Greg Laurie and “Easy Believism”
Greg Laurie and Easy Believism! Many of you have heard of Laurie and many have heard of “easy believism.” Why do we inquire about Laurie’s relationship to “easy believism”?
Anyone living in our part of the country (North Texas) was probably aware of Greg Laurie’s “Harvest America” event at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington. At least, the church-going people would have known of the great experience.
The report is that 750 “regional and local churches supported the event” and this included 3,400 “volunteer counselors” and 2,500 singers in the choir. Everyone would admit that this was a huge gathering, with every seat taken, and an overflow audience outside. Not only were 82,000 people in the stadium, but there were over 7,200 other locations around the world. In addition, the preaching was viewed by more than 350,000 people, including the ones in attendance and through a live broadcast. It had been 14 years since there was a religious gathering of this magnitude—ever since a Billy Graham event that was attended by 255,000 people over a four-day period (an average of 64,000 a day).
Greg Laurie is pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, California. He is heard on daily radio and has written popular books. This big-name evangelist was able to draw the crowds, with the help of the 750 participating churches. Singer Chris Tomlin also helped to draw the crowds for he sang at the gathering.
Laurie’s assistants say that the live crowd was not the only viewers, but five times as many were able to participate through the use of technology, such as the Internet. This was a high-tech event, as can be seen. (This information comes from “Huge Crowd Overwhelms Minister at AT&T Event,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 7, 2016).
One of the most amazing parts of Laurie’s visit to the Lone Star State was the fact that “more than 25,000 people found Christ,” according to officials of the event. This includes 6,000 at the Stadium and 19,000 people who watched the broadcast. Let me repeat that: Some 25,000 people claim that they “made commitments to embrace the Christian faith after hearing Laurie’s message called ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’” (Ibid).
His is Greg’s own report of the event, found on his website:
Harvest America the Largest One-Day Live U.S. Evangelistic Event (report of March 10, 2016)
It’s official: Harvest America has been deemed the largest one-day live evangelistic event ever for U.S. audiences.
Now that many of the 7,200 remote host locations participating in Harvest America have reported in, we can officially say that God has exceeded all of our expectations.
Remember, we asked you all to pray every day at 3:20 PM for the crusade. That number was based on Ephesians 3:20, which states: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…”
True to His Word, God did “exceedingly and abundantly above” all we could ask or think. In addition to 82,000 packed into AT&T Stadium with 6,300 coming forward to make a profession of faith, we saw another 180,000 attend host sites. Of those, 18,000 responded to the invitation to follow Christ. Not only that, but another 90,000 viewed the event online with more than 1,000 indicating they had made a faith commitment.
This brings the cumulative participation for Harvest America to over 350,000 with over 25,000 making professions of faith to follow Jesus Christ. What can we say but, “Glory to God!”
Thank you all for your prayers. Continue to pray as churches and individual believers engage in the process of follow-up. To view a webcast of the event, go to www.harvestamerica.com. (blog.greglaurie.com/?p=10774)
Easy Believism Prominent
Do you know what “easy believism” is and how it is manifested? As a background for this question, we ask you to consider whether 25,000 people actually did come to Christ and receive forgiveness of sins on this particular day. We do know that on the Day of Pentecost, some 3,000 people did come to the Lord but there is no record of anything like this magnitude as ever happening again in the Book of Acts or anywhere else in the New Testament.
But the Scriptures are quite clear about how these several thousand of people did respond and what God gave to them. The Jewish listeners to Peter the apostle asked what they must do in light of their sinful condition. Luke puts it this way: “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heat, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37). How did Peter answer? Did he say, “Just invite Jesus into your heart!” Did he say, “Just repeat this little prayer after me.” Or did he say, “come to the front and we’ll pray for you!”
Instead of such expressions found so often today, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). This is the divine answer to one who comes to see himself as a sinner and in deed of forgiveness.
Greg Laurie’s Answer
Is Peter’s response the answer that Laurie gave to thousands of people during the “Harvest America” event in Arlington? Personally, I was not in Arlington nor have I heard the audio presentation. However, Greg’s website is quite plain about how one comes to Christ for His forgiveness. This is what we read:
Receive Jesus Christ into your life.
Becoming a Christian is not merely believing some creed or going to church. It is having Christ Himself take residence in your life and heart. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in . . .” If you would like to have a relationship with Christ, simply pray this prayer and mean it in your heart.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”
Greg is right in saying that becoming a Christian is “not merely believing in some creed or going to church.” He is right in saying that Christ must “take residence in your life and heart.” However, why did he quote Revelation 3:20? As we have pointed out elsewhere, this statement about Christ standing at the door of the heart is given to unfaithful Christians, not the unsaved.
Laurie then goes into the ever-popular “sinner’s prayer” type of response. He says to “simply pray this prayer.” Is this what Peter told the inquiring multitude on Pentecost? (Acts 2:38-41) Is this what Ananias told Paul who had been praying for three days in Damascus? (Acts 22:16) Is it what Paul told the Athenians? (Acts 17:30-31) Wouldn’t it be wiser to read, accept, and practice the response that the apostles gave in the Book of Acts? Further, would it not be better to accept the teaching of Christ when He gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:15-16)? (See Here)
When we read the account of this “Harvest America” campaign, is there any hint that they had set up a hundred baptismal pools at the AT&T Stadium in order to baptize those who responded? Where would 25,000 people go to obey the words of the Lord and the apostles on how to be saved from sin and come to Christ? It is much easier and more convenient to merely “say this little prayer after me” type of response.
Can you see why we would be skeptical about the grand announcement about 350,000 viewing Laurie and 25,000 coming to Christ? Knowing what he teaches and what this sort of event is generally like (as found in the Billy Graham crusades and others), we would simply charge that Laurie, Graham, and all others should return to the teaching and practice of the early body of Christ, as found in the preaching of Christ and the apostles and other early preachers of the gospel!
It is far better to follow the Lord Jesus and His apostles than any modern-day preacher, evangelist, pastor, or minister—including Greg Laurie!
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