Why I Quit the Gideons

Decision for ChristAssociate Editor’s note: this is the first of what will hopefully be many posts by Joseph Klotz. He’s the author of the forthcoming “Lutheran Book of Hours”, a talented musician, and a solid Lutheran layman (St. Paul, Brookfield, IL). He’s also bought me a lot of beer and I don’t want him to regret agreeing to write for us, so extend him a warm welcome and be nice!  

When I was a little kid, I found the pocket-sized New Testament that my father received from a Gideon when he was drafted. I used to carry this King James New Testament around with me and read it constantly, even though I found the language to be awkward and had difficulty understanding a lot of it. That was the first Bible that was really “mine.” I had other Bibles, but they sat on the shelf. This pocket New Testament went with me everywhere. It fascinated me that I was reading that particular New Testament because a Gideon gave it to my father in 1965.

My next encounter with the Gideons was when I was in college at Murray State University. They did a “blitz” on campus. One day in the fall of 1995 the Gideons took up their posts on campus and began handing out their green PWT’s (personal worker testaments). There were several students, friends of mine among them, who made a game out of collecting as many of the pocket-sized books as possible. By the end of the day, there were dozens of the testaments strewn about the lobby of the Fine Arts Building (which is where I spent most of my time). While walking across campus I spotted many more in trash cans. This didn’t sit well with me so I began rescuing the New Testaments. I also began to look at the men who gave up their free time to pass out New Testaments and endure ridicule from college students with more respect. It was at that time that I thought I would like to be a Gideon one day.

It just seemed, however, that I could never connect with them. Either I couldn’t find an active chapter, or I didn’t meet the membership requirements. The one time I did manage to get in touch with someone, our meeting ended up getting cancelled and never rescheduled. Then one day my cousin introduced me to a friend of his who attended The Moody Church. He just happened to be a Gideon. Long story short – he was my “in.” I was finally a Gideon and would get to go out and put God’s Word into people’s hands.

After attending the meetings for a while, though, I knew that I couldn’t stay. Despite their claims of being a non-sectarian para-church organization, the nature of the organization lends itself to certain idiosyncrasies of American Evangelicalism which are, at best, suspect. Among the issues I ran into were Pelagianism, the prosperity gospel, works righteousness, and the idea that people are converted by your testimony rather than by God working through means as he has promised (the means of grace – Word and Sacrament).

At camp meetings, there were a lot of heart-wrenching stories of how this-or-that person’s life was changed for the better after they received their PWT. It was also sobering to hear the accounts of Gideons in other, more hostile parts of the world, enduring great hardship in order to get Bibles and New Testaments into the hands of Christians who desperately needed them.

What we never really seemed to talk about was Jesus. Well, Jesus was mentioned a lot. We just never seemed to talk about His death and resurrection as our atoning sacrifice, repentance, or the forgiveness of sin. We certainly never talked about our need for those things. I heard people discuss how they had been terrible sinners before their conversion, but that was the end of the talk of sin. After all, we were already Christians. Now that we were saved, it was our job to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, right? To many in the organization, I’m afraid, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” translated to, “Live your best life now.” Knowing what is in my heart, however, I also recognized my need to repent and receive forgiveness for my sin constantly. It didn’t take long for the tension level to rise.

Jesus was there, to be sure, but he wasn’t the focus – D.L. Moody was. The important thing was the presentation – how being a Christian will make your life better, how to package this message in the most effective way to reach the unchurched. That may sound strange, but it was my experience.

After one particular fundraising luncheon last year, I knew that I couldn’t remain. The function involved a number of rather peculiar “pastors” who seemed to me like second-rate, charismatic, prosperity-preaching, TBN rejects. I decided (no pun intended) that I just couldn’t stick around any longer. This is the letter I wrote to my Camp Leader (the names have been removed):

February 28, 2015

Dear Brother,

Greetings to you in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I hope this card finds you well, I am writing in response to your previous message regarding my membership renewal in the Gideons. After much thought I have decided that I will not be renewing my membership. This is not a decision I have made lightly, and I continue to admire my brothers in Christ who continue doing the work of the Gideons. There is, however, a difference in theology between the organization and myself which causes me too much cognitive dissonance for me to ignore any longer.

As you are well aware, our pocket sized New Testaments contain a decision page on the back cover, with a space for a person’s signature and date for the purpose of recording when that person made their decision to accept Christ. This indicates to me that, while the Gideons International intends to be an organization which is pan-denominational, it maintains a definite theological stance regarding conversion, free will, and grace. This stance is in direct opposition to that which I have learned from Holy Scripture.

Scripture teaches that man cannot, by his own reason or strength, come to our Lord Jesus Christ, or believe in him. Conversion, faith, and even the “drawing” of man to Christ are all God’s acts, which man is powerless to initiate or complete. St. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:1-2).

The unregenerate man is spiritually dead. He is as powerless to make himself spiritually alive as a corpse is to raise itself from the dead. Indeed, the restorative action comes from outside of man – from God – who makes the unregenerate alive in Christ. This undeserved mercy is the grace to which St. Paul refers:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgression – it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Paul continues, emphasizing that we are saved by the unearned, undeserved favor of God toward us (Grace) through faith in Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by work, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).

St. Paul says that we are God’s handiwork. He granted us the repentance and faith, through His Word by the power of His Spirit, which made us alive when we were dead in our transgressions. Even the good works which we are called to do as regenerate Christians, St. Paul says that God has prepared for us. We play no part in our conversion, aside from simply being the person God converts. Consequently, far from making a decision for Christ, Christ made a decision for us:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).

God provides the gifts Jesus won for us on the cross through the means of his Word and Sacraments – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. If it were left up to our own decision and act of our will, there would be no hope for conversion. The mind of the unregenerate man is incapable of making such a decision:

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, or can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:6-8).

Indeed, St. Paul was right when he wrote, “…the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” Therefore, before anyone decided to sign the back of their PWT and to accept Jesus, he had already been converted by the Spirit’s power through the means of the preached Word. It isn’t until after a man’s conversion that he has free will, and is able to act according to God’s will.

The problem with the idea of decision theology such as that which is promoted by the Gideons International is that it puts the decision in man’s hands rather than God’s. It gives people the false idea that their own work of making that decision is what saved them, rather than Christ’s holy, precious blood, and His innocent suffering and death.

We are certainly called to proclaim the Gospel. Men, however, are not converted from unbelief – they are not raised to newness of life in Christ Jesus – by some clever apologetic we might make, or by some heart-wrenching emotional experience which they will constantly seek to replicate in order to confirm their justification before God. God’s gift of salvation doesn’t depend on our work, but on God’s grace from beginning to end. The work was accomplished for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus, while mankind was still His enemy; it is given to us by the grace of God through faith in Christ. That gift of faith is given to us also by God through his means of Word and Sacrament.

I shall maintain a warm place in my heart for the Gideons in general, and my fellows from my former camp in particular, especially you. I love you all as brothers in Christ. I continue to admire you for bringing God’s word – his means of grace – to the lost. I cannot, however, continue to be a member of the Gideons International, while it promotes the pelagian heresy that is decision theology.

Brother: If you would like to discuss this further, and in person, I would be open to meeting you at your convenience. I wish you and all the brothers, and their families, God’s richest blessings in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Sincerely,

Joseph Klotz

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

For all their theological faults, the one redeeming characteristic of the organization is the thing for which they are best known – handing out Bibles and New Testaments. In the end the Gideons, at least the ones I met, all believed that the Bible is the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God. And, while I can’t associate myself with them because of their doctrinal error, I pray that God will continue to use the scriptures they disseminate to regenerate people who are dead in their trespasses and sins.


Comments

Why I Quit the Gideons — 84 Comments

  1. When a person is drawn by God and saves them, and they are born again; a person (especially with no church upbringing) often feels like they “received” or “accepted” the Lord from their point of view. As they grow in knowledge and read the scriptures they will find that it was actually all the Lord’s doing. I don’t like the decision page either, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Let’s encourage these brothers to change where they are in error. The church needs to bind together! We have real enemies at our doorstep with the influence and spread of Islam, secular humanism, and anti- Christian bias. Can all the different Protestant Christian sects bind together for the kingdom? Certainly it will not only be confessing Lutherans in heaven! I encourage brothers and sisters to join groups like the Gideons and then influence and correct the problems. Gently reprove and correct; where have we seen these words before? These men and women are out regularly spreading God’s word. Certainly the Lord can use an imperfect vessel to carry His word?!

  2. From an aspiring Christian and Gideon. I am not a Gideon as of yet, but diligently assisting in Scripture distro as well as being an active student of the Bible in a local college. What I have learned in my few years of life (65) and my few years as a Christian (65), that I remain and will probably remain in a learning mode for the rest of my life.

    Although I hold several degrees and certificates from several schools and colleges/universities, I have much to learn. Keep in mind that the Gideons’ do not recruit ministers or those who refuse to listen.

    Not sure your points are appropriate for this forum, rather, a letter to the Gideons’ leadership might better serve your intent.

    I would rather fail trying to spread the scriptures than succeed at keeping them to myself.

    In Christ:-)

  3. I feel you’re confusing scripture and theology with personal opinion for reason that the scriptures referenced aren’t being used in their correct context. Your “letter” is quite selective, however, hermeneutics easily dismiss the arguments made. I could not discern peliagianism from the writing done here nor from my experience with the Gideons. Paula White and Joel Osteen are huge icons of the heretical prosperity gospel and I couldn’t find any support of that accusatory remark made toward the Gideons. I would summarize the shared opinion to be more in line with Christian liberalism which tends to be selective of scripture to make a point while consequently making no point at all.

  4. Interesting to read the different thoughts and opinions that a single page in a New Testament generates. Living as a Christian has numerous definitions, depending on who you ask.I pray and read scriptures and ask God to guide me and that his will be my will. It’s similar to the opinions people have of baptism. I have visited other churches, and these different thoughts are from people that read and study the Bible. Yet, these same people use (their) beliefs to teach others. I believe everyone should be careful that our teaching and sharing be from God’s wisdom and knowledge He gives us.

  5. In the following statement you said “Among the issues I ran into were Pelagianism, the prosperity gospel, works righteousness, and the idea that people are converted by your testimony rather than by God working through means as he has promised (the means of grace – Word and Sacrament)” I have been a Gideon since 2005. My experience in this organization has been totally opposite of your statement and find it a FALSE Statement. I don’t think there is enough space to point out other falsehoods in why you are not a Gideon. In fact, your statements do not line up with the basic application form and the the 3 theological statements you put your name too. 1. Jesus is who he said he was, 2. The Bible is inherent word of God, & 3 – There is a lake of Fire for unbelievers as mentioned in Revelation. After that, we are not supposed to discuss theological doctrine. If you were in a camp that did otherwise, I highly suggest you report them to Gideons International in Nashville, TN

  6. Hi. I stumbled on this page looking for something else, but read through your post.

    It seems worth noting that the experience you’ve had within your immediate circle/chapter of Gideons may not be representative of most chapters around the country/world.

    Also, of course there are misuses of prescribed prayers and “decision cards” in evangelistic settings. But, the Gideons aren’t saying “repeat this sinners prayer and welcome to God’s family!”. They are merely providing suggested prayer language to help someone express in prayer what is in their heart, which is not per se wrong (and a “staple” of confessional Lutheran worship practice!!).

    And marking a significant day in one’s conversion to Jesus by having and signing a spiritual “birth certificate” in the back of a New Testament isn’t per se wrong either. It’s not really different than the certificate of baptism a Lutheran parent receives when their child is baptized. My grandmother doesn’t believe she is saved just because she has a signed certificate of baptism from the Danish Lutheran church. It’s not fair to make that accusation against someone just for holding a “decision card”.

    I mean this constructively because you seem like you might have an at-least-mostly-correct understanding of God’s Word and it seems like you want to persuade people toward the truth about Jesus. But, seriously, if you want to persuade thinking people toward the truth, then jumping to unsupported conclusions just isn’t going to work; you’re going to lose them right out of the gate. Maybe there’s unshared information from your experience or from elsewhere that would support your accusations that many or most in the Gideons organization are are Pelagians or prosperity-gospel types. But your post only jumps to these conclusions.

    Another bit meant constructively… If your “camp leader” is in error regarding matters of salvation, don’t write him a letter, definitely not one that sounds like an over-zealous confessional Lutheran elevator speech. Meet with him to read the Bible and pray. I mean, you believe he’s off about SALVATION, right?

  7. The word of God has been under attack since the Garden of Eden. The Old King James is from the received text. Most modern bibles are influenced by the Alexandrian corrupted stream.
    With Christian bookstores closing we need the Gideons more than ever. However, the Gideons have been infiltrated and are offering modern bibles. Please only offer the received text from Antioch Syria. Also please unfill your voicemail mailbox. Fox News corporation owned by Murdoch bought out the Nelson/Zondervan/Collins bible publishers. Murdoch was knighted by the Pope. He will work for the Pope to further deteriorate the bibles offered for the ecumenical movement. Please buy American and not Chinese. If your Bible deletes or bad mouths Acts 8:37 this is my first “tell” it has been corrupted by doubters.

  8. Sorry Mark, but there are plenty of good reasons to use Bibles that rely on the modern critical texts, not the least of which, the standard for judging whether something is “corrupted” should be by looking at what the apostolic authors wrote, not what material was added over the centuries due to scribal errors, additions of scribal notes that made their way into the manuscript tradition, etc. There are very good reasons to examine and weigh the Alexandrian text type manuscripts in addition to the later Byzantine text types. Simply asserting “corruption” on the basis of your own authority doesn’t cut it. And if you use equal scales to evaluate the KJV versus other versions, then you have to admit that there are many errors or inconsistencies which the KJV contains that have been corrected by the newer versions. Any evaluation of a bible translation needs to be made on a verse by verse, passage by passage basis, against the manuscript tradition that has been handed down to us. And it only makes sense to provide greater weight to those manuscripts which are closer in timeline and style to the original autographs. Afterall, it was the Alexandrian text type that was likely used for the original autographs, and it was that same text type that Christianized the Roman empire between the first and fifth centuries when we begin to see the Byzantine text type start to appear. With regard to your “tell” the modern versions contain Acts 8:37 in footnotes. That isn’t a deletion or bad mouthing the verse. It is doing precisely what we expect from scholars, stating that the earliest manuscripts do not have the verse that was likely a later scribal addition, not what Luke wrote.

  9. I am a Gideon who believes that “The Word Of God ” can and will touch the lives of the unbeliever. How he does it is His business. My job is to place it in places where it can be read and through the power of the Holy Spirit will convict the lost of the need to have Jesus in their lives.

  10. The natural world seeks to promote what is evil and prevent what is good. Are you familiar with the FFRF, whose main goal, the thing that really excites them, is when they can stop some Christian activity? For example, they feel they are heroes if they can prevent students from receiving God’s Word (Google FFRF). The result is they allow evil to have more access to youth. Preventing access to the Truth means more access to the lies of the enemy.

    Richard Dawkins, a very well known atheist, said “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark (a defense) against something worse.”

    The act of signing the little prayer on the decision page does not in itself make anyone a Christian. It is what God does in the heart of that person. God knows whether that person has truly received Christ or wants to do so. Signing after the prayer, however, can be the beginning of a life of faith. Please continue giving scriptures and leave it to God to lead the reader to salvation. Certainly you would you rather that someone receives eternal life and the decision page does not prevent that. Would you not give a Testament to a person simply because you object to them signing on the line after praying the prayer? Perhaps you are willing to give out non-Gideon scriptures. I urge you to do that if it satisfies your objection. Please do not stop giving out God’s Word and let the Author speak to the heart of the receiver.

  11. I am a Gideon and anyone who thinks a testament placed by a Gideon can save a person is misinformed. The words in that testament are God’s Word, and God through the blood of Jesus Christ saves. Many people call these Gideon Bibles or testaments, but we call them Gideon placed Scriptures because the words in those pages give the plan of salvation and a lasting relationship with God. His Word has been referred to as God’s other great gift to us, the first of course is Jesus.

  12. One of my top search engine results in a search for the Gideons is now “Why I Quit the Gideons.” Now anyone who ever searches for something related to the Gideons may be directed to this article and it may affect their credibility, all in the name of a poorly substantiated argument and a poor singular experience that was most likely an anomaly. I for one have never seen a hint of Pelagianism, or prosperity preaching among the Gideons as an organization, to address a few of these accusations.

    How many Christian leaders desiring to spread God’s Word will be swayed from serving with the Gideons just from reading this headline? How many new-converts as a result of the Gideons’ work will question the credibility of the Gideon who just witnessed to them? I was concerned enough to see what this article had to say, surely there are others who will be as well… This page is not a Christian victory; it’s a potential stumbling block.

    We as Christians must be more careful about what kind of accusations we put out in a public forum about other Christians, particularly when that accusation is poorly informed and/or biased. We’re on the same team, my Christian brothers, let’s act like it.

  13. I just went to the Gideon’s web site and saw the Know Jesus as Your Savior page (which is titled in the link address as “Become a Christian”). There’s a lot of “decision” type of language there:

    Receive Christ as Your Savior Now…Pray the Following Prayer
    Confessing to God that I am a sinner, and believing that the Lord Jesus Christ died for my sins on the cross and was raised for my justification, I now receive and confess Him as my personal Savior.

    Seek a Church
    After making your decision to receive Christ, we encourage you to prayerfully seek a local Bible-believing church that will assist you in growing as a new Christian. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen. —II Peter 3:18

    Find Assurance as a Believer
    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. —Romans 10:9

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. —John 5:24

    Please tell us about your decision by filling out the following: [Contact information form]

  14. With sadness, I graciously point out to this brother in Christ our Lord, that much of his reasons, whilst they are presented in good faith and more than likely, for warning many, of the dangers of misrepresenting the God’s gift of Salvation secured for all, by the death and resurrection of His beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, on that shameful cross, not for His own sins but to redeem all from their sin to be made alive in Him.
    Permit God’s Eternal Word to speak for itself, I would humbly submit:
    Romans 10 vs. 9 – 17
    that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
    And:
    14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

    “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,[h]
    Who bring glad tidings of good things!”[i]
    16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”[j] 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
    “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
    Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
    16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    Whilst the Gideons can’t always preach the good news of the Gospel to every individual, personally, just as many truthful Christian radio and tv preachers cannot speak face to face with all their listeners, nevertheless, folks are reading and listening to the Eternal Word, and the Spirit of God constantly convincing and convicting those who hear or read. New birth is happening and those accepting the Word of Life through Christ continue to grow in grace and in the Knowledge of God the Father through the enlightening Word.
    I with love of Him who made it possible for me to be saved, I would kindly ask that you and many who may hold similar views, would rejoice at the Saviour “seeing His seed and being satisfied” as recorded in Isaiah 53.
    The short text and offered signature is only an act of personal witness both to themselves and gives strength from their new found new birth to testify to others. Finally, most of those who have done so on their received testament, do go on to serve the Saviour and in time whether immediate or shortly afterwards testify that God is their Father and Jesus is their lord and master.
    I trust in reading John’s epistles, one will show that Christ’s love permeates towards each other and thus to God! Bless you!

  15. I just read Joseph Klotz reasons for quitting the Gideon ministry. While I admire his stance, it seems he came as a skeptic. The scriptures he uses to justify his decision are true but selective for his purpose. Key scriptures he omits are Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    Another key scripture is Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;it shall not return to me empty,but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

    The things I have enjoyed about the Gideon ministry is the unity and Christian fellowship we enjoy. Joseph says Jesus is not emphasized yet throughout the Gideon ministry thousands of testimonies are given of the Holy Spirit open their hearts to the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s all about Jesus Christ.

    Abraham Lincoln had a story which ended in the point, “When a feller doesn’t want to do something, any excuse will do.”

    Joseph, no one is walking around the perfect knowledge but the Bible provides God’s inspired word and the Holy Spirit is the teacher. What, brother, are you doing to further God’s word and the gospel of Jesus Christ?

  16. Mr. Klotz, by your logic, when Peter told the people to, “Repent, believe and be baptized,” that was wrong (Acts 2:38) because he was asking them to make a decision. I believe you have misread the NT. God enables us to choose Him through faith, but that results in a response, i.e. a decision.

  17. @Frank #51

    The gentleman stating reasons why he left the Gideons has a basic flaw in his article. All I read is criticism masked in scripture. The Gideons are basically begging for changed their hearts, accept Jesus and live an example to the world. They are in 200 countries.

    They do the best they can with limited funds.

    As for the bible it is the perfect work of God. The Gideon bibles have changed many lives. Let me say this. The Gideon bibles have help lead many to Jesus.

    In closing, Paul said “faith comes by hearing and hearing by word of God. As a Gideon I cannot put it any better.

    agape,

    A Gideon.

  18. My father was a Gideon and I am married to a Gideon. I am saddened that Mr. Klotz has decided that the Gideons as a whole should be judged by the camp he was associated with. It is a strick rule that doctrine not be discussed. If indeed his camp was guilty of breaking this rule then it should be reported. Our job is to get the word of God into as many hands as we can. If what he says is true, one or several errant camps is no cause to convict the whole organization. Mr. Klotz I do read into your article that you were perhaps looking for problems in the organization. If you are sincere in your warm regards for your exfellow Gideons then why did you put so much time and effort in you letter explaining this camps missteps and then publish it thus perhaps discouraging others to consider joining? Every organization has problems. So why pick on one that even you admit is sincere in its goal to get the word of God to all who will hear it? How sad it would be if your article kept just one person from being involved in this wonderful ministry.

  19. This man is a Calvinist. Calvinists:  God elected certain sinners for salvation and passed by others without any condition or use of His foreknowledge of our belief. 


    The King James:  “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.  2 Peter 3:9
This verse totally refutes the Calvinists idea of a soul lottery wherein God supposedly indiscriminately picked individual sinners for salvation.   Notice that it is God’s will that all should come to repentance and He gives all a chance at salvation.   If God wills everyone to repent how come everyone is not saved?   Because God gives us the freedom and personal responsibility to accept or reject Christ even though it is His will that all should come to repentance and be saved.   Calvinists deny God gives us free will because they say accepting Christ is a work and cause for boasting.   That is of course a false assumption and another example of Calvinists looking for a handle to grab.

  20. @C Trevino #53

    I think that there is an inherent prosperity gospel in Gideons: only business or professional men can become Gideons,even farmers must state how much property they own and how many workers are employed by the farmer. No factory worker – unless he owns the factory – can become a Gideon. I have asked the Gideons and was told “No, a factory worker cannot become a Gideon.” Interesting that Joel Osteen who states he is a minister could not become a Gideon. The organization is for wealthy professional/business men who support each other. It’s interesting that Gideons will ask if one has accepted Jesus Christ but do not ask if one believes that God first through Jesus Christ has saved us and enabled our response by faith to His grace. The Gideons to me seem to be a religion which promotes The Bible or Christian Scriptures through the work of its members. It is not my call to judge the Gideons as good or bad or Christian or not. It is my call to ask questions about their organization’s policies and to state why I will not become a Gideon when asked.

  21. It’s true; only business and professional men can become Gideons. I understand that was changed for a while then reverted back. I don’t fully understand why. That we “support each other” can be misunderstood.” Yes, Gideons have means and give graciously of their resources but only to provide Bibles throughout the world. Find fault in that and you’re looking way too close! As for Joel Osteen, he has his calling and his critics as well. Let us each serve where we are called for the darkness is immense! Very few ministries are without flaws or critics. Let’s focus on the essentials; that we are sinners “saved by grace through grace. It is the gift of God and not that of ourselves lest any man boast.”

  22. I once heard a missionary to Mexico say the following:
    “Some of my theology is probably wrong, some of yours is too. Let’s just get close to Jesus.”

    I thought to myself, wow! That’s true, how come nobody else says that?

  23. I guess we can look at the early disciples arguing who is the greatest.
    They needed Jesus to set them straight.
    I feel arguing over theology is a smokescreen the Devil uses to hide the real problems we each are struggling with. We walk away from these arguments never discussing what we each need help with. Could be something simple as a car problem or struggling with sin. How about children problems? No, the devil wants us to argue about theology and doctrine so we don’t help one another. Devil is laughing at us. I do NOT like the devil.

  24. @Michael Gray #62 you are spot on Michael Gray…I’ve been a Gideon since 2003 and have never observed anything that goes against what I hold firm to…that God loves everyone and that everyone can have eternal life if repent of their sinful nature and they believe in Jesus as their Savior.

  25. While I have my own problems with the Gideon’s one of them being that I am female and as such not eligible, I am afraid that you approached them and joined them with the wrong outlook. You thought they were a church. They are not. The Gideons are businessmen from all walks of life and from any number of churches who come together for a specific purpose. Think of them the way you would Rotarians for example and you start to see them from a different point of view. They are not a church, they do not worship together as a church. Gideons is an adjunct to to their lives the way any businessman’s club would be, but in their case, rather than raise money for charities the way Rotarians do (among other things), Gideons do everything they possibly can to make sure every person has access to the Word of God in the form of a Gideon’s Bible, to them the Bible is what saved their souls and they want to pass that on by giving away bibles.

  26. @Michael Gray #62

    Amen to your text. I am given to believe that David Suchet (Poirot) of TV fame, became a Christian by reading scriptures in a hotel in which he was staying. He has now made a CD of the whole Bible. Isn’t God great?

  27. I heard someone aptly say, “I like my way of evangelizing… better than the way you do not evangelize.”

  28. @Glenn Dowling #78

    I wouldn’t too hastily mock LCMS evangelism:

    “Not only that, the rate of adult conversions among Lutherans is surprisingly high. Per capita, the LCMS has one convert for every 44 adult members. That is a higher ratio even than the Southern Baptists, whose entire focus is on adult conversions. The Baptist rate is 1:47. The Mormons have the highest rate of any religious body, but that is only 1:40.”

    Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2017/11/the-lcms-adult-conversion-rate-other-surprising-statistics/#vBHGhC6qPDEVzLEe.99

  29. To T-rav:

    I was NOT referring to LCMS evangelism. But to the gentleman who was berating the work of the Gideons. FYI – Mormons do not convert. “Conversion” is a spiritual transaction. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8

    Keep in mind, “Salvation is (always) of the Lord.”

  30. @Glenn Dowling #80

    Sorry I misunderstood you.

    By conversion, they meant coming from another group or no group into a particular group. So Mormon “conversion” would mean someone who becomes Mormon.

  31. Thanks, brother. Mormons are some of the very best of folks. They take care of their family and are committed to their “faith.” Notice you will never see a “Cross of Christ” above their place of worship.Their works-based salvation accounts for their lifestyle. The more you learn about Mormonism the more unbelievable it becomes. The most faithful (and generous) ones believe they will one day be god of a planet; like the stars we gaze at at night.

  32. In the front of Gideon Bibles, are scriptures on salvation. They leave out Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21 and the conversion examples in Acts. Baptism, being immersed in water by another person in obedience to the New Testament passages cited above, is not a “work” (is a person being buried doing work?!?) but is simple obedience to what the New Testament says, and is said to be how one actually becomes a Christian. Hear the gospel, believe the gospel, repent of your sins, confess Jesus as your savior, be baptized, and then live faithfully.

  33. Mark, you have been programmed well by the church of Christ which “camps” on about a half-dozen scriptures and ignores so many other relevant ones relative to salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – it the gift of God, NOT that of yourselves lest any man boast.” Ephesians 2:8-10.

    What you imply but do not come out and say is, “And if you don’t GET yourself immersed – you are lost!” What is it about “…not that of yourselves” do you not understand?

    Further, consider anywhere there is not “enough” water – God is powerless to save. Do you think Christ left it up to ideal conditions only? In a POW camp, in frigid locals, the desert – anywhere there is NO water there is NO salvation? Just ask the thief on the cross. (I know, you have an answer for him)

    The Gideon Bible, sir, is not your problem – LEGALISM is. Read Paul’s strong admonition to the church in Galatia. They were reverting back to the Law, thus the term Paul used, “Falling from grace.”

    Sadly, the church of Christ uses “falling from grace” it as failing to “obey” enough (works) Thus, losing one’s salvation.

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