Her name was Dilmaya.
I met her in the streets. As she passed by I gave her the standard cultural greeting for non-Christians, and she replied back with the Christian greeting. I was surprised and asked her, "Oh, you are a believer?"
She smiled a huge grin, and the elderly woman affirmed that she was a Christian. She invited me to her home. I went to visit with her one day with a friend of mine to aid me in translation. As we began talking with Dilmaya, we asked her to tell us her salvation story. She said that she needed healing, and her gods were not able to heal so she went to a Christian church one day. The leader of the church led her in a prayer that she repeated after him, and then he declared her to be a Christian. That was two years prior to this. As my friend and I continued talking with her, it became clear Dilmaya had never heard the Gospel. As we talked about Jesus dying for her sin, confusion swept across her face. She had never heard these things before.
We see things like this all the time here. The people visit a charismatic church in hopes of healing, financial blessing, or getting a problem solved. The charismatic pastor has them repeat some prayer and then declares them Christians. All the while, the Gospel is neglected and the people are still trapped in their greatest problem... the problem of sin.
Our Gospel Tract in 5 Pages from Psalm 19
Page 1- An acknowledging of the Creator, God (vs. 1-6)
Page 2- God's Word which confronts us about God's holiness and our sin (vs. 7-10)
Page 3- Conviction of the Holy Spirit, where the Spirit takes the Word of God and shows us as sinners needing a Saviour (vs. 11)
Page 4- Repentance (vs. 12)
Understanding and calling out in faith.
Psalm 19:12 "Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me..."
The step of understanding and calling out in faith has been distorted in modern Christian evangelism. In our pursuit of numbers we want "calling out." We pursue it even to the neglect of understanding of the Gospel and the necessity of faith. (A person cannot have faith in something they do not understand.) How is this great neglect carried out? It is often seen in the "repeat this prayer" practice. A person who does not understand the Gospel can still repeat a prayer with no problem! (Trust me! I did it!) Then they spend the rest of their lives trusting in a prayer instead of trusting in Christ's finished work on the cross. Their salvation is based on their work of a prayer instead of the grace of God.
It is vital that when we present the Gospel, we don't rush too quickly to the calling out part. We don't want simply calling out. We want calling out in faith!
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Romans 10:13-15, 17 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
What must they understand?
God is holy and righteous, and they are not.
Romans 3:10-11 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."
They are sinners who have transgressed against God's law.
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
They deserve God's judgment for sin, which is death.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death...
But Jesus, the holy Son of God, took their place of death and died on the cross.
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
They must repent and turn to God.
Acts 17:30 "... but now commandeth all men every where to repent:"
They must call out in faith, believing that Jesus died for them, was buried, and rose again because He is God.
Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
They must trust that calling out in faith is their only means of forgiveness of sin.
Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
If they understand these things, they will not need a repeat-a-prayer moment. They will know to call out to God from their heart to seek His forgiveness for sin, trusting that Jesus is their only means of salvation. If the Spirit is convincing them of sin and convicting them of sin, they will not need us to twist their arm, coerce them, manipulate them, or beg them. We don't want big numbers of professing Christians. We want people truly calling out to God for salvation in faith.
Be patient in presenting the Gospel. Wait for the Spirit to open their eyes of understanding, to convince them of their sinful state, and to draw them to God.