As I listened to Mr. Lacy earlier in the week, the boulder in my stomach kept getting heavier and heavier. Though I do not consider myself to have peddled God’s word (“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:17).), I feel the guilt of having shared a watered-down gospel, albeit in ignorance, with dozens of children, teenagers and a few adults.

In my ignorance, I used methods like the ABCs of faith (vacation Bible school, anyone?) and the FAITH evangelism strategy to “lead people to Christ.” I feel even worse about the hundreds of teenagers we counseled after our church’s (we aren’t members there anymore, btw) Halloween “Heaven or Hell?” performances. At the time I thought we were sharing the gospel. I see now that we simply scared the heck out of hundreds of youths who would have done anything, said anything, prayed anything, and signed anything for some assurance that they weren’t going to that “bad place,” as many of them referred to Hell.

I feel sick remembering the many times I asked, “Have you ever prayed to ask Jesus to come into your heart?” Or when a young person expressed doubt over her salvation, I asked, “Do you remember a time that you prayed….?”

Because of my actions, several people may be walking around with a false assurance of their salvation because they recited a prayer with me. And I’m really feeling the weight of that right now.

Too much of what is in my head regarding sharing the gospel and how God saves sinners isn’t even biblical! I’m camping out on this Christ-centered evangelism topic for a while.

It may seem like I’m just bashing Southern Baptists, but that is not what my heart feels. I’ve only ever attended Southern Baptist churches. We are members of a Southern Baptist church. I want to see this denomination get back to its roots–back to sound doctrine that informs our practice and reformation. So, please don’t read my posts and think, Oh, she’s just bashing the church. That’s not the case. Too much of what we do is man-centered and felt-needs oriented. I want more than anything to see us get back to doing God’s work in God’s way.

3 Comments on “

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and impressions from this. I grew up Southern Baptist, too, and am in an SBC church again now. It is fairly recently that I’ve begun to have a fuller, better, more biblical understanding of the gospel and God’s sovereignty, and I still have a lot of learning to do, I think. I struggled for years over the guilt I felt about not being a ‘good’ witness, but it was because so many of the ‘strategies’ I’d been taught were so much like salesmanship that they made me very uncomfortable. I don’t like being ‘sold’ and pressured in the way that salesmen do, and most of the witnessing methods I’d been taught were approached, really, the same way – trying to seal the deal with people and persuade them with our methods, and I’ve never liked those ‘Heaven or Hell’ type of youth scare things, either, for much the same reason – are we just scaring them, or have they really seen their need for Christ and seen themselves as sinners before a holy God and seen Him as Lord? I don’t know if I’m making much sense, and I don’t want to hog your comment box more, but I do think that much of they way we’ve been taught to think about witnessing is not right. I like how you pointed out that we are to be the aroma of Christ to God and to live out our lives in that way. I must think more on this. Thank you for what you’re sharing.

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