- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2010

DALLAS | The largest state Baptist group in the nation wants to spread Christ’s message to homes across Texas - about 9 million of them - by Easter.

That’s a challenge in a state as big and diverse as Texas, where more than a third of households speak a language other than English. Besides Spanish, Hindi, Tagalog and Chinese are increasingly heard.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas is promoting a multilingual, multimedia CD that allows people to listen to key biblical passages in their native language.

It’s part of a three-pronged campaign dubbed Texas Hope 2010 to convey what “we really believe; that there’s hope in Christ,” said Randel Everett, the Baptist group’s executive director.

Pop one in a car CD player or load it onto an MP3 device and hear the third chapter of John explain how “God so loved the world” in English or Spanish.

Slip it into a computer and download the entire New Testament in one of more than 400 languages, complete with dramatic pauses, sound effects and background music. Organizers say they’re not snubbing the Old Testament; the audio is not yet available in all those languages.

“I really think that people need to hear the Gospel in their heart language, whether they read and understand English or not, people need to know that God speaks their language,” Mr. Everett said.

The CD includes a toll-free telephone number and six 2-minute video testimonies of black, white and Hispanic Texans sharing their personal stories, some in Spanish.

“They’re not celebrities, just ordinary people throughout Texas who have been rescued through Christ,” Mr. Everett said.

Proselytizing is nothing new, with modern examples being the 1979 Campus Crusade for Christ’s Jesus Film, which used video to tell Christ’s life story and has been seen around the world, to the door-to-door approach used by Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Elaine Heath, assistant professor of evangelism at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, sees it as the same message being sent but with a different delivery.

“CDs are just an upgrade of communication methodology instead of giving them a tract or booklet,” she said.

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