When we began publication in February, 2000, we had great hopes that the brotherhood was ripe for a sound
paper to use in teaching the lost. To the very best of our ability, we have provided such a paper and have
had some of the most loyal subscribers. Evelyn Hulstine who lives in California was our very first
subscriber and continues to receive this paper. And other faithful supporters like Joe Travis of Texas and
James Watkins of Chattanoogah, Tennessee have been with us the longest. Others have come and gone, but most
have been very loyal and appreciative of the Truth presented in these pages.
But there is a great deal of sadness in considering that after seven years of publication we have yet to convince brethren to use the paper for local evangelism. One notable exception to that is the Eastside church in Muskogee, Oklahoma. For two years, Eastside ordered 1,000 copies a month and threw them to homes in Muskogee. They still receive a bundle of 50 per month to distribute in their city. Others have used the paper in that way at various times, but for some reason members of the church have lost the sense of urgency in evangelism that ought always to characterize the people of God. Personal efforts, like taking a teaching paper or tract and leaving them in doctor's offices or other public places just does not seem to be a high priority on people's lists any more.
Churches of Christ were the fastest growing religious body in the United States in the 1950s and most of that growth came from personal efforts. But evangelizing — snatching the lost from hell's fire — just doesn't seem to be important to many churches and individuals today. Perhaps it's because we have become infected with what I call "The Judas Syndrome" when it comes to religion. Judas went to the chief priests asking, "What will ye give me...?" That seems to be the mindset of Christians these days. Instead of a life of sacrifice and toil in the Lord's kingdom, they ask, "What will ye give me?"
But Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35). Rather than an inward look at the kingdom to see what we can gain, we ought to be looking outward to the harvest field and spending and being spent in preaching the soul-saving gospel.
"But people aren't as interested today," is an objection often heard. That's true. But what did Paul say? "Preach the word; be instant in season; out of season..." (2 Tim. 4:2). Brother Marshall Keeble used to say of that passage, "That means when they like it and when they don't like it." It's true that interest in spiritual matters has taken a backseat to material pursuits in our wealthy society. But that does not absolve us of our responsibility to preach the word. When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He didn't say, "Go ye into all the world and see if people are interested and if they are, then preach the gospel." It isn't the Christian's responsibility to motivate people. It is his responsibility to "preach the word."
That's what this paper has been dedicated to from its very first issue. And, through one price increase in newsprint and two price increases in postage, we never raised our subscription rates. Though it has become an additional financial burden, the decision to not raise our rates was designed to make the paper more affordable to all as an evangelistic tool.
We know that good has come from our efforts. There was a report of a baptism at a military installation in Korea that was directly related to teaching through this paper. For that we are thankful and we know that our labor has not been in vain. Neither will God's word return unto Him void. It will accomplish that for which it is sent forth and the seed of the kingdom we sow today may not come to fruition until we are long gone from this vale of tears.
I am grateful to all of those loyal subscribers who, through the years, have looked forward to receiving this paper each month. I hope you have been edified and that you continue to make good use of this paper to teach your loved ones.