July 1, 2009
Encounter on the Damascus Highway, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll
Various methods are employed to communicate the good news of Christ to the lost. Some of the approaches appear to be successful and effective on the surface, but underneath they leave much to be desired.
Take the Redskin Approach, for example. The philosophy behind this method is: The more scalps, the better. The major emphasis is numerical---telling the absolute maximum number of people every day about salvation, regardless. This approach is decision centered, and little (if any) effort is directed toward follow-up or discipleship. Redskins aren't difficult to identify. They can usually be overheard counting (out loud) the scalps in their belts or seen shooting their flaming arrows into every wagon train they spot during the day or night.
The Harvard Approach is quite different. The thinking behind this method is: Let's all discuss the world's religions. Because it's reason centered, it attracts both genuine and pseudo intellectuals. The modus operandi is invariably a vague discussion that shifts from Bahai to Buddhism . . . from the pros and cons of no prayer in public schools to the rapid growth of the Rajneeshies in the 80s. This approach is educational and occasionally quite stimulating, but it suffers from one mild drawback---no one ever gets saved! Specifics regarding salvation by grace through faith are frowned upon. The direct discussion of forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood at the cross and His miraculous resurrection is about as welcome in a sophisticated rap session on religion as a life-sized bust of Martin Luther would be in the Vatican.
Perhaps the most popular is the Mute Approach, which promotes: I'm a silent witness for God. The best you can say about this method is that no one ever gets offended. That's for sure! The saint who settles for this self-centered approach could be tagged a Clairol Christian. No one knows for sure but God. Somewhere down the line this person has begun to swallow one of Satan's tastiest tidbits: "All God expects of you is a good, silent life. Others will ask you about Christ if they are interested in hearing." You know, I can count on one hand (and have fingers left over) the number of people in my entire life who have suddenly come up and asked me about Jesus Christ. While no one can discount the value of a godly life, thatalone never brought anyone into the family of God. "Faith," please remember, "comes from hearing" (Romans 10:17).
Okay, so I've given you some methods that don't work. I'd like to tell you about one that does. I submit to you the Philip Approach. This Christ-centered method is set forth in a series of seven principles drawn from Acts 8:26-40. This approach is radically different and phenomenally successful. We'll take a look at it tomorrow.
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.