In 1980, my long-time friend and fellow GES board member, Mr. Luis Rodriguez, became along with myself a co-founder of the small publishing company known as Redenciï¿½n Viva (Spanish for “Living Redemption”). Our pilot book, The Gospel Under Siege: A Study on Faith and Works, was first published in 1981.
At the time, Luis and I wondered if we would be able to sell out our initial print run–a mere 3,000 books. But we did so and the book went into a second printing in 1982, a third in 1984, a fourth in 1986, and a fifth in 1988. We were both thrilled and grateful to God for the use He was obviously making of our very first book.
Now, as of the end of May, the fifth printing has also been exhausted. Work has already begun on a sixth printing. This one will be unique, however, in that it will be a new edition. The second edition will contain the Scripture index that so many have wished for the book to have, plus it will include a set of end-notes in the back with pertinent references to other literature. Beyond that, there will be subheadings in all of the chapters to make them more readable, and the style itself will be polished.
Luis and I feel that The Gospel Under Siege must continue precisely because the siege of the Gospel continues. The growth of GES (with over 7,000 now on its mailing list) shows that the Free Grace movement is alive and well. But the fact remains that the biblical truths for which GES stands are under attack in many quarters of the Christian community, probably more so now than in 1981 when our book first appeared. That, of course, is the price that comes with the higher visibility which the doctrines of grace now have in the Church.
But as the Lord once said to Joshua, “There remains very much land yet to be possessed” (Josh 13:1). At present, I feel there is something of a lull in the debate over the Gospel. Of course, this is a generalization, and there are areas of the country which are probably exceptions (for example, Southern California). But by and large what is needed is a fresh forward thrust for the message of grace.
Another way of saying this would be: lots of people still need this message desperately. Not only are we thinking of the unsaved who are unchurched, but also of the unsaved who are in churches where they never hear the message of salvation clearly. Beyond these are uncounted believers who are trapped by teachings like “Lordship Salvation” and are unable to enjoy an assured and stable relationship with God. All of these people need the truths for which GES stands.
What then should we do? Two things, it seems to me: 1) we should be on our knees more than ever to ask for a fresh movement of God’s Spirit in the Church on behalf of His gracious offer of salvation–a movement that will win many souls and establish many Christians in the truth. 2) we should be on our feet spreading these truths wherever we can!
Maybe I should add a third. If we are on our knees and on our feet on behalf of the truth of the Gospel, we should also have our hands in our pockets to support those–like GES– who support the message of Grace.
And, oh yes! Pray for the new edition of The Gospel Under Siege as it is being prepared, and ask God to enlarge the book’s ministry for Him. It may a new edition, but it will still tell “the old, old story of Jesus and His love”!