Inquiry and Question Meetings

Call Interested to an Aftermeeting—The testing truth for this time is to be made known, and the explanation given. All classes, the higher as well as the most lowly, come to these meetings, and we are to work for all. After the warning message has been given, let those who are specially interested be called to the tent by themselves, and there labor for their conversion. This kind of labor is missionary work of the highest order.—Letter 86, 1900. Ev 151.3

Teach How to Become Christians—I wish you to distinctly understand this point, that souls are kept from obeying the truth by a confusion of ideas, and also because they do not know how to surrender their wills and their minds to Jesus. They want special instruction how to become Christians. The work done for Christ in the world is not made of great deeds and wonderful achievements. These will come in as needed. But the most successful work is that which keeps self as much as possible out of sight. It is the work of giving line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; coming close in sympathy with human hearts. This is the service done to Jesus Christ that will be recognized at the last day.—Letter 48, 1886. Ev 152.1

Come Close to the People in the Afterinterview—There is danger of passing too rapidly from point to point. Give short lessons, and often.... After you have opened to the people the precious mines of truth, there is yet a great work to be done for those who have become interested in the subjects presented. Ev 152.2

After a short discourse, change the order of the exercises, and give opportunity for all who desire it, to remain for an afterinterview, or Bible class, where they can ask questions upon subjects that trouble them. You will find great success in coming close to the people in these Bible lessons. The workers who labor in connection with the minister should make special efforts patiently and kindly to lead inquirers to an understanding of the truth. Ev 152.3

If you have not more than one to instruct, that one, thoroughly convinced, will communicate the light to others. These testing truths are of so great importance that they may be presented again and again, and impressed upon the minds of the hearers.—Special Testimonies, Series A, 7:7. (1874). Ev 152.4

An Opportunity to Ask Questions—Whenever practicable, every important discourse should be followed by a Bible study. Here the points that have been presented can be applied, questions can be asked, and right ideas inculcated. More time should be devoted to patiently educating the people, giving them opportunity to express themselves. It is instruction that men need, line upon line, and precept upon precept. Ev 153.1

Special meetings also should be held for those who are becoming interested in the truths presented and who need instruction. To these meetings the people should be invited, and all, both believers and unbelievers, should have an opportunity to ask questions on points not fully understood. Give all an opportunity to speak of their perplexities, for they will have them. In all the sermons and in all the Bible studies, let the people see that on every point a plain “Thus saith the Lord” is given for the faith and doctrines which we advocate. Ev 153.2

This was the method of Christ's teaching. As he spoke to the people, they would question as to His meaning. To those who were humbly seeking for light, He was always ready to explain His words. But Christ did not encourage criticism or caviling, nor should we. When men try to provoke a discussion of controverted points of doctrine, tell them that the meeting was not appointed for that purpose. Ev 153.3

When you do answer a question, be sure to have the hearers see and acknowledge that it is answered. Do not let a question drop, telling them to ask it again. Feel your way step by step, and know how much you have gained. Ev 153.4

In such meetings, those who understand the message can ask questions which will bring out light on points of truth. But some may not have wisdom to do this. When any put questions that serve only to confuse the mind and sow the seeds of doubt, they should be advised to refrain from such questioning. We must learn when to speak and when to keep silent, learn to sow the seeds of faith, to impart light, not darkness.—Testimonies For The Church 6:68, 69 (1900). Ev 153.5

Draw the People Out by Questions—After a short discourse keep fresh, that you may give a Bible reading on the points spoken of, drawing the people out by questions. Come right to the hearts of your hearers, urging them to present their difficulties to you, that you may explain the Scriptures which they do not comprehend.—Letter 8, 1895. Ev 154.1

A Point to Guard Well—Whenever the Lord has a special work to do among His people, when He would arouse their minds to contemplate vital truth, Satan will work to divert the mind by introducing minor points of difference, in order that he may create an issue concerning doctrines that are not essential to the understanding of the point in hand, and thus bring about disunion, and distract attention from the essential point. When this occurs, the Lord is at work making impressions upon the hearts of men, concerning that which is necessary to their salvation. Then if Satan can draw the mind away to some unimportant issue, and cause the people to divide on some minor point, so that their hearts are barricaded against light and truth, he exults in malicious triumph.—The Review and Herald, October 18, 1892. Ev 154.2

Combativeness Raised; Conviction Quenched—Satan is constantly at work to divert the mind with earthly things, that the truth may lose its force upon the heart; and then there will be no progress, no advancement from light and knowledge, to greater light and knowledge. Unless the followers of Christ are constantly stirred up to practice the truth, they will not be sanctified through it. Questions, speculations, and matters of no vital importance will occupy the mind, and become the subject of conversation, and then there will be caviling and striving about words, and presenting of different opinions, concerning points that are not vital or essential.... Ev 154.3

The laborer for God must be wise enough to see the design of the enemy, and to refuse to be misled and diverted. The conversion of the souls of his hearers must be the burden of his work, and he must keep out of controversy, and preach the Word of God.... Ev 155.1

The special, deceptive work of Satan has been to provoke controversies, that there might be strivings about words to no profit. He well knows that this will occupy the mind and the time. It raises the combativeness, and quenches the spirit of conviction, in the minds of many, drawing them into diversity of opinions, accusation, and prejudice, which closes the door to the truth.—The Review and Herald, September 11, 1888. Ev 155.2

Praying With Those Under Conviction—Let ministers and evangelists have more seasons of earnest prayer with those who are convicted by the truth. Remember that Christ is always with you. The Lord has in readiness the most precious exhibitions of His grace, to strengthen and encourage the sincere, humble worker.—Manuscript 78, 1900. Ev 155.3

Help the Perplexed—Many who come to the meeting are weary and heavy laden with sin. They do not feel safe in their religious faith. Opportunity should be given for those who are troubled and want rest in spirit to find help. After a discourse those who wish to follow Christ should be invited to signify their desire. Invite all who are not satisfied that they are prepared for Christ's coming, and all who feel burdened and heavy laden, to come apart by themselves. Let those who are spiritual converse with these souls. Pray with and for them. Let much time be spent in prayer and close searching of the Word. Let all obtain the real facts of faith in their own souls through belief that the Holy Spirit will be imparted to them because they have a real hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Teach them how to surrender themselves to God, how to believe, how to claim the promises. Let the deep love of God be expressed in words of encouragement, in words of intercession.—Testimonies For The Church 6:65 (1900). Ev 155.4