Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted

By Dr. Curtis Hutson


III. Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted by the Saints

   The New Testament is filled with soul winning examples. But every soul was won through confrontational evangelism.
   Let's take the woman at the well in John 4, who may have been the greatest soul winner in the New Testament other than Jesus Himself. The Bible says in verse 39, "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did."
   This poor, fallen woman could not have possibly witnessed with her lifestyle. She had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband. Perhaps everyone in town knew her sinful lifestyle. But when she told them about Jesus, many believed.
   The Scriptures plainly say that many "believed on him for the saying of the woman which testified ... " They did not believe because of her lifestyle but because of her saying - that is, a verbal message.
   John the Baptist was a witness. The Bible says in John 1:6-8: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light."
   Now how did John witness, with his lifestyle or with his lips? In verse 23 of the same chapter, he said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness." Notice, he did not say, 'I am the life of one demonstrating in the wilderness.'
   Now again we must say that a good, consistent Christian life backs up the verbal witness, but the life itself is not a witness. John was the voice of one, and every believer is the voice of one. Are we using our voice to tell others about the Saviour?
   The book of Acts tells of multitudes who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. And how did these early disciples witness? The Bible says in Acts 8:4, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." That is confrontational evangelism. That is verbalizing the Gospel.
   Acts 5:42 says, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Notice again, they were teaching and preaching. No lifestyle evangelism here. As a matter of fact, this was aggressive New Testament soul winning. They did not wait for people to come to them; they were going from house to house teaching and preaching Jesus Christ.
   We wonder if those who teach lifestyle evangelism would say these early Christians were "part of a daily task force on a 'spiritual safari' into enemy territory confronting total strangers with a verbal message said to be the Gospel." Or would they accuse them of "button-holing and evangelical mugging"?
   John 1 records how Andrew led his brother Simon Peter to Christ. Verses 40 through 42 say:
   "One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone."
   There is no lifestyle evangelism here; this is confrontational: "He findeth his brother". "He ... saith unto him."
   He found him and confronted him with a verbal message. While some may make fun of and laugh at that kind of evangelism, it is the only kind the Bible knows anything about.

End of Chapter Three


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