Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t use the 4 Spiritual Laws to share the Gospel?
In this episode of Now Is the Time I explain why I think Jesus didn’t use the 4 Spiritual Laws or any other Gospel “formula” in his preaching. I also share some updates about our ministry to soldiers.
What Are the 4 Spiritual Laws?
If you’re not familiar with the 4 Spiritual Laws they are something that was created by Bill Bright and Campus Crusade. The idea was to boil the Gospel message down to 4 simple and memorable spiritual laws to help communicate the Gospel message.
- God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
- Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
- Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
These 4 laws along with short explanations of each have been used by millions to share the gospel.
Are the 4 Spiritual Laws Biblical?
While some may argue the validity of the 4 spiritual laws I believe there’s good Biblical support for each law. The problem is not with that the 4 spiritual laws are inherently untrue but rather that they are rather limited in their ability to effectively communicate vital gospel truths. I called this type of approach to witnessing the “formula” approach. The formula approach gives a person a specific formula, like the 4 Spiritual Laws, the Romans Road, or any other common gospel formula and then tells him to repeat that basic formula to every unbeliever he meets.
How did Jesus share the Gospel
Jesus’ approach to sharing the gospel was varied, he never repeated a specific gospel formula but rather adapted his technic depending on the situation. Jesus often preached the gospel in broader terms when he preached to large crowds using parables as a way to communicate some of the basic truths of the Kingdom of God. However, when Jesus spoke with individuals his approach often became much more specific and unique.
Mark summed up Jesus preaching with the following verse:
The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15b
However, when Jesus turned to specific groups or individuals we find various approaches.
- When Jesus preached the gospel to the pharisees he said: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Mat 23:33)
- When he gave the gospel to Nicodemus he said, “You must be born again” (Joh 3:3)
- To the rich young man he said, “sell all you have and give to the poor” (Mar 10:21)
- To Zacchaeus he said,”come down out of that tree” (Luk 19:5)
- To the expert in the law he gave the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luk 10:25-37)
- On the road to Emmaus he started with Moses and all the prophets. (Luk 24:27)
Jesus never used a formula for the gospel but rather carefully choose his words and only gave each person the exact truth they needed at that time. Every gospel presentation was unique and specifically tailored to the situation.
Formulaic Gospel presentations can be dangerous
While gospel formulas can help us understand gospel truth in a basic and memorable way, I believe it is dangerous to rely upon them for communicating the gospel.
- They can easily turn the gospel into a magical incantation.
- They don’t take into account the uniqueness of each situation.
- They lack depth and balance.
- They often don’t answer some of the most important questions (Who is God? Why should I believe the Bible? Why do I need “salvation?”).
The truth is that we can never communicate well that which we do not know well. For the Christian to be effective in evangelism he must have a deepening understanding of the Gospel. We must understand that the gospel is far richer than a few memorized phrases. While those phrases may contain gospel truth they can never be an accurate means to communicate the broad scope of the gospel message to all people at all times.
Jesus left us with an important task. Our job is to preach the gospel to all cultures and worldviews. This means finding unique and effective ways that will help people see clearly where they either do not yet understand the gospel or disagree with the gospel. Let’s not limit ourselves to any one formula!
Recently we started a weekly ministry to soldiers from Ukraine’s 28th mechanized brigade. The military base is just a few miles outside of Odessa.
Chaplain Oleg is a fiery evangelist and very excited that we are coming on a regular basis to preach the gospel to these young men!
At our previous meeting only a handful of soldiers showed up so we weren’t expecting too many this time but to our surprise around 60-70 soldiers showed up!
Some of the soldiers asked for audio Bibles so that they could listen to God’s Word while out on the battlefield.
Please pray with us that God will touch the hearts of these soldiers with the true gospel message and turn them to faith in Jesus Christ!