Testimony Countdown II

On the recommendation that the Testimony Countdown II series be undertaken in the fall.

D. A. Delaffeld is associate secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate at the General Conference headquarters.

 

IT WAS ten minutes of seven Wednes day night, January 19. Already hundreds of interested people had begun to fill the seats in the big Sligo church. This was the third Testimony Count down II class, and I was a bit apprehen sive about the crowd. Would they con tinue coming? Two weeks before, on January 5, in spite of a terrible snow storm, 1,000 persons pressed in for the first class. The following Wednesday there were about 1,300. Now I knew the crowd would begin to set and congeal. Would there be a drop-off? Well, as it proved, my fears were groundless. The crowd reached 1,200 the third Wednes day night, and then I knew that we were in for a sustained interest throughout the ten Wednesday nights in the series, closing March 9.

Now, just as my thoughts were wrapped up with the size of the class, a couple recently retired came in the side door and with a big happy smile on their faces said, "Oh, we are so glad to be here. We were in Florida last week, and we came home purposely to attend Testimony Countdown II. We wouldn't have missed it for anything!"

I pinched myself. Did these people ac tually leave the sunny climes of that glorious vacationland to come to the frigid North in the worst winter of this century to attend our testimony study program? Indeed they did.

They told me they had attended the Testimony Countdown I program in the Takoma Park church early in 1969, and they had such precious memories of that glorious experience that they didn't want to miss the new program.

At this writing 1,400 persons have enrolled in the Sligo class, which is re ally a pilot program. Nineteen churches are participating in the mass prayer meeting. The Allegheny East, Chesa peake, and Potomac conferences are rep resented. Included among the students are General Conference personnel, Re view and Herald employees, teachers from our local academy and grade schools, ministers and secretaries from the Columbia Union Conference office. Scores of college students and faculty members attend from nearby Columbia Union College. And such an interest! Each class period people study their les sons while they are waiting for the fif teen-minute musical prelude and the evening program. Doors are open at 6:30 and by 6:45 a hundred people are study ing their assignment in the church.

Following are the general features of each class period:

7:00—Organ begins to play

7:15—Special musical feature

7:30—Teachers enter to the tune of "In Times Like These We Need a Saviour"

7:32—Special music

7:35—Adventist Heritage with Ron Graybill (10 minutes)

7:45—Evening prayer preceded by one stanza of song "Sweet Hour of Prayer"

7:50—Spotlight on Inspiration with Rob ert W. Olson (10 minutes)

8:00—Quiz review of the Testimony volume assigned, with D. A. Delafield (25 minutes)

8:25—Story to highlight lesson instruction, by W. P. Bradley (6 minutes)

8:31—Question-and-answer service, with Arthur L. White and Paul Gordon (12 minutes)

8:43—Assignment of next volume in the guidebook

8:45—Benediction

8:47—Musical postlude

The variety produced by the many short features holds the interest and glues the attention to the presentations. The subject content is particularly im portant at this time when Mrs. White's writings, especially her health teach ings, are the target of criticism.

Satan has prepared specious argu ments to undermine confidence in the gift of prophecy among us. Unless we know the historical context and the facts concerning inspiration we are apt to be taken in by the enemy. Testimony countdown II opens up many a vista of the Adventist past and provides facts that expose the superficial character of the criticisms.

But Testimony Countdown II is not a defense program designed to protect Mrs. White and the Adventists from the attacks of their enemies within and without the church. The messages of the Testimonies, while strong in reproof of sin, are nevertheless positive and ele vating. The real subject of the Testi monies is not Ellen G. White, the in spired author, but Adventists themselves, erring and sinful human beings like you and me who are the objects of the Lord's special concern and counsel. We need this hewing and pol ishing process to prepare us for trans lation.

Christ is beautifully highlighted in every one of the nine volumes and pre sented as the answer not only to the big issues of our time but to the problems we must face in our personal lives.

Pastors from coast to coast and around the world, eager to get started on Testimony Countdown II programs, are asking, "When will the program be ready for my church and for all our churches in North America?" That de pends upon the pastor and his own plans for his congregations, but the following should be kept in mind:

1. Testimony Countdown II has been endorsed by the Annual Council action of 1976. The year 1977 has been desig nated as Testimony Year, with 25 per cent discount available on all Ellen G. White books, including the nine vol umes of the Testimonies.

2. Counsels on Diet and Foods by Ellen G. White (and the new guidebook) is the subject for study in most of our churches on Wednesday nights during the months of January through May, or a portion thereof. So it is recommended that the Testimony Countdown II series be undertaken in the fall.

3. The suggested date for beginning is September 14. The program runs every Wednesday night till November 16, the Wednesday night preceding the Thanksgiving week. The series could begin even a week earlier, September 7, and finished on November 9, depending on the pastor's choice.

4. Pastors who wish to begin Testi mony Countdown II in the late spring of this year may do so if they choose. New guidebooks are available now at the Adventist Book Centers. But the new pastor's kit and the ten cassette tapes of the one-hour, 15-minute Sligo presenta tions will not be available until May 21. Orders may be placed with the White Estate office in the General Conference, 6840 Eastern Avenue NW., Washing ton, D.C. 20012.

The ten cassette tapes are profession ally recorded by WGTS, the Columbia Union College radio station. The tapes include the full content of each program in the entire Sligo series with (1) ten special talks by Ron Graybill on "The Adventist Heritage," (2) ten messages by Robert W. Olson titled "Spotlight on the Inspiration of Ellen G. White," (3) the quiz reviews of the Testimony stud ies, (4) the question-and-answer period with Arthur L. White and Paul Gordon participating.

The set of tapes will be available for $24. The pastor's kit is only $3. The two special pastor's helps mentioned, to gether, will sell for $25.

Pastors will anticipate receiving the Spirit of Prophecy Day material for Sabbath, May 21. Included in the enve lope will be a free copy of the brand new Testimony Countdown II guidebook (courtesy of Pacific Press and White Es tate) and the excellent sermon prepared by Robert W. Olson for use in the pulpit on Spirit of Prophecy Day.

Please take advantage of the ordercard included in the special circularization and order the pastor's kit with its vast quantity of extra stories and mate rials, printed copies of the Graybill and Olson presentations, and questions as answered by Arthur L. White and Paul Gordon. Mail the order card with a check to the White Estate office imme diately, and the materials will be in your hands as soon as possible after your order is received.

Testimonies to Be "Worn Out"

The following counsel from the pen of the Lord's servant needs to be studied today as never before:

"The volumes of ... the Testimonies, should be introduced into every Sabbathkeeping family, and the brethren should know their value and be urged to read them. . . . They should be ... read again and again. Let . . . them be worn out in being read. . . .

"There should be evening readings, in which one should read aloud to those assembled at the winter fireside. There is but little interest manifested to make the most of the light given of God. Much of it is concerning family duties, and instruction is given to meet almost every case and circumstance. Money will be expended for tea, coffee, . . . and much time and labor spent in preparing the apparel, while the inward work of the heart is neglected. God has caused precious light to be brought out in pub lications, and these should be owned and read by every family. Parents, your children are in danger of going contrary to the light given of heaven, and you should both purchase and read the books, for they will be a blessing to you and yours." —ELLEN G. WHITE, Testi monies, vol. 4, pp. 390, 391.

Testimony Countdown II provides an opportunity for God's people to get to gether and read and study and pray and prepare for Jesus' return. Young and old are welcome and encouraged to attend faithfully every class.

"I advise that these directions and warnings and cautions [Testimonies] be read to our people at some time when they are gathered together." Ellen G. White letter 292, 1907.

"The volumes of ... the Testimonies, should be introduced into every Sabbathkeeping family, and the brethren should ... be urged to read them." —Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 390.

During the two years following the launching of Testimony Countdown I the Lord worked a great miracle in res urrecting the Testimonies from their dust-laden position on the bookshelves in our homes. They came to be recog nized as vital, living, breathing mes sages from the Lord. Now with a lapse of eight years the time has come for an other resurrection. Let's get our people to reading these books again, and prac ticing the counsels.

"They [the Testimonies] are full of precious matter," said God's messenger, speaking particularly of volumes six and seven. "In the visions of the night the Lord told me that the truth con tained in these books must be brought before the members of our churches, be cause there are many who are indiffer ent in regard to the salvation of their souls." —Life Sketches, p. 433.

"I am instructed to say to our churches, 'Study the Testimonies.'They are written for our admonition and en couragement upon whom the ends of the world are come. If God's people will not study these messages that are sent to them from time to time, they are guilty of rejecting light." —Ellen G. White let ter 292, 1907.

Those who do not have sets of the nine volumes in their homes can look for ward to camp meeting sales this sum mer or, better still, buy a set immedi ately at the local Adventist Book Center. Secure the new set at a 25 per cent discount during 1977.

Let's make Testimony Countdown II a powerful agent in God's hands for the reconversion of His church. Write to me at the White Estate for additional in formation.


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D. A. Delaffeld is associate secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate at the General Conference headquarters.

April 1977

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