Just so you don’t think all I do is complain about the state of Christianity and not do anything about it, by the grace of God, I still hand out tracts and witness on a regular basis. One of my favorite parables is called the “Fisherless Fishermen”. Most evangelists today tell everyone else how to fish and go from lake to lake recruiting fishermen and spend time telling everyone how important it is to fish— yet most are too busy to fish. Or afraid.
Just so you don’t think I am picking on just my circles, this is something I have observed for 10 years. Regardless of denomination. I have been out to eat or for coffee or on mission trips or on conferences or breakfasts or at couple’s dinners or seminars or whatever, and I can’t recall any Pastor or Evangelist or layperson having any serious witness with anyone. At best at times I will see them disengaged from their waiter or waitress the entire time and at the end drop a tract when no one was looking along with a not-so-generous tip. It is everywhere. I went on a trip to Detroit to preach the Steelers/Seahawks Superbowl (when Hurricane Katrina canceled the original destination, New Orleans) with street preachers that would put our boldness to shame. Yet, the first stop, at a drive thru in McDonalds for 5 am Breakfast, the preacher never witnessed to the drive thru girl. She is a soul likely on her way to hell. He didn’t hand her a tract. He had many strengths and was a great preacher, but it is the small things that would leave a great impression. It is easy to preach when there is a crowd, and brethren around, and people notice us. It is harder when it is nothing but you and a soul. But I think one on one is where it is most effective. And least practiced. And least noticed.
Is that book of Acts boldness? I see all the time Christians so busy fellowshipping they don’t even notice the lost folks bringing them dinner or the lost folks taking their ticket at the toll booth or the lost officer pulling them over for blowing the speed limit. Pay no attention to that Christian Bumper sticker officer. I am not immune, I chicken out more often than not, but once God starts building some momentum, I see the truth and how wonderful it is to open your mouth. You see God working literally when you start to witness. Maybe that is why it is so hard to start. But all I see are preachers boldly railing on us to care about the lost but they do little themselves to get the gospel out. They lay guilt trips on the members, but it is the leaders that we are trying to follow.
Maybe I am railing on folks with my blogs, but I think it is different when you are out there playing the game and playing your heart out and yet you are down 80-3 at halftime. If you know that we can get back in the game, and you know how to defeat the other team, and the other players are so busy planning the after game party to care, you should step up and try and talk some sense into the team. Someone has to just go and get a fishing pole and start fishing. Instead of bragging about the one that got away.
I enjoy preaching and I have been able to preach behind a pulpit in several countries. I enjoy going to church. Yet there is something about actually going into the world, whether it is to a Sabres game and street preaching or opening your mouth at the Burger king drive thru, that makes your Christianity come alive. Anything else is not being obedient to the full counsel of God. We are commanded to do the work of an evangelist. Lost people do not come to church.
The lost people in church are tares and really don’t know they are lost. I’m not saying it is a lost cause, but lost people who think they are saved are probably Enemy #1 in the church today. They do nothing and others look at their worldliness and think that is normal Christianity. I am nothing to brag about, I am not a special and unique snowflake. I am just doing on a much more pathetic level something normal Christians did for 2,000 years. Except the last 100 years of course. I witness where I go, I hand out tracts, I give out DVDs and books, I street preach, I street witness, I go up to people in Wal Mart or at the Tim Hortons Drive thru and hand them tracts, etc. That is what Christians are supposed to do.
Since my wife has been sick with her pregnancy, I haven’t been to any big events but I do evangelism where I am at. God gives illustrations as I go. One of my favorites is at any fast food place, challenging the cashier not to be a Burger King Christian. That is having it your way instead of God’s way. I try and use something silly or humorous first, this gets them to drop their guard. Then I will hand them a tract and ask if they have a Christian background. Then I will try to get the law in there somehow. Told a lie? Stolen? Hated someone? Lusted? They admit to being liars, thieves, murderers, and adulterers and there is conviction. Once the disease is exposed, then you can give the cure. Then and only then.
Shopping at Walmart, when I take the kids on an outing, etc. I went to Monroe to have my wife’s headlight fixed, and witnessed to James the assistant manager and gave him one of the tracts I wrote. I went to Autozone today and gave the guy my tract and a Mark Cahill booklet. At Walmart I gave Rob a tract and I gave a young guy a tract and witnessed to him a bit in the middle of the store. Just so you know I am not just trying to complain from the bench. First hand I see what is wrong, and only when I have used the Law did I see honest actual conviction in the witnessing.
I wonder how much of our evangelism today is a true burden for souls and how much of it is attempting to impress the brethren. Or perhaps, an attempt to convince ourselves we are right when deep down we are insecure because we ourselves have given over to the modern humanistic gospel. Do souls dying and being cast into the lake of fire like the Bible says move us to tears or are we just interested in gathering material for the next prayer letter?
In the old testament, David sinned when he numbered Israel. I don’t think it was the actual counting that was a sin. In the book of Acts it was recorded that 4,000 were saved on the day of Pentecost and added to the church. But I don’t think Peter was going around handing out decision cards and a free gift just for playing. We must see there is a vast difference between counting those saved and added to the church and churches counting 28,000 decisions in 2012 in a church running 250.
Modern evangelism cannot account for 80 to 90% of their converts. It is not an exaggeration for a prayer letters will say in one year they had 585 professions, 35 baptisms, and they are still running a church of 25. If I had those results in the business world, I would have been fired. Yet modern evangelism sees nothing is wrong and keeps marching forward in the making 2-fold-children-of-Hell program.
Imagine an OB/Gyn office where for every 10 deliveries, 8 babies didn’t survive the birth process. Imagine a pediatrician office where for every 10 patients they had only 2 made it past their 3rd birthday. These offices would be shut down soon and sued for malpractice.
If they are “saved” by the church, yet “lost” and running around who-knows-where, they likely did not get saved. Oh, you must have lots of faith. You believe they got saved even though you never heard from them again and they ran from you when you tried to follow up, and they returned the Bible you gave them after they used it for their bird cage, and they are still shacking up with their girlfriend and have a garage full of empty Budweiser beer cans. They prayed and asked the Lord to save them, and who are we to judge that? is the soul winner’s only defense.
I have been to soul winning booths like one at the Erie County Fair a few years ago. I was told to keep it positive, not bring up hell, not address their false religion. They ask people if they are 100% sure if they would go to heaven when they die. Then they say if you want to know for sure would you want to know. If they say Yes, they give them the generic Romans Road, and lead them in prayer.
I can give an adulterer who’s wife threw him out a hall mark card to read to her and promise God has a wonderful plan for his marriage, but that will not save his marriage. Yet they declare these folks miraculously saved and then they take their names and tally the decisions and go to the next fair. There is no hint of conviction, no hint of repentance, but these are the converts that are being made all over America. 1 2 3 Repeat after me, 5,6,7, friend you still will not make heaven. Folks fly planes into buildings to get to heaven, so certainly some will be eager to pray a prayer.
These soulwinnners give them the impression it is a one time Flu shot. Easy. No commitment needed. Stay at your cult! Stay in fornication! God just wants you in heaven! We have more in common with Simon and Garfunkle than the Bible. Their song Here’s to You Mrs. Robinson says Heaven holds a place for those who pray. The Bible says He that hath the Son hath life and Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish. Salvation is a person, not a prayer!
Some preachers live in this dream land with their head either in the sand or the clouds, and they know that even though they have never seen a genuine Biblical conversion, that one day this person who “prayed a prayer” and gave this Jesus thing a try will magically turn into a spiritual butterfly and fly to church. But the evidence is clear — it is the overall direction of America.
If millions and millions have been saved in this country and the country is going nowhere spiritual WHEN 11 disciples turned a whole world upside down, something is off. At some point, we lost our way and dropped the evangelical ball. Millions saved in America should make an impact on the morality of the nation. 200 saved at a fair should shake up the town. God is mocked at our presumptuous soulwining and we need to be broken over our results instead of bragging about them and defending them. There should be some evidence we serve the true and living God. Yet there is none. We need to repent for that, we need to beg the Lord for forgiveness. We are making 2 fold children of Hell and we’d rather shoot the messenger than find a better way.
There is a better way, convincing of the disease like men of old. It might take 20 years of sowing good seed, it might take 5 years of putting the altar call on hold, it might take 10 years before you can put a decision in your prayer letter. But we need to be faithful to the Lord. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation but if it’s not getting instant decisions, we cannot change the gospel.
Are not the results up to God? Why then do we take credit for them?