Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When the Gospel is Ineffective

Here is a quotation from The Soul Winner’s Secret by Colonel S.L. Beenglee of the Salvation Army 1918.

“That a man by personal magnetism, grace of manners, power or persuasiveness of speech, and a certain skill in playing upon the emotions and self-interest of the people, create an excitement that fairly simulates a revival; and yet have divided heart, I admit; but that he can bring men to a thorough repentance and renunciation of sin, a hearty embrace of the cross, an affectionate surrender to Jesus as a personal savior and Master who requires deep humility and meekness and tender love as the marks of His disciples is hard to be proved.”

Perhaps it is because we have trained eloquent evangelists that we have so many people apparently responding to the gospel who are not converted. The evangelists are trained but not Holy Spirit filled and the converts are not born again of the Holy Spirit. Even accepting that some of these people have passed from death into life through these glib evangelists with truncated presentations of the gospel, it is not a high percentage. I suspect we do not have a greater percentage of real Christians from orthodox catechisms (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian) classes or in Baptist Sunday Schools.

No, I do not have statistical facts to back up the above statements. But, I have talked with many “born again believers” who do not have the fruit of the Spirit. I am unwilling to admit that Jesus does such a poor job of saving people.

In some cases I have came to the conclusion that they have not believed the gospel because:

1. They were never near anyone who knew God.
2. They did not hear it because it was not preached at all.
3. They heard it preached but not in the power of the Holy Spirit.
4. It was preached by someone who did not love them.
5. It was preached by someone who did not believe the Gospel himself.
6. It was preached part way—leaving out one or more pieces of the Gospel.

- Sin
- Judgment
- Deity of Jesus
- The Cross
- The Resurrection
- Belief and Repentance

In each of the above sentences I use the word “Preach” because that is what the Bible uses. It also uses the word “declare” and “proclaim.” It does not use the word “share.” We use the word “share” because it sounds more “loving” and less “preachy.”

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