The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 36—Literature Outreach by Adventists

Distribute Publications Like the Leaves of Autumn—We must prepare ourselves for most solemn duties. A world is to be saved. The work is advancing in a most marvelous manner in foreign lands; and even within the shadows of our doors there are many, many opportunities for communicating to others the saving truths of the third angel's message. Publications are to be distributed like the leaves of autumn. [Church members were to “sell or give away our literature” (Manuscript 126, 1902), or provide by “lending” (Testimonies for the Church 9:35), as the truth was to be carried to the homes of neighbors and friends and the promise was given, “You will be accompanied by the light of heaven, which will abide in these homes” (Manuscript 126, 1902).] This is the message that has been coming to us from the Lord for many years. In view of the great work to be done, how can anyone afford to waste precious time and God-given means in doing those things that are not for his best good or for the glory of God?—The Review and Herald, July 19, 1906. PM 368.1

Church Members’ Duty to Circulate Literature—We now have great facilities for spreading the truth; but our people are not coming up to the privileges given them. They do not in every church see and feel the necessity of using their abilities in saving souls. They do not realize their duty to obtain subscribers for our periodicals, including our health journal, and to introduce our books and pamphlets. Men should be at work who are willing to be taught as to the best way of approaching individuals and families. Their dress should be neat, but not foppish, and their manners such as not to disgust the people. There is a great want of true politeness among us as a people. This should be cultivated by all who take hold of the missionary work. PM 368.2

Our publishing houses should show marked prosperity. Our people can sustain them if they will show a decided interest to work our publications into the market. But should as little interest be manifested in the year to come as has been shown in the year past, there will be but a small margin to work upon. The wider the circulation of our publications, the greater will be the demand for books that make plain the Scriptures of truth. Many are becoming disgusted with the inconsistencies, the errors, and the apostasy of the churches, and with the festivals, fairs, lotteries, and numerous inventions to extort money for church purposes. There are many who are seeking for light in the darkness. If our papers, tracts, and books, expressing the truth in plain Bible language, could be widely circulated, many would find that they are just what they want. But many of our brethren act as though the people were to come to them or send to our offices to obtain publications, when thousands do not know that they exist. PM 369.1

God calls upon His people to act like living men and not to be indolent, sluggish, and indifferent. We must carry the publications to the people and urge them to accept, showing them that they will receive much more than their money's worth. Exalt the value of the books you offer. You cannot regard them too highly. PM 369.2

My soul was agonized as I saw the indifference of our people who make so high a profession. I was shown that the blood of souls will be on the garments of very many who now feel at ease and irresponsible for souls that are perishing around them for want of light and knowledge. They have come in contact with them, but have never warned them, never prayed with or for them, and never made earnest efforts to present the truth to them. I was shown that there has been a wonderful negligence on this point. Ministers are not doing one half what they might do to educate the people for whom they labor upon all points of truth and duty, and as a consequence, the people are spiritless and inactive. The stake and scaffold are not appointed for this time to test the people of God, and for this very reason the love of many has waxed cold. When trials arise, grace is proportioned for the emergency. We must individually consecrate ourselves on the very spot where God has said He would meet us.—Testimonies for the Church 4:391-393. PM 369.3

Every Church Member to Have a Part—In the past, a large work has been accomplished in the distribution of the printed page. This is a line of service in which every church member can have some part. All cannot go out as canvassers for our larger books; but there is a field of usefulness open before many of our brethren and sisters in the placing of truth-filled publications in the homes of their neighbors and friends. PM 370.1

Years ago our brethren in responsibility gave much study to ways and means for the carrying forward of this line of work with increasing efficiency. As the result of carefully laid plans, patient instruction, and helpful supervision, the circulation of the printed page has come to be a mighty factor in the dissemination of the truths of the third angel's message.—The Review and Herald, November 5, 1914. PM 370.2

Sharing Books With Neighbors—Those who have long known the truth need to seek the Lord most earnestly, that their hearts may be filled with a determination to work for their neighbors. My brethren and sisters, visit those who live near you, and by sympathy and kindness seek to reach their hearts. Be sure to work in a way that will remove prejudice instead of creating it. And remember that those who know the truth for this time and yet confine their efforts to their own churches, refusing to work for their unconverted neighbors, will be called to account for unfulfilled duties. PM 370.3

Lend your neighbors some of our smaller books. If their interest is awakened, take some of the larger books. Show them Christ's Object Lessons. Tell them its history, and ask them if they do not want a copy. If they already have it, ask them if they do not want to read other books of a similar nature. If possible, secure an opportunity to teach them the truth. Beside all waters you are to sow the seed of truth, though not knowing which shall prosper, this or that.—Testimonies for the Church 9:34, 35. PM 370.4

Literature in Every Hand and Home—Watch for souls as they that must give an account. In your church and neighborhood missionary work, let your light shine forth in such clear, steady rays that no man can stand up in the judgment, and say, “Why did you not tell me about this truth? Why did you not care for my soul?” PM 371.1

Then let us be diligent in the distribution of literature that has been carefully prepared for use among those not of our faith. Let us make the most of every opportunity to arrest the attention of unbelievers. Let us put literature into every hand that will receive it. Let us consecrate ourselves to the proclamation of the message, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God!” Divine and human instrumentalities are to unite for the accomplishment of one great object. Now is the day of our responsibility. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”—Counsels on Stewardship, 189, 190. PM 371.2

Publications to Go by Mail—Even if they shut the door in your face, do not hasten away in indignation, and make no further effort to save them. Ask God in faith to give you access to those very souls. Cease not your efforts, but study and plan until you find some other means of reaching them. If you do not succeed by personal visits try sending them the silent messenger of truth. There is so much pride of opinion in the human heart that our publications often gain admittance where the living messenger cannot.—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 150. (Welfare Ministry, 95.) PM 371.3

Health Reform Literature Will Win Souls—Publications upon health reform will reach many who will not see or read anything upon important Bible subjects.... The truth must come to the people upon health reform. This is essential in order to arrest the attention in regard to Bible truth.... Many of those looked upon as hopelessly depraved will, if properly instructed in regard to their unhealthful practices, be arrested with the truth.... Go with your hands full of proper reading matter and your heart full of the love of Christ for their souls, reaching them where they are. Many are being drawn by the Lord Jesus Christ, who will respond.—Manuscript 1, 1875. PM 371.4

Means Invested in Literature—There are those among us who put from one hundred to one thousand dollars or more into the Health Institute, who have pledged only from five to twenty-five dollars in the great enterprise of publishing books, pamphlets, and tracts, setting forth truths which have to do with eternal life. One was supposed to be a paying investment. The other, as we might judge from the littleness of the pledges, is supposed to be a dead loss. PM 372.1

We shall not hold our peace upon this subject. Our people will come up to the work. The means will come. And we would say to those who are poor and want books: Send in your orders, with a statement of your condition as to this world's goods. We will send you a package of books containing four volumes of Spiritual Gifts, How to Live, Appeal to Youth, Appeal to Mothers, Sabbath Readings, and the two large charts, with Key of Explanation. If you have a part of these, state what you have, and we will send other books in their places, or send only such of these as you have not. Send fifty cents to pay the postage, and we will send you the five-dollar package and charge the fund four dollars. [This testimony appeared in 1868 at which time tract societies had appeared in many states and the furnishing of books and tracts to the worthy poor was assumed by them. Some of the books here mentioned are now out of print.] PM 372.2

In this charitable book matter, all must act upon the great plan of liberality, such as is carried out in the publication and sale of the American Bibles and tracts. In many respects the course of these mammoth societies is worthy of imitation. Liberality is seen in wills and donations, and it is carried out in sales and donations of Bibles and tracts. Seventh-day Adventists should be as far ahead of these in the book matter as in other things. May God help us. Our tracts should be offered by the hundred at what they cost, leaving a little margin to pay for packing, or wrapping for the mail, and directing. And ministers and people should engage in the circulation of books, pamphlets, and tracts, as never before. Sell where people are able and willing to purchase, and where they are not, give them the books.—Testimonies for the Church 1:689, 690. PM 372.3

Satan Draining Adventist Purses—Satan is constantly presenting inducements to God's chosen people to attract their minds from the solemn work of preparation for the scenes just in the future. He is in every sense of the word a deceiver, a skillful charmer. He clothes his plans and snares with coverings of light borrowed from heaven. He tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit by making her believe that she would be greatly advantaged thereby. Satan leads his agents to introduce various inventions and patent rights and other enterprises, that Sabbathkeeping Adventists who are in haste to be rich may fall into temptation, become ensnared, and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. He is wide awake, busily engaged in leading the world captive, and through the agency of worldlings he keeps up a continual pleasing excitement to draw the unwary who profess to believe the truth to unite with worldlings. The lust of the eye, the desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment, is a temptation and snare to God's people. Satan has many finely woven, dangerous nets which are made to appear innocent, but with which he is skillfully preparing to infatuate God's people. There are pleasing shows, entertainments, phrenological lectures, and an endless variety of enterprises constantly arising calculated to lead the people of God to love the world and the things that are in the world. Through this union with the world, faith becomes weakened, and means which should be invested in the cause of present truth are transferred to the enemy's ranks. Through these different channels Satan is skillfully draining the purses of God's people and for it the displeasure of the Lord is upon them.—Testimonies for the Church 1:550, 551. PM 373.1

Free Circulation of Small Publications—I have been shown that we are not doing our duty in the gratuitous circulation of small publications. There are many honest souls who might be brought to embrace the truth by this means alone. Should there be on each copy of these small tracts an advertisement of our publications and the place where they can be obtained, it would extend the circulation of the larger publications and the Review, Instructor, and Reformer. PM 374.1

These small tracts of four, eight, or sixteen pages can be furnished for a trifle from a fund raised by the donations of those who have the cause at heart. When you write to a friend you can enclose one or more without increasing postage. When you meet persons in the cars, on the boat, or in the stage who seem to have an ear to hear, you can hand them a tract. These tracts should not at present be scattered promiscuously like the autumn leaves, but should be judiciously and freely handed to those who would be likely to prize them. Thus our publications and the Publishing Association will be advertised in a manner that will result in much good.—Testimonies for the Church 1:551, 552. PM 374.2