It was the summer of 1972, a few months after my conversion at the age of 16, when I confronted, firsthand, Bill Bright's evangelistic mission. I had taken a Greyhound bus cross-country from Ohio to Dallas, Texas, to attend Explo '72, Campus Crusade for Christ's (CCC) week-long evangelism training conference. There, through daily workshops and evening praisefests at the Cotton Bowl, the zeal of the Jesus freaks was effectively harnessed. We were trained to use the Four Spiritual Laws (Bright's evangelistic formula for pitching the gospel) and then unleashed to advance in an evangelistic blitzkrieg in our hometowns.
I broke in this innovative system on an easy target—my little sis (aged15). I hoodwinked her into meeting me on the swing set, and then I laid out God's blueprint:
—God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
—Man is sinful and separated from God, thus cannot know and experience God's love and plan.
—Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin.
—We must individually receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Without hesitation she told me she wanted to "receive Christ" and "pray the prayer." I read the prayer from the booklet; she echoed. She cried; I cried.
I thought, This is easy.
We finished with a recitation of the principles outlined in the back illustrated by the Fact-Faith-Feeling train. The fact of what God has done in Jesus is the engine that drives the train; fact pulls faithbehind it; feelings take up the rear in the caboose. ("Our feelings— thecaboose— must never drive the train," I said.)
That encounter saved my sister.
Fifteen years after that Ohio summer she and I shared another life-changing moment. We buried her first-born child, who died of head ...