Importance of the Printed Page in World Evangelism

The following article is written by OGTC student Gram Young.

The church has no rest until every person in the world hears the gospel of Jesus Christ. He meant it when he commanded us to teach all nations and be witnesses to the whole world (Matt. 28:19, Acts 1:8,) and he proved that when he died for the sins of the whole world (Jn 1:29, 6:51, 1 Jn 2:2.)  The problem for us is no one person, no one church, no one movement could ever reach every tribe in every nation. There are simply too many people spread across too much ground. The only thing bigger than our task is our God. However, we cannot allow the size of our mission prevent us from moving forward. Inaction rooted in despair is not an option. I know I cannot reach the world on my own, but I can do the work that is in front of me, ask God to make me more effective, and trust Him to use others to work where I cannot. 

With so important and immense a task we need to be strategic, “wise as serpents” in our efforts. There is too much at stake for us to fool around with world evangelism. God has chosen to use us as messengers, carrying the news that God made a way back to Him. Outside of the news we carry, there is no way for people to be saved. The only way they can be saved is to believe and they cannot believe unless they hear. We must be strategic. 

One strategy that is easy over-looked is the use of the printed page to reach where we could not otherwise reach. Training men to preach the gospel is without a doubt the most effective way to evangelize a country, but training a preacher takes time and money. We have millions to reach, and we must reach them now. We can pass out thousands of tracts. We can drive people out of our geographical reach to a website. In no way am I suggesting that we allow publishing gospel material to replace preaching and training, but it is a vital part of reaching a country with the gospel. Lost people are bleeding out. A preacher is the surgeon they need, but a tract can stuff the wound to slow the bleeding until the surgeon arrives.

Allow me to show you one biblical example of the value of print in ministry. Paul was a preacher and man trainer if there ever was one. When he entered a city, he took advantage of every opportunity to preach the gospel. He made as much noise as he could, drawing large crowds almost everywhere he went. You might say that Paul didn’t have much use for writing, but you would be ignoring how you learned Paul’s ministry. You read it from a printed page that someone wrote by the inspiration of God. It seems as if when Paul wasn’t preaching and teaching, he was writing.  We learn about Paul’s missionary journeys from Acts which was written to teach Theophilus about the faith. He wrote to the church in Rome before he ever met them. When confronted with doctrinal and moral issues in the church he planted at Corinth, Paul wrote several letters to instruct and correct them. 

God chose to use a book to tell us everything He wanted us to know about himself. He gave us the scriptures which are able to make us “wise to salvation” on the printed page. We cannot ignore the importance of using print to reach the world. By no means is it the final solution to world evangelism, but it is a tool we would be fools to ignore. Now more than ever we should be printing and passing out tracts, writing about the spiritual need around the world, and begging for more laborers through any medium available to us. The task at hand is far too important ignore the use of the page. 

 

About the author

Robert Canfield is the director of the Our Generation Training Center and a Missionary with Vision Missions.

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