by David J. Stewart
Download MP3 song, 'Remind Me Dear Lord'
“Lifestyle Evangelism” is for wimps! Lifestyle evangelism is a teaching popular in ecumenical circles today which says something like: “You don't have to wear a big 'Jesus saves' button to get people saved, or put cows up on the roof, or drop leaflets out of a blimp... just live for Christ and people will want what you have.” It sounds good, but that's not what the Bible teaches. The Bible tells us, “GO YE” in Matthew 28:19 into all the world with the Gospel to make men disciples of Jesus Christ. “GO YE” is active and not passive. It is a royal command.
You may ask, “What in the world is 'confrontational soul-winning'?” It simply means that as believers, we take the initiative to witness to people concerning Jesus Christ. It means that we bring the Gospel to them instead of waiting for them to come to us. Thus, we are “confronting” them in a gentle and appropriate manner regarding their soul's salvation. “Confrontational soul-winning” is Biblical. Soul-winning is not a suggestion, it is God's command for every believer (Proverb 11:30; Philippians 2:16; 2nd Corinthians 5:11).
“Soul winning is not a method; it is a command. We are supposed to go soul winning and do soul winning if our churches grow or if our churches decrease in attendance.” ~Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001), chap. 10, ENEMIES OF SOULWINNING
“Lifestyle evangelism” is the belief that we should NOT confront people with the Gospel; but rather, try to win them over to Christ through our godly lifestyle. The teaching of lifestyle evangelism is a false doctrine, because it discourages Christians from going soulwinning as the Bible commands (Matthew 28:19-20; Proverbs 11:30; 2nd Corinthians 5:11).
Surely, we must live for God if others are to see the Lord:
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14)
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
There is nothing wrong with trying to set the right Christian example in front of others; we are commanded to do so. If we want to win folks to the Lord, it is crucial that we live for God (Matthew 5:16). Too many believers are like sinful “Lot” in the Old Testament, whose sons-in-law laughed in his face when he tried to warn them of the judgment to come. Lot appeared as a hypocrite to them, because of his own sinful life. Those men were destroyed in the fire and brimstone that soon followed...
“And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.” (Genesis 19:14)
May I say, allowing our good works to shine before others is NOT lifestyle evangelism. “Lifestyle evangelism” is when we make our lifestyle an end in itself. We are COMMANDED to preach the gospel to others...
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
Some folks might claim that Jesus was only giving this command to His immediate disciples; however, the Scriptures themselves prove this idea wrong. Notice in the Scriptures below what Jesus asked His disciples to teach others…
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19,20)
They were to teach others to “OBSERVE ALL THINGS” that Jesus had taught them. The Greek word for “observe,” means, “to attend to carefully, take care of, to guard.” Hence, we are to carefully attend to the Word of God. Jesus is the living Word of God (John 1:1-3; Revelation 19:13). We are to take care of and guard the teachings of Christ, which are presented in the Bible for us to live by. Jesus taught His disciples to be “fishers of men.” Thus, we also are to be fisher’s of men because we are supposed to observe ALL THINGS, which Jesus commanded. Notice that we are to follow the commands of Christ. Jesus told His disciples to teach others to obey the same commands He had given to them. Listen my friend, all believers are commanded to be soul-winners; it is NOT an option if you are to please God.
God says that we are WISE if we try to win souls to Jesus Christ...
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)
It doesn't require a college degree to figure out what the opposite of "wise" might be. If you do not try to win souls to Jesus Christ, you are a "fool."
Years ago I was listening to the car radio one morning on the way home from work. I don’t listen too often to radio preachers because they’re usually begging for money. The other reason is that I hear so many dead sermons. It’s rare to hear a preacher really let go on the radio. They usually preach a sermonette that amounts to a bunch of wishy-washy mumbo-jumbo. Anyway, I was listening to Chuck Swindoll (president of Dallas Theological Seminar since 1994) on the radio. I was saddened by something foolish he said. He said...
"You don’t have to drop gospel tracts out of a blimp to get people saved. You don’t have to wear a big offensive 'Jesus Saves' button on your shirt. You don’t have to hang out a flashing neon sign that says 'Jesus Saves.' All you need to do is let your love and good works be seen of others and they’ll want what you have." ~Pastor Chuck Swindoll
What he is saying may sound fine; BUT, it is very hurtful to the work of God, because Chuck Swindoll is criticizing soulwinners. By the way, Chuck Swindoll endorses Billy Graham's ministry and praises the work of Rome's Mother Teresa--Mother Theresa was of the Devil. Thank God for those flashing neon signs. I always loved the big sign hanging out front of the Pacific Garden Mission in downtown Chicago: “Christ died for our sins.” Thank God for those soulwinners who are willing to confront others about their soul’s destiny. It is nothing more than a cop-out for someone to criticize a soul-winner’s efforts.
Hey, if I can drop tracts out of a plane or a blimp to win folks to Christ, so be it. During the Korean War, the Communists used comic booklets to convert people over to Communism. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, PSYOPS forces dropped comic flyers from the sky to brainwash the people. Is it any wonder why Jesus said that the children of darkness are oftentimes wiser than the children of light? If the unsaved world is using propaganda to promote secular agendas, then Christians should propagate the truth of God's Word for the cause of Christ.
What I am saying ladies and gentlemen is that Hell is real, and we must warn people of the judgment to come. Hell burns with fire and is the future home of all unsaved people (Revelation 20:11-15). If your house were on fire, would you want someone to warn you? If so, then why would you criticize a soul-winner? Robert Schuller is an enemy of Biblical soulwinning. America is filled with lazy, complacent, church members who never do anything for God. People who have never built a hotdog stand will criticize a soulwinning preacher who has built a church of 25,000 people by soulwinning. Thank God for confrontational soul winners.
Call it ambush evangelism if you'd like, but it works! Soulwinning has won infinitely more lost souls to Jesus Christ than Lifestyle Evangelism. Soul-winning is God's method, as taught in the Bible. Proverbs 11:30 says that a wise person “winneth souls.” 1st Corinthians 9:16, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
Jesus “confronted” the woman at the well in John chapter four. In Acts chapter 8, Phillip went to Samaria to confront the people with the gospel. He also confronts the Ethiopian eunuch in the same chapter. The Apostle Paul “confronted” city after city with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For every person who’s ever been won to the Lord through lifestyle evangelism, there’s TEN who were won by confrontational soul winning. Soulwinning makes the Devil mad. Satan hates the Gospel, Jesus Christ, and every genuine Christian. We must not let the Devil have the victory by yielding to his false doctrine of lifestyle evangelism.
Lifestyle evangelism is nothing more than an excuse not to go soulwinning. May each and every believer commit themselves to confrontation soulwinning. Lifestyle evangelism is an enemy of soulwinning. The heathen world doesn't mind if the church keeps it's message within the walls of the church; BUT, people get angry when Christians preach the truth of God's Word publickly. Please notice in Acts 20:20 that the Apostle Paul went PUBLICKLY, from house-to-house with the Gospel message... "And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house." This ought to be the soulwinner's vision—confrontational soulwinning. Every believer needs to have an Acts 20:20 vision!
America's churches desperately need to CONFRONT the sinful world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul went soulwinning, publickly, going door-to-door. Would to God more believers would get off their blessed assurance, and get busy for the Lord.
“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” —Luke 14:23