Seeking a Rationale for Adventist Evangelism

THE third angel's message is to be our burden of warning."—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 331. "Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, 'It is the third angel's message in verity.' "—Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

THE third angel's message is to be our burden of warning."—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 331. "Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, 'It is the third angel's message in verity.' "—Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

By combining these two inspired sentences, we can formulate a syllogism:

1. The Seventh-day Adventist task is to proclaim the third angel's message to the world.

2. The third angel's message is righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.

3. Therefore our task is proclaiming to the world that saving righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

Significantly, the object of Christian faith or belief (it is the same word in Greek) is Jesus—a Person, not a doctrine— and this concept constitutes the rationale for Seventh-day Adventist evangelism.

Christ our righteousness is the evangel or "good news" Jesus has commissioned us to preach. Yet what do we loudly proclaim as "good news"? No meat, no beer, no cigarettes, no coffee, no tea, no Coke, no dancing, no theater-going, no card playing, no jewelry, no dyeing the hair, no mini skirts, no make-up, no secular pursuits on Saturday, and no robbing God anymore: return a minimum of 10 percent of the salary to the church. This needs to be said, but of itself it may constitute bad news, because we denounce everything the average man on the street has always enjoyed.

Many people know Adventists only on the basis of our negativism and wonder if we are Christian or Jewish or something somewhere in between. ("Oh yes, you are the people who don't eat meat, ... or don't smoke, ... or don't dance, ... or don't drink, . . . or . . .")

Have we forgotten that our "good news" or evangel is saving righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ the Person? Are we encouraging others to put their faith in Jesus—as did the New Testament evangelists when they asserted, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"? Or have we become more interested in making Seventh-day Adventists than we are in making Christians?

Keeping the "Evangel" in our Evangelism

What is the "evangel" in our evangelism? The third angel's message in verity—saving righteousness through faith in Christ the Person? Or peripheral emphases? Have we lost sight of the divinely appointed ration ale for our evangelistic endeavors?

Unfortunately, the Seventh-day Adventist evangelistic sermon may at times emphasize dogma rather than a Person as the object of belief.

Some may maintain that indoctrination leads to conversion, but conversion to what —Jesus or doctrinal points? In my ministry I have met too many persons who have fallen in love with our twenty-two fundamental beliefs rather than with the Saviour.

A little contemplation reveals the folly of putting doctrine before Christ. Scripture declares that every human being is stillborn—dead in trespasses and sin. Yet some of us abortively try to teach spiritually dead people the truths of God's Word. But how can a spiritually stillborn person possibly comprehend our doctrines when Scripture specifically maintains -that spiritual things are spiritually discerned?

Obviously Christ must first of all enter one's life and resurrect him spiritually, renewing his mind through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Only then will he be able to grasp the spiritual significance of our doctrines.

If an evangelist perceives himself as principally a purveyor of doctrine, he has lost the gospel God has commissioned him to proclaim in these last days—saving righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ the Person. Take away the "evangel" and his evangelism degenerates into nothing more than another "ism."

Our church looks forward to 1972 as the year of evangelism. Surely we need to care fully re-evaluate our evangelistic rationale. What are we doing in our evangelistic crusades, and why?

Are we presenting the evangel of saving righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ? Are we pointing a lost world in these last days to salvation's only road—Jesus Christ the Person? Are we convincing people that the object of belief is Christ, not a creed?

Anyone can preach a list of doctrines, but "It is not enough to be familiar with the arguments of the truth alone. You must meet the people through the life that is in Jesus."—Review and Herald, Aug. 28, 1888. He must constitute the object of our belief and the subject of our evangelistic sermons.

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

June 1971

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Evangelism "EXPLO" in India

NINETEEN hundred and seventy was the year when Seventh-day Adventist attention was riveted on Atlantic City and the General Conference. Many leading men in this division had to drop their work and for two or three months attend the world conference. However the great majority of men who made the glowing General Conference baptismal reports possible labored on. . .

One Thousand Buddhists Hear the Message

TWO years ago plans were made to conduct an effort in Myaungmya. When U. Kyaw Din, who was assigned to lead out in these meetings, approached the authorities for permission to hold a public effort it was denied. . .

MISSION '72 "On the Job" Training

"The work of God in this earth can never be finished . . ." This would be a shocking and, if it were to stop here, a most discouraging statement. Thank God the message goes on to say: ". . . until the men and women comprising our church member ship rally to the work, and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers." Gospel Workers, p. 352.

One of the Greatest Means for Evangelism

WE WHO are interested in evangelism, eagerly grasp statements from the Spirit of Prophecy writings that identify certain avenues of endeavor as being efficient in be half of soul winning. When such a statement indicates that this is one of the great est means, surely we should proclaim it from the housetops!

Men of the Century

NINETEEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY was a great year for soul winning! Two hundred and twenty-eight men each baptized between 90 and 150 persons. Fifty-six men baptized between 151 and 250 persons; twelve baptized between 251 and 350; and five exceeded the 350 mark. Two of these men were from the South American Division, and one each from the Far Eastern, Afro-Mideast, and North American divisions. . .

Getting Decisions in the Home

OUR program of evangelism is different. We don't preach, sing, or make altar calls. We conduct health and Bible classes. We get decisions in the home. . .

Total Evangelism

THE last words of Jesus just before He ascended to heaven should constantly ring in our ears: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria and to the remotest parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8)

Is Just Sowing the Seed Enough?

I HAVE sat in workers' meetings where one after another would rise and supposedly quote from the pen of Mrs. White, "Just sow the seed and God will give the harvest." As a young man just beginning the ministry I sat there believing. But since those early years I have found that the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy not only press upon the human heart the need for the sowing of the seed, but also the added responsibility of reaping the harvest. . .

Intellectual Honesty

TODAY we are part of a very sophisticated, well-informed world. Even the so-called uneducated man has at his finger tips a tremendous range of facts. It is therefore most important that we as ministers aim for accuracy in our presentations. The time is rap idly passing when we can excuse our mistakes by saying, "No one in the audience will know whether I am right or wrong." The text that follows suggests a few common errors sometimes perpetuated by the clergy. . .

Creation, the Genesis Flood, and the Three Angels' Messages

THE three angels' messages of Revelation 14 are considered to be the last great warnings for our world. They began to sound in the 1830's and 1840's. William Miller brought to the attention of much of the Western world the prospect of the Lord's soon return. . .

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 - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - IIW-VBS 2024 (160x600)