Ministers as Writers

FEATURES: Ministers as Writers

"The current situation demands that the church train its ministry in writing as well as public speech."

Assistant Editor, The "Review and Herald"

A Lutheran theologian, Ainos John Traver, de livered an address recently at Hamma Divinity School in Springfield, Ohio, in which he declared, "The current situation demands that the church train its ministry in writing as well as public speech." This divinity school, which is the graduate theological seminary of Wittenberg College, is the only Lutheran institution offering training in the writing ministry. Some de nominations cannot claim even one college that offers such a course of instruction. What are we doing in our own schools to train our potential preachers in the difficult but fruitful pursuit of writing?

"Writing," declared Dr. Traver, "always has been an important factor in Christian witness. Christianity is a historical religion. The facts have been preserved through the sacred writings. And the leaders of Christian thought in every age have immeasurably spread their influence through their writings."

This Lutheran theologian does not believe that the ministry ought to think of writing merely for art's sake. Rather, the ministry should conceive of writing as a means of Christian witness. "We must take our cue from St. Paul, who wrote to the Church in Corinth, 'We write you nothing but what you can read and understand.' "

Only those ministers among us who have attempted writing as a form of witnessing for Christ know how satisfying and worthwhile is the fruitage of such efforts to win souls. An Adventist preacher writing in the Review, the Signs, These Times, or any of the other Adventist journals in this country or overseas multiplies the influence of his testimony for Christ not a hundredfold or a thousand fold but tens of thousands of times.

Some of our colleges have given attention to this subject. And if the reader is a student at a school where such training is available, let him take advantage of it at once. But certainly more can be done than is being done to teach our prospective preachers the techniques of writing to save souls.

Our ministers who are now serving in the field and who are without the benefits of any formal training in journalism need not feel that it is useless for them to take up their pens. There are many of our preachers who could do acceptable writing if they would stir up the gift within them. If you have something to say, brethren, say it and write it for our papers to publish. (Be sure, however, that you have something to say. This is basic to all writing ministry.)

Wrote the messenger of God, whose gifted pen has won thousands to Christ:

"God calls for consecrated pens. The articles published in our papers should be full of practical, elevating, ennobling thoughts, which will help and teach and strengthen the mind that reads them." ­­---Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 19.

It is also true that some are not qualified to write for our papers, as the following statement indicates:

"Some of the writers of the sermons which have appeared in the  have not been at work upon their one or two talents, but have been handling the five not committed to them at all. They make bad work. The Master knew their ability, and gave them no more than they could make the very best use of, that at the reckoning time, He need not require more of them than they had ability to perform. None should needlessly mourn that they cannot glorify God by talents He has never committed to them." Ibid., p. 86.

But, brethren, many of us can do accept able writing if we will only try. The least we can do is to prepare reports of local church work for our union papers or simple stories of Adventist activities for the public press. There is abundant room in the church for good writers who have something to say. There is need for young men and women to specialize in this area of Christian witnessing. We must all become more aware of the place of writing in the work of the Adventist minister.

In the following statement Mrs. White declares:

"Let the ministers regard it as a part of their duty to send short articles of experience to our papers. It will be food for those who are laboring in isolated places, in foreign countries and the islands of the sea, to hear in this way from the friends with whom they have been associated. These experiences may be to the readers as a love feast, because the writers have been eating the bread which came down from heaven."—Ibid., p. 18.

 

 


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Assistant Editor, The "Review and Herald"

July 1952

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