“Debating ministers are generally disqualified to help the flock where they most need help. Having neglected practical religion in their own hearts and lives, they cannot teach it to the flock. Unless there is an excitement, they do not know how to labor; they seem shorn of their strength. If they try to speak, they do not seem to know how to present a subject that is proper for the occasion. When they should present a subject which will feed the flock of God, and which will reach and melt hearts, they go back to some of the old stereotyped matter, and go through the arranged arguments, which are dry and uninteresting. Thus, instead of light, they bring darkness to the flock, and also to their own souls.
“Some of our ministers fail to cultivate spirituality, but encourage a show of zeal, and a certain activity which rests upon an uncertain foundation. Ministers of calm contemplation, of thought and devotion, of conscience and faith, combined with activity and zeal, are wanted in this age. The two qualities, thought and devotion, activity and zeal, should go together.
“Debating ministers are the most unreliable among us, because they cannot be depended upon when the work goes hard. Bring them into a place where there is but little interest, and they manifest a want of courage, zeal, and real interest. They depend as much upon being enlivened and invigorated by the excitement created by debate or opposition, as does the inebriate upon his dram. These ministers need to be converted anew. They need to drink deep of the unceasing streams which proceed from the eternal Rock.
“The eternal welfare of sinners regulated the conduct of Jesus. He went about doing good. Benevolence was the life of his soul. He not only did good to all who came to him soliciting his mercy, but he perseveringly sought them out. He was never elated with applause, or dejected by censure or disappointment. When he met with the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, he was of good courage. The most important discourse that Inspiration has given us, Christ preached to only one listener. As he sat upon the well to rest, for he was weary, a Samaritan woman came to draw water; he saw an opportunity to reach her mind, and through her to reach the minds of the Samaritans, who were in great darkness and error. Although weary, he presented the truths of his spiritual kingdom, which charmed the heathen woman, and filled her with admiration for Christ. She went forth publishing the news, ‘Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?’ [John 4:29.] This woman’s testimony converted many to a belief in Christ. Through her report, many came to hear him for themselves, and believed because of his own word” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 216, 217).