To the First Edition
IF there is sufficient warrant for this book, in addition to the many already written on Evangelism, it lies in the effort which is here made to place an emphasis upon the fact that evangelism is the service of the whole company of believers, and that when they intelligently co-operate with the Spirit in this work, there is less demand for the modern evangelist or his methods.
What is here written is the result of evangelistic experience and study covering a period of almost a score of years. During this time the trend of the writer's conviction has been away from emotional and superficial methods, which are too often thought to be the only possible expression of earnestness and enthusiasm in soul-winning, and toward an entire dependence upon the Spirit to do every phase of the work that has been assigned to Him in the purpose of GOD.
It is not a pleasant task to offer criticism of any faithful effort in evangelism; for a sincere attempt to reach the lost, though misguided, is preferable to the spiritual death and formalism which knows no burden or sacrifice for the unsaved. What may seem as criticism has been introduced only where it is needed to emphasize true evangelism by way of contrast. It is intended that this work shall be constructive rather than critical. If some of the difficulties in soul-winning, with the divine provisions to overcome them, are herein revealed, and any new light shall fall on the exact responsibility of the individual Christian in co-operation with CHRIST, and that new light be acted upon, the going forth of this testimony in the name of CHRIST and for His glory will not have been in vain.
The Author. 1911
To the First Edition
YOUR welcome letter from Northfield found me in much physical pain and weakness. The more welcome may I say on this account, for should my brotherly words in reference to your timely volume prove to be my latest, I would be grateful for their occasion. The proof pages read at the early stages of convalescence have been greatly valued and enjoyed. The standard is, as it should be, high, true, clear, and unmistakably loyal to the revelation of GOD.
Your volume, in my judgment, is of great value.
I praise GOD for your writing. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is clearly revealed in the luminous pages of "True Evangelism." I heartily endorse and rejoice in the prominence to the unchanging character of human salvation effected at the instance and by the power of the living GOD in CHRIST JESUS the Lord.
The distinct revelation given from the Word of GOD is admirable. You have not failed to "hold fast the form of sound words," which the Spirit of GOD maintains in the New Testament. These can never be changed, modified, or made to teach the crude fallacies of "modern criticism," or "New Theology."
Needless to say, you have revealed the cause of much failure in past evangelistic effort. Despite these failures, we will never forget that it is written of the exalted Lord that "He gave some apostles, Some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints to the work of the ministry, to the edifying of the Body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11, 12). That the god of this age will counterfeit the real gifts is certain, the modern sacrificing priest and the mere professional evangelist yielding conclusive proof.
Many years since, in conversation with our glorified friend, C. H. Spurgeon, the question came up, of what our part was, or could be, in connection with the salvation of men, seeing that the fact and glory of their salvation belonged entirely to CHRIST.
I remember expressing the following, "that real and personal fellowship in the compassionate love and sufferings of CHRIST in regard to the salvation of others might yield partnership in that glory which by right alone belongs to Our Lord."
With the structure and the furtherance of your theme, as indicated by the titles of the successive chapters, I am in hearty agreement. Your searching words in relation to certain phases of modern evangelism, both as to men and methods, should cause deep searching of heart; nor must we fail to point out what poor "soul-winners" at best we all are. Our cry must be: "O Lord, be with us, and help us, for without Thee we can do nothing."
Mr. Henry Varley
The above foreword proved to be the last written words of Mr. Varley. He passed on two days later to be with CHRIST.
To the Revised Edition
IF the reputation of the author be not yet continentally established, a foreword to his book may be useful. "True Evangelism," when first published, bore on its pages a reassuring and discriminating appreciation from one of the most trusted and successful evangelists of our time. Lewis Sperry Chafer since then has achieved outstanding distinction both as Bible teacher and author. What further good purpose can another foreword to this new and revised edition serve? To "born again" ones who read the book studiously and reverently (and no other can understand it, whatever their education, theological or otherwise, I Corinthians 2:14) little or none; but to those who may be in a similar mental condition toward books on evangelism as that in which the undersigned found himself when he first glanced through this book in a book store, it may be like the voice the great Augustine heard, "Take and read" - and if it induces them to read, then they will know the profit.
At that time I had not the joy and enrichment of a personal acquaintance with the author, whose friendship, love and brotherly counsel have been one of GOD's choicest gifts to me in the past four years. The title attracted me, for my estimation of the surpassing importance of the subject had led me to purchase almost every book on this theme that had come to my notice. However, so often I had been disappointed with the unsatisfactory and unscriptural character of many of these, that I had passed the buying-at-sight stage. Arrested by the thoughtful and evangelical tone of the foreword, I began to sample its pages and found that it promised to be a book with a distinctive, timely, and Scriptural message on this vital theme. A careful reading followed, which more than justified the forecast I had made. So many other books on this subject were disappointing, not because they were lacking in style, vivacity or popular phraseology, but because vitally lacking in spiritual interpretation,- especially concerning the two great master ideas of GOD's Holy Word,- Sin,- Redemption.
Jerome, in the fourth century, declared that "light views of sin induced false views of GOD," and the late master-preacher, McLaren of Manchester, stated that "ninety per cent of all doctrinal errors have grown up around defective views of sin." Any theory that minimizes sin minimizes the redemptive work of our Lord JESUS CHRIST and the regenerative work of the HOLY SPIRIT. Such theory also must make a large appeal to men (almost betimes as frantic as that of the Prophets of Baal on Carmel's summit), and clever little devices have been invented to induce men to "take CHRIST," or "step over the line," and which offer to settle the great eternal question by an oral acceptance of a simple synthesis, or of a little formula on a small printed card.
One turns from these naturalistic, legalistic, colorless conceptions of sin and salvation to this precious book with its grave, thorough, Biblical treatment of Man's sin and GOD's salvation, and finds his heart full of praise to GOD for empowering His humble and honored servant to send forth a message so virile, timely, and throbbing with power.
May the Triune GOD, Whose Word and grace it magnifies, speed this unpretentious book on its beneficent mission, that by His grace and power it may accomplish what He pleases, and hasten the coming and Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, JESUS CHRIST.
A. B. Winchester
Toronto, May 20, 1919