Monday, July 21, 2008

What Really Is Coming to Christ?

Today a friend told me of his four year progress in witnessing to a self proclaimed agnostic co-worker/friend. The co-worker appears to be close to understanding his need of a Savior. My friend is a newer believer and this is his first foray into seeing someone come to Christ so I asked how he planned to lead his friend to Christ. His response was "I thought I'd bring him to church" implying I could finish the work he began four years ago. I shared with him the fundamentals, gave him a copy of The Soul Winners Guide, showed him an Evangelism Explosion booklet and talked to him about The Four Spiritual Laws. I stopped before I overloaded him with the Romans Road and Casting Nets presentations. This got me thinking about what we tell people who want to come to Christ. I came to Christ as a 4 year old on May 5th, 1954. I know because I found it written in my grandfathers journal. I don't remember it, only the Bible they presented me afterward. Later, as a young teen, I remember the original Left Behind series and the movies on the rapture (Distant Thunder). I was sure glad I was not going to be left behind, but a couple times I came home to an empty house and was really scared I had been. I remember in my mid teens making a decision to share Christ with my friends after sitting most of the night alone in front of a camp fire watching a nail turn white hot and thinking I did not want my friends to go to such a place. I really did begin to try to scare my friends out of hell. I realize that is not the way people usually say that and Dee does not allow me to say it like that either. :)


A year later I went to a week long seminar with Campus Crusade and learned the Four Spiritual Laws which begins: Law One - God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. I liked that and led four people to Christ that weekend. After a while, the Four Laws came under attack because, at least in the opinion of some, it did not deal adequately with sin. I stuck with the 4 laws through the 70's and switched to Evangelism Explosion's presentation of the gospel in the 80's.

Currently I am reading a book titled "He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobson (an absolutely wonderful book on what happened at the cross). In this book, the author points out that the EE presentation uses fear to scare people into heaven by avoiding hell. I agree it does start with “if you were to die today, do you know for certain that you would go to heaven?” but it moves on to a pretty standard presentation on putting faith in Christ alone to save us. I recall all this for anyone who bothered to read this far to ask the question, "What really is coming to Christ?".

Certainly it is avoiding hell, clearly it is finding forgiveness for sin, but is that all that God had in mind? I am wondering. If I may be so crude, how would Jesus sell himself? What would be His offer? Left behind? Believe or burn? I have a "Plan for You" I think your gonna like. All of the above? There is truth in all the above but it is not all the truth there is. They all miss to some degree the core of what I have come to understand Jesus is offering. A real life friendship/relationship with him right now….and for all eternity. I think it may be time for a relationship driven salvation presentation. It would not exclude what I grew up with but it would emphasize the fellowship and relationship that is at the heart of the gospel in the here and now, not just the (as one unbelieving friend put it) "pie in the sky by and by stuff:". If you’re interested in watching the journey unfold, log on occasionally and feel free to comment.

11 comments:

Don Z said...
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Doni Brinkman said...

I am DEFINIELY along for the ride. Can I tell you again how HAPPY I am that you are doing this?

Sarah R. (C) said...

I am so glad you started a blog and am looking forward to reading more.

Jodi said...

I am so glad that you are blogging. I am looking forward to reading all of your posts!

Laurie said...

I am so beyond happy that you are doing this! I always feel so renewed and contemplative after spending Sunday mornings with you and now I get the wonderful benefit of your words throughout the week!

jolleyzoo said...

I have to agree with the others here, I am so happy to see that you have started a blog. You have no idea how inspirational you are. I cannot wait to see what your blog will have in store for all of us.

Johanne said...

Hi, I read on Doni's web site about your blog. I am along for the ride as well. I feel I am going to learn alot here and if I have any questions I feel I am going to get some good insight. Looking forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

heidi jo said...

you know i'm stuck on the train... couldn't get off the ride for anything! :)

like you, none of the 'plans' really ever felt dead on right for every situation... it always seemed to me that Jesus comes to each of us with the same message of hope and salvation, but He reaches us in the most personal way imaginable BECAUSE He already knows each one of us... it amazes me how He knows the world and yet He knows my name. Not only that, but knows EVERYthing about me... and loves me loves me loves me.

it is also amazing and beautiful that the Creator of the UNIVERSE is my daddy... how beautiful of Him to come to such as me. :)

i am not said...

This is interesting to me. Having grown up in the CRC tradition and not hearing much about hell as I grew up, the idea of scaring people out of hell is fascinating to me. You ask how Jesus would sell himself... I think that he would sell himself as he did in our gospels - a man of love, submission, sacrifice and dependence. Ultimately, though, love. I think we all crave it and he is here, willing and able and ready to give it.

I hesitate to comment at all because I am no theologian or biblical scholar. I grew up in christian schools, went to a christian college, took my classes, but when it comes down to it as an adult not much of that matters to me - I am a 32 year old sinner who is in desperate need of a savior. He loves me and it is my honor to love others. I hope in some way my loving people will be instrumental to them finding Christ.

(gosh, I feel i need to qualify... which again is why i hesitate to comment (and why I've reread this about 5 times before publishing it). Believe me, i'm not advocating the "all we need is love" gospel. Just some initial reactions to your post. I really look forward to reading more).

Doni Brinkman said...

Jana I think what you wrote was perfect - I totally "get" what you said. And by the way, Dad was a Psych major too. ;)

Kristi said...

I realized the other day that I never posted a comment to let you know that I'm reading your blog... and hanging on your every word! :) Seriously though, I'm SO excited that you've started this blog. In a matter of a week you've given me so much insight and incredible things to think about. I'm already behind!

I feel privileged to be able to share in this "journey" with you, Pastor Don.