By Raymond E. Harris
What brings on this outburst of excitement? Well, after reading a Newsletter from the San Jose church of Christ in Jacksonville, Fla., I suppose we are expected to be breathless with excitement!
The Newsletter commences with the assertion that “The greatest opportunity of this century to reach the citizens of North America with the Gospel of Christ,” will come in 1973. They continue by saying that “1973 will present Churches of Christ with unequaled opportunities for evangelism (emph. mine R.E.H.)
Well, whats going to happen? KEY 73! Well, what in the world is KEY 73? It is the name given to a nationwide evangelistic effort of over 100 religious groups. Yes, these 100+ religious groups, including virtually every denomination in America, are “targeting” in on 1973 as a special year of evangelism. Their Objective: To reach every person in North America with the claims of Christ. Their Theme: Calling a Continent to Christ.
A National Key 1973 Central Committee will supplement local group efforts with “massive national publicity and promotion.” These include prime-time TV, prayer and study groups in over a million homes and the use of 100,000 billboards.
In their own words, “what does this have to do with the church of Christ?” The San Jose church admits there is NO way that churches of Christ can join hands with the denominations in a mutual effort. However, they suggest we develop our own SUPER-DUPER program and call it “EVANGELISM 73.” In other words, to put it in plain English, they suggest that we can take advantage of the religious promotion of “KEY 73” and ride their coat tails to success. They theorize that the TV and Billboard advertising will create a “favorable climate for evangelism.”
And now, we have saved the best for last. Perhaps you are already ahead of me. “The San Jose congregation in Jacksonville, Fla. has taken the oversight (emph. mine R.E.H.) of the EVANGELISM 73 project to inform and motivate our brethren . . .” Soooo another liberal church, desperate for recognition and immortality, reaches for the stars of national prominence. And what are sister churches to do? You guessed it brother – PRAY AND PAY!
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 46, p. 10
September 28, 1972