Australasian Evangelistic Goal

It is sev­enty-five years since three evangelists came to Australia from America and with much fervor and great earnestness began to preach the truths known so well to members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Down through the years many other men have raised their voices to glorify God and tell of His soon coming.

Ministerial Association Secretary, Australasian Division

WHEN shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound" (Lev. 25:9). It is sev­enty-five years since three evangelists came to Australia from America and with much fervor and great earnestness began to preach the truths known so well to members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Down through the years many other men have raised their voices to glorify God and tell of His soon coming. And now we celebrate the seventv-fifth anniversary of the proclamation of the three angels' messages in this division. In this year of Diamond Jubilee many are putting forth mighty efforts and causing "the trumpet of the jubile to sound."

The division executive committee set a goal of five thousand baptisms for the year 1960, and in this report we bring to The Ministry readers something of the activi­ties of several of our front-line evangelists who are preaching the Word in various parts of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Dominion of New Zealand.

In Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, A. G. Ratcliffe and his team have been working for a period of thirty weeks, and more than one hundred souls have already been baptized, with many more to follow. Pastor Ratcliffe's powerful preaching and the inspiration brought by the two-hun­dred-voice choir under the direction of R. C. Naden, have led many of the seven thou­sand people who attended the opening meetings to the foot of the cross. Pastor Ratcliffe writes:

"Hundreds of people today are respond­ing to the Adventist message and finding their way by baptism into church member­ship as a result of evangelism in Australian cities. Through concentrated effort and larger planning my last three campaigns have resulted in approximately six hundred baptisms, remembering, however, that this result represents the united efforts of preacher and team. The door of evangelism is wide open in these final days of world history when, truly, thousands are wistfully looking to heaven for light and hope in these times of universal restlessness.

"In this TV-saturated city of Melbourne, where a transportation strike each Sunday has seriously crippled the city during the entire campaign, thousands have made their way over the last thirty weeks to hear the blessed Advent message presented. Thrilling indeed have been the stories of wonderful conversions. Yes, hundreds are responding today, and may we arise to catch a larger vision of the real task for which our church was established and move forward in the power of the Spirit to our greatest days in evangelism."

Seventy-four years ago J. O. Corliss and M. C. Israel preached in the large provin­cial city of Ballarat in Victoria, and the work they started is being carried on to­day by D. J. Self and his helpers. In a recent report Brother Self said:

"Well over 1,000 attended on the open­ing night in one of the finest auditoriums in any provincial town in Australia. We were given a mayoral reception under the most cordial circumstances possible. Our address to the Y's Men's Club gave us a wonderful opportunity to place the world­wide work of Seventh-day Adventists in a most favorable light. The address was to be followed by a seven-minute question period. This developed into a 137-minute period in which questions were answered on our most distinctive doctrines.

"The main evangelistic campaign was supported by three radio programs weekly from each of the central western radio sta­tions. After the third week, following our usual custom, a Bible-marking class of 120 adults was organized. The public presenta­tion during the meetings, convening three times weekly, was ably supported by robed choir, orchestra, and uniformed usherettes.

"On the completion of the Bible-mark­ing classes further instruction was given from the prophetic books of Daniel and the Revelation.

"At the time of writing twelve candi­dates have been baptized, twelve more have requested baptism, and twenty-two others are attending church. Ten more are plan­ning to attend next Sabbath, and we are working with thirty others deeply inter­ested. It is reasonably clear at this stage that a minimum of fifty souls will be added to the church within the next few weeks.

"At this stage we can thank God for the privileges we have had and the many won­derful experiences He has brought to us here in Ballarat. The work is developing rapidly. A new church has been built re­cently to accommodate more than two hun­dred members. A new church for the Wendouree area of the city seems a neces­sity for the near future. Plans are being drawn up for a representative denomina­tional school, and the whole future for evangelism in Ballarat is very bright."

Moving across the continent to Perth in Western Australia, we find A. P. Cooke and his evangelistic team more than busy. The following is an extract from Evangelist Cooke's letters to headquarters:

"Our evangelistic effort called 'The Cooke Program' began in the city of Perth on March 20. Knowing we would be here for two years, we were able to plan for a long campaign for the first year, covering about forty Sunday nights. Our opening audiences comprised 4,300, 3,600, 3,400, re­spectively, for the first three Sundays. The program is now in its twenty-eighth week and the audience stands at 800 odd for Sundays and 350 to 400 for Sabbath after­noons. Because of a small team of workers, we have not been able to cope with the big interest as we desired. At the present time it appears that 160 people are taking their stand and another 130 are keenly inter­ested, but moving more slowly. These fig­ures do not include SDA young people. Our baptisms are just beginning, but because of shortage of personnel it is taking longer to thoroughly prepare the people. This means that a large number of baptisms will probably take place early in 1961 as a re­sult of this year's work. On March 26, 1961, we plan to begin another major, but shorter, campaign in a different theater in the city of Perth."

The town of Albury in South New South Wales with a population of 20,000 was the location for the "Open Bible Mis­sion" under the direction of C. R, Stanley. The meetings began on March 20 and closed on September 18 with prospects of baptizing between forty and fifty people. Our Albury evangelist states:

"During the campaign there were con­tinued challenges and opposition through the local paper. Our response was silence and a total ignoring of such challenges and threats. This attitude won for us the re­spect of those who were attending our meetings and the sympathy of the think­ing public.

"As in other such campaigns wonderful stories of faith and victory could be cited. Backsliders have been reclaimed, drunk­ards rescued. Wonderful answers to prayer have been noted. We have seen this year that God still leads men and women to a knowledge of truth by means of dreams, convincing them of this message.

"Thus far we have had two baptisms. Several others are planned for Sabbath mornings during the weeks before the end of the year. Our aim is to have small bap­tisms frequently rather than large ones oc­casionally."

The major evangelistic effort conducted in the Greater Sydney Conference this year has been held in the closely populated suburb of Auburn. L. j. Cherry preached for a period of approximately twenty-four weeks. Prior to the campaign he was able to secure an excellent newspaper coverage of his visit to Bible lands. This resulted in 250 column inches of free advertising for the mission. Pastor Cherry reported con­cerning his work as follows:

"The attendance has been very good for Sydney. Just over 1,000 were present at the opening, and despite a cold and wet winter for the six months the audience has aver­aged more than 500 for each Sunday. In a suburban mission this is very good.

"We held our first baptism four months from the opening night and thirty-five went forward in baptism. The second baptism was held at the end of September and an­other twenty were baptized. This makes fifty-five baptized during the mission, and at the last meeting another baptismal class was formed and another fifteen signified that they wished to be baptized and join the remnant church. This group will be baptized early in December. Then there are many good interests besides, and the mission team members are still studying with these folks and no doubt many of them will eventually take their stand with us.

"While the public meetings may have finished, no doubt the influence from the mission will still continue and many more precious souls will be won because of the preaching of the Word in Auburn."

The people of the Dominion of New-Zealand have heard the voice of the evan­gelist and in the city of Auckland, John F. Coltheart has been leading a group of con­secrated workers. We quote from a letter received from Brother Coltheart:

"We have been holding meetings here in Auckland for thirteen months with the usual camp break coming in. Baptisms to date number 175, and at the moment we have 55 others attending church and in baptismal classes, waiting to go forward. During the next few weeks we are expect­ing a further addition to the baptismal classes, because each Sabbath we see a num­ber of new persons in attendance at church."

Also in North New Zealand is Evangelist Raymond Kent, who is upholding the torch of truth in the city of Palmerston North. He reports the following:

"To Palmerston North, a progressive and attractive provincial city of North New Zealand with a population of 39,000, was given the honor of being host to the New Zealand Laymen's Congress in 1959. Follow-ing the inspiration of this congress, it was considered that it would be advantageous to conduct a full-scale mission. With two as­sistants I spent some weeks early this year in the preparation of advertising material, which attracted 1,700 people in two ses­sions at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. During the following six months these two sessions were maintained with an increasing inter­est. Adding to the power and forcefulness of the three angels' messages, clear outlines of each subject were presented on a large blackboard. A new feature, appreciated by both church members and new interests alike, was a health demonstration. In addi­tion to a fine display of health foods, many samples of an excellent variety of meatless substitutes were available for tasting. A recipe book of the savories available proved of real practical value in emphasiz­ing the right arm of the message. Using all such means to make plain the way of life, the mission team are looking forward to a baptism of about thirty-five souls."

The writer, who is the secretary of the division Ministerial Association, has this year conducted three concentrated evange­listic campaigns, one in Adelaide, South Australia, another in Rabaul, New Guinea, and the third in Toowoomba, Queensland. God has continued to bless the work of His servant.

And so we rejoice in the triumphs and the victories that have come to our evange­lists under the blessing of God. They are worthy successors to the pioneers who blazed the trail of evangelism seventy-five years ago and have proved in this day that men and women can be turned from their sinful ways through the "foolishness of preaching."

Note: A later report from the pen of F. G. Clifford brings the above report up to date.

"First and foremost was the increase in souls won. A goal of 5,000 baptisms was set, but 5,832 were reported. This is 1,480 above the previous highest number, when 4,352 were baptized in 1959. The division membership is now well over the 55,000 mark."

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Ministerial Association Secretary, Australasian Division

August 1961

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