Our answer to this question is based on a doctrine and understanding of salvation quite different than that taught in most churches. We totally reject the freewill concept of salvation. We totally reject the popular salvation theory of decisional regeneration. We believe from the Bible that God has purposed to save His elect by grace, has covenanted to perform all the necessary operations of grace, and He will not lose or miss a single one of them. There are links at the end of this answer providing much more complete answers found in other documents on our website.
But before you read further, may we ask how you found this document you are now reading? Is it because we do preach and write and spend money to find souls seeking for the truth and help explain the way of God more perfectly to them? We have great desire for any soul the Lord will allow us to help know Him better and grow in the grace of the Christian life. We are very much for saving souls. It is just that our definition of this great work may be different from yours.
The best efforts of any man will not, and cannot, add a single name to the book of life. The names in the book of life have been there since the foundation of the world, when the elect were chosen in Christ Jesus for salvation (Rom 9:22-24; Eph 1:3-12; II Tim 1:9; Rev 13:8; 17:8). God did not give man either the ability or obligation to get any names in his book of the everlasting covenant. Eternal life is a promised gift by God to His elect before the world began (Titus 1:2; I Pet 1:2).
Man’s responsibility to his fellow man is limited to the work of conversion – the educational process by which the elect come to know Jesus Christ and lay hold of the promise of eternal life in Him. God chose His elect; Jesus Christ died for them; and the Spirit regenerates them without any human means or cooperation whatsoever (John 1:13; 3:8; 5:25; Eph 2:1). Only after being born again is a man even capable of recognizing spiritual things like Jesus Christ and His kingdom (John 3:3; 8:47; I Cor 2:14-16). Evangelism and preaching are only to bring this gracious salvation to light for the comfort and motivation of the elect (II Tim 1:9-10; 2:10).
Regarding the conversion of the regenerate elect to the truth, God has not chosen to use movies, which He could easily have given to Adam, Moses, John, or Paul. He chose to convert men by sending other men to preach the gospel (Rom 1:14-17; I Cor 1:17-24; 2:1-5; II Cor 5:18-21; II Tim 1:10; 2:10). Paul explained very carefully that enticing enhancements to preaching would cause men to be falsely “converted” without any real internal spiritual change (I Cor 2:1-5).
If a man does not respond to the preaching of the gospel, he will not respond to any other method, no matter how attractive it might be. Abraham explained this well to the rich man, who did not want his brothers coming to join him in hell (Luke 16:27-31). He said that even sending Lazarus back from the dead (which would be quite a blockbuster, huh?) would not do any more than hearing the Scriptures in the synagogue. A born again person will respond to preaching; he does not need or desire enticing methods. A person not born again will not be changed no matter how you try to seduce or scare him. He is a dead sinner and unable to regenerate himself.
Please consider the following documents in order, if you are interested in understanding the doctrine of salvation more clearly: