Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches are known for being the Baptist version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. IFB soulwinners fan out across their communities knocking on doors, hoping the people resting from a long, hard day at work will answer their knock and want to spend ten minutes hearing their sales presentation. While the sales pitches vary from church to church, the goal is always the same — to induce customers to sign on the dotted line, uh, I mean sinners to accept Jesus as their Savior.
Church members are given specific instructions about how best to evangelize those who answer their doors. Members are told to never deviate from the script. Keep on message, says Pastor Gerencser. Don’t let the prospect for Heaven ask questions. All they need to know is gospel. Here is the soulwinning method I taught countless church members:
Soulwinner: Hello. My name is Pastor Bruce Gerencser and this is (pointing to soulwinning partner) John Baptist. We are from Somerset Baptist Church, and we are out today inviting people to church. Do you attend church anywhere?
Prospect: Well, yes I do. I attend the Methodist church in Somerset.
(Sometimes, at this point, the soulwinner might ask where the church is located or who the pastor is. If the prospect can’t answer these questions, it is evident that they don’t attend church regularly.)
Soulwinner: Why that’s great. We don’t want to take anyone away from their church home. (This, by the way, is a bald-faced lie. The goal is to take as many people as possible away from what is perceived as liberal, apostate churches.)
Soulwinner: Before we go, I would like to ask you a question. If you died today, would you go to Heaven?
Prospect: I am a good person. I think I will go to Heaven when I die. (The answer is meaningless. The soulwinner plans to share the gospel with the prospect regardless of how the question is answered.)
Soulwinner: Let me quickly show you how you can know for sure that you will go to Heaven when you die. I promise this will only take a few minutes. (The soulwinner, before the prospect can answer, opens his King James Bible to Romans 3, preparing to read.)
(At this point, the soulwinner should ask if they can come into the home. If the prospect says no, then the soulwinner should continue sharing the gospel on the porch.)
Soulwinner: The Word of God says in Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. This means that all of us, you, me, everyone is a sinner. Do you understand what it means to be a sinner?
Prospect: Sin is doing bad things.
Soulwinner: That’s right. (The soulwinner might list a few small and big sins to emphasize the fact that we are all sinners)
Soulwinner: The Bible also says in Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The just payment for our sins is death.
Soulwinner: The last part of Romans 6:23 says, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The bad news is that the wages (payment) of sin is death. We all will someday physically die. And if we don’t know Jesus as our Savior, we will also spiritually die. This spiritual death means that those who haven’t accepted Jesus as their personal savior will spend eternity in Hell. The good news is . . . you don’t have to go to Hell when you die. God will give us eternal life in Heaven if we put our faith and trust in Jesus. Wouldn’t you like to escape Hell and go to Heaven when you die?
Prospect: Uh, sure.
Soulwinner: That’s great. The Bible says in Romans 10:9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. This verse says that if we will confess with our mouths and believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead three days later, God will save us.
Soulwinner: What is your first name, sir.
Soulwinner: Horace, the Bible says that if Horace shalt confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus, and if Horace will believe in his heart that God hath raised Jesus from the dead, Horace will be saved.
Soulwinner: Horace, would you like to be saved? Would you like to know for certain that your sins are forgiven and that you will go to Heaven when you die?
Prospect: Yes. (If the prospect is the least bit hesitant, the soulwinner should stress the fact that none of us knows when we will die. It could be today!)
Soulwinner: The Bible says in Romans 10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. That whosoever includes you, me, and everyone. All you have to do, Horace, is pray and ask Jesus to save you. Are you willing to ask Jesus to save you?
Prospect: Yes, but I am not very good at praying.
Soulwinner: Don’t worry, Horace. I am going to say a prayer, What I want you to do is repeat this prayer.
Soulwinner: Dear Lord Jesus.
Prospect: Dear Lord Jesus.
Soulwinner: I know that I have sinned and I deserve to go to Hell when I die.
Prospect: I know that I am a sinner and I deserve to go to Hell when I die.
Soulwinner: But I also know Jesus died on the cross for my sins so I don’t have to go to Hell when I die.
Prospect: But I also know Jesus died on the cross for my sins so I don’t have to go to Hell when I die.
Soulwinner: Right now, I put my faith and trust in Jesus and ask him to forgive me and save me from my sins.
Prospect: Right now, I put my faith and trust in Jesus and ask him to forgive me and save me from my sins.
Soulwinner: Thank you, Jesus for saving me and giving me eternal life.
Prospect: Thank you, Jesus for saving me and giving me eternal life.
Soulwinner: In Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.
Prospect: In Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.
(Once the now-saved prospect says Amen, both soulwinners, with raised voices, say AMEN!)
Soulwinner: Horace, based on the authority of the Word of God, you are now a Christian. The Bible says in Romans 8:38,39: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. God says, Horace, no one can take away your salvation. Isn’t that wonderful?
(At this point, the new Christian is given literature that tells him he needs to find a good church to attend — that good church being Somerset Baptist Church, read the Bible every day, pray every day, and tell others about what Jesus has done for them.)
Scores of Americans have, at one time or the other, been accosted by Jesus-peddling IFB soulwinners hoping to sell them the truncated, bankrupt Fundamentalist Baptist gospel. There are numerous versions of this approach. I used what is called the Romans Road. Some churches use John’s Road — from the gospel of John — or church surveys. Southern Baptists popularized the use of surveys. The goal is to identify people who can easily be persuaded to buy siding/windows/driveway sealing/vacuum cleaners/magazines/steak knives/insurance/Jesus.
The goal is to win as many souls as possible. It doesn’t matter that most of the souls won to Jesus will NEVER darken the doors of an IFB church, never be baptized, or do any of the things “good” Christians support.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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