A Lone Preacher on a Floating World

A Lone Preacher on a Floating World

I was sojourning for five days recently on the Queen Mary—a small city of about 3,500 floating in the midst of the mighty Atlantic. It was a little world of its own, iso­lated from the rest of the world except for radio contacts, and yet it represented a fair cross section of the world at large.

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

I was sojourning for five days recently on the Queen Mary—a small city of about 3,500 floating in the midst of the mighty Atlantic. It was a little world of its own, iso­lated from the rest of the world except for radio contacts, and yet it represented a fair cross section of the world at large.

Carrying the British flag at the masthead, the ship's population was made up of representa­tives of every major race, creed, and color. Aboard were Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Mohammedans, Buddhists, and many others. There were a number of Catholic priests, rabbis, and Protestant ministers aboard. Among the latter was one lone Seventh-day Adventist —one among 3,500 souls. Mass was said in the library several times a day. There was a moder­ate attendance at divine services at eleven on Sunday morning, conducted by the captain and the purser. A Christian Scientist meeting was held in the afternoon and a full gospel preaching service in the tourist cinema at night. A Jewish service also was scheduled on Sunday night.

There were concerts morning and afternoon, and a heavily attended motion picture was a daily feature. Besides, there were races and betting, booze, and gambling. Two thirds of the people smoked and an appalling number drank. And these were the ones who attended the religious services. The Seventh-day Adventist preacher was one of four men in his cabin—one German skeptic, an Armenian Christian, and one Englishman with Church of England background. The first evening out all three imbibed from whisky bottles until they were irresponsible. All three drank daily. The tee­totaler preacher broke the chain of conviviality.

At the dining table there were six of us—two Italian Roman Catholics, one Canadian Catho­lic from Montreal, an English deist, a German Jew, and a Seventh-day Adventist. The latter was the odd one—apparently the only one in the entire dining saloon who asked divine bless­ing upon his meals. He was the only one at the table who did not drink liquor, tea, or coffee, and who did not smoke or eat meat.

The library was filled with fiction, widely read. The smoking room was filled with women playing cards and drinking and smoking with the men. The cocktail bars were crowded with men and women, young and old. The main lounge was just like the smoking room and the cocktail bar—blue with smoke, and decorated with bottles and glasses of wine, gin, and whisky.

The open godlessness of the crowd appalled one. How to arrest the attention ! How to kindle a spark of interest, and fan it to a continuing flame ! That was the all-important question. Beautiful appointments, high intelligence, and smug self-satisfaction form a strong crust that is almost impenetrable. Yet such groups must be reached. And this was only one world—a tiny world at that, a temporary floating world that soon would merge into a larger world at the port of destination. There are thousands of such floating worlds, as well as worlds on wheels, and permanent worlds in communities, cities, countries, and continents, with their teeming millions.

A few bright spots provided the exceptions to the rule. A community sing of old folk songs brought together i5o people who made a better appearance—fresh, wholesome-looking folks, young and old, who would have been lost to view in the crowd had they not been brought together.

Then there was the Chinese businessman from Shanghai who knew our work favorably and one of our best-known doctors. And, too, there was the elderly woman who knew and esteemed our Portland sanitarium and its surgeon. In her home the widow of one of our former vice-presidents from Africa had stayed, and had made a deep impression. There was a Protes­tant from Catholic Montreal, who was greatly perturbed over Catholic aggression; and also a Christian worker for youth who knew a mutual friend—a well-known Bible teacher formerly at Moody Bible Institute. These opened the way for frank and friendly conversation on the Bible and prophetic truth.

How shall we touch them, influence them, win them? Human plans and ingenuity can never do it. Only the Spirit of the Infinite can do it. We must be imbued with power from on high. That is our sole hope of success, our sole source of power, to break through the callous exterior, to penetrate responsive hearts, to grip lives that are now the essence of worldliness, and transform them into examples of godliness. How we need to cry out for that power, to pray, to plead, to lay hold of the promised bless­ing in its train. O God, give us the blessing and the power with men that we need and want and must have.

L. E. F.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

September 1948

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Essentials in Religious Awakening

This article, reproduced by permission of the Bap­tist Watchman-Examiner, may profitably be read by every Seventh-day Adventist worker. Here is a frank declaration that is worthy of thoughtful study. There is increasing concern among the spiritually alert in various denominations today. We may well ponder our own relationship to these principles—EDITOR.

Ellen G. White—The Human-Interest Story

Our continued look at Ellen G. White as God's Messenger.

I Was Taught by the Jesuits

The life story of this former Catholic clergyman was written by request of the editor, and was trans­lated from the Portuguese by Charles A. Rentfro.

The Bible-marking Class

One of the ways which we have found successful in enlarging our week-night crowds is to have a Bible-marking class.

Evangelizing the Whole District

Recently we began a series of district evangelistic meetings which we feel were of great value and accomplished excellent re­sults in the five churches of our district. I shall try to outline the plan in such a way that all who see light in the procedure may adapt it to their district programs.

The "Unveiling" of Jesus Christ

The accompanying outline contains what I feel to be the true spiritual and prophetic contents of Christ's Post-Ascension Gospel. In it the Lord Jesus Himself unfolded His eternal glory and the triumph of His redeemed church in the great drama of the universe.

What Is Confucianism?

The early religion of China was called "Sinism," and its beliefs are still dominant to the present time.

Christian Literature Through the Ages

Christian literature has had an amaz­ing place in the conquests of the Chris­tian faith from the time of its very incep­tion.

Gathering Our Strength

A vast amount of experience from the time of the Reformation until now has served to emphasize to the church the natural inter­dependence of oral evangelism and literature evangelism.

Care in Speaking and Writing

During the recent period of hostilities we all learned more or less what it meant to do this. Even now in some parts of the world we do well to exercise great care in what we say from the public platform and in what we write even in our own papers and books.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)