Witnessing Tactics

If you’ve never actually read the Sword of the Lord publication, here is your chance to get a slight taste for its style. Fundamentalist pastors are not particularly known for being stellar writers, so most of the columns consist of transcripts of (often highly edited) sermons. The result is the same kind of long-winded storytelling style of presentation full of rabbit trails and war stories like this one from Curtis Hutson…

If at first you don’t succeed…keep badgering them and making the decision process involve less and less effort until they give in.

It’s worth noting on this July 8th edition of The Sword all three of the cover articles are by past or present SOTL editors John. R. Rice, Curtis Hutson, and Shelton Smith — two of whom have been dead for a decade or two. It’s a good indicator that their focus is firmly planted in the past.

102 thoughts on “Witnessing Tactics”

      1. And you get a special First butt cushion made, of course by Moi, special first pin, blazer, and flask for our own SFL whisky that we brew out back in our own still…. er… uh, of course, that we are license to brew… yeah.

  1. Actually, this is a fair marketing technique. Make it harder to say no than yes.

    Of course, selling Jesus might not be the same think as selling “discount DVD’s”, but it’s the same street…

    1. I don’t know why these soulwinners imitate marketing strategies when Jesus Himself warned people about the cost of following Him:

      “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

      ‘Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.”’” (from Luke 14)

      1. You silly! Those words were meant for Kingdom-dispensation Jews, not modern Christians! Now we are to “force them in.” 😛

        1. Ah, yes! You know what they’d say!

          I’d forgotten how easily supposed Bible-believing Christ-followers dismiss what Christ said.

      2. Have you actually done that? Do you hate your brothers and sisters? We have no reason to not take Jesus literally here. Before you were saved, did you actually sit down and count the cost? Because I hear this verse quoted a lot, but only from “mature” Christians. Never in a testimony have I heard anyone say “I thought it sounded too good to be true, but first, I sat down and considered whether I would be able to be a disciple, whether I could hate my mother and father and turn my back on everything, and I came to the conclusion that yes, I can, and I have and I can finish what I started because I counted the cost”.

        I don’t know about kingdom dispensation jews or whatever, but I do know that Jesus took people to the end of the law and burdened them with it – “be ye perfect”, so that they would fail under the weight of their own sins, and come unto Him, who is able to give them rest.

        I spent many years in the worst kind of abuse and mis-understanding of Law & Gospel in a fundamentalist church. But God, in His great love and mysterious providence used all of it to give me the understanding of the Gospel of Grace in Christ. The reason self-righteousness is present in a person is because they have not been crushed under the weight of their sin by taking the law to its complete and utter totality which is, “be ye perfect” (they still don’t understand why Christ said THAT either).

        A lot of the comments in these threads come across as “Hey God, pat us on the back because we are so much better than those fundies”.

        You probably don’t mean it like that, but it certainly comes across that way 🙁

        (this is meant as reply to everyone in this little thread, not just the person I clicked reply on)

        1. Jesus also said “be ye perfect” in Matthew 5:48. And every Christian downgrades this to “be a mature Christian”, or “try your best”. But here is the standard of the law of God – it is be perfect AS God is perfect. It’s not be as perfect as the next person.

          You just claimed that Christians dismiss Jesus words. But are you guilty of the same thing by dismissing them or reducing their severity so you can achieve?

          Be ye perfect. In my flesh, I’ll never be perfect. Thankfully, the righteousness of the law was fulfilled by Christ, and I am now made righteous in Him. In Him, and in my Spirit, which is made alive through Him, I am perfect, righteous, without the deeds of the law.

          It’s very easy to say “Oh, fundies dismiss the words of Christ”, and they probably do, because his words are severe. But it is no worse than “spiritualising” his words or explaining them in a way that makes them more palatable.

        2. Jesus also said “be ye perfect” in Matthew 5:48. And every Christian downgrades this to “be a mature Christian”, or “try your best”. But here is the standard of the law of God – it is be perfect AS God is perfect. It’s not be as perfect as the next person.

          The Biblical usage of the Greek word translated as “perfect” does not mean perfection as we define it in our english today. It is

          teleios tel’-i-os from 5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with 3588) completeness:–of full age, man, perfect.

          That does not mean sinless perfection as God is sinlessly perfect.

          Your exegesis regarding this phrase in the verse

          Jesus took people to the end of the law and burdened them with it – “be ye perfect”, so that they would fail under the weight of their own sins, and come unto Him, who is able to give them rest.

          ..while well meaning is wrong.

          That is not what that passage is about. The entire verse in context is about loving your enemies.

          “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers,[h] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

          Be like the Father, do as the Father and love those who hate you, sho separate themselves from you, who dispitefully use you.
          That is all that phrase is saying.

      3. Just trying to say that the “shake my hand and you get to go to heaven” is a pitiful poor presentation of the Gospel.

        Jesus Christ is the answer, not a cool sales strategy or marketing technique.

        1. Yeah, well I was trying to make it sound less like one. My first reply was, “7 rhymes with heaven and with my right hand I can get you there.” Then I realized that belonged back in Sex Week, I’m married, I don’t even know you, and so I tried to fix it. 😳

        2. HAHAHAHAHA.. Okay, that made me laugh out loud.

          It’s all good, and I really didn’t take it like you were hitting on me or anything. I just had to give you grief. :mrgreen:

        3. No, no, no… don’t mean it to make you feel humiliated, but I still think it’s funny. 😉

  2. Eight is great and I’m number eight! Won’t you shake my hand?? My Right hand please, the heaven hand. 😀

    1. don’t we all.

      I blame high-pressure pitches like this one for the reason I can’t even abide to walk onto a car lot these days.

      1. poor guy realized his non response approach wasn’t working to shake off this annoying guy so he shoke hands so he could get rid of the guy. The agressive soul winner doesn’t say what’s next after he grabbed his hand and continued to pester him. I’m guessing it wouldn’t lend to the point he was trying to make in the story…

    1. There is way too much of this kind of preaching today. “What is real repentance”, “What is true saving faith”. It’s a waste of time. Preach the good news and let the Spirit do it’s work – if the gospel is a dangerous thing to preach, preach it anyway. We don’t need a bunch of warnings and carefuls and don’t be too quick to come to Christ rubbish that I hear so much of today. All that this kind of preaching does is make the listener think “Oh no, have I really repented according to this definition that I heard today, or do I have “true” saving faith according to what I heard today. I still sin, so probably not, woe is me!”. It also stifles the good news – instead of “come unto me, and I will give you rest”, it becomes “you can come to me, but you better think about it first, because I hate your alcohol, and your porn, and your filthy thoughts. In fact, clean yourself up before you come anywhere near me”. And that is not the Jesus we know, who dined with sinners, did not condemn them, but loved them and empowered them through forgiveness.

      Let’s hear some good news for a change – who we are in Christ, and let’s believe it.

    1. I know, this is horrific. This man is just manipulative. No thought or mention of the Holy Spirit’s work in any of the exchange.

  3. Frank’s thoughts:”Shoulda stayed inside with the wife. Oh God, where is she? How long does it take to go to the bathroom? Probably fixing her hair. No, wait, she had some of that pimento loaf for lunch; that stuff goes right through her. Oh good, now he wants to shake hands so he’ll just move on. What? Heaven hand? What the hell is he talking about? Better find out which is the correct one or we’re gonna be here all night. I wonder what’s on ESPN tonight?”

    1. priceless…simply priceless
      so glad it didn’t come down to
      blink once for hell, and twice…
      boymom, you crack me up !

  4. As awful as this story is, and it is, the true tragedy lies not in the pushiness of Curtis Hutson. While it is highly likely that the man just did what he needed to do to get rid of Curtis the High Pressure Salesman of “Salvation”. There is the very high possibility that if ever presented with the Gospel in the future that same man will say, “I did that.” and never realize that his faith is not faith and that he doesn’t have salvation. Saying you believe in Jesus and repeating a prayer so that you can pinpoint one moment in your life as “the moment” does not a Christian make. God doesn’t care what you believed on that one Sunday back in 1988, He cares what you believe every day. People like Curtis simply set people up with false securities and that is the true tragedy.

    1. Was it about Ralph, or was it about the preacher’s soul-winning quota for the week? We’re talking numbers here!

  5. “Saying you believe in Jesus and repeating a prayer so that you can pinpoint one moment in your life as “the moment” does not a Christian make. God doesn’t care what you believed on that one Sunday back in 1988, He cares what you believe every day.”

    — One of the wisest, and most succinct, remarks I have ever read in this forum, I dare say. Thank you, Eric.

  6. I love the bit about how he had to go because the church service was about to start.

    Priorities, priorities.

  7. I’m not sure this fits this string of comments but here it is.

    For some reason, once a month a new bundle of SOTLs started showing up at our church a while back. My wife tells me not to bring them home, that I should get my entertainment and “Grammar police” fix elsewhere. They make good kindling in the winter, though. And they are fun to burn.

    I have a friend that was a missionary pilot in South America for 20 years. He picked one up and said, “Huh….I think I read this same edition 20 years ago.”

  8. I for one am grateful that Curtis was wise enough to know which tactic to apply to ensure that Ralph saw his need to repent and follow Jeus. There must have been rejoicing in the presence of angels when he figured this out. I’m sure God was getting worried that He wouldn’t be able to get Ralph saved until Curtis intervened.

    By the way, when I was in fundyland the right hand was the fellowship hand. When did it become the Heaven hand?

  9. Back off of Curtis Hutson, please. I guarantee you not one of you has had the ministry he had. He sat with my grandfather for hours and worked through confusions my grandfather had with his salvation, until he could fully place his faith in Christ. His church in Atlanta, his paper, and his personal outreach was almost unparalleled in his day. Just…back off of him…seriously. There are a lot of crazies out there…he wasn’t one of them.

    1. And in this autobiographical sketch he shared a false gospel. One needn’t be crazy to be a false teacher.

      1. I believe that was Tony Hutson (Curtis’ son, I think?) ranting about how if you gave him sugar-free “Co-Cola” or instant mashed potatoes, he “would throw it on the floor.” That was apparently the main topic of Tony’s sermon. Along with how much he wants to see a “90-pound woman” get beaten up on the TV show “Cops.”

    2. If your grandfather was “saved” using the technique in the article it would take several hours to straighten that mess out. The article presents a cheap, man-centered, decisional regeneration view of salvation, it does great harm to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and presents God as some frail, weak pathetic figure that has to have some overbearing, pushy, used gospel salesman to seal the deal in order to get someone saved.

      I just sat through a week of this cheap, “God can’t do anything with out me” junk. Just because you get someone to agree that Jesus lived, and died for our sins doesn’t mean Jesus has saved them. You can manipulate folks into saying what you want to hear but that doesn’t mean they are saved! Yet these sancitmonious supersaints chalk up another one for their personal stable of saved souls and build their reputations and personal empires by glorifying their ability to get people to say a prayer or raise their hand or nod their head or blink once for yes twice for no.

      Even if they are doing it with the most noble of intentions look at the damage left in their wake. How many will be like I was, who are holding on to some prayer they prayed, or some profession they made… only to realize that they were not saved and all they had was a head knowledge? No, I’m sorry but that is not salvation that is mere assention of facts. (and cheaply presented facts at that.)

      God can use whatever and whomever he wills in order to present the Gospel and open blinded eyes and melt stone cold hearts. It is not the persistent effort of some slick, used gospel shyster that will get anyone saved it is Christ and Christ alone. And it will be an awful thing for those who were told they are saved because of one of these cheap, hin-n-run gospel presentations to stand before the Lord and be told, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” “But Lord, I shook his right hand….

    3. Sam, though I believe Curtis Hudson did some good, and I still have respect for him, he was, after all, a man. Men are fallible and not all men are perfect.

      Though he may have done some people good (as the case with your Grandfather), not all of his teachings were on the level.

      One of the big problems of the IFB teaching is that we exalt men to the point that they can do no wrong and no one better say a critical word about them.

      I felt that way once about Dr. Gray… until I found out what he did and who he REALLY was deep down. Now, I’m not comparing Hudson to Gray, but if something Hudson taught or did was incorrect, then it should be pointed out. That doesn’t mean that EVERYTHING he did was wrong or that he was a crazy.

      It means he was human.

      1. Let me add to this: I think Dr. Gray was crazy and sick in the head. I don’t think Hudson was.

    4. Sam, as much good as Curtis Hutson did, it is Scripturally valid to point out doctrinal flaws. I admired him for many years. I still have respect for him, but I don’t agree with the soul-winning technique he taught, nor how he apparently supported covering up for “good ol’ boys” who had committed heinous sins.

  10. I remember hearing sermons against “easy-believism”…but isn’t that exactly what was promoted in this article?

    1. This is what people call “easy believism” and then they make the gospel go to the other extreme and start making demands from sinners they will never be able to meet or live up to.

      While this kind of rubbish technique obviously exists, it is a shame, because it is used as an example by those who want to place new believers under the law, and back under the burden of religious works.

      There is no such thing as easy believism or Lordship salvation. There is Salvation, and it is of the Lord. You aren’t saved by praying a prayer, and you aren’t saved by repenting of all your sins and you aren’t saved by “making Jesus Lord of your life” and you aren’t saved by committing your life to Christ. Salvation is is free, it is full and it is forever, and it is not up to any man to judge the validity of another man’s faith in Christ. When a man believes He is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, He is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Men will trust in many things, works, religion etc, and may have a false hope. But the blood of Christ is no false hope. It is our saving grace, provided for us by the God who loves us.

      Easy Believism and Lordship Salvation are nothing but red herrings that hook Christians in who love to debate and have preeminence amongst others.

  11. Okay. Before I shake your hand, please just tell me where that hand has been. Is it your ***-wiping hand or your nose-picking hand?

  12. And that is why people don’t like pushy evangelism. It’s nothing to do with Ralph, but all about bragging for numbers. I wonder if the only time the pastor thought about Ralph was when he was telling this story, not discipling him or coming alongside him.

    1. I know you’re being sarcastic, but Christ never tells us to be “fishers of men”. He calls us to follow Him. The natural result of our following is that we, through Him living in us, will become “fishers of men”. Fundies have taken the result of the verse and made it into the imperative, when in fact the imperative is “come, follow me.”

      1. Funny, that “follow [Jesus]” stuff is exactly what my fundy preacher has been teaching since he started expositing the book of Mark a few weeks back.

        Time to get rid of him, I guess, if we want to stay fundies. 😉

  13. When I was in a college ‘soul-winning club,’ I was taught to NEVER take a breath in between phrases as to not give the sinner a chance to close the door or walk away. We were taught to get straight to ‘the prayer’ (we all know the prayer is what saves us) as quickly as possible so that we could reel them in. The person who won the most souls at the end of the year was crowned queen of soul-winning with a robe, tiara and the whole bit. They played a hymn and she walked down an isle waving and we applauded her as the best soul-winner at college. Her picture was placed in the yearbook, she was lauded at graduation and all of the spiritual guys fought to date her. Reading this article brought this back to mind. Hideous.

      1. She isn’t making it up. I was there for some of that insanity. It was actually a little worse than that as I recall.

        1. Ah, the lovely Phoster Club, which I also witnessed, pardon the pun. A sure-fire way to doubly-damn the listener. Again, pardon the very sad pun. 🙁

        2. A man and his wife once followed up on 1,000 Phoster Club “converts” — only to discover that NOT ONE of them had any interest in Jesus Christ, or spiritual things whatsoever. This tells me that they were just trying to get these annoying people off their front porch as fast as possible.

    1. RMS
      the rhetorical manipulation storm

      for those who can’t defend their position any other way.

        1. There was, Jo, but I do not know it. You see, most of the dorm girls were also engaged in one-upmanship, and we liked to think we worked harder than the Phoster club ladies, because we spent 8 to 10 hours in bus ministry each Saturday, then even more on Sunday. We were all pretty much “witnessing” the same way, so I do not see any difference at all, but… I do know that if we tried to truly minister to ANY of our bus people, we were discouraged from that. Too time-consuming. I mean, surely the Lord ascribed to the philosophy of “Win ‘Em, Wet ‘Em, and Work ‘Em,” too, right? 🙄

        2. You’ve got me going, now. We were in Hammond door-knocking one FEBRUARY (below 0 and we were dropped off for 30 min to an hour at a time) and my co-soulwinner and I knocked on a door. A young guy came to the door. He looked high on something. Long story short, when I tried to get him to pray, he pulled a gun on us. It sounds bazaar and unbelievable but it is the truth. I don’t even remember how we handled it, I just remember running to try and find that stupid bus.

          You’re right. Bus workers were definitely more spiritual. Phoster Club was for backsliders of which I was one. I have since repented, though. 😕

  14. “Playing tough to get, eh, Ralph? OK, if you will trust Christ take a breath. If not, then don’t.”

    “Still waiting, Ralph.”




  15. I just imagined a special salvation hotline, in which you have to go through an automated set of questions. “Press 1 for Heaven, and 2 for Hell.”
    -“Please wait, your call is important to us”
    -“All soulwinners are currently assisting other sinners”
    -Cue hold music – “There’s room at the cross for you”

  16. ****Alternate Ending*****

    “…then shake my left hand.”

    Ralph stood there, frozen in time. Neither of his hands budged. My heart was weeping. I knew that his soul was hanging in the balance, but I couldn’t get him through the gates of heaven.

    Finally, exasperated, I laid it on the line. “Look, Ralph. I have shared this message with literally hundreds of thousands of people. And in my experience, I am convinced that the only people who reject this free gift are either vile homosexuals or complete fools. I don’t really know which category you fall in, and quite frankly, I don’t care. But to be fair, I want to give you one last chance to secure your eternal destiny before you split the gates of hell wide open. If you are willing to accept Jesus as your personal savior, you can just tell me to @#$% #$%. If not, you go back to your wicked or foolish lifestyle, and I pray that God has mercy on your condemned soul.”

    I stood there, looking at Ralph, waiting for a response.

    “@#$% #$%” Ralph said, as he walked away.

    I smiled and thanked God for another crown to wear in Heaven.

  17. It must be a pretty awesome responsibility to personally have the power to get people into Heaven. I don’t know if I could handle it. 😕

    1. I know it is dreadful to laugh at this comment, but the reason I am nearly speechless is that I was once with a very aggressive “soulwinner,” back in the day, and she was determined to make a mentally challenged person understand how to be saved. I had to literally drag her off. Oy. The things that went on…. 🙄

    1. if only he’d had the Witness Stick™!

      the guy would have been asking all about his stick and therefore, inviting him to share the Gospel!

  18. Natalie and Guilt Ridden,
    Where does the Bible instruct us to expose sins? Proverbs says the exact opposite. Also, doctrine and technique are categorically different things. Can we just appreciate the good God uses men to do without dwelling on perceived shortcomings?

    1. Actually I’m pretty sure we are told to avoid false teachers, and it’s kinda hard to do that without exposing the “falseness.” Commenting on the bad doctrine coming out of a prominent pastor’s mouth is not the same thing as, say, going around telling everyone you know that you found out that so-and-so cheated on her husband, which is what Proverbs is referring to. Nice try, Sam.

    2. Sam, I don’t think it’s so much “exposing sins” as it is not condoning them, and covering up for them. The IFB church has twisted the verses in the Bible that refer to not speaking out against a man of God to suit their male dominated beliefs. I don’t think God ever meant for that to be interpreted that you cover up when they do wrong or that you support them no matter what they say because they are “ordained”…rather, I’ve always read it to mean that it’s a sin to MOCK or lie about or start rumors about a man of God, a TRUE man of God, that is. To remove someone from the pulpit, call them out, or chastise them because they’ve perverted the Bible and are using it as a stepping stone to power is NOT a sin. And that is where the IFB church has failed miserably…just go talk to Mr. Google and see how many pastors and deacons and leaders are currently working in leadership positions while sex offence charges are pending, or after they’ve “confessed” to such or served time for such. To me, a truly repentant leader in the church would REMOVE himself from that position if he had seriously besmirched the name of God by committing the sin of adultery or a sex offense or any other serious crime. Someone who cares about their testimony and how it could affect someone seeking Christ would not participate in a cover up of abuse either of themselves or another person in the church. I’m not saying everyone has to know one another’s business, but if you choose a leadership role, you take on certain responsibilities in representing that church and Christ, and should live in such a way that your life is an open book and will stand up to scrutiny…and if you cannot, you should remove yourself from that post, and work to remove anyone else in your church whose life cannot stand up to that scrutiny.

    3. Natalie and Guilt Ridden,
      Where does the Bible instruct us to expose sins?

      Oh, let’s start with 1 Corinthians 5:1-3, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.
      For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.”

      Shoot, just use the entire chapter.

      I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

      Let’s see, Chapter 11 is Paul pointing out their sin of division and strife. So it is incumbent on us to point out error, to reprove, and rebuke.

      In Chapter 6 we are comissioned to make discernment within the Body of Believers and that we are to judge and declare between truth and error, right and wrong.

      When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

      That should answer your question. Need more?

  19. Don, your reply to my post was very offensive to me. You have no idea what happened with my grandfather…you apparently didn’t even pay much attention to what I said about it. I hope you think before you post next time.

    1. You’re right I don’t know what happened with your grandfather, but you brought him up. I merely said that if he was saved using the hit-n-run 1-2-3 agree with me and you are saved approach (that we see in the article above) then it would likely take several hours if not longer in order to straighten out the damage such “pseudo-evangelistic” tactics leave in their wake.
      I never questioned your grandfather’s salvation or his sincerity. So exactly what was it that so offended you? (remember you brought grandad into the conversation not us)

  20. why is it when preachers make up stories like this they use names like “ralph”? I guarantee if this was about a kid his name would have been “bobby” or “Billy “. the least they could do is change the name when they cut and paste from their soulwinners guide

    1. Yeah, this. It’s a minor detail, ok, but it always bothered me that the names were always Billy or Suzy or some other 50’s stepford-sounding name. Then again, I guess all that was good happened in the 50’s.

  21. ” … two of whom have been dead for a decade or two. It’s a good indicator that their focus is firmly planted in the past”.

    Not entirely on topic but – interesting that you mention their ‘back in the day’ focus. I picked up a tract the other day, first one I’ve seen in years, and it made a couple of claims that I wanted to check out:-

    1) It quoted from astronomer Robert Jastrow, claiming that he had “recently pointed to newer information … etc”. Turns out the quote they used dates from 1978 – as recent as 33 years ago?!

    2) Another money quote comes from former director of the British Museum, Sir Frederick Kenyon, only, he died in 1952.

    Do they recycle these things indefinitely?

  22. My husband is a Sunday School teacher to teen boys in our IFB church (which we are preparing to leave bc of questions and issues we’ve both had with things for a long time, a story I won’t get into on this post)and he has had an issue with this very thing for a LONG time now. He too goes soul winning, and has recently begun to avoid it for this reason. This sunday past, a boy in his class showed some interest in accepting Christ, and began really questioning him about the deeper stuff (my husband is very into apologetics and is a science major, so he uses a lot of science to answer people’s questions…this intrigued the kid and he wanted to talk more with my husband after church). Well, after sunday school, my husband mentioned to the pastor that this boy was interested in spending some time privately asking some deeper questions he has. One of the other men of our church overheard it, and after the sermon, during invitation, made a beeline for the kid, sat beside him in his pew, and began talking to him (I know this, b/c I peek during invitation…sorry, I get sleepy if I close my eyes, lol). I nudged my husband and he went up there too…I could tell he was annoyed, b/c he knew pressure tactics were coming. This man basically “gently” badgered the boy into making a decision, while my husband tried in vain a few times to ask him if he wanted to talk in private about it, and after, when he stood up so pastor could announce his decision, the kid just had this look on his face like “Pffft, whatever. Dude, I don’t even know what I just did.” That was Sunday, and my husband has been moody all week, deeply disturbed by this. Here was a boy who quite possibly might have made a genuine decision for Christ, if he’d had the time to think, consider, ask questions, and make a DELIBERATE choice, and while no one knows his heart, my husband and I think he was just pushed further from that possibility. And I’ve seen this so many, SO many times at our church. When I was younger, I went to an independent baptist church (not IFB, just a country clapboard church with a country preacher/farmer who started the church on his own, and chose that title because he didn’t believe in being a part of any organization at all that would tell him what to preach), and I remember people going to the altar, accepting Christ, and when they stood and turned around, their face was lit up, they had a joy in their face, and I got to see lives literally change afterward…I remember going up myself at 11, not out of terror of hell, or after being pressured, but amazed that God loved me, and WANTING to be close to Him, and seeking a constant unconditional love that had been lacking in the abusive home I grew up in (I was in a group home at this point). Now, mostly when I see people go to the altar, or have seen people get saved when going door to door, their faces are usually empty, and I wonder if they just think, “oh, well, sure I wanna go to heaven, I’ll “accept” Jesus” but it’s not a true desire to become a christian and know more about Him. They seem to look rather bewildered after going through the prayer, and rarely do they return more than 3 or 4 times to church (our church is fairly tiny). My 17 year old stepdaughter has had 3 boyfriends “get saved” in an almost robotic manner, and I’ve a sneaking suspicion it’s a tactic for them to get on her dad’s good side (we don’t have custody, just visitation). It just saddens me that salvation is taken so lightly, and is used as a sales tactic, rather than helping someone understand what it means to follow Christ.

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