Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 7, 1950

Preaching The Gospel

Norman Buselmeier, Houston, Texas

Certainly, the business of the church is to preach the gospel to the whole world. If we are to follow scriptural and apostolic example; however, we will not let our enthusiasms and judgment run riot, forgetting that the work was done decently (circumspectly) and in order (in an orderly way, logically, businesslike).

We are instructed by Paul to apply these principles generally, and especially in all the work and worship of the church, but we seem to take a long time developing a circumspect and orderly practice in more than one respect.

As to "missionary" work, the disciples were dispersed from Jerusalem, and according to the record, "went through the towns preaching," (Lu. 9:6) and "they that were scattered abroad went everywhere—from place to place—preaching the word." (Acts 8:4).

The Apostle Paul, who as Saul, was responsible for the Jerusalem dispersion, and who later came on the scene as a gospel preacher, is generally credited as being the outstanding individual in "missionary" work, and can safely be cited as an example. For Paul was certainly circumspect, orderly, effective and efficient in every phase of the work he accomplished, what he did himself, and that which others did under his supervision. He even chose at times to subordinate his personal inclinations in favor of more important and necessary activities.

We can get more than a glimpse of the purposeful planning of this man of indomitable character, by simply following his routes from town to town for twenty odd years. He selected a starting place, then followed a logical course, and after he had been preaching some 22 years, he wrote "so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." (Ro. 15:19) "But now, (he says) having no more place in these parts, etc.," (Ro. 15:23) writing from Corinth on his way back to Jerusalem, from whence some four or five years later, after all kinds of hardships, privations and perils, he had made his way to Rome, intending to journey on to Spain after "he had no more place—important work—in those parts."

We too must consider it our business to preach the gospel to the whole world; but let us do it like Paul, objectively, in an orderly way. Let us start in our own back yard and spread out from there.

When we have exhausted under thumb opportunities, maybe we will be experienced enough, and strong enough in purse and conviction to see what can be done among the Catholic, sectarian, non and irreligious "round about" us. When we get through with that, or when we "have no more place in these parts," maybe we will be ready to make a longer journey.

Since one thought leads to another, this may be apropos here. With me, it is a conviction that our country is now and has been since its beginning, the most potent force in the world for good. And I'm not overlooking the rampant wickedness that scuffs the dirt along with the good. But so, I believe, only because the influence of Christ has been stronger among us than elsewhere. If that is true, and we want to make our country through the gospel of Christ, have its most effective influence on the world, why do we spread our strength so thin? Why not concentrate on working where we don't have to butt our heads through the wall to get on the other side? By the time a national objective was accomplished, who can say but what the rest of the world, learning of what we would have here, would have its barriers down, and be impotent to hinder the spread of the gospel.

As it is here, we are called a Christian nation. But we are not yet strong enough as a Christian body to make Christian principles and Christian thinking a predominant force, either in the church, in our community, or in the nation. We are not yet strong enough as a body nationally, to secure for the nation, integrity in our government as a predominant characteristic, nor Christian principles in the giving and applying of governmental authority. As I see it the fact is, for all this being a Christian nation, the spirit of Christ is so dim and part buried yet, and so much work needed to make it predominant, that to stretch our united efforts beyond the nation's border in the meantime, seems to me to border on pathetic imbecility.

On the other hand, I believe we could begin to do a noble job by concerting our efforts here, overlooking neither avenues or opportunities, and pulling no punches.