40 min with John Legg

Posted: August 20, 2007 by Daniel in Christianity, eavesdrop evangelism, evangelism, open air preaching, religions and beliefs

Had a great chat with John on the phone just now. He was very kind and warm to talk to.

We discusses the ‘Christ died for you’ thing and the ‘God loves you’ thing in some detail.

John said that a really good DVD on the gospel was David Pawson’s
True God true gospel

In discussing the love thing John said that there is no example of people saying ‘God loves you’ in the bible and that it is not biblical to do so in evangelism.

He referenced psalm 5v5 and 7v11: God has perfect love toward the righteous and perfect hate towards sinners. It is not biblical to say ‘God hates your sin, but loves the sinner’. Actions display who you are – actions are who you are – a tree produces certain fruit.

We discussed the atonement and how we can be faithful in declaring the work of Christ on the cross for sinners. John said that he would study further on the truthfulness of telling those he is witnessing to “Christ died for sinners/his sheep/his people,” instead of ‘Christ died for your sins,” or “Christ died for you on a cross 2000 years ago.”

Our conversation then turned towards the topic of open air preaching.
“When I preach I preach to the elect.”

John has been doing open air for 3 years. In October they will be releasing a DVD called “Open-air Down under.” Showing many clips of evangelists in action from around Australia.

John said that he shies away from gimmicks – third of the crowd you gain from gimmicks disappear when you start to preach.

“Look @ open air preaching as this – We are not out there to change the world – the purpose of open air preaching is to glorify God.” Even if you don’t think they are hearing, in a City people hear. In the bible early Christians preached ‘in the gate’, marketplaces and anywhere where the people were.

  1. Interesting conversation. I would love to hear more about John’s insights on the “Christ died for sinners…” subject as I too have been very cautious as of late when preaching in the open air.

    The Gospel is proclaimed to all “whosoever will” but it is only effectual to those who are sinners who see their need for a savior and cry out to God in repentance.

    Good Stuff!

  2. Thanks Paul

    Great to hear from you. Yeah, I think its the next step in reforming our evangelism efforts. Ray Comfort and the Way of the Master have refocused the use of Law in evangelism. They have also brought a correction about the popular ‘God loves you’ message in evangelism. Why shouldn’t we say ‘God loves you’? Well, because God is actually angry at them and it gives the listener the wrong idea that everything is OK.

    What are we really getting at when we bring the two main points of focus back into evangelism? – We are getting into a biblical gospel. When we use the law in evangelism we show the sinner that there is no possible chance of them earning their right standing with God in their own efforts. We are showing them how sin is such a big part of their lives. Sin has affected every part of their mind, will and emotions.

    We restrain ourselves from saying God loves you for several good reasons mentioned in a recent article by Josh. It is an assumption that God’s love extends to all men. God is good to all men, but this does not equate to Him loving all men. God is sovereign in the work of salvation.

    Now, when we examine the claim that ‘God died for you’ we must be cautious as you mentioned. Hopefully it is starting to stand out to more and more evangelists as an erroneous statement. Instead we should be saying, as the scriptures say:

    1 Timothy 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

    Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

    John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

  3. Ps. Also I don’t want to be divisive with this. We are really sharing a view of the atonement when we say either ‘Christ died for you’ or ‘Christ died for sinners’. One by itself is Arminian and the other by itself is Calvinist.

    The big issue involved in this statement is what did the work of Christ on the cross achieve; was Christ taking the sins of all people in some potential capacity or was Christ actually dying for the actual sins of actual people? This is a meaty issue and for some weird reason actually divides Christians. I truly believe that you can hold a strong Arminian position and be a Christian – the essential is repentance from sin and faith in Christ alone.

    What I am urging for is that those people who consider themselves as reformed to really examine their language on this particular point. If you consider yourself Arminian, I would love to help you get to a reformed view too, but the more that I fellowship with Arminian believers the more I realise that it is a work of the Spirit of God changing their minds about grace.

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