Is starting an evangelistic witness with Romans 3:23 legitimate?

Are there any evangelistic accounts in Scripture that begin with the person that is doing the evangelism telling the people that he is evangelizing that they all have sinned? If not, what basis is there, if any, to think that Romans 3:23 is a legitimate verse to use to start evangelizing someone?

Yes, starting an evangelistic witness with Romans 3:23 is legitimate.
80% (8 votes)
No, starting an evangelistic witness with Romans 3:23 is not legitimate
10% (1 vote)
Starting with Romans 3:23 is sometime legitimate but sometimes it is not
0% (0 votes)
Other (please specify below in a comment)
10% (1 vote)
Total votes: 10
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There are 40 Comments

RajeshG's picture

What I mean by "starting an evangelistic witness" is not necessarily that some or all of the words of Romans 3:23 are the very first words that you say to a person that you speak to with the intent of evangelizing him.

What I mean is that after any conversation that you might have with them introducing yourself and getting some information about them, etc, Romans 3:23 is the first information from Scripture that you share with a person that you have never witnessed to before and do not know anything else about other than what you have just learned from your "small talk" prior to sharing Romans 3:23 with them.

RajeshG's picture

Darrell McCarthy wrote:

1 Tim 1:15 is a good "entry point"

1 Cor. 15:1-11 communicates similar truths, and it is an inspired summary of how Paul, the pattern believer, evangelized people. I believer that passage is a far better "entry point" than either 1 Tim. 1:15 or Rom. 3:23.

Darrell McCarthy's picture

The wise and well-prepared fisherman has many lures in his tackle box

Dan Miller's picture

Romans 3:23 is Scripture, so sure - use it. However,

Quote:
What I mean is that after any conversation that you might have with them introducing yourself and getting some information about them, etc, Romans 3:23 is the first information from Scripture...

I think wisdom dictates that "gathering information about them" has to include figuring out where they are in terms of their worldview. And then the Scriptures used will depend on that. 

--------------

Here's an interesting witnessing opportunity:

Matt 19:16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus didn't use Romans 2:23 (it wasn't written then) but He basically did the same thing. This guy asked how he could earn eternal life. And so Jesus answered: Be COMPLETELY perfect. No sins of commission. Check. No sins of omission. uhhh - he goes away sorrowful.

 

RajeshG's picture

Darrell McCarthy wrote:

The wise and well-prepared fisherman has many lures in his tackle box

None of us will ever be wiser or better prepared than Paul was.

RajeshG's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

Romans 3:23 is Scripture, so sure - use it. However,

 

Quote:
What I mean is that after any conversation that you might have with them introducing yourself and getting some information about them, etc, Romans 3:23 is the first information from Scripture...

 

I think wisdom dictates that "gathering information about them" has to include figuring out where they are in terms of their worldview. And then the Scriptures used will depend on that. 

--------------

Here's an interesting witnessing opportunity:

Matt 19:16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus didn't use Romans 2:23 (it wasn't written then) but He basically did the same thing. This guy asked how he could earn eternal life. And so Jesus answered: Be COMPLETELY perfect. No sins of commission. Check. No sins of omission. uhhh - he goes away sorrowful.

Jesus was also incarnate Deity. He supernaturally already knew everything that this rich person knew and did not know. He also supernaturally knew what his sins were and what truths he had previously rejected. We do not have any such supernatural abilities.

Yes, Romans 3:23 can be used in evangelism, but not as a legitimate starting point for biblical evangelism in the specific circumstances that I talked about above.

Dan Miller's picture

Rajesh, your objection to Romans 3:23 being used strikes me as odd and makes me question whether I understand what you're asking.

What I tend to find in unbelievers is not so much a rejection of the good news - but a rejection of the bad news. And it is the bad news of sin and hell that makes "good news" good.

Regarding Jesus and the rich guy, I used to think as you do. Perhaps Jesus's response was not a good example for us. As I study the story, I more think otherwise. The guy asked Jesus what he could do to earn heaven. Jesus said, ~be perfect~. The disciples understood Him. They objected that Jesus was setting an impossible standard. And Jesus did not deny the impossibility of it.

In other words, it does not require supernatural knowledge to know that everyone has guilt. Or to know that everyone is trying to justify themselves and asking if perhaps God's standard of acceptance should be lower than perfection. 

RajeshG's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

Rajesh, your objection to Romans 3:23 being used strikes me as odd and makes me question whether I understand what you're asking.

Dan, I am interested in probing the thinking of people concerning how they approach evangelism and on what basis they decide what their approach should be. The Spirit inspired 83 verses in Romans before He breathed out 3:23. Choosing 3:23, therefore, as the starting point for evangelism is certainly not based directly on what that verse reveals in its context. Nor are there any apostolic or other examples of taking that approach.

What, then, is the biblical justification for the legitimacy of starting an evangelistic witness with the so-called Romans Road approach that teaches people to start with that verse?

Mark_Smith's picture

Why is telling a person they have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God bad or "illegitimate"? Is it not valid?

Mark_Smith's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Dan Miller wrote:

 

Rajesh, your objection to Romans 3:23 being used strikes me as odd and makes me question whether I understand what you're asking.

 

 

Dan, I am interested in probing the thinking of people concerning how they approach evangelism and on what basis they decide what their approach should be. The Spirit inspired 83 verses in Romans before He breathed out 3:23. Choosing 3:23, therefore, as the starting point for evangelism is certainly not based directly on what that verse reveals in its context. Nor are there any apostolic or other examples of taking that approach.

 

Let's try this way of thinking out. The Lord inspired 2 chapters in the gospel of Matthew before He told people to repent via John the Baptist...so I should start my evangleism by convincing people that Jesus is the legitimate heir to David. How's that?

Dan Miller's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:
Let's try this way of thinking out. The Lord inspired 2 chapters in the gospel of Matthew before He told people to repent via John the Baptist...so I should start my evangleism by convincing people that Jesus is the legitimate heir to David. How's that?

This is an appropriate objection. Matthew was written as a Gospel; Romans was written to deal with specific situation in the Roman church. So the pattern of Matthew should be much more an indication of how to present the Gospel.

Ken S's picture

Dan, I am interested in probing the thinking of people concerning how they approach evangelism and on what basis they decide what their approach should be. The Spirit inspired 83 verses in Romans before He breathed out 3:23. Choosing 3:23, therefore, as the starting point for evangelism is certainly not based directly on what that verse reveals in its context. Nor are there any apostolic or other examples of taking that approach.

What, then, is the biblical justification for the legitimacy of starting an evangelistic witness with the so-called Romans Road approach that teaches people to start with that verse?

 

Rajesh, it seems like you may be overthinking this or trying to extrapolate too much from Scripture.

In general from this and other threads, I think you are giving a type of authority and weight to Scripture that it was not intended to have. A stop sign has authority, but only to indicate where a vehicle should stop. It is not authoritative on what shape and color all signs in the world should be, and giving it that type of authority would lead one to draw inaccurate and even nonsensical conclusions. Your interpretive approach seems to be giving this type of misplaced authority to Scripture.

RajeshG's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Why is telling a person they have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God bad or "illegitimate"? Is it not valid?

I have not said that it is bad. What I have said is that I do not believe that it is legitimate to start an evangelistic witness to a lost person with Romans 3:23 in the way that those who espouse the Romans Road approach to evangelism have taught people to evangelize lost people.

RajeshG's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Let's try this way of thinking out. The Lord inspired 2 chapters in the gospel of Matthew before He told people to repent via John the Baptist...so I should start my evangleism by convincing people that Jesus is the legitimate heir to David. How's that?

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

2 Tim. 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

RajeshG's picture

Ken S wrote:

Rajesh, it seems like you may be overthinking this or trying to extrapolate too much from Scripture.

In general from this and other threads, I think you are giving a type of authority and weight to Scripture that it was not intended to have. A stop sign has authority, but only to indicate where a vehicle should stop. It is not authoritative on what shape and color all signs in the world should be, and giving it that type of authority would lead one to draw inaccurate and even nonsensical conclusions. Your interpretive approach seems to be giving this type of misplaced authority to Scripture.

I disagree. I do not believe that the Bible teaches that God has left it up to every person to do in evangelism whatever he decides is right in his own eyes. Rather than exalting human wisdom and reasoning and ingenuity in crafting what should be done in evangelism, such as the Romans Road approach does, we should exalt divine wisdom and let what God has revealed in His Word determine what our theology and practice of evangelism should be.

Dan Miller's picture

It seems that you suggesting that the only way to legitimately share the gospel is to use the whole Epistle to the Romans in order. 

RajeshG's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

It seems that you suggesting that the only way to legitimately share the gospel is to use the whole Epistle to the Romans in order. 

No, that is not what I am suggesting. What I am saying, however, is that I reject the approach called the Romans Road approach to evangelism as being valid teaching when it teaches people to start with Romans 3:23 when witnessing to people. I do not believe starting that way is biblical.

Dan Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:
... to start with Romans 3:23 when witnessing to people. I do not believe starting that way is biblical.
This whole discussion is about how to start. Order. Your claim is that using R3:23 at the beginning of the order of presentation is illegitimate because it doesn't follow Paul's order in his Romans epistle. Right?

Larry's picture

Moderator

1 Cor. 15:1-11 communicates similar truths, and it is an inspired summary of how Paul, the pattern believer, evangelized people. I believer that passage is a far better "entry point" than either 1 Tim. 1:15 or Rom. 3:23.

Why isn't Acts 17 the better entry point? Or Acts 2? Or any other passage? 

If the argument is that Paul wrote 93 verses before Rom 3:23, then how do you start anywhere but Gen 1:1 (which isn't a bad place to start). Every other verse has something that came before it. 

I wonder what the point is here. It seems, based on Scripture, that the scriptural starting point depends on a number of factors. It is likely that most evangelic witnessing opportunities start with small talk, getting to know someone, and finding out where they are spiritually. 

Rajesh, why don't you cut the chase and give us your position and argument.

RajeshG's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:
... to start with Romans 3:23 when witnessing to people. I do not believe starting that way is biblical.

This whole discussion is about how to start. Order. Your claim is that using R3:23 at the beginning of the order of presentation is illegitimate because it doesn't follow Paul's order in his Romans epistle. Right?

Only partly. To my knowledge, Romans 3:23 also does not match how any account of evangelism recorded in Scripture begins (for example, Acts 10, 17; 1 Cor. 15). I do not believe that starting an evangelistic presentation with that verse properly reflects a theology and practice of evangelism that is soundly based on Scripture itself.

RajeshG's picture

Larry wrote:

1 Cor. 15:1-11 communicates similar truths, and it is an inspired summary of how Paul, the pattern believer, evangelized people. I believer that passage is a far better "entry point" than either 1 Tim. 1:15 or Rom. 3:23.

Why isn't Acts 17 the better entry point? Or Acts 2? Or any other passage? 

If the argument is that Paul wrote 93 verses before Rom 3:23, then how do you start anywhere but Gen 1:1 (which isn't a bad place to start). Every other verse has something that came before it. 

I wonder what the point is here. It seems, based on Scripture, that the scriptural starting point depends on a number of factors. It is likely that most evangelic witnessing opportunities start with small talk, getting to know someone, and finding out where they are spiritually. 

Rajesh, why don't you cut the chase and give us your position and argument.

The point here is that I reject that the Romans Road to evangelism that multitudes of Christians have been taught is a biblical approach to evangelism.

Following what Acts 10 or 17 or 1 Cor. 15 provides as an approach to evangelism is far more biblical. 

Dave White's picture

Rev 14:6-7, "Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.'”

Note the 3 verbs

Larry's picture

Moderator

The point here is that I reject that the Romans Road to evangelism that multitudes of Christians have been taught is a biblical approach to evangelism.

So starting with human sinfulness falling short of God's glory is unbiblical?

Dan Miller's picture

Dave White wrote:

Rev 14:6-7, "Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.'”

Note the 3 verbs

haha! You want to start in the last book of the Bible? You're turning the Biblical order on its head!

RajeshG's picture

Larry wrote:

The point here is that I reject that the Romans Road to evangelism that multitudes of Christians have been taught is a biblical approach to evangelism.

So starting with human sinfulness falling short of God's glory is unbiblical?

I do not find any Bible that supports starting evangelism that way.

RajeshG's picture

Dave White wrote:

Rev 14:6-7, "Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.'”

Note the 3 verbs

I hold that Revelation 14:6-7 speaks of a future event that has not yet taken place. That proclamation of the eternal gospel will be made to a world that will have experienced catastrophic worldwide judgments of such a nature and to such an extent that they will know that God is judging the world: 

Rev. 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

For that reason, I hold that Acts 10 and 17 are better bases for what we should do in evangelism today. If I were to use Rev. 14:6-7 in evangelism, I would stress that although the passage is speaking about a future event, the demands that God makes through that angel are His gospel demands even now in view of the worldwide wrath that is yet to come (cf. Rom. 2:16; Acts 10:42; 17:30-31).

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

The Spirit inspired 83 verses in Romans before He breathed out 3:23. Choosing 3:23, therefore, as the starting point for evangelism is certainly not based directly on what that verse reveals in its context. Nor are there any apostolic or other examples of taking that approach.

What, then, is the biblical justification for the legitimacy of starting an evangelistic witness with the so-called Romans Road approach that teaches people to start with that verse?

The passage that comes to my mind contains the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples before his ascension. Luke 24:45-47 says;

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

I don't see how the disciples could obey this command to preach "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" without first establishing sinfulness in the listener's minds using some wording such as found in Romans 3:23.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

The Spirit inspired 83 verses in Romans before He breathed out 3:23. Choosing 3:23, therefore, as the starting point for evangelism is certainly not based directly on what that verse reveals in its context. Nor are there any apostolic or other examples of taking that approach.

What, then, is the biblical justification for the legitimacy of starting an evangelistic witness with the so-called Romans Road approach that teaches people to start with that verse?

 

The passage that comes to my mind contains the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples before his ascension. Luke 24:45-47 says;

 

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

I don't see how the disciples could obey this command to preach "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" without first establishing sinfulness in the listener's minds using some wording such as found in Romans 3:23.

If you examine the major evangelistic accounts in Acts 2, 10, 13, and 17, you will see that neither Peter (Acts 2, 10) nor Paul (Acts 13, 17) began any of these key evangelistic messages by declaring a statement similar to Rom. 3:23. Comparatively analyzing these messages in great detail reveals many key points about biblical evangelism, but it does not show that telling people Rom. 3:23 or some similar statement about universal sinfulness is the right place to start evangelizing someone.

We do have to bring people to a recognition of their sinfulness by giving them truth from Scripture that shows them their sinfulness and then call them to repentance, but doing either of those things is not the right place to start an evangelistic witness  

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

If you examine the major evangelistic accounts in Acts 2, 10, 13, and 17, you will see that neither Peter (Acts 2, 10) nor Paul (Acts 13, 17) began any of these key evangelistic messages by declaring a statement similar to Rom. 3:23. Comparatively analyzing these messages in great detail reveals many key points about biblical evangelism, but it does not show that telling people Rom. 3:23 or some similar statement about universal sinfulness is the right place to start evangelizing someone.

We do have to bring people to a recognition of their sinfulness by giving them truth from Scripture that shows them their sinfulness and then call them to repentance, but doing either of those things is not the right place to start an evangelistic witness  

I'm sure you're aware that those four examples are not the only evangelistic messages that Peter and Paul gave. We simply don't have record of all the others, and it is highly unlikely that Peter and Paul simply repeated the key points of those messages in the same order every time they had an evangelistic conversation with someone. Those messages CAN be great patterns to use, but the existence of those messages in the Bible do not make the use of any other verses in the Bible problematic as starting points.

I don't believe there are any specific commands in Scripture that order us to evangelize with specific starting points. We're simply commanded to evangelize. It's not like the instructions regarding prayer in Matthew 6:9 which states "After this manner, therefore, pray ye." Is God displeased if we start any of our prayers with something other than "Our Father which art in heaven"? I don't think so, do you? The Lord's Prayer is a great model, but the existence of the model does not make any other prayer starting point unbiblical. It's the same way with evangelism, especially since we don't have any direct commands regarding starting points in evangelism.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

[I]t is highly unlikely that Peter and Paul simply repeated the key points of those messages in the same order every time they had an evangelistic conversation with someone. Those messages CAN be great patterns to use, but the existence of those messages in the Bible do not make the use of any other verses in the Bible problematic as starting points. [bold added to the original]

 

This is purely your opinion, mere assertion, and nothing more. You exalt human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation.

Christian theology, teaching, and practice should not be based on pure human reasoning and speculation that does not have any biblical basis.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

[I]t is highly unlikely that Peter and Paul simply repeated the key points of those messages in the same order every time they had an evangelistic conversation with someone. Those messages CAN be great patterns to use, but the existence of those messages in the Bible do not make the use of any other verses in the Bible problematic as starting points. [bold added to the original]

 

 

 

This is purely your opinion, mere assertion, and nothing more. You exalt human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation.

Christian theology, teaching, and practice should not be based on pure human reasoning and speculation that does not have any biblical basis.

I'm absolutely willing to admit that that bolded sentence is my opinion.

Are you taking the position that Paul and Peter absolutely, without a doubt, based on divine wisdom and revelation, repeated the exact same key points in the exact same order every time they preached an evangelistic message or had an evangelistic conversation with someone? Do the four passages that were presented as models even have the exact same key points in the exact same order in all four passages?

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

You exalt human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation.

Isn't this accusation a bit over-the-top when responding to someone's opinion?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I'm absolutely willing to admit that that bolded sentence is my opinion.

Are you taking the position that Paul and Peter absolutely, without a doubt, based on divine wisdom and revelation, repeated the exact same key points in the exact same order every time they preached an evangelistic message or had an evangelistic conversation with someone? Do the four passages that were presented as models even have the exact same key points in the exact same order in all four passages?

No, I am not saying that these four messages have the same points in the same order. (No doubt, we would have a long debate about what are key points and what are not). In any case, that was not my claim.

The only point that I have made is that none of them (or any other account of evangelism recorded in Scripture, as far as I can tell) begins with a statement along the lines of Romans 3:23.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

I'm absolutely willing to admit that that bolded sentence is my opinion.

Are you taking the position that Paul and Peter absolutely, without a doubt, based on divine wisdom and revelation, repeated the exact same key points in the exact same order every time they preached an evangelistic message or had an evangelistic conversation with someone? Do the four passages that were presented as models even have the exact same key points in the exact same order in all four passages?

 

 

No, I am not saying that these four messages have the same points in the same order. (No doubt, we would have a long debate about what are key points and what are not). In any case, that was not my claim.

The only point that I have made is that none of them (or any other account of evangelism recorded in Scripture, as far as I can tell) begins with a statement along the lines of Romans 3:23.

Hold on a minute here. You can't just shift the conversation back to Romans 3:23 after making an accusation against me that I have exalted "human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation" when I presented my opinion that "[I]t is highly unlikely that Peter and Paul simply repeated the key points of those messages in the same order every time they had an evangelistic conversation with someone" AND THEN NOW YOU ADMIT THAT THE FOUR MODEL PASSAGES DON'T EVEN HAVE THE SAME POINTS IN THE SAME ORDER. 

What exactly was wrong with my statement that "[I]t is highly unlikely that Peter and Paul simply repeated the key points of those messages in the same order every time they had an evangelistic conversation with someone." that made you give that accusation?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

You exalt human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation.

 

Isn't this accusation a bit over-the-top when responding to someone's opinion?

 

I said essentially that same thing earlier in a statement that was not directed toward anyone in particular. Maybe, you did not see that reply?

I should have phrased my reply to you in a more general way so as not to give unnecessary offense. My apologies for not doing so.

Having said that, I fully stand by my position that teaching people to start evangelistic encounters with Romans 3:23 is not biblical and should not be done. To do so, is to exalt human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

I'm absolutely willing to admit that that bolded sentence is my opinion.

Are you taking the position that Paul and Peter absolutely, without a doubt, based on divine wisdom and revelation, repeated the exact same key points in the exact same order every time they preached an evangelistic message or had an evangelistic conversation with someone? Do the four passages that were presented as models even have the exact same key points in the exact same order in all four passages?

 

 

No, I am not saying that these four messages have the same points in the same order. (No doubt, we would have a long debate about what are key points and what are not). In any case, that was not my claim.

The only point that I have made is that none of them (or any other account of evangelism recorded in Scripture, as far as I can tell) begins with a statement along the lines of Romans 3:23.

 

Hold on a minute here. You can't just shift the conversation back to Romans 3:23 after making an accusation against me that I have exalted "human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation" when I presented my opinion that "[I]t is highly unlikely that Peter and Paul simply repeated the key points of those messages in the same order every time they had an evangelistic conversation with someone" AND THEN NOW YOU ADMIT THAT THE FOUR MODEL PASSAGES DON'T EVEN HAVE THE SAME POINTS IN THE SAME ORDER. 

What exactly was wrong with my statement that "[I]t is highly unlikely that Peter and Paul simply repeated the key points of those messages in the same order every time they had an evangelistic conversation with someone." that made you give that accusation?

I should have responded with more clarity about what I was saying in my response. Anyway, I have clarified my positions in the subsequent remarks to communicate that regardless of any variations among the recorded accounts, none of them support the notion that Romans 3:23 is a legitimate starting point.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

You exalt human wisdom and reasoning instead of divine wisdom and revelation.

 

Isn't this accusation a bit over-the-top when responding to someone's opinion?

 

 

 

I said essentially that same thing earlier in a statement that was not directed toward anyone in particular. Maybe, you did not see that reply?

No I hadn't seen that, but having seen it now, I also think that response was rather over-the-top. No one is "exalting human wisdom and reasoning and ingenuity" when they use verses directly from the Bible to evangelize (or to start to evangelize).

In fact, I think that proclaiming certain verses as off-limits for the start of an evangelistic encounter may very well be exalting human reasoning. There is no specific command to NOT use Romans 3:23 at the start, so your position must be formed by your human reasoning as you look at the model passages.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

The only point that I have made is that none of them (or any other account of evangelism recorded in Scripture, as far as I can tell) begins with a statement along the lines of Romans 3:23.

Since this is the only point you have made to reject Romans 3:23, do you have any Scripture that tells us we are only to use starting points that are provided in the written examples of evangelism?

Larry's picture

Moderator

Perhaps we should raise the question is what actually starts an evangelistic presentation. 

We might also note that Romans 1:18 hits sin pretty hard and that is early.

The NT pattern seems to be to start with people where they are doesn't it?