How To Be A Soul Winner
Elder O. B. Mink
Now In Glory
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)
This text is a great favorite with Arminian pastors. It appears as if many among them think it was written especially for them and they use it as a verbal goad to prod their dilatory people into action. We do not question action. Per se, action is commendable when motivated by proper ends, and directed by wisdom. But action, generated by ill motives, and regulated by ignorance is to be condemned and deplored. Arminianism is guilty on both counts, for they “do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” The text, as with the whole of Scripture, has been committed to Baptists for preservation and propagation, and the monopoly which Arminians think they have on this text, is but a figment of their warped imagination.
Knowledge Of The Scriptures Is Essential To The Wining Of Souls
The saints are shut up to the word of God for direction in all things pertaining to the exercise of their Christian profession, including their witness to lost mankind. The Scriptures were given “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:17). However, we should take advantage of every opportunity to cultivate our powers of reasoning and logic, but be it understood, the ultimate intellect can never supersede or countermand a single jot or tittle of the word of God. Yet, it is a sad fact the more progress the world makes in intellectualisim the more is the word of God pushed back into the Dark Ages. Modern, religious intellectuals mock the doctrine of the inerrancy of the Scriptures, saying, “That doctrine might have been acceptable in the Dark Ages, but this is the 20th century, the age of enlightenment, and the doctrine is plausible only to the illiterate.” Thus it is, King Reasoning has been enthroned in this age and sits in judgment on the word of God, and professing christendom is woefully critical of the Scriptures. It should be the other way around. Man should test his reasoning at the feet of Divine Truth, subjecting himself thereto, and be thankful for the Biblical criticism against his life. But alas, it is not so, and Paul prophetically points toward our present day blind leaders of the blind, saying, they are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7). Paul warns, “From such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5).
Paul was an intellectual, an educated man, a man with grounds for boasting according to human standards. Paul said, “… if any other man thinketh that he hathwhereof he might trust in the flesh, I more” (Philippians 3:4). Paul was at the head of his seminary class, and was very near the day when he would receive his Doctorate of Mosiac Law, from the hand of the learned Gamaliel. But Paul’s education in the school of the Pharisee’s was abruptly interrupted by an encounter with Jesus of Nazareth, and Paul became the schools most famous dropout. Paul did not quit going to school. He just started all over in another school, the Holy Spirit’s school of grace. It took Paul almost thirty years to graduate from this school. The graduation ceremony was held in Rome, at the end of the Appian Way on Nero’s execution (chopping) block. Nero’s executioner swung the axe, severing Paul’s head from his body, but before his head rolled to the dirt his soul was already in angelic escorted flight to heaven. Whereupon arrival, Paul was immediately enrolled in the Holy Spirit’s Institution of Higher Learning, from which school he will never graduate, but will be learning about Jesus throughout the ceaseless ages to come. On the earth Paul studied at the feet of Gamailel, in heaven he is studying at the feet of Christ, Who never studied at the feet of any man. Paul thought at one time he was God’s instrument whereby Christianity would be stamped out, but instead of Paul stamping out Christianity, Christianity put its eternal stamp on Paul.
“Search the Scriptures … they testify of Me.” (John 5:39) Our evangelistic responsibility is to point lost sheep to the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We cannot measure to this responsibility without becoming intimately acquainted with the Shepherd, and we cannot know Jesus as we ought to know Him apart from a diligent study of His word. But the Hardshell Baptist with missionary church membership, objects, saying, “I do not know who the lost sheep are, how can I witness to them?” Well, neither did Paul know who they were, but this lack of identity did not deter him for a moment in his determination to publicly proclaim the whole counsel of God. “And when the Gentiles heard this (Paul’s witness of the word of God, vs. 44) they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord, and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48) Paul did not know who in this company of Gentiles was foreordained of God to eternal life, but he did know, that God’s word would not return unto Him void. Our responsibility is to proclaim the gospel indiscriminately. It is God’s responsibility to quicken those for whom Jesus died.
To win souls one must know what the Scriptures teach. Mere ability to quote Scripture is not the only qualification a person needs to be a fisher of men. I once knew an Arminian who could quote chapters of the Bible, but knew absolutely nothing of what they taught. But worse yet is the Arminian who can quote a few verses of Scripture, and has a malformed notion of what they teach. It is in this last category most Arminians fit. Most are shut up to John 3:16, 5:24 and a few verses from Romans 3 and 10. Their exegesis of these texts would do more to cause John Wesley (if he were alive) to revamp his theology than all the efforts George Whitefield put forth to recover his friend from his God debasing Arminianism.
Arminianism makes truth secondary to the Sunday School head count, and laboring under the perverted notion that the end justifies the means have filled their churches with those who are yet strangers to God’s grace.
Following is a poem that goes far in describing:
THE ARMINIAN APPROACH TO SOUL WINNING
“Learn to memorize a verse or two of Scripture, and for impression’s sake, a few more.
But beyond, and above all, be sure you can quote John five twenty four.
Then go out and hit the street,
telling everyone you meet,
“I have a message that is true;
Jesus loves and died for you.
Be unrelenting in your persuasion,
do not allow your subject a single evasion.
Bring up the flames of hell to his vision,
this is the proven way of getting a decision.
Then make no mistake,
be sure and put the icing on the cake.
Tell your convert, ‘God appreciates the favor;
that he has let Jesus be his Saviour’.
On Sunday morning in the church, which your winning ways have helped to fill,
as your convert goes forward, your thought is; O’ glorious freewill.
But when all is said and done, and there are no more souls to be won,
and you expect your reward to be double,you will hear the sad verdict, Wood, hay and stubble.”
The soul winner is to know Bible doctrine, and be able to teach the same. The first thing the greatest soul winner this side of Jesus Christ (and I do not mean Billy Graham or Jack Hyles) told his young prodigy, Timothy, that the Scriptures were profitable for, was doctrine (II Timothy 3:16). Every God-honoring effort to win souls is sure to meet with Satanic opposition, and the only weapon with which the enemy can be defeated is, ‘‘... The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). To be a soul winner, skillful swordsmanship is a MUST. Thus it is, Paul says to Titus that he should “be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9). Going out to win souls without being adorned with doctrine (Titus 2:10) is equal to sending a soldier into battle without a weapon or any protective equipment, and with bull’s eye targets painted on his chest and back. He is sure to get cut down. So, let him who would win souls for Christ “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
They Who Would Win Souls Must Be Morally Honest
A soul winner is not only to be wise and orthodox in the Scriptures, his integrity and morals are also to be beyond reproach. Purity of life and separation from the world are essential to an effective witness. Thus it is, Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
Baptists were the original puritans of this age, and have all through their history maintained a rigid stance both in morals and doctrine. The antinomian spirit which has plagued Hardshellism since its beginning, has raised its slimy serpentine head in the ranks of New Testament Baptists, and sunk its fangs into a few. A few within this motley few having been injected with a lethal dose of antinomianism, and determined to outstrip the Hardshells, are now teaching there are no moral sins, and that doctrinal transgressions are the only sins displeasing to God. Arminianism and antinomianism are both lies, sired by the “father of lies”, the devil, and they who are deceived thereby cannot be true witness of Christ. The greatest prerequisite to soul winning is a dedicated and consecrated life to Christ, and the would-be soul winner who cannot honestly say, “For to me to live is Christ” would be blessed if he was struck dumb.
The Soul Winner Is To Have A Consistent Prayer Life
“... Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1) “Watch ye therefore, and pray always …” (Luke 21:36). “Pray without ceasing …” (I Thessalonians 5:17). “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
Going out to win souls without first asking and receiving God’s direction for your efforts is to lean to one’s own understanding. It is to be like a cloud without water, whose subordination to the wind leaves it no certain course. Or like a ship without rudder, which the waves toss to and fro. Paul started his redeemed life out by asking God for direction. His very first petition was, “… Lord, what will Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). The first three years of Paul’s soul winning career was spent in the desert of Arabia talking with God, and receiving direction for the greatest soul winning campaign this earth has ever known (Galatians 1:12,16, 17). Paul was pre-eminently a man of prayer. He prayed in streets, homes, churches, river banks, sea shores, jails, courtrooms, etc. And Christ pacified Annias’ fears of Paul by saying, “Behold, he prayeth” (Acts 9:11). Paul’s ministry of soul winning attests to the fact of James’ words, “The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
The Soul Winner Needs Divine Authority For His Witnessing
John the Baptist was vested with soul winning authority from God, “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” (John 1:6-7). Christ’s mission to this earth had Heaven’s official stamp on it, for He says no less than thirty times in John’s Gospel that He was sent by the Father. Prior to His crucifixion, Christ organized His church, and after His resurrection He came to His church, and said, “… All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. A-men” (Matthew 28:18-20). John the Baptist was the last individual with direct authority from heaven to win souls. That responsibility and authority now rests with the church. It was to the church Christ said, “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). It was to the church Christ said, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit …” (John 15:16). Christ spoke from the mount of ascension and said to the church, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). It was to the church that Christ said, “I am the vine, yeare the branches …” (John 15:5). The vine brings forth the branches, and the branches bring forth the fruit.
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Genesis 49:22). Joseph was a fruitful bough whose branches ran over the wall, yea, they ran all the way to Canaan, and unto the 20th century. Israel is with us today, and will be with us in eternity.
Jesus, the Anti-type of Joseph, is a fruitful bough, or vine, whose branches (churches) have gone over the walls of Judaism, and have turned millions to righteousness in all parts of the earth.
Israel was God’s executive body in the world for 1500 years, and when Naaman, the Syrian’s time of salvation came around on God’s calendar of decrees, a little Israelitish maiden initiated the witness, a mere household servant whom God’s kind providence had placed in the great estate of Naaman (II Kings 5).
When the time came around for God to save an impoverished Sidonian widow who was also a Gentile, He sent the great prophet Elijah to witness to her (I Kings 17).
God used Israel as His official witness for 1500 years, and since Israel’s blindness, the church has been God’s “pillar and ground of the truth.”
When the Ethiopian Eunich’s day of grace came around, God sent Philip, a Deacon, from the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem to preach Jesus to him.
Peter was a charter member in the church at Jerusalem, and when Cornelius needed spiritual help God told him to send for Peter (Acts 10:5).
When God gets ready to save the suicide bent Phillipian jailer, he sends two missionaries from the First Baptist Church of Antioch to witness to him (Acts 13:1-4, 16:27-32).
And when God’s time comes to open the heart of a Lydia, a Priscilla, a Lois, or an Eunice, the witness of the church will be brought to bear.
In the Divine economy there has never been room for free lance witnessing, and there shall never be. All authority for every Christian enterprise is vested in the Lord’s church.
It is my firm conviction that every saved person of this age will, in glory, be able to trace their salvation to a direct or indirect work of one of the Lord’s churches. Before the reader starts leading my name with epithets for making that last statement, I want him to first consider, that every writer of the New Testament was a member of one of the Lord’s churches, that God uses His word in calling out the elect, and that “Unto Godbe glory in the church, by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21).
(Sovereign Grace Advocate - September, 1977)
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