96 thoughts on “A Soulwinning Guilt Trip With John R. Rice”

  1. Of course, there’s a slight problem in that the “fruit” in John 15 is not really talking about soul winning. But don’t let that stop you, John R., you’re on a roll!

    1. I’ve heard it differrentiated before(only by one person) that there is the fruit of the Spirit and the “fruit of the Christian”(another Christian)However I have also heard the fruit in John fifteen in Reference to soul winning.

    1. This “theology” falls into a strange twilight zone outside of most orthodox soteriology.

      The Reformed would disagree on grounds that salvation is an act of sovereign grace that is not dependent on any person either the lost soul or the soulwinner.

      The Arminian/Wesleyan would disagree on the grounds that man not only has free will to reject prevenient grace but that the extension of that grace is God’s work not the work of the soul winner.

      Either way, Rice is boldly striding right into the path of heresy — and I do not use that word lightly.

  2. Debt to pay???
    Debt to pay???
    The way Johnny is preaching it you have to pay for the Gift Jesus Christ offers! According to Johnny, “Here’s the gift in John 3:16, now go out and be worthy of receiving such a gift.” (Of course John 3:16 is not Universalism as Johnny preaches it either.) Those were some rather creative extra biblical sins he was pointing out also.

    So, he built his empire winning souls and no doubt several were probably redeemed by Christ as well.

  3. The debters ethic is anathema to the Gospel. There is no debt it has been paid for in full by Christ and not of ourselves it is the gift of God our savior.

    How do people miss this? How do people say with a straight face that Rice is not preaching works salvation?

  4. OK, I’m still mad, but not as mad when I listened to this the first time. It brought back memories of two impressionable young people I knew who took their own lives because, according to the notes they wrote, they had failed to win souls.

    1. That is so incredibly sad. I pray that their souls are now at peace, resting in the presence of a loving, forgiving God.

    2. But, according to fundy logic, no true Christian could commit suicide. I pray for the parents of these young people, who are probably tormented daily by the so-called “fact” that their children were not truly saved. People who preach this garbage should be held accountable for the physical and emotional damage they cause.

    3. I know the feeling — it isn’t just that they aren’t “winning” souls; no doubt, in their church, it is THE MAIN THING, and if they aren’t winning souls, they are shunned and have no friends and are not allowed to use their gifts.

      You have a lovely voice, but if you aren’t soul-winning, you cannot sing.

      I have felt such discouragement, and know the hopelessness that they have felt. I know the trapped feeling and that there is no way out.

      Fortunately, God did make a way out for me; I still struggle with the guilt, but I can certainly feel for these teens.

  5. First thought hearing this… when the Bible talks about fruit, it’s not about winning souls!!!! I still wonder why Fundies are so stuck on this one, when they usually teach about the Fruit of the Spirit in children’s Sunday School classes. Hmmm….

    Well, in a way, fruit does result in others coming to Christ, but not in the way that John R. Rice is talking about. If we have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc., others can see it and they will want to come to Christ because they see Christ working in us.

    1. My previous church ran this down big time as “lifestyle evangelism” and said that it’s used as a cop-out by wimps who won’t go door-to-door.

      It was a never-ending guilt trip:
      – If you don’t go, you’re guilty
      – If you go, but don’t see anyone saved, you’re guilty
      – If you go and see some saved, you’re guilty because you could have worked longer and seen more saved.

      1. It’s so sad, because people think it’s so biblical. But the fruit of the Spirit is peace and joy! Where is the peace and joy when you’re constantly being made to feel guilty? I LOVE the story of the prodigal son. The dad didn’t hold all his son’s sins over his head; instead he welcomed him and threw him a huge party!!! (which, BTW, the older son totally thought he didn’t deserve!) “You’re never good enough; you’re not doing enough” is such a destructive thing to teach people. And for those people who DO succeed at “soul winning, faithfulness to services, etc.”, the self-righteous pride that engenders can be just as destructive. There is beauty and joy in following Christ, but far too many churches have turned it into a miserable burden.

  6. I’ve heard the analogy of Eph. 6 applied to soulwinning (aka. “Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”). Christians who don’t go door-to-door witnessing are referred to as “handicapped believers.”

    1. No kidding. Every preacher I remember from my youth sounded just like this.

      Is John R. Rice the guy everyone is imitating? Was he the first to talk this way? Or is he imitating some proto-baptist?

      1. No, he only adapted it to fit his pulpit presentation. Lots of radio personalities used the sing-song approach. The old Hard-shell baptists were professional sing songsters as well. You can hear it in Harold Sightler’s preaching, B.R Lakin, Bob Sr., Lester Roloff, Maze Jackson… most all of the old timers preached that way.

    2. I’m not sure about that one but it would make for some interesting research.

      If you could stay awake, that is.

    3. Rachel,
      its making you compliant as well as sleepy. Its a straight up mind control technique. A thought stopping hummmmmmmmmm. I remember the strange sleepiness I would feel while I was being told about my weak faith and questionable salvation from the pulpit. Then there is the preacher body rock….shifting weight from one leg, to the other…in rhythm…syncopating with the voice…for two hours.

  7. When I was taking Soul-Winning (3 credits!) at Fundy U we had to memorize Proverbs 11:30 and quote it every week. We were told that if we did not win souls we were not wise. It was frowned upon to point out that Solomon was an Old Testament Jew who most likely did not run a bus route or teach Sunday School.

  8. Yikes. I could only take just over a minute of that. Brings back so many memories of being guilt-tripped into going out knocking door to door and the repeated doubting of my salvation because I had never ‘gotten anybody saved.’ Also, it makes me sick to think of the hundreds of thousands of people who esteem this man as one of the giants of the faith. Sad.

    1. Oh Chaos, I know. I’ve only gone door-to-door soulwinning once and it actually upset me to have doors slammed in my face repeatedly. Imagine that! But the pastor’s only response was “Well, you’ll toughen up and it won’t bother you anymore.” Well, I guess I’m still weak, then, because I’ve never done it again.

  9. I love how these IFB guys shame people for not ‘bearing fruit’ when they exhibit zero fruit of the Holy Spirit. Kinda ironic I suppose.

      1. Both types? The bible lists nine

        love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.

        none of those are “souls”.

        1. You are fully aware I was referring to winning souls and the fruit of the Spirit. We can’t save,draw, or convict anyone. However we are commanded to wittness and God has chosen to use human instruments. Examples: Acts chapters 8,10,and 16..plus others.

  10. I do think that a person who abides in Christ will draw people to Christ, but even Christ knew He was giving a difficult precept to His disciples to understand. It’s not like abiding in Christ is the same as dropping money in the offering plate or keeping to the speed limit.

    Christ was describing a mindset that we cultivate throughout our lives, a journey of knowing Him and bringing our thinking and concerns to Him with greater and greater intimacy and trust. Nobody “abides in Christ” perfectly, and nobody attains the place of abiding in Christ for very long except through attention to Christ and dedication.

    Rice’s assumption that abiding in Christ is an on and off switch just shows his own profound ignorance. Christ did not attach the failure to abide in Him with condemnation, but rather with weakness, something all Christians experience at times.

    How different Christian Fundamentalism would be if the men who led it had souls of their own!

    1. I have NEVER met anyone, fundie or not who believe they lead people to Christ on their own. The attitude of some of these comments shows why many fundies and many non fundies have warned that calvinism can hinder evangelism efforts.

      1. The idea that “Calvinists don’t witness” is a straw man argument. I speak as a person who is staunchly non-Calvinist but has spent hours reading and listening to them speak about evangelism.

        The only way your warning works is if you think the only valid form of witnessing is “soul winning” via things like door-to-door visitation. Those methods have been largely abandoned by both Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike.

        1. Call it a straw man if you like, but I have seen the “fruit” of the calvinists churchs where I live, they are not thriving like Piper’s church. A member of the largest calvinistic church in our county told me the other day they have not wittnessed anyone saved nor baptized in 3 1/2 years. They like many others i know are more concerned with influencing someone to be an calvinist and they are in telling someone about Jesus Christ.

        2. BTW I do not think door to door is the only vaid form of evangelism. However it can be fruitful, maybe in some areas more than others.
          Here in the south the big spilt came over 150 years ago among baptists ..Missionary vs Primitive..most missionary baptists are now SBC. why did they spilt? cuz one believed in supporting missionaries and the other did not, cuz of their calvinism…true story πŸ™‚

        3. those hard-shell baptists were not Calvinists, they were a hyper-hybrid-form of taking some of Calvin’s teachings to the extreme. There are ditches on either side of the road… Free-will, man centered, salvation based on the minty fresh breath of the soul winner according to Hyles and Rice on the one side… God will save who he wants regardless of your efforts Mr Cary on the other.

          Both make for heritical teaching regarding God and who He is… and man’s responsibility to be a witness to the world regarding God and who He is.

        4. Absolutely! Jesus told his disciples to be witnesses, and since I am a disciple I witness.

          I don’t tackle folks with the hit-n-run Hyles-Anderson ABC repeat after me crap.
          I talk to folks and give them a reason for the hope that is within me. I do not know who the Lord will save but I know the Gospel will accomplish all God has planned… either it will find good soil and take root… or it will make stoney ground even harder and Gospel resistant.

      2. TRES: “I have NEVER met anyone, fundie or not who believe they lead people to Christ on their own.”

        Then you never met Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, Bob Gray, or Jim Vineyard. The idea that it is all up to you is fully integrated into their preaching and thinking. A while lot of Fundamentalist thinking is actually man-centered religion.

        1. I have met two out of the four and know of the other two. I do believe they are man centered and tend to leave one with false impression you speak of. However they would never say or teach that and I do not think they believe that it is all up to man. However we do have a God given responsibility to wittness.

        2. TREX, I do sermon deconstructions on these guys. They do say it is all up to man, explicitly. That’s exactly what their sermons are about: how it all depends on man. Jack Schaap preached a sermon on Christ having failed at his mission, and so Christ and the Father decide to contract the work to man to fulfill. The sermon is called “For Christ’s Sake,” and it is scheduled to be deconstructed on my podcast in January.

        3. So true, Bassenco!

          I went to an fundy church and remember being warned in Sunday School that our behavior in class could determine whether or not someone went to hell. If we did not behave in the way they described, this person might stay lost forever.

          How powerful does that make us? πŸ™„

          How weak does that make God? πŸ™

      3. Many of the ones Bassenco mentioned believed that you can’t be saved without a soulwinner. Hyles was especially bad about that.

        1. My mom, who was saved while reading the Bible, has had her salvation questioned by the pastor’s wife at her church, since there was no “soulwinner” involved. 😑 Thankfully my mom dismissed what was said.

        2. Amanda, that’s just beyond pathetic.
          I can’t find the words to describe how ridiculously arrogant and condescending that is. Glad your mom blew it off… I would have blown up on the spot. πŸ™„

          I’ve grown up with the whole you gotta come down to the altar in order to be saved, and now I know it was just so there is a soulwinner there to make sure you do it right and they can get the heavenly credits. *snarky comment acknowledged*

        3. “how shall they hear without a preacher” God uses humans to spread the Gospel. Preachers, teachers, soulwinners, writers, printers, ect.

        4. trex, yes God uses human agents to spread the Gospel. And it is an honor and a privilege to be able to do so. But it is not necessary for a soul winner to be present when the Lord redeems and converts someone. The human agent is commissioned to be a witness and share the Gospel and that is the sum total of the Biblical requirement. The rest is God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, dealing with a sinner’s heart (and we are all sinners, even the redeemed are still sinners).

          And you are right if you ask these “office holders” and “exalted m-o-g’s” what they believe about one man’s roll is in the salvation of another you would probably get a pat partyline answer. But the proof is in the pudding with the fundies especially. The revered ALTAR CALL is the holy Grail of every fundy service, Sunday School Class, revival, crusade and prayer meeting. Just As I am… Pass Me Not… Coming Home…I Surrender All…

          Come Monday morning along with the sports report you get the Salvation Report… We had three come to the Altar and get saved yesterday…

          Getting to the altar did not save them: saying the sinner’s prayer did not save them: The soulwinner did not save them: the preacher did not save them: Grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saved them (if they got saved this time down).

        5. Don, would you agree that the person at least has to come in contact with the gospel somehow whether it be by the Bible, a tract ect. ?

        6. Phil I think I stated that in the first paragraph in the reply above.

          My point is not about the medium used to spread the Gospel but the fact that many in the fundy movement believe that a soulwinner has to be present in order for conversion to take place. Or that the soulwinner somehow initiates and/or enables the transaction to proceed. At the very least the convert should Walk the Asile and come to the Altar the following Sunday. (and we see many fine examples of this mentality in the previous, Hyles favorite Soul winning myths and legends, posting)

          My point is that conversion is not some fundy spiritual ménage à trois where the soulwinner is a required or even needed participant. True conversion is one on one between God and the one whom the Holy Spirit is drawing.

        7. dang george at least use spell check … 😳
          Asile is code for aisle…. george go home now and beat on keyboard

        8. I see nothing wrong with an alter call. I do not like to see manipulation. However if The Father is drawing then perhaps that is a good time for the believing sinner to respond. After all the Word was just preached and “faith cometh by hearing…” Rom 10:17 The Gospel was just given which is the “power of God unto Salvation…” Rom 1:16 2 Cor 5:11 “Knowing The terror of The Lord, we persuade men.”

        9. I do not know too many, if any at all who believe a soulwinner has to be present for a soul to be saved. I think you may be judging many “fundies” based on what you perceive they believe, not what they really believe.

        10. @trex: Given that most of us here and former fundies, I think we have a pretty good idea what they believe.

        11. About the “Altar call”… it was initiated by Charles Finney in order to do a head count to see how effective his heritical manipulations were. Prior to Finney’s man-centered decisional regeneration tactics there was no such thing as an “Altar” call.

          Now that I think about it, just where is the so-called altar in a baptist church? Oh, yeah… right there at the feet of the m-o-g standing behind the so-called sacred desk.

          Ya know, God can save you anywhere He chooses to… redemption is not dependent on the position of the person or his location in reference to some mythical altar located at the front of the audience. 😐

        12. yeah I think most preachers give an alter call, not because they have a desire to see folks saved by the grace of God, but because the want people to worship at their feet. whatever dude.

        13. Amanda, given the fact that you would label me a “fundie” and all the folks I fellowship with are “fundies”. I think I have a pretty good idea what I and they believe.

        14. One more thing to Amanda..Whoever questioned your mom’s salvation was wrong, but I do not know one fundamental preacher and I know a bunch, who believes an individual cannot be saved unless a soulwinner is present. Listen.. I know there are alot of crazies among IFB. However I am starting to believe alot of folks who comment here jump to ALOT of conclusions.

        15. Why else have an Altar call? It is a man-made tradition, there is nothing biblical about it so why have it? The whole “invitation” at the end of the service is a manipulation. If the desire to know you have been redeemed can be quenched by something as simple as the end of the “preaching” or “service”… if the Holy Spirit is so weak that you can over power Him with a benediction then whatever it is you would get by going to the so-called altar ain’t worth having in the first place.

    2. Nobody abides in Christ perfectly? I abide in Christ perfectly. If not, then one would be tossed around like a ship on choppy seas. “Christ in us, the hope of glory”. Once Christ is allowed within, it is Christ who does the work of perfecting us in our spirit. Dedication must be to allow Christ to do the work. Interference by the mind is what too often separates us from attaining spiritual perfection. The mind is the real danger……think with the spirit!

      1. Well aren’t you Mr. Perfect! I suppose you don’t sin either? Nothing bad ever happens to you? You don’t struggle with your faith? Of course not, you’re too strongly anchored in Christ! What are you doing here slumming with the weaker brothers? Or is it just to make yourself feel superior at our expense?

        1. No sorry, I don’t sin either. I seek perfection for my own self and have no interest in putting other people down. Nothing ever does happen that is bad for me. Life is marvelous! I never struggle with my “faith”. Just curious, but who are you calling “weaker brothers”? Finally, I’m not superior to anyone. Happy, now? πŸ˜€

        2. No sorry, I donÒ€ℒt sin either. I seek perfection for my own self….

          So which is it? You have made an absolute statement in saying “I don’t sin either.” In order to make that statement you have to have already attained perfection, yet in your second statement you are seeking perfection. If you have attained then you no longer need to seek for it. If you are seeking for it then you have not attained it. Which is it?

      2. I’m a Gnostic christian. I am offended by ALL of fundamental Christianity. From the Gnostic viewpoint, all of christianity, from the time of Constantine, is heresy.

        1. Michael: “IÒ€ℒm a Gnostic christian. I am offended by ALL of fundamental Christianity. From the Gnostic viewpoint, all of christianity, from the time of Constantine, is heresy.”

          Nuff said, right there!

        2. @Bassenco….Thank-you for agreeing with my statement! It’s nice to know you are filled with God’s spirit.

      3. Methinks I hear a little bit of pride of self in there, Michael, and last I heard, pride in one’s self is a sin. Better get that checked.

        1. I feel no pride, what so ever. However, what is so wrong with pride? It is better to be proud of what you achieve, rather than wallowing in self contempt for incompetence.

      4. Michael: “Nobody abides in Christ perfectly? I abide in Christ perfectly. If not, then one would be tossed around like a ship on choppy seas.”

        Open your eyes. Plenty of Christians are “tossed around like a ship on choppy seas”. Paul rebuked the saved Galatians from having departed from a spiritual outlook to reliance upon the flesh. John wrote his epistles with the purpose of enabling his Christian readers to better understand what they have in Christ. Both writers are implying, therefore, that a person can be in Christ positionally but not have the mindset of mature, educated understanding of what it is to be in Christ. Sorry, but your concept of immediate, positional perfection of the human condition is malarkey.

        1. Simply put: THE BIBLE IS NOT THE WORD OF GOD. Sin and redemption are bunk. If y’all want me to believe that I’m wrong, ask God to confirm it. Or does man tell God what to think and not vice versa?

        2. Simply put: THE BIBLE IS NOT THE WORD OF GOD. Sin and redemption are bunk.

          If this is true then then your claim to being a Christian is bunk.

          If this is true then anyone’s claim to being a Christian is bunk.

          But the proof is on you to prove the claim you have made. You’ll have to do better than drive-by theology.

        3. @Don….I don’t let the bible lead me, I let Christ lead me. There is no confusion. In another comment you ask how one gleens knowledge without the mind, I gleen knowledge by the spirit of Christ which is within me. How else can spiritual truths be aquired? To depend on discerning spiritual truth from words written by man is foolishness.Should I trust man to teach me the ways of God OR should I trust God to teach me all things of Himself? Perhaps it is time to stop judging each other’s sins with antiquated laws(Old Testament) and move on to seek spiritual unity with God.

      5. Interference by the mind is what too often separates us from attaining spiritual perfection. The mind is the real danger

        Knowledge is the very foundational element of Gnosticism… how does one gleen knowledge without the mind? If the mind is so dangerous then by necessity the knowledge the mind embraces is just a dangerous.

        2nd observation, how can an imperfect being who is sin tainted (one had to deny the whole of Scripture in order to deny that fact) achieve spiritual perfection? All the writers in Scripture testify to the falleness of man, the brokeness of the human condition and the need of a Savior. There is no promise of perfection in this life and Jesus specifically addresses this in John 8:6-8. Are you saying you would be qualified to cast the first stone?

        1. Throwing stones requires observance of a law, holy or otherwise. Jesus supposedly said that the two greatest commandments were to love God and love one another. No stones could be chucked at someone for not observing these two commandments, as only God can see into the hearts of men/women. Now, put down that stone. πŸ™‚

  11. Is Rice coming from the point of view that the sinners are those who don’t go soulwinning at all, or those who try to evangelize but just aren’t seeing any converts?

    What’s the best method for evangelism? Door-to-door, lifestyle evangelism, inviting to church, etc?

    Does Jesus refer to ‘fruits’ as the external manifestation of our lives being sanctified by the Spirit, or ‘fruits’ as in our works (attending church, singing in choir, teaching a SS class, etc), or is it something else?

    I know that sin should be preached against, but it seems like the sin that is preached against is normally external actions (disguised as ‘preaching against the flesh’), like ‘not doing X’ or ‘doing Y when a ‘real’ Christian wouldn’t be doing such a thing’.

    1. In response to your last paragraph, many people in the church my husband pastors claim to like “hard preaching” by which they mean preaching against fornication, drinking, tattoos, in other words sins that none of them are doing!!! When he preaches against cold hearts or pride or selfishness, suddenly he’s not doing “hard preaching”?

      I know for myself I can follow external rules prettily easily, but the rubber meets the road in my HEART, where I still struggle with selfishness and discontent even if I’m in long hair, a jean skirt, and no makeup!

      1. That falls into the “it’s ok to step on other peoples toes but don’t step on mine” category.

  12. Those sins of the spirit are much harder to deal with than the sins of the flesh. However God is displeased with both.

    1. Problem is, most of the “sins of the flesh” (apart from fornication, adultery … oh wait, they don’t preach against that one, it hits too close to home) covered in fundamentalist churches are not sins at all: women wearing slacks, men wearing shorts, listening to any music produced after 1940, having beards, having hair that is longer than military regulations would allow, etc. God couldn’t care less about that external stuff that fundies call sin just because they don’t like it.

    2. How do you determine what the sins of the spirit are? There are no laws that govern the spirit. One can only see into his own spirit and be aware of his own spiritual dificiencies. The only spiritual sins can be recognized are the ones that you see in yourself, if indeed you see any.

  13. If you read on in John 15, Jesus names the fruit He is referring to. He tells us that He loves us, and to abide in His love (verse 9)–which is just heart-stoppingly beautiful–and exactly opposite of what Rice is saying, btw. Then, in verse 12, He commands us to love each other. That’s the fruit. Love.

  14. John R. Rice had the speaking style of a hypnotist.
    It lulls you to the point that it’s hard to parse out all the heresies he’s preaching.

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