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ANOTHER SWISS HELPER
Dear Brethren in Christ:—
Am sorry I cannot write in English. Am a Swiss. About 27 years ago I was converted. Constrained by the love of Christ, I worked for six years in the Lord’s vineyard, and also followed my profession and had much joy and peace in the Lord and in his work. The Lord led me into the Baptist church where I labored for 27 years with joy. I did not think that anything would ever separate me from it. In 1880 I entered the Theological Seminary in Hamburg. In 1884 I received several calls from Baptist churches, and thought it God’s will that I should accept a call to a church in Breslau, where I felt the Lord’s blessing upon me. While I was there a large church was built with a seating capacity of 600. In Breslau Catholicism is very strong. Among the 280 that I was permitted to baptize on profession of their faith, one-third were Catholics. In 1893 I received a call to one of the largest Baptist churches in Germany, at Konigsberg in Prussia. A new chapel was built and meetings were held in 16 places in the country. During the three and three-fourths years of my stay, about 500 were converted and baptized. Three other brothers labored there beside myself; two in the country and one in the city. Then I received a call to Zurich, my mother-country, where the work had been progressing slowly. Considering the call as coming from the Lord I accepted it. The congregation was small, but with great joy I labored there 5 years, and built a chapel and residence. There, also, I was permitted to baptize 200 on profession of their faith, among them some Catholics.
About four months ago I received “Millennial Dawn,” Vol. I. I read the book with deep interest and blessing. Sent for the three succeeding volumes and several pamphlets, and have read them through. I am deeply convinced as to the truthfulness of this work. My biblical and theological convictions have been corrected in a manner and degree I had never before experienced. I felt that honesty and humility were necessary that I might give due honor to these truths, and God has granted me these. I hear that the leader of a faith and prayer-cure institution, one of the most influential men in Switzerland, and who is considered a high authority, has denounced the book (Millennial Dawn), and has burned many. Have done much searching for the last 27 years respecting matters referring to the consummation of the age, and endeavored to be watchful of the signs of the times. It is due to this fact, in part, that I so highly prize this book and am determined to study it very carefully with the Bible, and to proclaim the truths so important to our times. I have commenced to do so in my congregation, but have learned what I formerly did not know, that even the Baptist church has traditions and confessions which prevent free searching and preaching of the truth. When I was told by my congregation that there were certain limits and rules which I could not overstep, I told them I would permit no such barriers to be placed around me, and resigned my position as Baptist minister. It seemed plain to me that this was God’s will concerning me, though I do not know how he will lead me in the future. I have four children, 15, 12, 10 and 6 years, respectively. October is my time to leave and my successor will take my place. I am now waiting on the Lord to do as he may direct. This is not easy, as I am not a man of means, but I am persuaded the Lord will lead me aright. When my former congregation in Konigsberg heard that I had resigned, they extended a call to me with the assurance they would build a third chapel if I would come. But I do not feel free to accept. To me it is clear that I must not again be connected with any congregation, but should stand free, in order to declare the whole truth, as it is now due and now needed.
Have recently been reading a new book by a Swiss theologian, Reinhardt. The author endeavors to demonstrate from a philosophical standpoint what “Dawn” presents from the standpoint of divine revelation. In many respects there is a striking similarity between this book and “Dawn.” But Reinhardt is a rationalist, and believes the theory of evolution, and consequently is in error. He speaks of Chas. T. Russell in his book, the author of “Dawn,” but cannot say more than “he believes too firmly in the inspiration of the Scriptures.”
For a time before reading “Dawn,” I thought of entering Dowie’s Zion work, and wrote to Dowie,
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but as yet I have received no reply; but since reading “Dawn,” I feel that the Lord has another way for me, and other duties. My desire at present is—I should like to have a year for quiet and study, to search my Bible and spend in prayer, and thoroughly study “Dawn.” When I am thus prepared of the Lord, I would like to preach the truth, as it is now due, in the cities of Germany and Switzerland. After Paul’s conversion he had time for quiet and study; but I have been a minister for 17 years, and in the entire period have had no opportunity for rest and study, though I preached from four to five times a week. Through the study of “Dawn,” there has been a revolution in my biblical and theological opinions, and I must have time to become established before I can publicly expound these doctrines, though I have a deep conviction of their truthfulness.
As I am entirely without means, I must look to the Lord to provide the means to support my family, and this he will do if he wishes me to have the time for study. I wait for his direction. Of this I am thoroughly convinced, I cannot longer be a Baptist minister.
Permit me to enclose a photo of my wife and myself. I am 44 and my dear wife 37. Our only concern is that we may attain the high privileges to which we are called, and that we may be co-laborers during the short time that remains, in gathering the elect.
Should you consider it wise that I should go to you in America for a short time (without my family), I am ready to do so. I would be very thankful to receive an answer as soon as possible, in German writing, as October is approaching, when I must leave my home and field of labor. My desire is that God’s will may be done in me and through me. May he also direct you in the advice you may give me.
In Christian love and esteem, yours,
Jan Kradolfer, Minister,
— November 1, 1901 —