Evangelistic Losses

FEATURES: Evangelistic Losses

"Severe criticism is often leveled against our evangelists because of certain losses among converts."

General Conference Field Secretary

Severe criticism is often leveled against our evangelists because of certain losses among converts. After a shorter or longer time some go out and walk no more with us. And some even turn out to be frauds, evidently coming to us with ulterior motives. This is all deeply to be regretted, and every effort should be made to reduce such losses by means of sound con version, thorough indoctrination, and similar measures. But we should never forget that in catching men for God through the gospel net, there are bound to be some losses. Jesus Himself declares that the net "gathered of every kind," some good and some bad. (Matt. 13:47.)

There are always risks, and some disappointments are inevitable. When the King's servants go out into the highways to bid men come to the gospel feast, these likewise turn out to be "both bad and good." (Matt. 22:10.) Try as we may, there will always be some "bad" ones in our accessions.

Even Christ Himself had one Judas among the twelve that He called and Judas was a defaulter, for he "had the bag." (John 12:6.) Why did Jesus not discern and forestall that loss? Who is to say? At least He did not. And who is to say which is worse for a new convert to turn out bad, or for a trusted worker of long standing to go wrong morally, financially, or otherwise? Some have stood high in our ranks in General, division, union, and local circles, and in administrative, treasury, educational, departmental, as well as in evangelistic and pastoral lines.

Look back over our history, and it presents some sorry cases. There may not be as many proportionately as with the disciples, but there are altogether too many. And the wastage of money upon such, and the setback and damage, and the loss of good name and prestige far exceed the investments in newcomers to the faith. It is not a pleasant theme, but a grim actuality. And it has been this way through the centuries. Let us not, therefore, reserve all the stones of criticism for casting at our evangelists and pastors.

Who is responsible for men in high places going wrong? The heart of man is desperately wicked. Only God can know it; only grace can prevent it. Let us never the less keep on fishing for God. It is His chosen plan and our divine commission. And with it all, let us watch and pray and plan and protect the cause of God to the best of our ability.



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General Conference Field Secretary

September 1951

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