“Becoming a Christian is always a miracle”

August 17, 2012

Here’s a profoundly good statement about evangelism and those who do its good work, from The Bible Speaks Today commentary on John, by Bruce Milne. The author of this passage is reflecting on Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” I’m preaching on this text this Sunday.

The truth of new birth has far-reaching implications for those engaged in evangelism, for it teaches us that becoming a Christian is always a miracle. The Christian witness therefore will inevitably be a person of prayer, and churches which engage in evangelism with integrity will inevitably be prayerful churches, beseeching God for his intervention to enable dead people to be reborn. Salvation is of God, and no advance in Christian evangelistic methodology will ever eliminate or replace this. As truly today as in the first century, the key to effective mission for the living God is prayer to the living God. Only God can save.[†]

Bruce Milne, The Message of John: Here Is Your King! (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 79.

3 Responses to ““Becoming a Christian is always a miracle””

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    I very largely agree with this, so long as we are then wiling to “put feet to our prayers,” which for me is the harder part of the two. However, I agree with the prayer point as against what my pastor has recently been suggesting, just “witnessing” to whomever we come in contact with. I don’t think that is very often effective (but of course I don’t know all the cases). I think seeking to lead someone to Christ is a very substantial undertaking (in general, anyway). (But, we may still reap where others have already sown and watered.)

    Also, one other thought, and that is despite our best efforts and years of prayer, we may nonetheless not obtain the conversion. I think it was just this past Sunday that the pastor said he was confident that his son will ultimately come around because so many people for so many years have been praying for him. Don’t believe that to be the case. I don’t think God guarantees us anyone else’s salvation. Case in point for me–my old philosophy professor, Dr. Edwards, whom I believe I coveted your payers for. Some 27 years of prayer and now fortunately able to correspond with a bit. But who knows? “Who knows, oh wife, whether you will win your husband?”, Paul says in speaking on divorce.

    • brentwhite Says:

      I can sort of go along with your pastor’s words, so long as we understand that we bear witness through our words and our actions. We should pray every day that our words and actions could be a witness, in general. Actions—like going up to a complete stranger at a shopping mall and asking them if they know Jesus—could often be unloving, not to mention ineffective. In which case, it wouldn’t be “witnessing” at all. Right?

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        Well, it could be “witnessing,” but you can be either a good witness or a bad one. A bad one tends to “turn people off” to the faith rather than help them move forward. The Lord knows I have had enough “bad witness” instances! Whether by word or deed.


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