Academic Arrogance (tract distribution)
How in the World do some truly educated Christians hold the views that they do? But academic arrogance is the special province of college and university professors. This arrogance is not confined to only unbelievers. This is also, an issue with Christian college and Seminary professors. Unfortunately, any Christian can suffer from arrogance.
Paul mentions this problem as being a sign of spiritual and moral decline.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,…. “ Romans 1:21-22 (KJV)
Even though Paul wrote these words primarily with reference to unbelieving Gentiles, they are applicable to all mankind, even religious believers.
Arrogance stultifies the mind and negatively impacts on both the moral and spiritual condition of anyone.
It is indeed interesting that in the Greek language of Romans 1:22 the word “wise” is “sophos” from which we get our word sophisticated or sophistication which generally means “worldly wise”. But the second Greek word for fools, mōrainō—is from the root word mōrosfrom which we get our word moron.
When our church had a new interim Pastor he zoomed into the office where I was stamping church tracts. He asked me what I was doing. Then he asked me to see the tract rack. Almost immediately he said, “I do not think that tracts are very effective.” I totally disagreed with him. He said, “I believe in relationship evangelism.” I stated that I also believed in relationship evangelism, but I believe there are many ways to get the Good News of salvation and Eternal life to people. Then I quoted what the Apostle Paul had wrote “…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Cor 9:22 (KJV)
He had been the President of a well-known Seminary. Unfortunately he was wrong about tracts and other forms of Christian literature. Anyone who has studied the history of tract distribution would know better than to say such an uninformed thing. About two or more months ago, Chick Publication had an article in it about Christian colleges and Seminaries depreciating the value of Christian tract distribution. Tracts have been one of the great evangelistic forces and tools in Christian history. Only an armchair theologian would make such a derogatory statement. This type statement shows deterioration in Christian understanding. This man’s evaluation was worldly in that he didn’t understand that tracts are given out in faith. A tract distributor knows that many if not most of the tracts he distributes will not be immediately read or acted upon. The message of the tract may not bear fruit until many years later. Thus anyone that distributes tracts must have faith that God will work through them even if at a later date. The below testimonies demonstrates this fact.
Paul wrote “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” 1 Cor 3:6 (KJV)
We are God’s instruments and the Holy Spirit’s tools.
Campus Crusade states it like something like this: “Witnessing is simply share Christ and the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” God gives the increase.
Why do I talk about arrogance when talking about tract distribution.
Pride is one of the reasons that Christians do not distribute tracts. They fear embarrassment.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10 (KJV)
“God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” 1 Peter 5:5-6 (KJV)
“Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” Romans 12:16 (KJV)
Also, Christians fear they will not be successful. Also, Christians do not want to appear odd. Many Christians falsely believe that only those that have the gift of evangelism can distribute tracts and witness. Some people may be better in this area but everyone can distribute tracts. One primary reason why Christians do not distribute tracts and witness is because they have no leadership model in their church. Many times their pastor does not do personal witnessing or tract distribution. All the churches that I know that do tract distribution or witnessing has a pastor that does it.
Tract distribution and witnessing needs to be learned through training and experience. You will generally only learn tract distribution and witnessing by going with someone that already does it. Witnessing and tract distribution cannot be learned in a class room.
You must begin slowly and as you do you will develop different ways of getting the Good News of eternal life to the unsaved.
Every reason (excuse) you have for not witnessing or distributing tracts is a deception of Satan.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. “ Prov 29:25 (KJV)
God has commanded us to get the Gospel to all people!
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (ethnos =Gentiles), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matt 28:18-20 (KJV)
“Go ye into all the world, and preach (kēryssō = proclaim ) the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15 (KJV)
Only Two Words
“This is what I think of your tracts!” growled a passenger standing by the rail of an ocean liner. A Christian had offered him gospel literature which he accepted with a malicious scowl. Then with a flourish he tore the tract into tiny pieces, cradled them for a moment in his hand, and finally tossed them over the rail.
The Christian went away with a heavy heart, while the unbeliever headed for the ship’s bar. As he lifted the intemperate glass to his lips, however, he noticed a small piece of paper hanging from his shirt. He pulled it off, inspected it, and discovered it was one piece of the discarded tract. Only one word appeared—”God.” The man turned the paper over and was startled to read, “eternity.” Those words pierced his soul. For hours he seemed to see them in letters of light—”God, eternity.” Liquor would not chase them from his memory. He tried gambling and dancing and conversation, but whatever he did, and wherever he went, the solemn words, “God” and “eternity” haunted him. In desperation for relief he looked for the tract distributor who joyously led him into a redemptive relationship with God by which the sinner was brought into eternal life.
Saved Through a Fish Wrapper
Don’t be discouraged to see Gospel Tracts discarded after you pass them out. God has used countless “recycled” tracts to bring salvation to souls. Following is one such story received from a third-world country about the Gospel periodical, Moments For You.
I gave my life to Jesus Christ through the work of your magazine, Moments For You. I was living in sin and a miserable life, though I am a churchgoer. I attended service every Sunday, yet I didn’t know Christ. I didn’t know what it meant to be saved, though I was a communicant.
One day a page of Moments For You was used to wrap a fish for me. After I was finished eating the fish, I used it to wipe my hands. Later I opened it and read where I could see clearly the words, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8, 9).
After reading it again and again, I fell on my knees and confessed my sins to God and found forgiveness.
Trust God to use the tracts you distribute, and don’t ever forget to pray.
A shoemaker received a tract from a customer one day, and did not care to read it so he used it as part of the lining of a shoe he was making. The shoe with the hidden message was purchased, and used for a long time until it was well-worn and in need of repair.
It was taken to another shoemaker, who removed the worn-out sole and discovered the hidden messenger. He was immediately struck by the title, and read the whole message. It was the Word of God delivered to him in a most unusual way, and it awakened him to a sense of his sin and need of salvation. He turned his eyes in faith to Christ, and found salvation for his soul.
So go on with your work, tract distributor—”in the morning sow thy Seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6).
What a Tract Can Do
Early in 1819, while waiting to see a patient, a young physician in New York took up and read a tract on missions, which lay in the room where he sat.
On reaching home he spoke to his wife of the question that had arisen in his mind. As a result, they set out as foreign missionaries for Ceylon, and later, India. For thirty years the wife, and for thirty-six years the husband labored among the people there, and then went to receive their reward.
Apart from what they did directly as missionaries, they left behind them seven sons and two daughters. Each of these sons married, and with their wives and both sisters, gave themselves to the same mission work. Before long, several grandchildren of the first missionary become missionaries in India. And thus it was soon that thirty of that family had given 529 years to the Lord in India, and Glory will only reveal the fruit of that one tract.
Tried and True
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6).
The circulation of tracts as a means of preaching the Gospel is actually older than the art of printing. Wycliffe, the reformer, was a great writer and distributor of tracts, employing his pupils and friends to multiply copies by hand. Martin Luther was a worker through tracts as well, but with the help, however, of the printing press, which came to his aid. Two hundred years later, Count Zinzendorf, another devoted reformer, made extensive use of the printing press in the spreading of Gospel tracts.
All these years our God has been watching over these silent messengers, and, no one but the Lord Himself can tell into how many hands they have fallen, and how many hearts have been moved to receive the truth as to God’s salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Richard Gibbs wrote a tract entitled, “The Bruised Reed.” A tin peddler gave it to a man named Richard Baxter: through reading it he was brought to Christ. He then wrote, “A Call to the Unconverted.” Among the thousands saved through it was Phillip Doddridge, who wrote “The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul.” It fell into the hands of William Wilberforce, the emancipator of the slaves in the British Colonies, and led him to Christ. Wilberforce wrote, “A Practical View of Christianity,” which fired the heart of Leigh Richmond. He wrote “The Dairyman’s Daughter,” of which as many as four million copies were circulated, as it testified for Christ in over fifty different languages.
“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days” (Ecclesiastes 11:1).
Hope or Fear?
A man went to visit a prisoner in jail and was puzzled by the prisoner’s happy face until he told him the following story:
“Three years ago I was condemned to death for murder. You can imagine that my cell became a little hell. The thought of approaching death tortured me day and night. Only a few more weeks and I should be in eternity. I could neither eat nor sleep, so I decided to make a rope from my torn bed sheets with which to hang myself. Only the fear of eternity held me back as suicide would hasten my arrival there. One day I found a gospel tract which had been sent to me. I scanned through the contents which I considered to be nonsense and threw it into the corner. Later, however, I picked it up again and read it through. Thinking over it I paced up and down in my cell. A strange, and hitherto unknown feeling seemed to possess me—a longing to be delivered from the awful fear. In the leaflet stood the words, “The Son of God is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Lost! Yes, surely, I was lost. But how could I be saved? How could I get rid of the heavy burden? I managed to get hold of a Bible and began to read it, still filled with this strange feeling swaying between hope and fear. Then I found the words, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Was that really possible? I fell on my knees and pleaded with God for mercy and I found forgiveness and peace. Later my death penalty was changed to life imprisonment, but I knew that I had been given eternal life through Jesus Christ.”
Saved by Tracts
Compton, CA (AP)— The first time a gunman tried to fire at theologian Ralph Owens, the bullet didn’t discharge. Then, on the second attempt, a bullet ripped into gospel tracts in Owens’ pocked and dropped harmlessly to the ground.
A police officer nearby arrived as the gunmen aimed again at Owens, a missionary of the California Laymen’s Crusade. Two youths, 18 and 20, were booked on suspicion of robbery and attempted murder. Police said $1.30 had been taken from Owens.
“It was a miracle,” Owens said of his escape.
None in Hell
“Tracts everywhere!” said a young man with a sneer as a Christian handed him a gospel tract one afternoon. “No,” said the tract distributor quietly, “there will be none in hell,” and passed on. God fastened that single sentence in that young man’s mind as a nail in a sure place and he could not get rid of it. “None in hell!” seemed to echo in his ears every time he saw a tract, and ultimately he was converted.
A Christian man was passing out Gospel tracts. Among those who received one was a gentleman who remarked as he received it that he feared such efforts did little permanent good. “I am not opposed to such work,” he said. “In my younger days I did a good deal of it myself, but I cannot say that I ever saw any fruit from it.”
The tract distributor was somewhat discouraged by that remark, especially coming from one who evidently was a Christian of many years’ standing. But he instantly remembered that his own conversion was brought about by means of a tract which he received when he was a lad, as he walked along the street one wintry night.
As he passed the door of a mission hall a young man, standing evidently for the purpose of getting passers-by to go in, handed him a tract and asked him to go inside and hear the Gospel. He did go in, and heard words there that awakened him to think of eternity and his state before God, and he went home in deep soul trouble. In his anxiety he turned to the tract he had received, read it, and was saved.
The tract distributor told this story to the gentleman, who listened with evident interest, and when it was finished, he said, “May I ask where this most interesting event took place?” The man named the city, the street, the hall, and the very night on which he got the tract and was invited inside. The gentleman’s eyes filled with tears; he grasped the distributor’s hand, and said with great emotion: “It was my work for many a night, when I was a young man, newly converted, to stand at that door giving tracts and inviting passers-by. But I lost heart soon after that and gave it up, thinking that such work was almost useless. Now after twenty years, God has let me know it was not in vain, and if He spares me to return to the city, I shall by His grace return to the service He gave me long ago, confessing my faithlessness in leaving it.”
But the twenty intervening years were lost. How many more golden sheaves might have appeared to that Christian worker’s account in the day of Christ had he continued in the service that the Lord gave him to do!
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
The Oat Sack
There was a certain brother in Christ a century ago whose business took him through the villages and towns of Minnesota, giving him many opportunities to sow the seed of the Gospel. One Saturday evening, having entered a town and making preparations for staying over the Lord’s Day, he was asked by a friend to come to his barn and look at his horse.
Upon entering the barn, an open oat sack met his eye, and he quietly dropped a tract into it. This tract was put into the sack in the hope that this friend, whom he knew to be a stranger to God’s love, would find and read it. But “God moves in a mysterious way,” and as this oat sack belonged to a local preacher who kept his horse in the same barn, the minister found the tract and took it home to read.
Knowing that the town was an ungodly one, his curiosity was excited, and he wondered much by whom the tract had been dropped. The next day, as he was having a vacation, he attended services held by another preacher. Looking over the congregation, he saw a man turning to his Bible, and perceiving him to be a stranger, he thought, “There is the man who put the tract in the oat sack.” At the close of the message he spoke to him, and finding him to be a follower of the Master, invited him to his house. The acquaintance then begun resulted in the blessings spoken of in the following letter.
“My Dear Brother,
It has been some time since I wrote you, and some strange things have transpired since then; one of them is that a preacher should be brought out into the light as shed forth by Jesus in His Word. A small beginning ofttimes, under God’s care and guidance, has a very great and worthy ending. For instance, a tract dropped in the mouth of an oat sack is a small thing—a small beginning, but the conversion of forty or fifty sinners, and perhaps more, and the blessing and up building of a number of God’s weak children—among them a preacher—and the gathering together of a company of God’s children as the result thus far, is a great ending—and the end is not yet. Who can tell whereunto this work, begun so simply, will grow. Go on, my brother, with your distribution of Gospel Tracts. Try another oat sack; it seems to be very fruitful ground. The great result of your work in that respect only eternity will reveal.”
May God reward you for doing His will. Tract distribution and witnessing are clearly the will of God for every true believer. If you are not some how involved in getting the Good News of the free gift of Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord, you are disobedient to God.
Remember: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. Prov 11:30 (KJV)
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Dan 12:3 (KJV)
Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14