The Bible Course and the Soul-winning Campaign

When someone speaks of a unique efficient method for evangelization in a speci­fied area the expression does not seem convincing. The ways and means to reach people with the gospel are manifold, just as varied as are the human personalities it is destined to reach. On the other hand, it can be proved that the combination of several methods is highly productive in a campaign, when the men who lead are willing to work in hu­mility and simplicity.

Evangelist, Buenos Aires Conference

Evangelism in the Large Cities

WHEN someone speaks of a unique efficient method for evangelization in a speci­fied area the expression does not seem convincing. The ways and means to reach peo­ple with the gospel are manifold, just as varied as are the human personalities it is destined to reach. On the other hand, it can be proved that the combination of several methods is highly productive in a campaign, when the men who lead are willing to work in hu­mility and simplicity.

These are disturbing times. The con­temporary man, living in the large modern city, presents one of the biggest challenges to evangelization. His sense of values is undermined, his interests are largely ab­sorbed by material things and are subject to overpowering tensions. He is crying at the top of his voice for the evangelist to revise his soul-winning methods.

We have often been told through the Spirit of Prophecy writings that "the high­est of all sciences is the science of soul sav­ing" (The Ministry of Healing, p. 398). But some of us have conducted ourselves through the years as amateurs, not as scien­tific men who are led by the power of pa­tient investigation and who push forward toward the conquest of the unknown.

We do not wish to place more value on this statement than it merits, because, al­though we put much emphasis on soul-winning methods, we wish to emphasize more the irreplaceable efficacy of a vigor­ous Christian personality at the service of the "science of soul saving." These chang­ing times urgently demand men who possess a sweeping spiritual power; uncor-rupted men and women who do not con­form themselves to the mediocrity of imi­tation, but who are willing to take the chances of the divine adventure of soul winning; men endowed with a balanced capacity for adaptability, who are willing to try new and old ways to reach dwellers in the large cities. God give us these men!

A Successful Campaign in Avellaneda, Argentina

Beginning on June 18, 1960, we carried out an evangelistic campaign in the city of Avellaneda, Argentina, the results of which we briefly register: Avellaneda is an industrial city, considered the largest man­ufacturing mart in the republic, with 330,-000 inhabitants. It is situated in the heart of the great industrial belt that surrounds the city of Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires Conference, with the assistance of the divi­sion, built a church on the main street to seat five hundred.

The evangelistic team was composed of the following workers: Walter Solis, Ri-cardo Liernur, Oscar Palacios (all in charge of a church), Maria May, Enriqueta Fer-raresi, Alicia de Viera, and Salim Japas. In harmony with the soul-winning plan we set our goal: First, to win the interest and favor of the audience and, second, to win it for Christ and the church. This we at­tained, thanks to the Lord, by offering seven double meetings. Each one of the lectures of the evangelist was preceded by a twenty-minute medical talk in charge of two Acl-ventist physicians, Drs. Enrique Schimpf and Alejandro Petre.

Our second aim—to win souls to Christ and the church—was achieved by different means, especially the Bible course. By December 31 we had baptized one hundred new believers.

The Bible Course and Its Fundamental Importance

It has been proved, at least to us, that the group class is valuable in an evangelistic effort and very efficient lor the winning of souls. We have been informed that the Bi­ble class has always been linked to a soul-winning effort, thus placing it on a sec­ondary basis. Now we are giving the Bible class firsthand importance. We held two weekly classes in Avellaneda, on Saturdays and Sundays, preceded by color slides, with the purpose of contributing to the culture of the public. We had 360 enrollments of new people and 140 from the church mem­bers. Of the total number of students 150 received a certificate for their attendance and progress and for having been present at thirteen of the sixteen classes. Seventy other students were present eight and twelve times.

We would like to mention some of the didactic advantages the Bible class has over the lectures:

1. It shortens distances not only in ma­terial space but also in spiritual communi­cation.

2. You feel more confident of your sub­ject when you analyze, Bible in hand, the chapters of the plan of salvation. Let us remember that the Bible is our specialty.

3. It awakens more quickly a desire to study the Bible in its intimate "mysteries."

4. It offers the evangelist the occasion to be a teacher, not only a speaker or lecturer.

5. It preselects rapidly an audience in­terested particularly in religious matters.

6. It facilitates the work of the associate Bible instructors. Homes open easily to those who help to interpret the Bible.

7. It provides the interested with a doc­trinal foundation.

8. It brings decisions much faster and with less effort.

In 1897 Ellen G. White said, "If one half of the sermonizing were done, and double the amount of personal labor given to souls in their homes and in the congregations, a result would be seen that would be sur­prising."—Evangelism, p. 430. And in Testi­monies, volume 6, page 87, she adds, "There should be less preaching and more teach­ing. ... As we approach nearer the end, I have seen . . . there will be less preaching and more Bible study."

Didactics of the Class and Suggested Subjects

1. Give rank to the class; use plenty of truthful propaganda. Announce to your audience that you will study in the Bible the answers to the questions of the modern man.

2. Organize the ushers. Have both young men and young women, neatly dressed and with good manners.

3. Keep a register of attendance. Let it be known to the students that if they fulfill the requirements they will receive a certifi­cate at the end of the course. This will contribute to better attendance.

4. Have enough Bibles to lend at the be­ginning of each class.

5. At the close of each class give a printed summary of the day's lesson, with a short bibliography at the bottom of the page, so that those who wish may investi­gate more.

6. The first and most important duty of a good teacher is to be studious. Know your subject well. The students will notice it and will appreciate it.

7. While you are teaching remember that at that moment you are a teacher, not a lecturer. Use all the teaching aids at your disposal (illustrations, blackboard, pic­tures, et cetera).

8. Keep your language simple when you deal with deep subjects. Don't be afraid of deep subjects, but don't be superficial.

9. Facilitate the personal duty of visita­tion to your associates by creating some problems whose answers must be referred to the instructors. You can say this: "This problem is so important that I will not be able to deal with it now, owing to the lack of time, but Mr. So-and-so (the Bible in­structor) knows the answer as well as I do. Ask him and he will be glad to help you."

10. Let each lesson be the occasion to bring to the attention of the students the sublime beauty of our Lord and Saviour.

11. The subjects dealt with at Avel­laneda were the following general titles: "The Truth, Man, and Eternal Destiny" and "The Christ and the Antichrist."

Under the first general title we gave con­sideration to the following subjects:

What is man (Psalm 8:4)?

After death, what (Job 14:14)?

Is there an end, or is it eternal? (Fate of the world. Matthew 24:3.)

Suffering (John 9:1, 2).

The future life (Mark 12:18-23).

Salvation (Acts 16:30).

The true religion (John 4:16-20). 

Under the second title we dealt with the following basic subjects:

The Christ and the Antichrist.

Is Jesus Christ God? Why?

Who is the antichrist?

The conflict on earth.

The little horn and the antichrist.

Truth overthrown.

Restoration of truth.

The two beasts of Revelation 13.

The work of the divine sealing.

End of the conflict and triumph of the children of God.

 


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Evangelist, Buenos Aires Conference

October 1961

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