* THE GIDEONS
A Spokesman reader recently favored us with an informative writing on the Bible distribution group popularly known as “the Gideons.”
It was while he was still a member of another Lutheran synod that this reader, who recently became a member of the CLC, was led to investigate the Gideons first-hand. (In his former church “they were permitting . . . the Gideons to speak and collect voluntary funds after the worship service.”) Subsequently, this concerned Lutheran Christian did some “digging” into the association’s history and program.
The five-page report is too long to print in its entirety. We give only excerpts here. The background history is interesting: ” . . . On May 31, 1899, they (two men, John H. Nicholson of Janesville, Wis. and Samuel E. Hill of Beloit, Wis.) met at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and concluded to band the Christian commercial travelers together for mutual recognition, personal evangelism, and united service for the Lord . . . . In view of the fact that almost all of the Gideons in the early years of the Gideon Association were traveling men, the question quite naturally arose regarding how they might be more effective witnesses in the hotels where they were forced to spend so much of their time. One suggestion was that a Bible might be placed at the reception desk in each hotel so that the patrons would have the privilege of borrowing it if they wished. It also occurred to these men that this would be a silent witness remaining in these hotels when they were elsewhere. . . .
“This question of advanced activities, as they called them, was carefully considered in the Cabinet meeting held in Chicago, October 19, 1907. One trustee went so far as to suggest that The Gideons furnish a Bible for each bedroom of the hotels in the United States. . . . This plan was adopted by the convention at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1908. . . .”
The Constitution of “The Gideons International” is quoted as to the Association’s name, object, and membership.
The section which follows further answers the question “Who Are The Gideons?” In part, this is said:
“The Gideons are laymen from various evangelical denominations, Christian business and professional men with a vital testimony for the Lord. Each Gideon is an active member of some local church and the Gideons as an Association work in cooperation with the evangelical churches and denominations. The primary object of the Gideons is to win others for the Lord Jesus Christ, and an effective means to this end has been the wide distribution of the Word of God.”
We are told that The Gideons Association now exists in more than 172 countries, and “thousands of evangelical churches support the work by their prayers and contributions.”
It becomes clear that–in his search for information on the Gideons–this Lutheran Christian became convinced that to remain in an affiliation which endorsed the activity of the Gideons would compromise biblical “church fellowship” principles. On concluding pages of his writing, these principles are reviewed, and their application to the Gideons is shown.
The concluding paragraphs lend sound advice: “Before a Christian joins any organization or participates in fellowship with another church or organization, a person should first find out their oath, creed, and confession and then with the pastor examine these alongside Scripture.
“We do have the opportunity through our CLC to do mission work at home and abroad. If a person wants to be active in sharing the Gospel, one does not need to join the Gideons to do evangelism. Consult with your evangelism board, pastor, and synod and I’m sure that you can be very active in evangelism work.
“Each Christian should study the Scripture to know what he believes and confesses, so that he may grow in grace, recognize false teaching and error, and spread the Gospel to others. May the study of His Word be our guiding light to draw us ever closer to the Savior.”
The complete writing can be procured by contacting Lee Gorne, 5362 Sayre Ave., Fremont, CA 94536. E-mail CalChief53@aol.com.
* SUBSCRIPTION TIME
It’s during the month of May that the annual call goes out for subscriptions to the Spokesman. Besides letting the magazine advertise itself, our chief “salesmen” remain the pastors in our CLC congregations.
And they come up with some fine sales pitches.
One pastor e-mailed the rest of us the following Spokesman promo piece he put together for his church bulletin.
Dear Members of ___________,
It is once again the time of year to begin or renew your subscription to the CLC’s monthly devotional magazine, the Lutheran Spokesman. I would like to urge each of our member households to subscribe. This magazine offers many benefits:
* Each month you receive well-written devotional articles on our Christian faith and life.
* Many use the Spokesman for their family devotion time.
* The Spokesman keeps you up to date on what’s happening in the CLC.
* It is the duty of each of our members to be a “watchdog” for our church body, making sure that it presents God’s Word in truth, without human opinion added. Keeping track of what is printed in our official magazine is one of the best ways to do this.
The Spokesman is YOUR magazine — so subscribe today! The cost is $8.00 for 12 monthly issues (bulk subscriptions–ed.). . . . Deadline for subscribing is May 31st.
After seeing the above, another pastor added the following comment and ideas.
The congregation here buys a subscription to the Spokesman for every family in the congregation. Some members feel they want to pay for it anyway. That’s up to them. A copy is there for them each month, “take it or leave it,” literally. We then try to get all to not only read their copy after they get it, but to put it somewhere for the public when they are done with it. We are trying to get everyone to adopt a pet location–like a doctor’s office, hospital waiting room, laundromat, library, etc. A mailing address with pertinent local church info turns it into a congregation’s outreach tool as well as a gospel outreach tool.
Great sales pitches! About all we would add is that subscriptions might be given as gifts–to a college student away from home, to a service person, to a friend or relative in another synod, etc.
Pricing for individual subscriptions (U.S. or foreign) is itemized in the masthead.
Spread the good Word!