Teaching With Freshness and Power

Our duty to keep our teaching ideas fresh and up to date.

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

The student of the Spirit of prophecy is im­pressed with the challenge often presented to the gospel worker to keep his experience as a teacher fresh and powerful. Let us thoughtfully consider the following instruction:

"Christ is pleading for the church in the heavenly courts above, pleading for these for whom He paid the redemption price of His own lifeblood. Centuries, ages, can never diminish the efficacy of this atoning sacrifice. The message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines, that the world should no longer say that 'Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not teach or believe Christ. The efficacy of the blood of Christ was to be presented to the people with freshness and Power, that their faith might lay hold upon its merits."—Evangelism, p. 591. (Italics mine.)

In this solemn charge is set forth our duty in keeping our teaching ideas fresh and up to date. Our definite responsibility in presenting Christ in God's law is forcefully laid down. Again we read the following counsel setting forth the specific methods for presenting the lessons of Daniel and the Revelation.

"Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, 'the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star.' . . .

"Do not let the teaching be done in a dry, abstract way, which has been. the manner of teaching in too many cases, but present the truths of God's Word in a fresh, impressive way. . . .

"The book of Revelation must be opened to the peo­ple. Many have been taught that it is a sealed book ; but it is sealed only to those who reject light and truth. The truth it contains must be proclaimed, that people may have an opportunity to prepare for the events which are so soon to transpire. The third an­gel's message must be presented as the only hope for the salvation of a perishing world."—Ibid., pp. 595, 196. (Italics mine.)

The worker himself may hardly be conscious of his dire need of a refreshed vision for his work and his teaching methods. Reflecting seri­ously on the following counsel must lead him, however, to check his own experience for that freshness of ideas so vital in teaching the well-known facts of the gospel. With every attrac­tion and distraction of the hour, our teaching dare not become dry and stale.

"When we eat His flesh and drink His blood, then the element of eternal life will be found in the minis­try. There will not be a fund of stale, oft-repeated ideas. There will be a new perception of truth."­Ibid., PP. 146, 147. (Italics mine.)

But how can the Bible instructor maintain an experience commensurate with God's ideals for His work? Where are the helps from which new ideas may constantly be drawn? Or, using the Bible terms, how can we place the new wine in new bottles? Workers appreciate the invaluable help of the Spirit, of prophecy as a divine commentary on the present-truth lessons they must teach, but how frequently is their hurried study of this source only superficial. Our study periods too often become hasty glances at a few prepared notes. In the inten­sity and pressure of the daily task even these limited occasions for study are crowded out more and more. When we become conscious ot our plight we are deeply concerned.

Our efforts are so often feeble because of an accelerated daily program. Now and then there may be a respite. This is as refreshing as an oasis in the desert, and we again humbly prom­ise ourselves to change the entire study picture for the future. But alas! Like the disciples on the mount of transfiguration, the masses in the valley are awaiting our constant help. We soon come to lack the very power that is needed for the difficult cases we must assist.

This situation in our personal study diffi­culties does not require so much reprimanding as judgment to understand our needs, and then to reach out for the needed help. This is every worker's privilege, and God expects all of us to cooperate with Him in availing ourselves of those opportunities He has provided for our re­freshing of knowledge. Such opportunities are not merely for a few select college teachers who must study to earn degrees of recognition. Every gospel worker, who is constantly giving and spending, should have opportunities to re­ceive new perceptions of truth. Without this privilege at least occasionally in his career, he will continue to draw from a fund that has be­come "stale."

In this respect a point needs guarding on our part. No matter how efficiently we feel we can study by ourselves, if we just had the time, a worker needs to draw apart periodically and rub shoulders with a group of thinkers outside his own realm. He needs new contacts for thought and study. He should be delving into deeper projects, and not just skimming the sur­face all the time. His work must be guided into new channels by teachers who know how to direct his' research.

Although we heartily recommend our excel­lent correspondence courses, and that would certainly include the recently organized Home Study Bible instructor's course, a more satis­factory plan would be for the worker to make arrangements with his conference to attend the Theological Seminary. Even a single quarter of three months at this institution would be in­valuable for any worker. Here a feast for study is prepared. In the field of practice, which is of special interest to Bible instructors, the Sem­inary is now well prepared to give what our gospel workers need.

Every class period will reveal the wisdom of this counsel to the workers attending. New thrills will come to the appreciative student as his teachers unfold to him new relationships of. the very facts he must be teaching. "Fresh ideas" and new power will fill his mind and soul. The experience is too wonderful at first to be real. Student after student bears just such a testimony. At the Seminary students and teachers work together on a friendly basis for a more efficient ministry. The worker then re­turns to his field of labor with new confidence in the message and with new inspiration for his work.

Bible instructors, it pays to place a Seminary course in your plans for progress, and then to work your plans so as to realize the benefits of this training for yourself. "When there's a will there's a way." Obstacles are removed by con­secrated determination. Deterrents recede in the face of conviction. By all means, work out your plans soon for a refresher course at the Theological Seminary.                                

L. C. K.

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

August 1949

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