The Bible presents the great and terrible Day of the Lord as the very reason to repent and trust the Saviour.
The false convert has never “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). He, like the pig, must go back to wallowing in the mire. Pigs need to wallow in mire because they crave the slime to cool their flesh. So it is with the false convert. He never repented, so his flesh is not dead with Christ. It is instead burning with unlawful desire. The heat of lust is too much for his sinful heart; he must go back to the filth. Yet, the new and modern method of evangelism forsook the Law in its power to humble the proud heart and convert the soul. It did, however, speed the process of evangelism, making it much easier to get commitments. Also, it stirred less opposition and it seemed to get results. So everyone rejoiced.
Second, it failed to mention the fact of Judgment Day. The Bible presents the great and terrible Day of the Lord as the very reason to repent and trust the Saviour: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31). The new presentation was not faithful to God—it didn’t even hint of Judgment Day’s approach. The reason Jesus died on the cross was to save us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). That is the essence of the message of the gospel, but there wasn’t even a mention of hell’s existence. The “fast-folders” ripped the heart out of the body of the gospel. Modern evangelism did just that. Take the time to study closely the contents of to-day’s popular tracts and see the flaws of the fast-folding presentation:
1. No mention of Judgment Day.
2. Not a hint of hell.
3. No use of the Law of God to bring the knowledge of personal sin.
4. The gospel is held up as a means of happiness, rather than a means of righteousness.
That is a perfect recipe for a false conversion—a stony-ground hearer. He receives the Word with joy and gladness, but in a time of tribulation, temptation, or persecution, falls away.
False converts are nothing new. George Whitefield said of his day, “That is the reason we have so many ‘mushroom’ converts, because their stony ground is not ploughed up; they have not got a conviction of the Law; they are stony-ground hearers.”
Third, the modern method also glossed over sin. Probably the mainstay of the mention of sin in modern evangelism is Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” On looking at that Scripture, the question I would ask if I were not a Christian is, “What is meant by ‘glory’?” If I have fallen short of a mark, I would at least want to know what and where the target is to measure how much I have fallen short, to know whether I should give up or try another shot. We have failed to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, which is the essence of the Law (Mark 12:30). In fact, “all have sinned” comes in the context of Paul saying that the Law has left the whole world guilty before God (Romans 3:19). By calling “sin!” to a sinner, but failing to tell him anything about the mark he is aiming for, is to let him think that he can still give it his best shot. However, to display the Law in front of him is to leave him without hope of ever coming near the mark, so that his only hope will be in the Saviour.