Featured POLL: How many have you led to Christ this year?

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Stope, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. 0

    70.6%
  2. 1

    5.9%
  3. 2

    5.9%
  4. 3

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. 4

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. 5

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. 6-10

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. 11+

    17.6%
  1. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Friends! Im curious to see how the folks of the PB are used of God in bring folks to Christ!

    I myself havent brought anyone, that Im aware, to the Lord this year (that is, from unbelief to belief), yet I have been blessed to be used to help many have an invigorated faith - and in some cases I think might have actually been born again in that moment.

    If you have, please share the testimony that we may be encouraged and God honored!

    "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise." Prov. 11:30
     
  2. Joshua

    Joshua pilgrim

    Not sure that's discernible.
     
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  3. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Agreed. Thats how it was for me this year, but I know, for example, there have been many years where I was used to very clearly bring folks from unbelief to belief. I will then deduce from your response then that you fall in the camp of what I am speaking of in the former. I think most responses will be that way unless posters are referencing international work
     
  4. KeithW

    KeithW Puritan Board Freshman

    Or even that is us who does it.

    John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. ​

    We are to share the Gospel but it is God who accomplishes what He wills.

    Outside of Reformed circles there is a huge emphasis on "soul winning", leading people to the Lord. Often it is more important to grow the numbers in the church than to even teach them to become disciples and grow in the Lord.
     
  5. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    I would be loathe to hazard a vote in this poll. Any "watering" we may do cannot be definitively pointed to as the root of the "increase" the Lord gives. I personally would consider it a boast (or morbid introspection) to vote. Let your own conscience be your guide.
     
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  6. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I've always felt very uncomfortable with this sort of question. For one thing, Joshua's point is something I've felt for a long time. Secondly, all too often, we want to take credit for "being used by God." Thirdly, this sort of question has led to comparisons between people, comparisons I feel are not appropriate, comparisons that allow certain people to feel superior to others. The apostles had more converts than Jesus Christ. What does that say? Were they more used by God than Jesus Christ was? Fourthly, some of the OT prophets (Jeremiah, in particular) were told that NO ONE would listen to them. Were they still used by God? The attempt to quantify being used by God is not very helpful, therefore, in my opinion. Fifthly, as Keith points out, just as important as soul-winning is the task of discipling people and teaching them so that they grow up into good works, something an emphasis on "soul-winning" has failed at abysmally. The question, therefore, of who is being used by God cannot have "soul-winning" as the prize, or gem, such that those who cannot count converts should be made to feel like they are less useful than those who can. Speaking for myself, I have shared the gospel with hundreds of people through sermons, but I haven't the foggiest clue whether any of them have been converted by any of those messages. We need to make sure that being used by God is not narrowed in its definition such that soul-winning is the only way to determine our usefulness.
     
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  7. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    You are right, may we never fall into that area of wanting notches on the belt! But lets not throw the baby out with the bath water, lets rejoice in who got saved! Lets glorify God and lets encourage one another!

    I dont understand what your first sentence means, as far as the second, indeed if you would do it in a boastful sense then please dont share as I dont want to read your pride. But, if you want to share what God is doing to His honor and for our encouragement, then by all means share!
     
  8. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    -But God does use us. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

    Indeed it does lead to comparisons, but thats the issue of the person who does negative with that. When i see what books you read, or when I see how many hundreds you have preached to, does that not provide fodder for comparison? Indeed it does, but I just get encouraged by those points. Same here ;)

    -No it doesnt, nobody ever said it did.

    But we are used by God (see above). You yourself mentioned that you preached to hundreds, you know thats a means of grace and as such your used by God.

    In fact we are called to make disciples! I couldnt agree more. I was just asking how many of those you are making disciples with have become born again

    Agreed. Nobody said or even implied that it did

    I dont take this as a boast from you, nor do I look down on myself for not preaching that much, instead I am grateful to God for how He has used you, for that you have been a blessing to others, and that God is honored!

    That is the assumption I, and i assume almost every other person on this board, operates under
     
  9. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Jason, I was not suggesting, in turn, that God does not use us, contrary to what you seem to be saying. I am suggesting that it is more profitable to consider the myriad different ways God uses us, rather than seeking to quantify this one way.
     
  10. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Im sure it could be more beneficial to consider one of the other myriad of ways that God uses us, but for this specific thread, Im considering this one
     
  11. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    I voted 11+. I have led many to the Lord I'm not sure that Christ saved any of them but that is where I led them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  12. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Freshman

    I have not seen anyone this year go from death to life because of the way I was used. I feel shame sometimes as well for not being more bold. I have passed out tracts which hopefully have helped, and hopefully my words and life have led others closer to God.
     
  13. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I hope I don't get in trouble for this, but when I hear many of these answers I hear, "No one, but I can easily theologize myself out of feeling guilty about it."

    By lead someone to the Lord, I mean what I believe most people mean. Namely, that through my ministry to that person, they went from unbelief to professing faith in Christ for their salvation. By that fairly standard definition, I can say: 2. But the year's only half done. :)
     
  14. Wighardus

    Wighardus Puritan Board Freshman

    In my knowledge I have not been used of the Lord to lead any to Christ.

    I pray that the Lord God shall use me as a witness to the Gospel and all biblical truth, as embodied in the 1647 Westminster Standards, in the Roman school I attend.
     
  15. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    I agree with the sentiment of many other brothers and sisters here, Jason, that we reject the premise of the question.

    I realize that there are those who speak of "leading to Christ" and by such mean securing "decisions for Jesus" that are taken to mean that one has gone from unbelief to belief in a way that you can count. I question not only the accuracy of such an endeavor but its validity.

    A number of us on this board preach regularly. I do, not only in my own congregation, but in many others, some of considerable size. I endeavor every time I preach to point every one present to Christ, to preach Him and Him alone, to urge all auditors to believe and repent, to come to faith whether for the first time or again. The experience of the normal Christian under gospel preaching is to move once again from some degree of unbelief to faith ("I believe, help my unbelief"). I seek to preach with clarity (about the judgment to come for all outside of Christ), urgency, and passion.

    I also have many personal conversations with people in which I point them to Christ. So do the others on this board.

    We are not failing to understand your question. There are aspects of the question, however, that in its assumptions are simply not Reformed. I do not know how many, both publicly and privately that I've spoken to, have embraced Christ. Some appear clearly to have done so. Later it looks otherwise. Some appear not to have but later seem to have. I think that's why Jesus spoke of two sons, one who appeared to obey and one who didn't, but only the latter really did. That shows right there that this method of "counting how many I've lead to Christ" is a misguided and ill-informed enterprise.

    I both appreciate you and what you're seeking to get at here, dear brother, but this is not the way that we Reformed folk conceive of the matter of which you speak. Please understand what we are saying.

    Peace,
    Alan
     
  16. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    Don't feel shame, but know you are not called to do the work of the ordained, contra what the vast majority of our denomination thinks.
     
  17. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior

    Not a question I would ever care to answer.
     
  18. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think the question is easiest to answer if a man is pastoring a church or otherwise engaged in the work of evangelism. In that setting, you might realize you've had a leading role in preaching the gospel to a person and urging them to believe, and you know when that person began professing faith. Granted, you can't be certain of their conversion and you realize the Spirit's work is behind it all, but it's still appropriate to be encouraged by their profession and by the role you got to play.

    This has happened to me through my Sunday school teaching or Bible camp work, but not in the past year, that I recall. In most of these cases, though, I can think of other believers who were also part of the mix — parents, camp counsellors, friends, the grandparent who gave the kid a Bible years before and prayed for him daily, etc. — so that I'm uncomfortable with counts that emphasize God's use of one particular person. Besides, too much emphasis on keeping count can lead to manipulative methods, or to either self-pride or discouragement.

    The question also supposes a fairly distinct experience of going from open disbelief to professing faith. Many times, coming to faith isn't like that. It happens over the long haul with the new believer having heard the gospel in several places, from several people, or for a long time, and often with some uncertainly about exactly when it took hold.

    So I would gladly report, with praise to God, professions of faith that seemed to take place on my watch. But I feel even better reporting that I was privileged to point many people to Jesus in the past year. I don't really know how many of these were already believers, how many have believed since then, or how many will believe at some time yet to come. But God has let me fill my role in my time and place.
     
  19. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    And, Jason, Proverbs 11:30 does not mean what modern evangelicalism has taken it to mean, infected as it has been by Arminianism and worse in the past centuries.

    The KJV, of course, says "he that winneth souls is wise," and a host of folk have been misled into thinking that this involves the employment of a method to secure "decisions for Christ" and the like. It simply means, in context, that fools who trouble their own inherit the wind (and are the servant of the wise) and that the wise (or righteous) brings forth good fruit (a tree of life) and rather than alienating his household proves attractive and winsome to it. It really has nothing to do, as such, with, in any way, addressing a "method of personal evangelism."

    Peace,
    Alan
     
  20. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    I thought about answering like Jack did with respect to professions of faith. I've been involved in many, but that's really not the question that you asked, putting it as you did in the parlance of modern evangelicalism.

    I think that it is important on this board, if anywhere, to be clear that, while a popular question in broader evangelicalism, it is not how we conceive of things in the Reformed sphere and thus is not the question that we should concern ourselves with.

    It is proper that we endeavor always with our lips and lives to point others to Christ. Earl is right that it is chiefly ministers who engage in evangelism in a formal way, though all are to be ready to give an answer to the hope within.

    I appreciate your outreaching heart! Keep it up, but this is an opportunity to refine both your thinking and your expression.

    Peace,
    Alan
     
  21. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Ben, is this the counsel you would give to Jeremiah and Ezekiel upon witnessing the utter rejection of their message by the entire people of Israel? There is no evidence that anyone ever believed their message during their lifetimes. What about the hundreds of missionaries who went to Africa packing their belongings in a coffin, because the life-expectancy was 6 weeks? What about the pastor of a small church who is forced to close the church because no conversions were forthcoming, despite his best efforts? Why should I ever feel guilty about not having the same results as someone else? Shouldn't I feel a lot more guilty if I wasn't faithful to proclaim the truth? If I am not responsible for conversion itself, then why am I supposed to feel guilt for not having something that I am incapable of producing in the first place? Trouble? No. Disagreement? Yes.

    The fact is, brothers and sisters, that we are responsible for being faithful to our calling. We are IN NO WAY responsible for the results of how God chooses to use our efforts. The problem I have with the question, and now how several people have responded to the poll, is that guilt is being associated with something for which we are simply not responsible. The absence of visible results in any case is IN NO WAY a proof of lack of faithfulness, as Jeremiah and Ezekiel prove beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    Furthermore, the winning of souls seems to be prioritized over the much less glamorous (but just as important) job of slowly, calmly, building up people's faith in the years-long processes of instruction and growth.
     
  22. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I have never lead anyone to Christ, but I think that will be the most glorious day of my life if it happens. I will be humbled and my heart will burst with joy knowing that God chose me to give someone the Gospel to a predestined saint and he saved them.

    However, I do think the poll thing is over the top ( I did vote, however). I don't think it's "how many ppl did you lead to Christ this year" that is the important question, but "how many times do you share the Gospel with ppl in a day". I think the latter question is more important because a person can be faithful their entire lives spreading the Gospel and never see one person saved. But they still have done the work God has commanded we do.

    So I have two sides about this post. I can feel your love and excitement about bringing ppl to Christ and that's a godly feeling, but I can see the risk of feeling like a failure at doing the work God has commanded us to do if you have to vote zero.
     
  23. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Amen! Stoked that this has happened (NOTE: Im NOT jealous, Im not worshipping you now, Im not in competition with you now, etc. Im only pleased! I glorify God!)

    The thing I have come to learn these last few months is that we just be intentional! Truly be the salt of the earth, let our lights shine, and live in such a way that people would ask for the hope we have within. Press on brother

    The lack of "accuracy" is assumed, we just do the best we can

    There are aspects of your response that seem just not Biblical. I mean that, and not in a sassy way. You say this and sound very ivory tower, but at the end of the day I find what you are saying going beyond what is written. Can you tell me specifically what I have said where it doesnt align with what scripture teaches?

    Please please please tell me you arent encouraging this brother to "leave it to the pros" when it comes to sharing the Gospel?

    Are not we all called to be involved in "evangelism", that is, to share the Gospel and be a light on a hill and salt of the earth?
     
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Let me answer this (in a manner similar to others) by noting that I'm not sure how many because it's part of what I do on a regular basis.
    On many Sundays I lead the assurance of pardoning grace to Christians. I remind them during our Confession of Sin that Today is the day of salvation. We never come to the Lord assuming that we once came to the Lord and there is no longer a coming to Him, a hearing of Him, a heeding of His commands. Today, I urge men, women, and children to turn from their sin and turn to Christ. A person who professed Christ for years may yet have never really been vitally united to Christ by faith but Today is a day that they may finally turn and be healed even as Christ urged the Pharisees who thought they had sight.
    I call my children to faith in Christ every day we do family devotions. I lead them to Christ and point them to the only Savior. My two oldest have professed faith before the Church.
    I regularly meet with a group of young officers who are Christians and have mostly been brought up in Evangelical traditions where they are impoverished by an understanding of Christ that is primarily one of ethics and duties. I placard before them the risen Christ and how faith vitally unites them to Him to fully pardon all their sins and provides unto them the resurrected life, knowledge, and wisdom for battle in this world.
    I preach on a regular basis for I have been privileged by my Presbytery so to do. My preaching is nothing extraordinary in the eyes of the world but I've known many people that have first heard the Gospel by it.
    I don't worry about how many have truly come to faith in Christ but believe I'm privileged to share and proclaim Christ to many. I urge them Come and let the Spirit do its work. God alone knows Who are His.
     
  25. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    No brother that's not what would offer as council (surely you know that he knows that). He simply means that he hopes He would have the boldness to share the Gospel more often (as do I)

    O wow, thats a good one! That would have been even better. Well said
     
  26. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thats awesome! Some of us on thos board are not "professional" ministers and as such dont have the honor to share the Gospel to people who come to us (as Im sure you also do). I however am not a pastor, so I do the best i can to share the Gospel. Of these young officers, Im pleased to hear that you preach the Gospel to them
     
  27. Romans5eight

    Romans5eight Puritan Board Freshman

    I think there is probably disagreement among the Reformed and non-reformed as how we are to witness or share the gospel.

    I heard that the Navigators founder Dawson Trotman (rabid Arminian) made a decision to share the gospel with a new person everyday. He literally took this to the point of getting out of bed in the middle of the night because he forgot to do it that day. He hailed a cab and the cab driver came to Christ that night.

    This should make most of us feel lazy, especially when we realize God uses the gospel to save sinners and we have to ability to tell anyone we meet, but don't.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  28. KeithW

    KeithW Puritan Board Freshman

    That goes to the wrong extreme, because that is not what everyone who is discussing the presuppositions of the question are saying.

    Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; ​

    Are you taking into account God does not make all men evangelists? Ignoring this is very thing that the "evangelical" movement outside of Reformed theology is doing. There is a lot of relatively recent church history demonstrating the problems this creates. These folks also teach that if you are not doing the work of evangelism you should be ashamed. These are the things being discussed and explained.

    There are all kinds of workers in the Lord. No one should ever be ashamed if they are not following roles God makes distinguishment between. While 1 Cor. 12 speaks of diversity of spiritual gifts, it also talks about a diversity of roles within the body. Each and every one of us is to be faithfully following God and doing whatever work God has placed before us in whatever situation God has placed us in. This is not,

     
  29. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    I am simply encouraging my brother to look into who is "sent" to "preach". :)

    "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
     
  30. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Jason:

    As I said at a couple of points, I appreciate your zeal and your desire to share Christ.

    What "aspects of my response...seem just not Biblical" to you? I don't see anything "ivory towerish" at all about what I said.

    You need to do more than say "seems just not Biblical" and that I am "going beyond what is written." How and where?

    As to the last question (about where what you've said doesn't along with scriptures), I think that I did answer it. Recall that you didn't ask the question "How many have you lead to Christ this year?" by developing a scriptural rationale for such a question, except by citing Proverbs 11:30. I did point out that Proverbs 11:30, though invoked by some evangelicals as establishing a mandate for "soul-winning" (that is developed out of a distinctly non-Reformed soteriology), does not mean what they claim it means.

    Jason, the method of "soul winning" that you ask about in your original post is simply not the way that the Reformed go about gospel witness. Several here, and most recently Lane and Rich, have set forth clearly how we do go about the task of gospel proclamation, witness and so forth in which we proclaim repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I maintain that your original question, though stemming from right desires to see the gospel proclaimed to the saving of souls, is misguided. It is not an appropriate question given the convictions and commitments of this Board. It does not reflect a confessional approach to the question of Christian witness.

    Peace,
    Alan
     
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