New “New Measures”

Tim Brister —  October 23, 2007 — 33 Comments

I’ve been reading some Finney lately, especially his Lectures on Revivals in which he defends his use of “new measures,” viz. the “anxious meeting,” “protracted meeting,” and the “anxious seat.” Finney believed that revival came through the right use of means which a preacher makes effectual the same way a sinner makes conversion effectual (“make for yourself a new heart“). Furthermore, Finney argued that excitement and/or emotional stirring is an appropriate means to bring about the revival he guaranteed would follow (by law of cause and effect). Anyone who would challenge the legitimacy of his “new measures” would be dubbed anti-evangelistic and seeking to quench the Spirit.  Over the course of my life, I have attended numerous “protracted meetings” (revival services) where the “anxious seat” (i.e. altar calls) were used to the evangelist’s advantage. In fact, I have been told by successful evangelists in the SBC that they know exactly what buttons to push to evoke certain responses to guarantee “successful” revival services (much of this was learned by watching famous evangelists such as Billy Graham for example, who by the way, was quite fond of Finney). Having pondered Finney’s legacy and the new “new measures” I have stumbled upon in recent years, I thought I’d mention some that came to my attention.

1. “I See That Hand” or “God Bless You”

This new measure occurs at the close of the service when the pastor/evangelist/revivalist wants a visible sign to know who or how many unbelievers there are in the meeting. With every head bowed and every eye closed, the pastor is the only person privy to see who raises their hands, lifts up their face, stands up, etc. I was informed that an effective way to promote visible responses is to say “God Bless You” or “I See That Hand” when no hands are raised or no one is looking up. The rationale is that doing this frees others who otherwise would not be courageous or bold enough to do it themselves. If a person hears that someone else has raised their hand or lifted their face (when in fact they haven’t), they will be encouraged to do the same.

2. “The Orchestrated Response”

The purpose of this measure is to take away the dreaded fear of being the only one walking down an aisle. What normally happens is that those involved in counseling or pre-selected members in the church would walk down different aisles at different times and stand near the front. This removes the idea of a person being the first or only one moving forward. The pastor/evangelist would sometimes mention that at the moment you take the first step in the aisle, God is moving to save you.

3. “Prayer Request”

Similar to the “I See That Hand” measure, this measure deals with a pastor/evangelist who asks for a visible sign for anyone who would like for someone to pray for them. When a person’s hand is raised, they are asked to come forward to the altar. What occurs next is that they are led to repeat the sinner’s prayer in which they would “accept Jesus into their heart.” Therefore, the “prayer request” measure would result in not someone praying for them but rather the recitation of the “sinner’s prayer.”

4. “Nail It Down”

The “Nail It Down” measure can be found preachers who say that “if feel that you are 99% saved, then you are 100% lost,” making the assertion that “it is better to be saved twice than to be lost once” (I have heard both in revival services). Nailing it down is a term for those who might have made a profession of faith when they were young (say at VBS) but had doubts about their salvation now that they are older. While they may truly be saved, “nailing it down” is a measure used to offer assurance and peace of mind to those dealing with doubt.

5. “Word of Knowledge”

While this measure is more common in charismatic or Pentecostal services, I have witnessed it in several SBC revival services as well. Generally, the revivalist will claim that he has a “word of knowledge” about someone in the meeting, and that the appropriate response would be to heed that word and come forward for salvation. For instance, a young man could be dealing with pornography and has a sexual addition. The revivalist would then apply the pressure with the appropriate “word of knowledge” and move from a flood light approach to a laser beam, pinpointing certain individuals who fit the declaration.

6. “Itinerant Spirit”

Lastly, the “itinerant Spirit” measure is one that says that Holy Spirit is passing through and only here for a short period of time. If you do not come forward and get saved today, you may never get the change again because the Spirit is going to pass you by (assuming you have blasphemed the Spirit). The measure is to excite an immediate and prompt response with the fear that God may abandon you forever if you do not accept Jesus right then and there.

I know that some of you who read these new “new measures” will think I have made all this up. I regret to say that I have not. Others will find this controversial-perhaps as controversial (if not more so) as Finney’s measures in his day. Indeed they are. Not only are they an embrace of his measures, they are a “new and improved” version that, if questioned by anyone, they will be dubbed as anti-evangelistic or critical. Nevertheless, I think it is fair to bring them up, as those who practice such measures, would most likely not be embarrassed to claim them, since, as Finney argues, they are means to accomplish the ends.

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  • gavin

    Tim, you said:

    The “Nail It Down” measure can be found preachers who say that “if feel that you are 99% saved, then you are 100% lost,” making the assertion that “it is better to be saved twice than to be lost once”

    We had an evangelist at our church a few years ago who made both of these statements word for word in the same message. I was both saddened and angered at the emotional manipulation that was taking place.

    The same guy also said, and I quote: “If you are a Calvinist, then you are a cook!” (as in “cooky/crazy” not like a chef :)

    FYI, he mostly runs in IFB circles, but speaks in a lot of major SBC churches.

  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com Stephen Newell

    Yikes, Timmy. Seeing all these in one place just makes me gawk. Yes, gawk. I grew up with the “every head bowed, every eye closed,” along with the “raise your hand” stuff. I’ve heard evangelists during revivals use the itinerant spirit concept. Even now in my own church, we practice a form of “orchestrated response” without the line you include about walking the aisle being a movement of God.

    I find that I actually agree with doing the “orchestrated response” if the only thing that’s being done is counselors and pastor’s moving to the front. No more, no less. In fact, shouldn’t that be what *is* happening? Unless we want to have those people sitting up front in the first place, of course.

    Remind me to tell you some day about my experiences with the Pentecostal church. I dated a girl who was Church of God in high school. Man, I have a few stories, and yes all are related to the fact that I have a hearing aid. ;-)

  • http://www.fbcms.org Thomas Clay

    Having been raised in a pentecostal church and serving on staff at one for a dozen years or so, I can personally testify to every one of these “techniques” being used habitually. I am so grateful that the Lord has delivered me from such antics!

  • http://www.practicingtheology.blogspot.com connie

    All powered by a purely man-centered theology–because so many believe that God needs some “help” in saving His elect.

    I credit my false profession of faith (at age 10) to a steady diet of these tactics during my youth–really set the stage for some majorly confusing teen and early adult years! Finally, after 3-5 yrs. as a believer I came to understand that profession for what it was–FALSE, and manipulated on so many levels.

    We must be diligent to call people to apply and respond to GOD’S Word, not respond to His “messengers” or programs.

  • Nathan

    When I was 8 or 9 years old the church I grew up in appeared to have a move of the Spirit take place during a revival. Forty to fifty people made professions. This composed probably a quarter of the people in attendance. Looking back, it seems that almost all the professions of faith were false professions. One of the saddest things you can do is to look at on old Baptist church directory. So many of the young people whose picture you see made these professions and are nowhere to be found.

  • http://madenoughtopray.blogspot.com Laura Roberts

    Ugh. I remember being SO embittered against these tactics when a revival preacher came to town in high school and preached a series of weekend messages over the course of a month or so. Girls from school would flock to the altar and tearfully “repent” of sin, then go back to their catty ways come Monday.

    Do we have so little trust in God’s power to save that we must manipulate people into false confessions, inoculating them against future appeals to be saved?

  • http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com Billy Birch

    Laura,

    “Do we have so little trust in God’s power to save that we must manipulate people into false confessions, inoculating them against future appeals to be saved?” Wow! You nailed it.

    Timmy,

    I, too, have heard (and sadly, continue to hear) all of these desperate measures in reaching the lost. One must suspect that preachers actually do NOT believe in the power of the Gospel (Rom. 1.16) or in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 16.8-11).

    However, I have heard a preacher appeal to 2Cor. 5.20 in an effort to defend these sorts of “new measures,” as you put it. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.'”

    Are these measures spiritual manipulation? Most likely. But “can” God actually save people under these measures? Yes, I think He can. God help us. (No pun intended.)

    Billy

  • http://madenoughtopray.blogspot.com Laura Roberts

    God surely can save people in a lot of less-than-ideal circumstances — how else do you explain believers who mark their salvation from when they were in Roman Catholic churches, or when they were attending JW or Mormon meetings? But should we allow sloppy theology to infiltrate our methodology simply because some people do sometimes get saved in spite of manipulative methods? That would be like saying, “Some people don’t die when they step in front of a bus; therefore we should allow people to step in front of buses.” Some people don’t get immunized against the Gospel when they’ve experienced emotional manipulation in revival service after revival service, but many do, and we must shun any appeal that attempts to trick people into praying a prayer, however well-intentioned that trickery may be.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Gavin,

    Perhaps we have heard the same preacher. Come to think of it, many of the preachers where I heard these new “new measures” come from the same circles of influence, many of whom have a prominent place in SBC life.

    Stephen,

    Regarding the orchestrated response, if it is necessary that counselors come to the front, of course there is nothing inherently wrong with that. What I am talking about is the intentional orchestration of people walking the aisle as an impetus for others to do the same, leading others to believe a real movement of God is taking place. I just find it sneaky and subversive if you ask me. When I catch up you after the midnight hour, I will remind you of your past experiences. ;)

    Thomas,

    Off topic I know, but have you guys planned out next hear’s TCC? If so who will be speaking? I understand the topic is on church discipline, which is great.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Connie,

    Don’t you know, God is the beggar who has his hands tied and cannot do anything to influence the automous, seld-determining, sovereign will of man. ;) According to Finney and those who employ his methods, it is the preacher who makes the call effectual; ergo, the justification for such techniques cannot be questioned. The bottom line is that we no longer believe in the power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16), the sovereignty of the Spirit (John 3:8), the efficacious work of Christ’s death on the cross, and the Father’s incontrovertible purposes of grace. When you take salvation out of God’s hands and put it into the whims and wit of man, the Trinitarian salvation which is gloriously transformative is turned into the decisional regenerationn of man that guarantees nothing but next year’s rededication . . . and the year after that.

    Nathan,

    You said,

    “One of the saddest things you can do is to look at on old Baptist church directory. So many of the young people whose picture you see made these professions and are nowhere to be found.”

    Exactly. Unregenerate church membership is perpetuated by a diminished view of the gospel and conversion whereby sinners are made church members who give no evidence of the new birth. I am all about an open front door. I am not all about an unhinged front door.

    I know of folks who have made as many as five “decisions” for Christ and baptized that many times – in the same church by the same ministers. In one church who employed these measures, for example, of the some 90 that year who were counted as salvations in the ACP, over 40 of them had made prior confession of faith. When does it stop?

    Billy,

    I believe 2 Cor. 5:20 speaks to the delivery of the message by God’s ambassador. We should be earnest, passionate, direct, and sincere in our appeal to sinners to trust Christ. You see, the sermon is the invitation. Once we have done what God has called us to (namely to preach the gospel), we must not attempt to manipulate the minds of unbelievers by doing God’s bidding. When people are told that they can get saved multiple times, nail it down again, add another profession of faith, what are we telling people about salvation? Does God consider His work of saving a sinner a process that needs to be repeated over and over? That’s my concern with these methods. They are entirely contrary to what the Bible teaches about conversion and salvation, which goes back to our need to recover the gospel and change our methods accordingly.

  • http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com Billy Birch

    Laura,

    “But should we allow sloppy theology to infiltrate our methodology simply because some people do sometimes get saved in spite of manipulative methods?” No! And I agree with you wholeheartedly. I just wanted to make the statement that even in the most theologically hideous surrounding, God can still do His work. That’s all.

    Timmy,

    Amen! Great post.

    Billy

  • Mark Prince

    Just feel “icky” reading this. Seems like so much of what was described was planned deception on the part of the evangelist/pastor. How was that to bring glory to God in the preaching of his Word?

    Keep up the good work Timmy. Now that I have a baby in the home I’m amazed at how many things you juggle and get done.

    BTW….this Vol fan sends congratulations for your Tide rolling this past weekend to an easy victory. Other than the 3rd Saturday in October, the Tide are a pretty good bunch ;)

  • Letitia Wong

    All of this makes sense if God is a merchant, preachers are salesmen, people are customers, and eternal life is a product to be “sold” for reciting the Sinner’s Prayer, however heartfelt.

    One of our pastors used to be in high-pressure sales. He says the techniques used in Finney-like services and this profession are the same. Telling, isn’t it?

    *Letitia*

  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com Stephen Newell

    Mark, shush! We don’t need him getting a big head. Just because the UT defense didn’t bother to show up isn’t cause to pat the guy on the back. It had nothing to do with the Tide, and everything to do with providence, of course. We’re not man-centered around here, remember?

    ;-)

  • http://www.fbcms.org Thomas Clay

    Timmy,

    Yes. The dates are Feb. 21-24 and the featured speaker will be Dr. Jay Adams, one of the fathers of the modern nouthetic counseling movement. He has told us that this will most likely be his last speaking engagement outside of his own church due to health reasons. Also speaking will be David Miller, Paul Washer, and our pastor Jeff Noblit. I’ll be leading the music.

    Hope to see you here!

  • http://pc1oad1etter.blogspot.com Nick P

    Tim,

    Have you been going through audio tapes from the church I grew up in? This all sounds so familiar…

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Nick,

    You are not the only person who asked me that this week. I think most people are afraid to talk about these measures for fear of being dubbed controversial or anti-evangelistic (which is unfortunate).

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    I was “saved” several times as a kid, and heard all those phrases (except the “word of knowledge”) . Would you believe, in a Lutheran church, of all places? You arrogant Baptists think you have a monopoly on manipulation. The nerve!

    Thankfully, the Lord saved me some years later, all by himself.

  • Ralph Jenkins

    I don’t understand why you blooming tulips get so bent of shape. If only God can save a man and I believe God can If a man can only be saved through the convicting and convincing work of the Holy Spirit and I believe that then what difference does it make in the kind of invitation offered.

    If you truly believe that a man can only be saved as he has been predestined by God then the rest is not relevant.

    I like what Johnny Hunt said, “I just hope nobody gets saved that’s not supposed to”.

    You guys that have been saved over and over, maybe it wasn’t because of these “new measures” it may have been because you never sought to live the holy life you were supposed to too stat with.

    Further, these Calvanistic believers I see and hear are always looking for an argument and I never hear of any of them actually soul-winning or evangelizing anybody. Half of you probably haven’t personally won anybody to Jesus in months if not longer and some of you poabably can’t even lead some poor lost sinner through the Scriptures to be saved.

    Why don’t you get off your phariseeic backside and go ye therefore and make disciples.

    I know some Calvinists who actually soul-winners but they are the exception and not the rule.

    I happen to believe in most of the five points of Calvanism but to argue that God has predestined some for heaven and others for hell and then sit here argue over how a man may seek to lead others to Christ is foolishness.

    Stop criticizing the man the winneth souls and you go win some. That reminds me, I gotta go now, there,s a lost soul I must go beg to come to Jesus. Pray that God would give me a word of knowledge for them.

  • http://glorygazer.blogspot.com Doug Smith

    When I hear this kind of stuff, I can’t help but turn to 2 Cor. 4:2: “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (NKJV)

    I heard of a local evangelist who did the bit where he “sees that hand” that is not even raised. How can such patent dishonesty be fitting for the gospel of truth and light?

    Timmy, thank you for shining light on these questionable methods. We should not be afraid to call this stuff what it is: manipulation that obscures the power of the Gospel. Let’s preach the Gospel. Let’s tell people they must come to Jesus. But let’s not try to “trick” them into doing it, and make them twice the child of hell, secure in “knowing” that they’re saved because they jumped through some hoops instead of fully relying on Christ.

  • Ralph Jenkins

    I apologize for sounding harsh or condecending, that’s not my wish.

    It’s just seems to me we are all losing sight of our call. Scripture after Scriptue we are encouraged to reach the world with the gospel and Scripture after Scripture we are told that it is not the will of God that any perish.

    It seems that people on either side of this issue are forgetting that we are the church and are to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

    I truly don’t care about numbers but I do care about people. I once was lost, dead in my transgressions and sins but being rich in mercy because of His great love for me made me alive in Christ Jesus {by grace I have been saved}.

    It is for this reason that I feel I must reach the lost no matter the cost. I will not water down the truth of God and I will demand repentance. But I must go and tell, I must weep and pray, I must beg and plead for a world is dying without Jesus.

    The accolades of men mean nothing but the glory {manifest presence} of God working in me and through me means everything. If we {the church} are not here that His glory might be revealed to the world in hopes that they would accept then why do we exsist. Certainly we exsist for more than theological debate.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Ralph, you said:

    You guys that have been saved over and over, maybe it wasn’t because of these “new measures” it may have been because you never sought to live the holy life you were supposed to too stat with.

    When I said, “I was ‘saved’ several times as a kid,” I meant that I was not saved, but was sold a method to “get saved” that convinced me I was saved when I was not. What, exactly, are you saying? That I was saved, but failed to stay saved because I didn’t do what I had to do to stay saved? Did I just not work hard enough to be saved? Am I saved now because I am seeking to “live the holy life”? Man, now I’m nervous. I hope I’m doing OK.

    Those of us who object to manipulative hucksterism is not that we’re afraid someone will get saved the wrong way, but that people are being sold a false assurance of salvation. We are not criticizing men who are winning souls, we are criticizing methods that produce false converts. Thousands are being told they are saved who are not. What do you think that does for their sense of need for a savior? No one gets saved who thinks they already are. They must recognize they are lost before they can be saved!

    Now, you may say that, if God is sovereign then the elect will be saved in God’s time anyway, so why contend over this? That certainly is true, but that in no way eliminates the condemnation of those who, in effect, are deceiving their listeners and lulling them into a false assurance of salvation.

    Finally, you imply that we are opposed to, or at least uninterested in, preaching the Gospel. That’s a charge that’s way past its expiration date. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com Stephen Newell

    Just as soon as someone thinks Calvinism is behind everything, we get rants like the ones after Mr. Kjos’ comment. It usually looks something like this bit of computer code:

    if(dead_horse)
    beat()

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Mr. Jenkins,

    I am out of town, so I cannot reply to the degree I would like. Assuming that this is the first time you have commented on my blog, let me first say welcome. I understand that there are things I write and discuss where you disagree with me, and I welcome that. I do hope, however, we can refrain from unnecessary rhetoric and accusations about people of whom we know absolutely nothing save the comments made on the internet. Granted, I have outed myself to a degree publicly through a blog, but should you scroll down just a page or two, you will find much that is said in the nature of evangelism, soul-winning, and the gospel.

    I spent a few moments to peruse your church’s website, your vision statement, church covenant, and confession (BF&M2000). Part of your church’s covenant states that a member should “avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger.” Having been around on the blogosphere for some time, I recognize that is really easy to find blogs and comments section a tempting place to vent and express anger. As a brother in Christ, I would ask that such intemperance be refrained in the future, and, should I be found in such a state, that would lovingly hold me accountable to that.

    Furthermore, your vision speaks of praying for revival. The issue brought up in these examples are about those who have developed measures which have a theological tradition that takes the necessity of praying for revival away. For, if revival is something that we can (and must) do, then revival is not the divine work of God’s Spirit being poured out on His people. Finney and those who adopted such measures did not believe that revival was an extraordinary work of God’s providence, but the successful implementation of appropriate means to accomplish their ends. Salvation, and therefore revival, is not the work of God but the engineering of man. Therefore, what we need to be doing is not praying for God to work, but attempting to convince people who are sovereign in their own salvation to choose Christ of their own free will.

    And at this point, I would argue that those who employ such methods and meaures are doing something in practice contrary to what we confessionally believe in the Baptist Faith and Message which says,

    “Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.”

    and

    “Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.”

    In any case, the issue is not whether we believe in winning people to Christ, praying for revival, etc. The issue is whether our methods are consistent with what the Bible says about conversion and salvation.

    Thanks for commenting, and again, I hope you find it less incumbent upon you to show contempt and satirize a matter that, for many of us, is not a theological debate but a matter of life and death.

  • Ralph Jenkins

    It’s not my wish to offend any brother or sister in Christ. I do understand where you are coming from theologically and for the most part would agree with you.

    I do believe that salvation has come from God alone. I am saved by grace. It is the gift of God and not a result of works. I believe justification, sanctification, and glorification is all God’s doing and not mine. I believe as Christians we are to live holy, righteousness lives. I also believe in once saved always saved, I don’t one can lose their salvation.

    I further believe that there are many on our church roles who are not saved. I believe it is because we have preached a gospel of ease for so many years now. So, we do hold to many of the same doctrines.

    My problem is that we seem to be making a mountain out of a mole hill. Our Convention, assuming you guys Southern Baptist, seems to be preparing to fight once again. There are hills worth dying on and I will die on these theological hills if need be. But this one is not one of those hills.

    It is my experience that the methods used are not the problem. The problem is often the church who does not reach out to new believers in an honest attempt to disciple them and grow them up in their most holy fatih.

    The men that we take issue with over their methods are men who believe much the same as we do. Many of those same men are men who have taken a stand in the past and brought the SBC back to a solid conservative stand. I have no doubt that there are some who are exactly as you say they are. But, that is not the whole.

    I’ve used multiple methods in the invitation and in revivals. The method doesn’t concern me but the message is preached is infinitely important. We had a Calvinist as few years ago hold revival services for us. He preached a powerful message on salvation and there was no doubt that many were under conviction. When he issued the invitation it was though he was trying to talk most of them out a decision for Christ.

    That’s the other extreme. My point is there are extremist on either side of the issue but that doesn’t make everyone on a paticular side and extremist.

    Again I apologize for offending. I understand your blog is for honest discussion on the issues of our faith and methodology is one of those discussions worth having. I don’t offend to offend, but on these issues some of the great preachers of our faith are being attacked, or so it seems. Some of them I know personally and I watch their lives, I see their tears as we gather in our prayer closets and cry out to God. They have geniune concern for the church and for seeing the lost come to Christ. They are sincere in their pleading and their pressing for souls.

    Let me end with a quote from one of these guys. “I will die for convictions, but I can pass on my opinions.” We have a tendency, I think, to make our opinions our doctrine at times. We must be careful that it is always “Thus saith the Lord”.

    Anyway, thanks for allowing me to comment on the issues.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Mr. Jenkins,

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. As I stated earlier, I think there is more misunderstanding than there is disagreement in this discussion. As you have rightly stated, there are some hills that are not worth fighting while there others where we must take our stand. As far as I am concerned, the gospel of Jesus Christ with which we have been entrusted is a hill I am willing to fight for.

    You may be saying, “But such methods are being employed men who believe the same thing we do about the gospel.” Perhaps so, but they are denying it with their methods. The gospel Finney preached was explicitly Pelagian, and yet the methods that were developed to be consistently and logically compatible with such beliefs have had a lasting legacy among conservatives who believe the Bible. If we reject Finney’s theology, then the methodology which flows from that stream of thought too must be rejected (at least under serious scrutiny). My hunch is that most folks today practicing such methods and measures do not know where they came from and how they became so popular. At least I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    As far as leaders in the SBC, I have not “attacked” any of the “great preachers of our faith.” If I have, please point that out to me. Now, what I have done is discussed issues and beliefs of individuals of whom I may have disagreement, but this is far from being an attack. In fact, meaningful discussion over issues is impossible unless you come down somewhere with a position, conviction, or stance. If I am found to be on the other side of certain men of the past does not constitute an attack. I think there is a breakdown in our ability to have substantive conversation without jumping to conclusions prematurely.

    Regarding the men of the past, particularly in the SBC, I do find it troubling that my generation of SBCers are disconnected from our elder generation and are looking to leaders, pastors, church planters, theologians, etc. outside the SBC for examples to follow. I wish this were not the case, but that is the predicament we find ourselves.

    So going back to the principle issue on this post, the reason why I hold my convictions the way I do is because it is not over a nonessential or peripheral matter, but precisely on the heart of the Christian faith – the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel is my driving passion which I earnestly long to share with others and want to live out in my life. And yes, it is something I want to contend for when it is lost, changed, watered down, added to, suppressed, or ignored.

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  • skipflash

    Good post. I have gone forward at these events many time. I have got prayer and Bibles, and i once lost a wedding ring.

    The manipulation can be intense and music adds to that.

    on the contrary, i heard an australian evangelist once tell people to go home and think about their decision for Christ and then decide. nicely done! it avoids the manipulation of the moment.

  • kelly

    I grew up in an sbc church in georgia and i’ve seen every tactic described above. My only reply to Mr.Jenkins is that i’m still involved in a non-cavinist sbc church and I would say that anybody witnessing to the lost is the exception and not the rule. The Calvinist hav’nt had the run of the sbc in a 100 years or better and we are still accused of being the drag on the conference.

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