Visiting Other Ministers

The counsel of the Spirit of prophecy is that we should visit the ministers of other faiths when we come to a new town.

By FORDYCE W. DETAMORE, Evangelist, Fort Worth, Texas

The counsel of the Spirit of prophecy is that we should visit the ministers of other faiths when we come to a new town. But we are also cautioned that we should not reveal to them too early our intentions and plans in the presenta­tion of our message. With a desire to test this counsel, R. E. Metcalfe and I decided to call on the leading ministers of Amarillo, Texas; where we had met much opposition. These contacts proved to be both enjoyable and profit­able.

We started with the Lutheran minister. Our friendly personal contact proved to be a good neutral meeting ground. As our short, friendly visit came to a close, I suggested that we have a word of prayer before leaving, and perhaps he would lead us. His prayer suggested that he was not much accustomed to such extemporaneous contacts with Heaven. It was a little awkward, but we had made a start.

We also went to visit the Fundamentalist Baptist minister who had raged against us over the air, in the newspaper, and from the pulpit. He had even been cut off the air in the middle of his broadcast because of his savage attack against us.

When we appeared at the door of his par­sonage, he seemed dazed and perplexed but quite docile. After we had talked on for a while along noncontroversial lines, he observed, "Well, I guess this all goes to show that when we know each other better, we like each other better." It was a very enjoyable experience, kneeling in that minister's living room, hear­ing him praying for the Lord to bless and pros­per our work in the city.

Even visits that were not too favorable on the surface proved to be invaluable. The Church of Christ minister, for example, flatly, bluntly, and persistently refused to have prayer with us. I told him I felt sure that anyone had a right to come to a minister for prayer, and would so much appreciate his doing us that favor. Whether it was a sense of his own un­certain position in the eyes of Heaven, or ours, he did not state.

But it was unusually enlightening thereafter, when visiting in friendly Church of Christ homes, to confide in the people how sad we were that that minister did not see fit to pray for us. This helped them to see the true spirit behind the opposition.

I wish all our ministers could have heard the observation of the pastor of the large First Baptist Church, representing nearly five thou­sand members : "You people are now where we Baptists once were. We were a misunderstood minority. But we were evangelistic, and we pushed on, and by and by came to the place where we were respected and recognized. By and by we became popular, and then we sat back and said, 'We have attained.' Don't you folks make that same mistake. You have been misunderstood; but that is no longer true. You are now respected everywhere and recognized as a respectable organization. But don't fail, as we Baptists have done. Keep pushing on!" A man who makes a statement like that is not likely to become a bitter fighter.

Our opening remarks in each case ran some­thing like this, "Brother Metcalfe and I have been waiting to drop around to see you and get acquainted. In fact, we want to meet all the leading ministers here. But we've been here only a few weeks and have been so busy getting our meetings started. You know how that is—every minister is so busy in his own little groove that he hardly has time to get ac­quainted with the others. So today we just thought we'd drop in to meet you and get ac­quainted."

Then after a few words (the whole visit usually did not last more than a half hour) we suggested a short word of prayer before we left. In most cases we asked the other minister to pray, and one of us followed. At the door, as we turned to leave, we dropped this word, "It surely has been a privilege to meet you today. I hope we haven't taken too much of your time, but we did want to meet you. Another thing, Dr. _____________ , I want you to know we are friends, and at no time will we attack you or your church. No derogatory remarks about your organization will ever be spoken from our pulpit. I hope you'll remember us in prayer, and if you can get over to the taber­nacle, please go up on the platform with us."

We told these ministers about the plan and purpose of the trial by jury, in bringing the Sabbath before the people in a unique way. (We had already given the first sermon on the Sabbath.) In this way we felt that we were forestalling their attacks, since we ourselves had confided in them as to our intent. On these visits we picked up many excellent ideas to add to our collection of illustrations. Of course, we must always be fair, and not misuse confiden­tial statements by other ministers while quoting them in our pulpits.

Surely, if all the leading ministers of the land could meet our ministers in person, much prejudice would be broken down. Almost all these ministers volunteered that they were readers of the Signs of the Times or Our Times. Many spoke very highly of the Voice of Proph­ecy. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus : "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring."

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By FORDYCE W. DETAMORE, Evangelist, Fort Worth, Texas

January 1947

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