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Dismantling Deception from A to Z

October 23rd, 2013 | 4 Comments | Posted in Miscellaneous

ABC chalkboardLast weekend, my church had a conference featuring an insightful (and funny) speaker named Randy Newman. Newman–a Jewish believer in Jesus who has served with Campus Crusade for over 30 years and has authored three books on evangelism–gave practical suggestions for how to share the Christian faith with unbelievers in ways that are not only uncompromising,  but also gracious and effective.

I found one of his suggestions particularly helpful–and not just for sharing my faith with unbelievers. With slight tweaking, his suggestion could also be used for sharing my concerns about New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) teachings with loved ones who are caught up in the NAR movement. I thought you might also find it helpful.

The ‘A to Z’ Strategy

As Newman stood on the platform at the front of our church sanctuary, he told the audience to imagine a line stretched from the left side of the platform to the right side with the letters of the alphabet emblazoned on that line. He said to imagine that the letter “A” represents the most hardened, cynical atheist and the letter “Z”–at the far end of the line–represents a person who is falling on his knees, ready to receive Jesus as his savior. And all the letters in between “A” and “Z” represent people at different places on the spectrum from unbelief to belief.

Newman said that, often, Christians feel like our only goal in evangelism is to lead people to the very moment when they say the Sinner’s Prayer and place their trust in Christ. But the problem with this goal is that,  in our post-Christian culture, it is not always realistic.

The truth is that many people today don’t even believe that there is God, or a personal God who desires a relationship with them, let alone that He has revealed Himself through the Bible and in His Son, Jesus Christ. In other words, many people–on that alphabet line spectrum–are only on letter “D,” and not anywhere near “Z.”

So, our goal should not be just to get people to confess belief in Christ. Rather, it is to find out where they are on the spectrum and help move them forward to the next letter. So, for example, if someone is on letter “D”–maybe that person believes there is a God, but he or she is not yet convinced that God is a personal Being–then our goal is to help move that person from “D” to “E” or “F”–that is, to acknowledge that God is a personal Being, not just an impersonal force like an energy.

Then maybe another Christian will come along who can help move that person from “F” along through “G,” “H,” and “I.” Eventually, the person may reach letter “Z,” and then a Christian will come along who will have the privilege of seeing that person place his or her trust in Christ.

A New, More Realistic Goal

If a Christian sees success in evangelism only in terms of leading a person through the Sinner’s Prayer then most Christians will be continually discouraged. Because the truth is that leading a person through the Sinner’s Prayer–though the ultimate goal–is the final step in a long process of leading someone to Christ. So, we Christians must redefine what success looks like in evangelism. We must not view it as participation in a moment, but in a process.

In the same way, we–who have loved ones caught up in the NAR movement–should redefine what success looks like in helping people break free of false teachings. We want to say the right words that cause our loved ones to denounce their false beliefs, repent of their involvement with them, and replace them with true beliefs. On an alphabet line, that moment would represent letter “Z” in the process of freeing people from false teaching.

But a more realistic goal is that our words would move someone–on the spectrum from false beliefs to true beliefs–from letter “A” to “B” or from “B” to “C.” Maybe our first goal is to get our loved ones to simply admit that we should test all things by the Word of God–including revelation given by NAR prophets. If we can get them to agree to just that one point, then we have moved them from “A” to “B.” Then we can work on moving them through the next letters.

It seems to me that this “A to Z” strategy is very doable. I hope it encourages you in your efforts to free people from false teaching.

— Holly Pivec

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4 Responses to “Dismantling Deception from A to Z”

  1. Ann Says:

    That is a wonderful perspective, Holly.

  2. Jean Says:

    Hi Holly
    This “strategy” will only have an impact if our “lives” also “speak” it.  We must truly live our own faith/relationship with Jesus.  Newman rightly said that we live in a “post-Christian culture”.

    We must have “living-Word-of-God”  lives. If we do this, then we will be living the TRUTH and thus the TRUTH will be lived/witnessed/preached to family and friends. We will then be the “Salt” and friends and family will become “thirsty” for the TRUTH.

    I know this sounds like a “long” and “slow” method but the result is TRUE Confession and a REAL change of lives. 

    I am personally not a supporter of “sinner’s prayers”. I believe it has become cheap and a “goal” in itself. True salvation comes from  a Crying out to God in desperation because you have discovered that you are a sinner and you are LOST. Someone else cannot do that job for you or “lead” you in doing it. If you are desperate, then you are desperate and will cry out because you cant’ stop yourself.  No formal prayers . . . just a cry from a sinners heart – “God have mercy on me, a sinner” !!  amen?


  3. Holly Says:

    Well said, Jean.


  4. Dan Knezacek Says:


    I said “the sinner’s prayer” for the first time when I was 5 years old. Later-on when I was 12 I became alarmed at my tendency to sin, and said it again. Then again, and again! Eventually I gave up, and gave in to sin!

    It was not until another ten years later, and after the failure of my first marriage that I fell on my knees and received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour!

    They said that one had to be sincere when one said that prayer, and I sincerely wanted to be saved, however, I still wanted to be my own boss, my own lord!

    I believe Jesus honoured my request, not by saving me that day, but by allowing me to make a ruin of my own life, so that I knew I needed a Saviour. He was there all the time, convicting me of sin, using the law as a schoolmaster to bring me to Christ!

    The Holy Spirit will not go where He is not wanted, even though we say the right words; He searches our hearts and only saves us when we are ready to make Him King of our lives!

    As He said;
    For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Matthew 12:50

    Calling Him Lord is not enough, we have to follow it up with the right heart attitude, and obedience will follow after.

    I’m still not perfect, but I can look back now and see evidence of Him working in my life from that time when I was 22 years old, and a new baby believer!

    I started out believing people, but now I believe Jesus!

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