The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
We all have heard this scripture quoted, generally used to support the doctrine/teaching of modern day evangelism....or 'winning souls' to Christ.
We all have had our hands in handing out Chick tracts, knocking on doors and witnessing to lost souls who choose to stay home from church...or just happen to be home.
The most famous of 'door knockers' are the Jehovah's Witnesses. They will knock on doors in rain, snow, sleet or hurricane....winning 'souls' to the Kingdom Hall!
Now, allow me to dissect that little saying, that phrase, that is so easily quoted (and practiced) among charismatics, pentecostals and the all around religious.
The greed word for winneth in Proverbs 11 is 'laqach,' which means 'to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, snatch...'
Nothing here even hints to salvation.
In the Old Testament, it was a common practice-and even a command of God at times-for people to forcefully seize their 'enemies' and takeover their lands, homes, regions, families and the such.
The art of 'winning' speaks to a battle. In the Old Testament, there wasn't a 'battle' for souls. Salvation-nor the Holy Ghost-was given. So NO ONE was born again.
The art of 'winning' in this context in Proverbs 11 means that the person God gave instruction to go and possess a land, or seize the people in the Old Testament...THEY are wise. And that wisdom, those strategies used to 'win' those many battles against the many 'ites' of the Old Testament always came straight from God.
(Even in the New Testament, there was no 'battle' for souls. Jesus Christ of Nazareth won EVERY and ANY battle there would ever be for our souls at Calvary....AND at the Resurrection!)
That scripture has absolutely NOTHING to do with modern day evangelism. That is not a directive from the Throne Room to go and 'win the world for Christ.'
The Word of God says NO MAN comes unto the Father except the SPIRIT OF GOD DRAWS HIM!
No where in the Word of God are we required to 'seize' souls for Christ. Seizure, takeover, snatching all speaks to a forceful acquisition of one's soul, most probably against the will of that soul.
Even though God has all power in HIS Hand, even GOD HIMSELF does not forcefully 'seize' our souls. He doesn't just takeover. When it is our time to be born again, it is the HOLY GHOST who does the convicting, the wooing, the drawing.
I am leery whenever I hear of people who 'seize souls for Christ.' They are not seizing souls for Christ. They are operating in a spirit of control, witchcraft...and most probably seizing the souls of man to be totally submitted to their religious institution...and NOT GOD!
Folks getting saved has absolutely to nothing with your witnessing techniques, or how loving you seem to be. Or how convincing your 'lifestyle'-no matter how 'holy-may be.
The act of fishing has little to do with the bait, and EVERYTHING to do with the HUNGER of the fish!
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
Mark 1 talks of the Kingdom of GOD...NOT church!
Yes, in Matthew and Mark, Jesus Christ of Nazareth spoke of making the disciples 'fishers of men.'
The Greek word for souls in Proverbs 11 is 'nephesh,' which means 'the seat of one's appetites, emotions, the activity of the will.'
Context, Context, Context!
In its proper context, the word 'nephesh' here also means the actual person. And not just their wills, emotions and appetites.
Religious people took Proverbs 11 and ran with it....using this scripture to justify seizing the wills, the emotions and appetites of a person to be totally submitted to their respective religious institutions.
When in this context, that is NOT what it meant!
If you read the entire chapter of Mark 1, what Jesus Christ of Nazareth was commanding the disciples to do was to present the Kingdom of God to people....as an alternative to RELIGION. (vs. 14)
In verse 21, Jesus Christ of Nazareth went into the church, preaching the Kingdom of God. In order to enter in, they had to repent FIRST.
One of the five fold offices was the evangelist. Paul instructed Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. But it was NOT to baptize folks to go to church, or the synagogue or the temple. When Phillip baptized the eunuch, I don't see in scripture where Phillip referred the eunuch to a synagogue.
As a matter of fact, in the synagogue is where the Kingdom of God message met the most resistance.
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
The work of evangelism that Timothy was instructed to do was to point people towards JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH. And HIS Kingdom!
It was in the synagogue where Jesus had to do the MOST deliverance! Folks in church had unclean spirits...EVEN THEN! And NO ONE WITH ENOUGH AUTHORITY TO CAST THEM OUT!
And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know there who thou art, the Holy One of God.
And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
When the REAL JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH came on the scene, teaching a 'strange new thing,' what did the church folks say?
And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they DO obey him.
THIS IS WHAT EVANGELISM is supposed to do!
Point people to the Kingdom of GOD...to JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH!!!!!
NOT YOUR CHURCH!!!!!!
Modern day pentecostals and charismatics have used the scriptures, twisted them out of context, as a justification, a marketing ploy, to get more people to attend their churches....
And because more people are coming to your churches, LESS people are entering into the Kingdom of God!
Also, I will add one more thing.
Timothy was instructed to do the work of an evangelist. The apostles of the early church were given instructions on how to run a local assembly. What offices to institute. Their qualifications.
WE are not instructed to do what Timothy and the founding fathers of the early church were....
Those stipulations, qualifications, specifications and the such were applicable to THE EARLY CHURCH.
What many fail to realize is that the Church Age is OVER.
We are now in the Kingdom of God. And in the Kingdom of God....there ARE no 5 fold ministry. There is no need for evangelism...as it was stipulated to Timothy.
Those who GOD has called to be in the Kingdom of GOD WILL be drawn NOT by fancy evangelism techniques, weak witnessing ploys, forceful religious and spiritual witchcraft to force people into physical churches, to be faithful to religious organizations and denominations.
GOD IS CALLING FOLKS INTO THE HIS KINGDOM!
You only need ears to hear the call!