ISN'T the Bible work gradually being phased out?" This question was recently asked of a conference Bible instructor by a layman of the church.
From whom had he received his information? Or what gave him this impression?
Why did a college religion department head this past school year discourage several young women from training for Bible work? What led him to tell them that there is little future for the Bible instructor?
Are we phasing out the Bible work with out admitting to it? Are we waiting for the few remaining Bible instructors to reach retirement age, discouraging any new ones from entering the work, so that within a few years the profession of women ministers among us will have become extinct?
It may seem so at times! Bible instructors often feel that their work is ignored, unappreciated, or barely tolerated. They may spend their lives quietly, unassumingly, winning souls for the kingdom, never caring who gets the credit. They may think no one notices, and many onlookers may have the impression that the Bible work is being phased out.
But I want to set the record straight. The God of heaven has plans for His "women ministers."
When a great and decisive work is to be done, God chooses men and women. . . . There are women who are especially adapted for the work. ... If there were twenty women where now there is one, ... we should see many more converted to the truth. . . . This question is not for men to settle. The Lord has settled it.—Evangelism, pp. 469, 471, 493. (Italics supplied.)
Women as Well as Men Needed
Yes, God's plan is that women as well as men are to have a part in the finishing of the work. We know too, that many men of God in this great movement—General Conference leaders, conference leaders, pastors, and evangelists—believe in God's plan and have no intention of phasing out the Bible work.
Then where did the rumor start? We believe there is a plan to phase out the Bible work, but it didn't originate with the Ministerial Association.
The enemy of all soul winning would like to cripple one of the mightiest agents of our evangelistic endeavor—personal work. Consequently he has been plotting for a long time to make the Bible work appear as unattractive as possible, keeping all Bible instructors out of the limelight so that no one could possibly guess what an exciting and challenging profession it is. His plan has been to give the false impression that Bible instructors are "dear little ladies" who go around reading the Bible to people, but are incapable of little else. He has planted the idea that young women couldn't possibly do the work, and no man would want to humble himself to such a lowly task.
And we fear that all too often his plan to phase out this important work has been successful. But God's purposes still stand!
New Emphasis Sought
No, the Ministerial Association of the General Conference has no plan to phase out the Bible work. Instead, our leaders are interested in giving it a new emphasis and the respect and dignity that it deserves.
Study is being given as to how the needs of our Bible instructors can be better met, and how others can be recruited for this important work.
One suggestion under discussion is the possibility of a professional letter to circulate quarterly among all Bible instructors, retired and prospective ones included. This news-type letter would include exchange of Bible studies, ideas, methods, reports of work, and helpful articles.
The purpose of such a letter would be to keep Bible instructors in closer touch with one another, provide professional aids, and serve as an impetus for the recruitment of new workers.
A venture such as this would be successful only if Bible instructors and others interested would cooperate and participate to make it work. Therefore the Ministerial Association would like to know your reaction to this idea. If you are a Bible instructor, a Ministerial secretary, pastor, evangelist, or a college Bible teacher, please let your response and suggestions be known. Address all comments, suggestions, or questions to the General Conference Ministerial Association.
Phaseout or emphasis? Which will it be?