Friday, August 01, 2008

The Four Spiritual Laws: Alternative Needed? Available?

For many, when they hear of "evangelism," "witnessing," or handing someone a "tract," what do you think comes to mind? Especially with the word "tract" I would guess that most often it is Campus Crusade's Four Spiritual Laws. Or maybe those warm and fuzzy (just kidding!) Chick Publication tracts that were all the rage in the late `70's, early `80's?

Tell me, if you're familiar with the Four Spiritual Laws, what do you think of it? Its usefulness? Its doctrinal or theological soundness (or lack thereof)?

If you're Reformed and have issues with it, is there a Reformed alternative? Does one exist? Is one needed? If so, why?

Has anyone heard of, or used, Matthias Media's Two Ways to Live? What do you think?

Love to hear your thoughts.


At 8/01/2008 4:54 PM, Blogger J. K. Jones said...

I like the tract. It is a usefull summary of the gospel. Some people these days are offended by the little book, but I tend to use the outline anyway.

I am what some consider to be "Reformed," but I have no issues with the tract.

"God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life."

There is nothing un-Calvinist about that statement. There is some sense in which God loves all men. The free offer of the gospel is a real offer. Nothing outside of an unregenerate person keeps them from responding to this free offer. They are responsible for their own actions.

I do prefer Evangelism Explosion more because of it's depth.

At 8/02/2008 9:54 PM, Blogger Evangelism Coach said...

I know plenty of people that still like it and use it.

Personally, I don't use it, as I have a different default setting that I use (a different script -- the bridge)

How to Use the Bridge Illustration

As to the theology, it's a limited condensed version of the gospel message, a fault inherent to each one. There is only so much you can include in 4 points.

Chris W

At 8/08/2008 9:57 PM, Blogger Puritan Lad said...

I've seen worse, but as Evangelism Coach said, each point is flawed. On point #1 "God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life", that is quite presumptuous. It is important to note that God's love is always presented to believers in Scripture, not used as an evangeliam tool. (Any mention of Esau or Pharoah would certainly be problematic here.)

The rest would be solid if it would actually mention Hell or repentance. "Wonderful Plan" evangelism doesn't always wash. See my latest post for details.

There are certainly better tracts, and I would shy away from any attempt to put salvation into some type of formula. It's a supernatural process.

At 8/09/2008 9:21 AM, Blogger J. K. Jones said...

Puritan Lad,

“…God's love is always presented to believers in Scripture…”

John 3:16- God loves the world in some sense.

1 Timothy 2:4 - God, in some sense, wants all of the world to be saved.

2 Peter 3:9 – God does not want anyone to perish.

Romans 5:8- God does love sinners, else we would all be in a heap of trouble.

There is some sense in which God loves everyone despite the fact that He does not save everyone.

God does offer a wonderful plan to anyone who would accept it. The problem is not with God’s offer, and not with anything outside of the person who is required to accept that offer. The problem is within the person: they do not want to believe because they are wicked. They don’t want to do what they are required to do: repent and believe the gospel.

“…mention Hell or repentance…”

Not being more direct about hell is an issue, but at least it mentions separation from God because of sin. Also, there is a place in the tract where a person is required to make Christ the Lord of his life. That is a statement of repentance, even if you might need to clarify it somewhat.

“…There are certainly better tracts…”

I agree. I would recommend anything from World Harvest Mission or anything from Evangelism Explosion. However, I am not willing to say that the Four Spiritual Laws tract is not Calvinist.

“…It's a supernatural process…”

The process results in a person who chooses, with his will, to receive Christ. God gives him a new heart to repent and believe, but he is the one who repents and believes. This is how I was taught Calvinism by R. C. Sproul and John H. Gerstner, even if I do phrase it differently in some places. I know of no one who would argue that these two men are not Calvinist.

I would highly recommend that you google search Andrew Fuller, a prominent Baptist who argued against “High Calvinism.” His approach is consistent with five-point Calvinism as well.



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