An evangelistic aid written by Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ. Originally prepared for the staff of his worldwide evangelistic organization, the laws have since been given wide circulation, with well over 25 million printed copies being distributed by 1980. The laws attempt to distill the essence of the gospel and to present it simply, yet convincingly, to the non Christian.
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The four laws Bright formulates are:
Bright's schematic has proved a useful aid for Christians who desire to communicate the gospel to others but lack the necessary skills. The simple outline has been used by the Holy Spirit to bring large numbers into personal faith. Moreover, it has been a corrective within the church in two regards. By giving priority through its first law to God's grace toward humankind, the fourfold presentation has countered evangelism based on fear of divine judgment. By calling people to personal decision, the laws have also challenged a church willing to rest content at times with only an intellectual knowledge of Christianity.
Despite their proven utility, the laws also have their limitations. Their impersonality and structure fail to speak convincingly to many. Moreover, in an age when advertising has made increasing numbers suspicious of promotions (particularly when sold aggressively), this prepackaged presentation has sometimes proved offensive. Lastly, Bright's fourfold summary of the gospel lacks sufficient biblical focus on the costly, ethical demands of the Christian faith. The message of John is quoted but not that of I John; Paul is referred to but not James.
R K Johnston
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)
B Bright, Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?; R Quebedeaux, I Found It! The Story of Bill Bright and Campus Crusade; "Door Interview: Bill Bright," WitD(Feb. 1977).
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