective method of display is to place the image on a base, with four rollers. When the evangelist calls for the image, it can be rolled into view from one side of the stage, being guided and controlled by means of a long narrow strip of wood fastened beneath the rolling base, and painted to match the floor so that the secret of operation will not be detected.
Displaying the Beasts of Daniel 7
The evangelist of today can profit by the results of years of experimentation by our pioneers in evangelism. The various kinds of charts and illustrations provide a rich heritage to our ministers today. Through the years many improvements have been made in the construction and display of the prophetic beasts. For example, if the beasts are exhibited with a full side-view, the best effect is not attained because the head, which should be the most important part, is not in the position of prominence. The effect is more realistic and natural if the beasts come up out of the water at an angle, facing the audience. In this position the head is predominant, and if they come up at a slight angle, their bodies will be sufficiently displayed.
It has always been a problem in evangelism to make natural the display of the beasts coming up out of the ocean, and have them stand in the foreground. By making a beast come up and stand upon an island on the horizon, the most vivid effect is attained, for the beasts stand there on the horizon in bold relief, commanding attention.
When the beasts are made of the plywood, cutouts can come up from behind the sea scene like a ship coming over the horizon. The effect to those sitting in the audience is unforgettable.
The main objective in this style of illustration is to display the prophetic beasts progressively. Only one animal appears at a time, and full attention is directed to it. When setting up the stage before the meeting, each beast is laid out in its proper place behind the sea scene. As the animal is raised, it is guided either by hinges at its base or by means of a long narrow strip of wood, one end of which is fastened to the base of the framework, and the other end attached to the back of the animal. At the proper time each beast is slowly raised to its final position. It is held in place by a bolt passing through the strip from the frame of the sea scene and secured by a wing nut. (See Chart I.)
The operator should take care to keep out of sight behind the scene and send up each beast at the proper time for the best effect. Raise each figure slowly and majestically. Remember, motion attracts the eye. As the animal comes up, the evangelist can describe the characteristics of the animal, thus helping to direct attention to the animal.
Great, Terrible Beast.—Portrayal of the plucking up of the three horns is a simple mechanical problem, easily solved when using cutout beasts. The little horn with a man's face is painted on the original base piece of plywood. Making the little horn in the general shape of a miter helps to strengthen the effectiveness of the interpretation. In such a case the little horn is painted as a miter resting upon a man's head. The three horns which are plucked up are made of one piece of plywood and so placed in front of the little horn as to completely cover it. When the proper time comes the three horns are lifted up from behind by means of a small strip of wood attached behind the horns. Here again no hand is seen, and the audience gets the effect of the plucking up of three horns.
Ram and He-Goat of Daniel 8.—In displaying the ram and goat, one may arrange them on the left side of the sea scene. The land on this side of the sea scene is moved and centered on the stage, where it will be in the position of maximum prominence. The ram and goat are not displayed in the same manner as the Daniel 7 beasts. Instead of coming up out of the sea, they appear on the land and come toward each other from opposite directions. The ram appears first at the side on the left of the audience's right. (See Chart II.) They come together in head-on collision, and the ram is overcome and disappears behind the scene. Then the goat proceeds to the center of the stage, where his horns (the notable one and the four) change places. An operator behind the scene manipulates the horns of the goat as illustrated in Chart III.
The mechanical features are very simple, yet quite effective. The beasts slide back and forth on a grooved track, being controlled by handles fastened behind them and extending below the scene. (See Chart II.) In this way they appear to be propelled without human control. When the goat reaches the place where his horns begin to change he is held firmly in position by a catch, which presses the control stick against the upright brace on the framework.