Notes on Evangelistic Work
Leaving Battle Creek on the morning train, we spent Monday afternoon, October 3, in Chicago, visiting some of our institutions there. In company with Dr. Paulson and Elder Sadler, we visited the Life Boat Mission and the Working-men’s Home. I was much pleased with the report of the work being done in this place. The workers assured me that the Lord was giving them success. I rejoiced with them, but I was so weary that I could not enter into the details of the work as fully as I should have been glad to.
The Lord is pleased with the efforts made to gather people to a place where they can hear his praises sung and his Word explained in the simplicity with which Christ explained it as he went through Palestine from village to village and from city to city. Those engaged in this work may take courage. As they walk and work humbly with God, he will certainly impart his grace to them, that they may impart it to others. I shall ever encourage any work that brings souls to Christ. How large a number of our cities might hear the truth if the people of God would put their talents out to the exchangers.
From the Life Boat Mission we drove out to see the newly established Swedish Mission on Oak Street. There we were shown a building which our Swedish brethren, under the leadership of Elder S. Mortenson, have recently purchased for the headquarters of their work in Chicago. The building presents a good appearance. In the basement they have a well-equipped vegetarian restaurant. On the first floor there is a pleasant, commodious hall for meetings, comfortably seated for a congregation of about one hundred and fifty, and the two upper stories are rented to lodgers. I was indeed glad to see this evidence of progress in the Swedish work in Chicago.
There is a great work to be done for the people of all nations in the large cities of America, and such rallying points as this may be a great help in the matter of gaining the attention of the people, and in the training of workers. In every large city in America there are people of different nationalities, who must hear the message for this time. I long to see evidence that the lines of work which the Lord has marked out are being disinterestedly taken up. A work similar to that which is being done in Chicago for the Swedish people should be done in many places.
Time is fast passing. The day of the Lord’s reckoning is approaching. Seventh-day Adventists are not to colonize. We are to work as Jesus has given us an example. Of the work of Christ we read: “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people.” This is the work that will open doors for the truth.
“And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.”
Thus was the time of the Great Missionary occupied. I think of the work that might be done if those held in Battle Creek and a few other favored places, were carrying forward the work in the villages and towns and cities in which there are no memorials for the truth.
We are to do all in our power to fulfill the commission given by Christ to his disciples just before his ascension. Of the giving of this commission we read: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
When the eyes of the members of our large churches are anointed with the heavenly eye-salve, they will arise, and go forth to fulfil this commission. When their hearts are imbued with the Holy Spirit, they will worship the Lord their God, and him only will they serve. The Lord is calling upon those who are congregated in congested centers to go forth into the places where the truth has never been proclaimed. They are to teach the things that Christ has commanded, leaving alone the various suppositions born of erratic theories. False teachers will come in, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. Satan will bring forward fables to militate against the principles of Christ’s teaching. God calls upon his faithful messengers to search his Word, and to teach only those things that Christ has commanded.
To give all nations the message of warning,–this is to be the object of our efforts. A way will be prepared for the faithful worker to labor at all times and seasons for the conversion of souls. Upon all who have received the word of God there rests the burden of doing this work. From city to city, and from country to country, they are to carry the publications containing the promise of the Saviour’s soon coming. These publications are to be translated into every language; for to all the world the gospel is to be preached. To every worker Christ promises the divine efficiency that will make his labors a success.
There is too much hovering round our institutions; too much ease-loving. The commission of Christ is to be carried out to the letter. God’s people must consecrate to him their means and their capabilities. The faithful soldiers of the cross of Christ are to go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach, and following in the path of self-denial trodden by the Redeemer.
The ministers who are hovering over the churches, preaching to those who know the truth, would better go into places still in darkness. Unless they do this, they themselves and their congregations will become dwarfed. Our religion has become weak and sickly because the members of the church have left their first love. They might be strong men and women in Christ if they would obey the Lord’s directions.
I am commanded to lift my voice in warning, and to call upon our people who are gathered together in Battle Creek to go forth and take up the work appointed them by God. The world is perishing in sin. How much longer will you allow yourselves to be held from the great, needy vineyard, when the history of this world is so near its close?
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel.” This is the message that we are to proclaim at this time. Men and women are turning from obedience to the law of God, and are perishing in transgression. They must reap the sure consequence of their abuse of the laws of nature. By habits of intemperance, they lay the foundations of disease, and crime after crime is the result. Under the influence of poisoned liquor, men lift the hand of murder, and bring dishonor upon themselves, and want and wretchedness upon their families. Obedience to the law of God would save those who are perishing in defiance of truth and righteousness.
— E.G. White, Review and Herald, 2/9/1905