Manspeak


What is it to “Win a Soul”? Part 1 by tmaples
February 24, 2007, 2:21 pm
Filed under: Evangelism

by Travis Maples 

Currently I am reading The Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon.  I thank God for that man.  My only regret is that I have not picked it up sooner.   What is it to “win a soul”?  As far as us being instruments God uses, “what are the processes by which a soul is led to God and to salvation?”(p.15)

“I take it that one of [soul winning’s] main operations consists in instructing a man that he may know the truth of God.  Instruction by the Gospel is the commencement of all real work upon men’s minds.”  (pg. 15)

Jesus’ great commission of Matthew 28:29 is a commission to teach and instruct.  Spurgeon writes:

“The Gospel is a reasonable system; it appeals to men’s understanding.  A matter for thought and consideration, it appeals to the conscience and reflecting powers.  Hence, if we do not teach men something, we may shout, ‘Believe! Believe! Believe!’ but what are they to believe?  Each exhortation requires a corresponding instruction, or it will mean nothing.  ‘Escape!’ From what?  This requires for its answer the doctrine of the punishment of sin.  ‘Fly!’ But where?  Then must you preach Christ and His wounds, and the clear doctrine of atonement by sacrifice.  ‘Repent!’ Of what?  Here you must answer such questions as, What is sin?  What is the evil of sin?  What are the consequences of sin?  ‘Be converted! But what is it to be converted?  By what power can we be converted?  What from? What to?” (Pg. 16)

This very issue is what provoked R.C. Sproul to write his book Saved From What.  In this book, Dr. Sproul gives an account of a walk he was on where a zealous man jumped out and asked him “Are you saved?!”  Dr. Sproul, startled, asked, “Saved from what?!”  The  guy did not know how to answer, so perplexed, the man turned and walked away.                                                                                                                    

So we have some explaining to do.  I think it’s a temptation to think that when sharing the gospel we ought to keep it simple stupid and not talk about theological terms because we think they won’t get it or the deep things of God is to be only discussed amongst Christians.  But as we see out of the great commission we are to teach and instruct.  We are to engage their minds.  When we’re sharing the gospel we don’t need to hold back these doctrines of sin or atonement in an attempt to be relevant.   We just need to explain them. 

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4 Comments so far
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“So we have some explaining to do. I think it’s a temptation to think that when sharing the gospel we ought to keep it simple stupid and not talk about theological terms because we think they won’t get it or the deep things of God is to be only discussed amongst Christians. But as we see out of the great commission we are to teach and instruct. We are to engage their minds. When we’re sharing the gospel we don’t need to hold back these doctrines of sin or atonement in an attempt to be relevant. We just need to explain them.”

Very well put Travis!!!

Comment by jkelfer

Hey Trav,
Can you help define for me which particular “terms” would be helpful to explain, and which to avoid (being they are not central to salvation a.k.a. rabbit trails)?

Comment by TMT

I think that his intention is to not avoid terms like:

Law
Sin
Total Depravity
Wrath
Hell
Mercy
Atonement
Propitiation
Reconciliation
Mediator
Justified
Regeneration
Redemption
Grace
Heaven
Affliction

Whereas we do not need to use all of or even any of these above words, there is definately a potential place and time for them in evangelism as long as they are properly explained or intentionally not explained as it helps make conversation.

Effective evangelism does not have to result in one talking to a human wall whereas the evangelist is the one talking and the ‘evangelee’ is the one recieving, but can just as easily be a conversation whereas the evangelist both gives and recieves in the conversation. This could potentially promote grace and a picture of humility to the other party and I have found that it tends to adorn the Gospel when we listen just as much as we talk in evangelism. These terms, when used carefully, can aid in building a bridge to the other party to make evangelism more of a conversation.

But, keep in mind, that no matter how eloquent or whatever technique or words we use, we have no effect in the outcome of evangelism. The result is God only territory, so whatever means he leads you to employ to evangelize, be it as it may. Whereas there are a couple of guidelines to evangelism, beyond that, there is no more right or wrong way to go about it as the effectiveness is totally dependent upon God, not our efforts. We are merely called to be faithful to present the truth (the Gospel) in love (both of/to God and and for other people) and plant seeds. God will choose what soil those seeds land on and will choose the nourishment of that seed.

Please feel free to rebuke me as I could be and probably am totally wrong both theologically and and in the basis of Trav’s intentions (and if I am, that correction would serve me a ton), but I felt compelled to type this rediculously long post.

Comment by jkelfer

Kelfer, let us know when your book titled, “extremely long comments on the manspeak blog” is published….I’ll buy the 5-volume set with my book budget.

Seriously, I think that was helpful. We have a “Christian” and often “biblical” vocabulary which we can assume others understand. I’ve talked to some people about sin and holiness for some time before realizing we were talking about 2 different things. This is going to be an increasingly important thing to realize as our culture becomes more and more biblically illiterate.

Comment by bigplew




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