Roy Allan Anderson was a Ministerial Secretary of General Conference and editor of Ministry.

A preacher once told of holding an evangelistic series in a convent's court he had rented. The resident nuns occasionally stood at their windows and listened. When he noticed them, he made it a special point to condemn "the beast." Is this God's way of evangelism? Does giving prominence to the more astonishing doctrines bring lasting results?

We frequently see men go through a program of subjects that may last for weeks or months. The people are gripped. The evangelist startles them, and they eagerly drink it all in. The preacher goes through "the series," and when he comes to the end, he has presented deep truths. But the people have not been able to understand them in the time allowed. But they have been startled. There has been no way of escape. They have felt compelled to act, and the impulsive ones have acted.

Then after finishing his work, the evangelist leaves them, just as a farmer does when he stuffs bags full of produce, ties them around the neck, and puts them in storage. Often a church is organized out of the company of new believers. The delicate work of nourishing them is left to an inexperienced church elder. Perhaps the preacher had used all the simpler prophecies that the church elder could ably handle. There seems little left for this poor man but to depend upon certain periodicals that come to him from time to time.

What is the result? The spiritual life of the people wanes, and they fall by the way. This is not because the preacher was unfaithful, but because of the unfortunate method he used in winning these people.

Still more deplorable is the fact that a large portion of the original interest raised has been left to wither away. The attendees who did not possess an impulsive disposition have returned to the dead churches they had left when the message came to them. But the preacher had denounced everything as heretical that did not line up with the truth. He made the fall of Babylon very prominent, perhaps applying the fall to a lack of spirituality. A cleavage has been made, and these people have become critics of both the ministers and the churches in the vicinity. This is a pity and quite out of harmony with the instruction given by the Spirit of Prophecy.

The method of work I have just outlined as a course to be avoided cannot promote good feeling with ministers of other denominations. By following it we isolate ourselves from them, and they become antagonistic. I refuse to have anything to do with any debate or newspaper controversy. I am sure that these are not the Lord's methods.

We have a glorious truth, but let us make it evangelical first. If souls are being brought to God to the ring of the old-time gospel, even those who have no sympathy with our denomination will respect a soul-saving work, and we shall have more friends than enemies. It is the greatest joy of my life to kneel beside other ministers, many of whom come to our meetings, and pray with them. Of course we have some opposition, and must expect it; but let us work in a way that will compel the respect, if not the love, of the other ministers in the community. How can we hope to reach them with this truth unless we adopt a method of kindly approach?


R. Allan Anderson (1895-1985) was a well-known evangelist, teacher, and author. He was an editor of Ministry for 16 years.