Thoughts on the Four Spiritual Laws

Update: I saw that this post was still getting picked up in search engines.  I’d clarify this now to say that the first point is terrible!  Unless you repent and trust in Jesus, God’s plan for you is to spend eternity in Hell as just punishment for your sins.

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4-spiritual-laws.gifCampus Crusade for Christ uses an evangelistic technique called the Four Spiritual Laws.  A full presentation of this is an accurate and thorough presentation of the Gospel.  Here’s a snapshot:

  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
  3. 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.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

It is important to cover them all.  If you de-emphasize numbers 2 & 3 then people will have a false sense of security.  Because #1 is only true if you put your faith in Jesus.  Otherwise, God has a plan for your eternal life that isn’t wonderful at all.

This isn’t my preferred style of evangelism, but I know it works for some.  Have any of you used it?

25 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Four Spiritual Laws”

  1. Yes, I’ve used it, but don’t advocated it now that I’m a Calvinist. God may not have a wonderful plan for your life… i.e. doctrine of election shows that some will not be elect. Of course, we don’t know who the elect are, so we share the gospel with as many as possible. But just the phrase ‘God has a wonderful plan for your life…’ doesn’t ring true.

    Blessings

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  2. BTW, we do use Evangelism Explosion, which I believe is more thorough and biblically accurate than the Four Spiritual Laws.
    Blessings
    P.S. Please don’t accuse me of being a hyper-Calvinist… i.e., one who believes we don’t have to share the gospel at all.

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  3. My parents work for Crusade. Yes it works. I spent a summer on a summer beach project and that is what we used. What I’ve found is sharing one’s faith works no matter what you use.

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  4. Been through the 4SLs, Constant Contact Consciousness and Evangelism Explosion and probably one or two others. Graduated with flying colors. Got my little soul-savers kit and went door to door backing people into corners and kicking butt for Christ.

    yuck.

    Although I wouldn’t admit it at the time, it left a bad taste in my mouth even back in my more traditional days, but I did it just the same because that’s how I was taught.

    yuck.

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  5. Dan, I appreciate your candor. I think we’ve all made mistakes when evangelizing. I’ve studied many evangelism styles and found good points in most. I enjoy teaching and doing evangelism and may put some of my PowerPoint slides in some posts. Hopefully the pro’s (Timothy and Kevin, I’m looking in your direction!) will have some tips to add.

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  6. I like Jesus’ approach:

    The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

    Finding ways to live THAT sort of Good News out is what invigorates my evangelism these days.

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  7. It would seem Dan that you only see the worldly and temporal applications of that statement, not the spiritual and eternal application. Plus, I doubt that passage should be read in a way that minimizes the Great Commission.

    In addition, it would seem that the passage is directly targeted at Christ’s spiritual mission since He repeatedly says, “me.” After all, if Christ was so concerned with those who had little worldly wealth wouldn’t he have responded differently to Judas questioning Mary’s use of expensive oil on Christ’s feet.

    Indeed doesn’t this focus on financial as opposed to spiritual poverty ignore the whole focus of Christ’s mission- to die for the sins of mankind? I am not sure I see why one must give worldly implications to what seems on its face a statement of spiritual freedom from the burden of sin and the righteous demands of the law- which indeed did oppress us as sinful creatures.

    However, your interpretation does have me giving thought to whether I can find a ministry that restores the sight of the blind. But somehow I get the feeling that Christ wasn’t talking about that kind of blindness.

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  8. “It would seem Dan that you only see the worldly and temporal applications of that statement, not the spiritual and eternal application.”

    sigh… And yet, things aren’t always what they seem, are they? Perhaps we shouldn’t make assumptions. For instance, just because someone says that they like what Jesus said as He started his ministry, we shouldn’t assume that person doesn’t like anything else in the Bible?

    “Plus, I doubt that passage should be read in a way that minimizes the Great Commission.”

    No doubt at all, it should not be read in that way. Similarly, the “great commission” should not be read in such a way as to minimize the Sermon on the Mount. Agreed?

    After all, what exactly is Jesus saying in Matthew 28 (great commission)?

    As you go…

    Teach those things I’ve commanded you.

    Which things? That Jesus’ mother was a virgin? Or more like what Jesus had to say at the Sermon on the Mount or the beginning of his ministry?

    Make disciple of folk

    What sort of disciples? Why disciple-ing that corresponds with what Jesus taught, like in the Sermon on the Mount or at the beginning of his ministry. Right?

    It doesn’t pay to make assumptions, friends. We too often assume incorrectly.

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  9. Organized religion… That’s what this is. All the programs. All these “official” approaches to evangelism (preaching).

    I’ll bet these programs aren’t free…

    It’s all about one thing – to get more and more people to donate more and more $$$$$

    This is exactly what I hate about religion.

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  10. Mark said:

    “It’s all about one thing – to get more and more people to donate more and more $$$$$”

    Mark, I agree with you that I hate many of the neo-traditional (ie, the last 50 years) approaches to “evangelism,” but in these folks’ defense (and I was one of them): we were honestly interested in and motivated by sharing God’s love and peace. Or, at least, I would suspect the vast majority of folks who’d invest time in these sorts of programs do so with only the most honorable of intentions.

    If you believe the world is lost and suffering because of the way they believe, then it can be a kindness to try to change the way they believe, right?

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  11. The only problem is Dan, that I haven’t made assumptions, you have been quite clear that you have much less concern for proper doctrine than you have for doing good deeds. You even made a similar statement in your last comment about the virgin birth. And in past threads you have made comments about the trinity and other rather core doctrines that on their face minimize their importance.

    As an aside, I ask anyone else on this comment thread if I have incorrectly characterized Dan’s comments- as a whole. If several agree that I have then I would gladly apologize. Ultimately Dan, I am content to let God be the judge between us. (Genesis 31:53)

    Indeed, in the original passage you mentioned Christ’s statement at the beginning of his ministry. Christ’s statements was a very close quote of Isaiah 61:1-2. But what is the context of Isaiah, is it referring to temporal poverty or spiritual poverty? One doesn’t have to read much further in Isaiah to see where Isaiah was going with verse 1-2.

    “and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
    to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
    the oil of gladness
    instead of mourning,
    and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
    They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the LORD
    for the display of his splendor.” 61:3

    Moreover he goes on to state

    “Instead of their shame
    my people will receive a double portion,
    and instead of disgrace
    they will rejoice in their inheritance;
    and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
    and everlasting joy will be theirs.” 61:7

    So when Christ, a Torah educated Jew, references this, is He suggesting that you place good deeds to all above doctrine? Is he even talking about good deeds? Hardly. Ever more so I would ask if He is even referring to good deeds in general or to what He intended to do first for the Jewish people, and then for us gentiles. For as Christ said:

    “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

    This strikes at a core problem in modern Christianity. Years of replacement theology and rampant antisemitism have created a distinct lack of recognition of Christ’s primary focus and the proper contextual grounding to understand his teachings. But I digress.

    Dan, it seems your comments (not you, but your comments) show a commitment to good deeds, but a lack of almost any moorings in doctrinal knowledge. I am not saying that you lack that doctrinal knowledge, just that you seem to hold it as of lesser value compared with good deeds. But I would ask, was all that talk of discernment mere biblical dicta, bearing less value than the red words? How do you discern without knowledge? For there are men who are quite lost who are also quite good to their neighbor, as there are Christians who are quite unsavory.

    Moreover, didn’t Christ tell his followers after his resurrection:

    “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

    Is that everything broad enough to include the prophetic writings that foretold of his virgin birth? Indeed much of the OT, from the sacrificial system to the prophets and the psalms, foretold and foreshadowed Christ. As Christ said, it all had to be fulfilled as part of God’s grand plan to redeem His creation. Yet, you seem to cast it aside as an afterthought or some inconvenience you would rather not explain.

    I would close by saying this. Dan, it appears to me from your comments (I may be totally wrong) that you have embraced a view of Christ that offers no conflict with the world. It seems that almost anything about the Bible or Christ that is difficult to explain (the Virgin Birth, part of the OT, etc.) you simply reject, ignore, or mold into a shape more palatable to those who would mock you if you did accept them in their orthodox form. But if such were possible why would Christ warn us repeatedly that the world would hate us? Certainly they don’t hate us simply because we are nice folks who feed the poor.

    Wait, I think I would rather close by agreeing with you- to an extent. We would all do well to remember James admonition

    “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

    As with all paths in life there are extremes that lead us off the right path. Some embrace a faith that shows no mercy, kindness, or compassion. Yet others embrace a faith that shows numerous good deeds without any grounding in God’s Word- the basis for church doctrine. Both paths are false. The best path finds the ground where a man can display love, compassion, and kindness to his neighbor while affirming God’s Word.

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  12. P.S. I had to try posting this several times and finally gave in and opened another browser since I installed a rather horrible software called “CoComment” on my Firefox browser. I would advise that no one else download the program. Seriously, it has jammed up my comments, lost comments, and just generally annoyed the heck out of me.

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  13. Excellent questions and more to the point, TT, thanks!

    But as much of what you’re dealing with here is afield from the current topic (how do you feel about the four spiritual laws?), I’ll pass on taking it up here, out of consideration for Neil.

    I’d be glad to explain where you’re misunderstanding my positions if you’ll email me at paynehollow at yahoo.

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  14. Several points about evangelism. I tell those that are going through EE to learn this system and the major points of the gospel, then learn the gospels and don’t worry about the system. If you know the parables, and the stories that Christ told, then you have the tools for evangelism and the gospel will come out of you as the Spirit leads and in ways that the person you are dealing with needs.

    Secondly, evangelism and preaching are not the same thing. (Ephesians 4:11). Both contain the gospel, but some are gifted to preach & teach, while others are gifted at evangelism. I’m gifted in the former, not the latter and I know men and women who couldn’t preach a bit, but who God uses to lead others to the LORD all the time. Both are God’s gift to the church for the work of the ministry and both are very important.

    The point is, that many people are not gifted to become evangelist. In fact, I believe very few are. Why? Because we only need a few true evangelist for any given community. God will use them to bring His chosen to Himself. We need to trust in that.

    Not that we should not all do the work of an evangelist, but I say this so that those who never see anyone come to know the LORD through their attempts, don’t live with the guilt that is often handed down with evangelism. We must trust in His sovereignty. He will reach all those that belong to Him, and because of that, there is great freedom in evangelism. If you share the gospel with someone and they trust the LORD, hallelujah. But if they don’t, praise God for the opportunity.

    OK, I will step back down off my box! 🙂
    Blessings

    Preach on, brother! Seriously, those are excellent points. Thanks for sharing those foundational ideas.

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  15. Even Crusade has adapted their methods. I’m more into relational evangelism. But any sharing works. I was at a conference about 6 years ago and had just been trained in an evangelistic script/type method. I didn’t like it but I had to teach at my church because I was the Evangelism minister. Some of the pastors at dinner asked me to show them how it worked on the waitress. I can’t say I had prayed about it or really had a burden for her but I went through the whole memorized plan of salvation and to my surprise she prayed to receive Christ.

    What I have found is when we share our faith–it works. I’m more of the relational “Becoming a Contagious Christian” type person but I also have the spiritual gift of evangelism. I don’t knock any types of gospel presentations as long as Christ is preached! Phil 1.

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    1. Paul was happy to use any way “in order that at least some might be saved”. Whether is be through the 4 spiritual laws or any other means is not the important thing… the important thing is that people are saved. The Holy Spirit is able to take any weak effort of man (and many of our efforts are weak, but he still uses that) and transform lives.

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  16. Kevin,
    That is a great story. Yes, if she trusted Christ, then you probably have the gift of evangelism. I don’t know how many waitresses I’ve shared the gospel with… but none of them have ever trusted Christ, even when I’ve asked them to. (I wonder if that is because of the type of restaurants I hang out in… ).

    Great story.
    Blessings

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  17. “It’s all about one thing – to get more and more people to donate more and more $$$$$

    This is exactly what I hate about religion.”

    Mark, you are in good company. Some churches (especially many TV preachers) do have that attitude, and many of us hate it, too.

    But I wish you could visit my church. They rarely talk about money.

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  18. I always use it for the closing, but I use it with other methods of evangelism like prophetic or power evangelism. works whatever methosd of evangelism you are using this gives you a quick method for closing.

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  19. Timothy said, “Yes, I’ve used it, but don’t advocated it now that I’m a Calvinist.”

    LOL! Timothy, maybe you’ve forgotten that Bill Bright is a Calvinist. He is an Elder of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). A forgotten elder, maybe!

    As for the Four Spiritual Laws. I was trained to use it when I was in high school and have abandoned it. Surprisingly, now I became a Calvinist and picked it up again. The key difference was I was using it as a gimmick. Now I use it with integrity. It’s a great tool, if you apply it with the right attitude, such as Paul’s attitude recorded in 1 Thess. 2.

    Grace and peace!

    Sam

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  20. When I attended Campus Crusades seminar they challenged us to use only the Four Spiritual Laws approach when we went door to door with the survey that they use to get the “foot in the door”. I had never used a tract approach before and yet had had the blessing of being used to lead many to Christ. At that time I felt I could not really use a “canned” method to witness. The speaker challenged us by reminding us that it was the Word of God and the wooing of The Holy Spirit which would always do the work in any approach. I decided to use only that approach while there. At every home we saw them pray through to salvation. At one home, for instance,
    When I started with the first of the four laws, I noticed there were tears in the woman’s eyes, by the time I got to the second tears were rolling down her cheeks and finally got to the fourth law she was openly weeping. All I had done was to read the four laws and let God’s Word and His
    Spirit do the work.
    i still use an individual approach, but from this experience I learned that while some don’t feel confident enough to witness without using a tract, It is not them that will do the work & it is not the approach, but it all depends on God. If this will help some to witness that would not feel comfortable otherwise, I say Praise The Lord!

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