Theology and Practice of Evangelism - Lesson 4

God is Faithful

In this lesson, you will learn about the personal journey of a professor who taught at Fuller Seminary and faced various challenges in his life. He shares his experiences of dealing with personal struggles, such as separation from his wife and son, moving to Tulsa, and facing a difficult illness. Through this journey, he describes his anger towards God and eventually experiences healing and a renewed sense of faith. Furthermore, he discusses the process of sanctification, renewing repentance and faith, and overcoming sin, emphasizing that it is possible to prevail over life's challenges with the help of God.

Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Lesson 4
Watching Now
God is Faithful

I. Teaching at Fuller Seminary

A. The interview process

B. Relationships with colleagues

C. Leaving Fuller Seminary

II. Struggles with personal life

A. Separation from wife and son

B. Moving to Tulsa

C. Anger towards God

III. Experience of healing

A. Dream about the white light

B. God's message

C. Overcoming illness

IV. Dealing with sin and despair

A. Process of sanctification

B. Renewing repentance and faith

C. Overcoming sin

  • In order to share the Gospel, you must know what it meant, and how people are understanding what you are saying. The gospel core is the least you can believe and still be a Christian. If the least you can believe is sufficient to get you saved, then the least you can believe is the most you can require of anyone.
  • Christianity is the only world religion with an understanding of grace. Your most important ministry will be helping people understand how much God loves them. The heart of the gospel is that God loves you. Sin happens when we attempt to live as if there is no God. God, since the fall has done everything he can to establish relationship. God wants to make himself known to you in a way that you can understand.
  • At the Fall, Satan gained control of the world. Jesus takes it back in Revelation 5 because he meets the qualifications. The core elements of the sermons of the apostles are authoritative proofs, prophecies fulfilled, God’s activities described, apostolic eyewitnesses and miracles proclaimed. You will be heard with authority to the degree you are willing to put your life on the line. You die spiritually when you rationalize sin. Wind moves from high pressure to low pressure. We access the power of the Spirit by repenting and believing. Two sins mentioned throughout scripture are self-reliance and oppressing the poor.
  • The lesson tells the story of a professor who faces personal struggles and overcomes them with the help of faith, healing, and learning to overcome sin, ultimately showing that it's possible to prevail over life's challenges with God's guidance.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the core components of the gospel message, its theological themes, and how to effectively communicate it for evangelism purposes.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into leveraging your personal, church, and wider spheres of influence to effectively share the Gospel, overcome challenges, and expand your evangelistic reach.
  • Gain insights into ministry experiences and the power of faith, prayer, personal testimony, and baptism stories to navigate emergency situations that are bigger than yourself.
  • You will learn from this lesson that you are uniquely equipped to minister to those in your sphere of influence and that the church is indispensable for your survival. By treating others with respect and recognizing each person's importance, the church can become the living, breathing body of Jesus Christ.
  • In this lesson, you will learn that people are often hurting, angry, lonely, or tired, ministry requires dependence on God and rejection is important, preaching the text is key, our weaknesses can be our strengths, and close community is crucial for doing the work of the kingdom, while leading someone to Christ without providing ample opportunity for growth and nurture is a mistake.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about Charlie Haley, a man with a pastoral background who is currently involved in retreat ministry and considering going into the mission field abroad. The lesson covers topics related to evangelism and ministry, including tract ministry, follow-up and discipleship, and the importance of love and forgiveness within one's sphere of influence. The lesson also discusses the importance of building relationships and addressing felt needs with spiritual solutions.
  • This lecture begins as Dr. Tuttle is relating a story about a lady he met on an airplane. Jesus chose people as disciples that he could demonstrate by showing and telling them, and then depend on them to reproduce what they had been shown and taught. When Jesus gets too close, we raise the religious question to change the subject. As a result of the sin in the garden, we lost our ability to perceive reality beyond the senses. The Holy Spirit came, not to compensate for the absence of Jesus, but to guarantee his presence. We hold the truth, but the world sets the agenda and has the right to ask its own questions.
  • Often, it is implied that once you commit your life to Christ, all your problems are solved. The Hebrew concept of soul is body, mind and spirit. The Greek concept is that soul and body are separate, and that soul is good and body is evil. Prophecy and spiritual gifts are essential for the body of Christ to function. In the teaching in mainline churches, there is sometimes a disconnect between faith and life.
  • Trusting the Spirit of God is the key in this lesson. By remembering and trusting the Spirit, one can be utterly dependent upon God and do the hard work in preaching. Dr. Tuttle shares his personal experience of trusting the Spirit and provides context for Paul's second missionary journey, including Paul's conversion and early ministry, Peter's vision, and the conversion of Gentiles. The Spirit of God also taught Saul how Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
  • Through a deep exploration of Wesley's Methodism and Calvin's Reformed tradition, you gain an understanding of their respective theological frameworks, evangelistic strategies, and lasting influences on modern evangelism.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the significance of Wesley's Societies, their organizational structure, theological practices, and the lasting impact on modern church practices.
  • By exploring the Ethiopian Eunuch story, you gain insights on divine guidance, Scripture's role in evangelism, and early church inclusivity, while learning to apply practical evangelistic lessons.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to effectively share the gospel through action evangelism by understanding its theological basis, applying key principles, employing various methods, and overcoming common obstacles.
  • You gain insights into action evangelism's importance, principles, and various methods, while learning to overcome fears and obstacles, and equipping others for effective Gospel sharing.

Dr. Tuttle teaches three critical points around evangelism: how to share your faith story, what evangelism is and how to approach it, and that God has more invested in evangelism than we do – He is in control. God is at work. He wants us to, "show up and pay attention [to the Spirit]," and to care about people enough to "press" them by asking probing questions about what they think and what's going on in their lives.

Evangelism is essentially about the core of the Gospel, ministering in your sphere of influence and sustaining those you reach.

Recommended Books

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Those who serve on mission fields in areas where Christian faith is not the dominant religion quickly come to understand a central truth: when one is sharing the gospel, one...

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Dr. Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
God is Faithful
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Give it. Tell your story. I told you. I came home one day when I was teaching at Fuller Seminary. The first Wesleyan Armenian ever hired at Fuller Seminary. They only had 17 on the faculty. All 17 interviewed me, interviewed me. Bromley Lad. Do it. Martin Monger panel. All these names that you have read, books you've heard of most of those people. Bromley translated all of Bart and Kettle. I used to hike in the Sand Gables with Geoffrey Bromley, played racquetball with George Ladd. George Allen Ladd taught him how to play squash. Three days a week, it was high cotton, I tell you. Heady atmosphere. I only had 500 students, and now it has like 2500 students. All had 500 students. When I went on the faculty, 17 faculty, I was number 618, the only Wesleyan. How many? All that? All 70. I interviewed me. It was a great time. Great. Greater. Love teaching there. Could still be there. After I left, the Dean guy named Bob my call me once a month and said, We realize your reason for leaving didn't work out. Leaving didn't work out. We want you to come back. And I said, You can't go back. You know, John, get why. John, your daddy went back. And I admired him for that. I've never been able to do that. But they said after a year, if you won't come back, we want to hire somebody just like you name him. I got to name my successor. It follows him there. I couldn't believe it. The reason I left is. After I've been there for years. My wife, we were we were obviously living separately with my son.

[00:01:54] I was single parent virtually while still married. She said, We'll be reconciled if you move to Tulsa. Which is her home. Her mom and dad lived in Tulsa. And so I called up Ora and Jim Buskirk and they said, Sure, well, are you a guy that gave me a professor of historical theology? I wanted to be a rock and star. So I call up David Alan Hubbard. It was the president for the seminary and told him, he said, Tuttle, that's the only reason I would let you go. Is to be reconciled. I salute you, sir. I drove my car around over to Tulsa, bought a house, decorated it. Welcome. You know, I'm going to be reconcile with my wife and son. You know, my wife and son. I'm going to have momma back, went to the airport to greet my wife and son and he was on the plane and she wasn't. She used that as a ruse to get me out of Pasadena, California. I was invading her space. You see, I was teaching at the seminary where she was a student and a Ph.D. student in psychology. I'm so mad at God. Driving home from the airport, I was so mad at God. I wanted to slap all Roberts, hope in God to get the message. We had 100 consecutive days of over 100 degree temperature in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1979. My office was so air conditioned that all of my books mildewed and I caught pneumonia. You do not have to die to go to hell. My students come up and say, pray for me. The more they prayed, the worse I felt because I knew they were praying. Right. So I must be receiving wrong. My heart is broken. I'm hot. I got the creep and crud.

[00:03:41] All my books are mildewed and I'm trying to raise my boy. You'll understand. One night I remember saying, God. With all due respect, it really wouldn't take a whole lot of time out of your busy schedule to do a healing number on me. If there's anything standing between me and healing, you show it to me. It is yours. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. First it got all night. And guess what happened? Nothing happened. There's so much high pressure. Two nights later. I had a dream. And in this dream. There's a white light sitting on the foot of my bed shaped like I think Jesus ought to be shaped. And I'm here to tell you, friends and neighbors, I'm going after that white light. I mean, I want a white light on the outside. On the inside. And I'm all over that white light trying to get. Can't get that white light on the inside. And, of course, it won't work. I can't get the white light on the inside. And the more more I try to get the white light on the inside, the more frustrated I became. And I woke up screaming. And after I got my son back to bed. God spoke to me. I didn't hear a voice, but I got an inside. You know what God said to me? You won't believe this. God, that tunnel. Shut up, man. You're sweet as I am. Just shut your mouth. It's just so much high pressure. And then God said this to me. Total. In the silence. That is you. Who should allow my spirit. To plumb some new depth of your experience to reveal some area of life not yet yielded to me. Some area of resistance.

[00:05:41] And with your willingness for me to take it from you. Renew your faith and trust in my son Jesus and go to sleep. Well, I got to tell you, it took me 30 minutes to get the volume on the old history tapes low enough so I could even hear the voice of God, the spirit of God. So the spirit of God could do a thing in May. That's why I'm in therapy. You suspected that, didn't you? Therapy gets the volume on the history tapes low enough so you can hear the voice of God. That's why you go to AA. After 30 minutes, I finally got the volume Only history tapes. Mourning over the loss of my family. And there's creeping crud just kind of weakening the springs to my whole machine. The Spirit of God began to reveal areas of life not yet yielded to God. Actually, the Spirit of God began to reveal areas of life. Once you let the Guard and I take Him back. And areas of resistance. Little things in my life that might not even be seen with somebody else, but they were separate me from God. Do you understand what I mean by that? Wesley talked about things that don't seem like sin, and the sin is absolute. Murder is always a sin. But their relative says some things can be said for some people and for others. Little areas of my life that were separating me from God, myself. And so there were sin for me. And as the Spirit of God began to reveal those things one by one, I said, God, as far as I know my own heart, I'm going to be to take that from God. As far as I know my own heart.

[00:07:24] I'm willing to take that from me. God, as far as I know my own heart. I can't give it to you. If I can give it to you, I wouldn't need you. I'm willing to take that from me. And after I. Finished. God, I thought God finished revealing those things. Area of resistance. Areas of have not yet yielded to God or taken back from God. I renewed my faith and trust in Jesus. I got on the airplane, went to sleep and woke up. No more pneumonia. What do you think of that? Yes. Changed my life forever. It reminded me, you know, this stuff really does work. And if it doesn't work the first time, try it again. Do not despair. Healing most of the time is gradual. That means do not despair if you've got some disease. Most of the time, healing is gradual. I fully expect you to submit your disease to the healing prayers of the saints for ever. Just keep on doing it. Do not despair. Sin most times kneejerk. Don't you realize that just happens to be the right time of the week or the month? I don't want to any anymore. I hope I'm on my way to perfection. I told you, my wife has to limit me to two words a month. But it used to be a week. I'm getting sanctified. I never want to use that word again as long as I live. But I'm capable. You wouldn't believe. You would probably suspect the stuff I'm capable of doing. I got a bit of an IQ as well. Do not despair. That's the moral of the story. God is faithful. If. She's gone. I want to ask her why she did this. She said one word, sin.

[00:09:38] Anyway. Thanks for asking. I don't understand. Dip about women. Never have. Never will. My wife and I. Love and adore each other. I married my sister's best friend. Who's a saint, by the way. And I just got lucky, I guess. You can think that's irreligious to say something like that. Most of the time we say a knee jerk just happened to be the right time of the week. And if you mess up, what do you do? You don't go back to the cross and get saved all over again. You renew your repentance and faith. It's kind of like this is another silly illustration. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you. But and I may be the only person here who does this. But when you get hiccups. Somebody told me if I hold my breath long enough, they'll go away or drink some water or something, you know. And so I always hold my breath and still want to get the heck off the whole my breath and count. And then hiccup again, and then a home of breath again and count again. I usually get more and more distance, you know, like if I hold my breath to a five count the first time, it's usually at sometimes an eight or a ten count before I hiccup again the second time, the second count, and then eventually it goes away. I get more and more distance on the hiccups. That's kind of the way thing is. I stand and repent and believe and get. And then that the counts of eight or ten and 15 minutes, it's 1620 and then it goes away. I'm not I'm not plagued by that anymore. Do you understand what I'm saying? You can overcome sand. You really can't. And what's that ever done for you? It's the great deceiver and always promises that which it never produces.

[00:11:31] God's not some kind of cosmic killjoy. If Sam was where it was that it'd be on every page of the Bible. God be saying, Do it, do it, do it. Why does God say, Don't do it? Because it don't work. He just promises that what you never produces. It's the great deceiver that's through the devil is He's a liar. That wants to know what to tell you. If you just believe the right stuff, you don't have to get on an airplane. Leave all the rest to you. A little love like a Buddhist doesn't matter. All religions are going to the top. We got a break. We're going to chapel. Right. We need to go.