Recently I read an account of a Gospel presentation by a man who is identified as a friend of the man who was writing. The man who was relating the encounter is named Charles Price. The retelling of this story can be found in his book, Real Christians (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1987, pp. 55-56). I had never heard anything quite like it and was really terrified by it. Here is what he wrote:
After we had talked from a couple of hours, the young man seemed to be prepared to give himself to Christ. My friend, no doubt sensing that asked him a question: “In light of all we have talked about this evening, can you think of any reason why you should not become a Christian tonight?”
The young man sat for a few minutes, then looked back at him and replied, “No, I cannot think of any reason.”
I was excited by this but to my amazement, my friend leaned across the table and said, “Then let me give you some!” For the next few minutes he began to explain the cost of being a Christian. He talked about the young man’s need to surrender his whole life, his future, his ambitions, his relationships, his possessions, and everything he was to God. Only if he was prepared to do this, my friend explained, could Christ begin to work effectively in his life.
…My friend then leaned even further across the table and asked, “Can you still not think of any reason why you shouldn’t become a Christian tonight?”
After another moment, the reply came, “I can think of some now.”
My friend responded, “In that case, do not become a Christian until you have dealt with every one of those reasons and are willing to surrender everything to Christ.”
Is this really the way that the Gospel is to be presented? I don’t know the rest of his gospel presentation, but is this even part of the Gospel message?
When the Philippian jailer brought Paul and Silas out of the jail he fell down at their feet and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Then Paul and Silas said to him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.” (Acts 16:30-32)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship (creation)…” Ephesians 2:8-10a.
“(John the Baptist) came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him (his testimony)” John 1:7
“Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. . . He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:14b-16, 18
When I read the account of Jesus’ ministering to the Samaritan woman at the well, I don’t read about how He gave her reasons to not believe in Him (John 4:7-30). Furthermore, I read what Paul identifies as “the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, . . . by which also you are saved…” in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and I find a similar lack of pronunciations as to why they should not believe in Christ.
So I again pose the question concerning the presentation of the Gospel as presented by the friend of Price; is that really how we should present the gospel? In case you are wondering what MY answer is, I say no.