I am a Baptist missionary. Every year we have volunteer teams come from the States to assist us with our work here, and it is a constant struggle to try to get them to understand “biblical evangelism vs easy prayerism.” The article that you wrote is exceptional and I would like to include it in our training/orientation of the teams.
I greatly appreciate your ministry and pray for you and your family weekly. I have given away many copies of your book "Repentance & Soul-Winning." I commend your recent article calling out the "Sword" evangelism methodology.
I wonder whether you have ever considered having a conference on the issue of preaching repentance as part of salvation. It's amazing to me that most fundamental Baptists seem to act as if there is no controversy within their camp. Certainly, the "Sword" crowd acts as if there is no other position than theirs. ...
The most tragic is those profess that repentance is essential, but yet use the methodology of those who don't. Thus producing false converts galore and not understanding why.
Thank you for this email. It both strengthened and encouraged my husband and I as we read it. It was very well written. You made sense out of a subject we have struggled with since leaving Hyles Anderson College in 1997. As we worked on the mission field we began to see that they would add a "salvation" decision to their catholic or spiritist beliefs and frankly, we had no training (outside of God's Word) to help us understand how to reach the people to whom God had called us. All the 1-2-3 pray with me, didn't work. We felt driven to "produce" which as you know only leads to self examination based on an institutions teachings of the traditions of men and not sound doctrine from the Scripture. Therefore we felt like we were failures in comparison to the numbers we heard coming from works in other countries.
While we have been back in the States preparing to return to a new unreached area of our mission field, we have had time to study, pray and seek out the Truth. Our whole concept of what evangelism is, has really changed. Your email today just furthers our knowledge of the Scripture and what we should be seeking to do. One thing in particular that you said that I NEVER one time heard taught in all 9 years I was at Hyles Anderson was the following:
"The soul winner must be in fellowship with the Lord so that he has God’s wisdom to discern people’s spiritual conditions and needs. Some questions should be answered and some ignored. Sometimes we must deal tenderly and sometimes sharply. Sometimes we must hammer the need to repent and sometimes this is unnecessary, as in the case of the Philippian Jailer. Sometimes we must spend a lot of time showing the person that he is a sinner and making him understand what sin is and removing his self-righteousness, while sometimes God has already shown him this."
I know I am the least of the least who write you, and you may hurry to read my emails...but I just am so thankful for someone who studies the Word, takes the time to develop thoughts into words for people like me who just seek to know what is right and what is wrong. A preacher's influence is so great in a person's life, that I have had to figure out why I do what I do, believe what I believe and whether or not it has been based on the Word of God or an institution's influence. This is a huge problem among many of my friends as well....but thankfully, I can answer them a little more knowledgeably because you take time to write it down WITH SCRIPTURE.
Amen! Amen! Amen! Brother, I saw a LOT of this when I went to HAC (Hyles). I have numerous stories but the saddest was when I helped for a "big day.” They borrowed a church in Chicago and crammed in a bunch of black kids. The speaker [who is still a worker at First Baptist Church] got up and never quoted one verse or gave the plan of salvation. All he did was say "who here wants to go to heaven when you die? Raise your hand. Alright, say this prayer with me..." And led them in a “sinners prayer.” Can you believe that! Just stand up and tell them to pray with you. Wow!!!
Excellent article! I believe repentance is the most neglected Bible doctrine today.
Your article reminds me of a man, Rob, I used to work with and witness to many years ago. He came to work one Friday morning and said he had gotten everything "taken care of" the night before. I asked him what he was talking about.
He said two Southern Baptist deacons (really "sneakins") had come to his home on visitation. He invited them inside and they proceeded to tell him about salvation. After a little while they got on their knees and prayed while he sat on the couch and watched. After a couple of minutes they got up, told him he had just been saved, gave him a slip of paper with the their names and the churches name and address on it and left. I asked him if he still had that slip of paper and he gave it to and me told me I could keep it.
When I got home that afternoon I called the Pastor of that church and told him what had happened. On the phone he seemed to be genuinely upset and told me he would have a very serious sit down discussion the two men. I left it at that.
To this day, as far as I have been able to find out, Rob has never been to church.
Dear bro. Cloud, I am very thankful for this article.
Bro. Cloud, Thank you for your informative articles. I completely agree that there is a huge problem in the ‘easy-believism’ taught by many people. This is a blight! However, I wonder if there might not be some room for the possibility of souls being saved and never discipled? One who is never taught would likely never be baptized, never regularly attend church and never grow.
REPLY FROM BRO. CLOUD: Hello. Sure, believers need to be discipled but a saved person is gonna have new life and give some sort of evidence of that. There will be something there to work with, some positive response to God's Word, some desire to serve the Christ who saved him. We don't see any other type of salvation in the New Testament. This "I got saved 10 years ago but was never discipled so I still live like the devil" thing won't fly, in my estimation.
Thank you for writing the article 'What's Wrong With Most Soul Winning Courses?' I have thought along similar lines for many years and you have hit the nail on the head. I've also long thought that visiting evangelists are pressured (or have the idea themselves) to deliver lots of professions, decisions and walks down the aisle. This desire has given rise to shallow 'gospel' messages (that merely trigger a vague desire), psychological manipulations, repeated harangues to be 'saved' by coming out to the front, the use of emotion-producing music, playing on people's fears about 'missing Heaven,’ and all sorts of tricks to get people to respond on the night, to make the number of 'conversions' look good. Human beings are very susceptible to emotional manipulation to make them respond in a desired direction. I fear that much evangelism is of this sort and not of the Holy Spirit. If people are saved it’s despite this technique, not because of it. Conviction about sin comes from the Holy Spirit alone, and that through the delivery of the complete Gospel which includes clear teaching about God's holiness and our sin and our need for salvation via the blood of Christ and repentance of sin. Great works of the Holy Spirit are not achieved by tricks and watered-down false gospels. Please keep speaking up about this issue: I pray that God will prosper the lesson far and wide so that Christians who minister the Gospel will examine their assumptions.
I have been in Maine for 15 years and seen the foolishness of easy prayerism. It's sickening! The God of Heaven has helped us to see several churches started and souls saved. We see a few each year. I wish their was more but conversion does not come without conviction and repentance.
Keep up the good work.
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