Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted

By Dr. Curtis Hutson


   There is a teaching abroad today called "lifestyle evangelism." This false philosophy teaches that we witness with our life rather than our lips.
   In one article the author contrasted lifestyle evangelism with confrontational evangelism. For the most part those who teach lifestyle evangelism speak critically of aggressive soul winners. In his book on the subject, Joseph Aldrich said, "Sometimes the only exposure to evangelism for believers is being part of a weekly task force on a 'spiritual safari' into enemy territory. On such forays total strangers are confronted with a verbal message said to be the Gospel."
   We suppose he had reference to a weekly visitation program which is conducted in most independent, Bible-believing, soul winning churches. We have preached in some of the greatest soul winning churches in America, and we don't know of any preacher or Christian who sees soul winning visitation as a "weekly task force on a 'spiritual safari' into enemy territory." Rather, they feel they are simply obeying the Great Commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
   Mr. Aldrich makes a difference between what he calls "the verbalization and the incarnation of the Gospel." Nowhere in Scripture is the Christian told to incarnate the Gospel. Rather, he is commanded to preach the Gospel. That is a verbal message.
   Aldrich further criticizes personal soul winning by referring to it as "button-holing and evangelical mugging." It may be true that some soul winners could improve their approach, but I don't know of any soul winner that I would accuse of "evangelical mugging."
   The lifestyle evangelist says, "We need only to live a good, consistent Christian life before the unsaved, and eventually he will notice in us something that will cause him to want to trust Christ as Saviour." No such teaching is found in the Bible. A good, consistent Christian life gives credibility to the witness but, in and of itself, is not a witness and was never intended to lead a soul to Christ.
   We are aware that some people attach a different definition to lifestyle evangelism, saying only that soul winning should be a way of life for the Christian. Now we are for that kind of lifestyle evangelism where soul winning is a way of life.
   But we are opposed to teaching that discourages personal soul winning. The emphasis of THE SWORD OF THE LORD and Sword of the Lord Conferences has always been revival and soul winning.
   Are men won to Christ by one's lifestyle?

Table of Contents:

I. Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted by the Scriptures

II. Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted by the Saviour

III. Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted by the Saints

IV. Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted by Sinners

V. Lifestyle Evangelism Refuted by Sensible Logic

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