How To Assess A Non-Christian's Worldview
How clearly and completely do they understand the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Only God knows for sure where an unbeliever is in his/her understanding of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. But as we share the good news of His salvation with unbelievers, it is important that we try to assess how much they know about the true God of the Bible and the salvation He has provided through His Son.
“All models are wrong. But some models are useful.” -Statistician George Box
The “Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Scale” is only a model, but many Christians have found it to be useful in assessing the gospel-understanding levels of people with whom they are sharing the gospel.
Let’s look at each of the columns of the Good Soil Scale. We’ll begin on the left with Human Spiritual Responses.
Human Spiritual Responses
All of us (humans) start at the same place spiritually. We are all born with an internal God-vacuum. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.” From -12 on the Good Soil Scale*, our progress up the bottom half of the scale depends upon our exposure to and understanding of truth about God and His plan of redemption. The “faith culture” into which we were born and in which we are reared is a major influencer in shaping our initial conceptions or misconceptions of God and His plan of redemption.
In addition, if or when we place our faith in Jesus Christ to be our Savior, our continuing spiritual growth and development up the top half of the scale depends on the guidance we seek from the Bible and spiritual mentors and the degree
we obey the spiritual truths to which we are exposed.
The Good Soil nuances of “Understand” (Matthew 13:23), “Embrace” (Mark 4:20), and “Retain” (Luke 8:15) are three key human spiritual responses in the process of becoming a true believer in Jesus Christ and a committed Christ-follower. See www.goodsoil.com/3verbs
God is at work everywhere in the world, and with every person, to reveal truth about Himself. He does so through the consciences of men and women, as well as through His supernatural handiwork in creation. Theologians call this “general revelation.” Regardless of the faith culture in which people are born or reared, they are not without God’s revelation. And for those who respond positively by faith to God’s revelation, we believe that God provides more and clearer revelation about who He is and what He has done to make provision for their spiritual needs.
God has also revealed truth in a form called “special revelation”—special in the sense that it is not always available everywhere to all people. At this point in human history, the Bible is God’s special revelation to mankind.
As people are exposed to God’s general or special revelation, the Holy Spirit works in their hearts to convict them of their sin. As they respond in faith to Jesus Christ for salvation, the Holy Spirit regenerates them—gives them a new birth, a birth into God’s family. And as believers in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit progressively sets them apart unto himself as they respond in obedience to the teachings of the Bible. That process of progressive sanctification (being set apart unto God) is commonly referred to as spiritual growth.
Evangelism is a divine-human process. The Bible is God’s written Word to mankind, but He has given us (believers) the responsibility of carrying it to all nations so that the good news of Jesus Christ will be clearly available to people of all nations and faith cultures.
Level 1 in the process of evangelism is what we call Tilling Evangelism. Our role with people at this stage of spiritual understanding is to love them, pray for them, and lovingly and respectfully challenge their core worldview belief systems.
Level 2 is Planting Evangelism. As God begins to soften and open the hearts of unbelievers, we can more effectively teach them essential gospel concepts and help them to begin to see that Jesus Christ is unique; He is God’s Son sent to Earth to redeem us.
Level 3 is Reaping Evangelism. Having presented basic salvation truths recorded in the Bible, our tasks are now to continue to clarify those truths, help unbelievers personalize them, and then lovingly persuade, as the Apostle Paul frequently did, them to respond in faith to Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior.
The Apostle Paul did this frequently and encouraged others to do the same (2 Corinthians 5:11-12).
Discipleship too is a divine-human process. As the Spirit of God works in the lives of believers, God uses human instrumentality, often called discipleship. Whether it be through a formal program or informal interactions, God uses more-mature believers to mentor and teach less-mature believers to grow in their Christian faith and walk. Discipleship can and should take place at multiple levels in the believer’s life—immediately following his/her salvation, as he/she becomes further established in faith and equipped for Christian service, and in training or development for levels of leadership appropriate for spiritual gifting and God’s leading.
Previous article in this series: Three Greek Verbs Define Good Soil
Next article in this series: Gospel Receptivity - From Closed to Open
Training and Resources
Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship purposes to motivate, train, and resource Christ-followers for worldview-relevant evangelism and discipleship.
Good Soil provides Evangelism and Discipleship Training to motivate and train believers to meet people where they are on the Good Soil scale and help “bump them up the scale” with the gospel of Jesus Christ and an understanding of the Bible’s BIG Story. The Good Soil Basic Seminar and Trainer Certification Workshop are the foundations of Good Soil’s equipping ministries. The Roots of Faith Bible classes provide an engaging, interactive, and FUN chronological study of God’s redemptive plan, from Genesis through Revelation. www.GoodSoil.com/training
Good Soil provides Evangelism and Discipleship Resources, such as The Story of Hope, The Way to Joy, The Roots of Faith, and a full complement of related resources. www.GoodSoil.com/resources
*The Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Scale is based upon the Engel Scale, introduced by James F. Engel in or before 1975.
©2007 Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship