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Old 10-05-2012, 23:41   #1
frank4570
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Hypothetical question for christians.

I was at a church dinner tonight with some christians tonight and this topic came up, so I thought I would bounce it off you guys just for the sake of discussion.

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."
Is this person now obligated to try to change or suffer for failing.

I know I'm playing kind of fast and loose with the terms, but you get what I'm trying to say. And no, I don't have any studies or anything to support this idea.
GO.
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Old 10-05-2012, 23:55   #2
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God changes the hearts and minds of men every day! Take a listen to the Gaither's "Go Ask"
If you have an ear for music. It might explain a lot for you. Blessings.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:20   #3
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we all fail and hopefully learn from our failures. How many times did you fall and get back up when you were learning to walk? As far as evangelistic styles, a notable example is Jonah. He proclaimed what God told him to and he was successful. The right portion of Truth in the right place and time according to Gods will is what we as Christians should strive for.
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Old 10-06-2012, 21:51   #4
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Figures it's only the nice guys who answer.
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Old 10-06-2012, 21:58   #5
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Get out the gospel, bear fruit for Christ, and grow in the word of GOD to help yourself as well as others.
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Old 10-06-2012, 22:15   #6
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I don't think is our "obligation" as christians to be very persistent in trying to change other's people view on christianity. I do believe God uses us as his instruments to talk to other people thru us, but we have to be very careful in discerning when it is a message from God, or a deceives and lies from the evil one.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:59   #7
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Originally Posted by frank4570 View Post
I was at a church dinner tonight with some christians tonight and this topic came up, so I thought I would bounce it off you guys just for the sake of discussion.

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."
Is this person now obligated to try to change or suffer for failing.

I know I'm playing kind of fast and loose with the terms, but you get what I'm trying to say. And no, I don't have any studies or anything to support this idea.
GO.
Schisms are born of questions like that. Ultimately, people believe what they want and make the Bible agree with them so it's a moot question.

In my experience, their beliefs change when their previous beliefs aren't serving them well. People who don't fit in and aren't very happy with their lots go for the fire and brimstone. They look forward to the people they don't get along with getting their comeuppance. People who are happy and loving tend to take the God is love approach. Of course, things can change in ones life and beliefs often change to reflect those changes.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:17   #8
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I am curious, and serious when I ask this, what is the defining characteristic of an evangelical or fundamentalist? Is it the denomination or a degree of extremism in one's devotion to guidelines? I have a couple neighbors who are pretty strict "Christians" and believe in the whole YEC doctrine, stars are god playing with the lights and fossils are only a test placed there by god, etc.

It seems non-denom churches are more accepting in a basic religion wherein the YEC/Evangelicals are all fire and brimstone turn or burn.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:24   #9
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I'm not evangelical, but here's my take, based on personal experience as a missionary (but not a preacher).

Being a missionary requires listening far more than talking and doing far more than talking. Being an "example of the believers," being meek and humble, and answering people's questions while helping them and being the best friend you can be is the way to turn people who have deep concerns within themselves, and most people do have deep, existential concerns, whether they realize it consciously or not.

Other people need the "fire and brimstone;" they need to be called to repentance to atone for their sins directly. The approach differs per person, and ya' gotta feel it out.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:44   #10
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Other people need the "fire and brimstone;" they need to be called to repentance to atone for their sins directly. The approach differs per person, and ya' gotta feel it out.
That makes sense. I had never considered it.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:55   #11
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jesus friend of sinners..asong by casting crowns..give a listen...the sprit calls..but you do not want to be in their way
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:36   #12
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Originally Posted by frank4570 View Post

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."
Is this person now obligated to try to change or suffer for failing.
.

One of the biggest failings of modern institutionalized religion is it's inability to find a middle ground between the concepts of "fire and brimstone" and "jesus loves you".

200 years ago, "fire and brimstone" was the preferred means of communicating the word of God. Today the church transmits a nauseating feel good, touchy feely, God loves you kind of message.

No one has yet to find that middle ground.

..

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Old 10-07-2012, 14:58   #13
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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.
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Old 10-07-2012, 21:34   #14
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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.
Jonathan Edwards preached in 18th century. Luckily, we've advanced a bit since then and don't need to beg for the gospel to explain the world around us quite as much. As a result, the scare tactics of Edward's sermon aren't anywhere near as effective.
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Old 10-07-2012, 22:09   #15
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Numbers mean nothing.
Really? Helping 1 person get saved is just as good as 10?

If a whole bunch of people fail to get saved because of your tactics that doesn't matter to god?
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Old 10-07-2012, 22:56   #16
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Really? Helping 1 person get saved is just as good as 10?

If a whole bunch of people fail to get saved because of your tactics that doesn't matter to god?
In the context of that statement, I meant that large numbers of converts are not necessarily an indicator that everything is going well or even that anyone is being saved. All Israel gathered for the reading of the Law and said "All this we will do!" and within hours, they were dancing around a golden calf. Campus Crusade for Christ is famous for converting young people to Campus Crusade, but not to Christ. 'Revivals' often result in similarly shallow conversions. They are emotional moments that trigger emotional responses.

'Tactics' are irrelevant as long as the Word is preached accurately. It's not about tactics or techniques. It's about whether the person hearing the gospel is (a) predestined to salvation, and (b) whether the 'seed' of the Word is preached, and takes root. If he is elect, and the Word is preached, he will be saved. The call is effectual -- it cannot fail to fulfill its intended purpose.

And yes, it matters if one is saved. It always matters. The Good Shepherd will leave 99 sheep to go and find the one that was lost.

Frank, the gospel does not have to be preached with 'fire and brimstone' to be offensive. The gospel is intended to be offensive. When we soften it, we empty it of its content. We are not to be offensive in our delivery(though most of that is in the ear of the hearer), but it is a hard message that upsets the lost. To the saved, it is a 'fragrance' of life; to the lost, a fragrance of death.

***
Edwards preached what was appropriate to his time. The fear that fell on the people was a godly fear that God sent; they were convicted in their spirits by what they heard and they were appropriately terrified. The reason there is not more fear like that today is because we are entering an age of apostasy. The Lord makes people dull of hearing; He sends "strong delusion that they might believe a lie." [2 Thess 2:11] He gives many people over to their sin, and they feel not a hint of concern.

It's a gift if you think about it -- imagine living in terror all your life of the judgment that awaits, and then going to that judgment. Ignorant bliss is God's mercy to the non-elect. Jesus actively sent people away, and intentionally spoke in parables so the crowds would not understand, and then He took His disciples aside to explain. He cautions the rich that they have their reward now (implying that they should enjoy it while they have it). To the non-elect He says nothing; they feel no need of Him, and they enjoy, to the extent they can, the few years of self-gratification allowed to them without being troubled by conscience. It's a kind of mercy.
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Old 10-07-2012, 23:13   #17
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In the context of that statement, I meant that large numbers of converts are not necessarily an indicator that everything is going well or even that anyone is being saved. All Israel gathered for the reading of the Law and said "All this we will do!" and within hours, they were dancing around a golden calf. Campus Crusade for Christ is famous for converting young people to Campus Crusade, but not to Christ. 'Revivals' often result in similarly shallow conversions. They are emotional moments that trigger emotional responses.

'Tactics' are irrelevant as long as the Word is preached accurately. It's not about tactics or techniques. It's about whether the person hearing the gospel is (a) predestined to salvation, and (b) whether the 'seed' of the Word is preached, and takes root. If he is elect, and the Word is preached, he will be saved. The call is effectual -- it cannot fail to fulfill its intended purpose.

And yes, it matters if one is saved. It always matters. The Good Shepherd will leave 99 sheep to go and find the one that was lost.

Frank, the gospel does not have to be preached with 'fire and brimstone' to be offensive. The gospel is intended to be offensive. When we soften it, we empty it of its content. We are not to be offensive in our delivery(though most of that is in the ear of the hearer), but it is a hard message that upsets the lost. To the saved, it is a 'fragrance' of life; to the lost, a fragrance of death.

***
Edwards preached what was appropriate to his time. The fear that fell on the people was a godly fear that God sent; they were convicted in their spirits by what they heard and they were appropriately terrified. The reason there is not more fear like that today is because we are entering an age of apostasy. The Lord makes people dull of hearing; He sends "strong delusion that they might believe a lie." [2 Thess 2:11] He gives many people over to their sin, and they feel not a hint of concern.

It's a gift if you think about it -- imagine living in terror all your life of the judgment that awaits, and then going to that judgment. Ignorant bliss is God's mercy to the non-elect. Jesus actively sent people away, and intentionally spoke in parables so the crowds would not understand, and then He took His disciples aside to explain. He cautions the rich that they have their reward now (implying that they should enjoy it while they have it). To the non-elect He says nothing; they feel no need of Him, and they enjoy, to the extent they can, the few years of self-gratification allowed to them without being troubled by conscience. It's a kind of mercy.
Your view of Christianity is a stellar example of confirmation bias, except that you have no actual evidence. If people believe the correct version of Christianity (which in your mind happens to be the version you advocate) they're doing so because of the will of God. If not, it's also because of the will of God. There's absolutely no way to prove your claims wrong because they're all founded on something you can't even demonstrate actually exists.
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Old 10-08-2012, 18:05   #18
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Howdy AM.

The thread was a question to Christians about evangelism methods. I tried to answer his question (and would kind of like to know why he asked it -- maybe he'll share). I wasn't engaged in apologetics. It wasn't a defense of Christianity, so, no need to attack the defense that wasn't there. It was a behind the scenes look at evangelism.

No offense, but you're helping me make a point I asserted a few posts ago, about how the atheists here pop up to say "God doesn't exist" regardless of thread context. You felt the need to remind me that what I believe is vaporous, though I hadn't asked for an opinion on it. It was a... free gift. Atheist grace.

I saw a thread about atheism. I'm going to read it because I want to know. It's not a vacuum of belief, it's not a 'replacement' belief system, so it must be something else. I'll go check it out. Promise I won't comment.
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Old 10-08-2012, 18:15   #19
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I don't think is our "obligation" as christians to be very persistent in trying to change other's people view on christianity. I do believe God uses us as his instruments to talk to other people thru us, but we have to be very careful in discerning when it is a message from God, or a deceives and lies from the evil one.
This is exactly right.

We are told to preach Christ, and Him Crucified, but conversion isn't our responsibility; it's the Holy Spirit's.

Like Fr. Pacwa says regarding converting others: That's Management's job. We're in sales.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:51   #20
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Howdy AM.

The thread was a question to Christians about evangelism methods. I tried to answer his question (and would kind of like to know why he asked it -- maybe he'll share).
.
I was just looking at it from an end game perspective. I would think christisans and the christian god would consider the saving of souls more important than anything else.
Believing that how the message is delivered doesn't matter, is not realistic.

1) Saving souls is the highest priority.
2) Some methods will cause people to not be saved.
If it was my responsibility I would be looking into this. I would think my boss would be unhappy with me doing a bad job when I know I could do a better job.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:34   #21
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Your view of Christianity is a stellar example of confirmation bias, except that you have no actual evidence. If people believe the correct version of Christianity (which in your mind happens to be the version you advocate) they're doing so because of the will of God.
In which case, God is not just, because he created man to punish him.

God is not a kid holding a magnifying glass upon ants; he is our Heavenly Father. To those who ask, he gives, and just as your earthly father would not give a serpent when you ask for fish, he does not do the same: he gives truth, knowledge, and the ability to repent unto Christ for all those with a sincere heart and a contrite spirit.
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This is exactly right.

We are told to preach Christ, and Him Crucified, but conversion isn't our responsibility; it's the Holy Spirit's.

Like Fr. Pacwa says regarding converting others: That's Management's job. We're in sales.
And it is our job as followers of Christ to listen to the Holy Spirit that he left here so that we may help in the work, that we may thrust in our sickles and harvest.
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I was just looking at it from an end game perspective. I would think christisans and the christian god would consider the saving of souls more important than anything else.
Believing that how the message is delivered doesn't matter, is not realistic.

1) Saving souls is the highest priority.
2) Some methods will cause people to not be saved.
If it was my responsibility I would be looking into this. I would think my boss would be unhappy with me doing a bad job when I know I could do a better job.
Devote yourself fully to the work and listen to God's will as proclaimed by the scriptures and the stirrings of the Holy Spirit. It will guide you as you need to be guided for each individual in each moment. Yesterday you are not the man you are today: you've forgotten things, learned new things, and are emotionally in a different state of mind. Yesterday you may have gotten ticked off because your car wouldn't start and you got to work late. Today you may be happy because you found out it was a quick fix; all you had to do was reconnect the battery terminal to the wire that wore loose over time and needed to be re-clamped back down, and so you got to work early and relaxed for a quick minute before beginning those tasks by which you make your keep. Certain behaviors may guide us and remain throughout, but we do not always follow them unconditionally. We must then find out how to make our own lives align with Christ's directive to become like Him, and we must then find out how to bring each individual soul to Christ. Sometimes a thesis is better than a scream, sometimes a scream better than a thesis, sometimes our mere helping hand is enough to cause others to pause and reconsider their own lives, to come to the church and fold of Christ and become a true follower.

I've got my own sins, but I'm a workin' on them. And because I've got that knowledge, I have special knowledge on how to help others that I've learned and earned the hard way. And also, because of my experiences and commitments I'm suited to help people in a way that I can't even comprehend, just as the commitments of others have helped me in ways too large to number out here on GT.
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Old 10-09-2012, 14:03   #22
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Howdy AM.

The thread was a question to Christians about evangelism methods. I tried to answer his question (and would kind of like to know why he asked it -- maybe he'll share). I wasn't engaged in apologetics. It wasn't a defense of Christianity, so, no need to attack the defense that wasn't there. It was a behind the scenes look at evangelism.

No offense, but you're helping me make a point I asserted a few posts ago, about how the atheists here pop up to say "God doesn't exist" regardless of thread context. You felt the need to remind me that what I believe is vaporous, though I hadn't asked for an opinion on it. It was a... free gift. Atheist grace.

I saw a thread about atheism. I'm going to read it because I want to know. It's not a vacuum of belief, it's not a 'replacement' belief system, so it must be something else. I'll go check it out. Promise I won't comment.
Since this thread is about the most effective way to "save the lost", and as atheists we would be in that group, I would think our opinion would be relevant.

With logical and reasonable people, scare tactics do not work. You can not support your premis with facts. Ramble on and on about burning in hell, we simply don't care about your fairy tales.

Now on the other hand if you make an appeal to emotion, you might be able to sway a person to allow his feelings to over ride his logic. I think this is why I hear many christians say they can not justify their belief, it just makes them feel better. "You will understand the bible when the holy spirit is in your heart.".

Personally I find the sappy "Jesus loves you!" tactic pretty annoying, but I'm sure it will work on some. Especially during traumatic events in their life.

Just my $.02
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Old 10-09-2012, 20:42   #23
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With logical and reasonable people, scare tactics do not work. You can not support your premis with facts. Ramble on and on about burning in hell, we simply don't care about your fairy tales.
That's just mean-spirited. I don't mind debating ideology, but I try not to be insulting. My fairy tales? Mine and... millions more before me. They weren't all as smart as you guys, but they weren't all idiots either.

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Personally I find the sappy "Jesus loves you!" tactic pretty annoying, but I'm sure it will work on some. Especially during traumatic events in their life.
I too cringe when I see those bumperstickers.

I addressed that very thing in a recent thread and ran a brother out of here. Jesus does not love everyone. He loves His own, and is angry with the rest. The rest are said to be "treasuring up wrath" against themselves. Anyway, in His High Priestly prayer, He specifically says He is not praying for the "world," but only for those who the Father gave him. In John 6, He intentionally says things to drive people away. In Romans, the rebellious are given over to their sins to increase their judgment. This is a smattering of verses, but it makes the point.
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Old 10-09-2012, 22:13   #24
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I was just looking at it from an end game perspective. I would think christisans and the christian god would consider the saving of souls more important than anything else.
Believing that how the message is delivered doesn't matter, is not realistic.

1) Saving souls is the highest priority.
2) Some methods will cause people to not be saved.
If it was my responsibility I would be looking into this. I would think my boss would be unhappy with me doing a bad job when I know I could do a better job.
Frank,

I wanted to address this as succinctly as possible. Yes, a saved soul is the highest priority -- it certainly is the highest priority of the soul saved. We're told that angels rejoice when a soul is saved. It's a big deal.

In Acts, we're told that on the day of Pentecost "as many as were appointed to eternal life, believed." God prepares those He chooses to save by regenerating them -- He brings them back to spiritual life -- they are born again. A person that was formerly indisposed to respond to teh gospel is suddenly disposed. The Bible, which was a gibberish bookj to him befoire, is suddenly clear. The God he resisted before, he suddenly loves. This is a side note, but regeneration precedes -- it does not follow -- the exercise of the faith they are given, and promptly return, to the justification (the saving) of their souls.

The parable of the sower gives us insight into the process. Some seed fell on hard ground, and did not take root. Some seed fell among thorns and was choked out. But some seed fell on 'good ground'. We're told the 'good ground' yields a great harvest. This is a farming metaphor. Farmers don't just toss seed out and hope a crop grows -- they prepare the soil. They dig up the rocks, pull the weeds, fertilize, etc. I mention this because it applies to preaching and salvation. Jesus says the seed in this parable is the Word of God. You need a prepared heart (a regenerated heart) and the Word of God. When it is preached -- ideally with some law and some gospel -- the person appointed to salvation on that day at that time, "chosen from before the foundation of the world," responds, believes, and is saved. Forever.

So the method matters less than you think. Hell fire or God is love, as long as the real Christ is preached, the regenerated person will respond and believe. I don't favor threats of judgment when I share the gospel, but I don't make Jesus into someone desperate for friends either. He is the King of Kings. He does us the favor -- not the other way around. It is a mistake to try to be 'relevant' to the culture in evangelism. Having muscle guys tear phone books in half to appeal to 10 yr old boys; having loud bands mimicing the popular culture to attract young adults; all this is unnecessary, and sometimes embarrassing. It's possible to make converts to a movement -- people not appointed to eternal life, who will follow your group because they have a need to belong.

The Word of God has been saving predestinated souls through the life-giving Spirit of God for thousands of years, and it doesn't need help.
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Old 10-09-2012, 23:40   #25
High-Gear
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Originally Posted by brokenprism View Post
That's just mean-spirited. I don't mind debating ideology, but I try not to be insulting. My fairy tales? Mine and... millions more before me. They weren't all as smart as you guys, but they weren't all idiots either.
No sir, telling someone they will burn forever for not qccepting your mythology is mean spirited. Just because a lot of people believe does not make it true, nor does it make it worthy of respect.
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Nov 11, 2013 at 11:42