Using the fast-folding method of modern evangelism, we will continue to produce stony-ground “converts,” with the devastating results. We will go to the landing ground on which so many have fallen after putting on the Lord Jesus Christ using the fast-folding method.
In a 1990 crusade in the U.S., 600 decisions were obtained. No doubt there was much rejoicing. However, ninety days later, follow-up workers couldn’t find even one who was continuing in his or her faith. That crusade created 600 “backsliders,” or to be more scriptural, “false converts.”
In Cleveland, Ohio, in an “Inner City Outreach,” rejoicing no doubt tapered when those who were involved in follow-up once again couldn’t find one of the 400 who had made a decision.
In 1985, a four-day crusade obtained 217 decisions, but according to a member of the organizing committee, ninety-two percent fell away.
Charles E. Hackett, the Division of Home Missions National Director for the Assemblies of God in the U.S., said, “A soul at the altar does not generate much excitement in some circles because we realize approximately ninety-five out of every hundred will not become integrated into the church. In fact, most of them will not return for a second visit.”
A pastor in Boulder, Colorado, sent a team to Russia in 1991 and attained 2,500 decisions. The next year, they found that only 30 were going on in their faith. That’s a little more than a one-percent retention rate.
In Leeds, England, a visiting U.S. speaker acquired 400 decisions for a local church. However, six weeks later only two were going on, and they eventually fell away.
A leading U.S. denomination published that during 1995 they secured 384,057 decisions, but retained only 22,983 in fellowship. They couldn’t account for 361,074 supposed conversions. That’s a ninety-four percent fall-away rate.
Pastor Dennis Grenell from Auckland, New Zealand, who has travelled to India every year since 1980, reported that he saw 80,000 decision cards stacked in a hut in the city of Rajamundry, the “results” of past evangelistic crusades. But he maintained that one would be fortunate to find even 80 Christians in the entire city.
Even a “no-compromise gospel” will not awaken sinners. That’s not its function. Author and Bible teacher Paris Reidhead, in remarking about the ministry of Charles Finney, wrote:
Finney was in Rochester, New York, where a blue-ribbon committee of outstanding citizens was appointed by Henry Ward Beecher to study the converts who, a decade earlier, had come to Christ under Finney’s preaching. It was found that eighty-five percent of those who had made professions of faith under Finney’s preaching were still faithfully living for Christ. In contrast, it is being reported that only one-half of one percent of those who make decisions for Christ in our evangelistic meetings today will be living as Christians two years from now. This should give you some idea of how far we’ve strayed from the Word of God.
Please, don’t be tempted to ignore the devastating results of modern evangelism, and to look at those comparatively few who are continuing in their faith as justification for the method. Remember, for every 1,000 genuine converts, there are as many as 9,000 who lay mangled on the soil of hard hearts, as a direct result of the quick and easy methods of modern evangelism.