Soul Winning or Person Winning?

If you are like me, you have heard there words many times, “We need to be soul winners.” Even inquisitively, people ask, “Are you a soul winner?” (As if to say I am a better “soul winner” than you but this is not the place to touch on this elitism). As best as I can tell, what people mean by this is that Christians should be about the business of proclaiming the gospel (Good News!) to the lost. It is an exhortation to Christians to spread the good news of Jesus Christ as part of God’s plan in saving, rescuing, and redeeming his people.

While reflecting on this idea of being a soul winner, I am not sure I would be a soul winner. I am not sure Paul or even Jesus would call themselves “a soul winner.” You see, we are much more than a soul, we are also a body. If God only saves the soul than my body is lost and thus a part of me is not fully saved in the end. I believe God is in the business of saving the whole person, not just the soul. I know the intention of the “soul winner” person is not to deny the body or even the resurrection, but we should strive to be correct in our doctrine and steer far away from any notion of dualism. (Dualism in this sense means an emphasis in the immaterial, such as the soul, and an underemphasis in the material, such as the body).

To emphasize the winning of the soul is to undermine the resurrection, which is the Christian hope, redemption of all things. Consider Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians. “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and  your faith is in vain.” 15:12-14 Paul certainly believed the resurrection was important to a Christian worldview.

By emphasizing “soul winning” is very much like saying there is no resurrection or at least that the resurrection is not important.  As Paul shows us, if resurrection is not apart of our Christ centered lives, then is seems that our preaching is in vain and our faith is in vain. We must change our evangelism philosophy from being “soul winning” to be whole person winning. God is interested is saving both soul and body and so should we.

Perhaps our evangelism mentality should be much like Jesus’. Jesus said, ““I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)