Is decision enough?

Those who complain that “the converts don’t last” have inadvertently helped convince evangelicals of the importance of evangelistic follow-up. It is now more clear than ever that just as infants need special care, so newborn Christians require help to become established in the faith. It is neither charitable nor biblical to bring a person to the place of commitment, then abandon him to satanic temptations.

This recognition of the need for effective follow-up suggests that we also take a fresh look at the other side of the conversion experience. How can we help to prepare persons to take that all-important step of faith? Is it possible for evangelicals to map national and global strategy that will pave the way for evangelistic tactics? Can we help to create a cultural and intellectual climate more conducive to evangelism?

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer urges evangelicals to weigh seriously the need for “pre-evangelism.” He contends that “no one can become a Christian unless he understands what Christianity is saying.” In his perceptive new book The God Who Is There, Schaeffer offers exegetical evidence from Luke and John to show that biblical faith must be built upon knowledge.

This is not to say that regeneration rests upon “head knowledge” or doctrinal understanding. But Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians clearly indicates that evangelism is more than isolated personal confrontations. See chapter three: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.… I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.” If we are to learn from this passage we must conclude that there is a spiritual preface to God’s redeeming work in the life of an individual. Things take place that ready a person for decision. ...

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