Harvest SoCal Starts Tonight

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65 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Michael,

    “Do you enjoy crusade evangelism?”

    Are you serious? 🙂

    Here’s what crusade evangelism is all about, in the very words of the Greg Laurie bio on the Harvest website:

    “More than 421,834 people have registered professions of faith through these outreaches.”

    What’s your application? 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    Jean,
    It’s been a very controversial topic here…

  3. JoelG says:

    Michael at this point of my life this stuff makes me cringe. I may be wrong. Because I know seeds will be planted and faith built. And this is good, right? But this evangelical “crusade” comes off more like an Amway convention than living out the KIngdom of God. This is probably not a fair statement. If it’s not God forgive me.

  4. Jeff Hensley says:

    Michael,

    This has been big on my heart and mind over the last three years…

    We participated a few years ago in a city-wide, and multi church event that you are aware of called “I Heart Rogue Valley”. It was a blazing success.

    The founders of the I Heart Campaign, however, LOVE big evangelistic events and include them in their programs. So included in our event was a gathering that night of thousands of people for a concert and gospel presentation by Nick Vujicic. Nick (famously born with no arms and no legs) is a fantastic guy. As the event head, I was blessed to spend a ton of time with him and loved it. He is humble and desperately loves Jesus, has a huge heart for the lost, and believes in what he is doing as a vital mechanism to save lost sinners.

    However, being the event head, I got to see how it plays out on the back end. At the event, 250 people came forward to make professions for christ. Info was gathered, and I got to see it all. Of the 250 people that came forward, every single one, EVERY SINGLE ONE, was already a part of a local church, to varying degrees. All of them. We reached no-one who was unchurched.

    While re-dedications and such are important, that should be happening AT CHURCH. Of course, unbelievers get saved at these sorts of events, but what I tend to think happens more than anything, is that only christians come, and already churched people mostly respond. And the reason I think only christians come is because most christians don’t know and aren’t friends with unbelievers. So for the few that do, and bring the unsaved, I think there’s hope the gospel comes through. But the infinite majority of people at these events are already churched (saved or not is another discussion I guess).

    So for me, its not that I’m against these events, as much as I question the return on investment. IT cost us THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars to bring Nick Vujicic to Medford. How much cheaper and more profitable (from a kingdom standpoint) would it be if the people of God were trained in the gospel and got out of their sanitized christian bubbles and made friends with the people much of modern christianity avoids?

    I think these events either only draw christians, or they foster lazy christians. “All we have to do is invite someone and our work is done. the pro on the stage does the rest.” And for the incredible amount of money spent, its hard not to believe there’s better ways.

    When I was in Israel, an Israeli pastor was talking with me about evangelism in an Jewish/Arab world. And someone (thankfully not from our church group) asked him if they handed out tracks. After he asked what that was, he graciously responded by saying, “What we have seen is that the biggest evangelistic impact comes in two ways. First, through genuine relationships with the unsaved. Second, when we engage the world and community around us to serve the needs of people and eliminate suffering and pain. that’s when people are primed to understand the gospel.” To which I replied, “AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!” Seems no matter what part of the world you are in, what works best works best.

    But he who is not against us is for us, so may God use Greg Laurie big-time tonight!

  5. Michael says:

    Jeff,

    That was a great comment…great perspective.

  6. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    It’s a tough call…I know Greg’s heart in this and his gifting is evident.
    I’m still very much more in Jeff’s camp on this one.

  7. Jeff Hensley says:

    I will add this: I’ve learned a ton about how to present the gospel to the hurting by watching how Greg Laurie does it, and for that I am very thankful. There’s no one I respect more in Calvary Chapel than Greg.

  8. brian says:

    Do I like Crusade evangelism? Personally I have some likes, I can hide but still pretend I am around people, while being invisible. I can be pretty sure I wont get gutted or have my soul ripped out through my throat. You do run into the nut crowd though, like when I was at a bill Gothard meeting, I lasted ten minutes, could not stop laughing because the guy was a tool and a shill. Those I went with did not see him that way and I was basically spiritually immature lol. That was back in the early eighties if I am remembering correctly in the San Jose area or maybe SF. That was true for Bob Lar$on as well, but that was more of a seminar as well not a revival or crusade though Bob was in it for the same reason alot of others do the crusade circuit $$$$$.

    Greg Laurie seems like a nice guy and I guess some do come to know God, Im still wondering what that actually means to be honest. I will admit one pathetic thing about myself I did go forward a few times for prayer and such because I was emotionally drawn in. That sickens me know or at least I think it should sicken me.

  9. Jeff said – “Of the 250 people that came forward, every single one, EVERY SINGLE ONE, was already a part of a local church, to varying degrees. All of them. We reached no-one who was unchurched.”

    Although I can’t say none were unchurched, I have told the story here almost each year. I worked under the right field bleachers for 3 years at the end of each night reviewing and distributing the “sign me up” cards. At least 95% were as Jeff stated – re-dedications. We would call them on the phone and they would say, “oh, we go to 1st so and so church.”

    But here is the problem – and we saw it with Steve Furtick – when the call is made, the first 100 people going down to the field are plants – ushers and counselors who go first to prime the pump to make it easier for folks to go down. (to be fair to Greg Laurie, Billy Graham used the same tactic) Eventually, by the time of the “prayer” part, half the people are workers. It seems if it were of the holy spirit, people would be running to Christ like in the book of acts.

    Now, if we are talking about for the Christians there – it’s a great night out as (and I don’t have the figure in front of me) less than 1 in 20 bring a lost friend.

    If they make a presentation tonight about Chuck Smith – we will know who they are catering to.

  10. Jean says:

    There are many issues with this brand of evangelism, but I will choose to focus on this one: For those who choose to listen to Laurie’s message, listen for what the “gospel” is he is sharing? Does it correspond to the “gospel” preached by the apostles? Does your understanding of the gospel correspond to the gospel preached by the apostles? If not why?

    Some of us believe that the decline of Christendom in the West and problems the church faces today in the West are a direct result of the “gospel” that pervades our Christian opinion makers and vision casters.

  11. Dave says:

    As you can tell from the website success is measured in pseudo-numbers not in disciples… One is from man and one is from God I’m sure you can figure out which is which

    I respect Greg but he doesn’t know the context of rev 3:20, and he believes in more of a friendship evangelism then I am comfortable with; when he goes on about the supposed hole in the heart people have blah blah blah…. Why apologetically preach?

    Just lay it out there; plead for repentence not “descisions” that will be forgotten tomorrow…

  12. erunner says:

    Jeff, thanks for a thoughtful reply. I get frustrated as it seems every type of evangelism has its critics. I went forward at an altar call and many have issues with that. I went to church with Ray Comfort for many years and heard him say if a person smiles after saying the sinners prayer there’s room for doubt of the validity of that salvation because the person should express brokenness. And of course Ray is huge against the evangelistic crusades as they produce next to nothing in lasting fruit.

    I thought about the 250 you mentioned and wondered to myself what could God do with truly recommitted souls who came forward at a crusade. Might He choose to do mighty things through one or more of them?

    In the end I believe God works through all types of evangelism despite any flaws they might have. He looks at the hearts of all involved and sees His will done.

    In that light I pray their will be lasting fruit from the Harvest Crusade. On a lighter note as a parent and grandparent I’d love to know my kids were in such a wholesome and uplifting environment!

  13. brian says:

    “But here is the problem – and we saw it with Steve Furtick – when the call is made, the first 100 people going down to the field are plants – ushers and counselors who go first to prime the pump to make it easier for folks to go down. (to be fair to Greg Laurie, Billy Graham used the same tactic) ”

    When I first remember seeing that because I knew alot of the “leaders or helpers” I thought wow now that is very clever and it was effective thus it is totally justified and should be encouraged.

    ” It seems if it were of the holy spirit, people would be running to Christ like in the book of acts.” That is far too messy and it cannot be quantified.

  14. So far I know everything about Michael Franzese and nothing about Jesus Christ.

  15. Xenia says:

    A problem I have with some things like this (I am not personally familiar with the Harvest Crusade) is that it seems like a bait-and-switch operation. Come hear a good concert and listen to some enthusiastic speakers and in the end, we’ll give you the obligatory “You are a sinner and you need Jesus” speech. Almost like Jesus is the bad-tasting medicine that has to be taken with a spoonful of sugar. (Again, not necessarily talking about tonight’s event which I have never seen first hand so I don’t know.)

  16. Xenia says:

    Plus… there seems to be a tacit agreement with the OSAS doctrine, which is especially disastrous in settings like a crusade.

  17. Xenia says:

    I have been involved in too many superficial “conversions” where we basically told a roomful of 2nd graders “If you love Jesus, raise your hand” and counted them all as “decisions for Christ” and compounded our crime by telling them were going to heaven no matter what because “once saved, always saved.” And I have seen too many silly teenage girls “go forward” because the sexy bass player on the worship team said he’d personally pray for whoever went forward that night.

  18. Neo says:

    At least they’re doing SOMETHING.

  19. everstudy says:

    “‘More than 421,834 people have registered professions of faith through these outreaches.'”

    Unfortunately, my uncle was one of them, then he died an atheist.

  20. j2theperson says:

    I take the whole Really Bad Guy Coming To Christ with a huge grain of salt, knowing that many such men never really came to Christ or changed their lives at all but just put a Christian veneer over behaviors and attitudes that continue to be abusive, dangerous, self-serving, unchristian, and sometimes outright criminal.

  21. Neo says:

    Just how huge is that grain of salt, J?

  22. Xenia says:

    I suspect the leaders of these crusades are just as dismayed by the statistics as the rest of us but they don’t know what else to do. Anyway, all the folks in attendance are probably having a jolly good time enjoying the music, the speakers and each other and that’s worth something, to have a big crowd of Christians gathered together having a good time.

  23. j2theperson says:

    It’s big enough that I would not go out of my way to listen to one of them. If I happened to be someplace and they happened to be talking I wouldn’t get up an leave, but I wouldn’t seek any such speaker out.

  24. Paige says:

    Fortunately, none of us posting here are God nor the Judge who will decide if such ‘conversions’ are real or not or if such events as a Harvest Festival is a waste or sham.

    I agree with Neo…at least they are doing something….. yet, per Jeff’s comment, only God knows if the ‘fruit’ is worth the cost and efforts.

    I agree with J2 that a dramatic testimony better be backed by a life that proves it.. Fame seems to be an acceptable substitute for self control.

    While I am pretty much done with church culture and traditional evangelism, I still feel that Greg does a ‘good job’ presenting the Hope of the Gospel to those who have ears to hear.
    The world is a darn crazy place at this moment, and maybe, just maybe a few hungry souls will embrace the Answer via the Harvest Festival.

    Nite folks.

  25. Linda Pappas says:

    I have gone to many Harvest ” to repent. As a matter of record, he ask the rhetorical question, what does one need to be saved” Then stated several times, “nothing.” The next night, he remember to include the concept of repentance.

    By the way, they send a big bucket down each row in each section while also collecting from donors online and via the mail. Everything is paid for and then some. As for statistics on such events, including Billy Graham, 5% actually become converts.

    As for Greg Laurie, yeah–he can be as charismatic as any—-as for at least doing something–gosh I hope we all reaching out to the saved and unsaved, for the Love of Jesus and for that which lies within our own hearts which I pray for all is filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Most of the people I knew who volunteered their time or just attended needed to repent, but didn’t and still called themselves Christians, but supposedly led others to the Lord during this time. In turn, wondered who should or would get the credit–God or man.

    Still even one percent would be worth it in spite of the unrepentant hearts of those bringing their friends or standing around to “minister” to another as they surrendered their hearts.

    Praying for those that do would become rooted and grounded seeking His Word and growing in His grace, love, wisdom, and knowledge.

  26. Linda Pappas says:

    Whew! Did my first statement turn into something different what I intended to say, that is!

    “I have gone to many Harvest Crusades. As a matter of record, one night, he (Laurie) asked the rhetorical question, what does one need to be saved” Then stated several times, “nothing.” The next night, he remember to include the concept of repentance. ”

    Quite frankly, I couldn’t believe my ears, so I went back over the video several times to see if I just wasn’t paying attention.

    Nope, totally left this out the whole entire evening. Thought long and hard about people walking away thinking that they were saved by just believing that He died for all of their sins, no matter what as long as they believed, basically it didn’t matter if they were living like many whom I personally knew, yet remained wallowing in their sins.

  27. brian says:

    ““More than 421,834 people have registered professions of faith through these outreaches.””

    That is a good thing, such a number can be used to leverage other venues for other crusades, which could lead to developing a downline revenue stream for marketing books, and other merchandise. That is always a good thing.On a personal note I did go forward at some of these crusades for prayer, something I avoid at the local church level as it often seemed rather inconvenient or I had some alternative motive for seeking prayer. I just got tired of running on that hamster wheel. Yes I received some comfort at such crusades. Should I repent of that?

  28. Linda Pappas says:

    Oh good, Greg did include repentance in his message this evening. Now may the Holy Spirit convict the heart of many even after this evening. Personally, I am praying for those who have or are being unfaithful towards their spouse and their marriage. Maybe, this will be the year for the one whom I have kept my vows towards to truly come to the Lord and make right the wrong he has done against me and all those he has fooled to think he is other than what he really is about. He would likely be numbered among those who volunteer to minister to those who have come forward.

    May the Lord, like Paul knock these off the horse they are riding upon and remove the blinders and scales from their eyes and heart as well.

  29. Linda Pappas says:

    Well, I’ll be. At 2:13.44 this very person is there down in the field with his head bowed–as a volunteer, once again.

    Reminds me of a girlfriend who went to Mariner’s church whom husband was cheating with a person in the music ministry. She took it to the leadership, but after they spoke with her husband and this girl, they were convinced that my girlfriend was imagining things. That is, until the Harvest Crusade took place. Just happened that the leader of the music ministry was attending this and as they witnessed by viewing the big screen they have there, my GF’s husband and this girl together kissing one another.

    This leader of the Music Ministry then took this back to the leaders and they then back-tracked to hold these 2 to an account. But never once apologize to my GF. He ended up living with this girl and my GF was able to have the marriage annulled.

  30. Nonnie says:

    I believe Greg has a passion to see people come to Christ and is doing what he believes God is calling him to do.

  31. Dan from Georgia says:

    No problems with crusade evangelism here, if that is what they sense they are “called” to do. Hey, if the Gospel is preached, then “my word will not return to me void, but will accomplish..” something like that.

    Slightly off topic, I wonder if Michael Franzese has been fully vetted. Years ago a man named Tom Papania went around to packed churches claiming to have left the mob for Christ (no one “leaves” the mob on their own terms), and last I checked Tom’s story was deemed false. Not necessarily doubting Michael, but just curious.

  32. Jim says:

    I think most of us can do what we should be doing, which is relationship evangelism.

    I think Greg should be doing what very few can do and God will sort it out.

    God is going to save some people this weekend, in spite of our cringing. I choose to rejoice in that.

  33. Jim says:

    BTW, I don’t know anything about Franzese the Christian, but he was a real-deal, bigtime mob guy.

  34. Nonnie says:

    Amen, Jim!!

  35. Paige says:

    Jim, I so agree with your comment #34…relationship evangelism’…. or what I call “friendship evangelism”….. I love to see the Lord work in people’s lives via day to day encounters… (Lord help me not be a jerk.)

  36. gomergirl says:

    I always liked the music.

  37. DavidM says:

    “Is Crusade Evangelism biblical?” Really, is this a serious question? It is not unblblical, anti-biblical. There is no one particular method to evangelism. In the NT, there was one-on-one, preaching to large crowds, going into a synagogue and proclaiming, and more. I just like authenticity in whatever sort of evangelism takes place. When shills go down front in a crusade, that is not authentic. When someone exaggerates their conversion experience, that is not authentic. When someone promises that a person will be completely changed, that is not authentic. Making claims in a child evangelism setting that x-many 4-year old kids accepted Christ, that is not authentic. (I also know many who really did accept Christ during a child evangelism class, so I am not invalidating that sort of ministry)

  38. Xenia says:

    I like what you wrote, DavidM. It’s not the idea of preaching the Gospel to a large crowd of people that is problematic, it’s some of the inauthenticity that often surrounds these events that is worrisome.

  39. victorious says:

    My primary and motivational giftings fall within the evangelistic grid so any kind of evangelism stirs up within me a recognition that the Risen Saviour is still fervent and actively involved in his mission to save sinners . Preaching the gospel (without evaluating or measuring any so called response) in and of itself is an act of worship and a work of obedience that glorifies The Lord and is an opportunity to remind us of the dignity and virtue of humanity in spite of our raging depravity. 

    I can agree with every legitimate critique offered on this post that is constructive in its orientation and am saddened and or angered where the criticism goes unheeded or is rationalized or marginalized.

    I agree with Jeff that large scale crusade evangelism is not reproducible in many communities, but event evangelism can be done on a smaller scale (sans the celebrity speakers and well known musicians) with the same great gospel and can be used as a catalyst to spark and sustain relational evangelism and outreaches that minister to the physical and social needs of people.

    I have experienced it first hand as an unrecognized volunteer and as the one who has taken the visionary initiative, organized, equipped others biblically in evangelism, led them on the streets and done the preaching myself. 

    Jesus is still saving and receiving blasphemous sinners in superficial So Cal and in broken communities of all sizes and shapes.

    In regards to the Harvest crusades, I was involved in the original Monday night study of Pastor Chuck and was a counselor for young people who came forward when Greg stepped in (if you were there you witnessed and were immersed in a sovereign work of God) and the harvest,of souls and the building of disciples began. I was moved by The Lord out of So Cal a few months after that started happening and started ministering in communities and churches much different from my initial experiences as a young believer.

    I just recently met a mature ,godly servant who has persevered through hardship and hypocrisy who was saved on Monday nights as a teen and began to grow and serve in the Kingdom as a result of those studies.

    My past experience and current encounter has put me back in the place of wanting to build upon the good without neglecting the changes that could and should happen.

    Let’s together do the work of an evangelist and continue in a labor of love to make disciples.

  40. victorious says:

    Xenia . You described situations where we need to learn and grow in wisdom and compassion in the work evangelism while seeing the need to recognize the reality of immaturity, inauthenticity and hypocrisy and engage with it appropriately.

  41. Muff Potter says:

    RE: Martin Luther’s Disciple @ # 9:

    I had no idea that even the vaunted Billy Graham employed chicanery at his Crusades too. Not that I’m knocking it, Machiavellian principles have long been known to be very useful in achieving a desired end.

  42. Muff – you heard it here first! 😉

  43. Pastor Brian David Laurie says:

    Machiavellian principles are not a move of God’s Spirit. I would not want to answer to God why I resorted to such tactics. I am much more comfortable with smaller results if I at least have sense that people responded to the Spirit of the Living God.

    That being said I pray that the Holy Spirit moves in the hearts and minds tonight and cuts through all the nonsense of man.

  44. brian says:

    Michael what do you think is one of the best bible commentaries that especially deals with suffering and the “problem of evil” Thanks.

  45. Michael says:

    Brian,

    Try “Evil and the Justice of God” by N.T. Wright.

  46. brian says:

    Thanks Michael I appreciate it, one more favor if I might impose this is a very short video and the Self injurious behavior of this young man would be considered extremely mild compared to some of the folks I worked with in the past. http://youtu.be/s2lEyno1vwo

    I dont know what to do with this, I never have. I really mean this this young man was very mild.

  47. Muff Potter says:

    @ Pastor Brian,
    I am not convinced that the God who called the worlds (both seen and unseen) into existence from nothing, and even the spaces between the spaces, is all that concerned with the imperfections of Mr. Graham and Mr. Laurie. Good has come from their efforts by way of people who have rethought their lives and how their lives impact others.

  48. Michael says:

    Brian,

    My heart goes out to that family.
    I am not unfamiliar with their struggles.
    I can only speak to this theologically from my own perspective and experience…I would not speak to people theologically who are in this much distress unless specifically asked to, however.
    There is a fundamental misunderstanding at play here.
    The Bible does speak of a loving, merciful, and compassionate God.
    It also promises…not hints at…promises…that we will suffer.
    The true common experience of the church has been that God has kept that promise.
    Suffering… great suffering, should be the expectation of every believer…it should not be a surprise.
    God does not answer the problem of suffering and death in this life…He came and suffered and died with us that we might know that He fully understands and identifies with us in our suffering.
    All theodicies fail us in the end…because there are things that belong to the council and mystery of God alone.
    Our hope is in His resurrection and the life to come…which sometimes can’t come soon enough.
    Much love to you, my friend.

  49. brian says:

    That is a reasonable response, thank you.

  50. brian says:

    A side note, I have a rep to keep up, but I see that “life” on a daily basis. Please dont tell anyone I said anything positive. Have a wonderful Lord’s day. I always loved that phrase.

  51. Nonnie says:

    Brian’s 52…..that made me smile.

  52. Bob says:

    In a world full of people talking about “The Game of Thrones,” or a cancer filled teacher who develops his dark side why would a huge get-together focused on Jesus, Messiah and Lord, be a problem?

    We need more gatherings (churches) of people who love God, Jesus and follow in His ways, and talk bout it, not less.

  53. great perspective #54, brother bob

  54. From all accounts Greg is a decent guy…but he still is a very wealthy man from selling “Jesus”…to the tune, reportedly, of over half a million a year…which is becoming the norm for the Big Guys.

    Coy used Greg Laurie, James MacDonald and others of his buddies to justify his over $500K total compensation per year package.

    I don’t think that is right. It is certainly not “serving Jesus”…it’s having quite a Top 1% career off of Jesus.

  55. brian,
    You asked Michael yesterday “Michael what do you think is one of the best bible commentaries that especially deals with suffering and the “problem of evil” Thanks.”

    Before you read any long dissertations on the issue – many of which end up by putting God on trial, consider this from Bo Giertz who was a Swedish Lutheran pastor in the mid 20th century. He addresses what I think is the only biblical explanation.

    One paragraph vs 300 pages.

    “So follows yet another parable that has to do with seed and harvest. Jesus even explains it for his disciples. In passing we receive an answer to the question that is often called, “the problem of evil”. It is often a torturous problem for us, how can there be so much evil in the world, and how can God let it happen. In the New Testament, this is no problem. We live in a fallen world. There is much here that does not come from God. An enemy has come and sown weeds among God’s good seed. The enemy is called Satan. There are people who are children of the evil one. They have fallen into his hand and are his instruments. Our natural reaction is the same as the farm people: Should one not weed out the weeds? But the Master of the house says no, It is not yet time to separate them both out. God bides his time. Perhaps he can still win some of them back. And men cannot weed out the weeds. NEITHER FROM THE CHURCH. Because then the wheat might also be pulled up. But when the harvest time comes, then the great separation occurs, and it will be the angels who do it. Then all will be weeded out of Christ’s kingdom (even out of the church) that do not belong to Christ.” Bo Giertz on Matthew 13. 24-30 and 36-43

  56. brian says:

    I must admit I have put God on trial alot. It would be dishonest of me to not admit it.

  57. brian says:

    You know Alex I admire them, if I had that kind of money, my mother could have died at home, instead of in the hospital. It was her one hope after so many years of suffering with cancer. I chose a career that does not pay much to my shame. I did take care of her, and I was always there, which really means very little, because I could not deliver the goods when needed. I think that is one sin even God cant forgive.

  58. papiaslogia says:

    MLD – Thanks for that on #57.

  59. papiaslogia says:

    Crusade evangelism….sigh. God CAN use it, of course. But it seems to boil down to a lot of effort (time=money) for so few actual new converts.

    I was an usher for a Harvest Crusade many years ago after having been a counselor on Monday nights at CCCM when Greg started. I wasn’t aware that we would be passing the bucket and asked if I could be excused from that part – the lead usher obliged. That didn’t mean the other ushers didn’t question why I didn’t agree with it and question me and my walk. So that was the last time I ushered.

    When my buddy and I were counselors on Monday night for Greg, we would go over to the Fellowship Hall and listen to Chuck Missler and then get over to the Prayer Room in time to catch the last few minutes of Greg’s talk. The lead counselor found out and made us attend Greg’s “study”.

    Follow-up for the Monday nights consisted of encouraging guys to find a church to attend and even inviting them meet them on Sunday morning – none ever took up that offer. Most if not all were rededications already going somewhere else.

  60. Jean says:

    I listened to Laurie’s message Friday night and have not commented on this thread since, but have been thinking about it quite a bit. I’m not inclined to criticize the event for two simple reasons: (1) Whatever its flaws or imperfections, Christ was being proclaimed at the event and perhaps the Holy Spirit was at work there in some lives; at the end of the day, we would all praise God if lives were (or will be) saved through attendance at that event. (2) I’m not a professional evangelist and don’t have visibility to all of the follow up ministry after the event, so I’m not particularly qualified to criticize another brother’s ministry.

    However, I would like to make a few observations about what I heard:

    (1) Laurie clearly stated that we’re all sinners in need of repentance. However, when he defined sin, he said we all have broken the 10 commandments, but then never listed or explained what the 10 commandments are. Most church going people couldn’t list all 10 commandments, so I wonder how many non-churched people could list them. That raises a question in my mind of what type of people were targeted for the event. It also raises a question about what type of repentance one could make, where they may not even understand what they are repenting from.

    (2) The gospel proclaimed was particularly individualistic. Over an over again, the message referenced our feelings of guilt and made the promise of a “changed life”, leaving here tonight a changed person. The emphasis was not on an objective change from condemned to right with God, but a subjective change from feeling guilt from sin to having Jesus in my heart.

    This is not the gospel proclaimed in the NT by the apostles, where the overwhelming emphasis is on the proclamation that Jesus is Lord over all and has been appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. The message at the event feeds into our culture’s consumerism mindset: Jesus is the antidote to my problems.

    (3) I don’t think I heard a single reference to the resurrection of Jesus. By contrast, this is perhaps the single greatest event described in any evangelistic sermon given or described in the NT.

    (4) My final observation is more of a question: If the evangelist makes such bold promises, based on such a condensed gospel message, is it fair/appropriate/legitimate to ask for a decision for Christ at the event? I honestly don’t know and am not trying to skew the answer by any personal bias. I could see the event and decision as a first step on a path to a fuller sense of repentance and understanding of what it means to be a Christian. However, I could also see this resulting in a person who gains a sense of assurance or contentment, but never really coming to know Jesus Christ at all.

  61. erunner says:

    Jean, I attended a CCCM concert back in the 70’s that was followed by a gospel presentation. I imagine if the transcript of that message was available people would be able to poke holes in it based on their views.

    Regardless God’s spirit was at work with me and I responded to the altar call and repeated a sinners prayer. My life has not been the same since that day. Others who responded were crying as God moved in our midst.

    I watched Friday’s telecast up to the message. As I’m much different than I was back in the 70’s I could have done without the interview of the ex mobster and would have preferred different music as my tastes have changed.

    It’s amazing God chooses to move through any of our efforts.

  62. Jean says:

    #63,

    Outstanding erunner. Hopefully people at Harvest SoCal had and have an experience similar to yours.

  63. caucazhin says:

    i dont mean to be offensive here but Laurie schmoozing with the likes of Driscoll, Rick Warren and SUBmerging crowd reeks of Laodicea all the way.
    These crusade ” COOKIE CUTTER ” tactics only preserve the false idea in Lauries mind that hes the next Billy Graham.
    Of coarse he may be, Billy Graham is / was ECUMENICAL all the way and called
    Pope John Paul 2 …” his brother ”
    He also said Bill Clinton ” would be a great preacher ”
    and Hillary ” would make a great President ”
    These words and actions speak for themselves as far as i’m concerned

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