The Intellectual Method of Evangelism referred to as “The Four Spiritual Laws” is best known as the widely used way of evangelism used by the popular college ministry known as Campus Crusade and was first published in 1957 by founder, Bill Bright in a pamphlet titled Have You heard of the four Spiritual Laws? In this publication, Bright simplifies the truths of the Gospel in an attempt to reach as many people as possible. What are known as Biblical truths are delivered as spiritual laws in order to assist people to recognize that just as we are governed by man’s laws on earth, there are also spiritual laws that govern the relationship between God and man. The four spiritual laws are: 1) God loves you; 2) Man is sinful and separated from God; 3) Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin and 4) We must individually receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Bright, 2007) There are some very obvious advantages in using this method of evangelism. It is simple and easy to follow and it starts off on a very positive note by explaining God’s love for mankind rather than addressing the sinful state that all of mankind is in before accepting Christ.
Each point also has Scripture references to emphasis or proves that the laws are from God himself. The Four Spiritual Laws has been wildly successful in winning souls for Christ and the publication itself has sold over one hundred million copies and has been translated into all the major languages of the world making it a readily available resource for an evangelism tool. (Moo, 2002) There are however several disadvantages in choosing to use this method of evangelism. By electing to start these laws out on a positive note and addressing God’s love for mankind first instead of the sinfulness and our need of a Savior, one may get the false impression that he does not need to be saved. In addition with the references to scripture being taken out of context of could easily misunderstand the true meaning.
One such example would be the first law, “God loves you” and the referenced Scripture John 3:16 and John 10:10. While God does love everyone, these Scriptures taken out of context fail to show that it is God’s nature and one of His attributes to love us. And the recipient of the word may not understand that a loving God will still judge people for their worldly sins. The main concern with the Four Spiritual Laws is that although this pamphlet although Biblically correct mentions that a person can receive Christ through prayer. Prayer alone is not how you receive Christ. Prayer combined with Faith is what it takes to have a true conversion. (Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation Revised, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977, 113.)
The Relational Method of Evangelism referred to as Servant Evangelism is based on the ideal that Christians are to reach others by love, compassion and service while embracing a kind heart and a generous attitude along with a loving smile. The motivation that fuels servant evangelism is Jesus, himself especially when he was speaking to His disciples from the scriptures in Matthew Chapter 25 where he tell them that they are to feed the hungry, cloth and shelter the homeless, take care of the sick and visit those in prison as if they were serving Jesus. Servant evangelism is more about ‘doing’ the message of the Gospel than speaking it and drawing people to Christ through those actions. (Tarjanyi, 2013) There are some strong advantages to this sort of evangelism as the perception that non-Christians may have of Christianity may be altered and they may be more willing to remember a more positive image rather than negative one. The focus shifts to the selfless acts of compassion and service they see these Christians performing in the name of Jesus.
Many non-believers that witness Christians performing acts of service are very willing to acknowledge that there must be some other power that drives the Christian to do so. This opening can lead as an avenue to lead a person to Christ. On the other hand, by meeting the physical needs of a lost person and not addressing what may be causing those needs (which could easily be a sinful nature), one may run a risk of never reaching that individual for Christ. This is a definite disadvantage of servant evangelism. At all times, the servant must remain focused just like Jesus did and always turn the needs towards God and draw those in need to the real answer to all their needs. It can become very easy to get consumed with meeting needs and lose focus of the true mission which is to lead people a step closer to God.
Evangelism Explosion is a method of evangelism in which the leaders indicate that their principles are drawn directly from the Bible. This method is highly organized and is designed around the focal point “training those won to the Lord to win, and train, others”. (Davis, 2010) the technique utilizes a series of direct confrontational questions which emphasize a key point of the Gospel and the non-Christian is challenged to respond. Questions like, “Do you know for sure you are going to be with God in Heaven” or “If God asked you , ‘Why should God let you into Heaven?’ what would you say” are posed and the goal is to get the non-believer to open their mind and heart up to the Gospel message. There is a two-fold advantage to this approach of evangelism. First, this type of evangelism can place a direct challenge on the Christian to become more active in their own community and this aspect of evangelism makes Christians become very good at communicating the Gospel message effectively.
The second advantage is that this approach directly confronts the non-believer with their sinful state and refuses to allow them any way to escape the salvation message. The non-Christian cannot dismiss Jesus as their moral teacher. They are left to decide if they will accept Him as Savior. The disadvantages of this confrontational method are also two-fold. Some may say that these sorts of trainings can become too rehearsed and sound memorized and scripted instead of from the heart. This may turn a non-Christian off to hearing the Gospel. The other issue is that the high pressure nature of the question and answer session may produce false converts. The process of going through a premeditated dialogue can leave much open to be criticized by many.
Application of These Methods to Your Own Life
The method of evangelism that works best for me is Servant Evangelism. Although I do see that there may be several responsibilities that are also attached to this approach, this is the best way that I have been able to be the actual hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and hurting world that may otherwise not be open to hearing the Gospel message. After reading and researching many of the other techniques, I find that servanthood best suits me. As we read in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, God gifts us each uniquely. I feel that the service is a gift. Not everyone can serve with a grateful heart. Servant Evangelism is how the Lord reached me and I am sure that impact is part of the reason I have such a deep connection to this technique. Matthew 25 has been adopted as my family’s scripture verse and is the basis of our family mission statement. I was once a ‘least of these’ and I will never forget how the Lord reached down and saved me.
Telling people about what God is doing in my life is the greatest joy I have ever found. For the people God has placed in my life, servant evangelism is the perfect way to ‘show’ them the Gospel message. I am an active member of an international prison ministry. Time and time again, I have heard the participants on our retreats say that “people just don’t do these things”. I also get the privilege of serving special needs children and adults as well as traveling with a ministry that visits churches that are in conflict or struggling and every time the people see the people of God come together to serve, not out of our own power but from God’s power. It makes a great impact on many lives. I could not imagine living a life that was not in service to others.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Beale, G.K. The Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999. The new Greek Testament Commentary. Bright, Bill. Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? Peachtree City: Campus Crusade, 2007. Davis, James D. “THE BASICS OF EVANGELISM EXPLOSION.” Sun Sentinel 25 June 2010 (updated): 4D. Judy, Tarjanyi. “Simple Acts of ‘Servant Evangelism’ Create Atmosphere for Church Growth.” Austin American Statesman 8 April 1995: E.1. CMG Corporate Services, Inc of behalf of itself and the Newspapers. Moo, Douglas J. Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002.