What unites us as evangelical Christians in Northeastern Colorado? What common bond do we share that will help us truly impact this community? We may have different worship styles and denominational affiliations, but there is one foundation that binds us together. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am afraid that we are living in an evangelical culture where the gospel is being assumed and whenever this happens, the next generation almost always suffers a drift into liberalism, pragmatism, and a down-grade on the most important message we are called to share. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul reminds us that the gospel is of first importance. He writes, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
The gospel is good news that we are to announce and receive. The gospel is the glorious message of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the all the implications that flow from this. The gospel by its very nature is news that is to be broadcast. It is to be announced. It is to be shared, preached, taught, and communicated so that sinners who are under God’s wrath will repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation.
Do you have a category in your mind for a person who professes to be a Christian, but actually possesses no genuine faith in Christ? Is there such a thing as a false convert? In Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus gives two parables that clearly illustrate the fact there are indeed those who may appear to be a follower of Christ, but in reality, have not been soundly saved.
In Matthew 13:18-23, Jesus tells the story of four types of soil which represent four types of people who all hear the word of the gospel. The first three soils hear the word, but it never takes root and therefore produces no fruit. These are people who may appear to receive Christ for salvation or make a public profession of faith, but in actuality, have never been saved. They may have gone through a religious exercise or undergone some type of ritual, but did not experience the transformational power of the gospel deep within their hearts.
At Emmanuel, we do not employ the use of the “sinner’s prayer” nor the traditional “altar call”. Both of these techniques are a product of 19th century revivalism and 20th century pragmatism. I don’t fault pastors, evangelists, or churches who uses these as ways to
evangelize, but we do not see any evidence in Scripture of a person being led through a sinner’s prayer where there are asked to “bow their heads, close their eyes, and repeat after me”. Nor do we see any type of altar call where sinners are called to the front of a sanctuary or stage to “make a decision for Christ”.
What we do see in the New Testament is a clear, bold articulation of the gospel and then a command issue for all people to repent and believe in Jesus.
In teaching our people to do evangelism and missions, we make sure that we focus on getting the gospel correct and then instructing them to ask people to repent and believe. We dont’ want to coerce a decision out of any one and we also believe in sovereign regeneration that God by His grace will open the eyes of a sinner and irresistibly draw him or her to Himself through the proclamation of the gospel.
David Platt, pastor of Brookhills Church, gives some great insight into this subject with precise pastoral wisdom and theological accuracy.
Below is a transcript from his article ”