Saturday, April 19, 2008

God's Offer Is Expiring

Here's an offering from the Gospel Tract Distributors, a group who don't quite have the resources to be as good as the Fellowship Tract League. Their formula is the same - a fairly unimaginative cover followed by three pages of text. They also have the same message, that God sent his son Jesus to save us from our sins. The hook this tract offers is that "God's offer of mercy and pardon to sinners is now fast running out."

It's a good hook. Instead of saying "Jesus loves you and died to save your sins" they are saying "Jesus loves you and died for your sins, so act now before He changes his mind and it's TOO LATE!!!" Okay, it doesn't say God will change his mind. Rather, it says "the day is fixed for judgment upon the whole world," and that day of judgment is the deadline after which it will be too late to be Saved. At that time, the Lord Jesus will say to us, "I know you not whence ye are!" To which I will reply, "Huh?"

This tract provides a good analogy. They tell the story of how the British government, at the end of World War II, offered
a deal to deserters - if they came forward and reported themselves, they would be shown leniency. The expiration date for that offer was March 31st, 1947, and when that date came and went the thousands who hadn't turned themselves in "were hunted down one by one to face the full penalty of the law." We are basically the same as those deserters, but instead of a known expiration date of March 31, we have a day of judgment that, while "fixed," could come at any time.

Why should we worry about the day of judgment? "The present dispensation (or age) is doubtless near its end," the tract tells us. Doubtless? How can they be so doubtless? "The return of the Lord Jesus Christ is drawing very near; the time of earth's dark night of tribulation, and of 'vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ' is surely at hand." Surely? How can they be so surely? Because "everything in the present international state of affairs attests to this fact." Ah, I see. That clears everything up.

This tract was an entertaining read, but I've had much better. I find it hilarious that these tract writers think that people can be swayed with arguments that stand on "doubtless" and "surely" and "everything attests to this fact." What fact? Most tracts try to hide their lack of actual evidence, but most are smart enough not to use "doubtless" and "surely" to do so. Also, as a fear-mongering tract, this one fails to use any word more harsh than judgment. What will that judgment be? Other tracts delight in giving us the gory details - torment day and night, worms that dieth not, gnashing of teeth, that sort of thing. If you don't show us what's at stake, you can't terrify us into a rash decision to join a religion, guys! I'd offer you a chance to do better next time, but given the higher quality of most tracts out there, I'd say that offer has already expired.

Likely to Convert - 0
Artwork - 2
Ability to Hold Interest - 4
Unintentional Hilarity - 5
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 0

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