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21 June, 2007 / theexpositor

Todd Friel-13 Evangelistic Phrases That Produce False Conversions

Source-Symphony of Scripture

I love Todd Friel. The Way of the Master co-host is a great guy, a very faithful preacher of the Gospel, and a dear brother in Christ. I have had the honor of having Todd on our radio program and shared several conversations with him as well, and he is as true as they come. In this piece, he shares 13 Evangelistic Phrases That Produce False Conversions, and he is dead on!

Churches divide over carpet color, building additions and budgets. In the meantime, our fellow church members are going to hell by the boat load.

A.W. Tozer said, “It is my opinion that tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ, and they have not been saved.”

D. James Kennedy said, “The vast majority of people who are members of churches in America today are not Christians. I say that without the slightest contradiction. I base it on empirical evidence of twenty-four years of examining thousands of people.”

Friend, we argue over so many petty things. May I suggest we have lost sight of the most important debate of all, “What is salvation?” My theology teaches that salvation happens when a man repents and places his trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

I would like to present thirteen ways that we have re-defined how a person becomes a true convert. Have we done this intentionally? Certainly not. We have simply created lingo that has a grain of truth in Scripture, but it is so open to interpretation that the un-converted understand it in ways that lead to false conversions.

1. Make Jesus your Lord and Savior. We cannot make Jesus our Lord and Savior, He is our Lord and Savior. We are living in rebellion to Him and He commands us to repent and trust Him.

2. Ask Jesus into your heart. Does Jesus come into our hearts? Yes He does. The question is, “How does He get in there?” It is not by simply asking Him in; it is by repentance and faith.

3. Just believe in Jesus. The demons believe and they tremble. We must repent and trust.

4. You have a God-shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it. We have far more than a hole that needs to be filled so we can feel complete; we have a wretched, deceitful, sinful heart that needs cleansing. Repentance and faith applies the blood of the lamb for that cleansing.

5. Accept Jesus. Whoa. We need to accept Jesus? This is entirely backward. We need Jesus to accept us–and He will, if we repent and trust.

6. Make a decision for Jesus. Decisional regeneration puts man in the driver’s seat of salvation. When we repent and trust, Jesus decides to save us. That puts Him in the driver’s seat…where He demands.

7. It is easy to believe. While the formula of repentance and faith sounds simple, a complete surrendering of self in repentance is anything but easy. It’s hard.

8. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. The only promises for the convert are trials, temptation and persecution. If that is how you define a wonderful life, fine. Otherwise we must command all men everywhere to repent and trust.

9. Come to Jesus just as you are. We should come to Jesus just as the sinners we are, but He also expects a broken heart and contrite spirit demonstrated in repentance and faith.

10. Come to Jesus and you will receive forgiveness of sins and ________________ (fill in the blank with money, health, a healed marriage). Jesus didn’t promise healed marriages; in fact He promised broken homes because we would divide when one member repents and trusts.

11. Come to Jesus and experience love, joy, peace. Do we get the fruit of the Spirit upon conversion? Yes. But if we come seeking the gifts and not the giver, we will receive neither. Instead, we must repent and trust.

12. Jesus is the missing piece. Um, no, the God of the universe is not the missing piece, He demands that He is the center of our lives when we repent and trust.

13. Jesus is better than fame and fortune. That is an understatement, and frankly, it is insulting. Saying Jesus is better than money is like saying that a steak dinner is better than eating a dung hill. He defies comparison and we trivialize the Son of God. Instead, we should be pleading with all men everywhere to repent and trust.

If I showed up at your door with a can of grapefruit juice and a roll of paper towels and offered to change your oil, you would say, “No thanks.” If we wouldn’t let someone mess with our car using the wrong method, why do we allow the Gospel to be presented so ambiguously?

Would you let a doctor operate on your child who was “sort of” accurate? The salvation of men is far more important than an appendix.

I beg you to consider how you share the Gospel. You and I know what we are talking about when we use these phrases, but do the unregenerate? Is it possible that we have so many backsliders today because they never slid forward in the first place? Is it because they were never told that they must repent and trust?

If we are willing to debate shag verse plush in the fellowship hall, shouldn’t we be more concerned about an issue that has eternal consequences?




  1. totaltransformation / Jun 22 2007 0 31

    An interesting piece. I disagree on a few of those points (but lack time to elaborate), but overall they seem sound.

  2. mike / Oct 20 2007 3 07

    i think i see a pattern. let’s get back to the basics! I’m actually writing an 8-10 pg paper on the Law and it’s relationship to man for my honors ancient civilization literature class. The prof’s not saved yet. he will be.

  3. Tracey / Aug 27 2008 2 54

    we watch your show every night its awesome I lay down as your show is coming on and its the last thing i put into my mind before i go to sleep. thank you for bringing the Word of God as Holy and Righteous as as It is. im praying to be more sensitive and understanding of the Holyness of God, as you preach. keep the Word coming and God Bless you and your team

  4. Godzguy / Oct 10 2008 0 39

    I would like to know if “totaltransformation” has time now to elaborate on ehat he disagrees with. All points are valid and scripture oriented. And every phrase is taken way of out context and leave out key components to salvation that produce Godly sorrow which leads to repentance (2 Cor 7:9-10).

  5. GodizLuv / Feb 13 2010 4 38

    Just heard Todd on TV say that if you don’t believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior then you hate Jesus and you hate Christians. As a Christian, I am extremely troubled by this message. The setup was that there was an ad on Craig’s list looking for non-Christians to review local churches and the ad specifically said you shouldn’t be “mad at Christians”. So, the host states that this is not possible. If you aren’t a Christian, then you must hate Jesus and those who believe. What exactly is the host teaching the faithful? What I hear is that… There is “us” (the persecuted believer) and “them” (the heathen non-believer) who hates the believer. If you assume that someone hates you, then you can’t possibly believe that this person would ever be your friend or even have the ability to love you. Isn’t this attitude just driving a wedge between believers and non-believers (or others who believe in something else). When you say “love thy neighbor” does this only apply to the faithful? Don’t you have a better chance of reaching out to the non-believer and teaching them about your faith, if you don’t assume that they hate you? When you pit people with differences against one another, you are simply fomenting persecution, distrust and further hatred.

    The mesage should be “come to Jesus and experience love, joy, and peace” not “the non-believer hates us, so fear and distrust them”.

    • Ken Pace / Mar 9 2011 8 34

      It’s true. If you’re a true Christian, the world should hate you. If it doesn’t, maybe you’re blending in the world too much. Non-believers would love me until I start talking about Christ and the Bible. The world thinks that I’m evil for thinking my way is the only way.

  6. ising4ujc / Jun 5 2010 1 52

    To GodizLuv…thank you. I’m in agreement. I love Jesus with all of my heart. He says in His Word to “love the neighbor”. He does not say love only your believing neighbor. We are called to go into the world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, how can we as believers do that if we are supposed to be “hating” non-believers. Our neighbors repent and trust in the L0rd through the actions of kindness and love towards our fellow man, believers or unbelievers.

  7. TexasLongs / Aug 25 2010 13 07

    Where in the Bible does it teach the message is to “come to Jesus and you will have love, joy, and peace? In fact it teaches as Todd stated “true converts will experience trials, temptations, and persecution”. The peace, joy, and love message is in fact what causes false converts. When someone is converted based on that message, when trials and tribulation come he blames God and those who brought him the message. And in many cases falls further away from God. True converts know what to expect and cling tighter to God when they experience the trials and tribulations. Todd never says to hate nonbelievers. I watch him all the time and I have never heard that message. I have heard him many time during witnessing say he cares and loves the person he is witnessing to and wants to spare him eternal death by delivering the message. Do you think Todd would do all that he does if he hated nonbelivers? That is who he delivers his message to. He never teaches to hate non-believers. Keep watching his show and Kirk Camerons show with Ray Comfort. It took me a while as well but they have made a tremendous difference in my life. The false convert message is a self test for all believers.

  8. Romans10man / Dec 7 2010 18 58

    Let me see…When we stand before God He’s going to ask us…….let Me hear your words again and how you became my child. All I said was hello Jesus this is Harry…I’m sorry for my sins….forgive me …. He knew My Heart and what I was saying. Thirty six years later I still love Him and walk with Him every day. I called on Jesus and I know He saved me. Call on the Lord and thou shall be saved !

  9. Romans10man / Dec 7 2010 19 00

    It’s an issue of the Heart and God knows the heart.

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