Thursday, September 9, 2010

PHILIP RYKEN ON PERSONAL EVANGELISM

"...[T]he most important thing for us to do is point people to the Scriptures. The best reasons we can give people for our hope in Christ are biblical reasons; the clearest answers we can give to their question about God are biblical answers. The Holy Spirit will use the true words of God to do His spiritual work in people’s lives. God has not promised to use our personal testimonies to bring people to Christ. No matter how eloquently or persuasively we speak, our words in themselves do not have the power to give people spiritual life. What God has promised to use in a saving and sanctifying way are His own words — the words we read in the Bible and understand by the help of the Spirit. God’s Word always does God’s work (see Isa. 55:10–11).

"The Word of God even has the power to save atheists, changing the minds and hearts of people who say they do not believe in God. The real truth, of course, is that even the most hardened atheist actually does believe in God, he just works very hard to deny it. In order to maintain a consistently atheistic point of view, unbelievers must actively suppress what they know to be true about the existence of God. Deep down, everyone knows there is a God (see Rom. 1:21).

"The inescapable reality of God’s power should give us tremendous confidence for personal evangelism. Although we may not have very much confidence in ourselves, or in our ability to respond to every objection an unbeliever may raise against the Gospel, we ought to have every confidence in the goodness of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible confronts every person’s conscience, testifying that the God who is really there speaks to people today. Whether we are fully prepared to give an answer or not, God is always ready and able to save people by His mighty Word."

7 comments:

Persis said...

Thanks for posting this, Craig. Is this an excerpt from a book?

I think I've been confused about this very thing. Perhaps it's because too much weight is put on one's personal testimony or the ability to answer every question. But it's the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation.

stranger.strange.land said...

It is an excerpt from an article that he wrote for Tabletalk last year. To read the entire article, click here.

Personal testimonies are God-ordained, too. Right of the tip of my brain I think of the man born blind, the woman at the well, and Paul (several times) in the book of Acts.

New Screen Name? : )

Petra said...

"The inescapable reality of God’s power should give us tremendous confidence for personal evangelism." Encouraging truth! I'm a super klutz when it comes to my mouth, and thus very shy, but trusting in God's sovereignty and power has given me more courage! As the Lord said to Moses, "Who gave man his mouth?"

stranger.strange.land said...

Thank you, Petra. You may (or may not) be a "klutz" when it comes to your mouth, but you were eloquent in what you typed here.

What Philip Ryken said about sharing with atheists really struck home with me, as I converse with them a lot on line. Trusting in our sovereign God helps me greatly.

May God richly bless you.

Craig

stranger.strange.land said...

I have scheduled James Montgomery Boice on personal evangelism to post this weekend (Sat / Sun). You won't want to miss that. (It is part 1 of 2)

CB

stormbringer005 said...

Philip Ryken had some excellent comments there, thanks for posting.

Did you ever post that middle paragraph to Atheist Central? Just curious.

stranger.strange.land said...

@stormbringer005

Ryken took the pastorate of Tenth Presbyterian church in Philadelphia after James Montgomery Boice's death in 2000. I don't remember where he is ministering now.

No, I haven't posted that paragraph at AC. Would you like the honors? I am sure it will receive a favorable response from the atheists there. Sort of like what I got when I mentioned being armed with Romans 1:20 at FWT. ; )