Many of our ministers have merely sermonised, presenting subjects in an argumentative way, and scarcely mentioning the saving power of the Redeemer. Their testimony was destitute of the saving blood of Christ. Their offering resembled the offering of Cain. He brought to the Lord the fruit of the ground, which in itself was acceptable in God's sight. Very good indeed was the fruit; but the virtue of the offering--the blood of the slain lamb, representing the blood of Christ--was lacking. So it is with Christless sermons. By them men are not pricked to the heart; they are not led to inquire, What must I do to be saved? Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ before the world. EV 185 (GW 156 )
Some ministers err in making their sermons wholly argumentative. There are those who listen to the theory of the truth, and are impressed with the evidences brought out; then, if Christ is presented as the Saviour of the world, the seed sown may spring up and bear fruit to the glory of God. But often the cross of Calvary is not presented before the people. Some may be listening to the last sermon they will ever hear, and the golden opportunity lost, is lost forever. If in connection with the theory of the truth, Christ and His redeeming love had been proclaimed, these might have been won to His side. EV 193 (GW 157F )
These things have a bad influence on ministers who are handling sacred, elevated truths,--truths which are to prove as a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death, to those who hear them. Generally, the influence of discussions upon our ministers is to make them self-sufficient, exalted in their own estimation. This is not all. Those who love to debate are unfitted for being pastors to the flock. They have trained their minds to meet opponents, and to say sarcastic things; and they cannot come down to meet hearts that are sorrowing, and need to be comforted. They have also dwelt so much upon the argumentative that they have neglected the practical subjects that the flock of God need. They have but little knowledge of the sermons of Christ, which enter into the every-day life of the Christian, and they have but little disposition to study them. They have risen above the simplicity of the work. When they were little in their own eyes, God helped them; angels of God ministered unto them, and made their labours highly successful in convincing men and women of the truth. But in the training of their minds for discussion, they frequently become coarse and rough. They lose the interest and tender sympathy which should ever attend the efforts of a shepherd of Christ.
Those who present the truth are to enter into no controversy. They are to preach the gospel with such faith and earnestness that an interest will be awakened. By the words they speak, the prayers they offer, the influence they exert, they are to sow seeds that will bear fruit to the glory of God. There is to be no wavering. The trumpet is to give a certain sound. The attention of the people is to be called to the third angel's message. Let not God's servants act like men walking in their sleep, but like men preparing for the coming of Christ. RH MAR.02,1905