The Importance of Biblical Language in Evangelism

This one’s for my friend Ed, who seems to have missed the point of the earlier post about ‘accepting’ Jesus. When presented with a gift, the recipient will either accept it or reject. The point made by the source of the Gotquestions.com article seems to be that using the language of ‘accepting’ Jesus is the best way to “communicate the truth more effectively to someone with limited biblical understanding”. I disagree. The message of the gospel has to do with the problem of sin and the need to ‘repent and believe the gospel’ that Jesus died for our sins. As the original article stated, the language of ‘accepting Jesus’ is not found in scripture.

We need not worry about the ‘biblical understanding’ level or those to whom we present the gospel. Before anyone can understand the message of the gospel, God must open the heart to hear and respond, just as he did with Lydia in Acts, Chapter 16. When God opens a human heart to hear the gospel, salvation follows. On the other hand, a person can have tremendous biblical knowledge, and know the contents of the Bible from end to end, but completely misunderstand the gospel message, if God has not opened his heart to hear!

I remember hearing once a conversation about salvation between two ladies that was about ‘knowing’ you are actually saved. One of the ladies wanted to be sure she knew she was saved. What followed was extremely that went something like this:

Lady #1: “How can I know I am saved?”

Lady #2: “You accepted Jesus into your heart, didn’t you?

Lady #1: “Yes.”

Lady #2: “Well then, you’re saved.”

Lady #1: “Wow, I didn’t know it was that easy to save yourself!”

I’ll never forgot that lady’s exclamation. ‘Accepting Jesus’ language had her believing she had literally ‘saved herself’ by ‘accepting Jesus’, which is a logical, but dangerous conclusion and one that insults God. When there is a chain of events and the final act in the change (accepting Jesus) causes the ultimate result, it’s natural to make the conclusion even though earlier acts in the chain of events (Christ’s death for sin) were necessary for the end result.

So that’s how I see it. There is absolutely no way that using non-biblical language when presenting Christ. Whether it’s ‘accept Jesus’, ‘give your life to Jesus’, or any variation thereof, we need not fear using the Bible’s language for the Bible’s topic of salvation.

13 responses to “The Importance of Biblical Language in Evangelism

  1. Dan, you’re right – do the Lord’s work, that is, preaching His Gospel, His way – using the words He gave us. He knows human nature! There is an endtimes preacher who always finishes his broadcasts with how little time we have left, so “Give your heart to Jesus!” This is wasting an opportunity to preach Christ, repentance, and faith.

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    • The genuine gospel is, by nature, an offensive message and might even smell like death to unbelievers, if we are to believe Paul (2 Cor 2:16). On the other hand, it becomes the sweetest smell on earth to the God opened heart!

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      • Are you indicating that I, as a non-Calvinist, am offended by the genuine gospel? Do you consider me to be an unbeliever? I don’t believe YOUR gospel, but I believe THE gospel of Jesus Christ. And, I believe that “accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior” saved me, all because I believed on my own accord. So, Dan, am I a Christian, or not?

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        • Well Ed, MY gospel is that ‘Christ died for our sins.’ 1 Cor 15:1-5. I certainly hope you believe that. I believe there are Christians who think they are saved but are deceived. I believe there are genuine believers who think they believed all on their own, without God’s help but they still don’t know that God played a huge part in their decision. I was that guy once until the Bible told me different. Do I believe you are a Christian? I’m not God, so I don’t know one way or the other. What I think I know about you is that ‘anti-Calvinism’ seems to part of your every discussion and comment. Therefore I don’t post a lot of your comments. This is one of the exceptions.

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          • When you responded whether I was a Christian, you defaulted that you are not God. You know dog gone well that I do not believe in anything Calvinism, no matter how many versions of Calvinism that there is. So, based on my statement, am I a Christian? I don’t think you need to default that you are not God. Why do I say that? Because when the numbers were revealed in the Book of Acts of how many Christians that there are, thousands, I don’t remember anyone stating that only God knows. They knew, why can’t you make that same determination of who is a Christian, and who isn’t?

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              • So THAT was your REAL question, not whether or not I believe YOU are a Christian. See what I mean about the effect of your Calvin hatred? Well Ed, some non-Calvinists are Christians and some aren’t. The same could be said for Calvinists. How’s that?

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              • I readily admit my disdain and hatred to anything Calvinism. I thought you knew that from me from the beginning? And if some non-Calvinists are Christians, then they don’t need your Calvin doctrines either. If they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, who are Calvinists to determine that they aren’t saved just because they “accepted” Jesus? All I see in Calvinism, is that if I don’t believe in what you believe, Calvinists state definitively that I can’t be saved unless I believe in the doctrines of Calvinism, and there are many versions of Calvinism, too.

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              • Imdid know that about you, Ed. I just didn’t confront you with it, or tell you that I think your abject hatred of all things ‘Calvin’ demonstrates a certain lack of a couple of Christian virtues often referred to as ‘fruit of the spirit’, not to mention a lack of ability for serious discussion of the matter. Perhaps my thoughts concerning the great ‘false idol’ of libertarian free will. False idols however, can come crashing down upon honest reading of the Bible.

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              • Sorry about the ‘extra ‘m’ Ed. And by the way Ed, although there might be some Calvinists who say you gotta be one to be saved at all (I don’t know any), there are also some Arminians who would say the reverse. (Don’t know any of those either). Both groups are probably composed of the Biblically illiterate. I choose to assume you forgot the word ‘some’ as a modifier in front of your hasty generalization about ‘Calvinists’. If I chose to believe you meant it, I would be tempted to call it just plain stupid.

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