Thursday, March 17, 2011

If This Makes You Mad....I'll Be Ok

Boy, as Southern Baptists we are amazing, aren’t we? I am writing on Thursday, March 10th and I am seeing everything from Facebook posts, to comments on various web-sites of how many people were “saved” during bike week. As of right now, the total is over 300. If I felt this was true, and knew for sure that there was a clear presentation of the true gospel, I would be leading the way in rejoicing! However, I have been raised a Southern Baptist, and in my experience, so many who claim how “Southern Baptist” they are in our churches today, have no clue of the history and legacy of Southern Baptists. All that to say, I have been to the big evangelistic events, crusades, concerts, and strongmen parades, and have seen thousands raise hands, fill out cards, cry - and watched Baptists give incredible reports that rival Pentecost! I have seen the reports of these salvations, but I am wondering where the evidence of salvation is in the days following. Typically the presentation at these events goes something like this:

  • 3:00pm—Show some type of Jesus video
  • 3:05pm---Tell all the people that they can have a personal relationship with Christ today if they pray the following prayer
  • 3:15pm---Ask them to fill out a card that gives “proof” of their commitment
  • 3:18pm---Give them some material in a SBC Bag to show our passion for follow-up.
Churches are contacted and informed that these men or women in the area “accepted Christ” and need follow up. (No sarcasm at all at this point)…But, prayerfully a church that really comprehends the gospel gets the name and goes to share with the individual. If not, someone either mails them something or goes by their house and tells them that they heard the good news and discusses baptism and the importance of walking down the aisle Sunday. Is this how evangelism should be done? Is this how Christ did it? Is this how Paul did it? It is not bad enough we do this all over the country; we take this weak, false gospel elsewhere.

Not too long ago, I spoke with a man who was in India on a mission trip. He said he went in to a village and preached and led over 100 people to Christ during one sermon. Can God save 100 people? Certainly… but, you can also go into a polytheistic culture with no doctrine, no grasp of the gospel, and lead people in a prayer and report 100 saved by a hand raised…and in all probability, they just added Christ to one of their 1000 other gods!

If you are thinking that some of the higher ranks in the convention may not like this…I have had the honor of preaching at some state conferences, but I can live the rest of my life and be fine never doing it again. My calling, and your calling is not to create a message, not to make it more palatable - our job is to share the gospel and get it right! We are neither to add spin nor to talk them into a decision. I can’t save anyone - that is the work of the Spirit of God. We can, and have messed up a lot of things through the years, but we can’t mess up or fail to communicate the gospel correctly – that is our calling! By all means, we must get the message right.
I’m not done yet…

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As of Friday night, the "gospel" has been presented over 2200 times with 348 "salvations."