Is the Challenge Too Great - Or Are the Comforts Too Easy?
William E. Pierce
When Jesus told his disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature," it was his plan that Jerusalem would be the beginning point. From Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and finally that "Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in (his) name among all nations." (Lk. 24:47) We know from the book of Acts that this plan was executed. The church was so zealous that the band of Christians grew to several thousands. Persecutions could not stop them, but rather, it only enlarged the member of Christians, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). The Gospel spread with such swiftness that Paul could write to the Colossians, "Be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every, creature which is under heaven" (1:23). Think about it! What a great statement to make! Paul could say this as the result of zeal, faith, determination and untireless effort on the part of the Christians to fulfill the great commission. THIS WAS THE CHURCH IN THE FIRST CENTURY.
Now, let us look at the church in the 20th century. If my figures are correct, we have 8,000 gospel preachers in the United States or one preacher to every 25,000 people. The United States only composes 7 percent of the world's population. In 93 percent of the world's population, there are only 210 men and 215 women or one gospel preacher to every 19,000,000 people. These figures may vary a little, but not enough that we cannot see how miserably the church in the 20th century is failing in fulfilling the great commission. The Gospel is to be preached to every nation and the United States is only one nation out of many. Think of the modern modes of traveling in our day compared to the first century. From this, it would seem that we could be more effective in our reaching people of all nations with the gospel.
Why is it then that more nations aren't hearing the pure Gospel? IS THIS CHALLENGE TOO GREAT OR ARE THE COMFORTS AT HOME TOO EASY? When I hear and see preachers who are looking for a "good church" with whom to work, when I hear of and see bigger and finer church buildings being built when I hear of older preachers, experienced and seasoned for foreign fields, move from one large church to another of equal size: and when I hear the reasons (perhaps excuses), offered for not going to foreign fields then I begin to understand why more nations haven't heard, why even other parts of the United States haven't heard the Gospel. I begin to see the extent of our dedication.
You who are reading this article, what are you going to do about this situation? Will you as a congregation intensify your efforts and send others to foreign fields and will you as gospel preachers make plans to enter another nation and preach the Gospel?
There are opportunities here in Norway and we need workers badly. We need men and women who are dedicated, who are willing to live as do the people, who are willing to learn a difficult language and who are willing, as the Norwegians say, to "drive themselves down" (settle down) for a few years. We would be happy to correspond with anyone who would like to know of the opportunities here and who would be interested in coming here. Will you accept the challenge and let us hear from you?
Truth Magazine VI: 5, p. 1