“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it is the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written: ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”
Charles Finney famously said, “It is the great business of every Christian to save souls.” While his heart was probably in the right place, his confidence was decidedly not.
It is God who saves souls.
Yes, he uses us as instruments or means by which he accomplishes that end, but God is always and everywhere the ultimate source of salvation and the first cause of repentance.
We have a role in salvation to be sure, but it is a subordinate and responsive one that is contingent on God’s gift of saving faith.
I fear that the church has lost sight of this truth.
Too many of us in the evangelical world have become disciples of Finney. We think we’re in the business of saving souls. And so we create religious entertainment that will enable people to have positive emotional experiences, which we’ll tell them is actually an experience of God.
It may be…it may not be.
We ignore the pattern that God has given to us–the Word, sacraments, and prayer–and focus on meeting peoples’ felt needs. The verdict is in: the disciples we’re making are DINO’s — disciple in name only.
We can do better by doing less, and by focusing on the means of grace that God has given us.