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Posts Tagged ‘evangelism’

Does Calvinism Hinder Evangelism? Yes And No …

Posted by Job on July 18, 2010

Saw this Calvinism & Evangelism: A Baptist Conversation and regretted not being able to participate in the discussion like I wished, so I will address some points here. First off, it is not Calvinism that hinders evangelism. It is doctrinal error. For example, plenty of liberal or “moderate” free will/Arminian churches (i.e. Methodist, Baptist) have adopted a “many paths to heaven” pluralistic theology, and others have given themselves over to the social gospel. In the former camp, such people reject evangelism and especially missions, believing the former to be a bigoted example of asserting one religious tradition’s superiority to another, and the latter to be religious and cultural imperialism. Among the latter, they believe that evangelism diverts energies, resources and passions from helping the poor, fighting injustice and working towards a more equal society. Now free will Christians PRACTICALLY NEVER address the beam in their own eye by associating their soteriology with the anti-evangelism stances of, say, the liberal/social gospel Methodists like Hillary Clinton that take John Wesley’s zeal for evangelizing the lost and redirect it towards improving society. Instead, they focus on the mote in the eyes of Calvinists whose hearts are hardened towards the gospel because they believe the false implications, applications and conclusions that they draw from the Biblical doctrines of predestination, election and limited atonement. Now it is just as easy to draw distinctions between Calvinists who follow after error and legitimate, Bible-based Calvinism as it is to do the same between a strong, solid free will salvation preacher and the “Methodists” that are performing homosexual marriages. It is just that the anti-Calvinist crowd chooses to make those distinctions when it comes to those who share their soteriology while (in a most unprincipled fashion) refusing to distinguish between John Ryland, Sr. and William Carey.

Now most anti-Calvinists address the success of Calvinist evangelists like Carey with the dishonest claim that “they successfully spread the gospel in spite of Calvinism” and then go on to produce statements and writings from such people that purport to show them conflicted, grieved and double-minded over their love for the lost and their love for predestination/limited atonement doctrines, and attribute any evangelistic success on their part to the former love’s being greater than the latter. First, even if they were conflicted in this manner, it is to their CREDIT that they struggled to try to reconcile seemingly conflicting scriptural doctrines, as opposed to the practice of the Wesleyan of either pretending that the scriptures pertaining to, say, predestination either don’t exist or don’t mean what the words in them say that they do. Second, BIBLICAL Calvinists know that the same BIBLE which contains T.U.L.I.P. also contains the Great Commission. Thus, the duty is to believe both, keep both and let God work out the details. When one accepts the full implications of the doctrine that it is God Himself who converts people and not man, and that man’s role is to be the instrument that God wishes to use bring conversion about, then in practice (orthopraxy) it works out any contradictions in speculative theology. Men preach, God saves, and it is simple as that. So, any problems are due to the unwillingness to simply obey God and preach and not any existential philosophical conundrum conflicts over “if a preacher preaches and no one is converted because there are no objects of God’s predestination and limited atonement in the audience, then has he really preached?”

Further, the motivation for our preaching should not – or at least not solely – be so that God can save. Instead, the motivation for preaching should be that God told us to. If we don’t preach, witness, evangelize or do missions, we knowingly commit high-handed sin against God, which is bad enough in and of itself without the consideration that people aren’t getting saved. After all, which is worse … that God is being disobeyed and sinned against or that people aren’t getting saved? If you pick the latter, then your doctrine and practice is man-centered and hence flawed. But Calvinists pick the former. A God centered approach means that God is being obeyed and hence worshiped and glorified regardless of the results. So while the free will Christian grieves over people not being saved, the Calvinist grieves over God not being glorified. In the latter approach, God is glorified and the people follow. But with the former, the interests of people are being served, and God is expected or presumed to follow. Which is better?

Well by now you might be wondering “he said Yes AND No, but so far we have only heard the NO. What about the YES”? Well allow me to say that Calvinism DOES make evangelism HARDER. And as well it should. If the primary purpose of evangelism is to glorify and worship God rather than to save men and to suit the purposes of the evangelist, then that will place a premium on doing evangelism correctly, and by that I mean in a reverent, God-honoring fashion by God-honoring people. We are supposed to serve God – and this includes evangelism – in the way that we are to work out our own salvation, which is with fear and trembling. (Note that the free will Christian sees no contradiction between salvation through faith and salvation with some combination of faith and works in Philemon 2:12. The reason is that when that verse is properly interpreted, no such contradiction exists. The same is true of the contradictions that allegedly exist between the doctrine of limited atonement and John 3:16 … they don’t).  Hebrews 12:28 (and yes I do rely on BlueLetterBible.org, a free will site) commands us to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”, and this applies to service to God through evangelism just like everything else.

The perspective whereby we must seek to honor, serve and glorify God first makes it harder to do self-serving, self-seeking, flesh-pleasing “evangelism” because we are driven by results (conversions, baptisms, church growth, church plants, numbers numbers numbers). It removes us from the capitalist, big business fast food approach to evangelism where we logically conclude that since we are securing human decisions for Jesus Christ, then if people don’t choose Jesus Christ, then the problem is either with the evangelist trying to make the sale or the packaging that the evangelist has adorned the gospel of Jesus Christ with. Instead, it accepts the idea that since a sovereign God is drawing people unto Himself USING evangelists, then playing the numbers game presumes to know God’s plan for a particular church, or the believers in a particular time and place. All the Great Commission promises is that the gospel will be preached in every nation, and that people from every tribe and tongue will be converted. The great commission does not promise that a particular church will always grow, or that a particular nation will have a certain percentage of its population as born-again believers. So, the “seeker-sensitive/emergent” efforts to “repackage the gospel”, to “rebrand the church” or even to “take back our country politically and legally and return it to its Christian heritage” is based on a set of assumptions that cannot be supported in scripture. For instance, even as we are mourning the declining numbers in conservative evangelical and fundamentalist churches in America and the west (and in the instance of the Southern Baptist Convention, scapegoating Calvinists for it!), church growth is booming in third world countries, which in some cases have gone from being evangelized by missionaries barely 100 years ago to sending out their own missionaries, including in some instances back to the west! (Yes, I am aware that most of this is due to free will missionaries. However, it is equally true that a lot of that is due to PENTECOSTAL missionaries. So I will begin to complain about the gospel being spread by free will Christians when the Baptists and Methodists start complaining about the gospel being spread by Pentecostals. My position is that God uses born-again people to preach the gospel, not people who adhere to a particular denomination or system of soteriology.) So if the sovereign God has decided that the time for the west’s dominance of Christianity has passed, and it is now time for Asia, Africa and Latin America to rise to the forefront, who are we to say otherwise? Especially as the church was born not in the west but in the near east to begin with? So it can and should be said that Calvinism DOES hinder BAD EVANGELISM DOCTRINES AND PRACTICES THAT DISHONOR GOD AND DENY HIS SOVEREIGNTY IN FAVOR OF APPEALING TO THE BASE INSTINCTS OF MAN’S FLESH THAT SHOULDN’T EXIST IN THE FIRST PLACE, and that’s a good thing.

Also, we must wonder why this charge, that “Calvinism hinders evangelism” is so effective in the first place; why it wounds and hurts. To start, we must address why it is used to begin with. One should acknowledge that the Calvinism/free will debate is basically unwinnable by either side. Both sides have a good amount of scriptural evidence at their disposal, but no matter where one stands on the Calvin/Wesley divide it is impossible to in good conscience be dogmatic because scripture texts reasonably interpreted to support the other side do in fact exist and cannot be ignored. That being said, there is clearly, undeniably MORE EVIDENCE on the Calvinist side than on the free will side. Being faced with that reality, the “Calvinism hinders evangelism” charge is used to tip the scales. The person thinks “well, there is a lot in the Bible that supports Calvinism, but I don’t want to stand against winning the lost!” and makes what appears to be the safe, moral God honoring position out of a love for God’s lost sheep.

While that is admirable on the surface, allow me to point out two things. First, the charge is not that Calvinism STOPS evangelism, only that Calvinism HINDERS it. In addition to my modifier above, that Calvinism hinders GOD-DISHONORING evangelism, realize even apart from that context that there is a huge difference between HINDERING something and STOPPING IT ALTOGETHER. If it could be said that Calvinism STOPS evangelism, then again that would put Calvinism against God and His Commandments by causing its adherents to reject the Great Commission. As stated earlier, that only applies to so-called Christians in BOTH Calvinist AND free will traditions, who disobey God in that area. But hindering evangelism only means making it go slower, and perhaps less than certain people want it to or think that it should. And I have already mentioned that the presumption of perpetual church growth is a bad one. So then, why is it such a strong, effective charge?

The reason is that a lot of people have a distorted view of evangelism and its importance in Christian life. Some of this is due to emotionalism, but some of it is also due to the evangelistic fervor injected into Christianity first by Wesleyanism and then by premillennial dispensational fundamentalism. And they are actually somewhat related. Wesley, coming from the Church of England as he was, adhered to an amillennial background. Hence, it is not by accident that the liberal social gospel doctrines originated with Wesleyan Methodism. Wesley believed that by winning as many converts as quickly as possible, the church could first renew and transform society and then pave the way for and speed the return of Jesus Christ. The difference between Wesleyanism and the social gospel is that liberal theologians simply allegorize (deny) the literal return of Jesus Christ, claiming that the return of Jesus Christ and New Jerusalem are only metaphors for an ideal society where things such as poverty, hunger, disease and war have practically been eliminated thanks to the good works of Christians. (Again, Hillary Clinton adheres to this system, which is itself a forerunner to the even more secular and radical liberation theology.) Premillennial dispensational Christians for their part are driven to prioritize evangelism because of the beliefs that A) getting the gospel to every nation will speed the rapture and return of Jesus Christ and B) a desire to reduce the number of people who never hear the gospel and hence enter into eternity without ever being afforded the privilege of being able to make a free will decision for Jesus Christ.

Allow me to state that having an unbalanced view of any area of Christian life is harmful and can lead to error. For instance, emphasizing sanctification too much leads to legalism. Emphasizing ethics and good works too much leads to the social gospel. Emphasizing prophecy and eschatology too much harms our ability to live in the here and now. Emphasizing grace and eternal security too much leads to antinomianism. And even fundamentalists have questioned if their emphasis on evangelism has come at the expense of discipleship. Thus, if Calvinism’s hindering of evangelism means not making evangelism the head of Christian practice and the primary goal and reason for existence for every church, then again Calvinism is a good thing. If you have the idea that Christians must primarily be concerned about saving other people from the lake of fire because going to the lake of fire is such a terrible and horrible thing for people, then that is man-centered theology and practice rearing its ugly head again. But if you have the idea that Christians must be concerned about evangelism because it is one of the many things that Christians must do to serve, obey and glorify God, then evangelism can take a balanced, proper role in the life of every Christian assembly and individual believer.

Allow me to provide a metaphor, example, allegory, illustration or whatever: people who work in engineering or technology. Most such people want to do so because of their passion and aptitude for inventing and creating. So, they go about acquiring the education and training required to enter such fields and then obtain employment expecting to spend their days building better mousetraps. However, upon obtaining employment, they find that most of their time is dedicated to reading reports, writing documentation, giving presentations, meeting with clients, fixing things that break, and making slight improvements to things that already work. Opportunities to work on or create something that is wholly new are few and far between, and even when they come, it is usually not something spectacular like inventing the light bulb, airplane or telephone like Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers or Alexander Graham Bell (who themselves, incidentally needed to build upon other discoveries to make those) but rather something that appears to be mundane that anyone could have done. What adds to the frustration of the erstwhile Eli Whitneys and George Washington Carvers is that there are plenty of people who are actually terrible at engineering, science and technology but great at “the other stuff” who have no problem not only retaining employment, but getting high salaries and promotions. Meanwhile, people with great skills and ideas who lack the ability or desire to excel at analyzing reports or giving presentations find their careers stymied, even ended. However, over time, these people realize that meeting with clients (who have a real business need) and giving them mundane products (which meets their need and is all that they can afford) is what keeps the business going. If you keep the business going long enough and do a good job on the routine tasks, then eventually you will get the opportunity to work on something new and exciting! But if you despise the routine tasks, you get fired and as a result never get to work on what is near and dear to your heart. Instead, that opportunity goes to the lesser talented person who did the mundane stuff the best that he could because he appreciated his job and his opportunity. And if EVERYONE despises the routine tasks, then the company goes broke, everyone loses their job and NO ONE gets a chance to work in something exciting or special. Also, it is by working hard, reading reports, meeting clients, giving presentations etc. that you LEARN how to make something NEW that people actually WANT, NEED and CAN USE. There have been lots of fascinating inventions created by people who had great technical skills but no knowledge of people or markets, and such inventions usually wind up being things that no one needs, wants, knows how to use or care to learn. The reason is that the inventors were more motivated in satisfying their own desire to invent than they were to invent something that people want and need.

This example can apply to Christian life. Effective, God-honoring evangelism can only be consistently done – whether individually or corporately – by people who live and honor the whole counsel of God, by people who know all the things that Jesus Christ did and taught as it is recorded in the Bible. Basically, effective, God-honoring evangelism is best done by people who do everything else that God tells them to do also, because it is those people who know what God wants in an evangelist. What is it that God wants in an evangelist? Simply, someone who is aware of his own worthlessness, his own uselessness, his own limitations and therefore relies totally on God. It is the evangelists who prioritize evangelism above all else and declare themselves to be “great soul-winners” that ultimately wind up building human monuments and institutions to their own greatness. Well, those people have their rewards on earth, and what they build and create won’t last the test of time, because they are like the self-absorbed inventors who create things that have no practical use described earlier. Or, such people will be frustrated with not getting the opportunity to do what they want to do, what matters to them, and what in their opinion fits their great skills and talents and leave. But the people who recognize that they aren’t really that smart or brilliant, and the people who LIKE doing the difficult unglamorous things because they are glad simply to have a place in God’s kingdom and dwell in God’s presence are the ones that God will raise up to do His Will, whether it is evangelism or other tasks to His glory.

And as far as the “mundane things”? Well most evangelism simply is – or seems to be – mundane. Now we all may admire the great revivals and missions started by Wesley, Carey, Edwards etc. However, those events – great moves of God – are not routine but rare and spectacular that few people will ever even take part in, let alone lead. So, instead of the spectacular – and while we are waiting on the spectacular – then things like leading our children to Christ, leading our friends and neighbors to Christ, leading our relatives to Christ should not be despised. And yet, many of the very free will Christians who accuse Calvinists of hindering evangelism aren’t even doing that. Ironic, isn’t it?

Not really. The reason is that there are two principles involved that often get overlooked. The first is that God is sovereign. God controls not only who gets saved, but when. Consider Philip the Evangelist and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts. The narrative makes clear that the Holy Spirit had both Philip and the eunuch in the right place at the right time, and also had the hearts and minds of both prepared: Philip to give the gospel and the eunuch to receive it. Philip was among those driven from Jerusalem by persecution, and the eunuch was in the area to fulfill religious obligations, attempting to understand the meaning of a passage from Isaiah. Without God, it wouldn’t have happened. Without God, it couldn’t have happened.

And the persecution that caused Philip to meet the Ethiopian eunuch? It was caused by Paul, the same who was saved by God as he was heading to Damascus. God chose the time and place, not Paul.

Another thing: the Bible makes it clear that before God entrusts us with great things and many things, we must prove faithful in fewer, smaller things. So, how are we going to succeed in big evangelistic efforts like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Resurgence if we are not doing door to door evangelism? And how can we do door to door evangelism of strangers if we aren’t telling our friends and neighbors about Jesus Christ? And how can we tell our friends and neighbors about Jesus Christ if we are not living balanced, obedient Christian lives that results from good discipleship and leads to spiritual maturity? If these were not the case, then it would turn the parable of the talents on its head. Again, consider Paul. He did not begin his missionary travels until YEARS after his conversion, and even then he was initially an UNDERSTUDY of Barnabas, who had been in the faith longer.

So, it is not Calvinism, dear Christian, that hinders evangelism. If anything hinders evangelism within a Christian, it is spiritual immaturity that results from either a lack of right belief (orthodoxy), or a failure to translate right belief into right practice (orthopraxy) and to do so consistently in all areas of Christian living, not just those which appeal to us and earn us the praise of men. Now if our free will/Arminian brothers and sisters in the faith wish to make the case that Calvinism causes spiritual immaturity, then go ahead, I am all ears. Otherwise, their false charge against Calvinism is based on false assumptions (i.e. that churches should always grow, instead of the historically proven fact that churches and movements spread, wax and wane) and presuppositions (that evangelism should be man-focused like consumer marketing instead of God-centered like true worship) and should be rejected as spurious.

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Kirk Cameron: how to build church with false converts

Posted by Job on July 11, 2010

Wholesale lifted from Gay Christian Movement Watch.

Satire at its best. Gotta love Kirk Cameron for bringing that truth with humor.

Too many of today’s pastors are being pressured (by the god of false success) to build churches with false converts. Such churches look great on the outside and appeal to “lights, action and camera” folks but there must be concern that souls are truly converted to Christ, not just become church members.

The Lawman Chronicles blog lists 10 marks of a false convert (feel free to add on):

1. You believe that you are inherently a good person, thus denying the doctrine of Original Sin.

2. You commit idolatry of the mind and blaspheme the very character of God by denying essential doctrines such as judgment, hell, regeneration, and justification by faith alone; and you replace the truth with lies such as sinless perfection and open theism.

3. You think that only the red-lettered words in your Bible are the words of Jesus and, therefore, the rest of the Bible can be interpreted and applied to your liking.

4. You believe that a person can be a Christian while wantonly engaging in habitual sin; such as homosexuality, fornication, adultery in mind or body, the support in any way whatsoever of the murder of the unborn, or any other sin.

5. You believe that because a person has prayed a prayer and asked Jesus into their heart, then they are saved.

6. You believe a person can be a Christian, even if they bear no fruit after making a profession of faith in Christ. You treat the grace of God as a license to sin. You like the word “backslider.”

7. You struggle with the thought of missing a meal; but going days, weeks, even months without reading your Bible doesn’t faze you.

8. You pray when you want something from God; but beyond that you have very little time for conversation with Him.

9. You believe that Darwinian, macro-evolution is a scientific fact and compatible with belief in the God of the Bible.

10. You see evangelism as a gift other people have; and you have no real concern about the fact that 150,000 people die every day, with the vast majority of them bound for hell. You soothe your conscience by convincing yourself that “friendship evangelism,” as it is most commonly practiced among American Christians, is actually in the Bible. You think that if you “let your little light shine,” you don’t have to verbally proclaim the gospel

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Desiring God’s Prison Ministry

Posted by Job on November 22, 2009

Desiring God’s Prison Ministry

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The Proper Christian Response To The Nalid Malik Husan Terror Attack: Concentrate On The Gospel!

Posted by Job on November 6, 2009

With regards to the crime and tragedy of Nalid Malik Husan’s attack at Ford Hood, Texas, where he shot at least 31 people, killing at least 12 people including women and civilians while screaming Allahu Akbar (and motivated by his desire not to be deployed against Iraq (or Afghanistan) as part of a force invading a fellow Muslim and Arab nation) allow me to propose a proper Christian response.

1. Prayer. We must pray for those wounded. We must pray for the families and loved ones of the wounded and deceased. We must pray for those who witnessed or responded to this horrific event, especially police officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, nurses and doctors. We must pray for the counselors and therapists, both Christian and non-Christian, who will aid people deal with the physical, mental and emotional aftermath of this carnage. And yes, we must pray for the loved ones of Nalid Malik Husan and – presuming that he survives – Husan himself for his conversion to Christianity. Finally, we must pray that the body of Christ responds in a wise, Biblical manner to this event. We must pray that Christians discipline those who fail to respond in such a manner, and that we reject those who respond in a manner that does not honor Jesus Christ.

2. Evangelism. This is the primary way that the New Testament teaches Christians to deal with the non-Christian world, which is sharing the faith of Jesus Christ. This terror attack may cause an increase in fear, hatred and government action. Or it may cause people’s hearts to be desensitized and grow cold. With either reaction, the appropriate Biblical response is to go out and tell as many people as we can, or more accurately as many people as God leads us to, about the kingdom of heaven. Whether Jew, Gentile, Muslim, atheist, Hindu or a person involved in a false expression of Christianity, we must tell people that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who is God, that He is the only way to heaven, that His sacrifice on the cross is the once and for all payment of sins, and there is salvation in no other. This evangelism should not be event-driven, as some attempt to exploit this event or the fear that comes as a result of it. We should not indulge in the sort of “this is why Christianity is better than Islam” triumphalism, for that is a political and cultural worldview argument engaged in by people whose heart is with this world, not those who consider themselves pilgrims, for whom the world and the evils and hardships thereof are not worthy to be compared to the glory of eternity with Jesus Christ. Also, such a message is more useful to preaching to the false Christian cultural chauvinist choir than winning any converts, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. Instead, this tragedy should serve is a reminder that this is truly a wicked, fallen world that we live in, one ruled by the evil one, the prince of the power of the air who is Satan, and that evil and death and judgment are the fate of the world and the people not redeemed from it through Jesus Christ’s blood. Events like this one, wars, famines, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, oppressive political regimes etc. should all remind us of this fact, they should remind us of the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, the Olivet discourse, the parables on the kingdom of heaven, his teachings on last things (New Jerusalem and the lake of fire), and serve as a burning fire shut up in our bones to go forth and obey the commandment of Jesus Christ given in the great commandments, to go and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If we go forth and keep this great commission commandment, then God will use us to save whom He will, and we will be as drink offerings poured out before God, and by our evangelism God will be praised, honored and glorified.

3. Resist temptation. For many, the temptation to indulge in an improper and non-Christian response will be very strong. Many quarters will use this as an excuse to fan the flames of hate against Muslims. Others will use it as an attempt to attack Biblical Christianity with its stand that Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven as well. However, for many the primary temptation will be a political and cultural one, the opportunity to assert Christianity’s superiority over Islam because of western culture and politics, because it is a superior worldview. Well, the west will come under the judgment of Jesus Christ along with the rest of the sinful world, and on that day the western cultural and political systems will be judged as part of Babylon and fall with the rest, including but not limited to the Arabic cultural and political systems. Further, even if the western worldview is superior, it is still a WORLDview, making it worldly, not holy, not of God, and not something that will last forever in New Jerusalem, but instead is something that will be consumed with this world when it is destroyed with fire. The western worldview will have no part in the new heaven and the new earth that Christians inherit. Further, incidents like this should remind Christians that true followers of Jesus Christ do not give themselves over to passions of revenge, hate, or reprisal. Christians are not to get involved in those things directly, nor in the indirect channels that the political debate allows us to. Where in the past, reprisal to incidents such as this may have been lynch mobs, the current political context allows us to simply demand a toughening and extension of the Patriot Act, profiling, immigration crackdowns, gun control, invading etc. While those issues may have their merits, the fact is that they have nothing to do with Christianity. Read the New Testament, especially the teachings of Jesus Christ. The church was never promised peace, prosperity or an easy time, but rather only conflict, warfare and persecution at the hands of the world that has rejected Jesus Christ. Christians have often forgotten that message by walking in agreement with the world. So Christians should reject the foolish idea that by taking political actions we can somehow make this country and world safe and better for Christians and the spread of the gospel. Take, for instance, the war on terrorism: it has been a disaster for Christians all throughout the Muslim wolrd, especially in Iraq.

So instead of trying to take revenge (or the offensive) against Muslims through political means, we should remember that Jesus Christ alone is to whom judgment was given, that God alone is the one capable of executing vengeance, and that Jesus Christ alone will conquer and rule the nations with a rod of iron, and that Christians cannot and should not perform judgment, vengeance, or rule in Jesus Christ’s place. (Of course, this does not preclude civil governments from doing what is necessary to punish crimes and defend its citizens from criminals and aggression from other nations, see Romans 13 with regards to that issue, but instead those actions are at best the just and necessary ones and should not be viewed as Christian in any sense.) Our job is not to pretend to be Jesus Christ and to usurp His place, but instead to obey and serve Jesus Christ so that He will act through us as His Body.

So in summary, the Christian response to this event is prayer, evangelism, and resisting temptation. Please realize that this should be the Christian response to all events. Thank you.

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Mission Field America: You can live your whole life and die without hearing the gospel in New York City!

Posted by Job on October 30, 2009

Church Planting in New York City

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New Testament Prayer: Acts 4:24-30

Posted by Job on October 27, 2009

This appears to be a prayer for evangelism that perseveres and succeeds despite and in the face of persecution and adversity, both political and religious. Note that the prayer specifically asks that signs and wonders be done by God for the sake of evangelizing the lost. This prayer also centers around the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and how the coming, works and resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecies.

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

The results of this prayer are below, verses 31-34.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

This would appear to be an empowering of the Holy Spirit – a filling of the Holy Spirit if you will (consider the empowerings or fillings of the Holy Spirit in the book of Judges that were not the indwelling Holy Spirit, but rather the empowering of the Holy Spirit that equips someone to serve God and perform His work) – that gave the believers the ability to share the gospel. The Holy Spirit gave them boldness to speak the gospel, and the words of the gospel message that were to be shared. It appears that the focal point of the true gospel message is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Another result of this prayer is that the believers began to behave as a corporate community. As a result, individualism – of which materialism and the desire to acquire, possess and retain worldly things – disappeared.

Let us consider this prayer, pray it in private and in gathered fellowship, and in the Name of Jesus Christ may this prayer have the same purpose and effect for us as it did for the believers in scripture! For we know that the word of God is true, and that it is the power of salvation for all who believe.

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U.N. Considering Resolution That Would Create ‘Global Blasphemy Law’ Protecting Islam

Posted by Job on October 27, 2009

I wonder how similar this is to the anti-evangelism laws (targeted towards Christians of course) that already exist in Israel.

Expert: U.N. Resolutions Would Create ‘Global Blasphemy Law’

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Evangelistic Messages

Posted by Job on October 1, 2009

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A Very Nice Testimony

Posted by Job on September 19, 2009

It opens:

I want to tell you about how the Lord is restoring my life.

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The True Cause Of Michael Jackson’s Death!

Posted by Job on September 14, 2009

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Street Evangelism In The Modern World

Posted by Job on September 6, 2009

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For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you. (1 Thessalonians 1:8).

Many church leaders tell us that open air evangelism in the form of preaching or door-to-door evangelism is outdated, that it no longer works because people are post-modern, because people no longer care about heaven and hell, and that promising or warning them of such things means nothing to them. We are told, therefore, that we must engage in lengthy ‘friendship’ evangelism so that lost friends will feel comfortable with us. We will also need to use apologetics to convince people of the validity of Christ and his gospel. It seems, therefore, that many of our churches see very few professions of faith and true conversion. It seems that many of our Reformed churches are very weak on evangelistic outreach.

Certainly we need to build strong, loving, and growing relationships with non-believers, and there is a time and place for apologetics. I am not saying that street evangelism is the only weapon in our arsenal. I am saying, however, that it is one too often neglected today. Some will say the commands to evangelize are given only to the Apostles, after all, Jesus is speaking to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:8, not to the general covenant community. However on the day of Pentecost, after the one hundred and twenty had been praying ten days for the coming of the Spirit, in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, all of them bore testimony in various languages of the mighty works of God in redemption. Indeed, the sons and daughters prophesied, young men saw visions and old men dreamed dreams. In Acts 8:1ff we read of the brethren being dispersed due to persecution, except for the Apostles, and the brethren went about evangelizing (the literal Greek word used in Acts 8:4). Then Paul commends the Thessalonian believers for sounding forth the word in Macedonia, Achaia, and beyond, stating that because of their gospel work he needed to say nothing. Clearly then, due to the fullness of the Spirit present in the early church, the church leaders and lay people were evangelizing as a way of life. Some still may object to one-on-one, street evangelism today, saying that times have changed. Have they? Dr. Peter Jones repeatedly makes clear in many of his books that the prevailing western world view today is neo-paganism. That is precisely what Paul faced in Corinth and Ephesus.

I wonder if the real reasons for our failure to engage in one-on-one, door-to-door, street evangelism are our laziness, cowardice, and pride. I am speaking from my own personal experience here. I suspect the root cause is our pride. When I seek to engage people in a questionnaire in hopes of sharing the gospel with them, and when I am rejected or mocked I find it especially humiliating. This blow to my pride fuels my innate laziness and cowardice, and I simply find other things to do. I tend to avoid the pain of rejection at all costs. I have come to believe that this humiliating rejection and mockery is very good for my personal sanctification. It helps me, though admittedly only minutely, to experience the sufferings of Jesus when he was despised and rejected by men, when he was like one from whom men hide their face. In fact, due to Christ’s command to make disciples of all the nations (noting that this begins with evangelism and moves forward to teaching) failure to evangelize and disciple is sin. We are failing to obey and honour Christ when we fail to evangelize and disciple people. Have you ever heard your preacher say that it is sin if you fail to tell others about Jesus?

Not all Christians are evangelists, but all, especially ministers of the gospel, are to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). Every church needs people gifted in evangelism, and others who do the work of evangelists so that the church may have new life breathed into it. A church merely built on strong preaching and teaching is dying even as it lives. Have you ever wondered why churches built only on strong preaching tend to die or fall off significantly after the great preacher has left? Such churches attract people who like good preaching but too often do little with what they hear. Churches, however, built on evangelism will have a vibrancy and excitement about them — not unlike the atmosphere in a family when a new baby comes home from the hospital. I am not minimizing the need for strong preaching and teaching. I am not suggesting that diaconal ministry is unnecessary. Both are important. It seems to me, however, that many of our Reformed churches are strong on preaching, teaching, and theology; and many are now strong on mercy ministry, but we still are generally very weak in evangelistic outreach.

Pastors, I know you hear this all the time, but it still is true — what you do, how you model your life and ministry, speaks loudly to your congregation. If you are not sharing the gospel regularly with people, then don’t expect your people to do so. It is time that we applied our Reformed theology to the work of evangelism. If you believe men are dead in their sins and cannot believe the gospel on their own volition, if you therefore are committed to pray fervently and expectantly for their salvation, then go out to the streets of your community and ask God to direct you to people who are open, prepared, and ready to hear the gospel. Perhaps most will not be interested, but look for the one or two, three or four who are. Expect God to save people. You are probably a coward like me, so make it easy on yourself. I have found older people and the poor, as well as immigrants, very open to hear about Christ. So I urge you to set aside a few hours one afternoon per week, or perhaps Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, asking one or two from your church to go with you, and simply go to the streets with a questionnaire, gospel tracts, and the joy of the Lord on your face. Plunge in and see what God does. As you gain confidence by the Spirit, you will then venture into deeper, more difficult waters, like your affluent community.

One other thing — I suggest you set aside one or two weeks per year for an intensive evangelistic outreach in your community. I learned this years ago by doing evangelistic work in one or two places. It wonderfully focuses your entire congregation on the work of evangelism, bringing much new life into your church.

Rev. Allen M Baker is Pastor of Christ Community Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, Connecticut.

www.christcpc.org

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