Originally Posted by frank4570
Lets say there is a person who is a "fire and brimstone" type evangelical. Lets say he learns that it is more effective to be a "jesus loves you" type evangelical. "jesus loves you" will save more people than "turn or burn."
Frank: Jonathan Edwards, who 'ignited' the first 'Great Awakening' in Protestant New England, is most famous for his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." His congregations were begging for the gospel after that. People sweated and wailed in the pews.
Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and other feel good preachers of modern times are not even preaching the gospel, but what they do preach is pretty touchy feely and they pack stadiums with it. It's what people want to hear: that they're OK as they are and God wants to give them their 'best life now.' In no case does the messenger 'save more people
.' God saves.
Numbers mean nothing. As I said, there are arenas packed with unsaved religious people. A 'mega' church is almost guaranteed to be preaching fluff; that's why the seats are filled. Notice that in the Triumphal Entry, Jesus was hailed by crowds shouting Hosanna. A week later they were shouting "Crucify Him!"
Every convert needs to hear two things: the Law, and the gospel. They need to hear the bad news (that the law condemns them for their failure to keep it) and then the good news (that Jesus Christ kept the law on their behalf). This applies only to the elect -- more people hear the outward message than are called to believe it. Those who are inwardly called are said to receive an 'effectual' calling.
In the end, God gives faith to those He loves, which they exercise to complete their redemption. Whether they respond to a frightening message or a soft message is immaterial. Primed by regeneration and the gift of faith, they will respond to anything from the Word of God, but generally speaking, it's best to preach both Law and Gospel. For the lost, both law and gospel add condemnation because they do not respond. The preaching is effectual either way: it saves the elect, and it judges the non-elect.
Numbers favor the lost. "Many are called
, but few are chosen
." Matt 22:14, emphasis mine.