AW Pink on Erroneous Evangelism

The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist.   He announces a savior from hell rather than a savior from sin.  And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.” – Originally from article Saving Faith: Part 1 Signs of the Times. Cited in the DVD Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism

I believe this quote from Pink is essential in developing a biblical approach to evangelism.  It’s all too easy to gain ‘converts’ by scaring the ‘hell’ right out of people by conjuring horrific imagery of an eternal state of suffering and misery. Who in their right mind would choose this fate over one of eternal bliss?  Heaven and hell are not the primary issues we are faced with everyday; righteousness and wickedness are.    The bottom line is that we don’t choose heaven and hell.  We choose between righteousness and unrighteousness.  Heaven and hell are simply the eternal consequence of our choices between the two.

We must never use the idea of heaven as a dangling carrot God offers to lure people to salvation.  God has lifted his Son up that all men may be drawn to him.  Conversely,  we must not use the fear of hell as our primary motivating force to get people to repent.

Sin is the central issue that must be dealt with in our evangelism efforts.

God hates sin and condemns it.  Man loves sin and relishes it.   This tension between God and man must be resolved.  Our evangelism must start with God’s holy law, to show people that they have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  The Holy Spirit must convict them of their sin and their response must be to turn from sin unto righteousness – the righteousness that is only through Jesus Christ.  Salvation revolves around our relationship with sin.  My brother in Christ Paul Washer has said on several occasions that a person can’t have a relationship with Christ unless he has a new relationship with sin.  In other words, unless we view the sin within us with disgust and loathing we don’t yet know Christ.

I must take a moment to balance this post out a bit.  Talking about heaven and hell in evangelism is not taboo.  After all, Christ spoke extensively on hell in the gospels.  My point is, a fear of hell won’t save you, but fearing God who can destroy both body and soul in hell can.  A holy fear of God is the result of hating that which he hates and turning away from the things he detests.  If you don’t hate your sin enough to turn away from it, then no matter how much you dread the idea of spending forever in a lake of burning sulfur you will not be able to escape it.

Christian, don’t be afraid to talk about sin.  You must talk about sin.  It is the central issue of every single person’s salvation.  I fear for the pastors of today who preach the modern gospel of coming to Christ for peace, prosperity, health and every other carnal reason but never confronts people with their sin.  Any person who comes to Christ by any other way than the narrow gate of repentance from sin is a false convert.

I am suspicious of professing Christians who speak of their faith only in terms of the reward they will receive.  If someone talks of going to heaven more than about reigning with Christ I wonder about their spiritual state.  I’ve heard people say on more than one occasion that they are just hanging on, hoping to just make it into heaven by the skin of their teeth.  People like this don’t usually speak of how precious Christ is to them or how much they love him because he has freed them from the power and penalty of their sins.  All they see is the reward and not the rewarder.  I fear for people like this and believe they are likely products of easy-believism ‘I said a prayer when I was eight and I’m forever saved’  kind of shallow theology that is so prevalent these days.

Our evangelism of the lost must also include re-evangelism of those who have been victimized by unbiblical outreach efforts of modern Christianity.

6 thoughts on “AW Pink on Erroneous Evangelism

  1. I thought I found a bug in my news reader. It turns out that you actually posted an article. Haha.

    You have written a great article. I have devoted time to “RE-evangelizing” to people who have been deceived by the modern gospel with no law or repentance. It saddens me to hear of someone in this situation. Often times, it’s more difficult to re-evangelize, because the hearer would rather cling to the sweet and gentle deception than even look at the bold and humbling truth found in Christ.

  2. Hi Brandon, and thanks for this post. My wife and I have been meeting in our home Sunday mornings for some time. We’ve been going through 1 John since September of last year, except for when we go out to investigate a possible church. Last week we covered 1 John 3:1..”behold what manner of Love God has for us that we should be called children of God…” and of course, to appreciate this, we must understand the sovereignty and HOLINESS of God and the depravity of man…and all that entails.

    SO…this week we’ve started a study of the Doctrines of Grace.

    Please pray for us that God would help us understand how we, in our own minds, so often drift from understanding our true relationship as God’s creation…it is very humbling.


  3. Hello Brandon,
    I read through your article and I must say that it is a timely one. You are right in saying that evangelism should be centered on the issue of sin rather than hell or anything else.
    As much as I cherish the writings of ‘Reformed men’, the fame they enjoyed and the multitudes that attended their churches always bothered me. “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” has always been the maxim by which I have measured every mans ministry, and somehow the large crowds that these men attracted never seemed to measure up to the Biblical portrait of a true man of God. — “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”

    It was at this time that I came across the writings of A.W. Pink. Here was finally someone who not only preached the doctrines of Grace faithfully but also renounced the existing Christendom of his day as Apostate. In Pink I found a like-minded brother. It grieves my heart that in our day even many who claim to love Pink’s writings and have even made them available on the net are themselves a part of the Great Whore!

    Brother Brandon, I also preach separation from false churches as imperative! Ever since I left the Four Square and started out independently, the Lord has gradually shown me little by little that the existing Christendom of our day is irremediably Apostate. We are living in a day when ‘Christians’ have no regard for sound doctrine or a hunger for true holiness. Even most who prate about their orthodoxy in sound doctrine do not demand holiness from the flock entrusted to them. Most preachers in our day desire to have a ‘ministry’ to show the world what they have accomplished for Christ. But I know from experience that any preacher who faithfully preaches the whole counsel of God, which means not just preaching the truth but exposing the lie (and the liars who masquerade in Jesus’ name) and demanding separation from the world and all its ideals, standards, styles, fads, fashions, craze and customs etc, I believe such a preacher will be left without a ‘ministry’, for he will soon begin to see that the elect of God who sincerely seek to follow the Lamb by denying self, sin, and the world are only a mere handful.

    The Lord said “when the Son of man cometh shall He find faith upon the earth?” Except for a few small groups of faithful disciples all over the world, the whole of Christendom will be thoroughly apostate- which is why He says, “come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues”.
    And brother, this is our message for today in the final hour before His coming.

    Even way back in his day Brother Pink spake of men’s disregard for the truth! The cry on every side now is “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” And this we cannot do! We would rather die than preach the lie! As the apostle said, “We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth”. For the most part our work for the Lord in these days when iniquity abounds is very discouraging and at times we groan with Elijah saying, “Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life”. But as always the comforting answer is that even now there is a remnant according to the election of grace who have not bowed the knee to Baal. The Lord has His chosen ones all over the world who are earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints!

    Oh how glorious the hope and promise that He is coming back soon to take us to be with Him never to be separated again! Hallelujah! Even so come quickly Lord Jesus!

  4. Pingback: A Three Year Pilgrimmage « A Peculiar Pilgrim

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