Q: Would it be right for a pastor of our fellowship to grant the Gideons International Bible Society an opportunity to make a presentation in one of our churches?”
A: Organized in 1899, the Gideons are known for supplying hotels, motels, hospital rooms, and other public places with the King James Version of the Bible. Their object is to circulate free of charge the Holy Scriptures without note or comment, relying upon Christian individuals and denominations to donate money for this cause.
Although it would not necessarily be considered a breach of our fellowship principles if a Gideon worker were permitted an opportunity to present the worthy goal of that organization after the dose of a church service, such a practice is not a wise one. At least one pastor of our synod experienced a feeling of uneasiness, when unbeknown to him, the Gideon presenter began to stray from the topic of spreading Bibles to the matter of giving a personal testimony and making doctrinal statements. It was obvious that the presenter was going beyond the bounds which the Gideons have established for their workers, but such an incident can easily occur.
A brochure on the Gideons might be displayed in a narthex tract rack. In this way those who so desire may support the cause. Yet, those who support such efforts dare not give the impression that merely placing a book—The Book—into the hands of the heathen without doing any instructing in doctrine is carrying out the fullness of our Lord’s Great Commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Both disseminating the Bible and indoctrinating people are important.