Christians today are often cautioned not to say too much to the lost. Certain spiritual issues are labeled taboo when speaking to the unconverted: God's law, Christ's lordship, turning from sin, surrender, obedience, judgment, and hell. Such things are not to be mentioned, lest we "add something to the offer of God's free gift." Proponents of no-lordship evangelism take the reductionist trend to its furthest extreme. Wrongly applying the Reformed doctrine of sola fide ("faith alone"), they make faith the only permissible topic when speaking to non-Christians about their duty before God. Then they render faith utterly meaningless by stripping it of everything but its notional aspects.
This, some believe, preserves the purity of the gospel.
What it actually has done is emasculate the message of salvation. It has also populated the church with "converts" whose faith is counterfeit and whose hope hangs on a bogus promise. Numbly saying they "accept Christ as Savior," they brazenly reject His rightful claim as Lord. Paying Him glib lip service, they utterly scorn Him with their hearts (Mark 7:6). Casually affirming Him with their mouths, they deliberately deny Him with their deeds (Titus 1:16). Addressing Him superficially as "Lord, Lord," they stubbornly decline to do His bidding (Luke 6:46). Such people fit the tragic description of the "many" in Matthew 7 who will one day be stunned to hear Him say, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (v. 23, emphasis added).
The gospel is not primarily news about a "plan," but a call to trust in a Person. It is not a formula that must be prescribed to sinners in a series of steps. It does not call for a mere decision of the mind, but a surrender of the heart, mind, and will—the whole person—to Christ. It is not a message that can be capsulized, abridged, and shrink-wrapped, then offered as a generic remedy for every kind of sinner. Ignorant sinners need to be instructed about who He is and why He has the right to demand their obedience. Self-righteous sinners need to have their sin exposed by the demands of God's law. Careless sinners need to be confronted with the reality of God's impending judgment. Fearful sinners need to hear that God in His mercy has provided a way of deliverance. All sinners must understand how utterly holy God is. They must comprehend the basic truths of Christ's sacrificial death and the triumph of His resurrection. They need to be confronted with God's demand that they turn from their sin to embrace Christ as Lord and Savior.
The form of the message will vary in each case. But the content must always drive home the reality of God's holiness and the sinner's helpless condition. Then it points sinners to Christ as a sovereign but merciful Lord who has purchased full atonement for all who will turn to Him in faith.
— John MacArthur, The Gospel According to the Apostles, (Thomas Nelson: 2000), 172—174.
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