by Mark Edward Sohmer
August 23, 2007
Okay, so it's no secret to hardly anyone that I'm a big supporter and advocate of "The Way of the Master" (WOTM) ministry, which is headed by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. In addition to their excellent books, tracts, TV show, and other resources teaching Christians how to witness biblically, they have a daily radio show hosted by Todd Friel.
From time to time people ask me, "Mark, do you think WOTM is the only right way to do evangelism?"
Since I've gotten this question recently, I thought it would be good to write out a response.
The question: Is WOTM the only right way to do evangelism?
The implication: Are other ways of doing evangelism wrong?
The quick answer: Yes, WOTM is the only right way, and all other ways are wrong. (Yikes, don't blow a gasket, please please let me explain...)
The explanation: For those unfamiliar with the philosophy of WOTM, I'll summarize in one sentence: before an unsaved person can be presented with the good news that forgiveness of sins is possible through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, that unsaved person must understand that he is a sinner deserving of condemnation, and this is done via the Law of God.
The slogan that is often used is: "Law to the proud, and grace to the humble."
If you're familiar with the WOTM evangelism teaching, then please skip ahead to "What do you mean WOTM is the only right way?" further down in this article. If you are unfamiliar with the WOTM evangelism teaching, or want a quick review, then the next section is for you.
Quick overview of the Way of the Master Evangelism Teaching:
As anyone who has done any witnessing knows, it is all too easy to be lead off topic and go down "rabbit trails" that have nothing to do with the critical salvation message. "What about those people in Timbuktu who have never heard?" "Where did Cain get his wife?" Even, "Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?" Though fascinating, these questions just lead the conversation away from the sinners need to repent and put their faith in Christ.
So WOTM has devised an easy-to-remember acronym so that the evangelist can always bring the conversation back to the important points of the gospel presentation. They took the popular WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) acronym, and changed it to WDJD (What Did Jesus Do). WOTM encourages Christians to use WDJD to always remember how to steer a witness encounter in the right direction, and avoid losing your place and getting off track.
W: Would you consider yourself to be a good person? This is a great question because Proverbs 20:6 says, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness." Most people say that they are a good person. This leads to the next point.
D: Do you think you've kept the Ten Commandments? Then you list a few and ask if they've kept them. A typical encounter goes like this...
Christian: Have you ever told a lie?
non-Christian: of course.
Christian: What do you call someone who tells lies?
non-Christian: A liar.
Christian: Have you ever taken something that didn't belong to you?
non-Christian: Yes, I have.
Christian: What does that make you?
non-Christian: A thief.
Christian: Thank you so much for being honest. Now, have you ever taken God's name in vain?
non-Christian: Yes, I have.
Christian: That's called blasphemy and it's a very serious transgression of God's Law. Now, have you ever committed adultery?
non-Christian: No, I haven't.
Christian: Yes, but here's what Jesus said. Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Have you ever looked at someone with lust?
non-Christian: Of course! Everyone has!
Christian: Well, then by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart, and you have to face God on Judgment Day and He will judge you based on the Ten Commandments. And we've only looked at four of them. There are six more!
J: Judgment. This is when the Christian quotes Hebrews 9:27, "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." There is coming a day when God will judge us based on his perfect standard, and we've already established that the non-Christian fails that test.
D: Destiny. At this point we ask the non-Christian what his destiny ought to be: heaven or hell. If the Holy Spirit is pricking the person's conscience, then they must answer that they are destined for hell.
The WDJD part is only half of the "gospel message." The acronym WOTM came up with the take you through the rest is CRAFT.
C: C is for two words: Concern, and Cross. First we ask the person if it concerns them that if they died right now, they would be destined for hell. This is an important question because it is a gauge to see if God has humbled that person. I am constantly amazed by how many people say that it does not concern them. They couldn't care less! Should this be the case, then you don't continue. You go back through the Law and explain hell to prick their conscience. If they're still not concerned, then you skip to the T in CRAFT. If they say they are concerned, then you tell them about the Cross! How Jesus died on the cross to pay the debt we owed for breaking God's Law! Oh, this is the best part!!!
RAF: R, A, and F go together. They stand for "Repentance And Faith." In order for Jesus' atonement to be applied to you, you must repent and put your faith in Christ.
T: Truth. This is a great way to end the witnessing encounter, regardless of how it went. You point the person to the truth. It can be as simple as saying, "Please do think about what we've talked about. There is nothing more important than your eternal destiny. Do you have a Bible? I encourage you to read it and consider what it has to say." At this point you could give the person a Bible if they don't have one, or maybe a gospel tract or something that has the "truth" in it.
So in a nutshell, that is the WOTM teaching of how to share the gospel: WDJD and CRAFT.
I am absolutely not saying that it is necessary to use the WDJD and CRAFT wordings. Of course not! I'm not saying that you must start every witness encounter with "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" Absolutely not!
What I am saying is that the Law of God must be used first to prepare the heart of the sinner for grace. Grace must NEVER be given to a proud heart. We use the Law to break the proud heart, and grace to heal the broken heart. However you want to do that with your own personality and wording is fine.
You don't have to use WDJD and CRAFT, but the Law must be used first.
I have five arguments to show this is the case, with the first argument being the most important by far.
Five arguments as to why the Law must be used in evangelism:
Paul said, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). The Law humbles the sinner to show his need for grace. Otherwise grace makes no sense.
He also said, "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient" (1 Timothy 1:7-8). Paul said the Law is good, and he tells us who the Law is for - it's not for Christians, but it's for non-Christians. He even goes on to list a bunch of specific sins.
Paul said, "Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7). He was saying, in effect, that without the Commandments, he wouldn't have realized that he was a sinner.
When a self-righteous young man approached the Savior, he asked Jesus a self-righteous question: "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18). Jesus knew this man's heart, that he was self-righteous. "What shall I do?" Me, me, me.
In the next verse, Jesus challenged this man's understanding of what the word "good" means. "And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God" (Luke 18:19).
In essence, Jesus was saying, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" Then Jesus used the 7th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 5th commandments to show this arrogant man that he was not a good person. "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother" (Luke 18:20).
And here's the part that shows for certain that this young man was self-righteous, he said, "All these have I kept from my youth up" (Luke 18:21).
Imagine the gall of telling the perfect Son of God that you have perfectly kept the Ten Commandments. So Jesus told him to sell his possessions and give to the poor, in essence showing him that he broke the first and second commandments as well, that money was his god and his idol.
Jesus did not tell this self-righteous person that God loves him and has a wonderful plan for his life, and neither ought we! We should never tell a self-righteous person the good news of the cross because Jesus never did.
As a second example, let's look at the "woman at the well" in John 4. Here Jesus met a woman and asked her to fetch her husband. She said she didn't have a husband, and here's how Jesus answered: "thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly" (John 4:17-18).
Jesus used the 7th commandment to show this woman that she was a sinner. Unlike the "Rich Young Ruler" this woman was humbled. She didn't defend her behavior. She didn't say, "Oh, it's no big deal." She said "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet" (John 4:19). She was so humbled that she didn't get mad when Jesus knocked her people (Samaritans) by saying that "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). To this humble woman, He revealed that He was the Messiah (vs. 26). And then she went as a missionary and told everyone in her village about the Christ! (vs. 29).
Both the "Rich Young Ruler" and the "Woman at the Well" were given the Law to show their sinfulness. One reacted self-righteously and was given more Law, and one reacted humbly, and was given grace.
Nicodemus was a humble man. He was a leader of the Jews and knew the Law. He came humbly to Jesus, and since Jesus knew Nicodemus' humility was sincere, Jesus told him "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
The problem with modern evangelism is that we give the "Nicodemus message" to "Rich Young Ruler" hearers.
This article will become 500 pages long if I continue down this road, so I'll conclude this part by saying that the Bible never gives us example of the "good news of the cross" being given to proud hearers. Never. Not even once. The Law is always used to prepare the heart for grace 100% of the time. Please listen to the vital sermon "Hell's Best Kept Secret" if you are skeptical. You can download this sermon at: http://www.sohmer.net/media/hbks.mp3.
I think it's strange that it has become necessary to defend the necessity of using the Law in evangelism, because, until quite recently in church history, it was always done this way. The WOTM evangelism teaching is not a new teaching, but an old one. Ray Comfort has said many times that he learned this through Scripture and through great evangelists throughout church history.
The following are some quotations from men that God has used mightily throughout the centuries in genuine revivals, and we'd be quite foolish to ignore their testimony on the subject.
Martin Luther said, "Satan, the god of all dissension stirs up daily new sects. And last of all which of all others I should never have foreseen or once suspected, he has raised up a sect such as teach that men should not be terrified by the law, but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ."
Luther also said, "The first duty of the Gospel preacher is to declare God's Law and show the nature of sin."
Charles Spurgeon said, "I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the Law."
Spurgeon also said, "Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary [its most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ... They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place."
More Spurgeon; he said that sinners "must be slain by the law before they can be made alive by the gospel."
By the way, have you read Spurgeon's sermon "Christ the End of the Law?" It almost sounds as though Spurgeon had gone through a Way of the Master training program! That's the point... the WOTM teachings are not new, but had been used for centuries throughout church history. This particular sermon can be read at: http://www.sohmer.net/spurgeon01.php.
Jonathan Edwards said, "The only way we can know whether we are sinning is by knowing His Moral Law." As an aside, have you ever read his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?" Edwards definitely understood and put into practice the Biblical principle of "Law to the proud, and grace to the Humble." Please take the time to read this sermon at: http://www.sohmer.net/edwards01.php.
John Wesley instructed a young evangelist to "Preach 90 percent law and 10 percent grace."
Wesley also said, "it is the ordinary method of the Spirit of God to convict sinners by the Law. It is this which, being set home on the conscience, generally breaketh the rocks in pieces. It is more especially this part of the Word of God which is quick and powerful, full of life and energy and sharper than any two-edged sword."
Another Wesley quotation: "Before I can preach love, mercy and grace I must preach sin, law and judgment."
The great revivalist George Whitefield wrote, "First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the Law of God."
C. S. Lewis wrote, "When we merely say that we are bad, the 'wrath' of God seems a barbarous doctrine; as soon as we perceive our bad-ness, it appears inevitable, a mere corollary from God's goodness..."
A. W. Pink wrote, "Just as the world was not ready for the New Testament before it received the Old, just as the Jews were not prepared for the ministry of Christ until John the Baptist had gone before Him with his claimant call to repentance, so the unsaved are in no condition today for the Gospel till the Law be applied to their hearts, for 'by the Law is the knowledge of sin.' It is a waste of time to sow seed on ground which has never been ploughed or spaded! To present the vicarious sacrifice of Christ to those whose dominant passion is to take fill of sin, is to give that which is holy to the dogs."
D. L. Moody wrote, "Ask Paul why [the Law] was given. Here is his answer, 'That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God' (Romans 3:19). The Law stops every man's mouth. I can always tell a man who is near the kingdom of God; his mouth is stopped. This, then, is why God gives us the Law-to show us ourselves in our true colors."
J. C. Ryle wrote, "People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven, and live like pilgrims, until they really feel that they are in danger of hell... Let us expound and beat out the Ten Commandments, and show the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of their requirements. This is the way of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. We cannot do better than follow His plan. We may depend on it, men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus, and live for Jesus, unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need. Those whom the Spirit draws to Jesus are those who the Spirit has convinced of sin. Without thorough conviction of sin, men may seem to come to Jesus and follow Him for a season, but they will soon fall away and return to the world."
John R. Stott wrote, "We cannot come to Christ to be justified until we have first been to Moses, to be condemned. But once we have gone to Moses, and acknowledged our sin, guilt and condemnation, we must not stay there. We must let Moses send us to Christ."
Dr. Martin Loyd-Jones wrote, "The trouble with people who are not seeking for a Savior, and for salvation, is that they do not understand the nature of sin. It is the peculiar function of the Law to bring such an understanding to a man's mind and conscience. That is why great evangelical preachers 300 years ago in the time of the puritans, and 200 years ago in the time of Whitefield and others, always engaged in what they called a preliminary law work."
John MacArthur wrote, "God's grace cannot be faithfully preached to unbelievers until the Law is preached and man's corrupt nature is exposed. It is impossible for a person to fully realize his need for God's grace until he sees how terribly he has failed the standards of God's Law."
John Newton (who wrote "Amazing Grace") warned, "Ignorance of the nature and design of the Law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes." Indeed it is.
There is a dear Christian young woman in my community who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. Since her diagnosis, she has endured painful chemotherapy, a barrage of drugs, a large drive was held to find a marrow donor for her, and she has to live in a germ-free environment for a year or more.
Imagine walking up to her and saying, "I have a proposition for you. I'd like you to undergo radiation therapy that will not only nearly kill you, but send you to great nausea, vomiting, and give you unattractive hair loss. Then I want you to go into debt to pay for a whole host of prescription drugs, each with their own side effects. I also want you to inconvenience your community by hosting a bone marrow drive where people must give up their time to have tissue samples given. Finally, I want you to live in an ultra-clean environment, so you can't even hold your children for a year or longer."
The chances of her buying into this plan are 0%!
But that's because you left out a small detail, which is this: you have Leukemia, and unless treated, you'll certainly be dead shortly.
That knowledge makes all the difference! In fact, that knowledge makes her THANKFUL that she can do all the steps outlined above!
In the same way, how ridiculous is it for Christians to tell sinners that they must repent of the sin they enjoy and believe in a man they don't even know. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness" (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Ah, but show the sinner that he is seen by God as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart, and that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27) and that God commands "all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30-31), then it all makes sense!
The gospel makes no sense if we do not first present the Law!
When I first became a Christian, I was encouraged to use what is perhaps the world's most popular gospel tract, called "The Four Spiritual Laws." You can read it at: http://www.campuscrusade.com/fourlawseng.htm. The message of this tract is that God loves you and offers you a wonderful plan for your life, but our sin (which isn't adequately explained) prevents us from experiencing this wonderful plan. Jesus died so we can know God and experience this wonderful plan, and we must receive Christ to experience this wonderful plan. There is no mention of hell, merely a vague reference to "spiritual separation from God," which, to a non-Christian, isn't such a bad thing! It says that Jesus' purpose was that our life "might be full and meaningful."
If, and only if, someone really understands that "wonderful plan" means reconciliation to God and future glory in heaven, and that "separation from God" means eternity in a lake of fire, then this isn't so bad a message. Unfortunately, this tract is often used with college students, a demographic that consists of many confused people not knowing what they want to do with their life. To play into natural insecurities, there is a drawing in the tract booklet of two circles, one with many dots out of order and in chaos, and one circle with the dots all lined up neatly. It is explained that the life with self on the throne results in one's dots (interests) being in chaos, whereas when Christ is on the throne, all your dots line up neatly. The strong implication is, "Become a Christian, and your life will have meaning and you'll not experience frustration."
This is not the biblical gospel! And it's not even true! Jesus promised in three gospels that true Christians would be hated and given up to death for His name's sake (Matthew 24:9, Mark 13:13, and Luke 21:17)! James said we ought to expect temptations (James 1:2). Paul made it clear, "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). When we sell a "gospel" that promises to line our dots up, but not tell the sinner to count the cost (Luke 14:28), that there will be temptations, trials, and persecutions, we preach a false message that is certain to create false converts.
Billy Graham's "Steps to Peace" is basically the same message. You can read it at: http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we must accept Christ. Christ needs to accept us! And he does that when we repent and put our faith in Him.
Even more futile are the unbiblical methods of teachers such as Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and other "prosperity gospel" teachers who promise health and wealth for coming to Christ, when the Bible makes no such promises. Evidence of the unbiblical nature of that message is the fact that it doesn't travel well. The "come to Jesus and you'll be healthy and wealthy" doesn't really work in an impoverished, disease-stricken village in Africa.
Lately there's been an upsurge in popularity to the "emergent church" lead by false teachers like Rob Bell, Donald Miller, and Brian McLaren. I bring these up as examples of false teachers who refuse to use the Law of God, refuse to major on "sin, righteousness, and judgment," and who have forsaken warning men and women of the just impending wrath of God. Their methods are futile because they do not lead me and women into true salvation which is by repentance and faith.
When I was in college, I helped coordinate an outreach where we had an evangelist come to our university to present a gospel message. This particular Christian had a sad story because he had received AIDS via a tainted blood transfusion. We drew a large crowd due to the hot topic of AIDS, and this Christian told his emotional story of receiving the death sentence via HIV and coming to receive Jesus as his Savior. His message could be summed up in, "I'd rather have AIDS and be a Christian than be healthy and be a non-Christian." It was a very powerful message and the listeners were asked to indicate on a card if they prayed to receive Christ that night. When we counted up the cards, we had over 200 students indicate they became a Christian that night as a result of the outreach!
Unfortunately, not even one of those alleged conversions ever resulted in someone attending our campus Christian meetings, or being hooked up in a church that we knew of. Two hundred people claimed to receive Christ, but the fruit indicated otherwise. Why? Because no Law was used to show the need for Christ. Christ was presented as a way to make you happy and fulfilled, rather than the truth of the matter, that Christ is not so much interested in making you happy as He is in making you righteous. Man's need is not happiness and fulfillment, but righteousness and forgiveness. Many modern evangelism methods gloss over this, if they mention it at all.
We had another outreach where a well-known evangelist, Josh McDowell, was flown in. Josh is very charismatic and articulate, and more than one hundred students indicated on cards that they received Christ that night. Again, not one ended up in fellowship that we knew of.
The testimony of Scripture, and the testimony of godly men throughout the centuries tells us the reason... the Law of God must be used to break the humble heart and show the sinner his dire need for the Savior. Then he will be like the seed that was placed in good soil and produced a hundredfold! (See Matthew 13:18-23).
I'm sure both Josh McDowell and the young man with AIDS sincerely wanted people to become true converts. I am not doubting their sincerity. I am merely pointing out that by forsaking the proper use of the Law to break the proud heart and to show the utter sinfulness of sin, they actually accomplished what they did not wish to accomplish - namely, make false converts who came to Christ for wrong motives. You don't get saved by coming to Christ so that your life "might be full and meaningful." You get saved by seeing yourself as a filthy sinner deserving of hell, and throwing yourself 100% at the mercy of Christ via repentance and faith. Oh Christian, we must preach this!
The irony is that it is nearly impossible to witness to someone without using the Law. I know there are many Christians who reject the teaching that the Law must be used, but I question how much these people actually witness. I say that because in an actual witness encounter, it would be very difficult for the evangelist to avoid using the Law. It's going to come up.
Please consider the following fictional example as an illustration:
Christian: You know, God loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with us. Would you like to know how you could know God personally?
non-Christian: Of course I'd like to know that.
Christian: Great! God loves you and offers you a wonderful plan for your life so that your life might be full and meaningful.
non-Christian: This is great! What do I do?
Christian: Well, you are separated from God right now.
non-Christian: I am? Why?
Christian: Well, you see, the Bible says "all have sinned."
non-Christian: Are you calling me a sinner?
Christian: Well, we all are - not just you. And "sin" merely means that we've "missed the mark," kinda like when you shoot an arrow but don't get a bull's-eye.
non-Christian: Oh, I guess that isn't so bad. Okay, so what do I do to know God personally?
Christian: Well, we are separated from God and Jesus bridges that gap.
non-Christian: Why are we separated?
Christian: Well, because of our sin.
non-Christian: I thought you said that sinning was something everyone does, and it only means that we're not perfect. Are you judging me?
Christian: No, no, we all sin. Everybody.
non-Christian: I don't get it. What are some examples of sin?
Christian: Well, have you ever lied? (Editor's note: 9th Commandment)
non-Christian; Well, sure.
Christian: Sure, we all have.
non-Christian: So there's a gap between me and God because I've lied? That doesn't seem too reasonable.
Christian: Well, you've probably done other bad things too, like not put God first. (Editor's note: 1st Commandment).
non-Christian: God seems kind of harsh.
Christian: No, God's not harsh. He's loving. He loves you very much and is knocking on the door of your heart to invite Him in. Won't you invite Him in?
non-Christian: How do I do that?
Christian: Well, you need to receive Christ, which you do by turning from your sin.
non-Christian: You're calling me a sinner again. What's the big deal of not hitting the bull's-eye every time?
Christian: Well, it's more than just not hitting a bull's-eye. Have you ever lusted after a girl? (Editor's note: 7th Commandment.)
non-Christian: You mean I have to stop lusting to know God personally? I like lusting. I like having sex! What happens if I don't want to know God personally?
Christian: Well, then you're life won't be full and meaningful and you'll be separated from God.
non-Christian: Well, I'm separated from God now, and I have great sex with my girlfriend, I have a great job, a cool apartment, things are great! I think I'm all set. See you later!
Christian: But won't you reconsider how knowing God personally is better than those things?
Admittedly, this was a fictional example, but the point is meant to illustrate that you're going to have to bring up the Law of God anyway. It would be very difficult to talk to someone about Christ without mentioning sin, and unless sin is so un-biblically re-defined, the commandments must be used to explain what sin is. Also, without the Law, the point of becoming a Christian becomes a matter of happiness, when it ought to be a matter of righteousness. Said another way, Christ suffered and died, not to make men happy and fulfilled, but to make men righteous. Sin, which is transgression of the Law, righteousness, which is of the Law, and judgment, which is by the Law, must all be preached if we are to witness biblically!
"Way of the Master" evangelism teaching is not new.
The WOTM unashamedly plagiarize from Luther, and Spurgeon, and Wesley, and Moody, et cetera, when they teach that Christians must use the law to prepare the heart for grace. Ultimately though, WOTM didn't get this teaching from those great men of God, but from Paul, and Peter, and Steven, and Jesus Himself! They have a book called "What Did Jesus Do?" which you can purchase at http://www.wayofthemaster.com or download the whole thing for FREE at: http://www.calvarychapelfreegift.com/download/what_DID_Jesus_do.zip.
Using the Law of God to humble self-righteous sinners has always been the way the church has evangelized. It was only in the 19th and 20th Centuries that many in the church stopped majoring on righteousness, judgment, and sin, and changed the message to peace, fulfillment, and happiness. If you ever find yourself saying something like, "You have a god-shaped hole in your heart that only Jesus can fill" then you've likely fallen into the 19th/20th Century human-centered false gospel. Please return to the gospel of "law to the proud and grace to the humble" that the church has always used!
"Way of the Master" is not the only ministry bringing the church back to Biblical evangelism.
There are other ministries that teach the same message as WOTM, albeit perhaps they use different wordings and phraseology. A few that come to mind are:
Also, WOTM has been endorsed by many respected Christian leaders, such as:
Why people don't like "The Way of the Master."
Before I write too much here, I want to say at the outset that only God knows people's hearts. We can't even know our own heart for sure! "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). So I am not willing to say for sure why some Christians are hostile to this teaching. My purpose in this section is to encourage those who might be skeptical of "Law to the proud and grace to the humble" to examine why that might be the case.
And please believe me when I say that I write this section out of love, and not to condemn anyone. That is not my intention at all. I'm going to say some tough things, but it is truly out of a heart that cares and wants God's best for every Christian.
One reason why some people might not like the WOTM teaching is that, quite frankly, it's a lot easier to tell people "Jesus loves you and offers a wonderful plan for you" than it is to talk about sin, judgment, and righteousness. It's just plain easier.
Specifically regarding WOTM, they emphasize the mandate for Christians to intentionally step out of their comfort zone and deliberately strike up conversations with strangers with the intention of sharing the gospel. Some Christians do not like this. Is it that this is unbiblical, or is it that the fear of man is inhibitive?
Also, knowing how to biblically share the gospel takes preparation and practice, and I have to lovingly and gently ask those who are resistant to ask themselves honestly if they are resisting in part to not wanting to put the work in?
Say what you like about Ray, Kirk, and Todd, they are hitting the streets every day and taking ridicule and sometimes physical persecution because they are passionate about reaching the lost. Ray tells a funny story about how he was physically punched once while open-air preaching, and later a man came up to him and told him that he was there when Ray was hit. He told Ray that as a result of seeing him take a punch, he thought, "if this little guy really believes what he's saying so strongly that he's willing to be beat up, then I need to consider his message." That night he repented of his sin and became a Christian. Ray remarked that he'd gladly be willing to be beat up if it means one person gets saved, but he humorously said he was afraid what it would take to bring revival!
I am aware that there is resistance to the teachings of "The Way of the Master" but I lovingly challenge anyone to prayerfully consider why you resist. I believe the case has been made that it is Biblical to use the principals the WOTM teaches, and that great men of God have used those same Biblical principals throughout church history. Why then would people prefer "friendship evangelism" or "grace before law?" That is something each skeptic ought to consider prayerfully.
It is a GOOD THING to use the Law of God to prepare the heart for grace!
Because the point of this document was to answer critics who ask if the "Way of the Master" is the only right way to preach the gospel, its tone has necessarily been one of defense. Said another way, I was defending a position. But now I want to turn it around and "go on offense" so to speak. Instead of merely defending why we ought to use the Law, I want to take a minute to make the positive case that it's a GOOD THING to use the Law and it's a gift that God has given to evangelists.
I have found that it has encouraged me greatly to use the Law of God in evangelism. The Law is not only good, but a blessing God has given to evangelists!
Without the Ten Commandments showing the exceeding sinfulness of sin, we'd be left to try to convince people to become Christians through "life enhancement" methods, and we'd be constantly looking for the "down and out" who would be most likely to respond to our "God will make your life meaningful" message.
In addition, we'd likely be more afraid to witness, because we might not know what to say if someone says they don't care about being separated from God.
Kirk Cameron told the story of having his teeth cleaned and chatting with the Hygienist, who claimed to be a Christian. Kirk asked her if she had witnessed to her boss, the Dentist. She said, "Oh, no. He wouldn't be interested in the gospel. Life is too good for him right now. His business is doing great. He has a super marriage and great kids. He's not at the low point where the gospel would be meaningful to him."
Kirk concluded rightly that this was the tragic outcome of what happens when you remove the Law of God and make the issue of the gospel one of "happiness" rather than "righteousness." The Hygienist ought to have known that despite the Dentist's wealth, marriage, and kids, if he died today without Christ, he would perish forever in hell. This Hygienist ought to tell her boss that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:29), that God "now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30-31), and "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3 and 13:5).
I praise God that "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).
When you see that God has written the Law on the heart of every man, (Romans 2:15), then you will rejoice to use it to speak to sinners, because though non-Christians might argue with our apologetics, they cannot reasonably argue with the Law. Even a hardened non-Christian knows deep down that it is wrong to steal, wrong to lie, wrong to commit adultery, and they also know that they are guilty of these things. God has put that information on their hearts. So don't tell them that they need to know God personally so they can have a meaningful life, but tell them that unless they repent, they shall perish. We ought to be able to boast, with the Apostle Paul, that "the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient" (1 Timothy 1:8-9).
So praise God that God has given us a spiritual weapon to reach the "lawless and disobedient." Praise God that He has given Christians the Law to humble the proud heart, so that we may sew the seed of the message of the cross to a soul that has been properly tilled!
© 2013, the Sohmer family