For five years the Rev. G. H. Wolfensberger was UBS Study Secretary, working in Geneva, on a study of the use of the Bible in mission and evangelism. The study was carried out under the joint auspices of the WCC and the UBS. The main results of his survey are incorporated in "Multiplying the Loaves", published as a paperback by Fontana Books. Mr. Wolfensberger's analysis of the use of the Bible in various forms of evangelism has proved conclusively that the churches do not and cannot have a better tool for their evangelistic outreach than the Holy Scriptures, provided the members of the Body of Christ themselves draw their daily nourishment from the Word of God and are ready and willing, with the Scripture in their bands, to give their witness to the saving hope of Jesus Christ.
It is within this context that Mr. Wolfensberger has discovered the importance of the Old Testament for a proper apprehension of the Gospel's witness and of the height and depth and breadth of Christ's ministry on earth. Any approach to evangelism, therefore, which ignored the Old Testament would be like a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional reality. Too much Christian evangelism has overlooked the Old Testament and led to a desiccated, disembodied, esoteric witness to our Lord.
We are grateful that in the course of his study Mr. Wolfensberger has been led to such insights, and are glad that he has made the effort to express in his own terms his discovery and his deep conviction. The Bible Societies as such cannot represent any theological school of insight; they cannot, therefore, make their own the theological statements of Mr. Wolfensberger's argument. Nevertheless, because of the significance of this approach we have felt that this contribution, though not part of Mr. Wolfensberger's brief in the study, ought to be made available to those who, both within the Bible Society movement and beyond, are deeply concerned with the ever wider and more effective use of the Scriptures in the proclamation of the Good News to die world. We are glad, therefore, to include this study in our series of UBS Background Papers, and welcome the generosity of the Netherlands Bible Society which has seen to it that this essay can be made available in a larger (and printed) edition than our ordinary publications in this series. We hope that in this way a study of the use of the Old Testament in evangelism will be stimulated among the churches and that a better use of the Word of God will result in the evangelisation of our world.
This booklet is the outcome of a broader based study on the use of the Bible in mission and evangelism, which the author carried out under the auspices of a Joint Committee of the United Bible Societies and the World Council of Churches, chaired by Canon Theodore O. Wedel. The main part of his study is reported in the paperback, `Multiplying the Loaves', published by FONTANA Books (Collins), London, 1968.