Beware the False Conversion!
Meet Todd Friel. Todd hosts an appropriately named program called “Wretched Radio.” It should come as no surprise after you watch this video that this program used to be called “Way of the Master Radio.” Watch as Todd tells a youth worker that he’s not really saved:
Here’s my problem with Todd, Way of the Master, and everyone else cut from that cloth:
1) Jesus never called us to make converts. Ever. Go look, I’ll wait. Jesus calls us to make disciples and being a disciple is VERY different than being convert. This type of “evangelism” is only interested in adding notches to the belt of how many people we “saved.” If they were really interested in fulfilling Jesus’ call to “go and make disciples” then they wouldn’t be confronting people on the street in order to solicite a “decision” by having them say a few magic words. If they really wanted to fulfill Jesus’ call they would be investing their time and energy in these people’s lives, discipling them in the faith through their own lives. As ingrained as it is in the consciousness of American Christianity, this is absolutely nothing like what Jesus meant when he said “go and make disciples”
2) Todd, Ray, and their various cronnies are either incredibly ignorant of the scripture they profess to love or they are calculating liars. I prefer to think (hope) they’re just ignorant. To be honest, I can’t completely blame them. American Christianity has done an excellent job of telling us that when we die we will go before the judgment seat where Jesus will judge us according to the 10 commandments (the law). Thus, we see Way of the Master evangelism wherein we are taught to confront people with “Have you ever told a lie? When you die Jesus said He is going to judge you with these commandments. Where do you think you are going?”. The truth is: Jesus NEVER said that. Ever. In fact, in Matthew 25 Jesus says exactly what will happen when we come before the judgment seat at the end of all things:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ”
This isn’t an “alternative social gospel” as Todd or Glenn Beck might have you believe. This is THE gospel and this is exactly how Jesus says He plans on judging humanity.
If you sense some anger in my writing, then you’re probably right. Although I would prefer to call it “righteous indignation.”
Simply put they (and often we) are not preaching the gospel. Jesus never held the law over people’s heads. Ever. In fact, it was His refusal to do so that was in large part the reason He was nailed to a cross. Yet, we consume our time needlessly trying to defend God while at the same time putting ourselves in the place of that God as judge, jury, and executioner deciding the eternal fate of all mankind. We’ve reduced the faith and salvation itself to nothing more than a momentary intellectual decision. There is no transformative power in that and that is certainly not what Jesus lived, died, and rose again for. Jesus put on flesh so that all of creation could be reconciled with God, not so that we could spend our days endlessly arguing for the faith or trying to get people to say magic words.
May we remember once more that we have been set free from the law of sin and death so that we may spend our lives sharing God’s life giving grace to those around us through acts of humility, generosity, and love.