Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 3, 1952
NUMBER 47, PAGE 4-5a

Using The Local Newspaper


Because of the very practical suggestion it contains, and hoping to encourage a more widespread use of the opportunity pointed out, we call your attention to this letter we received a few weeks ago from brother Charles Haslam, preacher for the Pinellas Park congregation in St. Petersburg, Florida:

January 4, 1951 Dear Yater:

I am enclosing a recent article that I wrote for the weekly Pinellas Park newspaper. (See "New Tasks for New Followers," this issue). It is a comment on the International Sunday School Lesson. I have been doing it each week for a year, and we feel that it is doing a lot of good. As you will notice, it hits hard at the miracle workers for there is a big Pentecostal meeting in progress in St. Petersburg at this time. Now I do not feel that there is any great scholarship displayed in the article nor any great literary talent, but it occurs to me that there must be hundreds of weekly newspapers all over the country that would be glad to allow the local preacher, well known in his own community, to write a column each week like this. I use the International lesson as the basis because, most papers print one of the syndicated lessons any way, and it allows one to set up discussions in the classes of the denominations pitting the denominational line against what the Bible says.

The local editor prints whatever I write, I have never been blue-penciled. Whenever I come to a sharp point of disagreement with the denominations, I let the Bible speak, using quotation marks and giving the book, chapter and verse. Last summer I showed an article to Howard White of New Orleans, which dealt with eternal security and the kingdom. It was hard for him to believe that it would be published. But it was. Why? Because the Bible did the talking. The column is widely read and discussed. It is causing people to think of the church as a Bible teaching agency rather than a social center. Other preachers more capable than I can do the same in their communities. Urge them to contact their local weeklies with this idea. Replace the syndicated column with one written by a local man. Use the idea of building circulations by using a well-known local man as the author. I believe many editors will jump at the chance.

Fraternally, Charley Haslam


We are impressed with the possibilities suggested by the foregoing. Newspaper editors are constantly on the search for features which will add local interest to their pages, increase their number of readers, tie the paper to the local community. This is particularly true of the smaller papers and the weeklies. Properly handled, such a weekly column could become an extremely influential medium. It is certainly worth a try, anyhow.

Making The Contact

If any gospel preachers who read this page would like to make the attempt to interest your local editor in the matter, we offer the following suggestions:

1. Write up four or five articles on the International lessons for dates that are past, making them conform in length to about the same space used by any syndicated column the paper may be running.

2. Prepare these articles in letter-perfect typewritten form, double-spacing throughout, being extremely careful as to spelling, punctuation, neatness, etc. Leave generous margins at the side and top of pages, and an especially wide margin (two to three inches on the first page a title in the upper left hand margin, e.g. "International Lesson — page 2," "International Lessonpage 3," etc.

3. Do NOT (never, never, never!) staple the sheets together. You may use a paper clip, but never a staple. These staples have to be dug out by the editor or typesetter, and the process is usually accompanied by profanity and extremely uncomplimentary remarks about the so-and-so who would put them there. (Incidentally, the Guardian's editor gets quite a bit of material with sheets stapled together; he feels the same way about it the newspaper editor does, but doesn't express his feelings.)

4. Be extremely careful not to argue controverted points, but follow brother Haslam's suggestion of putting in pointed and relevant scriptural quotations, always citing chapter and verse. Quotations now and then from recognized denominational leaders (John Wesley, Martin Luther, Spurgeon, Beecher, Moody) may help. Be careful that such quotations are accurate, and are not used by you to mean something other than was intended by the original author. Keep in mind that the primary of the column is to teach, and write on the assumption that everybody will agree with your statements.

5. The ignorance of people generally concerning the Bible is appalling. If you are able to make the arrangement for the weekly column, strive to keep it as simple and matter of fact as possible. Assume that your average reader has only the haziest sort of knowledge of Bible people and Bible events. Make positive statements of truth, as if no body would dream of questioning what you say. If controversy does arise, handle it through letters, not through the column.