Ankerberg Monthly Letter March 2014 - Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, John Ankerberg Show

Ankerberg Monthly Letter March 2014

God continues to lead us into new opportunities to reach people across the world with the Gospel. Here is the latest news.

First, thank you for your past gifts. You have made it possible for us to begin providing our television and radio programs into the top 12 languages of the world (including English) so we can speak directly to 78% of the people on the planet.  

In the last 45 days, we have translated over 100 programs (of the 550 programs in progress) and are meeting with Christian broadcasters from overseas. In the last 24 hours God has miraculously led some folks to provide a matching gift of $500,000 for this next part of our outreach. Why? It’s because there is a growing need for people to hear the Gospel.

Did you know there are 3 billion more people living on earth today than in 1970? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of earth was only 200 million in 1 A.D. It then took 1,800 years for the world to grow to 1 billion people, and only 130 years (from 1800 to 1930) to reach 2 billion, and just 30 years (1959) to reach 3 billion people. Then in just 15 years (1974) we reached 4 billion, 13 more years (1987) we reached 5 billion, and in the next 11 years (1999) we reached 6 billion people. Finally in the last 13 years (2012) we arrived at over 7 billion people on earth!

Now, has the church kept pace with this worldwide growth? No. Of the more than 7 billion people alive today, only about 2 billion even claim to be Christians. This means more than 5 billion people on earth right now do not know Jesus. How can we reach these people?

Our work together is part of the answer to this question. Because of your help, God is allowing us to broadcast in 206 countries. 2.6 billion people around the world can now turn on their TV and see our program. The number of people will continue to grow rapidly, but until last year we have only been broadcasting in English.

Now your gifts are making it possible for us to offer our television programs in 12 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

In Matthew 9:36-38 Jesus looked out on large crowds of people and we are told:

When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out laborers into his harvest field.”

Notice, when Jesus looked on the crowds, He had compassion on them. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. As Christians, we must also have a deep compassion for people around us, as well as for those overseas. We must care enough to share the Gospel with every person we can.

Second, Jesus said the harvest is plentiful (the Greek word “plentiful” means “the harvest will yield great quantities”). According to Jesus a great number of people are ready to be reached right now. Why is the harvest not taking place? Jesus said it is because the laborers are few.

Why are there so few laborers? It’s because it is hard work to be a laborer in a field. It is a difficult challenge to bring the Gospel to unreached people. It takes time, energy, and financial support. But because of your partnership, I believe this will be one of the greatest years of harvest we have ever experienced.

Third, Jesus told us to pray. He said, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out laborers into His harvest field.” Notice the harvest field belongs to God. This past year God called us to begin a new outreach into the harvest fields of the world where we have not yet reached. We have done so with fear and trembling. I would ask you to pray each day that God will empower our efforts together to gather in the harvest.

What Is Next?

First, we are working to finish translation of our current 50 television programs into11 languages (550 total programs). This will provide radio and television broadcasters overseas with one full year of broadcasts in their own language. These programs will also be made available to you and to people all over the world—to anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer connected to the Internet.

Second, we want to expand the number of languages from 12 to 20 (including English), and eventually to 50. The top 20 languages will allow us speak to more than 5 billion people!

Third, we want to expand the number of television programs from 50 to 150 in order to provide international broadcasters 3 years of programming.

This Month on Television

I am praying that God will help us raise the funds to accomplish all of these goals. He has already answered part of our prayers through an amazing matching gift opportunity. This month, I am going to show you 5 of the television programs—out of our 50 programs—that we have chosen to translate in 11 languages for people around the world. Here is how we chose the 50 programs.

Our first series answers the question, how do we know Jesus is God? It features former atheist Lee Strobel. What evidence led him to realize that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and proved it by rising from the dead? People worldwide need to hear this.

The second series asks the question, “Are Mormons Christians?” All across the world Christians tell us Mormons are going door to door in their towns to proclaim a false God, a false Jesus, and a false Gospel. This series of program exposes Mormonism’s unbiblical doctrines and presents the truth about Jesus.

The third series is about Islam and Christianity. It features two former Sunni Muslims, Drs. Emir and Ergun Caner, who describe how 700 million Muslim women are  “Trapped Behind the Veil of Islam.” How do the teachings of Islam compare with the teachings of Jesus and the Bible?

The fourth series encourages those who are suffering. It features quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada and Dr. Michael Easley on “God’s Help When You Suffer.” Does God really care about you when you suffer? Does He still have plans for you? Joni and Michael share what they have learned about God’s help and presence in their time of need.

The fifth series is about Roman Catholicism. My guests Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. R.C. Sproul, and the late Dr. D. James Kennedy explain how the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church contradict key biblical teachings on both salvation and Scripture.

Please Pray About Helping Us Bring the Gospel to People Worldwide

You may be wondering, How can I help gather the harvest (the people in different countries) that the Lord says is plentiful and ready?” The answer is that your prayers and financial support are two very important ways you can help us reach people worldwide.

Hebrews 6:10 promises, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

This month, in addition to our ongoing broadcast needs, I am asking you to help me translate 3 years of television programs into 20 different languages to reach 80% of the world. I can’t do this without you. Would you pray and ask God how He would have you help?

  • If you will give a gift of $50, as a thank you I will send you our new series “5 Crucial Issues for the World” (includes 1 program from each of the 5 series I mentioned).
  • If you will give a gift of $100, as a thank you I will send you all 18 programs from the 5 series discussed above.
  • If you will give a gift of $500, as a thank you I will send you 35 programs from the 10 series we are translating for the world.
  • Finally, for a gift of $1,000 or more, as a thank you I will send you the entire “World Outreach Collection” that includes 55 programs from 15 series we are translating for the world. The entire list of series can be found on the enclosed card. So we have two needs: First, we have our ongoing broadcast needs. Second, we have a $500,000 matching gift to help us translate more programs into more languages.

God is opening some amazing opportunities to us. But now I need your help to bring the Gospel to every person on the planet. Each person is loved by God and is important to Him. Help me take the Gospel of Christ to those who have yet to hear.

For the sake of the Gospel,

Dr. John Ankerberg