Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What is wrong with our evangelism?

Behind the facade of glowing missionary reports and massive statistics there is a profound awareness that the church has little power in evangelism. After analyzing, evaluating, praying and hoping, missions are not revitalized and sinners are not turning to Christ in great numbers. The questions are still being asked, 'what's wrong with our evangelism? What is needed to win the world for Christ? Where is the power of Edwards and Whitefield?'

Products of modern evangelism are often sad examples of Christianity. They make a profession of faith, then continue to live like the world. Decisions for Christ mean very little. Only a small portion of those who 'make decisions' evidence the grace of God in a transformed life. Mission boards are hesitant to answer the question, 'what is the Gospel?' Thoroughly to answer that would condemn what many of their own missionaries preach.

When the excitement of the latest campaign has subsided, when the choir sings no more thrilling choruses, when large crowds no longer gather, when the emotional hope in the evangelist's 'invitation' has moved to another city, what do we have that is real and lasting? When every house in our mission village has been visited, what has been done? The honest heart answers, 'very little'. There has been a great deal of noise and dramatic excitement, but God has not come down with His frightful power and converting grace. 
All of this is related to the use of a message in evangelism that is unbiblical. The truth necessary for life has been hidden in a smokescreen of human inventions. On the shallow ground of man's logic, large numbers have been led to assume they have a right to everlasting life and have been given an assurance which does not belong to them. Evangelicals are swelling the ranks of the deluded with a perverted gospel. Many who have 'made decisions' in modern churches and been told in the inquiry rooms that their sins have been forgiven will be surprised to hear, 'I never knew you, depart from Me' {Matthew 7:23}.

The Evangelical wing of the Protestant Church is saturated with doctrine and practices which have no Biblical foundation. Many teachings and habits touching the Gospel are as much the products of human invention and tradition as were the indulgences of Tetzel. And certain doctrines in our midst are quite as dangerous. Our message and manner of preaching the Gospel cannot be traced back to the Reformers and their creeds. Worse, they cannot be traced to the scriptures. They have clearly arisen from superficial exegesis and a careless mixture of twentieth-century reason with God's revelation.
The resulting product is a dangerous conglomerate - just the sort that Satan uses to delude the souls of sinners. What cult has not learned to use verses of the Bible and half truths to establish their lies? This has been the Devil's strategy from the beginning. By selling another gospel to our generation, Satan has been employing many sincere men in preaching a dethroned Christ.

The differences between today's gospel and Christ's Gospel are not in minor details, but in the core of the matter. Modern changes are serious enough to grieve the Spirit and yield empty nets. They are dangerous enough to misguide souls for eternity. The contrasts between Christ's Gospel and today's popularized 'gospel' are crucial, not peripheral. In these contrasting messages lie the difference between life and death for a soul, between vitality and sterility for a church.

When a half truth is presented as the whole truth, it becomes an untruth. Though the answers may be painful, you must ask if your church, your missionaries, your evangelists, your Sunday School teachers, and you yourself, are preaching our Lord's Gospel. Though the answer may bring discomfort, conflict, misunderstanding, and loss of friends, you cannot dishonor God by ignoring His truth.
To please God, you must labour as Christ laboured. Cast off the shackles of Evangelical traditions! Refuse to pay for outward unity with the coins of fundamental truth. Learn to follow the Christ of the Scriptures in evangelism. Lay hold of the authentic Gospel and discard the synthetic.

Walter Chantry,- 'Today's Gospel, Authentic or Synthetic?' - from the introduction, published by the Banner of Truth Trust


Anonymous said...

I cannot help but believe that this is only part of the answer. Many want to berate us about sharing the gospel, either saying we aren't doing it or we're doing it wrong. But I do share the gospel regularly and I have to say that generally speaking the American people are dull and asleep. They are complacent. The idea that they need saving is the furtherest thing from their minds. They either do not believe there is a God; or per Ophrah they fancy themselves to be god. They are convinced their biggest problems are their their looks or other people. Or maybe boredom. Never in the history of mankind have a people had such levels of luxury, such health resources, such feasting as we have today in America. As a result our bodies are full but our souls are dead. Truth too is dead in our streets. It is hard to share the gospel in such a climate because you may only have a few minutes but you practically have to explain each word! The hardest are older, "religious" women. The ones that seem to have the most interest are the young men. I have such a burden for them. And never have I had one to be rude to me. They are usually quite willing to listen and many say thank you for telling me this. I ask them if they have ever heard the gospel. They will either say yes, I have or no, what's that? If they have heard it or profess to know it then I ask them what is it? It is intereesting to hear their response. Some have grown up in church, have heard the words but have never been asked to say it themselves. I praise them for their effort, however weak and then I proceed to help them understand it in its fullness. If they say they don't know the gospel then I give them 1 Cor 15:1-4 and tell them why Christ had to die (sin and what it is). I try to leave a tract if I have one available. I also leave tracts at the doctor's office, at the grocery, at the library, etc. I often wonder why no Christians approach me with the gospel or I don't see tracts laying around (except from cults).

lyn said...

You are right Anon, America has a calloused heart. The young do seem more approachable because their hearts are not has hard from years of bondage to sin. You are in the minority when it comes to those who speak the Gospel truthfully. America has so much freedom and so much access to God's word, and yet, we are the most vile among the nations. We've fattened ourselves for the day of slaughter with our material possessions, our love of pleasure, etc. I pray God will bring this nation to repentance.