Introduction To The Scandal Of Modern Evangelism

This is not a “kiss and tell” book about Benny Hinn and other high profile evangelists. It’s about Evangelical influence in America; why the conservative movement is a mile wide, but only an inch deep; why the majority of Americans think they’re Christian while they act like heathen; why 88% of the children raised in Evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return; why the divorce rate of Evangelical church members is virtually the same as the general population.1; why true revival is impossible without a radical reformation of evangelism theology and methods. In short, this book is about the single most important issue of this or any time; whether Evangelicals are fulfilling the Great Commision or just fooling themselves.

Billy Graham and other ministers have said (behind the scenes) that only a portion of those who go forward for altar calls are born again. But modern evangelism theology dictates that we tell everyone they’re saved. This regrettable practice has resulted in the greatest number of spurious conversions in history. While most pastors focus on the results of Gnostic Christianity, this book identifies the cause.

A lesson from Rome

When Christians began to gain political influence in 3rd century Rome, their numbers were dramatically increased by admitting heathen who were willing to perform a symbolic act. The fact that churches were watered down by worldliness was looked on as a necessary evil in the interest of survival and expansion. As a result, “Christianity” became an establishment religion during the most decadent period of Roman history. This only lasted a short while however, as Barbarians destroyed Rome, ushering in the “Dark Ages.” Over 60% of Americans identify with Evangelical Chritianity by virtue of having repeated a formula “salvation prayer.” As a result, Evangelicals are now the most influential religious group in America. But at what cost? During the last two decades, leaders like Bill Bright seeing the “backslidden” state of Evangelicals, blamed it on a lack of “sanctification.” As you learn about modern evangelism, you’ll see the obvious truth. 100 years ago, evangelists were ecstatic if 10% of the people who came forward for altar calls were born again. Today, a 100% success rate is assumed. Either we’ve improved the Gospel, or our methods are producing a staggering number of still births.

Ridiculous Numbers Getting Saved

I’ve sat through more than a few missionary presentations where I was expected to believe that natives in a village that never heard the Gospel before all got saved after a single sermon. How different this is from the experience of missionaries before the 20th century. Adoniram Judson, America’s first foreign missionary to India, worked for 7 years before gaining his first covert. David Livingstone, missionary to Africa (Dr. Livingstone, I presume) worked 4 years before seeing a salvation. William Carey, British missionary to India worked 7 years before he saw his first convert. Even today, when native missionaries labour for the lost in untouched Indian villages, one or two conversions the first year is considered very good. But send an American evangelist to that same village with the Jesus film and everyone gets saved! This book was written for and about Evangelicals, who believe the only way a person can become a Christian is by being born again. I work extensively with teenagers. Once a month or so, I’ll witness an altar call. I know the kids who go forward. They go forward because they’re expected to. They go forward because their friends do. They go forward to get an emotional release. A very small percentage go forward because the Holy Spirit moves upon them, and they’re born again. This last category is the only one that should be told they’re saved. But if you’ve been around evangelicals more than a few weeks, you know that everyone who comes to the altar and repeats a formula “salvation prayer” is told he’s saved. How did we get to this point? This book traces the reasons why the altar call and formula “salvation prayers” are the most common “conversion” method employed by Evangelical pastors and evangelists. It explains why over 60% of Americans think they are Christian by virtue of having said a “salvation prayer,” while less than 10% exhibit any evidence of being saved.

1 Southern Baptist Council 2002 Annual Meeting

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