Long before I wrote my first evangelism pamphlet, I observed the pattern that many (oral and written) evangelisers used: accept that you are sinner, believe in the saving power of Jesus, confess and repent of your sins, ask Jesus into your life, and
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|We might as well say it as it is|
Like sleazy salesmen, we present messages that do not let listeners and intending converts know that for them to be part of ‘rapturable Christians’, they have to study Calvin, Wesley, St. Augustine, Spurgeon, A.W Tozer, C.S Lewis, Luther, ad infinitum and figure out which of these men was heretic and which wasn’t.
We also forget to mention that getting saved isn’t enough- you must choose the right denomination. Dear new convert, you have to choose the right denomination, our own denomination. If you don’t, you will be fellowshipping among false believers under a false pastor, worshipping a false version of Jesus, the Christ. Mind you, it is not the simple Catholic or protestant question. You have a long of options including Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Charismatic, Word of Faith, Anglican, and lots of Reformed this or that.
Why do we send out an abridged version of the salvation message? Because it sounds better? Because we want to convert people faster? Or like a lifeguard saving a drowning man, we first want to yank hell-bound sinners off broadway to the narrow path before we tell them how rocky and steep it is and how vicious other pilgrims get when shadows fall off ‘designated’ points? Or could it be that getting saved and following Jesus is really (gasp) that simple?
I happen to believe that the last option is the more reasonable option but with the way people violently argue issues of doctrine, it seems to me that less than 20% of professing Christians are truly saved because if we one party is so right and other parties are so wrong, heaven will be grossly under populated- speaking of which, are we going to the first, second, or third heaven or will Jesus just set up camp with us here on this earth?
You would think that I would find answers among Christian authors but I can’t hear a thing above the rowdy argument going on? Sincerely, I panic when I realise we don’t seem to agree on a thing except the name of Jesus. We may have reduced some of our brothers into a deer caught in a racing car’s tail light.Meanwhile, the real fight isn't the one amongst us. the real fight is against our adversary, the devil who knows that if he can keep us squabbling over doctrine, we will have little time to take him square on. No wonder Jesus kept praying over and over again that "they may be one".
I have resolved to read The Book I should have been reading more all the while. I have decided to focus on the Bible. I have heard that it has limitations, errors and grey areas but I will read on anyway. For if Jesus is true, He promised that The Holy Spirit will explain what I do not understand to me.
I do not see salvation elsewhere so instead of arguing over doctrines of men, I will read with an open mind, with sincerity and humility, trusting that the Spirit of God will breathe upon the pages. I will read The Bible earnestly, eagerly, expectantly, and desperately. I will read like a deer pants for the water brooks. That is my only safety, the only means of keeping my sanity in the faith and of drawing close to God.
Dear friend, I invite you to join me in this journey. Pick up the Bible and read it for yourself. See what it says. Read hard and pray harder. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit. Will He disappoint and refuse to teach us? I think not. Instead I think that as we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Amen.
I leave you in God's care.