A U.S. Supreme Court decision has solidly backed the rights of soul winners to share their faith on college campuses. In 2016, two students at Gwinnett College in Georgia were sharing their faith with other students on campus. Campus police accosted them and said that they would have to get a permit to share their faith in a special zone set aside for that purpose on campus. Students Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Branford duly applied for a permit to use the two tiny speech zones that the college had set aside. When they tried to use that permit, they were stopped by police because a fellow student had expressed discomfort with their message.
The violation of their rights was so blatant that a major Christian legal association, Alliance Defending Freedom, took up the case. After several years of contradictory findings by the lower courts, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Over two dozen other legal advocacy organizations filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the Supreme Court. That’s because this case was pivotal in dealing with an obscure legal maneuver.
To avoid court action in the past, colleges had simply changed their rules before the case went to court and the judge would then dismiss the case as if there was no violation of freedom of speech. But that ruling did not place a barrier against the school reinstituting the restrictions.
In this case, however, attorneys had changed their appeal in a way that the court had to rule on it for all future instances. This is why the case got so much attention and, with an 8-1 ruling in favor of free speech, turned out to be a major victory for the future.
The victory was even greater because it applies not only to colleges and universities but to any other government or private organization that attempts to limit soul winning in a public area.
Many in the new generation are persuaded that such public witnessing is ineffective; that relational evangelism is the only way to go. However, those who have been trained in tract distribution know that it is a way that works.
A flood of testimonies have come to our office over the years. Some have testified of suicides prevented. Others simply told of the memory of a picture in the tract that left them with a nagging awareness of God. Finally, the Holy spirit used it to persuade them to follow Jesus.
This ruling should be an encouragement to soul winners. We must stand boldly against the darkness of a culture going barbaric. Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, power to the few, unjust incarceration, worship of false gods or lying ideologies, sex trafficking, etc., have been the norm in cultures without the influence of Christ.
America has enjoyed unprecedented freedom from these sins for a few hundred years because enough people were committed to Biblical principles, and when sin began to grow, righteous people would stand publicly against it.
One of the ways they spread the truth of Christ’s power to heal hearts —and the culture— was with gospel tracts. The Great Awakenings (revivals) in America and the Western World were often preceded with saturation with gospel tracts.
With most of the modern media opposed to the gospel, tracts are still an effective way to spread truth. And we need freedom to do that. But the freedom is worthless without the boldness to actually do it.
If you need witnessing ideas, visit: www.chick.com/witnessing
If someone tells you that tracts don’t work, visit: www.chick.com/testimonies