Selfishness as Sin 8

While I am not dealing directly with the quote by Emmons as I have been, for the next few posts under this heading I will be dealing with an article published in Baptist Press and other SBC magazines. It is a very clear example of what happens when you push evangelism without dealing with the sinfulness of souls and without taking the character of God into account. It was written by Ronnie Floyd who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a pastor in northwest Arkansas.—what-happened-to-evangelism-in-the-sbc

What happened to evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention? It was our commitment to evangelism in the past that set us apart from all other denominations. The events and experiences churches offered to their community were done with the specific intent of winning others to faith in Christ. What happened? Where did this go?

What our pastors and churches can do
The real issues of evangelism lie with our pastors and churches. It is on us, not our Southern Baptist structure, regardless of how they could be or should be assisting and helping our churches. Therefore, pastors and churches, please consider these things to see more people reached for Christ and baptized by your church:
1. Through each event or experience you offer as a church, regardless of the audience, strategically use it for evangelism.
2. Preach each message and plan each service with the eventual goal of calling people to follow Jesus Christ.
3. Offer a public invitation weekly. If not a “walk down front” invitation, use other ways to call people to follow Jesus weekly.

The real issues of evangelism are not with pastors and churches, but with the triune God. It is true that Floyd’s statement is in the context of how the issues of evangelism are with the local churches rather than the SBC structure, and that is correct. However, the real issue is whether evangelism is done in the context of God-centeredness of man-centeredness. The push for people to become evangelistic to the extreme as Floyd’s article sets out is without question one that is focused on the ability of men to evangelize and the ability of men to respond to that form of evangelism.

We must always remember that there is only one Gospel and if people (ministers and so on) are not preaching that Gospel Paul says that they are to be anathematized (eternally cursed). There is no true evangelism apart from the one and true Gospel, so all evangelism in name apart from the true Gospel is false evangelism. It is not only absurd to send people and churches out to evangelize without knowing if they have the true Gospel or not, it is unthinkable and perhaps even blasphemous. If people are not going out with the true Gospel, they are going out with a false gospel and they are deceiving themselves and others. If a person is not preaching and teaching the true Gospel, then that person is also preaching and teaching a false Christ. We must not back away from those points and we must not back away from the implications of those points. If we are to be faithful to the true Christ and the true Gospel of Christ, then we must point to false gospels and false christs.

Floyd says the pastors and churches can do this: “Through each event or experience you offer as a church, regardless of the audience, strategically use it for evangelism.” Okay, apart from the true Gospel each event and experience that the church offers will be nothing more than an event and experience that deceives professing believers and unbelievers alike. In putting out event and experience evangelism the focus is on the sinner in the sinner’s self-love and selfishness rather than on the sinful nature of the sinner and the absolute necessity for God by grace alone to rescue that sinner quite apart from what the selfish prayers of that sinner. This is why event and experience evangelism is a denial of the truth of the selfish heart of the sinner and of the sovereignty of God and His grace who alone can bring life to dead sinners. No appeal to the selfish nature of the sinner will cause the sinner to reflect upon his need to have his nature changed, but instead the evangelistic appeals are for the sinner to accept Jesus, walk an aisle, pray a prayer, or at least do something in that sinful nature which hates the true God. The only thing a sinner who is at enmity with God can do is act within that nature. When the true God is preached the sinner will respond with that nature of enmity. True Gospel preaching will get people mad and angry at God. True Gospel preaching focuses on the sinful nature of men and the sovereignty of the grace of God which people hate and will respond with enmity toward. True Gospel preaching is dependent upon God for grace and not the prayers of men. True Gospel preaching will show men that they are helpless and unable to do one thing and that they must seek the Lord for Him to perhaps show mercy to their souls. Floyd’s methods fall short of the glory of God in evangelism and as such fall short of a true Gospel.

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