Distant Shores Media has just released an eBook called The Christian Commons that addresses what could arguably be considered the greatest hindrance to the spread of the Gospel in our day. What, you ask, might that barrier be? Extremist Islam? Secular humanism's growing power in media and education? Apathy in the church?
While all these are serious hindrances, one of the greatest hindrances to the spread of the Gospel in our day is the inappropriate application of copyright law to Christian materials, whether Bible translations, discipleship resources, evangelistic media, etc. This shackling of Christian materials leaves the global church unable to access or adapt (translate, put into oral form, etc.) those materials so that they can address the overwhelming spiritual needs of their peoples.
The technology of the 21st century provides unprecedented opportunities for ending the spiritual famine of the global church. We have the technology that could be used to help meet their need. We have the capacity of bringing spiritual famine relief to anyone, anywhere, efficiently, and at extremely low cost. What we do not have (yet) is adequate Bible translations and other discipleship resources that provide the legal freedom to take full advantage of these opportunities. In the legal context of "all rights reserved" the global church is unable to work together without restriction or hindrance to leverage Internet and mobile technology to the fullest for the purposes of God's Kingdom and the equipping of His Church. (quoted from the introduction of The Christian Commons)
Recognizing that we have been bought with a price, that all that we have is a gift from God, are we following in Paul's teaching and example "We endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:12) when place and enforce these kind of restrictions that hinder our brothers and sisters in Christ from receiving their daily spiritual bread? If we have been blessed to be a blessing why are we not allowing these blessings to be freely passed on to the spiritually impoverished of the Global South?
If you'd like to learn more about the problem or want to see how you can help be part of the solution I'd highly recommend setting aside a few hours to read The Christian Commons.
If you'd like a bit more of an introduction to the issue check out either Distant Shores Media's introductory video or watch their Executive Director, Tim Jore, as he presents on the subject at the 2012 Mobile Ministry Forum Consultation (both videos below):