The Truth About Gospel Tracts

Posted on April 21, 2008

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Before writing this blog, I feel that I need to teach anyone who reads this blog what a “gospel tract” is. If you have had no experience in the Independent Baptist movement then you probably have no idea what these things are. A gospel tract is pretty much a small pamphlet that usually features a catchy phrase or photo on the front. Once these pamphlets are opened they have some sort of rhetoric about sin and the need to find salvation in Jesus. Usually these pamphlets are abrasive and turn people away from God rather than draw them near.

This past weekend my family decided they would like to partake in one of the best meals available in NC: Libby Hill Seafood. If you are not from this area then you honestly do not know what you are missing. A plate filled with fried flounder, fried shrimp, fried chicken, hush puppies (basically mini pieces of sweet cornbread, fried of course), and fries is what I received from this fine establishment on this occasion. I called in my family’s order and then me and Liz ventured to Reidsville to pick it up. When I got there I noticed the line for the drive through pick up was way too long. So we decided to go inside. The Lord put us there for a reason on this day.

We walk in and I tell the girl behind the counter my last name for my order. As she is fetching our order I look to my left and I notice multiple stacks of gospel tracts that someone had left behind sitting on the counter. Some had pictures of hell on the front (which apparently hell looks like a nice clean bonfire perfect for hot dog roasting) some of these tracts had sayings on them like “King James 1611 Authorized Bible vs. the NIV” and “Why Christians do not get cremated.” (I had honestly never heard that it was a sin for someone to be cremated. What about those victims who were unintentionally cremated in the world trade center terrorist attack?) I immediately tell Liz to look over at what is on the counter. Her eyes became large and glazed over in joy. I tell the girl behind the counter what condements I need and as she is fetching those Liz begins to stack up all the tracts into a neat pile. I look over at Liz and before I know it she says “I am going outside” and walks off with the stack of tracts. Besides her lack of discreetness she did an excellent job swiping these tracts.
On our way back home from Reidsville, Liz read the tracts to me and I had a good laugh.

When we arrived back to my house I shared these tracts with my family. Some people in my family were amazed as the insanity of the author of these tracts. One tract, as it is discussing the perversion of the modern generation reads “what was once hiding in the closet, is now parading in our streets.” Now, if I was a homosexual, I would probably never consider giving my life to Christ after reading that statement. Would you? I could not help but be heartbroken at the damage these people are causing in placing these tracts in public places. If they truly believe this judgmental dogma then why do they have to hide behind paper rather than approach people themselves? (Probably because Pastor So in so knows a gay man could probably kick his head in.) There is no wonder that 1 out of 5 young people outside of Christianity find that Christians are judgmental. (That statistic comes from the Barna group in the book, unChristian.)

Let me encourage those of you who are Christians. If you see a gospel tract laying around pick it up and read it. If it is making a statement that would push someone away from Christianity then put the pamphlet in its proper place. (The trash can makes a perfect tract container.) In doing this you might just prevent someone from putting a wall up between them and God. One quote from my evangelism class that will stick with me for life is that “if God wanted us to use tracts He would have sent a tract rather than His Son to earth.” Because God sent his Son to earth we know that our God is a relational God. God wants us to make disciples through our relationships just as Jesus did.

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