Pointers for Preachers

Machinery or Mission, Shepherding the Flock, "The Old Ring"


Commenting editorially on the World Council of Churches recenth held in New Delhi, India, Christianity Today has a para­graph on "Machinery and the Kingdom" which will interest our readers:

"Ecclesiastical machinery functioned actively through all phases of the Delhi Assembly; the mechanism of resolutions and program enjoyed special prominence. This growing preoccupation with organization rather than with mission has periodically troubled leaders distressed over ecu­menical programming—the endless series of con­ferences, consultations, commissions, and commit­tees apparently substitute a passion for dialogue for the passion to witness. And the disposition to limit democratic processes within ecumenical gatherings at times irked the press."—December 22, 1961, p. 23.

The tendency to submerge witness in organiza­tional machinery is old and ever-present. The World Council of Churches is building up an im­pressive piece of machinery. An estimated half mil­lion dollars was spent on the New Delhi meeting. A "formidable structure of divisional and depart­mental committees" exists, and a 250-office head­quarters building costing S2.5 million is to be erected in Geneva.

The same editorial points out that floor debate was prohibited on certain items of business, and continuous press coverage was curtailed in sectional meetings—devices by which, complained the writer, the ecumenical leaders have more than once con­cealed the eliminations and revisions of the editorial committee's final drafts.

Those of us who saw the palace of the League of Nations in Geneva both in its heyday and at its demise, may live to see the monolithic church with its mammoth machinery. And we may need to re­member that if "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink," neither is it machinery and devices. Or­ganization, political devices, machinery, may ob­scure the church's mission and delay the coming of the kingdom.

 H. W. L.



 Few men have either the capacity or the opportunity to serve a church as long and as faithfully as Dr. Ralph Sockman, who has just completed forty-four years of service as pastor of Christ's Church, known as "the cathedral of Methodism," in New York. For 30 years he has been known from coast to coast as a radio preacher. In his valedictory sermon Dr. Sockman declared that New York was "still the church's greatest chal-lenge," and the need for religion in that great me­tropolis is "growing even more imperative." Empha­sizing that the world "requires the gospel of salva­tion and not merely a gospel of security," he urged that Christians should forget themselves in saving others.

We have mentioned this outstanding preacher for two reasons. First, to point out the incomparable joy and satisfaction that comes to the soul of a min­ister who fully dedicates himself to the work of a shepherd, and second, the enrichment, both spir­itual and intellectual, resulting from one's con­tinual growth in larger concepts of truth, and pub­lic contacts. These are aims every minister can and should accept.

It was Dr. Sockman's conviction that to be called to pastoral work was the highest honor that could come to a man. That is why he refused to be side­tracked. More than once he was elected to the office of bishop within his own church. But each time he refused, saying he felt one could make a richer con­tribution to the cause of Christ by staying close to the people and ministering to their needs. A truly excellent example for a pastor-evangelist!

Dr. Harold Bosley, of Evanston, Illinois, succeeds him, but any man will be challenged who tries to walk in the footsteps of Dr. Ralph Sockman.

R. A. A.



"Tell Me the Old, Old Story" happens to be one of my favorite songs. And further, the imparting of the revelation of the love of God to dying men is indeed a frightening privilege. Hence, great care is necessary in the presentation, that essential truth be not altered. But is the "old ring" also a necessity? To be sure, the "old ring" met the need in its time. But our times demand a fresh revelation, an approach geared to space-age mentality. How the truth is told determines to a great extent the quantity and quality of the audience. The man of God need not fear saying the same thing in an­other way. To be sure, one must not make such a radical departure as to obscure truth, but a few fresh texts have been known to liven up a sermon. It is no compliment to the speaker when the faith­ful settle down to slumber when he rises to speak, because they know where he is going. Let us con­tinue to go there, but now and then by a different route, thus giving the old gospel a new ring.

E. E. C.


Advertisement - Ministry in Motion 300x250

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

April 1962

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Candles in the Night -- No. 6

God has always reserved for Himself men and women who would minister to every need of His children. The history of the Christian church abounds in lov­ing humanitarian service. No need has been overlooked and no area excluded. This was true when Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), a Quaker minister, became burdened for the inmates of Newgate Prison in London.

Freedom from Fear

A Bible study.

How to Work for Jehovah's Witnesses

It is just six years since I had the joy of seeing my first Jehovah's Witnesses family step out and accept the Advent mes­sage. Although this family had been connected to the Witnesses for more than eighteen years, and have relatives still in that organization, they are loyal Seventh-day Adventists today, actively working to spread the message for these days.

Ten Times to Call the Minister or an Elder

At our recent elders' coun­cil, we spent much time discussing ways in which we as ministers and local elders can be of greater help to our people.

Evangelism, 1962!

A new day is dawning for public evangelism! The idea that the day of the public meeting is past is being for­gotten and the vision of true evangelism is dawning again. Thank God for it!

The Message of the Empty Tomb

Christianity is founded upon an empty tomb." So said Thomas Payne in derision. But that scornful remark is a tremendous truth. Were there no empty tomb there would be no Christian church.

An Indispensable Element in Worship

Music has proved to be an indispensable element in religious services, as an adjunct to worship as well as evangelism. It has proved to be a great source of contro­versy, probably because it is a property that belongs to everyone, not just a few. Music has been called the "handmaiden of religion," and is used as a vehicle for the expression of man's religious spirit.

The Breaking of Bread in Acts 20:7-11

In meeting the argument that Acts 20:7-11 proves that Christians observed Sunday as a sacred day in apostolic times, a few of our ministers have denied, sometimes even in print, that Paul and the believers at Troas partook of the Communion, or Lord's Supper, on that occasion. However sincere they may have been in using this counter argument, it is a mistaken one in so far as Seventh-day Adventist teaching is concerned. Hence we deem it fitting to caution our workers that such a position is not only untenable, but it may also result in embarrassment both to him who uses it and to the cause that he represents.

"Unto the High Place"

What are the conditions in our day that will cause our wayward and confused young people to come to us for help? There must be a way to span the barrier that too often exists between the pastor and the youthful members of his flock.

Some Books I Can Recommend

Book recommendations from Lyndon K. McDowell.

Great Words of the Bible—No. 9: Atonement (c)-"Kopher" and "Lutron"

The thought of covering, which the previous article showed to be a valid meaning of the word so often translated "to make an atonement," is continued in the words related to kaphar.

We Don't Make the Rules

The modern disposition to soften the judgments of God by trying to change the rules may prove to be an extremely costly experiment in morals. And in view of the desperate struggle in which we are en­gaged, it ill behooves us to make mistakes.

Conservative or Contemporary Church Style?

There are various views on church architecture. Some­times we present viewpoints that are regarded as modern­istic, sometimes the conservative angle is presented. The author of this article gives his views as a contribution to the important subject of church architecture, so vital to many of our readers.

Are You Satisfied With Your Life?

A sermon given in the Temple City church, Glendale, California.

Righteousness by Faith: Concluded

The Master's pronouncements are all master statements, infinitely profound, yet marvelously simple. His meaning is clear: I am your spiritual life. Attached to Me, your life is clean and your witness faithful. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.

The New Being

To have a complete idea of Pauline doc­trine, the new creation and its implications must be understood.

The Man Who Lived Again

The resurrection, mentioned 104 times in the New Testament, became the central doctrine of the early church—a cornerstone of Christianity. May the same great power be upon Christ's ministers today as they bear wit­ness of the resurrection.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated


Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (160x600)