My Road To Emmaus
His experience was identical to that of millions of Americans. They know the historical truth that Jesus Christ died for their sins, but are not willing to give up control of their life. Then, there is a much smaller number that try to "get saved" by saying prayers and other ways to please God, but question their salvation because they're unable to stop sinning, and don't have the workings of the Holy Spirit within them.
Despite the modern evangelist's
promise, "come with your sins, and God will change you," most
people who say a formula "salvation prayer" are not saved, but
only illuminated, or as Billy Graham would say, in a stage of gestation.
Ignoring the inexorable link between repentance and saving faith, most
evangelists preach wide
is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to salvation.
(See Matthew 7:13)
McIntyre was saved from a great deal of confusion because he hadn't heard the modern evangelism gospel. He only knew the Bible way: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins." Acts 2:38
McIntyre had a two year "struggle of faith" before God saved him. His salvation was definite and complete. He knew he was born again, and soon everyone around him knew as well. He lost virtually all his fair-weather friends because they didn't want to be around a person whose pleasure was in God. He examined everything in his life against the Biblical example of holiness. The Holy Spirit was more real to him than the friends he lost. He started witnessing and leading people in formula "salvation prayers."
McIntyre's Road to Emmaus
having completed the Glad Tidings Evangelism Course and done many kinds of evangelism in the United States and Mexico. We had even established and nurtured a flourishing church in the slums outside of Tijuana, Mexico. But this sunny day we were witnessing in the shopping mall in Bonita, California.
We used a tract called the Two Question Test. We were trained to identify those people most likely to be receptive to a presentation of the gospel. (Much of it has to do with practical considerations. For example, couples are more receptive than large groups.) We approached people with lead-in lines like, "I'm asking people if they'd like to take a test that shows whether they're going to go to heaven. Would you like to take the test? It only takes a few minutes."
I witnessed to a receptive 18 year old boy. This kid would have done anything I asked. He answered all the questions correctly, indicating that he understood the Gospel. I came to the end of the tract where I was supposed to lead him in a formula "salvation prayer." It would have been so easy. And then I'd be able to tell the church, "we got another one saved." I hesitated. Just then a fellow evangelist came by and basically said I should get the decision, and if I didn't, the boy might be hit by a car and his blood would be my responsibility. "Now is the day of salvation." But I remembered my experience at the Spring Valley Swap Meet days before...
I used this same tract at swap meets (People back east call
them flea markets) all over the San Diego area with great success (or
so I thought at the time.) I used to set up a 10 foot booth with a huge
banner inviting shoppers to come and take the Two Question Test to find
out if they were going to heaven when they died.
I can't remember if I led them in a formula "salvation prayer" or just explained the Gospel to them and admonished them to turn their lives over to God completely. I wrestled with the realization that I was part of the problem. These six girls had gone forward to countless alter calls at Church Camps, revivals, and youth meetings and still weren't saved. What possible purpose would there be in leading them in still another "salvation prayer" if the previous prayers had resulted in nothing more than the delusion that they were "saved." 2
If God hadn't used me to open their eyes to their lost condition, He would have used someone else. But how many evangelists would question the salvation of six bright-eyed Baptists who thought they were saved? How could these six girls go though life thinking they're saved when they're not? Who's responsible? Who's to blame? On who's hands will be the blood of millions of girls like these?
Most modern evangelists remind
me of an author interviewed on Focus On The Family recently. She wrote
a book on how to safeguard your marriage. The only problem was, she hawked
a similar book five years before on the same program, and since then had
gotten divorced and remarried. The most telling part of the interview
was she wasn't asked why we should believe her. Since all modern evangelists
acknowledge privately that most people who go forward for altar calls
are not saved, (they're illuminated, or in some stage of gestation,1)
why do they preach universal salvation for all who come forward? Most
are afraid that telling the truth will confuse people, and result in fewer
Their attitude is similar to the Catholic Church regarding indulgences prior to the Reformation. Privately the priests acknowledged that indulgences were ineffective unless the purchaser was truly repentant, but to say so to the faithful would spell disaster for the system.
Most evangelists know if the "sacrament" of going forward in an altar call and repeating a formula "salvation prayer" were ever explained truthfully, the whole premise of modern evangelism would be undone. They would rather have a few get saved and a great deal think they're saved, than to have a few get saved and the rest go away knowing they aren't saved. What started in the 1800's as a "method" to help people come to repentance, has now become a sacrament held in superstitious awe by the thousands that flock forward in altar calls.
Soul Winning - The Easy Way?
The main thing is you allow them to come to the conclusions you want by leading them in what they think is their own thought process.
If I wanted to, I could get nine out of ten people to say a salvation prayer. The prayer was as follows: "Dear Lord Jesus. I know that I am a sinner. I know that you died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust you as Savior and follow you as Lord."
Sounds pretty good huh? If I wanted to, I could get nine out of ten people to repeat that prayer with sincerity. Virtually all modern evangelical missionaries and evangelists report astounding numbers of people accepting Jesus Christ based on their coming forward and repeating a formula "salvation prayer." The majority of these "conversions" are illuminations, or some stage of gestation 1 at best.
Of course, even with faulty theology I still knew enough not to press someone to say a salvation prayer unless I thought God had drawn them to Jesus. (John 6:44) But in the case of groups where peer pressures dictated they all say the prayer, it would be too embarrassing to ask certain people to not say the prayer.
Please examine that point. Let's assume that there was only one person in the group whom the Holy Spirit was illuminating. This person knew he was going to hell unless he turned his life over to God. If you lean to the Calvinist side, you might believe he has already experienced "pre-faith regeneration." 3 If this is so, why would you want to lead him in a formula prayer before explaining to him what is taking place? Why rush the repentance process when with a little more counsel he will eventually say a salvation prayer in his own words and understand what he is doing? If you are Armenian, you might believe he has already experienced "pre-faith awakening." 3 In this state of mind, he will be far more impressed by the "accurately handling the word of truth," than misguided politeness which denies the truth.. (2 Timothy 2:15) (For more on this subject, please read Two Doctrines That Helped Effective Evangelism .
Now, if you explain to everyone in the group about repentance and what it means to give your life to God, everyone except the person who God has illuminated will feel very uncomfortable and want to leave. And that's OK - they've heard the clear, unmistakable word of God
We only want live births - not abortions. And if the illuminated person feels peer pressure to leave with the group and not say a prayer, he also has heard the truth, which can be the ONLY foundation of true conversion. God doesn't sneak people past the repentance gate. He gives the grace to repent and they must pass through it for true conversion to take place.
The scandal of modern evangelism is that modern evangelism techniques produce a minimum of live births and an appalling number of abortions. Instead of giving birth to "new creatures in Christ," we abort the fetus by having unrepentant sinners repeat a salvation prayer and then tell the sinner that he is "saved" so he's no longer concerned for the condition of his soul.
The Church stands at the crossroad in evangelism. Because there are more people alive today than the combined total of previous history, we are responsible for the greatest scandal in history. While we complain about homosexual rights, cloning and abortion, we are loading millions of souls onto cattle cars for the train trip to Hell. This is no time to use the BIG EXCUSE of "feel good" evangelism - "it's all in God's hands." If we are a little responsible, then we are responsible. To take the attitude that "God will sort it all out" isn't an option in the play book God has provided. He's put the ball in our hands and expects us to make a touchdown, not sit on the sidelines wondering if the opposing team is doing a better job.
251, Billy Graham, John Pollock 1966 Paperback