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Evangelizing in the Worst Circumstances

Dawson Trotman writes:

In 1948 in Europe I met for three days with a group of 25 German fellows. I talked to them every evening for three hours, laying before them the Great Commission and the idea that not only did Germany need to hear the gospel, but that Germans themselves needed to obey the Great Commission by sending out missionaries.

Every once in a while a hand would go up. One of them said, "But Mr. Trotman, you don't understand. Some of us right in this room don't even own an Old Testament. We only have a New Testament." But I pointed out, "When Jesus Christ gave these commands, they didn't have even a New Testament."

Later another spoke up. "But Mr. Trotman, we have few good evangelical books in this country like you have in America." I asked, "How many books did the disciples have?"

Scattered through our nine hours together were other protests: "In America you have money." "You have automobiles; we have bicycles." "In America you can hear the gospel any day." Every excuse was brought up. Each time I replied, "But the 12 apostles didn't have that either, and Jesus sent them out."

Finally, near the end, one fellow who was a little older than the rest, and who had a bitter expression on his face, rose and said, "Mr. Trotman, you in America have never had an occupation force in your land. You don't know what it is to have soldiers of another country roaming your streets. Our souls are not our own." I responded by reminding him of the Roman soldiers who occupied Palestine at the time Jesus Christ and his disciples lived.

Then it dawned on me that when Christ sent out his men, they were in a situation so bad that there could never be a worse one: no printing presses, no automobiles, no radios or television, no telephones, no church buildings.

He left them with nothing except a job to do. But with it he said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore¬Ö"

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