The Roman Road Back to Rome (How Jack Hyles Changed Evangelism)

The Roman Road Back to Rome
Robert Wurtz II

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Exodus 19:5 NKJV)

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19–20 KJV)


In the middle part of the 20th century discerning preachers and writers sounded an alarm that evangelical Christianity was being assaulted by a combination of humanism and what we now know as decisionism. Humanism is an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Decisionism in Christianity is the belief that a person is saved by coming forward, raising the hand, saying a prayer, believing a doctrine, making a lordship commitment, or some other external, human act, which is taken as the equivalent to, and proof of, the miracle of inward conversion. (Theopedia) Decisionism is sometimes referred to as Sandemanianism (Robert Sandeman (1718-1781)  Proponents of this doctrine suggest that justifying faith is a simple assent to the divine testimony concerning Jesus Christ, differing in no way in its character from belief in any ordinary testimony.

Paris Reidhead (1919-1992) pointed out that humanism had basically married decisionism to give us modern day Evangelicalism. A.W. Tozer (1897-1963), who some have called a prophet to his generation, made similar observations that people were making decisions for Christ based on logical deductions drawn from proof texts. This observation was made in the 1960s. Fast forward to 2015. We have untold numbers of people who claim the name of Christ and have very little understanding or interest in what Jesus talked about in Matthew 28:19-20 where He commanded us to teach all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Not a few verses from Romans; not enough passages and sad stories to secure a “decision;” but  all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

When God got ready to make a covenant agreement with the children of Israel He had the words of the law read to the Israelites no less than three times to insure they were prepared to agree to what God had said. Think about that. Nobody came into that covenant using the methods of what Bill Bright’s wife called a “crackerjack used car salesman.” That’s who Bright used to help train his soul-winners to give a “pitch.” Evangelists are not sales people. When they function and think like sales people they error. God does not want a quick “sign on the bottom line” before you change your mind. God deals with His people little by little just as plays out in the synoptic Gospels. By the end of three years everyone knew if they wanted to be a member of the kingdom of God or not. Jesus never treated anyone as if He had to hurry up and get them saved lest they drop dead unexpectedly. This false notion is one of the reasons why we have so many shallow decisions. Christians think they can make disciples microwave oven style. It doesn’t work and until we get back doing what Jesus told us to do we are going to have almost exclusively carnal, shallow, goats that believe they are sheep.  

God wants His “prospective people” to know what they are getting into. I say prospective because everyone should take time to know the agreement (covenant) before agreeing to it. God is not interested in people agreeing to a few verses, believing their sins are forgiven, and going about their way. God wants His will to be carried out in the lives of His people as His will is carried out in Heaven. Sadly, a man-centered “gospel” has been being preached for over 100 years. The Gospel is all about the happiness of man. Make man happy while he is alive and keep on making him happy in heaven. As Reidhead has so rightly said, this is an appeal to man’s selfishness and it is sin. 

The greatest of all miracles is the new birth, which comes through a supernatural experience. Yet how can people rightly value something they don’t understand? Moreover, how can people understand what they refuse to study? Thanks to a shift in evangelistic emphasis in the second half of the 1800s, multitudes of people grew more concerned with having their sins forgiven than with a true born-again experience. This trend accelerated in the tent revivals of the early 1900s, largely as a consequence of high-speed evangelistic techniques. This is a million miles from go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. 


The Roman Road That Leads Back to Rome



Take the so-called “Roman Road to Salvation” for example. The unsuspecting Christian will receive this teaching as if it was used by Peter and Paul to wins souls. After taking a college level evangelism class, and completing the Billy Graham evangelistic training, I was completely shocked to begin finding out how unbiblical such an approach is. In fact, with each passing day I see the error and destruction of it more clearly. 

America took shape as a nation in the fires of the First Great Awakening, which swept the colonies in the 1730s and ’40s, thanks to the preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, and John Wesley (all theologians). Those helping to shape modern evangelism included Charles Finney (a lawyer), Dwight L. Moody (a shoe salesman), and Billy Sunday (a professional baseball player). Ignorance of the New Covenant especially came into vogue through Sunday, who loved to exclaim, “I don’t know any more about theology than a jack-rabbit does about ping-pong, but I’m on the way to glory.” This attitude came to a head in 1948, when east Texas pastor Jack Hyles devised the “Roman Road to Salvation.” Hyles simplified salvation by reducing the entire book of Romans to five verses, teaching generations to come how to “lead someone to faith in Christ through a simple system of proof texts.” 
It is sobering to say, but if obstetricians were as reckless with childbirth as many ministers have been with the new birth, we would likely see unprecedented infant mortality rates. People must be born of the Spirit; there is a right way to preach in order to see that reality take place. Spiritual stillbirth is the primary reason why many supposed believers in Christ have no appetite for the Word of God. They remain in a carnal, or unregenerate, state. To paraphrase Paul, spiritual things remain foolishness to them (see 1 Cor. 2:14). What is the solution? Two verses come to mind:

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Exodus 19:5 NKJV)

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19–20 KJV)
_______________________
footnotes

Jack Hyles, Let’s Go Soul Winning (Mufreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Foundation, 1962), 32. In Mr. Hyles’ own words, 
“By the way, you folks who don’t come on Wednesday
night don’t know this, but about twenty-two years ago, in
a little East Texas Church, I came up with a little plan of presenting the plan of salvation called ‘The Roman Road’ whereby you take Verses contained in Romans and show people how to be saved using Romans 3:10, and Romans 3:23, and Romans 5:12, and Romans 5:8, and on and on. I termed it, ‘The Roman Road,’ and from the ‘Roman Road’
I wrote the little book, ‘Let’s Go Soul Winning.’ Over one hundred and thirty-five thousand copies of that book have been printed. It has been translated into several foreign lan- guages: Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, French, and others, and has literally gone around the world.” From Jack Hyles, 
“There Remaineth Yet Very Much Land to Be Possessed,” http://www.jackhyles.com/muchland.htm (accessed July 18, 2015). 

  

Jesus Defines Discipleship

Jesus Defines Discipleship
Robert Wurtz II

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how do you say, You shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever keeps on sinning is the servant of sin. (John 8:31-34)


Our passage is speaking of two types of people: genuine disciples of Jesus Christ, and servants of Sin. We could say it this way: people who continue hearing and obeying Jesus Christ, and people who continue hearing and obeying Sin. 

When Satan wants to influence the churches of God, he begins by introducing a concept into the world. From there he is confident that that concept will eventually effect the churches. The whole world already lies in wickedness, so his concern is not the world. He wants to destroy the Church and its influence in the world. He does this by using the world as a beach-head for invading the churches. Whereas the old time preachers warned the people against subjecting themselves to this world system through television and media; modern Christianity considers it legalism to put any such restraints on a Christians behavior. The result is a subtle reprogramming of the Christian mind with Satan’s propaganda. This is particularly true when we consider his introduction of the Anti-Spanking Movement (non-spanking advocacy or “NSA”)

Why Discipleship is Doomed to Failure From the Beginning

Genuine discipleship requires a person to come under the authority of Jesus Christ. He stated plainly, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. This is a conditional statement. One is not a disciple because they call themselves one. A person is only a disciple if they continue in Christ’s word. “Then” They will know the truth and then the truth will make them free from Sin. However, there is a huge problem to overcome. People are progressively being raised without any real regard for authority.

In the late 1940s Dr. Benjamin Spock was one of the first agents of Satan to begin disseminating propaganda about the so-called “dangers” of spanking children when they are disobedient. At first, few people took him seriously. But this is Satan’s strategy. Put out an absurd claim and keep saying it until people begin to believe it. Put forward a host of false studies that support the lies, and because very few people investigate things themselves, they will believe the so-called “experts.” The “Dr.” designation makes him more believable to the masses than say a “police officer.” In other words, what the “Dr” claimed in books, magazines, and talk show programs, the police were seeing the opposite on the streets. Nevertheless, multitudes of people, like sheep to a slaughter, believed the “experts” and now we have a colossal mess on our hands. 

Detective Robert R. Surgenor explained it this way, Unfortunately, enough parents began to follow the advice of the peddlers of permissiveness to create a major problem, one that was immediately recognized by those involved in my lines of work, law enforcement. It was becoming apparent to police officers that more and more kids had no fear of authority. Spanking causes pain. That one element, pain, is the only element that instills the healthy fear factor in a child that stays with him as he grows up. That fear factor prevents that sixteen-year-old teenager from punching mom in the face when he gets angry. That fear factor keeps that teenager from mouthing off to the police officer when he gets a traffic ticket. Unfortunately, with less spanking in today’s society, we are seeing more and more kids who are not afraid of authority of any kind.” 

The consequence of this propaganda for the churches is two fold:

1. The notion that “inflicting pain is mean” will now seek to redefine the nature of God. Because most Christians do not know the difference between Christianity and humanism, they will work to harmonize God’s justice and discipline to match Dr. Spock’s version of a good parent. Remember, humanism’s primary aim is relief of human suffering. The logic follows that a good parent will not inflict suffering on their child. Since God is the Father, we have to make God “Dr. Spock friendly.” However, as an old time preacher once pointed out; “God does not withhold the knife because it is going to hurt. He knows the difference between pain and injury.” 

2. Many people in the west have no respect for authority whatsoever. This includes God. They lived a pattern of disobeying their parent or guardians without suffering any consequences. The result is a person who lives without any sense of repercussions for their disobedience of authority figures. They disobeyed their parents and guardians with impunity, and now as adults they disobey the police, their bosses at work, and are devoid of a sense that they must obey Christ.  

Satan is a lot wiser than he has ever been given credit for. What is worse is that these things can be pointed out, and yet the thinking patterns, sown by the world, are still left in place. Nevertheless, it is man’s loss. Jesus Christ is not about to alter His word to conform to the propaganda of the Dr. Spocks of the world. Those who follow Spock will end up where he is going. It is a sad reality that we have to face. His teachings have systematically undermined peoples willingness and tendency to obey authority. It has short circuited the mind to offhandedly dismiss authority. Spock has greased the slide of disobedience and rebellion. 

Learning to Listen and Obey

Jesus made a striking statement that is often taken out of context. In John 10:28, 29 He stated,My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” The key identifier and qualifier here is that “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Many wish to hurry on to the “never perish” part, but this passage is conditional. “My sheep hear me and follow me” says Jesus. By implication, if a person does not hear and follow — they are not His sheep. 

We have a similar statement in John’s epistles, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. ” (1 John 1:8) The most important word in this verse is “IF.” If we walk in the light we enjoy the benefits of this verse. If we do not walk in the light we do not have the benefits of this verse. 

Getting people to understand that our non-conformity to these type verses has a severe consequence is almost like teaching them a foreign language. God does not bless unbelief. God does not bless sin. He has set the requirement for our consideration. If we move in Dr. Spock we will surely be doomed. His philosophy subtly suggests that we don’t have to obey anyone; even Christ. That is not the case. The world has lulled many professors of Christ into a slumber that disregards the severity of these things. As if obeying Christ is somehow optional. Nevertheless, when Jesus is parabolically explaining His return at the end of the age, He makes this statement, But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (Luke 19:27) The Greek word for slay is much stronger than the KJV rendering and is only used once in the entire New Testament. It means to “slaughter them” or “cut them down.” (Vincent) One may have disobeyed their parents, teachers, guardians, bosses, supervisors, the police, etc. and suffered little or no consequence; but it will not be so with rejecting the authority of Christ. This is the plain consequence of Luke 19:27 as it visits Dr. Spocks theology.  

You Have Not So Learned Christ

Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we come completely under His authority. In time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess to God by compulsion; but right now we are afforded an opportunity to come under Christ’s authority to learn and obey Him willingly. This is why the Holy Spirit has come. He is Christ’s representative in us. In the words of G.W. North, “The Holy Spirit has come to teach us the habits of Heaven… how God would live on the earth if He were you.” We hear His voice and follow; we continue in His word; and we walk in the Light. This will result in a pattern of life that is completely at odds with the people of this present evil world. However, the whole process is completely dependent on our submission to His authority. We have to be sensitive to hear and do what He teaches us. 

Paul describes how this plays out in Ephesians 4:1-25. He describes early in the chapter how the Gentiles (unsaved) “walk” or pattern their lives. He describes them as callous, blind, and living for worldly pleasures and pursuits. We then have verse 20-21 where Paul writes, “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.” Notice how the emphasis is on hearing Him and being taught by Him. This is not a priest or some other intermediary; this is direct instruction and direction from Jesus Christ. His leading is quite different than what we heard and were taught while we lived in Sin. What does Christ teach? That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)



   

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