Evangelism Explosion Youth Notebook: Another Example of Salesmanship Posing as Soul-Winning?

857 reads

There are 3 Comments

G. N. Barkman's picture

In my early years, I followed a "Romans Road" style of evangelism as employed by the Sword of the Lord, Jack Hyles, and others.  I soon realized there were serious defects in this approach.  I observed many professions of faith, and very few manifestations of changed hearts and lives.  I began to look for a more Biblical approach to conduct evangelism, and to train church members to be more effective soul winners.

I was initially excited to discover Evangelism Explosion.  Surely this was what I was looking for.  It was obviously thorough, and came from a conservative Presbyterian source.  These folks should understand both sound doctrine and Biblical evangelistic methods.

But after reading the manual, I was deeply disappointed.  Yes, there was a more thorough explanation of the Gospel, but in the end, the methods used to get prospects to make decisions could have been endorsed by Hyles.  It was man-centered wolves dressed in sheep clothing. 

I was disappointed, but also wiser.  I realized that some Calvinists give lip service to sound theology, but yield to human-centered pragmatism to insure results.  Apparently the numbers game with its allegiance to bigger is better, and growth evidences God's blessing, can be just as much a problem with Calvinists as with independent  Baptists.   After all, we must insure that church's grow, whatever it takes, right?

He that wins souls is wise, but not everyone who endeavors to win souls is wise.  Some lack understanding, while others succumb to pragmatism.   Given the decades of evangelistic clutter strewn over the landscape, it's not easy to arrive at a clear understanding of Biblical evangelism, but Christ deserves our undivided efforts.

G. N. Barkman

dgszweda's picture

Do we think that a lot of the "salesmanship" is rooted in 1) the average Christian's lack of familiarity and confidence in the Gospel message and 2) the drive to see results?  Both can be remedied without the need for salesmanship.

Dave Gilbert's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

In my early years, I followed a "Romans Road" style of evangelism as employed by the Sword of the Lord, Jack Hyles, and others.  I soon realized there were serious defects in this approach.  I observed many professions of faith, and very few manifestations of changed hearts and lives.  I began to look for a more Biblical approach to conduct evangelism, and to train church members to be more effective soul winners.

I was initially excited to discover Evangelism Explosion.  Surely this was what I was looking for.  It was obviously thorough, and came from a conservative Presbyterian source.  These folks should understand both sound doctrine and Biblical evangelistic methods.

But after reading the manual, I was deeply disappointed.  Yes, there was a more thorough explanation of the Gospel, but in the end, the methods used to get prospects to make decisions could have been endorsed by Hyles.  It was man-centered wolves dressed in sheep clothing. 

I was disappointed, but also wiser.  I realized that some Calvinists give lip service to sound theology, but yield to human-centered pragmatism to insure results.  Apparently the numbers game with its allegiance to bigger is better, and growth evidences God's blessing, can be just as much a problem with Calvinists as with independent  Baptists.   After all, we must insure that church's grow, whatever it takes, right?

He that wins souls is wise, but not everyone who endeavors to win souls is wise.  Some lack understanding, while others succumb to pragmatism.   Given the decades of evangelistic clutter strewn over the landscape, it's not easy to arrive at a clear understanding of Biblical evangelism, but Christ deserves our undivided efforts.

 

I see this approach to evangelism all too often...usually it entails things like "building bridges", "lifestyle evangelism" and so forth. In other words, "the ends justify the means". I see something entirely different in the book of Acts: A delivery of the facts of the Gospel, and those who believe from the heart and are baptized are added to the church similar to Acts 8:37, "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. " <----I love this one, but it's not found in most of today's translations.

Also, the church growth phenomenon is nothing new, it's just that in the last 15-20 years, the popularity of Bill Hybels and Rick Warren have succeeded in creating the new "seeker sensitive" church, in contrast to Hyles'ism. Different approach, but even less Gospel content. Sad

 

 

PS: Decent article, too. Smile