The Victory Is Ours

The proclamation of the gospel in France.

G. CUPERTINO, Ministerial Association Secretary, Southern European Division

This denomination has been entrusted by God with tools or weapons that are not found in any other religious movement. We state this in all humility, for it is the Lord God Himself who has clothed His church with this outstanding armor with which she is to engage in the final battle.

Last January it was my privilege to join our workers who, in different capacities, contribute to the proclamation of the gos­pel in the French capital and its surround­ings. By a happy coincidence I was able to visit several of our offices, lecture halls, and institutions. I thus gathered a great deal of information and many impressions, which gave the vision of a work whose unique value and beauty often escape our notice.

Perversion or Truth?

One of the things that strikes the occa­sional visitor in Paris is the place the press seems to take in everyday life. Newsstands and bookshops are counted by the thou­sands; there is a daily, weekly, flood of books, papers, and magazines of all types, which, with few exceptions, contain noth­ing uplifting for the reader. However, at the very doors of the city there is a modest publishing house that tries to offset the ris­ing tide of such publications. Its presses turn all day in order to print material that will feed souls hungry for hope, encourage­ment, and truth—the things they so much need. Our institution, Les Signes des Temps ("Signs of the Times"), near MeIun, France, prepares publications that are distributed by consecrated colporteurs to the remotest towns and villages. From the very beginning the Lord granted the Ad­vent Church a vision of the tremendous possibilities offered by the press as an agent of evangelism. And since that time our pa­pers have not ceased to go around the world, sowing seeds of light and life.

Bible in the Hand

A few days later, in Paris, I attended another of the "Bible in Hand" meetings. Hundreds of listeners followed our worker attentively as they turned the pages of the Bible with him. What strength and en­couragement it gives to the preacher to be able to state in all simplicity, "Thus speaks the Lord." Human eloquence and persua­sion take second place while the Word "blazes."

In Paris, as in all the world at the pres­ent time, religion hardly penetrates into restaurants and homes. But even so the church has her mission there. Since the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the way of feeding and treating it is important. This is why God Himself has set rules for diet and health. Let no one forget, there­fore, that there is religion in the way of making bread! In the United States and in Australia, Adventist food products are ap­preciated by many and can be found in most stores, but in our division this is not so. However, our "Pur-Aliment" and Phag food factories are keeping up their pioneer work, although the people do not seem to know much about the importance of health­ful eating.

European Five-Day Plan

Then there is our most recent tool—the Five-Day Plan. The church that prepares to meet her Lord has not only given up tobacco but is now contributing to the lib­eration of helpless victims of this social plague. The plan that has been worked out is one of good common sense combined with the intelligence of the individual. In Saint-Etienne, France, I had the privilege of attending the first meeting in our divi­sion of this social service.

From Suspicion to Support

I saw the listeners arrive for the first meet­ing—suspicious and shy, cigarettes in their pockets. I watched them as night after night they listened to Dr. G. Hummel and the evangelist, C. Delargilliere, as they ex­plained how to come out victorious in the battle over the tobacco habit. I then had the pleasure at the last meeting of witness­ing many hands raised, giving proof of vic­tories gained. Several people were eager to know which organization came so gen­erously to their rescue. Now the Five-Day Plan has been launched in other cities, such as Valence and Paris in France; Gen­eva, Switzerland. Dr. F. Brennwald and Pastor R. Lenoir have led out in some of these. Everywhere men and women are grateful for this outstretched hand. A woman in Geneva, at the end of the five days, asked the worker: "May we also at­tend your church services?" Dr. Brennwald writes the following about the Five-Day Plan in Geneva: "The plan . . . has caused us much work, but also joy untold. Let us hope that aside from lives changed here be­low, there will also be fruitage for eternity."

All this strengthens my vision of the church "prepared for battle," clothed with the complete armor of God and provided—thanks to tithes and offerings—with weap­ons of war to ensure success.

No doubt the Advent Church is far from having attained perfection. But she has a mission to fill, a message to proclaim, and she has received the necessary weapons or tools to win the final battle. Are we preach­ers worthy of this high calling? If upon ask­ing such a question we feel like blushing for shame, let us turn our eyes toward Him who has the power to forgive and to make us worthy of serving Him. He will not dis­appoint us but grant us the victory.

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G. CUPERTINO, Ministerial Association Secretary, Southern European Division

November 1965

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