Outsiders

The word outsiders should be eliminated from the vocabulary of ministers and laymen.

Superintendent, Adventist Home, Inc.

THE word outsiders should be eliminated from the vocabulary of ministers and laymen.

In a recent church service the word "out­siders" was used several times. There were a few nonmembers in that audience of sev­enty-five people, one of whom was a fine Christian woman. She has been actively serving the Lord in all the activities of her church for many years. She is apparently living up to all the light she has received. Outsider? That word was like a slap in the face to her. It built up a spirit of re­sentment that nullified the whole sermon. It increased her fairly strong prejudice to a point where it would be difficult to reach her with our message today.

A few years ago a relative of mine, not an Adventist, consented to send his daugh­ter to an Adventist college. It could have been the first step toward all the family ac­cepting our message. But some thoughtless person used the word "outsider." It was like waving a red flag before a bull. Not one of that family is with us today.

In dealing with non-Adventists we need to observe this counsel: "As workers for Christ we want sanctified tact. . . . Win hearts, not repulse them."—Ellen G. White in Review and Herald, Dec. 16, 1884.

The word "outsider" has done much harm. Most "outsiders" do not feel that way about it; they feel very much inside. To these people that word has implica­tions that are magnified as they put their own interpretation on its meaning.

What do we mean when we speak of "outsiders"? Outside the fold of God? Without spiritual light? Lost for lack of knowledge? Or do we mean those outside our church? A non-Adventist? If the latter is our meaning, then why not say "non-Adventist" or "those not of our faith"? Let us avoid driving people farther from the church by charging them with being outside the pale of redemption, out among sinners who are eternally lost. There were no "outsiders" with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us drop this word from our speaking and our writing. Our mission is to draw Words of encouragement and respect, people, not to turn them away. We can coupled with the love of God in our heart draw them by saying "non-Adventists," and manner, will make friends and save "our friends," or even "brother" if we wish, souls.

 


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Superintendent, Adventist Home, Inc.

May 1962

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