Editorial

How Did They Do it?

THREE articles in this issue deal with the problem of communicating the gospel to the masses. I appreciate the emphasis Authors Beaven, Guy, and Scragg have made in their articles. Your time will be well spent in considering the challenge they present to the Adventist evangelist today. . .

-editor of Ministry at the time this article was written

THREE articles in this issue deal with the problem of communicating the gospel to the masses. I appreciate the emphasis Authors Beaven, Guy, and Scragg have made in their articles. Your time will be well spent in considering the challenge they present to the Adventist evangelist today.

As I read their articles through prior to publication, my mind turned to a Spirit of Prophecy passage that contains a truth we often overlook. As you read the selection below, remember it is talking about men who lived in a secular and violent age. All the excesses we face in our world not only existed then but, if anything, were excessively excessive! It was a time of unparalleled lust, greed, rebellion, and debauchery. Atheism, humanism, secularism, materialism it was all there if not in name, certainly in practice. It was a formidable world into which the apostles stepped. Yet, some thing happened wherever they went. Churches were raised up, miracles were commonplace, believers were baptized. The work of God expanded rapidly. The world became quickly aware of a faith labeled "Christianity."

How did these plain, simple preachers of the gospel do it? God Himself explains the mystery as follows:

"The arguments of the apostles alone, though clear and convincing, would not have removed the prejudice that had withstood so much evidence. But the Holy Spirit sent the arguments home to hearts with divine power. The words of the apostles were as sharp arrows of the Almighty, convicting men of their terrible guilt in rejecting and crucifying the Lord of glory.

"Under the training of Christ the disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit. Under the Spirit's teaching they received the final qualification, and went forth to their lifework. No longer were they ignorant and uncultured. No longer were they a collection of independent units or discord ant, conflicting elements. No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness. They were of 'one accord,' 'of one heart and of one soul.' Christ filled their thoughts; the advancement of His kingdom was their aim. In mind and character they had become like their Master, and men 'took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.'

"Pentecost brought them the heavenly illumination. The truths they could not understand while Christ was with them were now unfolded. With a faith and assurance that they had never before known, they accepted the teachings of the Sacred Word. No longer was it a matter of faith with them that Christ was the Son of God. They knew that, although clothed with humanity, He was indeed the Messiah, and they told their experience to the world with a confidence which carried with it the conviction that God was with them.

"They could speak the name of Jesus with assurance; for was He not their Friend and Elder Brother? Brought into close communion with Christ, they sat with Him in heavenly places. With what burning language they clothed their ideas as they bore witness for Him! Their hearts were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying to the power of Christ. They were filled with an intense longing to carry forward the work He had begun. They realized the greatness of their debt to heaven and the responsibility of their work. Strengthened by the endowment of the Holy Spirit, they went forth filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. The Spirit animated them and spoke through them. The peace of Christ shone from their faces. They had consecrated their lives to Him for service, and their very features bore evidence to the surrender they had made." The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 45, 46.

No one denies the fact that our society is difficult to reach. The minds of men are miserably blinded with the things that are seen. The unseen world seems so drastically unreal. But hasn't that always been true? Could it be that our main difficulty in reaching the masses is not antiquated methods but rather antiquated or nonexistent spiritual experiences on our part as ministers?

In the passage under consideration note the thread of living, vibrant relationships between the apostles and their Lord. Independence was gone. Unity was more than a motto. A dynamic confidence in Christ and His power to save surcharged their hearts. Love and zeal motivated these men to uplift Christ and Him crucified! Their response to the Spirit and the Spirit's response to them was so overwhelming that they were affected physically! Their faces radiated peace and surrender. The depth of their attachment to the Lord couldn't have been stronger.

This is how the disciples did it and how we can, too.

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-editor of Ministry at the time this article was written

October 1974

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More Articles In This Issue

A Virtually Untapped Resource

THIS church has not yet taken full advantage of one of its great est resources. We have not learned to use effectively the growing number of retired ministers that live among us. These men have served well and long and desire to be relieved of the heavier burdens that they have formerly carried. It is right that they should do this, but many of them still would enjoy serving the church in a helpful and constructive way as their time and strength permit. . .

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THIS editorial is being written as the last of the three Bible conferences is drawing to a close. Sitting here in the large church auditorium at Pacific Union College, I am led to reflect on what these Bible conferences have accomplished and the possible impact they might well have on the work of the church. . .

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THE GOSPEL commission found in Matthew 28 has always been taken seriously by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its efforts to evangelize the world, and in particular to make the world aware of the coming of Jesus, as taught in the three angels' messages of Revelation, have been met with increasing success in many quarters of the earth. In 1973 for the first time, more than 200,000 people were brought into the church. . .

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SECULARISM comes in two varieties. The first kind is the more sophisticated, and we may call it intentional secularism. This is a deliberate, well-thought-out view of things that often takes the form of naturalistic humanism. In response to the question of the reality of God, it answers either "No" (atheism) or "You really can't tell for sure" (agnosticism). But this thoroughgoing, intentional secularism does not necessarily imply an obsessive pursuit of pleasure (hedonism) or possessions (materialism). . .

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EVERY so often I arm myself with the strong sword of the promises Cod gives, a fat billfold, and a secret pocket to keep all that cash safe, and infiltrate the citadel of the enemy they call New York. Fabulous, heartless city, capital of a secular, spiritually apathetic, materialistic culture. There Christianity orbits as distantly as in the scrabbling hovels of pagan lands. . .

Building a Biblical Cosmology

COSMOLOGY is the study of the structure of the universe. Particularly it is an attempt to understand how this structure is related to the past history of the universe and possibly to its future. Originally a branch of philosophy, cosmology has during the past century become a vigorous science in the Western world. . .

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Editor's Note: The fact that Dr. Ford is emphasizing a new application of verses 24-27 does not mean that he does not support the literal and chronological application of these verses to the events associated with the first coming of Christ. In response to a query from the editors on this point, he makes it very plain that he has no intention of teaching "dispensationalist futurism" and that the last-day application he makes of portions of these verses does not include the "chronology involved in the primary fulfillment of the prophecy."

Revelation and Interpretation in Daniel

THE BOOK of Daniel contains aspects of God's revelation that in several ways are unique. Nowhere else among the prophetic words of Scripture do we find such a care fully laid out overview of history beginning with the time of the author and closing with the time of the end . . .

The Imperative of Change

THE WORDS of the wise man Solomon, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18, K.J.V.), and the prediction of the prophet Joel, "Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28, K.J.V.), suggest that God's plan for the progress of His work includes an ever-changing flow of ideas and challenges. . .

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Sabbath School Busing Ministry

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Target 80--The Bold Adventure (Part 2)

AT THE annual Far Eastern Division council in Singapore in November, 1972, the following action was voted, which brought into being the eight-year strategy that has since been named Target 80. . .

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