Selfishness as Sin 9

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.

In the last post (Selfishness as Sin 8) I tried to deal with what is really going on with point 1 just above. There was no effort to be thorough, due to the nature of the BLOG. One point that I did not touch on how one is to use all events for evangelism. This sure seems to leave the people of God hungry for solid food and ignoring the Great Commission which commands us to make disciples. Even if one says that evangelism is implied in the Great Commission, if all one does is to focus on evangelism above all else that does not leave us with time to feed the flock. It also leaves the churches quite vulnerable to false teaching. Quite simply, evangelism happens within the normal works of a biblical church. It happens when there is biblical preaching and teaching. True enough there is little of that in our day, but that is the perfect standard. If one cannot find biblical preaching and teaching, then it will do not good to practice false evangelism. What must happen is that people start Bible studies and begin to teach people in that way, teaching them the sinfulness of their hearts and the great truths of God and the Gospel.

While the previous paragraph is a critique in some ways of statement #1, it is also a severe critique of point #2 above as well. In order to be clear, if a person practices numbers 1 and 2 above, they will not preach a true Gospel and they will not preach a true Christ. In some ways the evangelism that Floyd wants to set out is seen in #3 above as well. If his idea of evangelism is to give an invitation that people have the ability and desire to respond to, then he is not preaching the true Gospel. The true Gospel does not teach people that they have the love of God in them and the ability to respond, but in fact it teaches them that they are at enmity with God and that He must show grace to them. Their walk up the aisle can come from nothing more than self-love. Their walk up the aisle does not demand a changed heart or a new nature; it can be nothing more than a selfish heart. Evangelism which focuses on the selfish heart of men and gets them to make some action based on that selfish heart is a false evangelism based on a false idea of God.

If the true Christ is not preached, then people will not be following the true Christ. If the true nature of sin is not preached, then people will follow their own wicked and selfish hearts as they are deceived into following a false christ. We must not be deceived and we must never back down on issues like this. Those who preach false gospels and false christs are lost themselves. It does not matter how many souls the preacher says have prayed the prayer and it does not matter how many the preacher has dunked, a false gospel and a false christ leads others to false professions and false faith in a false christ. We must stand for the true Gospel and the true Christ even when the most popular preachers of the day are preaching false gospels and false christs. We have no option but to stand firm for the truth of the Gospel. It may not be politically correct and it may not be thought of as winsome, but it is what we must do if we have an ounce of the love of God in our souls.

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