Men of the Century

THIS is the year nineteen hundred and seventy-two, the most exciting year in the history of Adventism! As I pen these lines more than sixteen hundred evangelists all across North America are proclaiming the everlasting gospel in special evangelistic campaigns. In Inter-America from the West Indies to Costa Rica the same is true. . .

-Associate Secretary, Ministerial Association, General Conference, at the time this article was written

THIS is the year nineteen hundred and seventy-two, the most exciting year in the history of Adventism! As I pen these lines more than sixteen hundred evangelists all across North America are proclaiming the everlasting gospel in special evangelistic campaigns. In Inter-America from the West Indies to Costa Rica the same is true. Word reaches us that Australia is also involved. When I left that beautiful country last year, plans were even then being made for a worldwide thrust in 1973. My brethren, this is truly the year to be alive.

The building in which I write this article is almost empty; only a skeleton crew is left here to man the church business. Everybody else, including the president of the General Conference, is out preaching the Word to the unsaved. Large cities and hamlets are within the range of our gospel fire. It is a movement heaven born and Holy Spirit executed. Heavenly agencies need wait no longer. The human factor is demonstrating its willingness. This is no mere spasmodic effort, but a deep-laid plan of continual evangelism that will sweep us to the very threshold of the city of God.

This first operation is proceeding according to plan. It has succeeded in marshaling our ministerial working force to the great task of soul winning.

Hopefully, this example on the part of leadership with the involvement of many of our laymen will inspire the total laity to full participation in 1973. We well know that ministers without a few lay helpers can never finish the job. Only when the whole army is in the field and every saint has embraced the concept of personal evangelism may we feel that we are really on the way. Therefore, a major part of our planning for 1973 must center in springing our membership in its entirety into evangelistic action, each choosing his own method of labor and dedicating himself fully to the great work of soul saving.

Many are the avenues open to our lay men for witnessing: literature evangelism, free literature distribution, the gift-Bible program, Bible studies, signatures for the Bible school program, and free time in ministry to man's physical, mental, and spiritual needs in the inner city and other poor areas. By these and many other methods men may relieve their consciences by sharing their faith with those who know it not. I fully anticipate that our Men of the Century report for 1972 will dwarf anything that has preceded, and as the world field moves into action for MISSION '72 there will be an evangelistic explosion that will be heard to the third heaven.

The year 1971 was a glorious one. What a privilege it was to participate in the ordination in Mexico of a young man who had baptized more than 800 people and only that day was being ordained. In letters received in this office men say how encouraged they are at seeing the large number of people around the world enjoying the blessings of God in such abundance.

There are scores of you who have just now held public meetings for the first time. You have had your baptism of fire. Things should be easier the next time around.

I have examined a list of men who entered new territory last year. Unentered fields are uniformly tough. Hats off to these worthy pioneers!

In all fairness it should be pointed out that there are men working in hard places, putting forth equal effort, whose names do not appear on the Centurion list. But they are there, and the churches cannot do without their ministry. There are men building churches, harmonizing congregations, saving homes, bringing comfort to the sick, giving strength to the discouraged. All of this work is counted into the total ministry of the men of God to the world. The purpose of this report is to acknowledge these basic contributions to the program of God, but it is intended mainly to encourage public preaching of the Word and baptizing souls into the kingdom of God.

It was a thrill to visit Mexico and to see on a given day more than 15 Centurions lined up across the stage. The Ministerial Association secretary, Carlos Aeschlimann, had an attractive certificate to give to each man for the splendid work done by the power of the Spirit and in cooperation with consecrated laymen over the past twelve months. It was an impressive ceremony, and it brought great encouragement to all assembled. It is within the planning of the Inter-American Division to have a Centurion retreat in the year 1973. We will provide a report to the world field of this historic occasion, for it will be the first division-wide Centurion retreat in the history of the denomination.

So it goes across the earth from Maine to Moscow, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Tierra del Fuego, South America. Heralds of God are lifting their voices against the prevailing iniquity of this whole world, and extolling the Christ of the cross and telling of His soon return. And we must go back again and again, pressing the battle until the work is done. God bless you all.

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-Associate Secretary, Ministerial Association, General Conference, at the time this article was written

June 1972

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