Despite numerical reports of the church’s success that paint a bright picture of health and growth, there is a stark realization that the church has little power in evangelism today. Too many of God’s people are consumed with the modern thinking that being relevant, having intellectual and social respectability, and unity are the keys for evangelism today.
Walter Chantry says the problem with unity is that churches water down the Gospel by compromising the truth and trying to find "the lowest common denominator” in which all churches can agree upon. The Gospel has been so diluted and the truth spread so thinly that the world can scarcely see it. Peace and compromise are preferred over conflict and truth by churches not wishing to offend other denominations, their own missionaries, and even their own Sunday schools and other programs. Why? They believe unity is the key to success, and that the world will marvel and be won over by the combined power of their evangelistic efforts.
Chantry speaks against the church that has forgotten its Protestant roots from Luther: “The evangelical wing of the Protestant church is saturated with doctrine and practices which have no biblical foundation. Many teachings and habits touching the gospel are…the products of human invention and tradition.” The Gospel message preached today not only cannot be traced back to the Reformers and their creeds—it cannot even be traced back to the Bible itself. Modern evangelism has twisted the Gospel like the cults and Satan himself who use verses and half-truths from the Bible to deceive its listeners.
Many sincere men are “preaching a dethroned Christ” instead of the true Gospel. They get “decisions” for Christ that mean little to nothing because the overwhelming majority of those making the decisions fall away from the faith, giving evidence that they were never saved in the first place. Slick marketing and manipulative questioning methods are modern evangelistic methods that have no Biblical basis. Many of those making those preaching a synthetic Gospel as well as those making “decisions” will realize that they have been fooled when they hear the scariest words in the Bible from Jesus in Matthew 7:23: “I never knew you; Depart from me.”
We have inherited ways of preaching salvation that we assume to be correct but fail to be seen throughout historical Christianity and in the Bible. They are modern inventions and traditions based on secular thinking that tries to improve the message of the Gospel to make it easier for people to make a “decision.” Chantry challenges readers to look closely at the methods and message that Jesus preached and says, “Though the answers may be painful, you must ask yourself if your church, your evangelists, your Sunday School teachers, and you, yourself, are preaching our Lord’s Gospel.”
What I shared was the introduction to the book. Chantry, with the main part of his writing, uses the example of how Jesus preached to the rich young ruler, and he compares and contrast with today's "quick fix" evangelism, which would look at the well-to-do, sincere, clean-cut young man and have him repeat a prayer and pronounce him saved in less than five minutes. Jesus didn't do that—He started by preaching the character of God, then preaching the law of God, and included the essential elements of repentance, faith, true Biblical assurance, and dependence upon God. It is short but powerful book and I can give it my highest recommendation and hope you would read it too.