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The Ministry of Healing

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    Historical and Theological Lore

    As a preparation for Christian work, many think it essential to acquire an extensive knowledge of historical and theological writings. They suppose that this knowledge will be an aid to them in teaching the gospel. But their laborious study of the opinions of men tends to the enfeebling of their ministry, rather than to its strengthening. As I see libraries filled with ponderous volumes of historical and theological lore, I think, Why spend money for that which is not bread? The sixth chapter of John tells us more than can be found in such works. Christ says: “I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” “I am the living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever.” “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:35, 51, 47, 63.MH 441.1

    There is a study of history that is not to be condemned. Sacred history was one of the studies in the schools of the prophets. In the record of His dealings with the nations were traced the footsteps of Jehovah. So today we are to consider the dealings of God with the nations of the earth. We are to see in history the fulfillment of prophecy, to study the workings of Providence in the great reformatory movements, and to understand the progress of events in the marshaling of the nations for the final conflict of the great controversy.MH 441.2

    Such study will give broad, comprehensive views of life. It will help us to understand something of its relations and dependencies, how wonderfully we are bound together in the great brotherhood of society and nations, and to how great an extent the oppression and degradation of one member means loss to all.MH 442.1

    But history, as commonly studied, is concerned with man's achievements, his victories in battle, his success in attaining power and greatness. God's agency in the affairs of men is lost sight of. Few study the working out of His purpose in the rise and fall of nations.MH 442.2

    And, to a great degree, theology, as studied and taught, is but a record of human speculation, serving only to “darken counsel by words without knowledge.” Too often the motive in accumulating these many books is not so much a desire to obtain food for mind and soul, as it is an ambition to become acquainted with philosophers and theologians, a desire to present Christianity to the people in learned terms and propositions.MH 442.3

    Not all the books written can serve the purpose of a holy life. “‘Learn of Me’,” said the Great Teacher,” “‘take My yoke upon you,’ learn My meekness and lowliness.” Your intellectual pride will not aid you in communicating with souls that are perishing for want of the bread of life. In your study of these books you are allowing them to take the place of the practical lessons you should be learning from Christ. With the results of this study the people are not fed. Very little of the research which is so wearying to the mind furnishes that which will help one to be a successful laborer for souls.MH 442.4

    The Saviour came “to preach the gospel to the poor.” Luke 4:18. In His teaching He used the simplest terms and the plainest symbols. And it is said that “the common people heard Him gladly.” Mark 12:37. Those who are seeking to do His work for this time need a deeper insight into the lessons He has given.MH 443.1

    The words of the living God are the highest of all education. Those who minister to the people need to eat of the bread of life. This will give them spiritual strength; then they will be prepared to minister to all classes of people.MH 443.2

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