Decisional Regeneration & Modern Evangelism

November 26th, 2007 | Add Comment | Church Issues, Quotes Decisional Regeneration & Modern Evangelism |  Facebook

In a booklet, which is much circulated in student evangelism, lays down ‘Three simple steps’ to becoming a Christian: first, personal acknowledgment of sin, and second, personal belief in Christ’s substitutionary work. These two are described as preliminary, but ‘the third so final that to take it will make me a Christian. …I must come to Christ and claim my personal share in what He did for everybody.’ This all-decisive third step rests with me, Christ ‘waits patiently until I open the door. Then He will come in…’ Once I have done this I may immediately regard myself as a Christian. The advice follows: ‘Tell somebody today what you have done.’

On this basis a person may make a profession without ever having his confidence in his own ability shattered; he has been told absolutely nothing of his need of a change of nature which is not within his own power, and consequently, if he does not experience such a radical change, he is not dismayed. He was never told it was essential, so he sees no reason to doubt whether he is a Christian. Indeed the teaching he has come under consistently militates against such doubts arising. It is frequently said that a man who has made a decision with little evidence of a change of life may be a ‘carnal’ Christian who needs instruction in holiness, or if the same individual should gradually lose his new-found interests, the fault is frequently attributed to lack of ‘follow-up,’ or prayer, or some other deficiency on the part of the Church. The possibility that these marks of worldliness and falling away are due to the absence of a saving experience at the outset is rarely considered.

If this point were faced, then the whole system of appeals, decisions and counseling would collapse, because it would bring to the fore the fact that change of nature is not in man’s power, and that it takes much longer than a few hours or days to establish whether a professed response to the gospel is genuine. But instead of facing this, it is protested that to doubt whether a man who has ‘accepted Christ’ is a Christian is tantamount to doubting the Word of God, and that to abandon ‘appeals’ and their adjuncts is to give up evangelism altogether.
- Iain Murray, “The Forgotten Spurgeon”

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