(To read this in Spanish click here)
There are few things in life that I delight in more than to see someone come to Christ. It is something that all of God’s children enjoy- to meet one more person that has experienced the love of Jesus Christ, and the joy of having your sins forgiven.
On the other hand, there are few things in life that upset me more than to see someone being manipulated into “Christianity”.
At the age of sixteen I was manipulated into “accepting” Jesus (in reality I was still at war with Him). I was told that God had great plans for my life, that He wanted to mold me into a great leader, that he was going to fill me with love (all very nice things, but not the Gospel). I was then led to repeat a prayer. After the prayer, the person introduced me to the rest of the group as a new brother in the kingdom of God. Now, this person had good intentions, surely. But good intentions don’t save souls. I am aware that many of our friends, and probably you reading this, have used similar techniques to bring others to “Christ”, but rest assured that you are doing harm.
The attempt is usually to bring you into this emotional state where you will most likely be prone to make a decision for Christ. I wish to expose some of the obvious flaws in this so called gospel presentation (and techniques) that seeks to manipulate people into making a decision for Christ.
1) It is NO GOSPEL presentation
Paul tells us what the gospel in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4
1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel<sup class="xref" value="(A)”> I preached to you, which you received,<sup class="xref" value="(B)”> in which you stand, 2and by which<sup class="xref" value="(C)”> you are being saved, if you<sup class="xref" value="(D)”> hold fast to the word I preached to you—<sup class="xref" value="(E)”> unless you believed in vain.
3For<sup class="xref" value="(F)”> I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died<sup class="xref" value="(G)”> for our sins<sup class="xref" value="(H)”> in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised<sup class="xref" value="(I)”> on the third day<sup class="xref" value="(J)”> in accordance with the Scriptures
In moden so called churches, when there is a “gospel” presentation, there is no mention of Christ dying for sins. Yet, this is exactly what stares us in the face when we see Paul delivering the gospel. But when we compare this gospel to the message found in modern churches, we find Paul’s gospel missing. What we find is a pastor who will tell you about a Santa Clause in the sky who is willing to bless you financially if you would so just accept him in your heart (or start coming to church). We find messages on how past relationships have afflicted you, and how God now has a “season” of blessings to give to you. Or, (my personal favorite) how “God needs you, and is broken hearted by you not accepting him into your heart”. These may have their place in The Oprah Winfrey network, but they are not the words of scripture.
The gospel answers the most vital question in regards to human existence: How can a holy God look upon a sinner like me, and declare me to be just in His sight? It has nothing to do with financial prosperity, teen heart beak, or God’s lack of self esteem.
2) It Is Dishonest
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”- Exodus 20:16
Question 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
I’ve seen it often- where members of a church would invite unbelievers to a “party” to have them visit their church. Or, they’ll invite them to a “concert” just to have them attend an event where a Christian artist was invited to play. Such dealings with people are not honest- they are deceitful. I remember my friend admitting to me he did this once, just to have his friends show up with liquor to church.
Dishonesty is issued when people are guaranteed health in times of sickness. When those with broken marriages are guaranteed matrimonial restoration. The honest truth is that we don’t know if said person will be healed. We do not know if said marriage will be restored. The honest truth is that God does whatever He wills. And He does it according to ” the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). What we are certain of is that if you repent and place your trust in Jesus you shall be saved and forgiven of your sins.
We ought to be honest with people. I find this to be useful in evangelism. There is no need for quick cheap tricks.
3) It Doesn’t Work
Now, of course, one cannot really be manipulated into Christianity. Christianity is a religion of the heart. And it is God and God alone who can change the heart (Eze 36:26). Even if they can intellectualize some facts about who Jesus is, this does not equal salvation.
The mindset seems to be- that as long as we get them in (through entertainment) we can then give them the gospel later. Two problems with this: 1) The gospel is mostly never given (and if it is- it is never the gospel), 2) Whatever it is you use to draw them to church is what you win them to, and will have to keep doing to keep them there (e.g. entertainment).
Ask yourself this question: If they were to remove all your entertainment in church, and just give you the preaching of the word- week after week- would you survive, or would you leave? I sometimes wonder how many Christians we would have in America if this was the early church- a church marked by persecution, that did not have all the distractions that we see today.
Sad stories and piano’s being played in the back round of an alter-call, might get someone to write their name on a card, but it is not conversion. I as well as many, have had to repent of using these methods. I pray that you would repent of these methods and share this message with others. The good news is that there is a method that God has given us in which He would save souls:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.- Romans 1:16
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1st Corinthians 1:18
In Christ, Awretchsaved