Evangelism That Works?

I’ve seen Google ads for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that promote the program with this line: Evangelism that works.
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I recently took the class, and I can definitely recommend it for its solid financial training. However, I’d say to advertise it as evangelism that works is to demonstrate a lack of understanding of evangelism.

In the course, Ramsey certainly talks about the Bible and gives applications for Scripture verses, but that isn’t evangelism. Evangelism isn’t getting people to come to your church, or pointing out to them that biblical principles about finances are relevant to their lives.

Evangelism is proclaiming the gospel, and that means explaining to people that:

  • God is holy, we are sinners, and God can’t allow sinners into heaven.
  • God made a way to not compromise His justice yet forgive people’s sins through Jesus Christ.

I think Ramsey is trying to appeal to the fear of evangelism that most of us have in abundance. If you can’t work up the nerve to actually witness to someone, maybe you can invite them to an event at your church. Once you get them there, you don’t have to actually share the gospel; you just have to play videos.

I recommend Ramsey’s books and products for their financial advice, but I can’t recommend them for evangelism purposes. If you invested the two hours a week in going out witnessing, you could almost certainly witness to many more people than you would if you held a Financial Peace University at which you actually proclaimed the gospel.

People don’t get saved by hanging around with really likable Christians or learning that the Bible is cool. They can only be saved by hearing the gospel (Romans 10:14), and there simply is no gospel message within the materials of the Financial Peace University. As desperately as we try to avoid it, the cold, hard fact is that Christians must actually open their mouths and explain the gospel.

—–Update—–8/18/09—–

I’ve been thinking about the line “Evangelism that works” and it’s been bothering me. Even if there was evangelism in Ramsey’s materials, we don’t select our evangelism based on what works. We do what the Bible says, regardless of the results. Furthermore, we don’t do it expecting results, but because God has commanded it.