Let the word of God so saturate your mind that you apply it to all areas of your life.

The psalmist tells us in Psalm 1:1,2 – “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” I believe, and I know you do too, that because the Psalmist practiced this art of meditating on God’s word that he was able to write such powerful Psalms which have been such a blessing to the children of Zion in their Christian pilgrimage. Thirdly, we must read sound Christian literature widely. Brethren Christian writers are Christian readers. But why must you read sound Christian literature in order to be effective in your writing? May I propose two reasons: 1) You will be exposed to various writing skills and so will be able to choose what you feel is a good skill or style for you to use. 2) You will be able to have your thinking refreshed and exposed to sound doctrine as it has been distilled from the Scriptures by other believers in the household of faith. Sometimes you may have to read heretical literature in order to properly refute it. Fourthly, we must know the needs of our needs of our readers and know our subject very well. Failure to discern what your readers’ needs are, will render your writing irrelevant and the time you have spent in writing a waste of time. I am aware that sometimes because of declension our reader may not appreciate our writing now but perhaps later as happened with the generation of Arthur Pink who did not appreciate his writings such as ‘Sovereignty of God ‘ as much as we have come to appreciate it now. We need wisdom and to be prayerful to know what to write on at a give time to a given people. Fifthly, we must set aside time to write. We normally fail to engage in writing as Christians because we expect time to fall on our laps just from nowhere. If you have a busy working life, I d’ like to suggest that you take advantage of moments when you are on holiday or are on a trip. Look at your surroundings when on a trip, what impressions do they give you of the Creator? Write to friends on God’s providence to you when you undertake a trip to some place. Have you recovered from some illness or undergone an operation? Take up a pen and share with your brethren God’s dealings with you. All I am saying is that if you do not have too much time on your hands snatch a bit here and a bit there. Remember that every book that has been written began with a single line which developed into a paragraph, then into a page, then into a chapter and eventually into a book.

CHRISTIAN WRITING: A DYING ART? Gabriel S Konayuma
INTRODUCTION It is almost impossible to the history of the Church without talking of the writings of men like St. Augustine, Ambrose, Martin Luther, John Knox, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Frances Havergal, Arthur Pink, Martyn Lloyd-Jones etc. The Bible itself which has withstood many attacks by its foes was handed down to us not as oral traditions but as writings miraculously preserved throughout the ages by God. Christian writing seems to be a dying art in our day especially here in Zambia. Why is this so? This article seeks to answer such questions. We will consider the subject of Christian writing under the following four major headings: 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. The Definition of Christian Writing The Biblical Basis of Christian Writing The Hindrances to Christian Writing Practical Tips to Effective Christian Writing THE DEFINITION OF CHRISTIAN WRITING

Christian writing is the expression of Christian thought by a Christian through the vehicle of written words meant to edify others and one self. Consider the words in our definition closely:  Expression – i.e putting into a form which can be understood.  Christian thought – The Christian faith is thought i.e a belief, a creed, a conviction, a view, a hope. Christian thought touches:  Secular issues e.g. education, politics.  Ethical issues e.g. abortion, cloning.  Spiritual issues e.g. Church membership, Christian service.  Edify – is to build up. It is to uplift, strengthen, encourage. If you engage in Christian writing it must edify others and you too.

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THE BIBLICAL BASIS OF CHRISTIAN WRITING

The Bible is a good illustration of Christian writing. Scripture means writing, thus Holy Scriptures means Holy writing. We must ask ourselves the following questions: Who wrote the Scriptures? It is men of God (2 Pet. 1:21). It was written by prophets like Moses, kings like David, a doctor like Luke, fishermen like Peter. Why were the Scriptures written? The apostle John tells us that they were written that men may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31). The apostle Paul alludes to the same reasons in Timothy 3:15-17. In short, the scriptures were written for our salvation and sanctification.

References Ferguson, S. B. (1992), Read Any Good Books? Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust.

Gabriel S Konayuma E-mail: gkonayuma@gmail.com

4 © 2006 by Gabriel S. Konayuma

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© 2006 by Gabriel S. Konayuma

In application to our subject let’s consider the following two questions. Who should engage in Christian writing? Any believer who has known the grace of God in salvation can be Christian writer. This is regardless of one’s age or education. The issue is: Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? If yes, then you can testify to others through writing of God’s saving grace. Why should we engage in Christian writing? 1) For the salvation of sinners i.e. for evangelistic purposes. We must write evangelistic tracts, booklets, and even books. These must be suited to the target groups we are writing for i.e. children, teenagers, adults, educated, uneducated, religious or irreligious. 2) For the sanctification of saints. Our writing must assist saints to be more godly and holy. Whether our writing is on doctrinal, devotional, polemical, pastor historical subjects, it must have that end in view. /How will my writing help a child of Zion in their walk with God?’ is the question we must always put before ourselves when we put pen to paper. The above two reasons must be our chief concern as we engage in Christian writing. Of course there are several areas which we can concentrate on. I will address this when we consider the fourth major heading.

of blessing they were to the saints in these lands! Truly, the pen is mightier than the sword! What you write now will affect generations to come. Where you can not be physically you can be with your writing. Ferguson (1992:7 ) in his booklet ‘Read Any Good Books?’ writes – “We need to catch a vision of the value and power of the printed word – not only for our own personal use, but for its international use, and for the way in which we pray for Christian literature”. Fourthly, a good preaching ministry. Impossible! You may exclaim. Surely how can a good preaching ministry be a hindrance to Christian writing. May I suggest to you that it can be a hindrance when church members feel that their pastor or minister adequately deals with various subjects so there is no need to write on them. This is being selfish with the truth. Why not write your pastor’s or ministry’s sermons for the sake of those who are not privileged to have a sound pulpit ministry like yours? Aren’t we beneficiaries of Spurgeon’s sermons because of church members who took it upon themselves to write his sermons? Fifthly, the spread of electronic media and equipment. The spread of electronic media and gadgets in our day, much as it has made our life easier has also killed the art of writing in not a few saints. I have in mind items like a telephone, a computer and the internet, a television , a video cassette recorder etc. Is it not true that most of us would rather chat with someone on the phone or send a two – lined e-mail message than sit down to write a well thought out letter to a saint? What about spending more than three hours before a television set daily, don’t we find it easier than writing a Christian over modern electronic gadgets. Having looked at the hindrances to Christian writing, let me hasten on to deal with the crux of this article i.e. Practical tips to effective Christian writing.

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THE HINDRANCES TO CHRISTIAN WRITING

Why is there such a poor response when articles are asked for by Christian magazine editors? Why is Christian writing becoming a dying art? May I suggest what I consider are the five major reasons for this trend. Firstly, ignorance on what to write on. This is when we feel that there is so much to write on and we don’t know what to start with. On the other hand we tend to think everything of importance has already been written on by other Christians. Secondly, lack of discipline. Often we are not prepared to pay the price or hard work and discipline needed to be a writer. Dear friend, writing is a lonely business. Read the prefaces of various writers or ask them and you will confirm this fact. Writing shuts us out from talking and the company of people. It calls for us to think and meditate. This is where many give up when it comes to writing. Thirdly, a lack of appreciation of the power and value of writing. Some believe that preaching is the best and only way of communicating the gospel. Have you ever considered that you have never heard Noah, Paul or Spurgeon preach but you have read what they wrote, long after they died? Look at Russia and other nations in the “Iron Curtain’ in years gone by. Though evangelical churches were officially banned, the Bible and other Christian writing were ‘smuggled’ into these lands. What a great means

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PRACTICAL TIPS TO EFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN WRITING

Firstly, We must maintain regular and fervent communion with God. Dear friends, Christian writing is not about displaying excellent writing skills (though these are important!) but about saints burdened with burning issues which they want other saints to benefit from. You just have to look at Matthew Henry’s commentaries to see that here is a commentary born from man who walked with God .When we you look at the reformed and evangelical hymns which we enjoy e.g ‘To God Be The Glory Great Things He hath Done’ by Fanny Crosby, Take My Life And Let It Be’ by Frances Havergal, When I Survey The Wondrous Cross’ by Isaac Watts, ‘And Can It Be That I Should Gain?’ By Charles Wesley you can not help but see that these were men and women who communed with God and wrote hymns born out of that communion. Dear friends we must ‘take time to be holy and spend much time in secret with Jesus alone’. Then our writing will be used if God to bless his children here below. Secondly, we must meditate on God‘s word. One of the dangers writers face is to rush to write what they feel must be written without pondering deeply on what the Bible says about certain subject. Do not only read God’s word or study it, but do meditate on it.

2 © 2006 by Gabriel S. Konayuma © 2006 by Gabriel S. Konayuma

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