When we are involved in a program in which converts are quickly counted, decisions are more likely pressed, and evangelism is gauged by its immediately obvious effect, we are involved in undermining real evangelism and real churches. (p. 81)Here's a quote from an e-mail I received, which describes an evangelistic meeting in a Baptist church:
He did the sinner's prayer thing, then had those who prayed to raise their hands, then asked them to come forward, which he'd done both times Sunday and probably did all week. I don't know about the other evenings all week, but last night he came and got a girl in the row in front of us, because she didn't step out on her own and go forward. Then he asked the Christians who were praying for someone specifically in the service last night to raise their hands. Then he had them talk to the person they were praying for to try to get them to go forward.This didn't happen twenty years ago. It was 2008. And it wasn't in some right-wing, fire-breathing, KJVO, ultra-revivalist church. And it wasn't some young, brash, obscure evangelist trying to make a name for himself.
Of course, I do recognize and appreciate that many evangelists will be as repulsed by this methodology (and the theology it reflects) as I am. Nevertheless, as Dever writes, this kind of methodology undermines biblical evangelism. It strikes me as the kind of aberrance from which we should separate. It's one of the reasons authentic fundamentalism is too seldom found within the fundamentalist movement.