Easy Believism on the Mission Field

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by MikeinGhana, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    I have been a missionary since 1991. I have been involved with many many groups who come to visit the field, help missionaries, leave, then write these glowing reports of hundreds, even thousands saved. I have also been with people who preach to mass crowds and ask people to raise their hands, pray a prayer, then tell them they are saved. I believe in confrontational soul winning. I believe in preaching the gospel to every creature. I believe in giving invitations. My question is this. Where do we draw the line between giving the gospel and offering salvation to all who respond in faith and repentance to the Word of God and making the gospel a cheap, easy, non-commital "fire insurance" type of faith? Is there a balance to be struck between easy believism and Lordship Salvation? I hope this thread sparks a healthy dialogue with the brethren.
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    There is a balance Mike. We too have had teams come over, give reports of hundreds being saved and a great revival in Ireland. Then I send my next prayer letter excited that we have had a postive chance to witness to one person.

    Only God knows the heart of those who hear the gospel. I do fear for the negative response by those who have been given a false hope with a 1-2-3 prayer after me type outreach.
     
  3. USN2Pulpit

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    Mike, what do you think about the work of Gideons in light of this thread? I know that Gideons have place several hundred thousand bibles with students in Ghana recently while sharing the gospel message.
     
  4. bapmom

    bapmom
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    Hi MikeinGhana!

    Its great to meet another of our missionaries who are on the field!

    What you were saying here and in another thread a few days ago has made me think, too. I would hope that if a group decides to have a meeting where thousands will attend, then that group should do their best to have enough workers to deal with all responders on a personal level. I know this is probably extremely hard when dealing in the foreign mission field.....

    My husband and I plan to be missionaries to Japan one day, and at first he thought of just doing what most people we'd heard of do....starting a church, leaving in a year or two and starting another somewhere else....but now he is thinking more of starting a church and staying there and really developing the people, making real disciples and sending them out to start churches in their own communities. I don't know why we here in America seem to think that the missionary is the "only" one in the field who is qualified to go soul-winning, or to work as an altar-worker in those large meetings you were talking about.

    I, too, have heard the idea about only going to fields that are "white unto harvest"....only going to those places where many will be saved. But at one point those places were considered the "hard" fields, and how could they become more ready without those workers there preparing the fields?

    As to the part you were saying about easy-believism....I would think that if you aren't already, having a sit-down discussion of these methods with any visiting preacher you have around would be a very good idea.

    Ive also heard that sometimes the visitors to the mission field can cause more problems than they are worth. What sort of people have you had come visit that were truly a help to you? Or that you feel really gained something worthwhile to take back home themselves?
     
  5. James_Newman

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    Hi Mike. Praise God for you doing the Lord's work in Africa. I believe the reason for the ongoing debate between free-grace/easy-believism and faith+works is because there is obviously truth on both sides. Either group can give you proof texts to show why they believe the way they do. One side will often ignore the other sides proofs or redefine words to mean something other than what it says. I think the answer must be able to make sense of the conditional warnings without negating the free-grace unconditional promises (or vice-versa). I believe the truth is that we are saved in eternity by faith alone, by believing that Jesus died for us. I also believe that we gain entrance into His kingdom (the millennial kingdom) through faith and works. We have lost sight of Christ's kingdom on earth, and the whole Gospel is not being preached.

    http://www.kingdombaptist.org/article614.cfm
     
  6. Bro. James

    Bro. James
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    Use the trinitarian method:

    Let God do the calling through the Preaching--

    Let the Holy Spirit do the convicting of sin, righteousness and judgement to come--

    Let Jesus do the saving through His shed blood--

    It works every time-- but don't expect a "saddleback".

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  7. TomVols

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    Here's where the altar call and decisional preaching has corrupted the church. Both of these are modern phemonena. God saved people just fine, thank you, using the preaching of His Word, til the late 1800s - early 1900s when these two ills crept into church life. They are exacerbated in today's results oriented culture, helped along by churches the clamor for numbers to post on their brag boards (you know, lists Sunday School attendance, offering, etc.).

    Preach the Word. Share the gospel. Jesus was lifted up on the cross. Bible preaching, emphasizing His atoning death is sufficient. Man-made manipulation is not necessary.
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hello, MikeinGhana.

    I know exactly what you mean. I don't think it is difficult to believe in Christ, so I have a problem with the term "easy-believism." Having said that, I have often seen people give a quick witness cross-culturally, pray with the prospect and then claim a salvation.

    Sometimes it even comes from other missionaries. Once a missionary came to my church to preach in Yokohama. After the service the landlady came downstairs, who I had been working with for years, giving her literature and witnessing. This missionary really didn't even give the Gospel, just grabbed her and said, "Pray this prayer."

    When we work cross-culturally, especially with people like the Japanese who typically know absolutely nothing of the Gospel, it is vital to deal fully and completely, making sure they understand the Gospel clearly.

    I couselled with one man for about a year, taking him through the Bible, dealing with his sin, etc. Finally one Dec. 31, late in the evening, he came over and rang the doorbell. When I greeted him he said, "Pastor, I know you told me over and over about Christ dying for our sins, but I just couldn't get it. Today we had a Christian friend over for four hours talking to us, and I finally understand what you meant when you said Christ died for me. I just thought you would want to know!"
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hi, bapmom.

    Glad to hear how you and your husband are thinking. Nobody, but nobody comes to Japan and plants a church in just a year or two. In fact, most missionaries in Japan nowadays plant about one church in their career.

    When I came over I thought, Jesus had 12 disciples in 3 years, I should be able to get 12 men in my church in 3 years. Riiiiiight! 13 years later I had about 5 or 6 men. [​IMG]

    This ain't Kansas, folks! I have had a few people truly saved the first time they heard the Gospel, but that is very rare.
     
  10. Su Wei

    Su Wei
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    Amen, John. That's 5 or 6 more who have their sins forgiven and to make heaven. What if you had not gone?

    Keep on preaching, brother!
    [​IMG]
     
  11. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    Well, I am certainly glad for the response to my thread on easy-believism on the mission field. Just to clarify a few points, I do believe salvation (believing on the Lord Jesus Christ) is easy. The work has been done for us by Christ. The Holy Spirit does the calling and convicting. It is easy, just not cheap! There is a difference.

    In response to the comments and questions about the Gideons, while I do not endorse an eccumenical approach to ministry, I praise God for every soul and organization that is trying to get the Word of God to a dying world (even those who create problems for me by their zeal to see souls saved in their short ten days of ministry).

    Someone made the comment about balance. A Professor of mine once made this quote while I was in College. He said, "If I could write one scripture verse I would write, 'Be ye balanced for I am balanced, thus saith the Lord'" What a missing attribute in Christianity today. Certainly there must be a balance in ministry, especially in witnessing. There must be both a Christ-like life (Life Style Evangelism) and a solid presentation of Biblical truth (confrontation). We are commanded to go out and compel people to be saved (altar calls and personal witnessing). However, we must realize it is God who does the saving according to His sovereign will.

    I always have done outdoor, crusade type of preaching. It is effective to reach a large number of people with the truth. I am very careful not to give a cheap invitation just to get the numbers. I always try to invite people to come back for more preaching or attend our church services.

    I am currently starting a new outreach in a town just outside of our city. I do Bible studies on Wednesday evenings and bus them to my church on Sundays. I held Bible studies for two months before I even gave the first gospel invitation. After three months of bible studies and two years of evangelizing that town with tracts, and John and Romans we have had about ten people saved.

    Folks winning people to Christ and seeing them discipled and baptized in a third world country takes a lot of patience, time, prayer, and work.

    Thanks for your posts.
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Keeping on keeping on, Su Wei. Nice to talk to you. We are almost neighbors! [​IMG]
     
  13. bapmom

    bapmom
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    Brother John of Japan,

    its always good to hear more from you! Over the time we have been looking forward to going we have learned many things about Japan. We've wondered sometimes why we aren't there yet, but we know it is in God's timing.
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Exactly! Or in Japanese, "Sono touri." [​IMG]
     
  15. Marcia

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    I'm a missionary as well, but I'm here in the US to those in the occult and New Age, and your experience in Japan is what it's like to be in my mission field (though I don't plant churches). I've been in full time ministry for over 7 yrs. and there have been those who have come to Christ through this ministry, ptl, but I look at it as more like doing seed planting. Some may be saved down the road that I won't know about but that is God's business. I'm privileged to be able to share the gospel with many who never darken a church door and who are hostile to Christianity (or to what they think is Christianity).
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I sure identify with you here. Much of what we do is seed planting. Even Jesus had an area where He could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt. 13:58). I really had to struggle with this early in my ministry, and this passage really helped me.
     
  17. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Amen - that was eye opening to me. A lot of our work is not even seed planting but preparing the soil.
     
  18. bapmom

    bapmom
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    Marcia,

    Id like to hear how you run your ministry. Do you travel and speak to people?

    Im not sure if Im asking it right. Ive heard you speak of this before, and Ive been curious about it.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Johnv

    Johnv
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    Methink thou dost worry too much. Just share your story of Christ with people and let the Holy Spirit worry about the rest.
     
  20. gb93433

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    When I talk about Christ and give an invitation I tell the people about the price the disciples and early Christians paid. I tell them about the price being baptized cost many. I also tell them there is no such thing as closet Christians. Sometimes it ruffles a few but I have seen many come to Christ and follow Him when the cost is clearly presented and the gospel clearly given. It is not a cheap salvation and the cost of following Christ is our life. I want to see Christians who would need a huge fire hose to have their fire put out. So much of what happens after the decision to follow Christ is determined by the information they had before. Easy decisions and not wrestling with God yields a person who has not really made a serious decision but has yielded to what they believe is an insurance policy which is a fraud.
     

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