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Problems with Soulwinning


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I am very passionate about personal evangelism as well, and I have wrestled with the same questions.

I've noticed that many people try to share the Gospel as a presentation instead of a conversation. When people feel like we are giving them a presentation they seem to want to just agree, and say or pray whatever it takes to get it over with. Of course, that's not always the case.

Just toward the end of last year I lead a close friend of mine to the Lord, and he even showed up at church the following Sunday. After that he never came back, and quickly went back to his friends and lifestyle like nothing ever happened. I remember feeling like I had failed my friend somehow. I eventually met with our outreach Pastor to express my frustrations and concerns to him. He reassured me that I had done my part, and that I was in no way responsible for my friends spiritual growth since he refused my offer to help guide him in discipleship.

In some cases it takes a person years to start attending church and bearing fruit after they become saved. I've seen it happen with others and that was my own personal experience as well. I was saved for almost three years before I gained a love for reading the Bible, but slowly the desire to learn the Word of God eventually came. Soon after I began a serious study of the Bible I started attending church, became a member, and today I understand what it means to be a new creation.

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We can't see a man's heart of course, but what you describe makes you wonder.

Here in Australia we don't have it so much - Aussies tend to be a bit more up front and just dispense with politeness and tell you outright they are not interested.

What that means is that you get less initial "response", but unfortunately we don't get a better % of success.

Still lots of people who get "saved" who are never heard from again.....

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The most "successful" (by that I mean that it was God working through this person) soul winner I ever saw broke every rule in the book!  God blessed him and blessed him by allowing him to lead many to Christ but his means was the most unconventional I have ever seen.  Very direct. In my view almost to the point of being offensive but he grew a church almost by himself!  It was an amazing thing to see.  He was heavily involved in an RU ministry so many of those he witnessed to needed some "direct" talk.  But he was no different when witnessing to anyone else and the response was the same.  People trusting Christ, joining the church, and serving. 

I am not advocating this "technique" or any other.... It's obvious to me that God's hand was simply on this man.

Edited by 1611mac
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AdamL has raised a very interesting point which was taken up by John Macarthur in his book "The Gospel according to Jesus" and the follow up book "The Gospel according to the Apostles".  In these books Dr Macarthur seeks to highlight a clear difference between people who merely profess faith, and those who are truly saved.

A person "gets saved" not because they have "prayed a prayer", at the insistence of an evangelist, but because God has moved upon them by His Spirit and drawn them to call out to Him in repentance and faith.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with a Christian leading someone to the Lord, neither is there anything wrong with Gospel booklets that have a prayer of repentance and committment at the end.  However, we need to be very cautious as there are many who "pray a prayer" but never evince any fruit. 

This is exemplified by the "results" at Billy Graham meetings.  Many go forward to "receive Christ" but very few actually stay the course.  In accordance with 1st John 2 v 19, those who merely profess faith were never truly saved in the first place.

In conclusion, we need to remember that "salvation is of the Lord".  We don't actually convert people, it is God who does that when He grants the gift of faith to people who have been given to Jesus - John 6 v 37 and v 65.

 

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Look at Paul's gospel presentation in Athens compared to elsewhere.

In Athens his approach is different although the Gospel is the same.

There is no such thing as a "one size fits all" Presentation method.

You need to assess the person and convdrsation and vary your approach to suit.

Note that I am talking about method and approach, not gospel.

There is, was, and always will be only one Gospel.

And I would warn people to be very wary with Macarthur.....

 

Edited by DaveW
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3 hours ago, Bob Hutton said:

In conclusion, we need to remember that "salvation is of the Lord".  We don't actually convert people, it is God who does that when He grants the gift of faith to people who have been given to Jesus - John 6 v 37 and v 65.

Just mentioning that few on this board hold to Calvinism or reformed doctrine.

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3 hours ago, Alimantado said:

Just mentioning that few on this board hold to Calvinism or reformed doctrine.

What I have put forward in my post is not "Calvinism" but simple Bible truth viz. Jesus in John 6 made it clear that a people have been given to Him by the Father (v37) and that no-one can come to Him unless it has been granted to them  (v65).

I would be interested to know why DaveW has warned against John Macarthur.  I don't agree with everything Dr Macarthur teaches but, as a general principle, his ministry has been extremely helpful to me.

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21 minutes ago, Bob Hutton said:

What I have put forward in my post is not "Calvinism" but simple Bible truth viz. Jesus in John 6 made it clear that a people have been given to Him by the Father (v37) and that no-one can come to Him unless it has been granted to them  (v65).

Calvinism teaches the idea of 'irresistible grace' - that God has predetermined (as opposed to merely pre-knowing) those that shall be saved, and that they will be drawn to God and saved through no choice of their own. What you're saying sounds rather like that, which is probably why Alimantado is cautioning you. Although discussion is encouraged, any strong promotion of Calvinism is not permitted is not permitted on this board. Just wanted to let you know so you're not blindsided later on. :-)

I'm going to say this now to prevent the thread being hijacked. (This is for everyone, Bob, not just you.) The topic of this post is soulwinning, so let's try to keep it to that, shall we? Any discussion of Calvinism should be deferred to another thread.

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13 minutes ago, Bob Hutton said:

What I have put forward in my post is not "Calvinism" but simple Bible truth viz. Jesus in John 6 made it clear that a people have been given to Him by the Father (v37) and that no-one can come to Him unless it has been granted to them  (v65).

I would be interested to know why DaveW has warned against John Macarthur.  I don't agree with everything Dr Macarthur teaches but, as a general principle, his ministry has been extremely helpful to me.

I agree with Bob Hutton on this. The Bible is very clear that it is the Spirit of God that draws us to himself, and opens our heart to the truth. That is not Calvinism or Reformed doctrine, but simple Bible truth. Man has the free will to accept or reject that drawing and revelation, but we don't get saved without the conviction of God.

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27 minutes ago, Bob Hutton said:

-snip- I would be interested to know why DaveW has warned against John Macarthur.  I don't agree with everything Dr Macarthur teaches but, as a general principle, his ministry has been extremely helpful to me.

Not debating... offering for consideration only... http://www.wayoflife.org/reports/john_macarthur_and_cultural_liberalism.html

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2 hours ago, Salyan said:

Calvinism teaches the idea of 'irresistible grace' - that God has predetermined (as opposed to merely pre-knowing) those that shall be saved, and that they will be drawn to God and saved through no choice of their own. What you're saying sounds rather like that, which is probably why Alimantado is cautioning you. Although discussion is encouraged, any strong promotion of Calvinism is not permitted is not permitted on this board. Just wanted to let you know so you're not blindsided later on. :-)

I'm going to say this now to prevent the thread being hijacked. (This is for everyone, Bob, not just you.) The topic of this post is soulwinning, so let's try to keep it to that, shall we? Any discussion of Calvinism should be deferred to another thread.

Salyan, many thanks for your comments.  I wish to put your mind at rest.  It was not my intention to promote any particular brand of theology, but rather to point out that it is the Lord who does the saving.  This is relevant to evangelism as we can so easily think that we contribute in some way to people getting saved when, in fact, it is a work of God. 

Once we accept that salvation is of the Lord it takes the pressure off us and removes the temptation to water down the call to repentance lest it causes offence.

Regards

Bob

Edited by Bob Hutton
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18 minutes ago, Bob Hutton said:

What I have put forward in my post is not "Calvinism" but simple Bible truth viz. Jesus in John 6 made it clear that a people have been given to Him by the Father (v37) and that no-one can come to Him unless it has been granted to them  (v65).

I would be interested to know why DaveW has warned against John Macarthur.  I don't agree with everything Dr Macarthur teaches but, as a general principle, his ministry has been extremely helpful to me.

Sir, please consider the following:

God's viewpoint is displayed in the context you quote dear friend. Not our viewpoint. The Lord knows all and sees all, knows who will believe and who will not throughout the ages. We see only free will and must warn everyone period. The spreading of Christ's Gospel is our earthly purpose.

So, to say that there is nothing wrong with witnessing is a gross understatement when you and I have no other purpose here, wouldn't you agree? God would logically just take us home upon the new birth if His seeds are spread and watered without us..make any sense? He gives the increase but we are tasked to seed and water.

Wouldn't you agree that no one can believe without hearing the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word work together as one to save and sanctify. It has never occurred spontaneously without hearing the Word in the Spirit's power. The more earnest, secret, private prayer that a believer puts in, the more of the Spirit's power will be present when they witness. Nor has any believer ever gotten close to Christlikeness from the standard 3/10% religion promoted by many pastors. It can only come by daily saturation in the Word, which enables believers to pray according to God's will.

This post's intention is not to address the calvin heresy. It is addressing the supreme purpose of witnessing and testifying the Gospel of Christ. I do agree that the sale's pressure should never be on a believer. The sincere burden to see souls escape hell should be however. We must warn them and tell them that we are warning them. The level of success however is in direct correlation with the amount of tears, prayer and fasting we commit to and never wisdom of our words; like sales tricks, etc. Just some thoughts without contention.

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21 minutes ago, wretched said:

Sir, please consider the following:

God's viewpoint is displayed in the context you quote dear friend. Not our viewpoint. The Lord knows all and sees all, knows who will believe and who will not throughout the ages. We see only free will and must warn everyone period. The spreading of Christ's Gospel is our earthly purpose.

So, to say that there is nothing wrong with witnessing is a gross understatement when you and I have no other purpose here, wouldn't you agree? God would logically just take us home upon the new birth if His seeds are spread and watered without us..make any sense? He gives the increase but we are tasked to seed and water.

Wouldn't you agree that no one can believe without hearing the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word work together as one to save and sanctify. It has never occurred spontaneously without hearing the Word in the Spirit's power. The more earnest, secret, private prayer that a believer puts in, the more of the Spirit's power will be present when they witness. Nor has any believer ever gotten close to Christlikeness from the standard 3/10% religion promoted by many pastors. It can only come by daily saturation in the Word, which enables believers to pray according to God's will.

This post's intention is not to address the calvin heresy. It is addressing the supreme purpose of witnessing and testifying the Gospel of Christ. I do agree that the sale's pressure should never be on a believer. The sincere burden to see souls escape hell should be however. We must warn them and tell them that we are warning them. The level of success however is in direct correlation with the amount of tears, prayer and fasting we commit to and never wisdom of our words; like sales tricks, etc. Just some thoughts without contention.

Thank you for your post, which is very helpful and informative.  However, I must disagree with your statement that the "level of success is in direct correlation with the amount of tears, prayer and fasting we commit to.."

The "success" of the Gospel's work in peoples' hearts is nothing to do with us.  God uses means, and witnessing and praying for the lost is vitally important. However, while it is a privilege  to be used of God the reason why people get saved is not because of us but wholly of God.  He is the One who draws and His purposes will never fail.  For biblical proof of that I would encourage you to read Job 42 v 2, Daniel 4 v 35, Psalm 115 v 3 and Psalm 135 v 6.  If God purposes to convert a person then nothing can thwart that purpose.  Again, I am not seeking to promote any particular line of theology but simply pointing out that, while evangelism is extremely important (and I do street evangelism 3-4 afternoons a week), the end result is not because of anything we do but what God does.

Once we accept that it is God who saves we should be even more zealous to witness knowing that we have a cause that cannot fail.

 

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4 minutes ago, Bob Hutton said:

Thank you for your post, which is very helpful and informative.  However, I must disagree with your statement that the "level of success is in direct correlation with the amount of tears, prayer and fasting we commit to.."

The "success" of the Gospel's work in peoples' hearts is nothing to do with us.  God uses means, and witnessing and praying for the lost is vitally important. However, while it is a privilege  to be used of God the reason why people get saved is not because of us but wholly of God.  He is the One who draws and His purposes will never fail.  For biblical proof of that I would encourage you to read Job 42 v 2, Daniel 4 v 35, Psalm 115 v 3 and Psalm 135 v 6.  If God purposes to convert a person then nothing can thwart that purpose.  Again, I am not seeking to promote any particular line of theology but simply pointing out that, while evangelism is extremely important (and I do street evangelism 3-4 afternoons a week), the end result is not because of anything we do but what God does.

Once we accept that it is God who saves we should be even more zealous to witness knowing that we have a cause that cannot fail.

 

I appreciate the kind reply sir. However, I can cite hundreds of NT Scriptures that demonstrate our purpose while here physically. Of course starting with our Lord's great commission to us. In addition all Scripture overwhelmingly points to absolute and total free will for men lost and saved (from men's perspective which is what this thread is all about and all that must matter to us). The scattered passages here and there that supports your view are always written from the Lord's perspective.  Not one instance exists otherwise in Scripture.

Please see that what you are claiming here is in fact making God's functional view of history your own functional view of history which is false and presumptuous. He knows exactly how much fruit we each will bring to perfection through obedience to God's commands to sow with tears and the power of His Spirit. However, if we cripple ourselves falsely from the start with this notion that God controls men's minds and hearts, we will never bear any fruit nor bring any to perfection. Street evangelism becomes merely academic and a stench in God's nose IMO. 

Revival (or as the OP stated - soulwinning) at all levels hinges solely on importunity my friend. Persistent, non-stop pleading to God for His Spirit's power. It won't be easy by any stretch. Real prayer is the hardest thing to do and double hard if you fast as our Lord demonstrated.

Look at it this way friend, if God cannot force us to feed on His Word daily and lose our earthly ambitions completely to Him as saved people do you honestly think He forces anyone to believe to begin with?

Study Luke 11:5-13 and please reconsider.....

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34 minutes ago, wretched said:

I appreciate the kind reply sir. However, I can cite hundreds of NT Scriptures that demonstrate our purpose while here physically. Of course starting with our Lord's great commission to us. In addition all Scripture overwhelmingly points to absolute and total free will for men lost and saved (from men's perspective which is what this thread is all about and all that must matter to us). The scattered passages here and there that supports your view are always written from the Lord's perspective.  Not one instance exists otherwise in Scripture.

Please see that what you are claiming here is in fact making God's functional view of history your own functional view of history which is false and presumptuous. He knows exactly how much fruit we each will bring to perfection through obedience to God's commands to sow with tears and the power of His Spirit. However, if we cripple ourselves falsely from the start with this notion that God controls men's minds and hearts, we will never bear any fruit nor bring any to perfection. Street evangelism becomes merely academic and a stench in God's nose IMO. 

Revival (or as the OP stated - soulwinning) at all levels hinges solely on importunity my friend. Persistent, non-stop pleading to God for His Spirit's power. It won't be easy by any stretch. Real prayer is the hardest thing to do and double hard if you fast as our Lord demonstrated.

Look at it this way friend, if God cannot force us to feed on His Word daily and lose our earthly ambitions completely to Him as saved people do you honestly think He forces anyone to believe to begin with?

Study Luke 11:5-13 and please reconsider.....

John 6:43  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

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33 minutes ago, wretched said:

I appreciate the kind reply sir. However, I can cite hundreds of NT Scriptures that demonstrate our purpose while here physically. Of course starting with our Lord's great commission to us. In addition all Scripture overwhelmingly points to absolute and total free will for men lost and saved (from men's perspective which is what this thread is all about and all that must matter to us). The scattered passages here and there that supports your view are always written from the Lord's perspective.  Not one instance exists otherwise in Scripture.

Please see that what you are claiming here is in fact making God's functional view of history your own functional view of history which is false and presumptuous. He knows exactly how much fruit we each will bring to perfection through obedience to God's commands to sow with tears and the power of His Spirit. However, if we cripple ourselves falsely from the start with this notion that God controls men's minds and hearts, we will never bear any fruit nor bring any to perfection. Street evangelism becomes merely academic and a stench in God's nose IMO. 

Revival (or as the OP stated - soulwinning) at all levels hinges solely on importunity my friend. Persistent, non-stop pleading to God for His Spirit's power. It won't be easy by any stretch. Real prayer is the hardest thing to do and double hard if you fast as our Lord demonstrated.

Look at it this way friend, if God cannot force us to feed on His Word daily and lose our earthly ambitions completely to Him as saved people do you honestly think He forces anyone to believe to begin with?

Study Luke 11:5-13 and please reconsider.....

Thank you for your interesting reply.

I have never doubted the vital importance of evangelism which is why I spend so much time on seeking to win the lost to Christ.  However, I do not think that it is fair to say that my "own functional view of history is false and presumptuous".  Nor  do I think that it is fair to speak about "a stench in God's nostrils" - that was highly intemperate.

I find it rather intriguing that you are seemingly angry at me simply for believing that God, in His kindness, "shows mercy to whom He wishes to show mercy", which is exactly what happens when He converts anybody.

It  is God's business to save, it is ours to witness.  Nothing we do will change His purposes, we simply sow the seed and He gives the increase.

 

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1 hour ago, Invicta said:

John 6:43  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

He further explains in the 12th chapter "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

It is all from His perspective still brother and not intended to ever be our perspective. There are a 100 to one passages commanding us to warn everyone.

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It seems to me that of the two arguments in process here both sides are contending for the same thing. One side contending for the necessity of planting and watering the seed which is our job and the other side contending the increase is wholly of God. Lest's be careful not to talk past each other in trying to understand different parts of the same process. Ultimately, the reward goes to the ones who are obeying the commands rather than those who understand them the best (though perfect understanding is always helpful when doing the work).

A perfect example of our heavenly partnership is the example of Cornelius. Though we are called to give the gospel to all people, there are those to whom God has a particular desier to save and draws the soul winner to. Those who are lost but are of a contrite and humble spirit. Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

We see in the life of Cornelius that he was without Christ but "a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." (Acts 10:2) Therefor God divinely orchestrated the meeting with Peter so that Cornelius could receive the Gospel. The neat thing is that though Peter had to present the Gospel, it was said "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." (Acts 10:44). It is great relief to my heart that though I must be a faithful witness of the Gospel it is still God that does the humbling, the convicting, and the drawing. "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Acts 10:34)

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On 21/02/2017 at 9:05 PM, wretched said:

Revival (or as the OP stated - soulwinning) at all levels hinges solely on importunity my friend. Persistent, non-stop pleading to God for His Spirit's power. It won't be easy by any stretch. Real prayer is the hardest thing to do and double hard if you fast as our Lord demonstrated.

Revival and soul winning are not the same.  Have you ever read accounts of Revival?

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On 2/15/2017 at 10:44 PM, AdamL said:

I have read a lot of info on David Cloud's website.  The first few times I read it I thought he was preaching lordship salvation.  I have since changed my mind.  I don't know that I agree with 100% of what he says but I think he has identified a problem for sure.  I have gone soulwinning with some people that I thought were way too quick to get someone to pray a prayer for salvation.

Just to be clear... David Cloud does not teach or preach lordship salvation. Not even a hint of it.  What he warns about frequently is the "123.. Pray after me." mentality.  See his free ebook "Fundamental Baptists and Quick Prayerism."  You can read it online (pdf viewer) or download in pdf, mobi (Kindle), and ePub formats.

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4 hours ago, Invicta said:

Revival and soul winning are not the same.  Have you ever read accounts of Revival?

Remember, I said at all levels. Revival as far as the Scriptures support would be primarily an upsurge of prayer for power resulting in true conversions. Remember that our Lord fasted 40 days to begin His ministry. That is an example that should be understood and followed at every level of ministry and every level of ministry must be geared toward converting, baptizing and discipling.

Edited by wretched
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