Personal Soul Winning
By Evangelist John R. Rice, Th.D.
Value and Importance of Personal Work
One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith. unto him, We have found the Messias, .which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus …. The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me …. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth …” —John 1:40-43, 45.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” —Mark 16:15.
THE WINNING of individuals by individuals in personal conversation is the main way to win souls.
The New Testament type of Christianity has been so perverted and misshapen that now people generally consider Christian work to be primarily done in a church house, in formal services, conducted by preachers. The simple truth is that in New Testament times there were no church houses (not a single one mentioned in the New Testament). The public meetings were informal and more or less incidental to the main work of carrying the Gospel all over town, yes, all over the world, speaking to individuals.
Seminary professors and others without much practical experience sometimes discuss the relative merits of personal soul winning and mass evangelism. The truth is that they are essential parts of the same thing. The right kind of gospel preaching sends Christians out to win souls, and bombards the hearts of sinners, dynamites the hard ground, and arouses the conscience, and makes a climate for personal soul winning. And the personal soul winning is best done, always, where there is plain Bible preaching, evangelistic preaching. No man who is against mass evangelism is ever a very good personal soul winner, and the greatest soul winners have been the best advocates of mass evangelism. Who ever did better personal soul-winning work than D. L. Moody and R. A. Torrey? And who ever developed personal soul winners like these great evangelists and other evangelists?
In an evangelistic ministry of nearly forty years, and having seen tens of thousands of people come to Christ, I can say that personal contact, personal invitation, had a part in winning nine out of ten of all those I have seen come to Christ.
The best gospel preaching and the best personal soulwinning effort go together.
It is good to preach to great crowds the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But the simple truth is that many a lost sinner will never come to hear a sermon unless some Christian brings him, will not respond to the invitation unless some Christian encourages him to go forward and claim Christ, and would not know how to trust Christ and have the assurance of salvation if some personal worker did not show him from the Scriptures.
D. L. Moody said that if he had to win one thousand souls in order to make sure of Heaven himself, he would certainly choose to risk it by personal soul winning without public preaching rather than to attempt it by public preaching without personal soul winning.
Dr. Charles G. Trumbull, long-time editor of The Sunday School Times, after many years as editor of a magazine with an average circulation of a hundred thousand copies, after preaching for many years to good crowds, said that he felt sure he had won more souls to Christ in personal conversation than all those saved through his influence in other ways.
I am saying that personal soul-winning effort with, individuals, is the main way to win souls.
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