Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Six Common Objections To and Misconceptions About The Way of the Master' and Biblical Evangelism (Part 4)

Objection #4 - Living Waters (WOTM) says that this is THE ONLY way to preach the gospel.

To my knowledge, neither Ray Comfort nor anyone on staff at Living Waters has ever made such a ridiculous statement.  Even so, it's amazing how often this objection is levied against the ministry.

More amazing still is how often I have personally heard this objection from people who don't share the gospel or from people who follow a model of "friendship evangelism," which all-too-often is neither friendship nor evangelism.

The reason for the above statement regarding "friendship evangelism" is this. As it is most often practiced, "friendship evangelism" rarely results in the unsaved friend hearing the gospel. The Christian invests a great deal of time and energy developing a relationship with a lost person; but if/when the opportunity to share the gospel presents itself, the Christian often balks. Sadly, the reason is often that the Christian doesn't want to do or say anything that would jeopardize the friendship he or she worked so hard to cultivate. So, in the end, maintaining the friendship with the unsaved person becomes more important than the state of the soul of the unsaved friend.

I, for one, don't believe that standing on a box and loudly heralding the gospel is the only way to evangelize the lost. I also don't believe that every witnessing encounter must include the "Good Person Test." Nor do I believe every Christian must distribute gospel tracts. I believe the Law and the Gospel must be faithfully and biblically proclaimed no matter what particular methodology the Christian chooses to employ.

I think those who levy Objection #4 do so, in part, because they confuse methodology with theology. They confuse practice with doctrine. While theology does and should influence our methodology, and while doctrine most certainly should influence our practices, there are distinctions to be made between theology and doctrine, and methodology and practice.

Saying evangelism should be done "the way of the Master"--the way the Master did it--is to say that evangelism should always be done biblically--not "Ray's way" or "Tony's way;" but the way see evangelism happen throughout the Scriptures. While methods can vary, Christians should not stray from biblical evangelism principles in order to accommodate unbiblical evangelistic methodology.

At Living Waters (WOTM), while we do employ methods to communicate truth, the emphasis of the ministry's teaching is biblical principles not human methods.

The gospel is a communicated message (Romans 10:14-17), in either verbal or written form. Evangelism must include the verbal or written proclamation of the gospel or it is not evangelism. Without the proclamation of the gospel, the activity may be an act of service, but it is not evangelism.

Should Christians feed the hungry, clothe the poor, shelter the cold, and treat the sick? Of course. These activities are, by definition, "loving thy neighbor." But if you put food in a person's stomach, clothes on their back, a roof over their head, and medication in their body; but you do so without also proclaiming the gospel to that person; then, if they die after the Christian has served them, the Christian is merely making the unsaved person's journey to Hell more comfortable.

Should the Christian serve and help people? Yes. And that service and help should always be a means by which opportunity is created for the proclamation of the gospel.

So, in conclusion, there is only one way to proclaim the gospel. Biblically. My Christian brethren, if you are doing that, if you are proclaiming the Law and the Gospel biblically, I have very little concern for your preferred methodology--so long as that methodology enhances and does not detract from the proclamation of the Law and the Gospel.