TO THE ordained ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church belongs the special responsibility of obeying the Lord's injunction: "Co ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
In 1895 Ellen White was instructed to write, "We are now living in the closing scenes of this world's history." --Evangelism, p. 16. How much greater the impact of her message should be on us now, many decades later! She continued, "Let men tremble with the sense of the responsibility of knowing the truth. The ends of the world are come. . . . The weighty obligation of warning a world of its coming doom is upon us." -Ibid.
When it comes to preaching the gospel to Moslems, however, we must admit that hitherto we have not effectively addressed our selves to the task. Sporadic and isolated instances have been the exception. The Middle East Union has taken steps to alter this lamentable situation. When the present union was organized in 1970, plans were implemented to call together a group of evangelists with many years of experience to work unitedly on methods and materials for reaching the vast multitudes concentrated in the very heart of the Moslem world.
For guidance in our search, we turned to inspired counsel. "It is impossible," writes Mrs. White, "for men and women, while under the power of sinful, health-destroying, brain-enervating habits, to appreciate sacred truth." Counsels on Health, p. 21. (Italics supplied.) It seemed foolhardy to attempt what God through the Spirit of Prophecy has said is "impossible"! What should we do? We couldn't give up; neither could we evade the commission.
Further search led to the discovery of additional instruction: "The health reform is one branch of the great work which is to fit a people for the coming of the Lord. It is as closely connected with the third angel's message as the hand is with the body." Ibid., pp. 20, 21.
The plan began to clarify. The logical steps in presenting the third angel's message unfolded naturally. First, clear the brains and bodies of men and women of the narcotic poisons of tobacco so that they can "appreciate sacred truth." This removes the "impossible" situation, and conditions one to think seriously about the resurrection day, the judgment day the day when you and I must stand before our Creator and answer for the way in which we have treated our bodies, which are the temple and property of God.
This very concept was, in fact, given by an elderly Moslem lady in one of our recent Five-Day Plans as the specific reason why she had stopped smoking.
Soon we began to discover that in this approach we were indeed preaching the third angel's mes sage, for the health approach is as closely connected to it as the hand is to the body. All attending our Five-Day Plan meetings and our series of health lectures in high schools and public auditoriums are invited to take our Highway to Health and Happiness correspondence course. This has been well received.
Subsequent meetings held in the same cities deal with noncontroversial religious subjects, which are then followed by the Today's Faith correspondence course, a series of Bible studies specially prepared for Moslems by Elder Harley Bresee. Other materials are in the process of preparation, intended, by God's help, to lead the interested step by step into a full acceptance of the gospel of salvation.
The health approach has gained us an entrance into almost every country of the Middle East, many of which it was even impossible to travel through formerly. Radio and television time have been liberally provided for advertising our meetings and clinics, as well as for broadcasting well-planned, information-packed messages and programs.
As we follow our divinely appointed counsel in the Spirit of Prophecy we are assured of success, and we hasten to give glory and thanks to our loving heavenly Father for it.