The following is taken from pp. 26-36 of Carlyle B. Haynes Speaks to Young Ministers, six lectures Elder Haynes delivered at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in 1954.
HOW CAN WE BEST DRAW IN THE GOSPEL NET?
The Christian minister today should not be a minister of rites and ceremonies, a minister of lights and litanies, a minister of pageants and processions, a minister of vestments and garments, a minister of shows and playlets, a minister of spectacular exhibitions and theatrical demonstrations, nor even a minister of motion pictures and visual aids. As in the beginning, ministers should be emphatically and exclusively "ministers of the word" (Luke 1:2). "Christ sent me," Paul said, "not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Cor 1:17).
ONE EVANGELIST'S INNOVATIONS
I once attended a meeting conducted by a wellknown Adventist evangelist. . . whom many younger ministers were consulting for suggestions to improve their work. His methods, which were certainly innovations among us, were the subject of much discussion.
The tabernacle was well lighted and decorated. On the large platform were papier-mache beasts with horns, multiple heads, wings, and cruel claws and teeth-horrible and fantastic things, which drew all eyes and created much conversation. On the rafters above the platform were hung many lights, and on each side of the platform two spotlights [were ready to be] centered on the preacher.
There was music, much music instrumental, vocal, choral, solos, duets, quartets, and two little tots who sang an amusing ditty which brought a round of laughter and a handclap or two. Then came an impressive theme song, which many seemed to know and I had never heard. At its close the preacher entered in a sort of hush.
He attracted everyone's attention, including mine.
. . . He was dressed in spotless white, with white tie, white socks, white shoes. Even the Bible he carried was bound in white. A woman at my back exclaimed breathlessly to her companion, "Isn't he a honey?" and I had to agree. He was indeed. From that first moment he was the focus of attraction. No one could hear, see, or think of anything else but that "honey" of a preacher. His words were little noticed, yet no one moved his eyes from the speaker, and all heads swung around with him as he stood or moved about in the glare of the spotlights. He touched several beasts with what appeared to be tender solicitude, gracefully removing three horns from one of them and substituting in their place one horn with a head wearing a triple tiara.
Returning to my hotel room, I tried to recall what he may have read from the Bible. I could not remember his opening that beautiful white Bible at all. While I am sure he must have done so, I did not notice it. The last thing I remember passing through my mind before I sank into slumber was, "He certainly is a 'honey.'"
I mention the incident only because I desire to contrast it with another experience that occurred while I was a pastor in New York City.
For a number of years I had heard reports about the ministry of a great British expositor, George Campbell Morgan. In his younger days he had been rejected for ordination because of the poor quality of his preaching, [but] he became known as "the Prince of the Expositors."
Learning that Morgan was coming to New York City to conduct a two-week series of studies in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, I was delighted at the prospect.
I arrived at the church a half hour before the meeting was to begin. Knowing the church accommodated 2,500 easily, I had no worry about finding a seat. But I was wrong; [already, it seemed] the seats were taken. The ushers directed me into the gallery, and fortunately one seat was left there. With a sigh of relief I sat down, astonished beyond measure that 2,500 people would turn out like this on a Monday night.
The pastor and Dr. Morgan came onto the rostrum quietly and sat down. The congregation sang an old hymn, and during the singing I looked closely at the famous preacher. Never had I seen a more unprepossessing man in the pulpit. He was tall, lanky, awkward, and I thought I might hear his bones rattle if there were not so much rustling by the audience. His clothing was plain, and there was nothing conspicuous about him.
After the pastor's prayer and a simple introduction, Dr. Morgan walked to the pulpit, opened the Biblenot a white one and in a pleasing voice, but entirely without dramatic effect, read the Scripture passage and immediately began to explain it. I am glad that I examined him before he began speaking, for I never noticed him again during the whole hour. Instead, I was utterly absorbed and entranced at the meanings he was bringing out of the treasure-house of the Word of God. It was one of the most thrilling hours of my life. I had never experienced anything like it before. And it was repeated nightly for two weeks.
Dr. Morgan had no graces of gesture, no spectacular delivery, and no eloquence in the usual sense. He used no charts, no blackboard, pictures, screen, or gadgets of any kind. Nothing in his talk, movements, dress, or manner attracted attention to himself or diverted attention from the Bible. His tremendous power was in what he did with and by the Word of God.
I was in another world in five minutes, not because of any elocution or oratorical ability. He talked quite casually and in a conversational tone, reading with deep reverence and impressive feeling the passage he was to explore. I forgot the people around me, forgot the church, forgot the speaker, forgot everything but the wonders of the world into which I had been led.
When I returned home the night after Dr. Morgan's first study, the prayer that burst from my deeply moved heart was, "O God, make me a preacher of Thy divine word, and help me never to rely on anything else."
Throw away your accessories, discard your gadgets and pictures, discontinue your shows and playlets, stop relying on entertainment and theatrical displays, and get back again to the simple, plain, powerful exposition of the Word.
Carlyle B. Haynes served 49 years in the Adventist Church as singing evangelist, pastor, missionary, conference and division president, and as preacher and writer.