Updated: Nov 1
It's important to think carefully about what we are communicating when we share the gospel with others.
In this brief essay, I want to weigh through some concerns of an evangelism tactic I see employed fairly frequently.
I'm not generally a fan of believers framing (without qualification) the concepts of "your life is broken" or "God has a wonderful plan for your life" in evangelism.
If both of those concepts are NOT briefly given a more Biblical context, then the perceived take away from an unbeliever can be:
"Oh, right now things are not going my way...it stinks. It's "broken." This Christian is saying that Jesus can 'fix' my brokenness...that Jesus will be a friend to me. Good. I need a friend and I want this brokenness to go away."
Are there some truths in what the Christian has said and what the unbeliever has understood?
Yes, of course.
However, the issue is that it can easily become understood in the vein of the "therapeutic gospel" type of evangelism that frames the need for Jesus in a very man centered way. This results in Jesus being understood as a means to a 'better life' 'friendship' 'comfort' or 'self-improvement.
Does Jesus promise to never leave us or forsake us? Yes, of course (Matt. 28; Deut 31:8).
Does God have a wonderful plan for the believer? Yes, but that wonderful plan may include suffering and getting killed for the sake of Christ (1 Timothy 3:12). Yet, in spite of all of that, it's 'wonderful' (Romans 8:38) because we no longer are destined for the wrath of God (1 Thess 5:9-10). So primarily framing the gospel as "God has a wonderful plan for life is a bit of cherry-picking with scripture cause apart from one turning from their sin and self, the destination for the unregenerate sinner is condemnation according to John 3:18 (see the Paul Washer/ wwutt video here or below)
Does God fix our brokenness if we come to him?
Yes, if by brokenness we mean "God takes away our guilt due to our rebellion against a Holy God, adopts us into his kingdom of light, gives us a new heart with new desires that love what He loves (1 Peter 1; entire book of 1 John) and promises to leave nor forsake us" (Deut. 31:6; Phil 1:6), then YES.
However, brokenness seems to mean a lot of different things depending on what church you are attending and the context for how it's defined. In many ways that concept has ended up functioning as a man centered view of sin (not always though) that minimizes the gospel threads of (1) The Holiness of God, (2) the depravity of man, and the (3) the sufficiency of Jesus and (4) the necessity of repentance and faith and instead focuses more on the (false) therapeutic gospel of, "come to Jesus to make you feel better and not so broken."
The pure Gospel is what we need to focus on in evangelism.
If someone needs comfort, encouragement, prayer and/or professional Biblical counseling, then encourage that. However, don't distort the gospel in the name of pragmatism, which says " if it (seems) to produce conversions/results, it must be right!"
God saves sinners! Our job is to be faithful ambassadors of the announcement of what He has done in the person and work of Christ Jesus!
Below is (click here or on the picture) a good follow up video by Paul Washer on concerns with the "God has a wonderful plan for your life" tactic in evangelism:
For more tips on sharing the basic gospel in Evangelism, click here.