The hour of destiny for the prophetically appointed Advent Movement has come. The crisis at the close of earth's history is upon us. Openly we must proclaim the love of God to a dying world. Type must meet antitype. The Elijah message, clothed in the name Seventh- day Adventist, bold and open, giving full identity to a God-given establishment, must be courageously proclaimed.
Granting that there were and still may be peculiar cases where the concealment of the name of the church bearing the last warning to an idolatrous age is warranted, yet such cases in this late hour are few.
It was my privilege to work with an evangelist (M. K. Eckenroth) in a number of campaigns where he made the transition from the "blind effort" approach to the present. work able, and successful plan of letting it be known that our God is the author of the Seventh-day Adventist world mission, and that we are proud to be His servants in that mission.
As with the disciples of old, I can testify only to that which I have seen and heard. Added power and success came when in an unobtrusive, yet positive and open way, the evangelist began to let the God-given name of the church be known as his authority for preaching. His approach also involved preaching a message of positive righteousness in Christ, with a view to holding audiences over long periods, and thus winning them to the positive side of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Gratification and re ward resulted as the public responded to this approach, but that was not the only reward. The church members felt a load lifted from them in a new freedom to call in their friends to hear a representative of their faith present a distinctive message of which they had always been justly proud. Furthermore, the weapon of the critics, who claimed we feared failure if we were known, was relegated to the trash heap.
As an outgrowth of these observations, I have been encouraged to follow through personal convictions I have held along the same lines. Subsequently my evangelistic endeavors in recent years have been to make my identity known, and revamp my sermon technique to the positive field. It has proved a great advantage, and a definite blessing from the start.
In coming to the Northern New England Conference to take up work, I was challenged with the great evangelistic need within my district. Maine's capital, Augusta, a city of more than 25,000 inhabitants, is virtually unentered by this great, message. It is a city known to be 90 per cent Catholic. We have no church here. The few members who live in the city attend the small Gardiner church six miles to the south.
I entered the work here with prayer and faith that God brought me to Augusta for the specific task of making an opening for truth. I went to a new local radio station that had been operating only six months and made an appeal for radio time. God was with me, and I secured the privilege of two fifteen-minute broadcasts a week, the time graciously given free of charge. From the first I went on the air identified, and announced the program as the Home Circle Bible Hour.
Securing a place to hold meetings presented difficulty. I had finished a year and a half of broadcasting by the time I was able to secure the use of the only available place in the city— the ballroom of the Augusta House Hotel. The influence of identified broadcasting, carried on in good-will-gaining style, enabled me to secure a place of this kind. Not only was the Augusta House the only place to be obtained, but it happened to be the best and the most frequently used place of meeting in town.
The series of meetings held there last fall in conjunction with the radio work, followed through the same pattern. Though in a Catholic, ultraconservative center, my co-workers and I went ahead fully known as Seventh-day Adventists from the start. From -the opening night, with a capacity crowd, the attendance held up to capacity or nearly so all through the series.
All my sermon material was prepared to paint as vivid a picture as possible of the character and saving work of Christ in every phase of the message. The interest and attention grew from the start. The song leader, C. L. Strickland, and the church membership testify to the virtue and blessing gained by this whole new pattern of approach.
The Elijah message, bold, fearless, and challenging, was one of making known the fact that God was the God of Israel, and that the power accompanying the work being accomplished in His servant was not mere man's work, but God's.
Thank God that in this great hour a specific plan is opening upon us to let it be known that the message we preach, under the Spirit-approved name "Seventh-day Adventist," is being given the credit as the source of the marvelous philanthropic and evangelical work that is filling the earth. It is heartening to recognize that more and more of the laborers of the cause are finding success in presenting an open cause.
May the clear appeal of the prayer of Elijah on Mount Carmel set a pattern of approach to the modern Elijah message, "Let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word." I Kings 18: 36.