Blessed Calvary: A Full Color Visual Presentation of Salvation Invitations. Streamwood, IL: AWANA Clubs International, n.d. 23 minute video. $14.95.
Dave Breese, head of Christian Destiny, Inc., narrates this excellent training video. It is used by AWANA Youth Ministries to train those who work with children and young people in how to share the Gospel clearly. (AWANA is a Free Grace ministry which currently ministers to 450,000 youth in the United States and thousands more in 71 foreign countries.)
The video discusses 16 common Gospel invitations today. Examples of invitations which are found to be misleading are: “Will you give your heart to Christ?” “Will you surrender your life to Christ?” “Are you willing to forsake all your sins to obtain salvation?” and “Right now ask Jesus to come into your heart.”
Examples of clear invitations are: “Will you accept the Lord Jesus and trust Him as your own personal Savior?” “Will you believe that Jesus took your place on the cross?” “Christ died for your sins. Believe and trust Him personally, and you will be saved,” and “Right now believe that Christ paid the price in full for your past, present, and future sins.”
An explanation is given as to why each of the misleading appeals is wrong. The appeal, “Will you surrender your life to Christ?” draws this criticism on the video: “Surrender implies ‘giving everything’ to the Lord, while salvation is accepting the work of Christ on our behalf as a free gift. This invitation is the reverse of scriptural teaching. We are saved by receiving rather than by giving (John 1:12). The appeal of surrender is fitting only for a believer to yield his life to obedient service to the Lord. Such an appeal cannot be used for salvation. The expression ‘yield’ in Romans 6 and ‘present’ in Romans 12, both of which apply to believers, are calls to obedience and the need for dedicating one’s life to God’s will. Do not confuse these expressions and concepts with accepting and believing for salvation.”
This video is powerful. It is not only an excellent training tool for Christian workers. It is also a fine evangelistic tool for the religious unbeliever.
While there may be a few fine points with which some of our readers will take exception (e.g., faith as accepting the facts of the Gospel plus trusting in Christ), JOTGES readers will very much appreciate this video.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society