By Cecil Willis
As time and financial resources permit, it is our intention to continue to add to the teaching aids which are published by the Cogdill Foundation. The organizing of such a foundation as Cogdill Foundation had but one purpose, and that was to provide the means for the publishing and distribution of materials that can be used in teaching the gospel. Presently we have well over two hundred different books, booklets, tracts, or class books that we publish and keep in print. When “Truth In Life” has been completed, we will have a total of about three hundred different items which we publish.
But we have made just a small beginning in the preparation of materials that we would like to see published. Last year we began the publishing of the Florida College Lectures in hard-back book form. These lectures contain the best material that the able men who speak from year to year can produce. Previously, only one year of the Florida College Lectures had been published, though outlines have been available each year. The only published lectures, the 1955 lectures entitled Ancient Faith in Conflict, have been of much use to me. I am sure that those who purchased the printed lectures last year (Biblical Authority: Its Meaning and Application) have found some valuable material therein. It is my judgment that young preachers fifty years from now will be searching to try to procure a copy of Biblical Authority: Its Meaning and Application. The 1975 Lectures entitled Great Bible Doctrines also will be a treasured possession for a generation not yet born, if our Lord tarries.
Consistent with our desire to continue to produce helpful teaching instruments, we have just completed the printing of a six-lesson correspondence course. Brother Norman Midgette has used various correspondence courses very effectively, both in this country and in Canada. For this reason, I have asked him to write the article which appears elsewhere in this issue. Brother Midgette suggests a number of ways whereby such a correspondence course can be used by you to get the gospel before those who need to know and obey it. Give careful consideration to his article.
In many portions of the world, the people are so poor that they do not have the money to purchase some of the monsters that consume too much of many Christians’ time: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc. The printed page has proved to be one of the most effective ways to teach. Frequently one who is not a Christian will read a tract or study through a correspondence course, even though he might be reluctant to talk face to face with a gospel preacher.
Many denominational groups have exploited this wide-open field of teaching by means of the printed page. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have one paper that has an 8,000,000 circulation. Millions, yes, even hundreds of millions of their books have poured forth from their presses. Many thousands of people would as readily accept a piece of literature which teaches the truth, if they were given the opportunity to do so.
Brother Jimmie Lovell of California for many years has been an ardent promoter of correspondence courses. Brother Lovell has traveled around the world many times in order to visit gospel preachers and other saints in the other nations of this earth. Whether he has the statistics to verify his statement or not, I do not know, but if I remember correctly Brother Lovell says that 95% of the churches which have been established outside this country have been established as the result of Bible correspondence course work.
Reportedly, there are 80,000 Christians in Nigeria. In the December, 1974 issue of Brother Lovell’s paper called Action, he states: “Before the end of 1975 we will have over 100,000 students enrolled” in a correspondence course program which he promotes and which he calls “World Bible School.” He states that he has 30,000 people’s names and addresses who are wanting to take a correspondence course. He reports that one lady in Memphis is personally handling all the work connected with teaching over 2500 students who are studying the Bible with the help of a correspondence course. He says there are approximately 150,000 people in Thailand who are studying the Bible with the guidance of a correspondence course.
I am not proposing the usage of any sponsoring church system, or any one-man missionary society arrangement, but I am affirming that there evidently is a wide open door in many countries for the usage of a good correspondence course. If the churches which are supporting gospel preachers in other lands would provide the printed Bible lessons for preachers to use in connection with their preaching efforts, I feel quite sure that many thousands of people could be induced to study the Bible and to learn the truth who may never go hear the gospel proclaimed orally. But whether one learns the truth by oral teaching or by written teaching, nonetheless, every sinner must be taught, must learn the truths of the gospel, and render obedience to the Master’s commands in order to have his sins remitted.
The “Know Your Bible” correspondence course, which we have published in six colors, was developed and tested by Brother Gene Tope during his seventeen years of gospel preaching on the African continent. These six lessons contain basic truths, and contain enough information that one may learn what to do to be saved, and also to learn the difference between the Lord’s church and the denominations of men. My knowledge of God’s people throughout the world is quite limited, but from what little I know about the Philippine Islands alone, I am convinced that one would have no difficulty in enrolling many thousands of people in Bible correspondence courses.
Meanwhile, we have learned that even in this country, teaching through the printed page is one of the most effective and yet most economical means. Consider some of the possible ways suggested in Brother Midgette’s article to use a correspondence course in connection with your other teaching efforts, and I feel sure that you soon will become convinced that correspondence courses can be advantageously used. Different means of teaching have proved more effective in some areas than in others. A diligent and yet judicious usage of a correspondence course in connection with your local teaching efforts may open new avenues through which you can get the truth to those of your community.
If you would like to examine the new course which we have just printed, a sample copy of all six lessons may be purchased for just 75 cents. Brother Midgette probably would be glad to send you a copy of some of the newspaper ads that he has found to be effective in the places where he has worked. Since we know what the issues are which are involved in either obeying the gospel or in obeying it not, we dare not leave any stone unturned in our effort to take the Glad Tidings to lost souls throughout the earth. We fervently pray that this new correspondence course may be useful in leading many souls to Christ Jesus our Lord. But not one person will be taught the truth through these lessons so long as these lessons remain on our shelves. We trust that we might have the opportunity to prepare hundreds of thousands of these lessons for your usage as you seek to impart the Good News.
A good many thousands of tracts which I have written have been distributed. I cherish every letter which I have received from some person who feels compelled to write to let me know that the lessons contained in one or more of those tracts have been instrumental in teaching that person the gospel of God’s grace. Though someone else handed that tract to a person I have never met, and though we sometimes be separated by many thousands of miles, it gives me great joy to know that the truths in those tracts, written many years ago, are yet opening eyes and hearts that sinners may come to a saving knowledge of the Saviour. I am sure that the individual who handed that sinner that tract shares the satisfaction that I get from knowing another sinner has been led to Christ. We trust that you might come to know the great joy derived by becoming “fellow-workers for the truth.” Brother Gene Tope and you may work together to lead many to Him who takes away sin by one’s obedience to the gospel of God. Write for sample copies of the “Know Your Bible” correspondence course.
Truth Magazine XIX: 14, pp. 211-212
February 13, 1975