What Would You Do
If Your Best Friend, Jesus, Warned You
Almost Everyone Was Going To Hell?
This is the horrible burden most evangelists carry. God
calls them to preach the Gospel to save precious souls from the fires
of Hell. Evangelists know most people who go forward in altar calls are
not saved, but they keep working desperately.
"If your eye causes you to sin, pluck
it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one
eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm
does not die, and the fire is not quenched. Everyone will be salted
with fire." Mark 9:47-49
The words of Jesus haunt the serious evangelist. "...cast
him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"For
many are called, but few are chosen." Matt
"Enter by the narrow gate; for
wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there
are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult
is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matt
"Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there
few who are saved?" And He said to them, "Strive to enter through
the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and
will not be able."" Luke 13:23-24
Many dismiss these warnings by saying He was speaking only to the Jews.
Isn't it revealing that when Jesus is speaking blessings, we are
spiritual Jews, but when He warns of the consequences of living for self,
we become gentiles again?
||Elijah complained to God he
was the only believer left. There were perhaps 2 million Jews at the
time. God encouraged him by saying, "I
have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the
knee to Baal." Paul, speaking to the Church, referred
to the 7,000 as an example for his day: "Even
so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the
election of grace." Rom 11:4-5
How many faithful are there in America? According to George
Barna's statistics, more than 4% of Americans exhibit the fruits of repentance.
That's a better number than in Elijah and Paul's day. Yet modern evangelists
strive for more...and so they should.
The only question is whether we should be honest with seekers
about what takes place during a modern altar call. Modern evangelism has
produced a lot of rotten fruit. Is it possible that the modern evangelism
tree is corrupt? "Wherefore by their fruits
ye shall know them." Matt 7:20
George Barna reports that less than 10% of Americans bear the fruits of
repentance, while over 80% claim to be Christian, 33% consider themselves
born again, and perhaps over 60% have said some sort of formula "salvation
prayer." Isn't it time to examine why Os Guinness believes that most
"Christians" in America, for all intents and purposes, are "practical
atheists," and why Bill Bright couldn't help notice: "...many
who call themselves Christians are really not Biblical Christians at all....they
have never experienced the new birth..." 1
The Billy Graham lesson
Up until 1957, Billy Graham's
statistics listed people who came forward in altar calls as having made
"professions of faith." Because of the implied dishonesty of
this term, (Faith is a gift of God, synonymous with salvation) now people
who come forward are called "inquirers."
Graham explained the reason
for the change. " These people who come forward
are not all finders. Most of them are seekers. They're inquiring; they
are seeking help...now we found that the weakest aspect of mass evangelism
was at this point. How to overcome it was a problem.
could we get people to make a profession or indicate their spiritual
need and do it properly so that each one will be dealt with personally?
In other words, mass evangelism was only a stage for personal evangelism."
Implied in this statement
is though some may make a profession of faith, most will need to be treated
as though they're not saved. Some
are illuminated for the first time, others are in a more advanced stage
of gestation, 3
( Graham's analogy), and some are spurious.
Also, Graham specifies
the after meeting and personal counsel and prayer as absolutely essential.
This was the norm for all evangelists before the 20th century.
By 1979, the director for
follow-up for the Graham Association recognized the problem:
" I like to think of the counselor
as one who sits down with a person over a puzzle. You may have many pieces
but no picture until all the parts of the puzzle are placed together.
The counselor helps the inquirer to sort out all the pieces so they may
have a complete picture of the gospel. Even though Dr. Graham seeks to
make the gospel perfectly clear in his messages, he realizes that no one
can possibly sort out all the pieces in a thirty minute sermon. Therefor
the counselor is an indispensable help in performing this task."
If only all evangelists understood the significance of these
words and change their methods accordingly.
Go To The Chapter, The
Road To Emmaus
1 Peg 212, red Sky In The Morning,
Bill Bright, 1998
2 Billy Graham, "Evangelism, Message
And Method," Christianity Today, August 1959
3 "There's the
moment of conception, there's nine months of gestation, there is birth.
Now I believe that these people who come forward in our meetings to make
a commitment, for some it is a moment of conception, for others it's another
stage in gestation, for others it is birth into the Kingdom of God. And
for many it's completely spurious and there's nothing to it..."
Pg 251, Billy Graham, John Pollock 1966 Paperback
4 Charles Briggs Interview, October 14, 1979