Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 3, 1955

We Preach The Gospel At Our State Capitol Building

James P. Needham, Haynesville, Louisiana

These are days of great advantage to the church of God. Modern means of communication are far superior to anything the world has ever known. It is possible to preach the gospel in New York and be seen and heard in San Francisco, or places even further removed. We can write a gospel sermon set it up in print, and circulate copies of it in every state of the Union, thanks to Gutenberg. When thinking of these wonders it becomes easy to conceive of unscriptural methods of using them, but this we must not do. God's law remains unaltered in every age regardless of the ultra modern inventions of man's "master mind." In this article I wish to tell of a way by which the church in Haynesville is preaching the gospel by newspaper with the hope that other churches may be inspired to use tis fine method of spreading the good news more.

Each week we print short gospel sermons in our local newspaper. These articles will average around seven or eight hundred words per week, or will cover approximately one-fourth of a newspaper page of standard size. This paper has a circulation of 2,250. Experts claim that every newspaper is read by approximately four people. That means that we are preaching to around ten thousand people per week. This costs us, on an average, $87.00 per month, or about $16.00 per week. This newspaper goes into 35 states of the Union, and to many soldiers and civilian workers in foreign countries. The editor and publisher tells us that his paper goes out from practically every coast of our nation. We are informed that the paper goes to at least two people at the state capitol, one of whom is our governor.

We conduct a weekly radio program of 15 minutes over KVMA Magnolia, Arkansas, which has very gratifying results, but we feel that our newspaper articles are doing more good, and reaching more people than the radio program. We have received more mail as a result of our newspaper articles to say the least of it. People have commended our articles from many states, and of course there have been those who condemned them because of their stinging rebuke of false doctrine. We say what we want to say in our articles, with no strings attached, other than those ordinarily attached, such as, not printing anything that would constitute libel.

In some cases editors will not allow one to preach the truth through their newspapers. They may be so prejudiced against the truth themselves that they will not stand for their religious opinions to be contradicted, or they may be so weak that they will yield to the pressure of the Catholics, or other sectarians in the community and refuse to print articles containing the Gospel Truth. This recently happened in Newbern, Tennessee, when Earl Fly, in his able manner, opposed the Eddie Martin campaign through the Newbern paper. After being refused space in the paper at Newbern he was offered space in the Dyersberg paper, where he is now carrying on his outstanding work. Our editor says he is a red-blooded American, and that he believes in freedom of speech. It is his belief that when we pay for the space it becomes ours to use as we see fit.

A Catholic who subscribed to the paper wrote him a letter condemning him for allowing the church of Christ to print the truth about Catholicism. The editor paid it no mind. A few weeks later, the individual wrote him another letter threatening to cancel his subscription if he printed another article from the church of Christ. The editor and publisher wrote the man a check for a full year's subscription, and mailed it to him.

Through the paper we have stirred up the people of our community, including its preachers. Some of them have opposed us every way but honorably! This causes people to become interested in reading what we have to say. All preachers have refused to sign propositions for an honorable discussion with us, we have printed this and kept it before the minds of the people, and it has hurt the cause of error considerably.

I think most everyone realizes the distinct advantages of the printed word over other methods of preaching. People, if they listen to a radio program, will likely forget much that is said. IF it is possible to get them to our church buildings to hear the truth, the same is largely true. But when we write the word down, and put it into the hands and homes of the public, they can read it without anyone's knowing about it, and if they don't understand it they can go back and read it again. Of course, I realize that other methods of preaching have advantages over the printed method; my point is this: we need to use the newspapers more than we do.

Of course it will put some extra work on the preacher! That is, if the articles are to have any "meat" in them. It won't take much work to feed the readers on "empty husks" but such does not nourish the souls of men, nor command the interest of the readers. I often spend hours writing and re-writing my articles, trying to say everything just like I think it should be said with as few words as possible. To write meaningless articles with pointless paragraphs to fill up the space will not "do the trick." The way to stir the people is to deal with issues in a sincere, but very frank manner. Soft-soap in your pen will not cleanse the sinners who read! It takes the pointed truth to prick the hearts of the people.

Many congregations throughout the country have already discovered the newspaper as a splendid means of preaching the gospel. It's the belief of this writer that many more should be using it. It's good for the preacher to write, it's good for the church to feel the influence and see the results of the work being done within its framework both in the local community and abroad. Here's an opportunity for each local church to do some "mission" work. If each congregation will utilize the facilities at its disposal, the results will be surprising and gratifying. It's hard for me to keep from believing that we have these modern conveniences through which to preach God's truth, as a result of His providence. May this article inspire you to investigate the possibility of using your local newspaper. I'll be happy should this happen.