Category Archives: Evangelism

Albert Mohler Blog: “Keeping the Evangel in Evangelism: Why Evangelicalism Can’t Abandon the Old, Old Story”

In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. reflects on the centrality and urgency of evangelism in a post-Christian world. Mohler writes:

“Historical evangelicalism has always valued both theological principle and vigorous evangelism. Indeed, we cannot be authentically and faithfully evangelical without holding both of these features in tandem. The unity between evangelical theology and evangelism is not forced or fabricated. Our theological convictions should irrevocably give birth to our evangelistic fervor.”

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The Call to Repentance and the Championing of Grace

“We’re losing the nerve to call people to repentance.”

That’s what a retired pastor recently told me, expressing his concern that while the next generation loves to champion the unconditional love and grace of God, rarely does their message include Christ’s call to repentance. Younger pastors, he said, want to meet people where they are, in whatever mess they’re in, and let the Spirit clean them up later. God will deal with their sins down the road.

But in the Gospels, Jesus seems much more extreme. His good news was the announcement of God’s kingdom, and the first word to follow? “Repent!” No wonder Jesus didn’t tell the rich young ruler to walk with Him for a while until he stopped coveting. No, He got to the root of an unrepentant heart when He said, “Sell all your possessions and give them to the poor.” In other words, Repent. Turn around.

“I’m cheering for the next generation,” the pastor said, “but I feel like an ogre for stressing repentance all the time.”

Maybe you feel like that pastor. You’re concerned that the evangelical church is shaving off the hard edges of the gospel. You agree with the sentiment recently expressed by Kevin DeYoung, that repentance has become the “missing word in our gospel.” And yet you are concerned that that you may appear harsh and unloving if you stress repentance. Shouldn’t we just focus on grace?

Who Separated Grace and Repentance?

Here’s where we so easily take a wrong turn. Wherever did we get the notion that the call to repentance is opposed to the championing of grace? When did truth and grace get separated? Or repentance and faith?

To think that the message of grace and the call of repentance are opposed to one another is to miss the beautiful, grace-filled nature of what repentance actually is. The call to repent is one of greatest expressions of the love of God.

Christians, We Are Repenters

During the years I spent doing mission work in Romania, I came to see myself not only as a Christian, but as a repenter – a derogatory term applied to Romanian evangelicals, but one that was embraced as an accurate description of the full Christian life. Martin Luther kicked off the Protestant Reformation by reclaiming this truth, that the whole of the Christian life is to be one of repentance.

That’s why it puzzles me whenever I hear Christians talk about repentance as if it’s a harsh word that needs to be “balanced” by grace and love. We could make the case that grace is even more scandalous and offensive. And love in action, as Dostoevsky wrote, is a harsh and fearful thing compared to love in dreams.

God’s Compassion Behind His Command

For some reason, Christians frequently pit God’s compassion over against God’s command. No, no, no. God’s compassion doesn’t do away with His command. God’s compassion is the basis for His command. God commands us to repent not because He is an angry tyrant who wants to squash our fun, but because He is a loving Father who wants our best.

Our youngest child is four. Let’s say that his idea of fun is taking toys and stuffing them into the wall outlets at home. As his father, I raise my voice and say, “Son, stop! Don’t do that again.” His four-year-old mind may wonder why I’m making such a big deal of his little game. Why is Daddy being firm? Why does he sound so mean? Why is he squelching my fun? Imagine a counselor who comes along and says, “You know, a father needs to show some compassion. You need to show grace.”

Amen to compassion and amen to grace! The question is: What form does grace take on in this situation? Would it be compassionate for a father to let his son run into danger? Would it be gracious to fail to warn a child of painful consequences? No. The father’s command—his warning and the raising of his voice—is not a failure of compassion, but the very way he demonstrates his love for his son.

The Call to Repentance as an Expression of Grace

Likewise, when we call people to repent, we are not opposing God’s grace; we are expressing it. The kindness of the Lord is behind His call to repentance.

When you read the Old Testament prophets, you see that their main message is Repent or else! But read a little closer. Their call is far from the comic strip with the long-haired prophet walking around casually with a sign, clear on the message but cold and distant to the reader. The striking aspect about the warnings we find in the prophets is how often God’s anger is expressed in a context of grieving and weeping. The angry, fiery God of judgment is the spurned Husband who wants to woo back His wayward people from the brink of destruction.

The call to repentance is the call to return home. It’s the call to be refreshed by our tears. It’s the call to be cleansed from all our guilty stains. We need the scalpel of the Spirit to do surgery on our diseased hearts, so that we can be restored to spiritual health.

Don’t pit the call to repentance against the championing of grace. Jesus didn’t. Paul didn’t. We shouldn’t either.

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The Young Roman Catholic Man Who Clenched His Fist

(Jordan Standridge – The Cripplegate) “So I asked him a third question, and I let him know that I ask this question in order to really get to the heart of what someone believes about how they are going to Heaven. I asked him, “If you were to die tonight, and were to stand before God, and He were to ask you why should I let you into Heaven?”

Let me tell you about a Gospel conversation I had recently that left an impression on my heart.

Tim was a very polite guy.

He was cordial and respectful. He listened carefully and was obviously raised well by his parents. He was well dressed and was very articulate. Tim was also very religious.

I start off every conversation with the same question I ask everyone, “If it applies, what are two reasons you stopped going to church?” Tim answered that he goes to Catholic mass every week.

So I asked him my second question, “Coming from a Catholic perspective, what would you say the Gospel is?” He said it was the Bible. When I asked him what the “good news” of the Gospel was, he said that it was the possibility to live a better life and to go to Heaven.

So I asked him a third question, and I let him know that I ask this question in order to really get to the heart of what someone believes about how they are going to Heaven. I asked him, “If you were to die tonight, and were to stand before God, and He were to ask you why should I let you into Heaven? What would you say?” He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “I don’t think I’d say anything. I would expect the Lord to know whether I deserve Heaven or not.”

So that began a 40 minute conversation. Back and forth we talked about the differences between what we were saying. I asked if I could share the Gospel with him, he agreed and listened as carefully as he could.

Overall I was incredibly thankful for the conversation, I thought it well really well. We smiled at each other and listened to each other respectfully. But what was obvious to both of us is that we clearly believed in two different salvations. He stated that he needed to take the mass every Sunday in order to, not only stay within the possibility of being saved, but to achieve salvation. He clearly understood the fact that his religion was performance-based and that mine was an instantaneous salvation.

At the end of our conversation, I gave him a tract and encouraged him to read some verses from Scripture. I also said what I always say, that death is around the corner for all of us, and that we must trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. Then, we shook hands and he walked off.

And then something happened.

As he began walking away, holding the tract in his hand, all of a sudden, he clenched his fist and destroyed the tract. I was shocked. Our conversation was among the most respectful I may have ever had. I knew he was frustrated with the idea that our salvation doesn’t depend on us at all, and I could tell that he was super uncomfortable with it throughout our conversation, but I never expected that level of anger from him.

As I thought through our conversation over the last few months, I am reminded of so many truths from Scripture.  View article →

See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism

Source: The Young Roman Catholic Man Who Clenched His Fist

Billy Graham: Who is Jesus?

As the world remembers the life of the Evangelist Billy Graham, I’ve been taking the opportunity to listen to his messages.  This video was recorded in 1971 in Chicago.  The title is “Who is Jesus?”

Enjoy.

Billy Graham’s Timeless 1986 Message to Anyone Who’s Not Sure They’re Going to Heaven

Billy Graham’s death has ushered in a viral response across the globe, as people remember the powerful and life-changing messages that the famed Christian evangelist shared over his seven-decade career.

READ: 10 Celebs Whose Lives Were Completely Transformed by Billy Graham

At the core of Graham’s preaching was the gospel — the belief that accepting Jesus is essential to transforming the human heart and ensuring one’s eternal place in heaven.

One particular sermon that Graham delivered back in 1986 in Tallahassee, Florida, has re-emerged over the years, and with good reason, as it describes what it truly means to accept Christ. And that timeless message is worth revisiting.

“Decisions are made whether we make them or not. Time decides if you will not and time always decides against you. There’s a lonely arena in the depths of your heart where the greatest battle of life must be fought alone,” Graham proclaimed. “That’s your decision about Christ. Your parents can’t make it for you, the church can’t make it for you, your friends can’t make it for you, your girlfriend, your boyfriend can’t make it for you. You must make it yourself.”

And the evangelist wasn’t done there. He implored his audience to remember that their acceptance or rejection of Christ would decide where they’d end up in 100 years.

“If you’re not sure that you’re ready to meet God, if you’re not sure that you’re going to heaven … that your sins are forgiven, you come and make sure tonight,” he said.

Watch Graham’s powerful and timeless message below: