Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 2, 1958
NUMBER 34, PAGE 6-7b

Wanted: Gospel Preachers In Norway

Connie W. Adams, Bergen, Norway

We have not been in Norway very long, yet it does not require a decade to begin to realize the great opportunities that are present in this land of rugged splendor. The writer feels called upon to set forth some of the opportunities and needs that stare us in the face.

Until April this year, there were no gospel preachers at work in Norway. There are now four preachers and their families in Oslo, the capital. They are making progress and doing a thorough job. They have a distinct advantage in that there are several to help get the work done.

In September the writer and wife, along with three fine members of the church, came to Bergen. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and the hustling center of activity on the west coast. It is beautifully situated between seven mountains. Here, there is a curious, yet fascinating intermingling of the old and the new. Parts of the city date back 1,000 years while the main center of business is filled with many modern and well-equipped stores. Bergen's proximity to the coast brings it much rain. The winters are not severe because of its nearness to the Gulf Stream. There is a charm about the city with its famous fish market, docks, lovely parks and friendly people that slowly has stolen into our hearts.

Religious Situation

Norway has a state religion: i.e., the Lutheran Church. 90% of her population is listed in that denomination. Yet, it is not entirely accurate to say that Norway is Lutheran. Only 2% of her nominal members attend the services. Very few children and young people ever attend. There is a general feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction in the hearts of many. Some have lost interest in religion in general. A small percentage has gone into the various sects who have freedom to operate here. These sects are nearly all permeated by the Holiness ideas and practices. But, there is a considerable number of people who are groping for something and realize the inadequacy of the state church to provide it. Nor are they ready to swing to the Pentecostal extremes. Can you not see the opportunity this presents to us?

Our Progress

We have been meeting publicly for five weeks. We secured an adequate meeting place in a well-located hotel, and began our public work with a gospel meeting. The attendance and interest surpassed our expectations. Twenty-three different Norwegians attended the meeting. Some of these are still attending consistently and we hope to convert some of them ere long. We have had several private discussions with various ones about the church and our work, and others are scheduled. Already, a debate has developed with one of the Holiness sects and will be conducted Ian. 6-9. The writer shall meet A. D. Norris of Yorkshire, England in a discussion on the establishment of the kingdom.

Our best attendance has been at the Wednesday night service. We are forced to use an interpreter in order to solve the language problem. Some who attend speak English, but others cannot, and they, too, must understand. We have purchased some earphones for simultaneous translation and it is solving the problem now.

This will continue to be a problem until we have someone well enough versed in the language to speak it fluently.

We are running two ads each week in the largest paper here. Most of those attending first noticed the ads in the paper. The cost is very reasonable and the results good.

We have been distributing tracts from door to door this week. Next week, we will do more of the same.

Our Needs

Tracts. TV has not yet invaded Norway and the people read voluminously. For a long time to come, this will be one of the most effective means of reaching people. Tracts printed in English can be used and we have some of these. We could use others. What will best serve this need is enough funds to have good tracts translated and printed in Norwegian. We are using our mimeograph machine to print everything we can, but there are some things it cannot do.

Continued prayers of the Saints. Without this we might as well go home. We are aware that many devout prayers have ascended in our behalf, and for these we are grateful.

More Workers. There is room for several preachers here in Bergen. There are four in Oslo and they all stay busy. We need another preacher and his family to come next spring or early summer. Support will be needed for such work. Of course, it should be scripturally done. My brother, if you would consider coming, the writer begs you not to seek your support in a way that is causing dissention among brethren. Come in such a way that you can put your finger on the passage that justifies what is being done.

It is not easy to decide to move so far from home. The writer is now acquainted with the nostalgic feeling that comes over one when he stands on the deck of a ship and listens to the "Star Spangled Banner" and wonders if he shall ever see his native shores again, and what strange circumstances will confront him as he takes his family into a strange land. But there is a good way to come to a decision for one who is interested. Make a list of the reasons why you should come. In an adjoining column make a list of the reasons why you should not. If your negative reasons are all based on human ties and circumstances, then read Luke 14:26. This is not to suggest that all gospel preachers should pull up stakes and come to Norway. If you have no desire to come into such a place and engage in such work, please don't come. However, we are persuaded that there are some who would like to help in such work and have been unable to decide upon a definite place. If that is the case, then please don't forget Norway.

Two of our workers must return to the states the last of this month. Circumstances beyond their control make this necessary. When they leave, there will be three of us left to carry on until we can convert some. The writer will be the only man and will have to lead singing, preach, lead all the prayers, serve at the table, follow up the contacts, distribute tracts, handle the financial affairs and other related matters. He is perfectly willing to do this, but suggests these matters to show how much needs to be done and how much more could be accomplished with more man-power.

If anyone reading this should be interested in learning more about the work here in Bergen, please feel free to contact the writer at Postboks nr. 2, Bergen, Norway.