"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," is the Saviour's command to His workers. But this plain direction has been disregarded. Though the light has been given again and again, men have been called from their fields of labor to spend weeks in attending a ministerial institute. There was a time when this was necessary, because our own people opposed the work of God by refusing the light on the righteousness of Christ by faith. This they should have received and should have imparted with heart and voice and pen, for it is their only efficiency. They should have labored under the Holy Spirit's direction to give the light to others.
The holding of so many Biblical institutes among our own people is not wise. The object is good, but there is a more urgent work to be done in carrying the light of truth into regions where it has not penetrated. The laborers held to work for those who already have a knowledge of the truth are kept away from the people who know it not. By devoting much time year after year to ministerial institutes, our brethren have neglected fields that are white already to harvest. Souls in spiritual blindness, prejudiced by those who misrepresent the truth, have been left unwarned. Oh, the neglect that will be charged against individuals, organizations, and churches in that day when every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body! Then it will be seen how great was the measure of responsibility for failing to extend the work into the regions beyond.
An attendance upon so many institutes has not brought the greatest benefit to the workers themselves. Talent is best developed where it is most needed. Ministers called from their fields to attend ministerial institutes are not so well prepared for the work as if they gave themselves to consecrated labor in the destitute fields where the standard of truth is to be uplifted. If they studied the word of God with a teachable spirit, praying, and watching unto prayer, and working as well as praying, angels of God would open their understanding to perceive truth in its beauty.
As the knowledge of the truth is received, let it be imparted to those who are in darkness, without God and without hope in the world. In such labor there is a variety of minds to deal with, and God will greatly bless His servants as they look to Him for wisdom. The Holy Spirit will come to all who are begging for the bread of life to give to their neighbors.
Instead of holding institutes to fit ministers for their work, let these ministers be given work to do in places where camp meetings have been held. After being fed with the bread of life by a miracle of God's mercy, let them work to feed others.
The large amount of means required for ministerial institutes would have brought far greater returns had it been expended in maintaining the ministers in actual labor in missionary fields.
There are in the ministry men of faith and prayer, men who can say: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." 1 John 1:1-3. These men are to instruct others. Let workers be trained by actual labor in connection with experienced men.