+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Acceptable Christian Tracts

  1. #1
    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Toowoomba Region, Queensland Australia
    Posts
    5,907
    Post Thanks / Like

    Acceptable Christian Tracts

    I'm trying to work my way through an issue that has recently cropped up in my church.

    One of my members and local preacher is passionate about evangelism, particularly personal evangelism, and has been going door to door distributing Christian tracts. The ones he chooses to use have been the "Chic Tracts" (Comic book style) but some in my congregation believe that these tracts are both dated (depicting Christians in a way that represents the 1950s and 60s) and are too focussed on "Hell fire judgement".

    Personally I use other tracts so I haven't had much to do with these.

    However, my evangelist friend believes that you cannot properly tell the good news of salvation unless you explain the negative consequences of sin.... i.e. unless people are saved, they're going to hell.

    So what do you think, do we need to speak of hell in the tracts we distribute?

    Most of our members don't believe that we do. (As a denomination, we tend to sympathise with the Universalists anyway..... though we don't deny the existance of Hell)

    If we exclude any mention of "Hell", what information should be included in the Gospel tracts that we distribute?

    Please note, I don't want this to become another thread about whether hell exists or not or even about what hell means.... my question is related specifically about what type of information needs to be in our Gospel tracts and whether "Hell" need even be mentioned?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.
    Thanks Peggy Gray, Greg Farra, Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

  2. #2
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Penn's Woods :)
    Posts
    10,021
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    In our post-Christian world, I think God's love would have more effect than hell and judgement.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    424
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Quote Originally Posted by David Graham View Post
    If we exclude any mention of "Hell", what information should be included in the Gospel tracts that we distribute?
    David, can I assume by your use of tracts that you feel they still work in your neck of the woods? I only ask because my personal opinion is that in the US, I don't think they are a useful tool anymore. I wonder - am I alone in this feeling? I'd like to know because if many consider them still useful, I might think about it.
    Thanks David Graham, Jim Chabot, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  4. #4
    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Toowoomba Region, Queensland Australia
    Posts
    5,907
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Good point Jim, maybe they're past their "used by" date too.
    Thanks Jim Bentley, Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Norton, MA Connor, ME
    Posts
    12,192
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Quote Originally Posted by David Graham View Post
    Good point Jim, maybe they're past their "used by" date too.
    This would be my thought as well, although I'm not in your neck of the woods, you would certainly have a better take on this.

    I can say that around here the Jehovah's Witnesses are reall big on door to door evangelism and they always leave some sort of printed material. Their material mostly focuses on a warm fuzzy paradise type of eternity. They don't seem to see much in the way of results, then again they are a known group to avoid for most people.

    I don't know whether you fellow will be effective or not, part of me would worry about him, and part of me would wonder if maybe he is doing what the Lord has called him to do. I think that I would take the advice of Gamaliel and his student Paul. I think I would watch and wait.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks David Graham - "thanks" for this post

  6. #6
    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Damascus, MD
    Posts
    1,122
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Not specifically on the topic of tracts but I've had similar conversations on "you have to mention Hell/consequences" mentality.

    My last conversation on this was really not too productive as I was being browbeaten by a few others. Two persons in particular disagreed with my suggestion that evangelism should match the need of each person and should not be done with a cookie cutter "you are a sinner who is in threat of Hell and I'll tell you how to fix that" approach. One continually lamented the propensity of "this generation" ignoring the wrath of God in deference to His love. The other, a missionary to China home on a break, told me flat out that without mentioning God's wrath and the risk of Hell that I was distorting the Gospel itself.

    I politely disagreed, but this seemed to make both individuals only angrier that I would not change my position.


    Really I don't find it necessary to speak to the risk of Hell to every individual. I believe that God sought relationship with Adam prior to and in spite of the risk of separation through sin. Hell isn't the reason to want a saving relationship with God, God's desire to have relationship with us is. It seems that if you want salvation to avoid Hell then God is nothing more than a means to an end to avoid that.

    Additionally, introducing the concept of Hell to every person is going to result in at least some people viewing God (the creator of Hell) as a wrathful deity. This speaks to those who are going to be shocked/helped by The Shack. Its creating a problem.

    Anyway, that's enough for now.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse
    Thanks David Graham, Marsha Lynn, Diane Likens, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Valparaiso, IN, USA
    Posts
    5,742
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Chick tracts are terribly dated... and many are outright offensive. Not in the sense that the gospel is naturally offensive. I mean it in the sense that they stereotype people in offensive ways. I wouldn't want our church to be associated with them in any way.

    Now for your question: I don't know that a gospel presentation needs to emphasize hell. Jesus' gospel presentation often didn't. He announced the coming of the kingdom of God and called people to repent. He invited people to believe/trust in him and to follow him. Yes, sometimes he would highlight the contrast between the two options available to people (light/dark, narrow/wide, perishing/eternal life), and I think we can still do that without an emphasis on eternal destination. We can still call people out of the dark into the light; away from the kind of life that destroys themselves, their relationships, and the world, and into a life with Christ that is life-giving and hope-filled. We can still proclaim the good news of Jesus' victory over sin and death by his death and resurrection and invite people to share in that victory. None of this requires a post-death eternity in hell, if you ask me. The negative consequences of sin are not all in the next life, just like the eternal life we find in Christ starts now and carries on into eternity.

  8. #8
    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Kevin Rector's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Vilonia, Arkansas
    Posts
    3,656
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    Chick tracts are terribly dated... and many are outright offensive. Not in the sense that the gospel is naturally offensive. I mean it in the sense that they stereotype people in offensive ways. I wouldn't want our church to be associated with them in any way.
    ^^

    This
    God is really good.
    Thanks Benjamin Hobbs, David Graham - "thanks" for this post

  9. #9
    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Kevin Rector's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Vilonia, Arkansas
    Posts
    3,656
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    As to the question of how to engage evangelism and what to discuss when doing evangelism I think that we should take a full orbed theological approach to our soteriology. There are three fundamental things that happen in salvation: we are justified, adopted, and regenerated. My observation is that far too many people who wish to do evangelistic work focus on the justification and ignore the adoption and regeneration... AND when the focus on the justification they typically only focus on the components of justification that is the avoidance of punishment and ignore the components of justification that is the imputation of Christ's righteousness.

    But in salvation we are just as much made children of God as we are made "not guilty" of our sin. We are just as much "made alive in Christ" as we are made "not culpable for transgressions." These are co-equal in the salvific equation. So why not focus as much (or more if it will be edifying in compassing salvation) on these when we share the good news? If you asked the average Christian what salvation is they'd probably say it's the forgiveness of sins.... they'd not even acknowledge the adoption or regeneration... and it's just as much those. It's actually rather sad the paucity of the average soteriological understanding.
    God is really good.

  10. #10
    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Toowoomba Region, Queensland Australia
    Posts
    5,907
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Thanks everyone for your helpful insights.... I was thinking along similar lines. However, I don't think it's going to be easy to change his mind. However, I will present to him a much more "positive" way of presenting the gospel and see what he thinks about it. Pray for me.....
    Thanks Gina Stevenson, Kevin Rector, Peggy Gray, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  11. #11
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,796
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Quote Originally Posted by David Graham View Post
    I'm trying to work my way through an issue that has recently cropped up in my church.

    One of my members and local preacher is passionate about evangelism, particularly personal evangelism, and has been going door to door distributing Christian tracts. The ones he chooses to use have been the "Chic Tracts" (Comic book style) but some in my congregation believe that these tracts are both dated (depicting Christians in a way that represents the 1950s and 60s) and are too focussed on "Hell fire judgement".

    Personally I use other tracts so I haven't had much to do with these.

    However, my evangelist friend believes that you cannot properly tell the good news of salvation unless you explain the negative consequences of sin.... i.e. unless people are saved, they're going to hell.

    So what do you think, do we need to speak of hell in the tracts we distribute?

    Most of our members don't believe that we do. (As a denomination, we tend to sympathise with the Universalists anyway..... though we don't deny the existance of Hell)

    If we exclude any mention of "Hell", what information should be included in the Gospel tracts that we distribute?

    Please note, I don't want this to become another thread about whether hell exists or not or even about what hell means.... my question is related specifically about what type of information needs to be in our Gospel tracts and whether "Hell" need even be mentioned?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.
    A balanced gospel message is lawful.

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

    5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)
    Thanks David Graham - "thanks" for this post

  12. #12
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Beaumont, CA
    Posts
    9,874
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    We've spent years tryin' to scare the hell out of 'em with somewhat less than spectacular results. If God's love and grace doesn't get through to them, it's doubtful anything else will.
    Thanks David Graham - "thanks" for this post

  13. #13
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,796
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kennedy View Post
    We've spent years tryin' to scare the hell out of 'em with somewhat less than spectacular results. If God's love and grace doesn't get through to them, it's doubtful anything else will.
    I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't know about Jesus. Like the watchtower the tracts hit the trash can more than likely. However in presenting the gospel message a balanced message is lawful. Hope and accountability together. Thats how John the baptist in his day prepared the way for the Lord. "Repent" and be baptized. And Peter stated the same in how one is saved. Peter replied, "Repent" and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

    However if one rejects or doesn't listen to Moses, the prophets, the psalms, and the NT then its unlikely they will believe even if someone rises from the dead. You would think the testimony and signs in rev 11 would convince all but it doesn't.

    Maybe those who are too busy with other things would consider there are eternal consequences at stake and seek the Lord for their own sake.

    Acts 2:40
    With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

    Warned them of what? Judgment.
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)

  14. #14
    Senior Member David Troxler's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Duxbury, MA
    Posts
    1,399
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    I can say that around here the Jehovah's Witnesses are reall big on door to door evangelism and they always leave some sort of printed material. Their material mostly focuses on a warm fuzzy paradise type of eternity. They don't seem to see much in the way of results, then again they are a known group to avoid for most people.
    The Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are about to be banned and labeled as a subversive group on an order similar to terrorist organizations. See the article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/w...mist.html?_r=0

    What is at stake is what they ascribe to in sharing their publications. They are pacifists and don't celebrate the nationalism of the countries in which they live. This makes them suspect.

    The tract issue Jim brings up here makes it difficult to decide what tracts are truly Christian and helpful, but I would be very hard-pressed for the government to make that decision for me as is happening to them there.

    Apparently it is making it difficult for other Christian organizations there as well who want to continue to be free to distribute each group's own material, but if one is declared subversive, who is to say others' won't be similarly declared in the future.
    Thanks David Graham - "thanks" for this post

  15. #15
    Full Member Jonathan Sparks's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Yukon, OK
    Posts
    65
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    A few years ago, I developed a business card/gospel tract that I use from time to time. It is centered around God's love and our reciprocal love toward Him, and uses "The Message" for its Scripture references. The business card side can be adapted for any person or organization from the *.pub version of the card. Since I cannot send the *.pub file through NazNet, I am attaching two jpeg pictures (front and back) of the card/tract so that you can view it. I usually print from the *.pub file so that it prints two double-sided card/tracts per sheet, then cut between the two copies and fold once or twice depending on the size of pocket I am carrying them in. If you would like a copy of the *.pub file for adaptation (or I can adapt for you and your information if you have trouble using Microsoft Publisher), please private message me. Click image for larger version

Name:	Salvation Postcard - StrengthsCoaching - 5A.jpg
Views:	37
Size:	106.5 KB
ID:	8870Click image for larger version

Name:	Salvation Postcard - StrengthsCoaching - 5B.jpg
Views:	35
Size:	104.2 KB
ID:	8871
    Thanks David Graham, Diane Likens - "thanks" for this post

  16. #16
    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Toowoomba Region, Queensland Australia
    Posts
    5,907
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Acceptable Christian Tracts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Sparks View Post
    A few years ago, I developed a business card/gospel tract that I use from time to time. It is centered around God's love and our reciprocal love toward Him, and uses "The Message" for its Scripture references. The business card side can be adapted for any person or organization from the *.pub version of the card. Since I cannot send the *.pub file through NazNet, I am attaching two jpeg pictures (front and back) of the card/tract so that you can view it. I usually print from the *.pub file so that it prints two double-sided card/tracts per sheet, then cut between the two copies and fold once or twice depending on the size of pocket I am carrying them in. If you would like a copy of the *.pub file for adaptation (or I can adapt for you and your information if you have trouble using Microsoft Publisher), please private message me. Attachment 8870Attachment 8871
    Wow, thanks Jonathan, I'm really impressed with that. Have you had any feedback from those who had received them?

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts