Path of Evangelism XI: Walker's Shorter Scheme

Behold Your God Podcast

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In this week’s episode, John and Matthew wrap up our Path of Evangelism series by going through Samuel Walker’s “Shorter Scheme of Private Instruction in the Christian Salvation.” We wanted to give you this recap for a few reasons.

First, ten episodes is a lot to absorb. Hopefully, this single episode will remind you of all the truths and realities from the last several weeks and concrete them in your mind. Second,  you may not have an opportunity for extended conversations with a lost soul. If you only have one discussion with someone and want to carefully present the gospel to them, this may be a helpful resource for you.

Walker's shorter scheme is a series of simple questions. It is possible for someone to answer them in a careless or trite way. But do not allow that to be the case. Press into the questions and encourage the lost to truly wrestle with them.

But these questions are also helpful for the Christian. It is beneficial for us to be reminded of the depths from which we were rescued. They can help us, once again, repent of sins we have harbored. And as we turn away from those sins, we turn to behold our Redeemer who is willing and sufficient to forgive and reconcile.

Links to all the resources mentioned in the podcast are available under Show Notes.

Walker used a series of six points in his Shorter Scheme. Each point is punctuated with questions for the lost soul.

Point I. To beget a sense of guilt and condemnation.

Do you believe yourself a sinner, your heart convicting you?
Do you think that you deserve this death? Or that it is prepared only for greater sinners than you?
Do you think that you can make up the matter by doing better than you have done? Or do you see yourself unable to help yourself, and in need of a pardon as a condemned criminal?

Point II. To stir up a sense of inability to do good.

Have you an earnest desire to be free from [sin]?
What sense have you of this weakness?

Point III. To set forth Christ’s sufficiency.

Do you believe that Christ is able to save you from wrath and sin? And on what do you build that sufficiency?

Point IV. Of coming to Christ, or faith and repentance.

Are you thus humble sensible of your want of Him?
Are you willing to truth yourself to Him? And would you that He sanctify as well as pardon?

Point V. Of faith more particularly.

What gives you relief from the fear of God’s displeasure? Do you continually rely on Christ’s atonement, sensible of your own imperfection?
Are you sensible of your own weakness? And do you look to the Spirit to lead you? This submission of soul for both these purposes, is an act of faith; and is best expressed by acquiescence in Christ, as King, Priest, and Prophet.

Point VI. Of repentance, more particularly considered as the work of a person already come to Christ, or in faith.

Do you really find, by your practice, that you esteem sin as the greatest evils?
Are you heartily in earnest in fighting against the corruption of your own nature, in order to forsake all sins, whether in heart or life?

There is much more to the instruction that these questions. Walker states wonderful truths that are included in the full text, found in the book A Cornish Revival: The Life and Times of Samuel Walker of Truro by Tim Shenton.

0:00 John and Matthew explain the purpose and use of Walker’s shorter “Scheme.” These were written in an interrogatory fashion, meaning they were written in the form of questions. The first ingredient, which will be as unpopular today as it was in Walker’s day, was focused on exposing guilt. There are three aspects Walker focuses on.

3:00 Unbelievers can feel comfortable in their sin because they compare themselves to other sinners. Careful evangelists need to remove that self-assurance by revealing the true depth and ugliness of sin. Matthew points out that the greatest command is to love God with all our being and we have not obeyed that command for one second of our lives. Therefore, every second we have been alive, we have sinned.

8:00 We should think of the moral law, something we have never kept perfectly, as a mirror of two things. It is a mirror of God’s moral perfection. It is also a mirror of our sinful selves. Man’s laws can only bind the hands and feet. God’s law binds the heart.

12:00 After showing a person their failure to obey God’s commands, Walker moves on to ask the lost if their heart convinces them they are a sinner. You know a person has begun understanding their rightful fate if they stand in accusation of himself.

15:00 Point three of Walker’s shorter scheme is that no present righteousness can pay for past debt. No matter how good you may think you are today, even if you were to live a perfect life from this day forward, you would still owe an infinite debt for the sins you committed previously.

18:00 The question following this point requires a biblical understanding of sin. Does the person see themselves as a helpless, condemned criminal in need of pardon? Again, Matthew points to the catechism because of its summary of sin. John Piper also has a great summary Matthew reads.

20:00 All the previous discussion has been from Walker’s first ingredient. Now the guys move to the second ingredient the careful evangelist needs to use, Scripture that stirs up a sense of inability to save yourself. Sin has made us unworthy before God and unfit for heaven.

23:00 Each question Walker asks is deep and probing. What are the responses we as evangelists are looking, hoping, and praying for? There is a right answer, and then there is a Sunday school answer. But whatever answer is given can give an idea of where a person is.

25:00 The next step is to establish Christ’s sufficiency. Just as no man can see himself clearly apart from Scripture, no one can see Christ clearly but through the Bible. Emotions and doubt can lead to an understanding of Jesus as unwilling or unable to save. Scripture shows that fallacy of those ideas. It comes back again to having an evangelical sight of God.

28:00 On what are you, or the person you are presenting the gospel to, building hope on? On the Scriptures? What specific things are in the Scriptures that give you hope?

32:00 We usually keep ourselves to a 30-minute episode, but because of the nature of the material, we needed a bit longer. We open our third segment talking about Walker’s fourth ingredient, how a person must come to Chris alone in faith and repentance.

34:00 All this will bring a person to a desire for Christ. But we need to ask them if they will desire Jesus more than the sin they have desired their entire lives. That can be a scary reality. John is reminded of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

39:00 When we have lists of people who will be damned, why is the coward included? Because giving everything to Christ is scary and the coward will never do it.

40:00 The final question Walker asks is “Do you desire that Christ would make you holy?” That is the desire and pleasure of every evangelist, to see God give a person a desire for Him to make them holy.


For this week's Supporter Appreciation Episode, we bring you to the back yard (and the front) of the Media Gratiae office. We give you a taste of what it will be like when we go on our big trip.

Jeff Johnson came into town this week to begin practicing for our upcoming trip to film Media Gratiae's next project. We shot what was happening and talked to Jeff about the purpose behind the project.

Evangelism XI: Supporter Appreciation Episode

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Show Notes

Other Episodes in this Series:

Evangelism I: Privilege and Command

Evangelism II: Warnings and Promises

Evangelism III: More than Conviction

Path of Evangelism IV: Sufficient and Willing

Path of Evangelism V: Jesus Alone

Path of Evangelism VI: The Object of Faith

Path of Evangelism VII: Sovereignty and Responsibility

Path of Evangelism VIII: The Fruit of Faith

Path of Evangelism IX: Sanctification

Path of Evangelism X: What is a Christian?

Podcast Resources:

A Cornish Revival: The Life and Times of Samuel Walker of Truro by Tim Shenton

Keach's Catechism

Piper’s summary of sin

Holiness by J.C. Ryle

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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