Monday, January 11, 2010

Why I Use Gospel Tracts

A Christian friend recently told me that he doesn't "like gospel tracts". So I thought I'd give a few reasons as to why I use gospel tracts (oh and I don't pass out any ol' tract - it must have a solid, and clear gospel message on it). And yes, you can still be a Christian even if you don't pass out tracts. :-)

As long as you're being a witness and testifying of Christ, then that is wonderful (and this obviously can be done with out the use of tracts). The important question for a Christian is, 'Am I obeying the great commission?' Are you telling others about the Lord? Are you opening your mouth to preach the Good News of what Jesus Christ has done?

If you're like me, you want to preach the Good News with everyone you meet. Tracts can be a handy tool to keep in your handbag or back pocket to help you be an effective witness to reach the lost when private talk and conversation isn't convenient.

Here's why I think tracts are effective ways to reach people (list is not in any particular order).

1. People can get saved by reading one - it has happened before and can happen again
2. Tracts go where you can't (like into someone’s house or in a handbag, pocket, etc to be read later)
3. Tracts don't lose their cool - they stick right to the gospel message - they don't get into arguments
4. Folks can read it over and over (I was checking out of a store and turned around to hand the lady behind me in line a Million Dollar Bill Gospel tract and she immediately reached in her purse and pulled out an old worn out Million Dollar Bill tract. "I think you need a new one." I said. She laughed and took it." Make sure you read the back...it has a gospel message on it." I added.
5. If there are verses on them we have God's promise that His Word will not come back void
6. They are a great door opener for the gospel to be preached
7. They make you more giving - I use my own money to purchase tracts
8. They can do the witnessing for us. I try to speak to everyone that I give a tract to but if you are timid and afraid to open your mouth you can start by give them a tract (I must be the most timid of all because my purse has about 500 tracts in it right now).

9. Good Tracts that have a clear Gospel presentation bring Glory to God - whether anyone ever gets saved from them
10. They are a natural way of communication. We are told to "go and tell all the world". Pamphlets make sense and they are part of our obedience.
11. They help keep us prepared and alert to share the gospel with anyone we meet. Keeping a variety in our cars, pockets, handbags makes you ready with eternity in mind.
12. They remind us that God is Sovereign. Every encounter we have throughout our day is a "Divine Encounter". That awareness coupled with good tracts helps us to be good stewards of the breath and life God has given us.
13. They help us find other believers. It's neat to hand someone a tract and find out they are a brother or sister in Christ. I can't tell you how many times I've left encouraged to keep pressing on after talking to a fellow believer that I handed a tract to. My friend Mike O. met a lady in a donut shop one morning and she was so thilled another Christian was concerned about the Gospel.
14. Didn't God gave us one big tract, the Holy Bible?

I'm sure there are many other reasons. But that's just a few for now.


Here's a bit from my friend
Ray Comfort on the topic, "There is an old story of how a diver saw a piece of paper clutched in the mouth of an oyster. The man grabbed it, found that it was a gospel tract and said, "I can't hold out any longer. His mercy is so great that He has caused His Word to follow me even to the bottom of the ocean." God used a tract to save the man. Why should a Christian use tracts? Simply because God uses them. He used a tract to save the great missionary Hudson Taylor, as well as many, many others. That fact alone should be enough incentive for a Christian to always use tracts to reach the lost, but there are even more reasons why we should use them."

"The only way to carry out the Great Commission will be by the means of the printed page." Dr. Oswald J. Smith

"When preaching and private talk are not available, you need to have a tract ready . . . Get good striking tracts, or none at all. But a touching gospel tract may be the seed of eternal life. Therefore, do not go out without your tracts." Charles Spurgeon

22 comments:

Blogger said...

Trish,
Great post. I've often felt "on the fence" about tracts. I'm thinking of using one that has

GODISNOWHERE

and ask people what they see (it can be read God is Now Here or God is Nowhere). If they say "God is Nowhere" ask them to come to church with me as he's everywere and we can help them find him. (and then put a gospel message on the back)

Do you have more examples of how Tracts have worked?

ExPatMatt said...

Trish,

Whom in your opinion, are the main targets or tracts?

It seems for the most part that they can only work on someone that already believes in God but perhaps hasn't taken that step to being 'born-again'. Would you say that was accurate?

Because, I have to say, the ones that I've been have been thoroughly unconvincing. It's a very good way to spread the word about your product though, it makes good sense in that regard.

Regards,

j said...

@Matt Well you may have been handed some stinkers... there are certainly plenty of those out there... however, you need to know for knowledge sake that it isn't the tract that saves those who are saved by that method but the power of God.

God saves! Sometimes He uses tracts, sometimes He uses preachers in the pulpit or on the street, etc...

If you are looking for a convincing tract to convince you of your need for God you'll search forever... Only God Himself can convince. You must see yourself as the Bible says you are. And that is as a sinner from birth (Psalm 58). Dead in your transgressions (Ephesians 2). Bound for a guilty verdict at judgment (Hebrews 9:27 & 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Consider your sin, then consider Christ who knew you'd sin and died for you anyway... Then flee to that God and beg Him for mercy. He will save you. No amount of words from me or Trish or anyone else can "convince" you. But GOD can change you.

Rufus said...

I love Chick tracts. All of the "bad" people look like Jewish caricatures, even if they're not Jewish, like the recent one with Native Americans. Beautiful.

ExPatMatt said...

j,

So what you're saying is that I should believe that God exists and that the Bible is His Word and then, when I read the Bible, I'll see that I need to be saved by God...and that way I'll be convinced that He's real and therefore know that I can trust that the Bible is God's Word and I should do what it says?

Interesting.

j said...

not exactly... no what I mean is that God has revealed Himself in both creation and through His Word. He and He alone can change your heart.

Until you see that you need to be saved, you won't trust His Word or Him.

God was merciful enough to reveal Himself to us through His Word and through creation and through our consciences.

Even logic dictates in our brains that there is a moral standard. Morals aren't determined by a society anymore than the weather man controls the weather.

There is an absolute... It is God. How do I know? Well my conscience testifies to it, Creation SCREAMS it, His Word proves it.

In His Word I find those absolutes and I respond to my convicted conscience the way He has declared in His Word which is repenting of my sins and trusting in Him for life.

After that, after I've humbled myself before my Creator, everything makes perfect sense!

The issue isn't an intellectual hurdle you've yet to overcome my friend. The issue, and please don't take this as me being rude because I'm not... just trying to be honest, the issue is your humility. And anyone else who is not a born again believer for that matter. It is the wicked heart of man that fights against God in an attempt to deny Him the Honor that is His.

We, in our natural state, would prefer to be Sovereign over ourselves... to feel that there was no perfect God that we owed anything to or more importantly... we'd rather believe there was no Moral Law Giver (God) to hold us accountable to a standard of morality that He sets and not us...

That's the issue man. And I say all of that with a great deal of fear and trepidation before God that in all the words I speak He keep me humble and proclaiming His truth rightly.

I also say it with a great deal of gratitude to Him who has saved me and with a great deal of care and concern for your soul. I don't know you, wouldn't know you if I saw you in person... But I care about you. I don't want you to perish and spend eternity in hell matt. I truly don't.

The unfortunate problem that Christians have in their efforts to share the truth isn't so much in them having talks like these with an atheist or agnostic but rather it is in having to get past the preconceived notions of Christianity and the great wealth of "Christian" hypocrites who around who acknowledge Christ with their lips and then continue living a life no different than anyone else...

I would urge you to put any presuppositions about Christ you may have from other so called followers aside and examine your conscience in light of His Word.

If you will humble yourself and call out to Him... He will save you.

Nohm said...

j,

Telling other people what they think, when it's not what they think, is probably not "humble", imho.

"We, in our natural state, would prefer to be Sovereign over ourselves... to feel that there was no perfect God that we owed anything to or more importantly... we'd rather believe there was no Moral Law Giver (God) to hold us accountable to a standard of morality that He sets and not us..."

Lastly, you also wrote:

"I would urge you to put any presuppositions about Christ you may have from other so called followers aside and examine your conscience in light of His Word."

There are three problems with this statement:

1. It implies that we haven't already done this.
2. It implies that we would, in the search for truth, base our decisions on what other people do instead of evidence.
3. It implies that we should view people like yourself, and possibly also Trish, as different from "other so called followers", yet we are not given any reason to do so, and we should do this even though no difference is demonstrated (from our point of view).

ExPatMatt said...

j,

My comment was intended to highlight the circular reasoning involved in your previous suggestion. You responded with this;

"Until you see that you need to be saved, you won't trust His Word or Him."

Can you not see what you're saying here? In order to feel that I needed to be 'saved' I'd first have to believe that there was something to be saved from and Someone to be saved by.

You are asking me to presuppose Christian teachings in order to trust in, and then be saved by, God... then God will convince me He's real.

Can you not see how illogical and circular that is?

I get that there's a leap of faith involved, I really do. But why should I consider that leap any more worth taking than any other belief?

"God was merciful enough to reveal Himself to us through His Word and through creation and through our consciences."

The Bible is a book written by men.
'Creation' is the natural universe.
Our consciences are emergent properties of our evolved brains.

"Even logic dictates in our brains that there is a moral standard."

Where else would logic dictate, if not in our brains? I see no evidence that there is a 'moral standard' that is separate from the cumulative morality of mankind.

Of course, you'd have to presuppose the truth of the Bible in order to recognize this moral standard, wouldn't you - yet more circular reasoning.

"There is an absolute... It is God. How do I know? Well my conscience testifies to it, Creation SCREAMS it, His Word proves it."

How does your conscience testify it?
How does creation 'scream' it?
How does 'His Word' prove it?

"In His Word I find those absolutes."

What is an example of an absolute moral that you get from the Bible that you wouldn't have been able to work out on your own?

"The issue, and please don't take this as me being rude because I'm not... just trying to be honest, the issue is your humility."

I don't take that as rude - it's what your doctrines teach so go for it.

"And anyone else who is not a born again believer for that matter."

Because born-again Christians are so humble *eye-roll*

"It is the wicked heart of man that fights against God in an attempt to deny Him the Honor that is His."

Cults say much the same thing about people that aren't in the cult...

"We, in our natural state, would prefer to be Sovereign over ourselves... we'd rather believe there was no Moral Law Giver (God) to hold us accountable to a standard of morality that He sets and not us..."

To be honest, I'd quite like it if there was a supernatural law-giver. I actually wish He'd step in and sort things out here on Earth rather than waiting for people to die first though - I think it would be a much better system that way (you know, there'd be actual evidence that He existed, for a start). Not only that, but everyone on earth could be absolutely sure what was right and wrong - no ambiguity, no grey areas, no conflict.....so....what's He waiting for again?

"That's the issue man. And I say all of that with a great deal of fear and trepidation before God that in all the words I speak He keep me humble and proclaiming His truth rightly."

Fear is a powerful thing.

"But I care about you. I don't want you to perish and spend eternity in hell matt. I truly don't."

I don't doubt your sincerity for a second. I only question your methods.

"If you will humble yourself and call out to Him... He will save you."

Once again around the merry-go-round....believe in God first, then you'll have a reason to believe God.

Besides, I've already done exactly what you said here and nothing happened.

Regards,

John Doyle said...

Maybe it is rather cynical of me, but I view the business of gospel tracts with some distaste. It seems as though some people are convinced that spreading the message will increase their standing with God. The business of printing and selling gospel tracts does not seem very different to the selling of indulgences in the middle ages.

Heath The Blogless said...

@ John, I think you are right it is rather cynical of you, you have prejudged the motives of people who hand out gospel tracts.

Also do you think people should be able to print and sell bibles?

If you don't like using tracts that is fine, but you don't know the motives of all the people that use them. Trish and the guys at living waters do a great service for people that can't afford to make there own tracts, they are hardly selling indulgences. I have never know anyone that goes around selling bible tracts and saying if you buy one of these and you will go to heaven. Which is what indulgences did.
I know a few guys that make and sell gospel tracts and believe me there motives are pure, they are generous and would give you the tracts if you could not afford them.

Heath The Blogless said...

@ John, I think you are right it is rather cynical of you, you have prejudged the motives of people who hand out gospel tracts.

Also do you think people should be able to print and sell bibles?

If you don't like using tracts that is fine, but you don't know the motives of all the people that use them. Trish and the guys at living waters do a great service for people that can't afford to make there own tracts, they are hardly selling indulgences. I have never know anyone that goes around selling bible tracts and saying if you buy one of these and you will go to heaven. Which is what indulgences did.
I know a few guys that make and sell gospel tracts and believe me there motives are pure, they are generous and would give you the tracts if you could not afford them.

Fish with Trish said...

Insightful comments from Mike Owens came into my email inbox today:

Good Tracts that clearly present "The Law and The Gospel" bring Glory to God - whether anyone ever gets saved from them!
THIS INCLUDES CD'S AND DVD'S


1) It causes us to evaluate and clarify the message. And The Gospel never gets old. Reading and re-expressing it Glorifies our God and Savior.


2) They are a natural way of communication. We are told to "go and tell all the world". Pamphlets make sense and they are part of our OBEDIENCE.


3) They help keep us alert and prepared. Keeping a variety in our pockets, purses, cars, desks, etc. with an awareness of which tracts to give to certain types of people and the level of contact we might have with each individual we encounter.


4) They remind us that God is Sovereign. Every encounter we have throughout our day is a "Divine Encounter". That awareness coupled with good tracts helps us to be good stewards of the breath and life God has given us.


SO KEEP THIS IN MIND - EVEN IF EVERY TRACT YOU GIVE AWAY IS THROWN IN THE TRASH AND YOU ARE REJECTED - YOU ARE STILL GLORIFYING GOD.


I am so Thankful for Living Waters and the great job they have done in providing good tools for Christians to use.
Tell Ray and all his wonderful assistants.
Mike

Jeremy said...

"Creation SCREAMS it,"

If this was true there wouldn't be any other religions.

j said...

@jeremy actually the existence of many other religions proves that there IS a standard.

The Bible says that we have the law written on our hearts, in other words, we know right and wrong... moral and immoral because we have a God-given conscience.

The reason there are so many FALSE religions is because man, in our sinful defiance, tries to become wise in our own estimation. We will go to any length to deny the true God... even so far as creating a false religion to deceive ourselves into thinking we are clear in our relationship with God...

Here's the thing, all other religions outside of true, Biblical Christianity, have one thing in common... they ALL without fail are a works-righteous religion.

They all have a list of things to do or works to perform in order to be forgiven by their deity. Not Christianity... True Christianity says you CAN'T do anything to earn this or defer God's judgment on you for your sin... you can do nothing to change it...

BUT Christ, He has done all that is required, all that is necessary to save you and restore your relationship with your Creator God.

You throw your hands up in surrender. Turn from sin and trust that you could do nothing, but He (Christ) did EVERYTHING.

p.s. - just noticed the "Christians are so humble" remarks that abounded in several replies... wish I'd notice them earlier so I could have responded then... but I will now nonetheless,

are there arrogant Christians? yep, some worse than others... because we aren't BETTER than anyone, we are sinners who have been saved by grace and now fight our sin by the grace of God.

But even if EVERY Christian were arrogant and prideful... even is that were a 100% true for everyone scenario... it wouldn't have any impact on whether or not the claims of Christianity were true or not...

You may know Christians who are not representing Christ well... I would surmise that those may not truly be Christians in some cases... but your experiences with those who call themselves Christian does not change whether or not what the Bible says is true...

BrKgSaMitchell family blog said...

It seems that a tract is like trying to convey the beauty of Shakespeare with a quick snipet and a picture. The bible is complex and full of contradictions and falsehoods. That gospels do not agree about the important details of Jesus's birth, death, or resurrection. How does misleading people about the content of the bible do the bible justice?

j said...

@BK - To use the worn argument that the Bible can't be trusted because of contradictions shows that you've never done an honest scholarly investigation about these supposed contradictions and how there really AREN'T any contradictions... I'm not even up for arguing the point because far too much work that is far more detailed than anything I could provide has already been done on this issue... Check out Matt Slick's Work at carm.org

Jeremy said...

"The Bible says that we have the law written on our hearts, in other words, we know right and wrong... moral and immoral because we have a God-given conscience. "

If that Law written on our hearts and in the bible didn't keep changing, I would believe you.

But it does change and so does our morality. As seen by the examples given by the bibles treatment of women and slaves.

Rev Jason Hilliard said...

@Jeremy Well, not to keep beating a dead horse here... but I'll respond to this comment as well...

You said "If that Law written on our hearts and in the bible didn't keep changing, I would believe you.

But it does change and so does our morality. As seen by the examples given by the bibles treatment of women and slaves."

The Bible keeps changing? It does? That's a pretty big claim, care to provide specific examples? Please check them out thoroughly to be sure you are correct before posting them too.

Morality doesn't change, just how we deal with it.

What I mean is. If something is immoral, it is immoral. Now, man may make a law that deems that thing moral, but that doesn't change whether it is truly moral or not... Man cannot define a moral standard...

Let me explain why, a moral standard is not a group consensus on what is right. It is called a standard because, by definition, it sets the bar. It is a constant.

Man can't set those constants because to set a moral constant, a moral standard, you have to be perfect yourself. I'm not perfect, no where near it.. I don't know you but I'm going to step out on a limb and guess that you aren't perfect either.

so our imperfections disqualify us from setting a standard. So who sets it? Someone who IS perfect. The only perfect being in the universe is God. He is Holy. By definition He is perfect.

Therefore He is qualified to set those standards and as Creator of all things, He has the right to set whatever standards He deems.

The Bible says that God does not change. He is immutable... He doesn't change his mind like a man, rather He is constant and always true.

As to slaves and women, it isn't the Bible that changed its viewpoint on their treatment it is man. First, the type of slavery that is endorsed by Scripture is no where close to the picture of slavery that we have in America. What happened in America was atrocious and highly immoral. It happened because sinful people twisted God's Word to fit their own wicked agenda. Them saying it was right didn't make it right, it just soothed their own consciences in the matter...

Same thing with women, women are valued in Scripture and much of what we perceive in our feminist culture as chauvinistic treatment towards women was not really the case. You are dealing with a different culture and historic detail but not full detail. In other words, a man giving his daughter to someone to be a wife wasn't done forcibly without the daughter's willingness as if she were property.

The Bible is consistent because it is God's Word and God doesn't change. It is man who makes the error in interpreting the Bible trying to use it for their own gain instead of God's glory.

But I digress, even if the Bible changed (which is doesn't as we've said) how does that address your soul specifically? How does that address whether or not you are a good person? Or at least a person good enough to go to heaven and escape the punishment for your sins?

Look unto Jesus and be saved!

Rev Jason Hilliard said...

I found that I was a sinner. I had sinned against a Holy and Perfect God. His wrath abided on my head for that sin and that was right because I had earned that wrath because of my intentional disobedience to Him.

But what makes the message of the Gospel so amazing Jeremy is that though He was under no obligation to let me off the hook whatsoever, God so loved the world that He sent Christ. Not so your sin could just be forgotten... but even more amazing, so that if you will turn from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ, your sin will be laid on Him. He took the punishment for your sin on the cross so that through faith in Him... you don't have to face God's wrath on the Day of Judgment.

I don't want to insult you, so please don't take it that way, but I am pleading with you to consider your sin and consider your guilt... a moral standard demands that there be a moral standard giver... It is God. I plead with you to be reconciled with Him right now...

Gordon said...

Tracts, especially Chick tracts, are good for a laugh. But they are also stomach churningly awful.

Jonathan said...

Great article! Thank you for your desire to reach the world with the Gospel!

Our ministry offers free gospel tracts in English and Spanish! Our site is http://www.photosforsouls.com/free-literature.html

God Bless as you reach more souls for Him!

andrea chiu said...

The food is absolutely amazing. I hope I could taste and cook that in actual, maybe if I have much time since I am so busy working. Anyways, thanks for sharing your article. God Bless and have a good day. Visit my site too.

triciajoy.com

www.triciajoy.com