Thursday, March 11, 2010

(Repost) What is Success in Soul Winning?

I recently heard a preacher give an account of over 300,000 people being saved in India in one ministry in one year. I must confess, I was a little bit skeptical when I heard that report, but I hoped that my skepticism was wrong. The next morning I went soul winning with this preacher, and I quickly learned that my skepticism was justified.

At our first door, we woke up a young man in his mid-20's. I typically try to be considerate of people, since I am an uninvited guest at their doorstep- especially when I have woken them up! But this preacher was not feeling very considerate that morning.

"Well, we have woken you up this morning!" he said.

"Yes- I worked late last night," replied the young man.

"Well, give me two minutes to show you how you can go to Heaven when you die- you want to know that, don't you?"

"Umm, sure, yeah..." the young man hesitantly replied.

The preacher gave a quick overview of the Gospel, and what happened next blew my mind. Without asking the young man if he understood what had been presented, and without asking him if he would like to receive Christ, the preacher jumped right into, "Bow your head and close your eyes if you would." (I thought, "Well, I guess he is going to pray and ask God to give him understanding.) Then the preacher said, "Repeat after me: I know I'm a sinner...I know I deserve hell...Jesus, come into my heart and save me so I can go to Heaven. Amen."

I must confess, I peeked at the situation while the prayer was taking place. The young man's face was a face of unconcern, and it was obvious that he was just doing this to be polite.

The preacher began giving me tips for soul winning after we left the door: Never ask them if they are 100% sure that they will go to Heaven- if you do that, they have an opportunity to say "no." Always say, "You want to go to Heaven, now don't you?" They have no other choice but to say yes.

The next night, he used his soul winning experience as a sermon illustration. "That young man was SAVED!!!" he shouted while pounding the pulpit. Many amens followed. I sat disgusted, because I do not believe that he was saved. Why? Because a couple of necessary components of salvation were missing; namely the conviction of the Holy Spirit and true repentance.

If the 300,000 Indians were saved in the same manner as that young man, I'm afraid for their souls. Many fundamentalists have reduced salvation to saying yes to a couple of questions and praying a little prayer. I believe they do this so that they can claim to be successful soul winners. But what is true success in soul winning?

I find it interesting that some pastors will use Adoniram Judson as a sermon illustration, praising his life and ministry in Burma; and yet, had those pastors lived in Adoniram Judson's day and had they been one of his supporters, they would have dropped him like a bad habit, because Adoniram Judson did not see his first convert until his seventh year in Burma.

I believe that success in soul winning comes in several forms. Sometimes success is simply sowing the seed. Sometimes it is watering the seed. Sometimes it is reaping the fruit, and having the privilege of leading someone to Christ. Ultimately, we are not the soul winners; the Holy Spirit is.


  1. Okay...NOW you've done it, Chad! You've pushed my button with this blog post! These kind of tactics are a disgrace at best and a travesty at worst. Unfortunately, they are not that uncommon. I have witnessed similar things myself. After I shared this story with my wife, she said "You can't trick someone into getting saved". Thank you for exposing this nonsense. You are absolutely right in your analysis of what was missing and of what constitutes true success in soulwinning.

  2. A BIG hearty AMEN to that one! Now it can be seen why some of us remain on the skeptical side when these stories start getting thrown around. Who in the world can declare another person saved anyhow?! Great article.

  3. Well said! Thank you for speaking out on this.

  4. Amen, Bro. Chad. I'm definitely with you on that!! I'm terrified at people that do "1..2..3..repeat after me" soul-winning! You hit the nail on the head about the definite need of conviction and repentance. Sadly, there are many "fundamentalists" even that get that wrong and I'm worried for our independent fundamental Baptist movement. Repentance is not just a change of mind about who you're trusting to trust Christ but a conviction and contrition over sin. Genuine sorrow over sin and willingness to turn from it. No "cold call" door knocking can produce genuine repentance necessary for salvation in 2 minutes if the person has no idea what you're talking about! Let's get back to real Biblical soul-winning!

  5. Very well written! Concise, articulate, and 100% correct.

  6. Thanks Brother Chad for your boldness to tell the truth! I'm with you 100% on this. I am praying for you.