THE DIVINE ART OF SOUL-WINNING Beg.- Chapter 1
Written by: Sanders, J.O. Posted on: 04/08/2003
DIVINART.ZIP is the ASCII-version of THE DIVINE ART
OF SOUL-WINNING by J.Oswald Sanders (c)1908 (expired).
This classic on personal evangelism was, in my
opinion, a fountain of practical wisdom which has shaped
the teaching and ministry of most of our present-day
evangelistic organizations. While I was in the process of
re-keying this book, I was amazed at how much of my own
writing echos this work, which I probably first read as a
teenaged Campus Crusader.
The ASCII edition has no margins or page-breaks, but
does have "hard CRs" to define 60-col. lines. I recommend
that you load it into a wordprocessor before printing it.
THE DIVINE ART OF SOUL-WINNING by J.Oswald Sanders is
probably still available in print-media, so you might
choose to use it as an easily searchable or easily quotable
digital Christian resource, and buy the bound book to read
In ANY format, I recommend that you GET this work,
READ it, and set out to lead other folks to Jesus!
THE DIVINE ART OF SOUL-WINNING
by J. O. Sanders,
In 1946, home director of the China Inland Mission for
Australia and New Zealand; in May, 1954, appointed general
director of that Mission.
[This work is available in print-media from Moody Press.]
n.d., no (c)
It is with real delight and pleasure I write these few
words as a foreword to this book of Mr. Sanders, THE DIVINE
ART OF SOUL-WINNING. This book is written by one who not
only knows the THEORY of soul-winning, but who puts into
practice what he knows. He not only knows how to do it,
but is continually doing it and succeeding in it. There
are few today who have the knowledge of and passion for
soul-winning that Mr. Sanders has. Therefore, the contents
of this book have been hammered out on the anvil of
There never was a time when such a book was more
needed than today. There are so many believers everywhere
who have never won a soul for Christ, and are missing such
joy here, and will miss such reward at the judgment seat of
Christ, all because they do not know HOW to go about the
work, and there are so few who will take the trouble to
train them. I trust this book will have a very wide
circulation, and reach those believers who would like to
win souls, but do not know how. Their efficiency is
secured if they will but read and digest this book. May
God's blessing rest upon it and make it instrumental in
raising up a mighty army of soul-winners in these "last of
the last" days.
-Wm. P. Nicholson
Many books treating this subject are obtainable, but
we know of no similar book, procurable at a price within
the reach of the young people for whose use it is primarily
designed, which covers the ground so fully.
Originality is not claimed, the object of the writer
being to present in small compass the best instruction he
could give, whatever its source, on the subject under
review. The experiences of soul-winners the world over, as
well as personal experience, have been freely drawn on. A
list of the books to which we are indebted, or which are
recommended for further study, is appended.
May the Lord use this brochure to beget in some and
revive in others an irresistible urge to win souls for Him.
-J. O. Sanders
THE VALUE OF ONE SOUL
I believe that in an angel were to wing his way from
earth up to Heaven, and were to say that there was one
poor, ragged boy, without father or mother, with no one to
care for him and teach him the way of life; and if God were
to ask who among them were willing to come down to this
earth and live here for fifty years and lead that one to
Jesus Christ, every angel in Heaven would volunteer to go.
Even Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty,
would say, "Let me leave my high and lofty position, and
let me have the luxury of leading one soul to Jesus
Christ." There is no greater honor than to be the
instrument in God's hands of leading one person out of the
kingdom of Satan into the glorious light of Heaven.
--D. L. Moody
1. A Concern for Souls
2. The Fitness of the Worker
3. The Place of Prayer in Soul-Winning
4. Do's and Don'ts for the Soul-Winner
5. An Old Testament Illustration and a New Testament
6. Opportunity, Approach, and Diagnosis
7. How to Deal with Various Classes
8. How to Deal with Various Classes (continued)
9. Working Among False Cults
10. Miscellaneous Suggestions
Oh, for a passionate passion for souls;
Oh, for a pity that yearns.
Oh, for a love that loves unto death,
Oh, for a fire that burns.
Oh, for a pure prayer-power that prevails,
That pours itself out for the lost--
Victorious prayer, in the Conqueror's Name,
Oh, for a Pentecost.
A CONCERN FOR SOULS
"Even if I were utterly selfish, and had no care for
anything but my own happiness, I would choose, if I might,
under God, to be a soul-winner; for never did I know
perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purest
and most ennobling order till I first heard of one who had
sought and found the Saviour through my means. No young
mother ever so rejoiced over her first-born child, no
warrior was so exultant over a hard-won victory." So spoke
that matchless winner of souls, Charles H. Spurgeon. Only
those who have never given themselves to the exercise of
this divine art would be disposed to quarrel with him for
the seeming extravagance of his statement.
And yet, despite the fact that this "perfect,
overflowing, unutterable happiness" is within the reach of
the humblest and least capable believer, comparatively few
seem sufficiently in earnest to strive after its
attainment. A passion for souls is rare among church
members today. The great mass of Christian people feel not
the slightest responsibility for the souls of their fellow
men. It never so much as dawns on them that they are their
brother's keeper. If they can manage to save their own
souls, that is the end of their concern.
The reasons for this apathy are not far to seek.
I. ABSENCE OF CONVICTION THAT EVERY IMPENITENT SOUL IS
There may be a willingness to subscribe to the
orthodox creed concerning future punishment, but there is a
world of difference between a creedal belief and a working
Judge Mingins had been an infidel in his youth, and
had lived with his infidel companions in Philadelphia.
Some time after his conversion he was visiting one of them,
who said: "George, I hear you are a Christian now. Is that
"Yes," said Mr. Mingins.
"George, do you believe in God?"
"And do you believe in Hell, and that all who do not
believe in God and in Jesus Christ will ultimately go to
"I do, most certainly."
"Well, George," said he, "does Christianity dry up all
the milk of humanity in one's body as it has in yours?"
"Why," said Mr. Mingins, "what do you mean?"
"I mean this," he replied, "that here you have been
living under my roof for three days and three nights,
knowing and believing all this, and yet you never put your
hand on my shoulder, or said one word to save me." How
many of my readers are in the boat with Judge Mingins?
The case was put even more strongly by a gifted and
noted infidel, who said: "Were I a religionist, did I
truly, firmly, consistently believe, as millions SAY they
do, that the knowledge and the practice of religion in this
life influences destiny in another, religion should be to
me EVERYTHING. I would cast aside earthly enjoyments as
dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and
feelings as less than vanity. Religion would be my first
waking thought and my last image when sleep sank me in
unconsciousness. I would labor in her cause alone. I
would not labor for the meat that perisheth, nor for
treasures on earth, but only for a crown of glory in
heavenly regions where treasures and happiness are alike
beyond the reach of time and chance. I would take thought
for the morrow of eternity alone. I WOULD ESTEEM ONE SOUL
GAINED FOR HEAVEN WORTH A LIFE OF SUFFERING. There should
be neither worldly prudence nor calculating circumspection
in my engrossing zeal. Earthly consequences should never
stay my hand nor seal my lips. I would speak to the
imagination, awaken the feelings, stir up the passions,
arouse the fancy. Earth, its joys and its grief, should
occupy no moment of my thoughts; for these are but the
affairs of a portion of eternity--so small that no language
can express its comparatively infinite littleness.
"I would strive to look but on eternity and on the
immortal souls around me, soon to be everlastingly
miserable or everlastingly happy. I would deem all who
thought only of this world, merely seeking to increase
temporal happiness and laboring to obtain temporal goods--I
would deem all such pure madmen. I would go forth to the
world and preach to it, in season and out of season; and my
text should be: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the
whole world and lose his own soul.'"
THE MASTER SOUL-WINNER
Why have I troubled to quote this in full? Because
all unwittingly, the infidel has here written the
philosophy of life of that Master Soul-winner, the Lord
Jesus. Now read it again and see how accurately it
presents His attitude to this world and to eternity. His
life was absolutely consistent with His belief in the
everlasting punishment of the lost. Have we the mind of
Christ in this? Is our attitude to this life and eternity
that described in the infidel's statement?
Many years ago, Charles Peace, one of the greatest of
criminals, was brought to justice. A burglar, forger, and
double murderer, he was condemned to death. As he was
being led to the scaffold, the chaplain walked by his side,
offering what we call "the consolations of religion." As
the chaplain spoke of Christ's power to save, the wretched
man turned to him and said: "Do you believe it? Do you
believe it? If I believed THAT, I would willingly crawl
across England on broken glass to tell men it was true."
Thank God it is true; but if the measure of our belief
in its truth were the efforts we are making for the
salvation of souls, I am afraid our belief could not be
described as vital. General Booth once said that he would
like to send all his candidates for officership to Hell for
twenty-four hours as the chief part of their training.
Why? Because it is not until we have a vital conviction of
the irrevocable doom of the impenitent, that our belief
will crystallize into action.
II. ABSENCE OF CONCERN FOR THE LOST
An old Puritan used to speak of having a "concern,"
and a meaningful expression it is. Christ had a concern
for the individuals and for the multitudes. His concern
was so real and so deep that at times the flood of manly
tears could no longer be restrained, and rolled down His
compassionate face. Jesus, the manliest of men, wept.
Paul, the brave, besought men, night and day with tears, to
be reconciled to God. When a young missionary, who had
been invalided home, was asked why he was so eager to get
back to his people, he said, "Because I cannot sleep for
thinking about them."
Oh, for tear-filled eyes! Oh, for sleepless eyes,
because of the imminent danger and doom of the unsaved! Do
the tears ever start unbidden from OUR eyes as we behold
our city filled with sin and suffering and shame? Does
sleep ever flee OUR eyes because of our concern for the
souls around? How cold, and callous and benumbed are our
Oh, for a passionate passion for souls,
Oh, for a pity that yearns!
When William C. Burns, so greatly used in revival work
in Murray McCheyne's parish, and later in China, was
commencing his ministry, his mother met him one day in a
Glasgow close. Seeing him weeping, she said: "Why those
tears?" He answered "I am weeping at the sight of the
multitudes in the streets, so many of whom are passing
through life unsaved."
General Booth received a message from one of his
captains that the work was so hard he could make no
progress. The General sent back a reply of two words: "Try
tears." Success visited that corps.
Never was a day like the present for fine scholarship
in the pulpit and high standard of intelligence in the pew.
But culture of the heart has lagged far behind the culture
of the mind. Pulpit power has decreased rather than
increased. And the reason? Dr. Goodell rightly diagnoses
the case when he says: "No man can be a herald of his
Lord's passion if he does not himself share it." Less
scholarship, if indeed one must be sacrificed on the altar
of the other, and more "concern" would soon see a turn of
the tide. Many an ignorant man or woman, because of an
evidently sincere concern for the souls of others, has been
wonderfully fruitful in soulwinning. Entirely innocent of
theology, they have manifested the love of the Master in so
convincing a way that their appeal has been irresistible.
Dr. Wilbur Chapman tells of such a case:
WHAT "CONCERN" ACHIEVED
"I went to hear D. L. Moody preach when I was a
country minister, and he so fired my heart, that I went
back to my country church and tried to preach as he
preached, and we had really a great work of grace. It did
not start immediately; and I was so discouraged, because
things did not go as I thought they ought, that I called my
church officers together and said: 'You will have to help
me.' They promised to do so, and finally an old farmer
rose and said: 'I have not done much work in the church,
but I will help you.' One of the officers said to me
afterwards: 'Do not ask him to pray, for he cannot pray in
public,' and another said: 'Do not ask him to speak, for he
cannot speak to the edification of the people.' Next
morning we had one of those sudden snowstorms for which
that part of the country is famous, and this old farmer
rose and put his horse to his sleigh and started across the
country four miles to a blacksmith's shop. He hitched his
horse on the outside, and went into the shop all covered
with snow, and found the blacksmith alone. The blacksmith
said: 'Mr. Cranmer, whatever brings you out today?' The old
farmer walked to the blacksmith's bench, and putting his
hand upon the man's shoulders, said: 'Tom!' and the tears
started to roll down his cheeks. Then with sobs choking
his utterance, he said: 'Tom, when your old father died, he
gave you and your brother into my guardianship, and I have
let you both grow into manhood and never asked you to
become a Christian.' That was all. He did not ask him
then; he could not. He got into his sleigh and drove back
home. And he did not go out again for months; he almost
died from pneumonia.
"But that night in the meeting, the blacksmith stood
up before my church officers and said: 'Friends, I have
never been moved by a sermon in my life, but when my old
friend stood before me this morning, with tears and sobs,
having come all through the storm, I thought it was time I
considered the matter.' We received him into the church,
and he is a respected church officer today. PREACHING
FAILS, SINGING FAILS, BUT INDIVIDUAL CONCERN DOES NOT
III. ABSENCE OF CONCEPTION OF THE VALUE OF A SOUL
Upon our conception of the value of the object to be
won will depend the strenuousness of our labors for their
salvation. "Is it really worth inconveniencing ourselves
and interfering with our own enjoyment to save souls?" we
ask. Let us endeavor to arrive at some true estimate of
the value of a soul. A man will work harder to recover
diamonds than gravel. Why? Because they are of so much
greater value. And so with the souls of men. Christ
conceived the human soul to be of such transcendent value
that He gladly exchanged the shining courts of glory for a
life of poverty, suffering, shame and death, rather than
that it should perish. He placed the world and all it
could offer in the one scale and a human soul in the other,
and declared that the scale went down on the side of the
THE VALUE OF A SOUL
But how can we compute the value of a soul?
1. BY ITS NATURE AND ORIGIN. Man was made in the
image of God, and into him was breathed the breath of God.
Man is an immortal being.
2. BY ITS POWERS AND CAPACITIES. The capacities of a
human being, even in this life, seem almost limitless--but,
alas, they have been prostituted to base uses in the
service of the usurper. But man is still capable of
fellowship with God--the highest privilege conceivable to
the mind of a human being.
3. BY THE DURATION OF ITS EXISTENCE. The human soul
exists eternally, and either in bliss or in woe. (See 2
Cor. 4:18; 1 Cor 15:53; Rom. 8:11; Jude 7; 2 Peter 3:6,7;
4. BY THE COST OF ITS REDEMPTION. It required not
shining silver or yellow gold to pay the price of man's
redemption, but crimson drops of precious blood from the
broken body of the Son of God. This makes even the meanest
soul worth saving.
5. BY THE STRUGGLE REQUIRED FOR ITS POSSESSION. Why
is the unregenerate human soul the battleground of both God
and the Devil, the one actuated by love, the other by hate?
Because both know and rightly appraise the possibilities
for good and evil of only one human soul. No wonder souls
are not lightly won with such an adversary. If then, a
soul is of such surpassing value, to save it, no expense is
too large, no pain too agonizing, no trouble too great, no
labor too hard.
Impelled by a great passion for souls, Raymond Lull,
first missionary to the Moslems, cried, "To Thee, O Lord, I
offer myself, my wife, my children, and all that I
possess." After many years of suffering and service, he
became a martyr for his Lord. David Branierd, who died
when little more than thirty, said: "I wanted to wear
myself out in His service, for His glory. I cared not how
or where I lived, or what hardships I went through so that
I could but gain souls for Christ."
Such love has burned in the breasts of all great
soul-winners. Their love for souls has been reckless and
HOW MAY THIS "CONCERN" BE OBTAINED?
It is not a natural and inevitable product of the
heart. It is not produced by a fresh resolution to be
concerned about souls. It will be produced in the heart
only by using the means adapted to stir up our minds on the
subject. Paul's concern for souls, as one has said, sprang
from a threefold conviction. First, one great verity which
all must face, the Great White Throne; second, one
experience through which all men must pass, the
resurrection either to life or to condemnation. Third, one
destiny toward which all things are moving--the great
We must cherish the slightest impression of the
Spirit; take the Bible and go over the passages that show
the condition of lost sinners. Dr. Wilbur Chapman
suggests: "Take your New Testament and go quietly alone and
read a sentence like this: 'He that believeth not is
condemned already.' Then sit and think about it for ten
minutes. Put your boy over against it--your girl, your
wife, your husband, yourself. Then take this: 'He that
hath not the Son of God, hath not life, but the wrath of
God abideth on him.' I know that a soul thus burdened
generally gains its desire."
Charles G. Finney urges the seeker after this
"concern" to "look as it were, through a telescope into
Hell, and hear their groans; then turn the glass upward and
look into Heaven and see the saints there in their white
robes, and hear them sing the song of redeeming love; and
ask yourself: 'Is it possible that I should prevail with
God to elevate the sinner there?' Do this, and if you are
not a wicked man, you will soon have as much of the spirit
of prayer as your body can sustain."
Lord Crucified, give me a love like Thine,
Help me to win the dying souls of men.
Lord, keep my heart in closest touch with Thine
And give me love, pure Calvary love,
To bring the lost to Thee.
A STRIKING EXAMPLE
A most striking example of the urge to win souls
triumphing over even imminent death, is that of John
Harper, a Baptist minister of London, who was lost with the
TITANIC. At a conference held in the city of Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada, a man rose and gave the following
testimony: "Four years ago, when I left England on board
the TITANIC, I was a careless, godless sinner. I was in
this condition on the night when the terrible catastrophe
took place. Very soon, with hundreds more, I found myself
struggling in the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic. I
caught hold of something and clung to it for dear life.
The wail of awful distress from the perishing all around
was ringing in my ears, when there floated near by me a man
who, too, seemed to be clinging to something. He called to
me: 'Is your soul saved?' I replied: 'No, it is not.'
'Then,' said he, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved.' We drifted apart for a few minutes,
then we seemed to be driven together once more. 'Is your
soul saved?' again he cried out. 'I fear it is not,' I
replied. 'Then if you will but believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ your soul shall be saved,' was his further message
of intense appeal to me. But again we were separated by
the rolling currents. I heard him call out this message to
others as they sank beneath the waters into eternity.
There and then, with two miles of water beneath me, in my
desperation I cried unto Christ to save me. I believed
upon Him and I was saved. In a few minutes I heard this
man of God say: 'I'm going down, I'm going down' then: 'No,
no, I'm going UP.' That man was John Harper."
[end of the first file, beginning through chapter 1, p.24.]
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