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The Printed Prophets
A Book Review by Chris Buttery
In his book The Printed Prophets, Lemuel Olan Jimenez, makes the strong case for literature evangelism in all in its forms as a vital means of disseminating God’s last-day message to planet earth.  Written by this director for publishing and stewardship ministries for the Baja California Conference in Mexico, his purpose is to convince Seventh-day Adventists that literature is presently playing an integral part in proclaiming the third angel’s message and will assume an even larger role as we enter the closing events of earth’s history. 
The Printed Prophets has been written with the following in mind: “When church members realize the importance of the circulation of our literature, they will devote more time to this work.” (Colporteur Ministry, p. 7).  Convinced by these words Jimenez has endeavored to spell out why it is critical to distribute truth-filled literature today with the hope that many will respond to the challenge. 
Jimenez’ doesn’t assume literature evangelism to be superior or the only means of communicating the third angel’s message today.  Instead he proposes that while the various broadcast methods of sharing the gospel are fulfilling their important role in a free society through mass media today, the predicted “repressive environment” that is coming will set the stage for the “printed page [to] play a key role in delivering our message” during the closing scenes of earth’s history.
Using the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, Jimenez begins his book by painting a very real picture of the crisis ahead for planet earth and the challenges that await God’s remnant.  He then eloquently appeals that while we are now living in the “eye of the storm” the church must take up the work of sowing the gospel seed like never before.  He also calls for the remnant to be encouraged in knowing that distributed printed truth will quietly, almost imperceptibly do its work even if “fruit” is not immediately realized.  A time is coming when “more than a thousand will…be converted in one day, most of whom will trace their first convictions to the reading of our publications.” (Colporteur Ministry, p. 151)
Jimenez continues to build his case for the deliberate sharing of literature by revealing its prophetic role in delivering the sealing message of Revelation 7.  He correctly asserts that while the Holy Spirit is the active agent in sealing God’s people, the church must also cooperate.  After all, Revelation does record that both the Spirit and the bride [the church] say, “Come.” (Revelation 22:17)  It is in this sense that the following words are to be understood: “In a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power, and who lightens the earth with his glory.” (Christian Service, p. 148)
Jimenez employs a number of familiar Bible stories and passages to show the permanency and power of distributed truth-filled literature, and concludes by showing that literature will be a vital means of saving a large number of people right up to the close of probation. 
Finally Jimenez invites every member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to be involved in the various ways of disseminating the printed third angel’s message – either by making literature evangelism a vocation or a way of life.  According to the author, “Literature evangelism is taking the third angel’s message in written form to those not of our faith, and to those unfamiliar with the gospel message. It can be through books, magabooks, magazines, or tracts, whether lent, sold, or given away.”
The Printed Page will both appeal to those who are keen to employ a successful and effective method in reaching the masses with God’s last day message of mercy, and stir others to consider their role in God’s final effort to get people ready for His soon return.  Every reader will be blessed.
Chris Buttery is senior pastor of the Sacramento Central Church in California