[Used with permission]
“Books as Powerful Tools for Theological Famine Relief”
~ Bill Walsh
At a recent conference for Pastors here in the States I witnessed one of the largest conference bookstores that I’ve ever seen. My friends and I commented on the embarrassment of riches that we enjoy in the West. If I desire a certain title, I can have a print copy sent to me in a matter of days. Or I can order the digital version for my iPad in minutes, if not seconds. So much of my Christian growth over the years has depended on books. God has used certain ones to speak to me in specific seasons of my life—with huge results.
The importance of the written word is difficult to comprehend. In terms of church history, its impact would be hard to overstate. God has used the canon of the Holy Scriptures, the writings of the early church fathers, and the pamphlets of the Reformation as vital means of building His church. By His design, the written word continues to be one of the most effective vehicles for passing truth to the next generation.
For hundreds of years, Christians in the West have been privileged to have abundant access to good literature. This wealth of reading goes back to the Gutenberg press, which changed the entire known world in a year. In modern times, access to the written word has greatly increased with the advent of computers and Internet.
Although access to the Internet is increasing, the Global South has generally not yet tasted this bounty. The church there often suffers from a famine of Biblical resources. Many people groups have no Scriptures in their language. Others have no Christian literature to equip pastors and elders to lead their congregations. And where books are lacking, believers are subject to false teaching, undermined doctrine, and weak living.
This disparity of resources gets to the core mission of TGC International Outreach.
When thinking of missions, we typically envision the classic missionary, crossing cultures for the sake of the Gospel. That is still a vital part of God’s plan, especially as we consider the more recent missiological emphasis on ‘from everywhere, to everywhere.’ But many are not aware of the powerful role that literature plays in spreading Gospel truth to the nations.
Here are a few noteworthy quotes that speak to the significance of the written word for the life of believers and for the cause of missions. These are the reasons why text in printed and digital form is at the core of our work in Theological Famine Relief for the Global Church.
Read the balance of Walsh’s piece at TGC.
[Our feature image: Bill and Cindi Walsh] Bill Walsh serves as Director of International Outreach at The Gospel Coalition.