Soul Winning for Dummies

I found this posted over at Paleoevangelical. Mark Dever read this same passage at the Gospel Growth conference in October. It’s from C.S. Lovett’s little book “Soul Winning Made Easy.” It represents so much of what was wrong in evangelism training in the past. It also raises some important questions about the way many evangelicals understand regeneration and conversion.

“You have just said to your prospect . . . "Jesus is waiting to come into your heart. Will you open the door? Will you let Him come in?" He makes no reply. Great forces are at work inside him. His soul is a battlefield. The Holy Spirit and Satan want his decision. You wish you could jump into his heart and help him, but you can't. So you do the one thing you can do . . . press him to make a decision . . . one way or the other.

“CAUTION: You can't leave him in "no-man's land." The Longer you wait, Satan's advantage increases. So silently start your countdown . . . 5-4-3-2-1. That's it. You wait no longer. Lay your hand on his shoulder (or arm if a man is dealing with a woman) . . . and with a semi-commanding voice say . . . "Bow your head with me."

“Note: Do not look at him when you say this. He won't act if you do. Instead, bow your head first. The sight of your bowed head, the authority in your voice, the touch of your hand on his shoulder and the witness of the Spirit combine to exert terrific pressure. Out of the corner of your eye you will see him look at you with wonder. Then, as his resistance crumbles, his head will come down in jerks. When your hand feels the relaxation of his shoulder, you'll know his heart has yielded.

“Note: If your man is going to say, "NO," he has to do it now. You've brought him to the place of decision under terrific psychological pressure. If he can't bring himself to receive Christ, he'll say to you ... "I can't do it." Then deal with him as you would the person who says, ‘NO.’”

Many of us can’t help but laugh a little at Rev. Lovett’s instructions. However, we see this same sort of “regeneration by technique” repeated often in the church today. The corporate gatherings of God’s people have been transformed into variety shows for bored church shoppers. Evangelism is left up to the professionals on Sundays who, combined with cool stage lighting, props, and hip musicians will convince seekers to “pray the pray” whereupon they will immediately be assured of their eternal salvation. Been there, seen that, and, unfortunately, done that.