Out to save their souls

Last Wednesday morning on the radio, I heard a clip of a man witnessing to another man on the street.  His conversation starter stems from “The Way of the Master” program by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.  Basically, the idea is to get the person you’re witnessing to to admit he/she is a sinner.  There are different ways of doing this, but one of the most popular is to ask him if he thinks he’s a good person; he’ll almost always say yes.  Then, have him name the 10 Commandments and ask him if he’s ever lied, stolen, or dishonored father or mother;  he’ll almost always say yes.  

“AHA.  So you’re a lying, thieving, dishonoring/disrespectful person!  I’ll ask you again…are you a good person?”

From there the one witnessing can go into how we all are sinners…and then proceed into Jesus’s Salvation message. (There are many aspects to this way of witnessing that I like and some things I don’t; but I don’t want to get into that today).

Now, to the point…in the radio clip, the one being witnessed to was not interested in anything about God.  He basically said that he didn’t really care about his eternal state, that if he goes to hell, then he goes to hell.  Why? (here’s the kicker for me)…because since he’s been “broke“, he doesn’t care about what happens after he dies (my words, same idea).  He repeatedly used that phrase “since I’ve been broke” in a very literal sense…he is having money issues.

I was screaming at the radio, “DO YOU HEAR HIM?  STOP THINKING ABOUT YOUR NEXT QUESTION AND LISTEN!”  It was obvious that the man was going through some very difficult life situations, and his physical needs hardened him from anything spiritual.

Most often there is a deeper reason why people are turned off from accepting of Christ as their savior.  We, as Christians, need to LISTEN to people.  ASK QUESTIONS to get to the heart of the matter.  And SHOW TRUE CONCERN & COMPASSION about their life circumstances.  It is then, once someone knows you really care, that they’ll be open to listening to what you have to share.

That’s how people work…often they won’t listen to spiritual issues until they believe you sincerely care about them in the present, in the physical, and in relationship.

Jesus cares about the whole person…not just his eternal salvation(even though that is the most important).   Throughout scripture, Jesus consistently takes care of the physical and emotional needs of the people around him – He listened to them…and then the Spiritual needs were addressed.

Since the conversation was confined to radio timelines, the entire interview was not aired, so I don’t really know what happened once the audio recorder was shut off.  I truly hope and pray that the man witnessing reached out more.

But it was a good reminder of James 1:19, My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeremy
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 13:46:30

    I am personally not a fan of “Way of the Master.” Our Master is Christ, and their way of witnessing is nothing like Christ’s. I do support their boldness and passion, and I am sure that God uses them to make a difference… But unfortunately they often seem more interested in it working their way that they don’t stop and listen… like what you are talking about.

    Anyway, i know you said you didn’t want to get into that, but i did anyway.


    • lmparks
      Jan 25, 2010 @ 15:25:18

      It’s interesting; I’m reading a book about Christianity through the eyes of an atheist. He was interviewed by Kirk Cameron on Cameron’s radio show and was given the “good person” test without ever having heard of the strategy. Here’s what the author (who calls himself “the friendly atheist”) had to say,

      “I understand that Kirk Cameron needs to keep his radio show lively & interesting in order to attract listeners. But was insulting me really what it took to do that? Did all Christians feel that ridicule and condemnation were interesting and entertaining? I wasn’t expecting Cameron to be a Christian Howard Stern. Even beyond the question of attracting and entertaining listeners, are comments meant to embarrass a guest and a lack of kindness really accurate representations of Christian compassion?…Even after I got off the line, the co-hosts of the radio show continued to emphasize what a fool I was…Do you see the irony? Cameron’s combative approach helped prove my point that the atheistic outlook is less antagonistic than the religious view.”

      I don’t agree completely with the last statement (although it is true in many unfortunate circumstance), but one can’t deny the affect this approach had on this atheist…& my guess is he’s not alone in his opinions.


      • Amanda
        Feb 02, 2010 @ 20:02:28

        At one of my former churches, they did the entire Way of the Master series on Wednesday nights one summer, and I saw several of the episodes more out of curiosity than actually wanting to implement the techniques.

        My observations were…

        1. This technique could work effectively if done with a great amount of compassion by a person who actually listens to the responses and is willing to be flexible in the method in order to meet the needs of the person they are evangelizing.

        2. The kind of people who are going to jump on the Way of the Master bandwagon are typically not the kind of person described in #1.

        3. Jesus did not beat up on sinners. He did not seek to humiliate and degrade people. It is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. Most people are not going to receive WOTM’s evangelism method as being a kindness toward them, especially because the folks who use WOTM’s method are goal-focused instead of Jesus-focused (you have to get saved now, now, NOW!!!!).

        4. I got really tired of seeing and hearing about the plethora of WOTM tracts left around town. If I got tired of it, then I’m pretty sure that most other folks in town got tired of it, too. After all, it’s not nice to see what looks like a dollar bill on the shelf at Wal-Mart and only have it turn out to be a tract. I can only imagine how many 8-year olds found one of those “million dollar bills” and was crushed to find out that they couldn’t buy anything with it. I think that’s mean. I think that has a high potential of turning a kid away from Jesus. And what was it Jesus said about folks who hinder the little children from coming to Him? Oh, yes, better that they have a millstone tied around their necks and they be thrown into the sea…

        5. There are much better ways to spread the Gospel.

      • lmparks
        Feb 03, 2010 @ 18:31:23

        I completely agree.

        the first time I really encountered WOTM as a negative was during a mission trip in Nassau, Bahamas. There was a very large (count 2,000) group of Christians who had been taught evangelism tools by WOTM right before docking in Nassau, where they were going to do a full day of evangelism. I came upon a street corner where a Bahamian man was ecstatically jumping up and down, waving his arms, and screaming, “I’m a millionaire! I’m a millionaire!” At first I thought he was playing around, just trying to be funny…but i watched him a little more and realized that he truly thought the paper he was holding was bonafide American currency. At that point, my heart sank as I realized that very soon this sweet unsuspecting man would find out the truth…not that Jesus loves him, but that he was mislead and decieved.

  2. Sandra Glahn
    Jan 25, 2010 @ 05:33:33

    I read recently that “listening is the new apologetic.” I appreciate this post. Thanks.


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