In this second episode of our evangelism series, John is joined by Teddy James. Teddy is usually behind the cameras during the podcast, but Matthew couldn’t record today so he had to step in. Don’t worry, Matthew is fine and will be back next week.
In this week’s episode, John and Teddy go into detail about Samuel Walker’s ministry in Truro, England. He pastored during the era we call the Great Awakening. However, he spent years pastoring his church before he saw a single convert. Then the convert died.
But it seems that God broke the dam after that funeral. Walker was overrun with people wanting to talk to him about their souls. So many of these conversations happened so quickly he had to develop an approach to handle them all. He called this approach "A Scheme of Personal Instruction." Pastors from his area and abroad wrote him numerous letters asking him to put his "Scheme" into writing. Fortunately for us, he was willing and able.
In the first meeting, Walker open the Scriptures and examined the truth of man’s sinfulness and the punishment they rightly deserved. But he didn’t leave them with God's threats. He also gave them the promises of mercy through the work of Christ.
John and Teddy talk about why these two truths need to be presented together, and the dangers of only presenting one or the other.
0:00-8:00 John introduces Samuel Walker. He became a minister before being a Christian. But once he was converted, his church attempted to have him fired. Twice. It didn’t work either time. Then God moved in Truro and he was flooded with people wanting to talk about their souls.
8:00-16:00 The flood became so strong he was forced to schedule times when people could come to his home to talk. With this sudden deluge, Walker realized he needed to have a clear idea of how to deal with people’s souls. He wrote his thoughts down and called them “Schemes of Private Instruction.” Part of the reason Walker’s instructions are so helpful to us is the biblical ignorance of the people he was talking to. He had to start at the very beginning. That beginning was God’s conviction of sin in a person’s soul. But how does the Holy Spirit bring conviction? And how can we participate in His activity while avoiding emotional manipulation?
16:00-26:00 In the first meeting, Walker would show his people, from the Scriptures, that man is sinful and deserving of God’s righteous wrath. It isn’t just what we do that is bad; it’s who we are. And because this is true, we can’t have five steps to being better or just stop certain behaviors. We must be given a new life.
26:00-40:00 How do we show people this truth? John describes two approaches Walker took with his people. One with adults and the other with children. Walker didn’t create anything new. He drew inspiration from the Apostle Paul’s approach in Romans 3, focusing on the problem of people’s mind, heart, and will. Fallen man is, in his very nature, bent against believing the truths of God and toward believing the lies of sin. Skipping the doctrine of depravity leads to a type of faith that is devoid of repentance.
40:00-50:00 The work of evangelism is the work of patience. When the Holy Spirit plows the soul of a sinner and opens their eyes to the foulness of their sin, they are traumatized. It will impact them deeply and it would be easy for them to despair. That is why we must never leave them with only the truth of their sin. We must also present the beauty of Christ.
In the Supporter Appreciation Episode John and Teddy continue their discussion on the patient work of evangelism. They discuss why this model of evangelism is not seen often in American evangelicalism, how this method can be abused, and that the driving force behind all evangelism is love to Christ and love to the person we are sharing Christ with.
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Other episodes in this series:
Supporter Appreciation Episode: