Thursday, June 12, 2008

Frindship evangelism



Presently, I am discipling a group of men in my church. As part of the discipleship, we are reading "Holiness," by J. C. Ryle. This wonderful book, written 130 years ago, is biblical and it is applicable to today's Christian. The book, although not intended to be, is prophetic. It is prophetic in that much of what Ryle writes about the Church of his time is characteristic of today's Church, many times over.

"Holiness" is a must read for every Christian.

In the chapter titled "A Woman to be Remembered," which is about Lot's wife, Ryle writes the following:

"God knows that I never speak of hell without pain and sorrow. I would gladly offer the salvation of the gospel to the very chief of sinners. I would willingly say to the vilest and most profligate of mankind on his deathbead, 'Repent and believe on Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.' But God forbid that I should ever keep back from mortal man that Scripture reveals a hell as well as heaven, and that the gospel teaches that men may be lost as well as saved. The watchman who keeps silence, when he sees fire, is guilty of gross neglect; the doctor who tells us we are getting well when we are dying, is a false friend, and the minister who keeps back hell from his people in his sermons is neither a faithful nor a charitable man.

"Where is the charity of keeping back any portion of God's truth? He is the kindest friend who tells me the whole extent of my danger. Where is the use of hiding the future from the impenitent and the ungodly? Surely it is like helping the devil, if we do not tell them plainly that, 'The soul that sinneth shall surely die.' Who knows but the wretched carelessness of many baptized persons arises from this, that might be converted, if ministers would urge them more faithfully to flee from the wrath to come? Verily, I fear we are many of us guilty in this matter; there is a morbid tenderness among us which is not the tenderness of Christ. We have spoken of mercy, but not of judgment; we have preached many sermons about heaven, but few about hell; we have been carried away by the wretched fear of being thought 'low, vulgar and fanatical'. We have forgotten that He who judgeth us is the Lord, and that the man who teaches the same doctrine that Christ taught cannot be wrong" (pp. 171-172).

Let me stated it plainly. Those who read this blog and who practice what is commonly referred to as "friendship evangelism" (which, according to how it is most commonly practiced is a contradiction of terms), and who find it unnecessary and even offensive to talk to lost people about God's wrath, judgment and the reality of hell are neither a friend nor an evangelist to sinners bound for the very place about which they are afraid to speak. If this is you, then you are merely one among the throng of professing Christians who, in the end, care more about what the lost think of you than where the lost will spend eternity. In the end, you care more about the personal benefits you derive from your friendship with the lost than you do about your lost friend. In the end, friendship evangelism is about you and not your lost friend.

Think about it, please.

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