The Way of the Master kind of gives me the #$%$%s.

A bunch of guys from TBT who live in a sharehouse and are firing each other up to be "navy seals for Jesus" have gotten into Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort 's evangelistic method, which has a groovy martial arts name: The Way of the Master.

It is "the way of the master" because it is the way Jesus (the Master) evangelises the rich young ruler: confronting him with the commandments, convicting sin and then bringing in the gospel.

The Way of the Master has a cool name. It's funny that Kirk Cameron does it. It's cool that it encourages cold-contact evangelism. It urges Christians to be direct about the hard truths of the gospel and that's very important I think. It gives an easy to memorise structure to shape our evangelistic conversations. And these guys I know are being blessed by God with opportunities to use it.

But there are some significant problems with The Way of the Master:
  1. It's the way of the master when dealing with a confident Jew during the time of Jesus' earthly ministry. Is the story of the rich young ruler given to us as a model for evangelism? Is it more a peculiar form of pre-evangelism? Even if it does have principles we can imitate, should they be applied to all people?
  2. It's a script that works well with cold-contact but poorly in conversation. The approach is very confrontational and this would just suck in a conversation with people you know. You don't really launch into a conversation at a dinner party by calling the hostess a lying, adulteress murderer. Conversations flow differently. They allow for more sound bytes and gentle reflections, rather than a in-out Black Hawk operation.
  3. It's a script, a dialogue that expects certain answers. Unless people understand that this is what you are doing with them it will seem really fake and pushy, I reckon. It probably requires a fair bit of skill to lead this kind of conversation and make it flow. The danger is that the script dominates the conversation and the Christian just becomes like a call-centre person who won't move on until they get the right answer... "computer says no".
  4. It presupposes a whole lot of shared ground. Don Carson argues at length in his book The Gagging of God (the Christian Ulysses - we have it on our shelf, but who has actually read it?) that with many people today, we need to tell the whole Bible's storyline. We need to do Acts 17 not Matthew 19; we need to do Two Ways to Live, not The Way of the Master.
Perhaps there are a lot of cultural reasons why The Way of the Master could work well with a lot of people in certain parts of America. I would not recommend it as the way to evangelise Australians.