A Resolution on the “Sinner’s Prayer”
to be presented at the SBC in New Orleans, June 2012

June 15, 2012


By Dr. Eric Hankins, Pastor of the
First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi


WHEREAS, God desires for every person to be saved and has made salvation available for any person who hears the Gospel (John 3:16; Romans 10:14-17; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2); and

WHEREAS, A free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel is both possible and necessary in order for anyone to be born again (John 3:1-16; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13); and

WHEREAS, Prayer is God’s gracious means through which any person can communicate with Him and is everywhere in Scripture commanded and commended for every matter and every person (2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 7:7-11; Mark 11:17; Philippians 4:6); and

WHEREAS, Praying to God to express repentance for sins, to acknowledge Christ as Lord, and to ask for forgiveness and salvation is modeled in the Bible (Acts 2:37-38; Romans 10:9-10); and

WHEREAS, While there is no one uniform wording found in Scripture or in the churches for a “Sinner’s Prayer,” the prayer of repentance and faith, acknowledging salvation through Christ alone and expressing complete surrender to His Lordship, is the biblical means by which any person can turn from sin and self, place his faith in Christ, and find forgiveness and eternal life (Luke 18:9-14, 23:39-43); and

WHEREAS, It is biblically appropriate to help a sinner in calling on the Lord for salvation and to speak of Christ’s response to such a prayer as “entering a sinner’s heart and life” (John 14:23; Acts 2:37-40; 16:29-30; Romans 10:11-17; Ephesians 3:17); and

WHEREAS, A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel (Matthew 6:7, 15:7-9; 28:18-20); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, LA, June 19-20, 2012, commend the use of a “Sinner’s Prayer” as a biblically sound and spiritually significant component of the evangelistic task of the church; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all Christians to enthusiastically and intentionally proclaim the Gospel to sinners everywhere, being prepared to give them the reason for the hope we have in Christ (I Peter 3:15), and being prepared to lead them to confess faith in Christ (Romans 10:9), including praying to receive Him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12).

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Malcolm Yarnell

Dr Hankins, this is another excellent writing. Thank you.

Bob Schembre

Southern Baptist heritage: Cooperation

“Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. …. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people”

– The Baptist Faith and Message 2000).

There are two issues which divide us in spite of the call for unity and cooperation. There are those who emphasize limited atonement (historic Calvinism), and those who emphasize man’s free will (historic Arminianism).

Arminians believe men are born in sin but have the “capacity” to choose Christ of their own free will regardless of regeneration. Calvinists believe God regenerates a soul, giving a person the ability to believe. The Arminian believes therefore God regenerates him. Yet despite these differences there are many doctrines we can agree on. It is critical to our unity that we still work together for the Kingdom of God despite these differences. There is historical precedence among Baptists for just this attitude:

“We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force which helps to hold me to the vital truth, and therefore we are sorry to see any quitting it who have once accepted it.” [Sword and Trowel, April 1887, p 196]

We can agree with Charles Spurgeon. In light of the Gospel, this difference matters not. We are after all organized to aid in spreading the Gospel around the world, not to police one another.

It is healthy for us to study the Scriptures and have debate, but we should not slander our brothers in Christ or in any way undermine other’s efforts. Our communications with each other should be redemptive and kind (Eph. 4:32). Maintaining doctrinal integrity within the historic beliefs of Baptists is critical, and the acknowledgement of Calvinist doctrine is warranted given that history.

Some definitions may prove helpful.

Hyper-Calvinism emphasizes divine sovereignty to the exclusion of human responsibility. The doctrine of hyper-Calvinism would tell us that there is no need for the believer to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others because God has determined whom He would save and He will save them without our help. The result of this error is a “sit and wait” mentality. It is to be rejected.

A Calvinist Baptist like Spurgeon understood the great responsibility to preach the Gospel and support missions. Other Calvinist Baptists that were not hyper in doctrine were Broadus and Manley, where we get our “Broadman Press,” William Carey, that great missionary, Adoniram Judson, John Bunyan, B. H. Carroll, Alvah Hovey, A. H. Strong, J. P. Boyce, John L. Dagg, Richard Fuller, Jonathan Edwards, Luther Rice, Andrew Fuller, George Whitfield, and Lottie Moon. All of these worked with other Baptists who differed with them, and they accepted each other in communion. We have historical precedence for difference of belief yet cooperation for the Kingdom of God. It is our Baptist heritage.

Easy-believism is the notion that salvation entails a mere assent to the facts of the Gospel message. It has been termed Decisional Regeneration or Decisionism for short. Decisionists believe that all that is needed for someone to be saved is to affirm the truths of the Gospel as presented. Decisionists exclude the sincere necessity for the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit and the responsibility for man to repent and believe unto the saving of the soul.

The Invitation System: While many Baptists who hold invitations would never agree to the above definition of easy-believism, it is also easy to witness the actual methodology of those who do being practiced in some of our Baptist churches today. While most all degrees of Calvinists in our association would insist on a clear call for sinners to repent and believe and for believers to examine their lives, some would also insist that there are other ways to extend that call than to ask people to “come down the aisle.” We have no record of any form of the modern invitation being given in the church for 1800 years, but there has always been a clear invitation given for sinners to repent and trust Christ. We all should insist on a clear call for sinners to repent and believe and for believers to examine their lives. There may be some who would also insist that there are other ways to extend that call than to ask people to come down the aisle, but we should also recognize that there is historical precedence for not accepting the invitation to walk the aisle model as conversion proof.

The resurgence of Calvinism is populated by the same people who were either brought up in some type of easy-believism, or once practiced it themselves. Some have been tempted to classify Baptist ministers who adhere to neither a system of easy-believism or Calvinism as belonging in the easy-believism camp. This divisional language is not fit for the redemptive language that should be a part of our lives (I Cor. 3:3).

Many Baptist churches hold invitations, and are prayerful and careful in their counseling. There are times when souls are genuinely converted at the front of a church. The Holy Spirit is more than able to finish any work that He starts. The problem that needs to be addressed is when there is no apparent conviction, no desire to forsake sin and no real faith in the finished work of Christ, but simply a desire to escape hell, and by going through some simple predefined steps the sinner comes out on the other end more fit for hell than when he first started down the aisle.

Baptist Calvinists have legitimate concerns when it comes to the invitation system, but it is not a Calvinist concern. It is a Baptist concern. There are concerns enough for us all.

Hyper-calvinism is dangerous to our unity and should be rejected. The desire to defame, destroy or undermine Baptist brethren should also be rejected. Easy-believism should not be defined by whether you have an invitation or not, but by how the response is made to the Gospel. Any response other than genuine repentance and faith is to be rejected.

The habit of divisiveness if left unchecked becomes a necessity, and once a necessity our house will fall. The time has come for healthy dialogue. And from healthy dialogue let us move forward and urge all men everywhere to repent and trust our Wonderful Savior. (Bob Schembre, A Pastor at Rockport Baptist Church, Arnold.)

    Roof

    thank you that is a great response. very encouraging. Although I did grow up in an ‘easy-believism’ tradition, and I have known many luke-warm church goers (myself one for many years). And I have yet to meet an actual hyper Calvinist. I think a sin more common to Calvinists is pride over their doctrine rather than the desire to sit back and do nothing.

      Roof

      Thank God for repentance :)

Ron Hale

Dr. Hankins,

Thank you for writing this resolution and for the strong theological foundation you have presented. Most of our SBC members can understand the need of helping sinners respond to the Gospel by calling on the Lord.

Kevin Burden (Rev Kev)

Dr. Hankins, It is obvious God has gifted you with the ability to articulate Truth in a way that glorifies our Lord and Savior while speaking to the heart of the common man. Thank you for taking the time to prepare this Resolution. I agree with it whole heartedly.

Allen

Let’s affirm something that has confused millions in our denomination and given countless more false assurance of their salvation. Lord help us.

Who exactly prays the Sinner’s prayer to get saved in Scripture?

    Zeek

    nothing worse than person who thinks they are saved because they prayed a prayer. You must have read Radical by D. Platt

Rev. Ed Harris

As a former Southern Baptist Pastor, and still a strong conservative Christian, I agree with this statement and the resolution. I have used and will continue ot use the ‘Sinner’s Prayer.’ to aid and assist convets to come into the faith and salvation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe the word of God authorizes us to use the scriptures and what ever means we can as God directs to lead men and women to a saving knowlege of our Lord. I repeated the Sinner’r Prayer at the tender age of 8 years of age. I may not have understood what I was saying, but, I meant every word. I truly believed I was saved that night. Praise God for an organization standing up for Godly principles and holding to high conservative standards according to the word of God.

    Rev. Ed Harris

    I apologize for the spelling error. I meant to say Converts instead of the word convets. By the way, I am still ordained through the SBC even though I am not currently Pastoring one of the churches. I love my roots, and the biblical foundations it is founded on. As a conservative christian I strongly urge all SBC members to adopt this resolution as part of their satndards of leading someone to Jesus. If they really believe and say in their hearts they accept Jesus as their Savior, whether they repeat it, or just say it, they will forever be saved. Thanks!!

    Allen

    Show me one place in scripture somebody says “repeat this prayer after me”. You weren’t saved because someone got you to pray a prayer. You were sved in spite of it.

      bruce

      Show ME one place in Scripture where it says He wont honor that prayer. Whosoever calls on the name classifies as prayer to me

        Allen

        So you are arguing based on the fact that sense the Bible is silent about saying “Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner, I ask you to forgive me of my Sins, come into my heart and save me” It must be ok to use it.

        So how do we translate “repent and believe” into a formulaic Sinner’s prayer?

        Will we pray in response to God’s effectual drawing on our hearts? Irresistably yes! But it the prayer is simply an outflow of our repentance and belief. It’s not “pray this and be saved”! It’s REPENT and BELIEVE.

        Man how did people get saved the first 1800+ years of Christianity before the “Sinner’s prayer” and the altar call arrived in the scene?

        You asked for biblical proof how bout Isaiah 59:1-2, How bout Matthew 7:21-23.

        What about Rom. 10:17? Faith comes by hearing. Not thru praying. Again, prayer will be an outflow of faith but the formulaic Sinner’s prayer has caused too much confusion and is a misrepresentation of the Gospel’s demand to repent and believe.

          Jake

          Allen, you do provide good points, but an argument based on “Show me one place in scripture somebody says ‘repeat this prayer after me,'” becomes invalid at the suggestion. No where is scripture is the word Trinity used, but we have still adopted the word to describe what is wrote in scripture. I very much believe “the sinners prayer” has a dramatic flaw. A prayer without understanding of the Gospel is dangerous. We have tried to over simplify a technique to help the unbelievers understand. To call upon the Lord in prayer is scriptural. The determination if it remains scriptural is how we apply it to the commission.

          Scott walker

          Amen

          Scott walker

          I meant amen to go Here

          Gordon

          Jake

          That is a fallaciouos counter. The doctrine of the trinity doesnt come because of the word. The term comes from the doctrine. When someone says, “Show me in scripture,” they don’t mean, “show me the specific terms or words.” They mean, “show me the concept or the occurrence of the principle.”

          The very idea of a formulaic recitation is no where found in the new testament. The people believed and because they believed they confessed. They may have prayed. They may not have prayed. The only “sinners prayer” recorded in the new testament that I can recall encountering is from the Publican who went to the temple. Of course there are the, of course, penitential prayers in the Old Testament such as the penitential psalms. But these were very personal and carried the elements and principles to show the attitude of the repentant sinner and the depth of sin that must be repented of.

          They were by no means meant to be a “repeat after me,” formula to get forgiveness. if a person is gripped by the Holy Spirit and wants to pray, they will know what to say to God because they would have gained a proper understanding of the gospel and know what they need and what God would grant.

          Lets not confuse the issue. praying a prayer does not save, and God does not use a prayer to save anyone. God saves by regenerating the heart…putting his law in…and turning the sinners face toward Christ and away from sin…Prayer or no prayer.

          A short Testimony. I prayed the prayer when i was a 5 year old little boy. But I was not saved. When I did experience the new birth…it was after that I really knew what I had to say to God. But at the moment that God truly possessed me I did not pray anything. I simply got a grip of the gospel and repented and believed.

    Scott walker

    Sir, God does not need your aid nor your assistance in the conversion of the heart. All you are doing is helping sinners to become false converts!!

Nathan

If u hate Calvinism, that’s fine. I’m a Calvinist, I can deal with that. This however is different. Nobody goes to hell based on agreement/disagreement with 5 points. Christ must be King or He is not Savior, I’ve been to far too many church camps where sinners prayer has been universally given and people repeating that prayer being named Christian. The sinners prayer is to blame and this is enough to split the SBC and it’s not the Calvinists fault. It will be yours Mr. Hankins. We had a good run together but It’s over. Not today, maybe not this year but this is a major point in that direction.

Jason Sampler

I would vote against this resolution if for no other reason than the sloppy theological wording found in the second-to-last “Whereas” statement. It is by no means “biblically appropriate . . . to speak of Christ’s response to such a prayer as ‘entering a sinner’s heart and life.'” There are numerous biblical citations for this “Whereas” but only two remotely addresses the concept of Jesus entering a sinner’s heart. Eph. 3.17 must be taken figuratively in light of other passages that claim Jesus currently sits at the right hand of the Father. And I fail to see how John 14.23 is applicable unless Hankins wishes to also believe that the Father lives in the heart of each believer. And, unless Southern Baptists have disavowed the doctrine of the Incarnation, the Chacedonian understanding of two natures in one person, and Paul’s discussion of kenosis in Phil 2, I fail to see how Jesus can be in multiple places at the same time . . . unless of course we somehow adopted the Lutheran doctrine of the ubiquity of Christ without my knowledge. Jesus speaks of being with us, but certainly he means by His Spirit, who indwells believers. Additionally, he does not enter our life but we enter his.

    Adam Harwood

    Jason,

    Thanks for your note, brother, stating your objections to this resolution. Because this is an open comment forum, I assume that it is permissible to interact with your stated objections.

    Eph 3:17 ESV reads, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

    Your claim: “Eph. 3.17 must be taken figuratively in light of other passages that claim Jesus currently sits at the right hand of the Father.”

    My reply: Agreed. It is the case that Eph 3:17 should be read figuratively. That seems to have been Paul’s intent. Paul did not think that Christ would literally dwell in our hearts. But Paul did pray “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Isn’t this resolution simply restating those words of Scripture? If so, then I am unclear why you are objecting. You seem to understand the words of the Bible in the same way that they were intended by Paul and used in this resolution.

    John 14:23, “Jesus answered him, ’If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’”

    Your claim: “And I fail to see how John 14.23 is applicable unless Hankins wishes to also believe that the Father lives in the heart of each believer.”

    My reply: That seems to be what the passage says. Jesus included “my Father” in the second person plural pronoun “we.” So, Jesus seems to be saying in that passage, “We (referring to Himself and the Father) will come to him and make our home with him.” This, of course, is another example of figurative language because the Father and Son do not literally make their home with us. But those were the words of Jesus. I have no problem affirming this figurative understanding of those words.

    Figurative, of course, does NOT mean non-real. Figurative means non-literal. This is a basic literary to communicate an idea in a non-literal way. The Father and the Son will make their home with us.

    Your objection: “And, unless Southern Baptists have disavowed the doctrine of the Incarnation, the Chacedonian understanding of two natures in one person, and Paul’s discussion of kenosis in Phil 2, I fail to see how Jesus can be in multiple places at the same time.”

    My reply: I am unsure how affirming the clear meaning of the words of Jesus (even when He employed figurative language) is somehow a denial of the incarnation, Chalcedonian definition, or Paul’s view of Christ in Phil 2.
    The incarnation changed many things. But are you certain you want to affirm that Jesus is unable to be in more than one place at a time, even if Scripture makes such affirmations (whether in literal or figurative ways)? Is the Son today unable to share in the attribute of God we refer to as omnipresence? If that is your claim, then I am curious how you know this to be true. Also, you mentioned the incarnation; but Paul’s statement above was made after the resurrection. Assuming that the incarnation was permanent, which I affirm (Jesus still has a resurrected or glorified body), Paul made the statement about the glorified Christ dwelling in our hearts.

    I still don’t understand how this reading of Scripture violates any basic doctrines or creeds. I do, however, question your theological method. You seem to be measuring an accurate (based on standard grammatical-historical methods) reading of Scripture against a doctrinal formulation and historic creed. That’s exactly backwards. When comparing creeds and doctrines against Scripture, it is the Bible which is authoritative.

    Your claim: “Jesus speaks of being with us, but certainly he means by His Spirit, who indwells believers.”

    My reply: Jesus described things in a different way in the verse above.

    Your claim: “Additionally, he does not enter our life but we enter his.”

    My reply: Must affirming the words of Jesus contradict this concept of union with Christ? Must it be either/or? Are those views somehow in conflict with one another? Or is it possible that one can affirm union with Christ as well as other statements in Scripture which describe other truths regarding our relationship with Christ (or His relationship to us)?

    Brother, if it seems that I have pushed back rather sternly against your objections, it’s because I did. You objected to a particular “Whereas” statement in the resolution as if everyone should see the violation of basic theological principles. I don’t see it. Rather, I have suggested particular ways which you have failed to make your case.

    You seem frustrated, brother. I want to understand your objections to this resolution. Are these objections based upon theological, hermeneutical, or other grounds? Is it possible that your frustration with this resolution is rooted elsewhere?

    It is not necessary to reply. I didn’t want to leave your objections unanswered. Some readers might be left with the impression that they were not answered because they were unanswerable.

    Blessings, brother. Perhaps I will see you in New Orleans next week.

    In Him,
    Adam

Kyle Thomas

This is a well-written statement that ought to be commended by people from all over the spectrum, especially with the inclusion of the “Whereas” dealing with manipulation.

I do think that the statement would be helped by an additional sentence that clarifies that one does not find assurance of salvation in “once praying a sinner’s prayer.” The hang-up some Baptists have with the sinner’s prayer is not in the prayer itself, but the sloppy way in which pastors have sometimes said “as long as you’ve prayed a prayer” – even if the person shows over time no fruit of repentance.

Could this clarification be made in the motion? It would then be a unifying, clarifying statement that ALL should be able to affirm.

Adam Harwood

Dr. Hankins,

Thank you for submitting this resolution. I agree with you that a proper biblical presentation of the Gospel should be followed by an appeal for individuals to respond by repenting of their sin and trusting in Christ’s atoning work on the Cross in order to be reconciled to God and saved from His judgment and wrath (John 3:16-36; Acts 3:19; Rom 10:9-13; 2 Cor 5:11-21). No one is made right with God by simply repeating a prayer. It is necessary for sinners to truly repent of their sin and trust in Christ. Prayer is the way that sinners call out to God in repentance (Luke 18:13) and first declare their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

If opposition to this resolution arises from Southern Baptists, then I suspect it will come from brothers who suggest that repentance and faith in Christ are a result of regeneration. But I understand the Bible to teach that people are regenerated as a result of calling out to the Lord in repentance and faith. In other words, we don’t first call on the Lord because we are saved; instead, we first call on the Lord in order to be saved (Rom 10:13).

Have a safe return flight from Peru. Blessings, brother.

In Him,

Adam

    D.R. Randle

    Adam,

    Hey man, hope you’ve had a great couple of weeks. Enjoyed our conversation in Athens and I’m looking forward to communicating more. I did want to take a moment and address a point you made in your comment above. You said:

    “If opposition to this resolution arises from Southern Baptists, then I suspect it will come from brothers who suggest that repentance and faith in Christ are a result of regeneration.”

    I am opposed to this resolution, but not because of my view of the ordo salutis (I actually see regeneration as being simultaneous with the endowment of faith). I am opposed to it because its inspiration comes from the recent over-hyped controversy over “The Sinner’s Prayer” which was sparked in large part by some brief comments by David Platt (and the news of a forth-coming book). Since then there has been a strong reaction by many, but very little actual conversation. Because of the lack of true deliberation on such a weighty matter, I believe that the timing of such a resolution is actually counterproductive. Just as many believe we need to have a conversation about Calvinism in the SBC, we also need to have this discussion about Evangelism methods and the correct and incorrect employment of such things as “The Sinner’s Prayer”. Resolutions like this one, I believe, will stall that discussion and only serve to reinforce suspicions by many that any criticisms of “The Sinner’s Prayer” are shallow at best, shouldn’t be taken seriously, and abuses can be handled with one sentence correctives (“A ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel”).

    I think this is a discussion we need to allow to play out – not make resolutions, which serve only as meaningless referendums. In the spirit of “Semper Reformanda”, I think we need to do some serious introspection regarding this issue. This Resolution simply won’t advance such honest self-examination any more than would turning the “Traditional” Statement into a resolution and passing it at the SBC. This Resolution will no doubt be adopted, but will it really make a difference in how we Evangelize? Will it help us to ensure that no longer will we not be able to locate more than half of our Church members on any given Sunday? I think it will not. Thus, I will not vote for it.

      Joshua

      “I am opposed to it because its inspiration comes from the recent over-hyped controversy over “The Sinner’s Prayer” which was sparked in large part by some brief comments by David Platt (and the news of a forth-coming book).”

      This is why I oppose the resolution as well. We all essentially agree, and thus there is no reason for a resolution. I believe this resolution will only serve to drive another wedge between two camps who basically agree on the issue being discussed. I cannot vote for it.

        Cb scott

        Joshua,

        It is an error to state the controversy relating to the “sinner’s prayer” was “sparked” by anything David Platt has taught, preached, or will or has published.

        Actually, David Platt was responding to an already entrenched controversy.

        Sadly, his comments were not only poorly stated, but also with little or no real biblical foundation. In truth, his comments in regard to the sinner’s prayer were shallow, very shallow.

          D.R. Randle

          CB,

          While I would concede that the controversy over the sinner’s prayer has been going on for some time, it is quite clear that the recent flare-up was directly related to Platt’s remarks. While “spark” might not have been the most accurate analogy, it is nonetheless true that had the 3 minute video of Platt speaking about the “Sinner’s Prayer” not gone viral, we would not be seeing this Resolution introduced at this year’s Annual Meeting. Regardless, I believe the rest of my comment holds true.

          As for your analysis of Platt’s comments, I would simply say in response that “The Sinner’s Prayer” isn’t itself explicitly Biblical and his comments were certainly not meant to be exhaustive. Thus, we shouldn’t take them as such.

          Cb scott

          D R Randle,

          I stated his comments were not only poorly stated, but also with little or no real biblical foundation. In truth, his comments in regard to the sinner’s prayer were shallow, very shallow.

          I will stand by that. Brother when a man stands before a group of people to teach or preach the Word of God, he had better do all he can to make his position clear. David Platt did anything but that when he made his comments.

          In addition, maybe the reverse of what you state here is the truth. The debate was already heated, when Platt and Gaines spoke to the issue. Obviously there was some major degree of debate involved prior to their involvement, else why would Platt be promoting a new book on the subject?

          D.R. Randle

          C.B.,

          Have you, to this point, listened to Platt’s entire Verge 2012 sermon or just the 3 minute clip?

          Have you heard anything else that Platt has said about “The Sinner’s Prayer” other than that 3 minute clip?

          Do you believe that what is found in the 3 minute clip is all that David Platt has ever said or has intended to say about “The Sinner’s Prayer”?

          If your answer to these three things is “NO”, then perhaps it might simply be better to say that what David Platt says here is incomplete and perhaps intentionally so. No man can say all that needs to be said in a 45 minute sermon to make everything he says completely clear. Sometimes, depending on one’s audience and context, it is appropriate to only share what the preacher feels is absolutely necessary.

          Almost every Sunday I make statements about the Trinity without fully clarity, believing that my audience understands and can fill in the rest. Such an audience might have been present when Platt spoke and thus he did not feel the need to expound. That actually seems quite likely considering the nature of those who would likely be attendees to Verge. One way or the other, we must remember that Platt does intent to explain himself further and I believe it is prudent to evaluate him on the basis of that fuller explanation and not merely by a 3 minute clip that doesn’t appear to have been meant to stand alone in the first place.

      Adam Harwood

      D. R.,

      It was good to meet with you as well. Peach’s has great food! And you helped me understand some of the concerns from my more-Calvinistic brothers.

      Questions have been raised: Who, exactly are New Calvinists? Whose definition is used?

      I also understand the need to clarify: Brothers can have differences in certain doctrinal areas and remain partners in Great Commission work.

      And there is a great deal of mistrust between the two “sides.” Agreed. It seems like the answer is to pray it through then talk it out.

      I understand that the Statement (not this Resolution) caused feelings of confusion and hurt among many friends in our convention. And that needs to be worked out. Good thing a bunch of folks are headed to New Orleans this weekend! Perhaps we can get together, talk, confess, pray, and begin working through these issues. That’s what brothers in Christ do.

      This resolution seems to be a related issue. How do thousands of messengers have a conversation to discussion the elephant in the room (or whatever metaphor is helpful)? Perhaps by submitting, amending, and voting on resolutions. Maybe not. Voting on a resolution only voices the concerns of the majority. But how will hundreds or thousands of people get together and discuss this issue? Perhaps Dr. Page’s accord will provide the vehicle for such a discussion by a group of representatives.

      My comment: “If opposition to this resolution arises…” was taken verbatim from the comments I made in reply to The Christian Index, which they printed in the May 31 issue. My intention in (literally) copying and pasting them into this comment stream was to avoid causing any difficulties. My logic: I had already crafted and provide a measured and careful response to the Resolution. My view on the content of the Resolution has not changed since I formulated those comments several weeks ago. So, I considered it best to simply say what I had already said. But I understand how, in light of the recent Statement, that any assumption that opposition is based on ordo salutis alone is no longer appropriate. That is already apparent in this comment stream.

      Certain brothers, it seems, will vote against this resolution. It is NOT because they oppose evangelism (because they don’t) but because they felt attacked by the author’s other Statement. It sounds as if the “Sinner’s Prayer” Resolution will be a referendum on the statement on soteriology.

      I understand your reluctance to affirm a resolution because of its connection to the author of the Statement. (If one is upset over the Statement, then why would one support a resolution written by the same person unless the original set of concerns was addressed?) I would ask you, though, to consider de-linking the resolution from its author as well as the resolution from the Statement. What I mean is this:

      1. Suppose you were unsure about a man’s intentions but he offered an resolution. Would you judge the resolution based primarily on the words of the resolution or your suspicions about the man?

      2. Suppose you did not care for Paper #1 but supported the views in Paper #2. Would you reject Paper #2 (with which you had no stated objection) because you did not support his prior paper, known as Paper #1?

      I agree that conversations should proceed about this issue in the SBC. If the name change provides any model, though, it could take years. Are we unable to give fair consideration to any resolutions by Eric Hankins until the concerns he raised in his Statement have been fully addressed, even if it takes years? Would a resolution from any of the other hundreds of signatories also be voted down without fair consideration? It seems to me more prudent to discuss each resolution, regardless of its author, on the merits of the words of the resolution.

      Of course, all messengers should vote according to their conscience under submission to the Lordship of Christ. But I’m not sure how it helps to fail to consider a resolution simply because you did not care for the Statement. Perhaps I misunderstood you. If so, please clarify.

      If there are objections to the wording in one of the sentences, can’t an amendment be offered? Do the affirmed resolutions go to committee for possible re-wording, anyway?

      Just trying to think and talk through this issue out loud with you, brother. I appreciate your time.

      I look forward to visiting with you again. Perhaps we can grab coffee (or crawfish) in NOLA. If interested, please message me when you arrive so we can compare our schedules.

      In Him,

      Adam

        D.R. Randle

        Adam,

        Perhaps I was not clear in my comment earlier about my reason for opposing this resolution. Perhaps my use of the “Traditional Statement” as an analogy ended up being unhelpful rather than beneficial.

        So allow me to reiterate. I am most definitely not opposed to this Resolution because either 1) Eric Hankins wrote it, or 2) I think it to be an extension or furthering of the “Traditonal Statement”. Thus Questions #1 and #2 above do not apply because neither brings light to my specific concern.

        My concern, as I stated above, is the Resolution’s “inspiration comes from the recent over-hyped controversy over ‘The Sinner’s Prayer’ which was sparked in large part by some brief comments by David Platt (and the news of a forth-coming book). Since then there has been a strong reaction by many, but very little actual conversation. Because of the lack of true deliberation on such a weighty matter, I believe that the timing of such a resolution is actually counterproductive.”

        I used the example of your comments to me (and elsewhere) that a conversation needs to take place about Calvinism to essentially say that this is exactly how I feel about “The Sinner’s Prayer” controversy. We need to have a real conversation. Thus I go on to write:

        Resolutions like this one, I believe, will stall that discussion and only serve to reinforce suspicions by many that any criticisms of “The Sinner’s Prayer” are shallow at best, shouldn’t be taken seriously, and abuses can be handled with one sentence correctives (“A ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel”).

        I think this is a discussion we need to allow to play out – not make resolutions, which serve only as meaningless referendums. In the spirit of “Semper Reformanda”, I think we need to do some serious introspection regarding this issue. This Resolution simply won’t advance such honest self-examination…

        So, as I said, my opposition to this Resolution has nothing to do with who wrote it or my thoughts and feelings about the “Traditional Statement”. It stems directly from a need for the SBC to be honest about our Evangelism methods and specifically how we present the Gospel, how we ought to encourage a response (as well as how we ought not to), and how we can Biblically extend (or not extend) assurance to others based on their “salvation experience.”

        This discussion is needed and is completely separate (or at least could be) from the discussion on Calvinism and the “Traditional Statement”. My words about those things were merely an attempt to show that there is some analogy that can be drawn from one to the other, not at all to suggest that my views on one are determined by my views on the other.

        I hope this clarification helps you to understand better what I was trying to communicate and that my reasons for opposing this Resolution are neither the ordo salutis, nor what you suggest above.

Allen

If we were to try and find one source (although there are many) for the problems in the SBC with unregenerate church membership it would be the poor use of the Sinner’s Prayer. How does calling on the Lord (Rom 10:13) equal “repeating this prayer after me”

volfan007

I have preached against easy believism…despise easy believism. And, when I present the Gospel, I stress repentance and faith; Acts 20:20-21. When someone stresses repentance and faith, then it is absolutely not easy believism to help someone to pray and call on the Lord for salvation; Romans 10:9-13. And, it is absolutely not wrong to talk about Jesus coming to live within the heart and life of someone. Those verses are numerous. The truth of Jesus coming to live within the heart of man is seen very clearly in the indwelling of the Spirit of God upon new birth. In fact, if someone has not the Spirit of God, then he doesnt even belong to God.

Thanks, Dr. Hankins, for once again clearly articulating good, sound teaching.

David

Miles Morrison

Still trying to wrap my mind around the necessity of such a document. If this is an attempt to defend the use of a “sinner’s prayer” against those that feel such a tactic is unnecessary, it certainly fails to argue why a simple prayer is necessary in addition to the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the individual. If it is an attempt to defend the usefulness of a “sinner’s prayer” in evangelism, it fails to explain why or how it is useful, only that it is useful. If it is an attempt to differentiate between the valid use of a “sinner’s prayer” and the invalid use of manipulation, it doesn’t elaborate on what that manipulation actually looks like, only warns that such manipulation is wrong.
Personally, I fear that this might be used as another means to divide brothers (I don’t believe that’s the intent, but as some of the comments on here already prove, some will use it to that end), and I fail to see the necessity of a document like this. Instead of seeking to defend and legitimize a man made method of evangelism (that has been used faithfully and unfaithfully over the years), we should instead be focusing on what matters. Has the Gospel been presented faithfully and articulated explicitly? Is the preacher honoring God? Are we counseling people with integrity and Biblical fidelity, seeking repentance and faith and not just personal victories?
We would do well to remember that only Jesus can cause a sinner to repent and believe, and that He will surely fill the believer’s lips with the words needed just as He fills the heart with faith. We must simply preach the Word, and invite everyone who will to turn from their sin and to place their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. We can’t cause anyone to hear, we can only bring ourselves to speak.

    Alan Davis

    “Personally, I fear that this might be used as another means to divide brothers (I don’t believe that’s the intent,”

    Well I full well believe that was and is the intent!

Matt Svoboda

Whereas, I gave Dr. Hankins the benefit of the doubt with his first “statement” it appears that he is officially Resolved to be on a crusade.

No thank you for the first divisive “statement” and no thank you on this needless resolution.

Dr. Hankins, it appears you are seeking nothing less than conformity to your way of thinking. The SBC is bigger than you, your mind, and your way of doing things. When you see that and learn to respect those who disagree with you our convention will be much better off.

Why does the convention need to “commend” the Sinners prayer? Those who enjoy using it and find it effective, use it… Those who dont, shouldnt use it. The SBC is big enough for both. You seem to be working very hard to marginalize those who dont see eye to eye with you.

    Alan Davis

    So true Matt.

    Lydia

    “Dr. Hankins, it appears you are seeking nothing less than conformity to your way of thinking. “.

    Matt,

    That is the Founders mission and purpose…converting SBC churches to their way of thinking. So why would you have a problem with it?

      Allen

      Whenhas founders ever given the SBC a resolution on affirming Calvinism alone?

        Lydia

        “Whenhas founders ever given the SBC a resolution on affirming Calvinism alone?”

        Alan, I simply do not understand this sort of response. So, all I can respond is: When have the traditionalist given the SBC a resolution affirming “traditionalism” alone.

      Matt Svoboda

      Lydia,

      What do I have to do with Founders?

      I have never been associated with Founders in any way and I have never been in agreement with any person in the SBC that doesnt know how to cooperate with those they dont agree with.

Norm Miller

Dr. Hankins:
Thank you for your resolution regarding the Sinner’s Prayer. It is timely; and it is biblical, as the numerous scriptural references in your resolution prove.

I must admit I am taken aback a bit by some of our brethren who object to this resolution. To those brethren I would pose the following: If a lost person — who was unfamiliar with church terminology, was under conviction from God regarding their sinful condition, and was at a loss for words regarding what to say to God — asked you to help them find eternal spiritual relief and remedy, what would you do or say? While there may be several reasonable responses, couldn’t any/all of them be characterized as a petition to God? And if so, why would that assisted-petition be any more or less valid and/or helpful than what some are characterizing as an incantation? The bottom line, IMHO, is the motivation and not necessarily the articulation.

Thanks again, Dr. Hankins, for your willingness to stand and to lead.
This sinner prays that our Lord will grant safe travel as you return from evangelistic endeavors in Peru.

Warm regards,
Norm Miller
Truett-McConnell College
P.S. Lord, be merciful to all us sinners.

    Ross

    “If a lost person — who was unfamiliar with church terminology, was under conviction from God regarding their sinful condition, and was at a loss for words regarding what to say to God — asked you to help them find eternal spiritual relief and remedy, what would you do or say?”

    Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins!

      Norm Miller

      That’s religious jargon, Josh. The hearer wouldn’t understand those terms. Let’s say the lost person had heard somewhere that they needed to pray to God to find relief for their aching soul. Would you offer to help them find the words? Would those words constitute a prayer prayed by a sinner — or be a sinner’s prayer? That’s the question, sans religio-speak.

        Jim Harrison

        “religious jargon”? Hmmm. That’s funny. I thought it was biblical language. If you’re proclaiming the gospel, and you’re not explaining repentance, well, then you’re not proclaiming the gospel.

        Ray Nearhood

        “Prayer” is less “religio-speak” than “repent and be baptized”? Odd. And here I thought they were all biblical terms.. silly me.

        Anyhow, how about, instead of decrying the use of words that Scripture explicitly uses, you simply explain the terms so that the hearer understands?

        Ross

        “Let’s say the lost person had heard somewhere that they needed to pray to God to find relief for their aching soul. Would you offer to help them find the words?”

        No. I would tell them that no prayer they offer could give them that relief. I would explain to them that God has forgiven all their sins in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son. Repent, believe this good news, and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins in the name of the Father, Son,and Holy Spirit. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.

Rick Patrick

Eric,

Another home run! Southern Baptists believe in altar calls and leading people to pray a prayer, confessing with their mouth and believing in their heart that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. They like it more than fried chicken, sitting on the back pew or reading their Open Windows devotional guides in large print. I only hope and pray this will find just as much favor at the convention as I know it would among our congregations.

My response to those who are so concerned about “repeating” commitments in the words that someone else feeds you, not only is this the manner in which we swear in Presidents and people who testify in court, but most of us made the second most important decision of our lives at the altar with our brides repeating words someone else fed us. I don’t know about everyone else, but I meant every word, even though I did not write my own vows. The important thing was the commitment and attitude of my heart and not the actual words. True, some people will say those words and decide later that they really did not mean them at the time. Though I am saddened when I learn they did not really mean it, that doesn’t make the process a bad way for a person publicly to confess the decision of their heart.

    Randall Cofield

    Dr. Patrick,

    You said: “My response to those who are so concerned about “repeating” commitments in the words that someone else feeds you, not only is this the manner in which we swear in Presidents and people who testify in court, but most of us made the second most important decision of our lives at the altar with our brides repeating words someone else fed us.”

    Brother, are not both the President and couples entering into marriage commitment vetted prior to being asked to make those oaths? Not so with most Southern Baptists!

    Far, far too often the “Sinner’s Prayer” is repeated and then individuals are told, a la Joel Osteen, “congratulations! If you prayed that prayer with me you are now a child of God.”

    The “Sinner’s Prayer” may very well be the single thing most responsible for the fact that on Sunday mornings 60% of Southern Baptist church members cannot be found anywhere near the house of God.

    That those behind this resolution seem unaware of this is rather astonishing.

    Grace and Peace

      Rick Patrick

      Randall,

      Well, if the Sinner’s Prayer is the reason 60% of Southern Baptists stay home on Sunday, all we need to do is compare that rate of attendance with churches who do NOT use the Sinner’s Prayer (like Catholics, Episcopalians and Presbyterians) and see if their attendance patterns are discernibly better. Where is Barna when you need him? My guess is they’re pretty equal.

      Rick

Matt

Eric,

Why the big push for a formal resolution to be adopted by the SBC concerning something that is clearly NOT found in scripture? It seems that since it is Calvinists who have expressed concern over the dangers of “sinner’s prayers”, that this is just another step in your crusade to push Calvinism out of the SBC. I would like to point out to you that concerns over these types of prayers are not a calvinist/non-calvinist issue. The potential dangers of sinner’s prayers should be carefully guarded against by all Christians.

I have touched on this issue with you before through posts in response to your series of articles “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism”. You made it clear at that time that you believe that these prayers are actually the way in which a sinner recieves salvation when you said that they are not saved until they say the prayer and are saved after saying it. I have no problem with inviting people to come forward to make a public profession of faith or to pray with the pastor or other staff, but repeating a prayer actually saves no one.

If a person has heard and believes the gospel, is sinscerely repentant of thier sins, and has a pure desire to follow and please God then that person is saved. Repeating any prayer will not make that person any more saved than they already are. They should make thier faith public, and saying a prayer that voices what is in thier heart is great; However, saying such a prayer is not what saves them. Prayer is for our benefit. It does not reveal anything to God that He doesn’t already know, and nowhere is it in scripture that God requires a formal or verbal request for salvation.

The most serious concerns about “sinner’s prayers” doesn’t come from a person who believes the gospel, is repentant of thier sins, and desires to follow God though. True dangers of these prayers arise from someone who professes faith for less than pure reasons. someone may just want to be agreeable and please the person who is sharing the gospel with them. Someone may just want to cover thier bases if the gospel is true by getting “fire insurance”. Someone may be emotionally stirred, but not truely convicted. Some may feel pressure to “become a Christian” for multiple resons. There are all kinds of possibilities of how people could come to say a sinner’s prayer without there being a true conversion. My point is that if there is not true belief, true repentance of sin, and a true desire to follow and please God; no prayer will save that person. They can repeat whatever someone tells them to and they will be no closer to God than they were before. They will, however, have a new false sense of salvation. They will feel as though they have no further need for salvation and if confronted be someone wanting to share the gospel with them, they will claim to have already been saved. While I am by no means qualified to judge the heart of anyone, I will say that I have known many people who at least seem to be in such a state of false security who repeated a sinner’s prayer at some earlier time in thier lives. I’m sure many people on here have stories of thier own concerning this.

One more point I would like to make is that a sinner’s prayer is totaly unbiblical. Nowhere in scripture is there any instruction or any example of anyone praying to recieve thier salvation. Your scripture proofs that accompany this resolution do not support, much less prove, what you are saying. For example, you say, “Praying to God to express repentance for sins, to acknowledge Christ as Lord, and to ask for forgiveness and salvation is modeled in the Bible (Acts 2:37-38; Romans 10:9-10).” These verses do not even speak of prayer at all, much less give a model of someone praying to ask for salvation. Some of the other scriptures you cite in other parts of this resolution do mention prayers, but they are all the prayers of believers. Once again, instruction or example of any prayer to recieve salvation is NOT anywhere in scripture.

If when witnessing to someone you want to lead them in a prayer that voices the true state of thier heart, I do not oppose this. However, because of the dangers mentioned above I think such a prayer should be preceeded by a detailed explanation that includes the clear statement that repeating a prayer does not save anyone, and true faith and repentance are necessary for genuine salvation.

That being said, what is accomplished by getting the SBC to adopt this resolution? “Sinner’s prayers” are not found in scripture, and there is no reason for the SBC to formally adopt any resolution that “commends” and “encourages” the use of such prayers. If anything the SBC should adopt a resolution saying that such prayers, if used, should always be accompanied by clear warnings to guard against any misunderstandings of what these prayers actually do.

A “sinner’s prayer” cannot make anyone a Christian, it can make them an apostate though.

    Cb scott

    Matt,

    Where in this resolution is the statement made that the “sinner’s prayer” makes one a Christian?

    Also, the “sinner’s prayer” does not make one an apostate. One’s apostasy makes one an apostate.

      John

      Matthew 18:6
      but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

      So if/when you have a unregenerate person live in false salvation just remember who gets the millstone. Just repeat after me.

        Cb scott

        “So if/when you have a unregenerate person live in false salvation just remember who gets the millstone. Just repeat after me.”

        John, your statement is true. Nonetheless, that does not answer the question I asked of Matt. In addition, who would knowingly have an unregenerate person live a false salvation? Certainly no one who would agree with this particular resolution with any biblical integrity whatsoever.

        This resolution does not promote an easy believism or shallow evangelism. You cannot give credible evidence to your statement by the use of the content of this resolution. You have superimposed an interpretative position that cannot be substantiated by any argument presented in this thread so far.

          John

          Cb,

          If you are unaware how the sinner prayer is used and the various wording that has been used in having the mantra repeated and yet support this resolution and make this statement:

          “who would knowingly have an unregenerate person live a false salvation?”

          The answer is simple. You would. Everyone in faith knows unregenerate people repeat this mantra.

          Cb scott

          John,

          Maybe it was in innocent ignorance that you abbreviated my comment to make your point appear to be valid.

          Therefore, I will state it again and give commentary to it in order that you do not, in innocent ignorance, make the same mistake again.

          I stated, ” In addition, who would knowingly have an unregenerate person live a false salvation? Certainly no one who would agree with this particular resolution with any biblical integrity whatsoever.”

          Notice the declaration that followed the rhetorical question.

          John, what I meant by that is that any person who has a true understanding of the biblical gospel would not tell a lost person; “Pray this prayer and by praying this prayer, you will be saved.” Any person who would do such is a theological dwarf.

          Nonetheless, any person who recognizes himself as a sinner before a just and righteous God and in repentance and faith cries out to God (prays) to forgive them and believes the biblical gospel shall be saved.

          It is my opinion that this resolution embraces such in its content and not the man centered nickel and nose counter work of preachers of “easy believism” which has been and is and aid to the damnation of multitudes of so called Southern Baptists.

        Norm Miller

        Can “one of these little ones who believe” in Jesus be unregenerate?
        Further, I’m thinking that those who oppose a sinner’s prayer, so-called, seem not think much of God’s sovereignty. If an elect person prays a disingenuous prayer to no salvific avail, will they not be saved at a later time anyway? And if a condemned soul prays the prayer, it matters not because they aren’t elect.
        There is no prayer, therefore, formulaic or otherwise, that will send the elect to hell or the non-elect to heaven — if we believe God is sovereign in such matters, right?
        I’ve seen it blogged that such disingenuous prayers makes church members out of lost people. Wheat and tares, my friend, wheat and tares. I think it was Jesus who said they’d grow together. I cannot judge the sincerity of another’s prayer, but I can judge the fruit.

      Matt

      Cb scott,

      I didn’t claim that the statement said that the sinner’s prayer made anyone a Christian. The whole point of what I wrote was to say that these prayers actually do nothing to accomplish salvation, but if not clearly qualified, run a huge risk of leaving people with the impression that they are Christians when they may not actually be. This danger of a false assurance of salvation, which I mentioned earlier in my response is what I was refering to.

      As for the apostacy statement, I believe that we as Baptists all agree that someone truely saved will not fall away. So, my use of the word apostate is in reference to someone who leaves the Church, not because they lost thier salvation, but because they never had it, even though they claimed to have been a Christian. There are many, many examples of people who believed themselves to be Christians because they repeated a “sinner’s prayer” at vacation Bible school or church camp when there was no real conversion. For these people, who do not later have a true change of heart, there are only two possibilities: eventual apostacy when they later denounce thier claimed salvation or being surprized when they stand before God and hear, “I never knew you.”

      My point is: why propose a resolution “commending” and “encouraging” something that actualy contributes nothing toward accomplishing salvation, but runs the risk of leaving people with a false sense of salvation? So, once again, a “sinner’s prayer” cannot make anyone a Christian; it can make them an apostate thougth. So why write a resolution “encouraging” it?

        Cb scott

        Matt,

        I personally believe that a great multitude of people who claim to be Southern Baptists are apostates. Even a casual reading of 2 Timothy 4 would verify that in my opinion.

        Yet, I do not believe that guilt for such can be placed fairly upon the “sinner’s prayer” as the sinner’s prayer is presented in this resolution.

        In my opinion, you and others here are superimposing the work of shallow men (theological dwarves) from the past who peddled an easy believism upon a great multitude of lost people who are now members of Southern Baptist churches, yet are lost and on their way to hell. I believe that these lost, bound for hell “Southern Baptists” are to be found in every arena of Southern Baptist life, including local churches and all the entities under the SBC umbrella such as our educational institutions, boards and agencies.

        Nonetheless, it is also my opinion, that if one takes this resolution at face value without superimposing any preconceived propositions upon it, the resolution will withstand biblical scrutiny.

          Matt

          Cb scott,

          I agree with you that the “sinner’s prayer” is not responsible for ALL apostacy in Southern Baptist churches. As I stated in my original comment, I am not opposed to praying with someone to voice what is in thier heart as long as an explanation including the fact that saying a prayer is not what accomplishes salvation is given.

          You seem to agree with me that the misuse of “sinner’s prayers” is responsibe for many people who are on thier way to hell with a false sense of salvation. However, I do not agree with you that, “you and others here are superimposing the work of shallow men (theological dwarfs) from the past” The misuse of these prayers is going on today in many different churches including some SB churches. You would think that pastors would know better than to lead in prayers that could be misunderstood, but some of them still do. Some do it in a one on one individual setting and some actually do it in open church, “If there’s anybody out there who wants to be born again and invite Jesus into your heart, then I want you to pray these words with me…” The misuse of these prayers by lay people with good intentions is more prevalent than the misuse by pastors. I have seen kids at church camps go forward and be led in the same prayer 3 or 4 times in the same week without actually understanding what was going on. If you look at some churches outside the SBC the problem is greatly magnified. Again, I am not opposed to praying with someone to voice what is in thier heart. I think we can agree that there is a danger in using these prayers if they are presented the wrong way. So, what does this resolution accomplish other than encouraging the use of something that has been and still is frequently misused. If there was a resolution about the proper use of “sinner’s prayers” that was meant to stop thier misuse, I would support it.

          Eric has made it clear in other places that he sees “opposition” to “sinner’s prayers” as a Calvinist thing. This is just another step in his crusade against Calvinists.

        Lydia

        “The whole point of what I wrote was to say that these prayers actually do nothing to accomplish salvation, but if not clearly qualified, run a huge risk of leaving people with the impression that they are Christians when they may not actually be. ”

        Matt, And who is going to “clearly qualify” it for every SBC pastor? How is that going to work? Every pastor required to buy David Platt’s new book and take a test on it?

        Do you not think that some might have challenges with whether those who claim to be saved in SBC Calvinist churches, really are? Have you seen that mentioned anywhere?

        The assertions on this thread from you and others against your brothers in the SBC are ridiculous, I wish you could see that.

          Matt

          Lydia,

          You say, “And who is going to “clearly qualify” it for every SBC pastor? How is that going to work?”

          Well, I would hope that SBC pastors would not need an explanation of what true salvation requires and that faith, repentance, and a desire to follow God are not accomplished by repeating the words of a prayer. I’m saying that the pastor or whoever is sharing the gospel should not use a sinner’s prayer without clearly qualifying it to the person they are talking to. How could anyone here have a problem with that. To oppose that statement is to say that “sinner’s prayers” should not be accompanied by a clear explanation, and should be left open to dangerous misunderstandings. I’m not accusing you of taking that possition; I’m just saying that this is not a Calvinist/Non-Calvinist issue and there should really be no disagreement among Christians about the potential dangers of these prayers and guarding against those dangers with clear explanations of thier use.

          You also say, “Do you not think that some might have challenges with whether those who claim to be saved in SBC Calvinist churches, really are? Have you seen that mentioned anywhere?”

          I haven’t seen any mention of whether people in specifically non-calvinist churches are really saved or not. Why are you trying to make this into a Calvinist thing. The only mention of Calvinism by Calvinists on this thread has been to say that this is not about Calvinism, and is a serious matter of concern for all Christians. I guess some of us have also seen this as another attack on Calvinism from Eric, but that is based on what he has said in the past. No Calvinist that I have seen on here yet has tried to make a discussion of the sinner’s prayer into anything about the distinctive points of Calvinism.

    Lydia

    “I have touched on this issue with you before through posts in response to your series of articles “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism”. You made it clear at that time that you believe that these prayers are actually the way in which a sinner recieves salvation when you said that they are not saved until they say the prayer and are saved after saying it. ”

    Matt,

    Would you please provide a link to this convo you had with him where Dr. Hankins said the sinners prayer is the way a person receives salvation.

    Thanks

      Matt

      Lydia,

      It’s going to take me a while to try to dig up the spot in the comments where this exchange took place. I do not have the time right now, but will try to give you an honest account of what was said as close to verbatim as possible. If that is not enough, I will attempt to find the actual quote at a later time. It you notice, my comment was dirrected toward Eric himself, so I am not trying to misrepresent him.

      Eric had commented on certain calvinists not using alter calls and sinner’s prayers as examples of how Calvinists were somehow anti-missions. I commented back that the opposition to alter calls was really an opposition to the idea that somehow salvation was only at the front of the church or that people could be saved by coming forward and saying a “repeat after me prayer” as though they were not saved until they said the prayer and were saved after saying it. Eric’s response was (at least close to verbatim): I do believe that someone is not saved before saying the prayer and is saved after saying it.

      If that doesn’t make the prayer the means of recieving salvation, I don’t know what does.

        Matt

        Lydia,

        “I believe that one is not saved before he prays the sinner’s prayer and that he is saved after. You find this theologically objectionable? This is exactly my point.”
        -Eric Hankins

        I went ahead and looked it up anyway. If you care to look through the comments section of the fourth article in Eric’s series “Beyond calvinism and Arminianism. The anthropological presupositions.” You will find this quote which I copied and pasted here.

          Matt

          I forgot to mention that this is here on the SBCToday archives in the month of April.

          volfan007

          Matt,

          There is nothing wrong with helping someone to pray to put thier faith in Christ. That is not easy believism, and that is not leading people to a false salvation. Good grief.

          You know what? I wasnt really that thrilled with a resolution on the sinners prayer and altar calls. Not that I was against it, but I really just didnt see a need for a resolution on it. But, after reading numerous comments coming from a certain group….I’m all for it, now. This is just getting ridiculous.

          I do not like easy believism. I stress repentance and faith. And, I see absolutely nothing wrong with helping someone to pray, as long as you’ve counseled with them that true faith is a surrendering to Jesus as Lord….

          David

          Lydia

          Thanks Matt, I will read the blog article and check out the comments.

          Matt

          Volfan007,

          You say, “There is nothing wrong with helping someone to pray to put thier faith in Christ. That is not easy believism, and that is not leading people to a false salvation. Good grief.”

          First of all, saying the words of a prayer do not somehow direct your faith in the right direction; they are simply meant to voice or express what is in your heart. If you have true faith in Christ, then a prayer will only voice what is there. If you do not have true faith in Christ, then repeating the words of a prayer will not somehow create that faith or direct it toward Christ.

          I have said several times now on this thread that I am not opposed to praying with someone to voice what is in thier heart. I would like to ask you a few of questions to see if maybe we are in more agreement than we think.

          1. Have “sinner’s prayers” been misused and presented in ways that have given people a false sense of salvation?

          2. If the answer to #1 is yes, then shouldn’t any use of a “sinner’s prayer” be accompanied by a clear explanation to guard against any misunderstandings?

          3. Is a “sinner’s prayer” necessary for salvation?

          4. Should the SBC be adopting resolutions that encourage and commend the use of something that is not necessary for salvation, and has been misused to the effect of giving people a false sense of salvation?

          This doesn’t even take into account that this specific resolution has claims of scripture modeling these types of prayers, which is just not true.

          If a resolution was presented saying that the optional use of these prayers was acceptable only if they are accompanied by a clear explanation meant to guard against the misunderstandings that have sometimes accompanied them, I would support it.

          I understand that you guard against the dangers of easy-believism while using “sinners prayers”, and I hope that by my opposition to this resolution you do not understand me to be opposing the way that you have proclaimed the gospel.

          God bless

Wes

The fifth statement is a very long sentence. I had to read it several times to understand what was being said. Probably should be broken into shorter sentences.

Taking out some of the surrounding matter, I think the basic statement (exluding the appositvies and while statements) is “the prayer…is the biblical means by which any person can turn from sin and self, place his faith in Christ, and find forgiveness and eternal life.”

If I am accurate in understanding this statement (and correct me if I am not), you are saying that prayer is the means of salvation. If I can edit this statement I would merely say “repentance and faith” not “the prayer of repentance and faith.”

Prayer accompanies repentance and faith, but I never see John the Baptist commanding people to “Pray! For the kingdom of heaven is near.” Nor do I see Jesus saying that whoever prays to him would have eternal life. No, it is repent and believe.

I think this is some, like myself, are troubled by such an emphasis on the “sinner’s prayer.” Not that praying such a prayer is incorrect, but the emphasis may be in the wrong place.

Do you think your resolution is necessary and do you think it is bringing about unity in the convention?

    Cb scott

    May I ask you, to whom does one repent and how else other than to pray is repentance manifested?

      Chappy

      Baptism? (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21)

        Cb scott

        Vol was right. These resolutions actually have revealed the depth of the divide.

        Chappy, are you a Southern Baptist?

          Ross

          So if he’s not SBC, does that make him wrong? What do those verses say?

          Chappy

          C.B.,

          Yes, I am a Southern Baptist. I may have just understood your question.

          you asked “how else other than to pray is repentance manifested?”

          I thought you were trying to say that the only outward response or outward proof (that is how I read the word “manifest”) of repentance is the sinner’s prayer. I was just mentioning another.

          It seemed that you were saying that a sinner’s prayer was the only way a person could respond to the Gospel. I was just trying to say that baptism seems like it could be a good response too.

          I have always considered that baptism is an outward sign of an inward work of salvation. It does not save you, meaning, it is not repentance and faith, but it is a declaration and a witness to the world that you are burying your old man and being raised in Christ. I was just trying to show that a believer presenting himself as a candidate for baptism seemed like another way for repentence to manifest. Although, the best way to have confidence and assurance that one has repented and trusted Christ is to observe behavior over a period of time. None of these manifestations (sinner’s prayer, baptistm, life change) will prove that someone is a Christian, or that they have repented and believed in Jesus, but we trust that God knows the heart.

          Based upon your response, you were probably assuming that I was arguing for baptismal regeneration ala Church of Christ. That isn’t the case. I’m just saying that the decision to be baptized and baptism seems to be thing that indicated repentance in a person’s life in the Bible.

          Again, I may not be understanding what you are trying to say. Please explain what you meant by manifestation.

          Cb scott

          Chappy,

          By the question, “May I ask you, to whom does one repent and how else other than to pray is repentance manifested?,” I had the following in mind:

          True, biblical repentance is and must be directed to God and God alone for only God has the power to forgive sin. We, who are made aware of our sin by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, manifest our repentance in prayer directed toward God.

          Prayer does not save us, but prayer is the way we communicate with God our Holy Spirit inspired desires.

          And yes, you are correct. I did ask you the question because it seemed to me that your comment smacked with concepts of baptismal regeneration.

          Thanks for clearing that up for me. I have I have cleared up what I mean by the use of the word, “manifested.”

          Randall Cofield

          Brothers, brothers…

          To the extent that repentance is a prayer, it is not the SINNERS prayer.

          It is the prayer of the REGENERATE heart…..

          :-)

        Allen

        How did Zacchaeus manifest his repentance? Luke 19

          Cb scott

          Allen,

          Do your have in any extant manuscript every word, thought, and action that occurred the day Zacchaeus was confronted by Christ? Of course you do not, nor do I. Nor does any other person on the planet.

          Nonetheless, we do know that Zacchaeus did have an experience of salvation based upon the biblical testimony of his immediate life change in the presence of the Lord and in the presence of other people, most of whom had not had the same experience.

          Can you declare with perfect assurance that Zacchaeus did not on that very day plead to be forgiven by Jesus of his wretched, self-centered, money grubbing life, and declare his faith in the person of Christ for his salvation?

          If he did anything of such a nature, would that not constitute a sinner’s response (prayer) to the convicting power of the Christ and His call upon the life of of a sinner?

          Obviously, there is testimonial evidence in Scripture that the man was born again after an encounter with the truth of his lost condition from the mouth of Christ Himself.

      Wes

      I\’m assuming the question is rhetorical to prove the point that these are directed towards God through Christ.

      But, my point is that the emphasis should be on faith and repentance toward Christ. When sharing the gospel a person responds by believing. Prayer can be an outward sign of the means but not the means itself. We receive the Holy Spirit when we trust in Christ, not when we pray. Not to say that initial faith and prayer cannot be simultaneous, but they don\’t have to be.

      The other day two people, with whom I have been having a Bible study, told me they wanted to be baptized because they believe the gospel. They were lost when we started the Bible study. Now they believe. No sinner\’s prayer required.

      The sinner’s prayer can be useful, but to say that it is the biblical means to salvation is incorrect. Faith in Christ and repentance toward God is the biblical means to salvation.

      Emphasis is in the wrong place.

        Cb scott

        Wes,

        The resolution does not state nor “assume” that a prayer is the “biblical means to salvation.”

        That notion has been superimposed by those who desire it to be so and not by those who believe the resolution will withstand biblical scrutiny.

          Allen

          “A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation MERELY by its recitation” (emphasis mine)

          So it does RESULT in salvation, if done properely? That’s what the document seems to be saying. No one is superimposing anything. We are just reading the resolution.

          Cb scott

          Allen,

          No, you are not “just reading the resolution.”

          If you were “just reading the resolution” you would not have asked, “So it does RESULT in salvation, if done properly?”

          That question, in and of itself reveals you are desperately seeking to superimpose upon the resolution that which is not in the resolution.

          Matt

          Here is a quote from the resolution:

          “While there is no one uniform wording found in Scripture or in the churches for a “Sinner’s Prayer,” the prayer of repentance and faith, acknowledging salvation through Christ alone and expressing complete surrender to His Lordship, IS THE BIBLICAL MEANS by which any person can turn from sin and self, place his faith in Christ, and find forgiveness and eternal life.”

          The author of this resolution doesn’t merely believe that the sinner’s prayer is an expression of what is already in a person’s heart. He believes that the prayer is actually how you recieve your salvation. Here is a qoute that I posted above that was taken from the comments section of part 4 of Eric’s 4 part series “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism”. It is in response to a comment I made about the way in which “sinner’s prayers” are presented as though someone is not saved until they say a sinner’s prayer and is saved after saying one. I said that I found this theologically objectionable. Eric’s response was:

          “I believe that one is not saved before he prays the sinner’s prayer and that he is saved after. You find this theologically objectionable? This is exactly my point.”

          Wes

          No, it does say it in the fourth WHEREAS:

          “While there is no one uniform wording found in Scripture or in the churches for a “Sinner’s Prayer,” the prayer of repentance and faith, acknowledging salvation through Christ alone and expressing complete surrender to His Lordship, is the biblical means by which any person can turn from sin and self, place his faith in Christ, and find forgiveness and eternal life (Luke 18:9-14, 23:39-43);”

          “Prayer” is subject in the sentence. “is the biblical means” is the predicate.

Tim Rogers

Let’s look at the “Sinners Prayer” from a Calvinist perspective. The doctrine of “Unconditional Election” is eloquently stated by Dr. Danny Akin as follows

According to this view, God, in grace and mercy, has chosen certain persons for salvation. Those who hold this view believe that His decision is not based on human merit or foreseen faith, but in the goodness and providence of God’s own will and purposes. Many would add, however, that the electing purpose of God is somehow accomplished without destroying human freewill and responsibility. Accordingly, no one is saved apart from God’s plan, and yet anyone who repents and trusts Christ will be saved. The French theologian Moise Amyraut (1596-1664) referred to this as God’s secret or hidden decree. There is an admitted tension in this position, but a tension that need not be viewed as contradictory. Calvinists commonly cite John 6:37-47 at this point.

According to this doctrine if someone who is not the elect prayers the sinners prayer then they only believe themselves to be saved when in reality they are not. If that is the case then we have someone, whom according to the doctrine of election, is not going to be saved has no possibility of being saved, but living by the principles of someone that is saved. This person, while not saved, may will themselves to stop drinking, getting high on illicit drugs, carousing, fornicating, committing adultery, and even control their same sex desire. Thus, they become a citizen of the kingdom in every way except through the unconditional election of God. Therefore, after they live their entire life in a way that seems to be Christian they will die and spend eternity separated from God, something they were going to do anyway.

Thus, I ask those who oppose the “Sinners Prayer” one question. If, from a Calvinist perspective, this person is not chosen hasn’t the “Sinners Prayer” enabled the person to live a good life and be somewhat comforted while here on this earth? Also, according to the doctrine of “Limited Atonement” Jesus did not die for this person in the first place and regardless of the number of times a person prays a prayer, they cannot get saved if they are not the elect because Jesus’ death does not atone for them.

Now, gripe all you want about the “Sinners Prayer”. Either you believe it has some merit, or you are just being obtuse in this debate.

    Ron Hale

    Tim,

    Here are several comments from Calvin in his Institutes:

    (3:21:5) “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or death.”

    And …

    (3:21:7) We say, then, that Scripture clearly proves this much, that God by his eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom it was his pleasure one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was his pleasure to doom to destruction. We maintain that this counsel, as regards the elect, is founded on his free mercy, without respect to human worth, while those whom he dooms to destruction are excluded from access to life by just and blameless but at the same time, incomprehensible, judgment.”

    Dr. Calvin … is very open about …”All are not created on equal terms.” There doesn’t seem like there is very much “grace” in his scheme of salvation.

    We believe in Biblical predestination that God “marked out beforehand” that all those who are “In Christ” (Eph. 1) will be saved (the Elect). And His plan is by grace through faith to ALL who will believe. God is so Good!

    Alan Davis

    Tim,

    This is not about the sinners prayer, Dr Hankins needs to be transparent, he is just looking for a fight that is obvious and he just needs to be honest about it. This passive aggressive approach and using others to gain control.

    I do not have a problem with assisting others in prayer (though it has been misused) who are sincerely dealing with the Lord. But it is obvious this is trying to pick a fight and trying in some way to purge those who he doesn’t want in the convention or at least to drown out all voices but those that sound just like his. But that is his right, and it is my right to not give s rip about any resolution of the SBC at the church I pastor. Last I looked you nor Dr Hankin nor Jerry Vines have NO say so at all at WBC. And no control of the money either.

      Lydia

      “This is not about the sinners prayer, Dr Hankins needs to be transparent, he is just looking for a fight that is obvious and he just needs to be honest about it. This passive aggressive approach and using others to gain control”

      How could he be using others, Alan? And exactly who is he using?

        Alan Davis

        Dr Hankins is using folks like you and othesr on blogs such as these and other places. Starts articles calling for chairty, or kindness and the documents and articles are done with a passive aggressivness and constantly coming out with something “new” that he knows full well would be trying to gouge or cause a fight. then he and the other Writers, Yarnell and others set back and let the blog posse they have start the work. They do not want charity, they only call for it to hide the fact they really want to treat anyone with anykind of belief pattern of the DoG as stepsons in the SBC. They are fine working wioth people of DoG, as long as those people take a back seat and just be quiet. Each article they have come out with since the document is only to gouge and to posture themselves for silly resolutions such as this to try to gain some control in SBC. Each move has been somewhat devisive, Dr. Hankins and posse knows this.

    John

    Gripe all you want but using the bible for your source may be more biblical. What actually happens when you give a false hope to a sinner.

    Matthew 12:43-45(ESV)
    Return of an Unclean Spirit
    43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

    That is what the Bibles answer to your statement is not the fantasy prose proposition you came up with.

    Andrew Lindsey

    I would urge you not to prejudge why you *think* people may have reservations about using the “Sinner’s Prayer,” but to deal with actual objections that are offered. It is not only “Calvinists” who have concerns about the “Sinner’s Prayer.” Anyone who has been impacted by Ray Comfort’s ministry [Comfort does not self-describe as a “Calvinist:” he may be a ‘four-pointer,’ I don’t know] will have similar concerns; namely, 1) the “Sinner’s Prayer” is unbiblical; 2) the “Sinner’s Prayer” often leads to false assurance.

    Patrick

    “This person, while not saved, may will themselves to stop drinking, getting high on illicit drugs, carousing, fornicating, committing adultery, and even control their same sex desire. Thus, they become a citizen of the kingdom in every way except through the unconditional election of God. Therefore, after they live their entire life in a way that seems to be Christian they will die and spend eternity separated from God, something they were going to do anyway.”

    Maybe I just missed that day of seminary, but when did curbing drinking, illicit drug use, carousing, fornicating, adultery, and homosexuality, become the point of Christianity. Silly me always thought that our sins being forgiven in Christ was the point….hence the need for absolution (a concept utterly lost on 99.9% of SBC’ers).

Chappy

This is great. I too have a few resolutions that would really go nicely with this one:

1. A resolution on use of the “lead, guide and direct us” offeratory prayer

2. A resolution on use of the “bless this food and the hands that prepared it” fellowship hall meal prayer

3. A resolution on the use of biblically sound component of the evangelical task of the church which goes something like this: “Now, with every head bowed and every eye closed all across this room. If you just prayed that prayer, I want you to raise your hand so I can pray for you, nobody looking around, nobody moving, just slip it up in the air. Thank you, thank you, I see that hand, anybody else? Thank you. Now if you just raised your hand, I’m going to count to three…”

    abclay

    Isn’t absurdity usually shown best by being absurd? “Traditionalism” being RESOLVED at the Convention Level!!!

    How about the Resolution stating that the “Lord’s Supper” happen every 5th Sunday?

    Two thumbs up, love these resolutions Chappy!

      Tim Branaman

      How about a real resolution?
      Resolve to make sure that Christians are taught that the Gospel is the GOOD NEWS of God’s unmerited love; His sovereign authority over all the affairs of men; His ability to take us broken sinners and transform us into the image of His Son; His love for all His creation, even those whose name are not to be found in the Lamb’s book of Life; His desire to have a close and personal relationship with each and every one of us; And His ability to sanctify us by the Truth through the working of the Holy Spirit.
      Then make sure that Christians know that sharing Christ with someone is just the beginning. We are commanded in the great commission to teach them to obey everything that Christ has commanded us.

aaron arledge

Is this really a resolution or a spoof. I have been out of the loop for a while with my job transition.

    Alan Davis

    I wish it was a spoof

Bill Mac

This is not a resolution simply defending the sinner’s prayer. The language encourages all Christians to use the sinner’s prayer. I agree that sometimes Calvinists go too far in their objection to sinner’s prayers and altar calls. But we are clearly seeing an attempt to get such things codified in SBC life as the proper way to do evangelism. “Real” Southern Baptists use altar calls and sinner’s prayers.

Dr. Hankins seems to be the one anointed to lead the charge against Calvinism in the SBC.

    Les

    “Dr. Hankins seems to be the one anointed to lead the charge against Calvinism in the SBC.”

    Agree Bill Mac. I think the New Traditionalists are quite visibly the aggressive ones in the SBC, not the virtually invisible aggressive New Calvinists.

      Bill Mac

      Since “the statement” surfaced, I don’t think I’ve seen a single “new calvinist” identified by name. Honestly, I’ve no doubt some exist. But they seem elusive to pin down.

        Tim Rogers

        Bill Mac,

        I don’t think I’ve seen a single “new calvinist” identified by name.

        Ok, here you go, Bill Mac

          Cb scott

          Tim,

          Bill Mac is not a “New Calvinist” by any means. Bill Mac is a very fair minded brother who has been around for a good while and generally seeks the truth with integrity.

          Frankly, I think his question is a fair one. I also think that at least one State Executive Director should come forward with what he knows to be true in his own state.

          Lydia

          “I also think that at least one State Executive Director should come forward with what he knows to be true in his own state.”

          CB,

          I seem to recall reading some very good advice you gave to one of the agressive YRR guys just a few days ago about the one taking it up the hill being the one who gets it? Don’t you think some state execs are quite familiar with your advice from the other angle? :o)

          Bill Mac

          I’m not offended by the New Calvinist label at all. In fact, I think Tim has done us a favor here. I am a Calvinist ( a little wobbly on the L). I am 50 years old, and serve as a layperson in a tiny little SBC church in Northern NY. I am, as far as I know, the only Calvinist in my church. I have not only not tried to convert my church to Calvinism, I have not tried or converted a single member of the church to Calvinism. I have not hidden my Calvinism from the church. They don’t seem to care. I teach men’s bible study in the church and I do not teach Calvinism to the men. In fact I am careful, when disputable passages come up, to give both sides of the issue.

          So if I am included in the group called “New Calvinists”, then at least that is something to go on. If I am representative of the people “the statement” is purposed to oppose, then I think everyone needs to know that.

        Alan Davis

        Not only WHO is these new calvinists, but WHAT is a new calvinists…I know now what a “NEW TRADITIONALISTS” is…….

      Alan Davis

      So much for the smoke screen charity they called for. All this is for a fight and for control. Yep he is leading the charge to purge anyone who doesn’t think like him.

Bart Barber

Are you taking signatories on this one? Can I add my name?

I certainly plan to add my ballot.

Sam

By this logic, I could steal a nuke, threaten the entire United States to “Pray the Prayer” and “mean it with their whole heart” or else. Jack Bauer evangelism ftw…

    Lydia

    Sam, You need to wean yourself off Driscoll.

Patrick Thompson

I believe the purpose behind this resolution along with the published soteriology statements have become our attempts as baptists to define how God works. While God has revealed a portion of His nature, character and methods of interaction to man, we will never understand the fullness of our Creator until the glorification of our own flesh by grace through faith in Christ.

Yet for some reason we cannot be content to proclaim that there are certain mysteries of God that we cannot and will not understand. We want to have a “sinner’s prayer” that serves as a simply gateway to God and simplifies the regenerating work of God in our hearts. We want to explain away the ability of God to for-know those that will place their faith in Him while at the same time calling our God our knowing. We want to make God measured, calculable and explainable. In doing so we are creating a lesser god that is not worthy of worship. If I can explain, understand and measure every aspect of my god, then where is the need of faith? Where is the motive to stand in awe and wonder? Where is the majesty, honor and glory that will draw man to him?

Is a prayer of repentance and pronouncement of faith a bad thing. Certainly not. But let us not make it more than it is. Prayer does not save. Preaching does not save. Programs do not save. There is but one Savior of the world and His name is Jesus Christ.

Mary

Anybody else remember those resolutions to affirm Acts 29?

I think this Resolution will be a big eye opener for people. So many of us in the SBC used a sinner’s prayer when God pierced our hearts and drew us to Him. But now we’re being told we didn’t know what we were doing. That moment wasn’t biblical. Or I guess our salvation was just accidental since we didn’t do it right. God saved us despite the fact that we were doctrinally unsound.

Thank you Dr. Hankins. This is a good resolution.

    Lydia

    “Anybody else remember those resolutions to affirm Acts 29?”

    Absolutely. No one in my section had heard of Driscoll so I gave out links. Let’s hope by now some of them have done some research. Hopefully, not while the kids are in the same room, of course.

Bart Barber

Dr. Hankins,

I think it would really add a certain je ne sais quoi to this resolution if you would offer it from the floor in rap.

    Chappy

    Or it could be offered from the floor with one guy reading it from a small booklet a sentence or two at a time and another guy could stand at the mic repeating it. Then, some new calvinists could object that the resolution was never really offered because of the form in which it was presented and we could all argue over whether the guy repeating it really meant the resolution in his heart or not. Meanwhile, 16 million Southern Baptists won’t care, and when they find out that hundreds of thousands of dollars in church tithes and CP offerings are being spent to send pastors to a convention to adopt resolutions about the sinner’s prayer, I’m sure they will either be amused or disgusted.

    It seems to me that the better resolution would be to be resolved to pray for hours each day and to seek the Lord to revive our churches and to impact our communities for the Gospel and to work together to see it spread around the world, but I suppose that isn’t as enjoyable as all this current nonsense.

      Alan Davis

      Dear Chappy,

      here is one pastor that is not going to waste the Lords money going to NOLA.

      Wyman Richardson

      Chappy,

      This:

      “Or it could be offered from the floor with one guy reading it from a small booklet a sentence or two at a time and another guy could stand at the mic repeating it”

      made me LOL!

      That right there is funny. I don’t care who you are!

        volfan007

        Comments like the ones I’m reading have caused me to be “all in” on the sinners prayer and altar calls resolution.

        Bill Mac, please dont tell me that you have no idea where a New Calvinist is, or who they are….good gracious, I’m tired of hearing that they are boogeymen….when you and others have been told about 100’s of New Calvinists going into churches and tearing them apart. You read the same comments in blogs that I read….like some of the ones in here. When you read the Founders motivation for being, and what they’ve been up to for years and years. When you hear the radical rantings of Dr. James White. C’mon, Dude. Lets be real.

        David

          Wyman Richardson

          Comments like mine in particular? Surely not. I just thought that one little comment was very funny…because it is very funny. I mean, imagine if the resolution was presented one sentence at a time, with another guy repeat….oh, never mind. :-). Or perhaps you’re speaking of Chappy.

          Btw, I just offered a sinner’s prayer at VBS this week, with appropriate prefaces before doing so, and with intentional efforts to avoid communicating a “magic formula” idea in the minds of the kids, followed by further conversation with those kids who (praise God) prayed The prayer and stayed after to see me, but I won’t be voting on this resolution because I find it utterly unnecessary and, frankly, odd.

          Maybe we’re just getting bored as a Convention, I don’t know. Or maybe tweaking the internal idiosyncrasies of our “Baptist Zion” (groan) really is what we should be doing in our annual meetings.

          Christians the world over are being persecuted, aggressive secularism is making shocking inroads into the church, children are starving, atheism is winning converts…and we’re going to vote to do something that those churches which are already doing it will continue doing anyway and that those churches which are not doing it won’t be moved to do so by this resolution.

          I don’t get this. It’s not the silliest resolution I’ve heard, but it may be the most unnecessary.

          Chappy

          Wyman, thanks for laughing at my joke. I was just having a good time. I don’t have a problem with people encouraging a sinner’s prayer or having them repeat a prayer. I was just kidding around because the idea of this resolution seems like a joke too. I’m smart enough to see it is being offered to cause a confrontation on the floor of the convention regarding the order of salvation. Surely cooler heads will prevail in New Orleans.

          Bill Mac

          David: As I said, I’m sure such people exist. But who are they, specifically? You can tell me that such and such a person went into such and such a church and split it, and sure, I’ll stand against them. Sure it happens. I’ve seen the aftermath of such a thing myself, although it was not about Calvinism, but charismaticism, and later KJVonlysim. Such people need to be opposed. But who are they? Is Tom Ascol a “new Calvinist”? How many churches has he split? Al Mohler? Is he a “new Calvinist”? How about Mark Dever? JD Greear? Matt Chandler? How big is this movement that has prompted “the statement” and this subsequent resolution? How often have we seen a resolution in the SBC that specifically targets a group within the SBC?

          This guy is itching for a fight. Do we really want a resolution that tells all people to use the sinner’s prayer?

Tim G

I really never thought that so soon would I see something like the sinners prayer being attacked in SBC life. Yes, there are times where people have abused and used the easy believe stuff. But for the life of me, to not vote for a resolution that affirms it proper use? This one mid age Pastor/Preacher that is shaking my head.

Am I really reading this stuff?

    Bill Mac

    Doesn’t the resolution suggest that it is proper for all people to use the sinner’s prayer? That’s the point I object to.

    Tim Branaman

    Tim G,

    I am not apposed to the use of ‘the sinner’s prayer’ when someone wants to pray and is at a loss for words. However, I am apposed to this resolution because it does not deal with the whole issue of salvation and if it passes then it can be used as fuel for those who seek to continue in the “…easy believe stuff…”

Alan Davis

It is obvious that this is being done to pick a fight over Platt. I do not have a problem in assisting someone who has shown repentance for sin and a desire for Christ in praying and have done so. But more times than not I have seen it misused in large gatherings and I have seen great manipulation and have seen it done by some men who most on here would know. A resolution on the “sinners prayer”?? At this time? One would have to question the motivation, but whatever, Dr Hankins has every right and it appears he is rather busy trying to purge the convention of what he and 500 others deem the undesirables. It is obvious that Dr. Hankins and many like him have no intention of cooperation unless it is on their terms. He does not look like a good candidate for vice president unless one wants to “thin the ranks”. I actually thought Dr Hankins was just sincerely articulating his and his groups beliefs, but I see the hand writing now; it’s all about a fight and control and it will not stop, he is on a roll. Well the only consolation is the fact that what the SBC does is meaningless at the local church I serve for we are autonomous and will never be controlled (in ANY way) by the so called big boys who wrestle for control. And by the way we do not have to send any money, in fact I can think of a lot more gospel driven ways to spend it than to send it to an organization that just wants to fight. And I am sure it will please Dr. Hankins and his kind to lose any and all churches that have any vestige of the doctrines of grace. Seems he might be more concerned with the heretical books being sold in our Lifeway Crackerbarrels, but hey it’s all about the money there isn’t it? It is clearly obvious that Dr. Hankins and this group has a place at the table for all southern baptists and it’s on the back porch. And to think I actually use to respect some in this group… You guys at the top need to quit hiding behind your passive aggresiveness and just go ahead and come out fighting because that’s what you want so just do it. Clarity and Charity alright, that was just a smoke screen.

For the last 50 years the SBC has baptized an estimated 15 million or more (where are the majority of these now?) but our membership has declined (and that is with over inflated membership roles, most churches do not average half of their membership in worship), 60% never show up that are on the roles. Looks like the traditionalist belief system isn’t working all that hot now does it. For the traditionalists to claim their belief system on salvation is the majority system would mean that that particular system is the reason for the weak evangelism we now have. Maybe what we need is a resolution for regenerate church membership?

Tim G

Alan,
There has already been action on that one. Many churches have taken much effort and work in ministering and reaching and if to no avail, cleaning the roles. Only LifeWay seems to promote the number thing anyway. Most people never even mention it.

Wonder why you did?

Jason G.

Use the sinner’s prayer, don’t use it….it doesn’t really matter to me. Share the Gospel, call men to repent and believe. I think we can all agree on that.

My problem with this is not the resolution, but the passive-aggressive tone of it and the resulting statements of support.
People are calling this a “home run” and that it is biblically well supported. Well, it isn’t well-supported at all, it is vaguely supported. Now, I think that an argument can be made in favor of it…I just don’t think the resolution makes a strong case in favor of it. (To be fair, part of that is the format of resolutions.) But let’s not pretend it is something it is not simply because we agree with it. Calling it a “home run” has more to do with agreeing with the statement (more accurately, agreeing with the anti-calvinist sentiment behind the resolution) than an objective analysis of the resolution.
Yet another says that this resolution is Dr. Hankins “once again clearly articulating good, sound teaching”. Again, this is not an analysis of the quality of the resolution, but simply affirming someone with whom they agree. Objectively speaking, if the “once again” is referring to the Traditionalist Statement on Soteriology, then I think we have to say that the statement is less than “clear” on several points…and being sound theology was not really proven either. Like I said, this is about affirming and supporting others on “the same team” rather than objectively analyzing the documents.

I am not against the resolution…I guess you could say I am indifferent. I’m not sure what the resolution proves or how it helps the SBC in any way.

I would just hope we could move past shallow arguments and back-patting. Let’s engage the issues honestly, and be willing to admit when statements are not clearly worded or could be worded better. For example, I agree with much of the Traditionalist statement, but there are some issues in it that seemed to be overlooked or downplayed for no other reason than a “circling the wagons” mentality. There is no shame in saying that things were less than clear and need to be cleaned up. More than that, I would also hope that misrepresentation could be avoided. I expect more from SBC college theology professors than making statements like “In other words, we don’t first call on the Lord because we are saved; instead, we first call on the Lord in order to be saved.” That passive-aggressive cheap shot at Calvinists is simply a misrepresentation of what calvinists believe. Dr. Harwood, that may be YOUR analysis of the argument, but you know full well that is not how any calvinist would describe their view. In the sake of fairness, shouldn’t we represent others’ beliefs the way they would represent them. By all means, show how you think they are wrong by Scripture…but don’t resort to those sort of shots. That is just reasonable discourse…secular debaters understand that basic rule of the game, it shouldn’t be beyond us as believers.

These kind of discussions are frustrating to read (as are the ones on the “other side”) because we just refuse to admit the limitations of the arguments on “our side” and we just resort to grandstanding and back-patting. Let’s be better brothers….all of us. Let’s be humble and honest and open to correction. I am preaching that to myself as well, as I fail often in those areas.

Meanwhile, let’s continue to share the Gospel and call all men to repent, knowing that they must repent and believe in order to be saved. Ask them to pray, lead them to pray…whatever. But preach the Gospel. May that be our focus and not secondary (or tertiary) issues.

    Lydia

    “My problem with this is not the resolution, but the passive-aggressive tone of it and the resulting statements of support”

    The term “passive agressive” must be in the talking points.

      Jason G.

      Lydia,

      Not sure what you mean. But I used the term because the discussion about this is very vague about who exactly is rejecting the sinner’s prayer. If there is a specific person or group that is guilty (in the author’s mind) then use their name, call them out. An aggressive attack without specific reference is pretty much the definition of passive-aggressive. Resolutions are quite often passive-aggressive. I hope that clears that up.

      I would love to see you interact with the body of my post, as that was the main message I wanted to communicate.

        Lydia

        “But I used the term because the discussion about this is very vague about who exactly is rejecting the sinner’s prayer. If there is a specific person or group that is guilty (in the author’s mind) then use their name, call them out. An aggressive attack without specific reference is pretty much the definition of passive-aggressive. Resolutions are quite often passive-aggressive. I hope that clears that up.”

        Jason, Are you not reading comments here? “Who” is rejecting the sinners prayer? Is that not obvious? The YRR reformed movement that is part of the SBC now.

        And this is not really about “rejecting” the sinners prayer. This is about attacks on non Reformed pastors for anything resembling a prayer of repentance, godly sorrow, etc, that is not a YRR approved process for acknowledging a change of heart. Are you not reading the comments here?

        This is one of the problems with this debate. The Reformed bubble is so tight that many in it cannot see how they are literally insulting their brothers in Christ and accusing them of heresy, making false converts ON PURPOSE and other nefarious things. The assumptions and accusations of mass apostasy from the Reformed YRR crowd continutes to amaze me. And you wonder why some feel compelled to have a resolution on some specifics?

        You want to know where I first heard the sinners prayer was superstition? Paul Washer and that was way back before he started hanging with and promoting the Calvinist Domionist, Doug Phillips of Vision Forum. Then I kept hearing it in dribs and drabs in other Reformed venues. Then Platt took it on and now I understand is writing a book about it? He does seem to have a ready made market niche for a bit of profit making. :o) As a friend of mine in Christian publishing told me, If they are well known, we don’t care about content because it will sell in that market.

        I personally think this is just another item to try and marginalize anyone who is not a YRR Calvinist. These are just a few reasons I find it hard to deal with what you call “content” of your “passive agressive” accusation.

        After reading the comments here over the past few weeks from the YRR branch, you have no idea how blessed I feel to be born in a free country where they do not burn perceived heretics.

          Jason G.

          Lydia,

          I have not seen these attacks on pastors “for anything resembling a prayer of repentance, godly sorrow, etc.” Yes, I am reading the comments, but I have not seen that at all. Can you please point me to a specific example of such so I can join you in saying that it is wrong? Thanks.

          Your comment leaves me a little perplexed…first, because you are willing to respond to my comment, yet you are unwilling to respond to the content. That is part of the problem. I made a serious post, but you would rather deal with what I did not say, than what I did say. Now, I could make a bunch of general comments about how “that’s how the anti-calvinist crowd works” but that is not helpful. I would love to interact with you further, but I would prefer to do so on the basis of my specific comments rather than what you don’t like about what other people have posted elsewhere.
          Second, your post is troubling to me because it is quite ironic. You say that the YRR crowd is trying to “marginalize” those that do not agree with them…but this entire comment stream is about a resolution trying to marginalize people that don’t agree on this issue, on the heels of a doctrinal statement trying to marginalize those that don’t agree as “non-traditional” or non-majority. So, your charge rings a little hollow.

          That is why I find these discussions a bit troublesome – everyone is throwing out accusations and cheap shots…on BOTH sides.

          Again, on THIS subject (sinner’s prayer) I really don’t have a dog in the fight and am willing to be convinced one way or the other. I brought up specific concerns I have, especially with the discussion. Like I said, I would be willing to discuss it…that’s why I decided to comment here, which I never do. But if we want to discuss this issue, and if you want to respond to my points, I would prefer you deal with my actual words and not attack “those guys”, whose argument and accusations I did not make.

          That seems fair to me. Doesn’t it?

          Lydia

          “I have not seen these attacks on pastors “for anything resembling a prayer of repentance, godly sorrow, etc.” Yes, I am reading the comments, but I have not seen that at all. Can you please point me to a specific example of such so I can join you in saying that it is wrong? Thanks”

          No Jason, I won’t bother. It is not because they are not there. But because, as CB has pointed out, you guys have superimposed your interpretation and that is that. In fact, I find your paragraph above so insincere, I have no desire to try and further persuade you that we HAVE been talking about prayers of godly sorrow and repentance all along. Are you guys seriously suggesting your educated brothers in Christ are running around purposely trying to make false converts with a prayer?

          A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

          The game is rigged. We are to convince you of something you have no intention of believing.

          Jason, I made it clear, I do not agree with your “content”. I don’t even view it as “content”. It is like trying to convince someone who is determined to believe you beat your dog. They start with that premise and all debate is based upon a false premise. It is a waste.

Matt

I propose a resolution that Eric Hankins, from this day forward, be known as the “Anti-Calvinist Crusader” so everyone in the SBC will recognize exactly where he’s coming from. While this proposal is meant in jest, I do not mean it to be offensive, as I am confident that Eric would embrace such a title.

Eric Douglas

I think this is a healthy discussion to have. I have given a full response here in an article titled, “The Problem With the Sinner’s Prayer, Pt. 2”
http://wp.me/pXuab-3z

Andrew Lindsey

I love (and would vote for, if presented alone) the second “resolved.”

I think it unwise– even in light of the ways that Hankins seeks to guard against the grossest abuses of using the “Sinner’s Prayer”– to commend ending our evangelistic presentations with a scripted prayer.

Consider the following:

1) The Bible gives many examples of evangelism; does the Bible contain any example of an evangelistic encounter ending with the evangelist leading the other person in a scripted prayer?

2) If we are meant to use a scripted prayer in evangelism, then why do we not have the script for the “Sinner’s Prayer” in the New Testament itself?

3) Does the need for a scripted prayer match what the Bible teaches about repentance?

-Consider the following illustration from Ray Comfort (who does not self-identify as a “Calvinist,” but who objects to the standard use of the “Sinner’s Prayer” in evangelism for many of the reasons discussed here):

“If a man committed adultery, and his wife is willing to take him back, should you have to write out an apology for him to read to her? No. Sorrow for his betrayal of her trust should spill from his lips. She doesn’t want eloquent words, but simply sorrow of heart. The same applies to a prayer of repentance. The words aren’t as important as the presence of ‘godly sorrow.'”

4) Why not teach a person to model their prayer of repentance on a specific passage of Scripture?

-If a person desires to call out to the LORD for salvation, but insists that he is stumped about what words to use, instead of repeating some scripted prayer not found in the Bible, why not direct him to Psalm 51 or some other appropriate Psalm of repentance? [This is a suggestion I’ve seen from Ray Comfort.] In doing this, the evangelist is actually teaching the repentant sinner how to read and apply the Bible from the outset of his new spiritual life.

5) We should never urge assurance of salvation on the basis of the “Sinner’s Prayer.”

-This is, perhaps, the most crucial issue. If you have been active in evangelism for any time at all, then you have certainly come into contact with at least one person who seems to eagerly receive what you have to say about the gospel, but who then seems to demonstrate absolutely no sign that his life has been changed by the Lord: on Friday your friend says he’s saved, on Saturday he goes out partying with the boys, on Sunday he gives no thought to going to church, on Monday he’s back to cussing out his co-workers, etc. If you wait for a few days or weeks and continue to see no change, what do you eventually say? Do you ask if he prayed a certain prayer and meant it with all his heart? Well, his actions seem to indicate that his heart is not changed, and if his heart is not changed, then God’s Word declares that it is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9); so if he asks his heart, “Heart, did you mean it when we prayed that ‘Sinner’s Prayer’?” Then his unregenerate heart may very well tell him, “Heck yeah, I meant it! Now go get us another beer!” Instead, shouldn’t you direct your friend to 1 John– to a book of the Bible that is all about assurance– and urge your friend to allow Scripture to be his judge?

    Lydia

    “If a man committed adultery, and his wife is willing to take him back, should you have to write out an apology for him to read to her? No. Sorrow for his betrayal of her trust should spill from his lips. She doesn’t want eloquent words, but simply sorrow of heart. The same applies to a prayer of repentance. The words aren’t as important as the presence of ‘godly sorrow.’”

    Are you not familiar with narcissists or sociopaths. What looks to be godly sorrow can drip from the lips of a narcissist when needed. Such types are quite good at it. Such proof as true godly sorrow takes time to see if real. Which is why your example from Ray Comfort is really no different than what you accuse the sinners prayer of being.

lee

Is God sovereign or not? Another attempt to say “our way is the right way” and increasing the statistics of new believers, baptisms, members, etc. Once they say the “sinners prayer” we can count them and report it to the association, convention, etc. Preach the gospel and let God work.

Lucas

I hope this is a joke but sadly I think it’s not. This resolution has ripped far too many verses out of context for me to exposit them all in a blog reply. No evidence of a recited sinner’s prayer in scripture. No evidence of anyone “inviting Jesus into their heart” in scripture. I too have been to far to many VBS and church camps where people are led en masse to recite a prayed and are declared “saved” only to see the vast majority probably split Hell wide open based on the reprobate lives they would end up leading.

Easy- believism is the best tool in the Devil’s toolkit. If he can lead someone to believe that reciting a prayer saves them and that they are “sealed in Christ” evenn if they never live a changed live, they he has almost sealed their fate in Hell. Even better when he can convince rank-and-file theologians in a leading evangelical denonimation that this is Biblical.

This may not make it past the blog editor but it’s ok either way. My days in the SBC are short numbered. If the convention continues on the path of running off everyone they disagree with – even on secondary issues – it will end up a small and shrinking group of folk. But I guess that is what the hyperfundamentalists who are behind efforts like this would want.

Lucas

Mea Culpa! Ok my post contained a few spelling errors. Its early for me and I typed it on a BlackBerry Torch without my glasses on so I apologize.

Ross

From the fifth “Whereas” statement:
“the biblical means by which any person can turn from sin and self, place his faith in Christ, and find forgiveness and eternal life”

Does this mean that the “sinner’s prayer” is a sacrament?

    Cb scott

    “Does this mean that the “sinner’s prayer” is a sacrament?”

    No. the sinner’s prayer is not a sacrament. It is a very specific prayer prayed by sinners upon Holy Spirit revealed recognition in their heart/mind/soul that they have sinned against a just and righteous God.

    The sinner’s prayer is only a sinner’s prayer if prayed by a person, recognizing himself a sinner, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit that the sinner who is asking in prayer for forgiveness of sin and acknowledging the that Christ and Christ alone can save him from the penalty of his sin.

    BTW, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are not sacraments either, but that is not the subject of this post or comment thread. Yet, it is very obvious that the confusion related to the topic of this post is connected to a confusion about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in my opinion.

      Ross

      From Merriam-Webster:
      Sacrament- a Christian rite that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality.

      The statement claims that the sinner’s prayer is a “means by which any person can….find forgiveness and eternal life. ” Sounds like a means of divine grace (or sacrament) to me. It’s also a rite. However, it hasn’t been ordained by Christ so I guess it can’t be a sacrament. That doesn’t stop people from treating it like one.

Allen

Let’s get back to the bible for a moment. What do you think Zacceus would have thought of the Sinner’s prayer? What about Lydia?

How bout those at the day of Pentecost? What about John?

Man how’s anyone get saved prior to the 1830s before the invention of “Dear Jesus I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you to forgive me of my sin come into my heart and save me”

Just because we are against the Sinner’s prayer doesn’t mean we are against calling ALL people to repent and believe the Gospel. We are just PRO actually calling people to TRULY repent and believe not merely mean a formula with all their heart.

“I know I’m a sinner” Yep, so does God. “I want forgiveness” Doenst everybody? “Come into my heart” Where’s that again in the Bible?

And these are just a few things wrong with the Sinner’s prayer.

    Cb scott

    1). “I know I’m a sinner”

    How do you know you are a sinner? You know you are a sinner only under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals to a lost sinner that he/she is a sinner before a just and righteous God.

    2). “Yep, so does God.”

    Yes, God does know you are a sinner. God knew you would be a sinner before the foundations of the universe were spoken into existence in the presence of the One Triune God alone. (Although, you have addressed that horrible reality and its curse, which cost the Son of God His life, in a very flippant manner here in your comment.) God does know you are a sinner. By the powerful work of God the Holy Spirit, He makes you also know you are a sinner and the penalty of your sin is everlasting death. Only the convicting power of the Holy Spirit can make a man see his sin as God sees his sin.

    3). “I want forgiveness”

    You may want “so called” forgiveness if you get caught in something that is offensive in your culture. But, godly sorrow for sin leading to a true desire for forgiveness from God, resulting in peace with God, will only be present in your being if God the Holy Spirit makes you aware of your sinful condition before a just and righteous God. Such godly sorrow for sin, as revealed by the Holy Spirit, is the only means by which any sinner shall truly “want forgiveness.”

    4). “Doesn’t everybody?”

    No. Even though all men are sinners, not all men desire forgiveness. Yet, any man, woman, boy, or girl who recognizes he/she is a sinner before a just and righteous God, repents, and believes the biblical gospel shall be saved and his salvation shall be by Christ and Christ alone.

    Salvation is completely a work of God, made possible only by the substitutionary death of God the Son, made known to sinners only by a revelation of which only God the Holy Spirit can bring upon fallen humanity.

      Allen

      Yes everyone wants forgiveness. There is a such thing as worldly sorrow over sin. Nobody wants to feel guilty

        Cb scott

        Allen,

        “Worldly sorrow” is not godly sorrow. Godly sorrow for sin can only be present in the life of a person by the revealed reality of such by the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life.

        Godly sorrow is a work of God from above. Worldly sorrow is dependent upon one’s personal concept of sin and that is basically resultant from the moral structure of one’s environment.

        In my opinion, this entire post relates to a sinner praying upon becoming godly sorrowful for his sin against a just and righteous God, have been made divinely aware that his only hope of peace with God is through Christ and Christ alone.

        Allen

        I’m not talking about wanting forgiveness from God I’m talking about not wanting to feel guilty. Men will go to great lengths in order to not feel guilty. Including reciting a prayer

          Cb scott

          Allen,

          I am talking about godly sorrow and the substance of this resolution. You are free to talk about whatever you wish.

          volfan007

          CB,

          You’ve spoken true and good on this fine day.

          Hope to see you in New Orleans. You’ve promised me a few beneigh’s, or however you spell those things. lol

        Lydia

        “Yes everyone wants forgiveness. There is a such thing as worldly sorrow over sin. Nobody wants to feel guilty”

        Alan, do you pastor a church or work as a minister in one?

        I am wondering how you know right away if someone has worldly sorrow or godly sorrow and does not want to feel guilty? Do you impose a timeline on them or something when they can claim to be saved?

        Have you considered that the man whose name you take as describing the Gospel was had a system that compelled people to church or receive a visit from the magistrate? How did he know whether they had real godly sorrow when the magistrates made sure they towed the line in “acting” like they did?

        This is really part of what makes this entire convo ridiculous.

    Jim Harrison

    “How bout those at the day of Pentecost?”

    What are you talking about? Haven’t you ever read Acts 2? While Peter was preaching, where do you think the other disciples were? The were standing right down there in front of the stage waiting for Peter to finish and give the invitation so that they could pray the sinners prayer with all those who came down to the front of the auditorium. It’s all right there…you know…in the white space between the verses.

Miguel

It’s time to let this unbiblical practice die with dignity. If it ever had any to begin with.

http://www.pathwaysinternational.org/2012/06/shouldnt-we-be-terminating-life-support-for-the-sinners-prayer/

Actsman

This is once again a demoinstration that the scriptures are NOT Authoritative in our our faith and practice! A continual presentation of making men feel like their in the drivers seat when it comes to Salvation! Does anyone today understand Grace?

    volfan007

    Actsman,

    Comments like yours just shows the divide in the SBC….that is, if you’re SBC. Are you?

    David

Larry

Here’s my resolution for the SBC:

Whereas: Our Lord’s first miracle was the turning of water into wine (John 2:7-11)

Whereas: Our Lord offered wine to his apostles at the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:17-18)

Whereas: The Apostle Paul, appointed by Christ as a minister to the gentiles, encouraged appropriate wine use (I Timothy 5:23)

Resolved: That the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, LA, June 19-20, 2012, commend the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper as a biblically sound and spiritually significant component of worship.

Max

Dr. Hankins,

Thank you for penning this resolution – I pray for its overwhelming adoption at SBC-NOLA. May it to be acknowledged and received in the spirit in which it was written.

I was young and now am old. I’ve seen tremendous changes in our nation and the church. I’ve witnessed the ban of organized prayer in our schools, the hostile discouragement of prayer in public places, politically-correct mixed-religion prayers before legislative bodies, mocking of Christians who pray in restaurants, and a host of other efforts to remove prayer from the American landscape. But I never thought I would live to see the day that a new generation of Southern Baptists would desire to remove any prayer from our churches! God help the SBC if it fails to recognize the importance of its evangelistic mission to assist a convicted sinner with a prayer of repentance, confession of faith, acceptance of Christ, and salvation in Him.

volfan007

2 things:

1) If I believed in irresistible grace and predestination and election like some Calvinists do, then I wouldnt be worried about falsely leading someone to salvation. The ones, who are truly gonna be saved, will be saved….no matter how they’re led, or not led to salvation.

2) I hear a lot of talk about the “false professions” and the vast numbers of SB’s, who cannot be found….and this is all laid at the feet of saying a “sinners prayer.” Well, what happened to all of those good, Calvinist denominations of the past? Why did they turn so liberal, and have so many unregenerate in their Churches? Lutherans? Presbyterians? And, all the others, who were once Calvinist to the core, but then turned to a false relgion? And, what was Jonathan Edwards? What kind of church did he preach in? Lets not be so quick to jump on the “that leads to false professions and to a false religion” wagon. BTW, what’s the condition of all of the Churches in Europe, which were started by Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, etc? What’s the condition of the Churches in Europe?

I guess Churches having false professors aint just for the “Sinners prayer” crowd, now, is it?

David

    Cb scott

    Vol,

    Well said.

    Allen

    So because in the past Calvinist denominations faltered in fully defending the truth allowing apostasy to creep in, that is now an excuse to not defend biblical truth in the SBC and allow apostasy to creep in?

      Allen

      Also your first point simply illustrates the fact that you don’t understand historic Southern Baptist Calvinism. But you’re not alone.

        volfan007

        Allan,

        Please share with me where I’m wrong about my comment #2? Dont just tell me that I dont know Calvinism, after I’ve been studying on it since 1984, although I’ll be the first admit that I’m not an expert on the subject.

        David

          Allen

          I’m saying if you truly understood irresistible grace and predestination- if you really and truly believed that, then you would have the upmost concern about “falsely” leading people to Jesus because it’s not about them, it’s about God’s glory. Why would you not be concerned about the glory of God and His church? You would be OK with having churches filled with people who are NOT saved but THINK they are? You would really be ok with that because “The ones, who are truly gonna be saved, will be saved…”?

          This is very poor theology (not your theology, but your idea of Calvinist theology). Calvinism is all about the glory of God.

          If a Calvinist says he doesn’t care about God’s means for saving sinners (only the ends) then he really doesn’t understand calvinism. And that was my point.

      volfan007

      Allen,

      My point #1 was in response to all the comments about the “sinners prayer” crowd causing the SBC to have all the false professors in it. If you’re gonna claim that about the “sinners prayer” crowd, then you’ve gotta own up to the Calvinist denominations turning to a false religion.

      David

        Allen

        David,

        I don’t think anyone would deny what you said. I think it just serves to help solidify the point that truth is worth defending. If we compromise on this, what’s next?

        Allen

    Lydia

    Vol, exactly!!!

    ” And, what was Jonathan Edwards? ”

    I recommend George Marsden’s bio of Edwards for another view of how desparing the Calvinist focus can be. There are some insights into Edwards’ practices that the Reformers do not like to discuss. Like the gruesome suicides after claiming to be Born Again that took place in his church.

      Allen

      Lydia,

      I’m going to reply to both your posts here (the one you replied above).

      Idk how bringing John Calvin’s misunderstanding of separation of church and state is relevant. Frankly, I do think John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards were important men in the history of the church. Were they perfect? No. What if I found out tomorrow that both men were homosexuals or something? Would i be sad? Yes. But really, doesn’t matter to me about them because they aren’t where we base our theology. It’s the Bible. I simply say “Calvinism” and “Calvinist” because it’s basically understood where I’m coming from. But I prefer “Biblicist”

      Also, I’m sorry but I’m completely confused on what you are talking about in discerning godly and worldy sorrow. You’ll have to explain yourself a little better. I’m not sure the relevance of “time lines” and such.

      I was simply referring to 2 Cor. 7:10, also Luke 18 (the man knew he was guilty but couldn’t walk away from his treasure- also many other accounts in the gospels where men wanted to justify themselves), Rom. 1-3 are important as well.

      Again, I’m not really sure what you were trying to get at in the post above. Please clarify and I’ll try and answer better.

        Lydia

        ” But really, doesn’t matter to me about them because they aren’t where we base our theology. It’s the Bible. I simply say “Calvinism” and “Calvinist” because it’s basically understood where I’m coming from. But I prefer “Biblicist””

        Firsts of all, You guys have been trying to get ride of the Calvinist moniker for years and it has not worked. Ever wonder why? And your theology is based upon Calvin’s Augustinian interpretation filter.

        “Also, I’m sorry but I’m completely confused on what you are talking about in discerning godly and worldy sorrow. You’ll have to explain yourself a little better. I’m not sure the relevance of “time lines” and such.”

        How do you know when someone has true godly sorrow? Their words? Actions over a period of time? As a pastor, how would you handle that? Would you take a chance and believe their words of repentance right away?

        “I was simply referring to 2 Cor. 7:10, also Luke 18 (the man knew he was guilty but couldn’t walk away from his treasure- also many other accounts in the gospels where men wanted to justify themselves), Rom. 1-3 are important as well.”

        No. You made a blanket statement that people do not want to feel guilty. A blanket statement.

        Lydia

        “Idk how bringing John Calvin’s misunderstanding of separation of church and state is relevant. ”

        Seriously? How could he ever practice what he wrote and taught?

          Allen

          Words of repentance mean nothing if not backed up with works. Works don’t save us but they are an outflow of a truly repentant heart.

          You’ll know them by their fruit.

          This leads us back to this resolution we are discussing. Biblical repentance is not a prayer. The Greek word for repentance means a change in mind. A total change from the ground up. Will you express that in a “prayer”? Yes if prayer is defined as comminication with God (which it is). Can in be expressed in a “Sinner’s prayer”? Sure. But not because of the prayer, more often than not, its in spite of it because the prayer is presented as a formula: “you pray this and really mean it = you get saved”

          Above the resolution says “A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation…” Merely by its recitation? So if it is not merely recited but actually stated from a true heart then the prayer does result in salvation? If you give God heartfelt prayer, He gives you salvation in return?

          Your comments about Calvin are irrelevant to this discussion. My filter is the holy Spirit. I’m not a perfect interpreter of Scripture, just a pilgrim continuing to grow in his understanding of God and His word.

          Lydia

          “You’ll know them by their fruit.”

          Exactly. And fruit takes time to grow. So we are back to the same page prayer or no prayer.

          “This leads us back to this resolution we are discussing. Biblical repentance is not a prayer. The Greek word for repentance means a change in mind. A total change from the ground up. Will you express that in a “prayer”? Yes if prayer is defined as comminication with God (which it is). Can in be expressed in a “Sinner’s prayer”? Sure. But not because of the prayer, more often than not, its in spite of it because the prayer is presented as a formula: “you pray this and really mean it = you get saved” ”

          You are presenting a false dichotomy. Biblical repentance can include a prayer. It seems natural to me to want to express such things to for such momentous Grace. You are claiming that we all believe the prayer itself is what saves. That is not true. Jesus Christ saves. Period.

          “Above the resolution says “A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation…” Merely by its recitation? So if it is not merely recited but actually stated from a true heart then the prayer does result in salvation? If you give God heartfelt prayer, He gives you salvation in return?”

          Now you are splitting hairs and seems like trying your best to make it say what it doesn’t. The trust factor in the YRR camp is fast becoming a serious issue.

          “Your comments about Calvin are irrelevant to this discussion. My filter is the holy Spirit. I’m not a perfect interpreter of Scripture, just a pilgrim continuing to grow in his understanding of God and His word.”

          Actually, “Calvin”, all of him, is very relevant to the discussion about “Calvinism” even though many YRR wish he wasn’t.

      Allen

      What I’m saying is biblical repentance will result in a prayer. Mouthing “I repent” or “I’m sorry” or whatever is not repentance in the biblical sense of the word, although it may be a fruit of repentance.

      My problem is for prayer and repentance to be used almost interchangeably.

      Splitting hairs? It says what it says. Trying to help you understand why us Biblicist are having an issue with the resolution.

        Allen

        I’m using prayer more loosely than a “Sinner’s prayer”. All Zachaeus said was “Lord, Lord”

Allen

Again, Jesus and the Apostles had so many opportunities to lead people in a prayer of salvation. To exclaim to the masses “Bow your heads and say these words! And really mean them and you’ll be saved!” Yet, it never happens. Not even once.

Should make us think b4 approving such a resolution, that the “Sinner’s prayer” is a “biblically sound and spiritually significant component of the evangelistic task of the church” when we don’t have one example of the church using it in scripture (or history for that matter until the 1800s)

Randall Cofield

This truly ironic.

– “Traditionalists” issue a Statement of soteriology

– “Calvinists” object that it seems semi-Pelagian

– “Traditionalists” cry foul. “We’re not Pelagian in any way, shape, form or fashion!”

– “Traditionalists” issue a resolution for promoting the “Sinner’s Prayer” filled with unbiblical postulations, thereby proving beyond doubt their Pelagian position.

This would be utterly comical if it were not so decidedly sad.

And, by the way, we do have a sinner’s prayer recorded for us in Scripture, and it comes from the very lips of Christ himself:

Lu 18:13 “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.'”

This is the only prayer a person desiring salvation can legitimately (and by that I mean according to Scripture) pray.

But that ain’t the kind of prayer you guys are promoting with this Hankins Resolution, is it?

May the God of all grace have mercy on the SBC.

    Cb scott

    Randall Cofield,

    The prayer as uttered from the broken publican in Luke 18:13 is exactly the prayer this resolution represents. There is no other prayer a truly repentant sinner can pray.

      Randall Cofield

      C. B. Scott,

      Maybe we’re reading two different resolutions…..

      Peace

        Cb scott

        Randall Cofield,

        Maybe, but not hardly. Rather, it may be that one of us is reading the resolution correctly and the other is not.

        Shalom

          Allen

          CB,

          Even if you interpret the resolution as meaning the “Publican Prayer” the majority of people will NOT because it is ambigious and intentionally uses language (i.e. the “Sinner’s Prayer”) that conjures up the idea of bow you’re head, close your eyes, and repeat after me.

          Cb scott

          Allen,

          I must state that such “conjuring” is again some of you guys superimposing an intention upon this resolution that is simply not there.

          Allen

          CB

          Got some homework for you. Why don’t you poll some ppl in ur church and some other churches? Ask them “what comes to mind when you think Sinnner’s prayer?”

          It’s not just Calvinist who think “Dear Jesus, come into my heart”. Yep, it the phrase Sinner’s prayer does some conjuring.

      Les

      CB,

      I’m with Randall here. Where is that “publican” prayer in the resolution?

        Cb scott

        Les,

        Well then my friend, I reckon you will just have to be with Randall on this one. For were it not there, I would, by no means wasted this much time defending it.

        If the resolution was nothing but the peddling of the cheap grace of which you and I both despise, I would have no part of it.

          Les

          CB,

          I have no doubt you and I are equally against cheap grace. I have no doubt those supporting the resolution are against cheap grace. That is not my point.

          But as I wrote below, I don’t see this notion of a “sinners prayer” as warranted by scripture. As it is framed, it is not there. Now if the resolution urged the use of the words like the publican, well that’s another matter. :)

          Cb scott

          Les,

          A response to a Holy Spirit imposed consciousness of one’s being a sinner before a just and righteous God as is present in the experience of the publican of Luke’s account of the gospel is the only biblical way the resolution can be “framed.”

          The opposition in this comment thread to the resolution is not based upon the words of the resolution itself, but rather upon what those who oppose it desire it to be.

          And what some of you guys desire it to be, is not what it is.

      Jason G.

      CB,

      I believe the response to that understanding would be that a spontaneous prayer of repentance is not the same thing as having someone repeat a prayer after you.

      (To be clear, before I get written off as anti-sinnersprayer, I am not against it.)

    Randall Cofield

    I find it fascinating that, to date, not one person has engaged my statement of the painfully obvious–that this “Sinners Prayer” resolution affirms the Pelagian tendencies of those responsible for the “Traditional Statement.”

Les

Anyone,

I have always thought of Southern Baptists as “people of the book.” A people who believed that their theology and ecclesiology etc. is based on scripture.

Take baptism for instance. DISCLAIMER: I happen to believe that both immersion and sprinkling/pouring are valid modes of baptism. I also happen to believe that baptism may be administered upon profession of faith and infants.

SBs, in discussions with me and other paedobaptists have always argued that there are no commands nor any examples of paedobaptisms, by any method and no comands nor any examples of sprinklings in the NT. “Show me the scriptures!” they would say. They have appealed to the scriptures to defend the practice of immersion of “professors of faith” as the biblical practice.

But here SBs are proposing a resolution on something for which there is no such command nor any examples in the NT.

Someone please help me understand. Are Baptists now ready to abandon the “no command or example” against infant baptism? I doubt it, nor should they.

    Lydia

    Hey Les, You are the same guy who a few threads ago said that sacraments are a means of grace. So, I must assume you think you can make the case for that declaration from scripture. But CB cannot make the case for the publican prayer in like manner? Am I understanding the Reformed rules correctly?

      Les

      Lydia,

      As usual, you ask a question trying to in essence say, “Well you aren’t being consistent either!” Wah, wah!

      Try dealing with what I said.

        Cb scott

        Les,

        Earlier in this thread, I made a comment that the sacraments are not a means of grace.

        Therefore, I m now curious. Did you, as Lydia has stated here, state that sacraments are a means of grace?

          Les

          CB,

          Not on this post. I made that comment somewhere recently. To be sure I do believe the sacraments are a means of grace.

          Not to hijack this post, but someone post on that and we can discuss that issue. Definitions are important.

          Nw, back to the explicit example and/or command for someone praying a sinners prayer.

          Les

          Cb scott

          Les,

          If you wish to, you may find my comment up in this thread relating to the sacramental means of regeneration. I did not want to hijack the thread either, although it seems that maybe I have. Oh well, that is nothing new.

          Nonetheless, I must depart your fine company and that of the other fellows for the remainder of the afternoon. Maybe I will “catch a ride with you all” later in the evening.

          Les

          CB,

          Just for clarity, I can agree with RC Sproul when he says that the means of grace in the typical understand are,

          Prayer, the preaching of the Word, and the sacraments are not elaborate or fancy methods of giving us what we need to confirm our trust in Christ. To an outside observer, they do not seem special at all. After all, they make use of rather common things such as human speech, bread, wine, and water. But by faith and the work of the Spirit, these common elements are used to do an uncommon work — the confirmation of our trust in Jesus and the strengthening of our wills to flee from sin and rest in Christ alone.

          In no way do most Reformed mean that baptism, for instance, regenerates. Nor do Reformed mean that the ordinance of the Lord’s supper regenerates. We see these ordinances or sacraments a means by which, when accompanied by the word and the Spirit of God, believers are strengthened and built up in the faith.

          This is decidedly different than the Roman Catholics who see the sacraments as Ex opere operato (the act equals grace).

        Lydia

        “Try dealing with what I said”

        Just trying to understand those pesky Reformed rules and definitions. He who defines, wins, you know. :o)

        My point was if you can claim the sacraments a means of grace from scripture, why not the publican’s prayer for sinners?

          Les

          Lydia,

          I am afraid you are either missing my point or just ignoring it. Read what I wrote again.

          The essence of my point is this: SBs claim to be people of the book, and on baptism, for instance as I wrote, claim explicit commands and examples for credo immersion. They very, very often chide paedobaptists for not having explicit commands and/or examples for paedobaptism.

          Yet on the sinners prayer, no one can produce an explicit command or example from the NT for such.

          Now I am quite happy to discuss the means of grace any time and any where. Just not on this post. This post is not about the means of grace. You seem to want me to now afford Baptists use of the same hermeneutic paedos use in part for baptism (no explicit command or example), on the sinners prayer. This same hemeneutic Baptists will not afford paedos on infant baptism.

          So can somebody cough up some explicit commands and/or examples for the sinners prayer as described in this resolution? Or, lacking such, just acknowledge there are none and drop the “show me the scriptures” argument on infant baptism.

          Lydia

          “Yet on the sinners prayer, no one can produce an explicit command or example from the NT for such”

          Les,

          Do Reformed rules allow us to use the Driscoll argument (for you know what) that it is NOT expressly forbidden by scripture nor is there an example? (wink)

          Les

          Lydia,

          “Do Reformed rules allow us to use the Driscoll argument (for you know what) that it is NOT expressly forbidden by scripture nor is there an example? (wink)”

          I am going to assume you have no explicit commands or examples for the sinners prayer. But you are really good at bringing Driscoll into any discussion. :)

    Allen

    WHEREAS, A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation…

    The statement implies very clearly that the Sinner’s prayer DOES result in salvation as long as its not merely recited. That’s one main issue. No one is inventing this stuff. This is what the resolution says.

      Lydia

      “I am going to assume you have no explicit commands or examples for the sinners prayer. But you are really good at bringing Driscoll into any discussion. :)”

      Les, I will take that as a yes to my question about rules since it was good enough for the Reformed icon Driscoll to use for a pet docrine that is no where in scripture. In order to answer questions, we must get the Reformed rules and definitions straight.

        Les

        Lydia,

        You are 0 for 4 in replies to my original question on answering or even attempting to deal with what I said and asked. Congrats!

        Just for the record. You are really adept at not dealing with what people actually post. I noticed way above Jason G pointed out the very same thing. You have a habit of not answering or dealing with what people actually say.

        But in this case on what I pointed out and asked, I can understand why you keep avoiding answering.

          Lydia

          “Just for the record. You are really adept at not dealing with what people actually post. I noticed way above Jason G pointed out the very same thing. You have a habit of not answering or dealing with what people actually say. ”

          My experience in convo’s with NC is they like to frame the debate and insist on using their definitions. And I can understand there is frustration when one simply does not accept the premise.

          “But in this case on what I pointed out and asked, I can understand why you keep avoiding answering

          You are framing the question as if there has to be a specific command or example of the sinner’s prayer in order for it be employed. I, in turn, respond that an NC icon, Driscoll, used the argument that his pet teaching was not expressly forbidden by scripture so is valid. And this explanation was accepted and even repeated by many YRR. I don’t expect you to like that I mention this. And, I don’t expect you to acknowledge the inconsistencies in the Reformed movement.

          Les

          0 for 5 Lydia. And just so you know. I’m nowhere near a NC.

          Les

          Oh yeah Lydia, and I do acknowledge there are inconsistencies in the Reformed community.

          Do you so acknowledge inconsistencies in your non-Reformed community?

David R. Brumbelow

Very good resolution, although it is a shame it is needed.
David R. Brumbelow

    Bill Mac

    Is it needed David? Calvinists, as we are repeatedly reminded, are a tiny minority in SBC life, and even some of them, perhaps even most, use some type of sinner’s prayer. So I suspect the SP is alive and well in the life of the SBC. So why the resolution? Can you honestly say this is anything but a dig at Calvinists who don’t commend its use? Can you honestly say that SBC’s waning evangelistic success is because a tiny minority of its members is not using the sinner’s prayer?

Shane

This is a ridiculous resolution. Not because it is inherently wrong or anything like that, but because the topic itself is ludicrous. If you employ a sinner’s prayer or not, the repentant nature of following Christ is what is important. I am a non-hyper Calvinist and I’ve led people to Christ through a prayer that stresses the importance of repentance and faith. Was that a Sinner’s Prayer? I think so, but it’s also a prayer that I pray frequently to reaffirm my love to my Savior. But what is the difference between someone who prays a sinner’s prayer of some sort, and the person who reads the Scripture or hears the Word preached and becomes gloriously aware of the beauty of Christ and asks for baptism sans the sinner’s prayer? Is that not the Ethiopian eunuch’s story? His baptism was his confession! I’m not suggesting baptismal regeneration, but rather that salvation came the eunuch’s heart, and others like him, and his desire to make a public declaration of faith is seen in baptism. Faith and repentance are a natural product of the ONGOING life of love for Christ. Obviously God uses many ways to bring people to repentance and faith; to elevate one method above the rest is unnecessary and a waste of time for the SBC to entertain such resolutions.

Pastor Shane

Jesus should be center in our preaching, not a prayer.

If I preach the gospel rightly (Christ: crucified, resurrected; Sinner: repentant, full of faith), then I could tell people who are RIGHTLY responding to the RIGHT gospel to do any matter of thing (let’s say write a check for $7–you know, God’s number–to their favorite charity) and they would still be saved because God “knows their heart” or “elected them” (whichever your theological preference). I would, however, be guilty of adding an unnecessary and confusing step to the gospel.

If people are NOT rightly responding the the gospel preached rightly (or even sincerely responding to a false gospel), then there is not a thing in this world I can convince them to do that will help them get saved.

The problem is heightened when an unnecessary (and potentially confusing) step is added as a key component (and implied as being necessary). Sadly then, THAT STEP, is too often replaced for the gospel.

–When I got saved, the preacher told me I had to write a $7 check to my favorite charity to seal the deal. Oh, you didn’t do that? Then how do you know you are saved?

–Did you write that check? If you did, and wrote it with all your heart, then you are saved.

–I keep a copy of my cancelled $7 check in my Bible as a reminder of the day I got saved. I show it to Satan whenever I have doubts.

–Boy, my hands were shaking the day I wrote my check. They had to sing “Just As I Am” twice through before I’d even pick up the pen.

Unfortunately, I have heard statements similar to the ones above with regard to the “Sinner’s Prayer.”

dale holliday

WHEREAS, It is biblically appropriate to help a sinner in calling on the Lord for salvation and to speak of Christ’s response to such a prayer as “entering a sinner’s heart and life” (John 14:23; Acts 2:37-40; 16:29-30; Romans 10:11-17; Ephesians 3:17);

ummm did you just pull random verses out of the air?

Joh 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Joh 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

no sinner’s prayer here and “no askin Jesus into your heart” and no HELPING a sinner “call on the name of the Lord” for salvation

Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Act 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation

again no sinner’s prayer here and “no askin Jesus into your heart” and no HELPING a sinner “call on the name of the Lord” for salvation

Act 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Act 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Act 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

again no sinner’s prayer here and “no askin Jesus into your heart” and no HELPING a sinner “call on the name of the Lord” for salvation

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

again no sinner’s prayer here and “no askin Jesus into your heart” and no HELPING a sinner “call on the name of the Lord” for salvation

uh oh one more chance

ph 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Eph 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

you failed to even have one listed verse even refer to what you were trying to prove by your proof texting…

ps the heart here is refering to the mind (not just the emotional center to which it now refers) which is proved by the next verse,” May be able to comprehend “.

The sinner’s prayer is not biblical and has helped to flood the churches with unrepentant false converts… right I know they were sincere tho…. well Paul Washer has an answer for that:

God bless and remember the firs job of the shephard is to guard the flock… hard to feed sheep that are running for their lives.

Eric Maynard

Why the antagonism toward Calvinism? I guess Spurgeon wouldn’t be welcome in the SBC. And neither would William Carey the father of modern missions, according to your statement of “traditional salvation.” And that altar call thing- that’s not in the Bible either. The church didn’t use is for 1800 years and people still came to Christ by the grace of God! Charles Finney invented the altar call. That is a historical fact. To deny that is to be historically dishonest. Finney was unorthodox and he was also the father of revivalism.
Let’s see, Jonathan Edwards, the greatest mind in American Christianity, would not sign this statement either. I would like to know one Calvinist in history who didn’t believe in the plenary inspiration of the Bible. I would like you to name a current Calvinist who does not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible? Wait, I think it was a Calvinist named B.B. Warfield who coined the term!

I think fear is driving this whole agenda. The rise of Southern Seminary as the largest SBC seminary. The most recent Together for the Gospel meeting in Louisville with 8000 people (half under the age of 35). The Gospel Project. Mark Dever and 9 Marks curriculum being published by Lifeway.

I think you all just are going to have to get used to it and coexist with the Calvinists. They are in the SBC to stay and they are going to have a place at the table with the revivalistic mega church preachers of the past that have dominated the SBC for a long time. They are young and they have time on their side (and I believe God as well). So, deal with it and love them.

Les

Is this something like what this resolution advocates?

“I’m going to ask you to come forward. Up there—down there—I want you to come. You come right now—quickly. If you are here with friends or relatives, they will wait for you. Don’t let distance keep you from Christ. It’s a long way, but Christ went all the way to the cross because he loved you. Certainly you can come these few steps and give your life to Him.”

And when the person gets to the front they are told, “You have come tonight to Jesus Christ, you have come to receive Him into your heart.”

Does the person become a Christian at the front? Before they came forward? On the way?

    Les

    I hit “Post” too quickly.

    The point is that the sinners prayer is often associated with some sort of invitation.

    “It is not the accuracy, or even the efficacy of a prayer, that saves. It is Christ alone who saves. Yet many who desire to evangelize the lost live in fear that they didn’t properly “close the deal” or help an individual say “the right thing.” And the one desiring to embrace Christ lives in fear of not being truly saved because they didn’t say the words the right way.

    In reality, if it’s in His will to do so, God quickens an individual (regeneration) and gives them the ability to repent and believe (saving faith) totally independent of that person’s ability to “get the words right” (or for that matter, to say any words out loud or privately at all).”

    abclay

    “Does the person become a Christian at the front? Before they came forward? On the way?”

    I think it’s right after the person takes the “first” step, then God takes the rest?

    With the statement on “traditional” soteriological Southern Baptist views and this proposed resolution affirming a problematic methodology, I am beginning to think that Mr. Hankins wants to rid the convention of those un-biblical, un-missional, heartless, cruel, puppy-whipping Calvinists.

James Cosentino

I do not necessarily have a problem with using a “sinner’s prayer” to help someone verbalize what is going on inside their hearts, but the problem with this resolution’s emphasis on this prayer is that it can lead many to believe that saying a prayer will save them. No prayer will ever save anyone, including the sinner’s prayer. I firmly believe that if someone really means everything they say in that prayer, they were saved before they even began praying. It is by grace through faith we are saved, not by works (or prayers) lest anyone should boast. The prayer can be a tool to help someone understand that salvation is by believing in Jesus alone, but the tool should never be lifted up to the standard of salvation which only comes by grace through faith. Someone can come to Christ and be saved without saying the sinner’s prayer because they came to Him in faith, not by a carefully worded prayer. Let’s keep the sinner’s prayer in its proper place, that of a tool, not of an essential component of salvation.

Lydia

“0 for 5 Lydia. And just so you know. I’m nowhere near a NC.”

Gee, You guys even get to decide the scores! You keep saying you are not an NC but you spend a lot of time egging them on with their vitriolic comments. Of course, you and I would not agree as to what is vitriolic coming from the YRR young’ns.

“Les says:

Do you so acknowledge inconsistencies in your non-Reformed community?”

Absolutely. Are we even now? :o)

Roof

What an exciting time to be alive in this country… a generation turning away from Christian liberalism, the Bible taken literally as totally infallible, and even seeing a comeback in a Biblical understanding of God’s total complete sovereignty among the youth.

Whatever some may believe about a sinners prayer (which to me is nothing more or less than the cry of the heart Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner), there are many young Christians who have been jaded by the Christian facade, name it and claim it, just say this prayer and go to heaven. A different gospel that is no gospel at all. Give me the real thing, real meat, grow in maturity in the faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, a work that we cannot do ourselves, but that God works out in us. And to continually gaze into the Word and see if our lives measure up, and repent daily in fear and trembling. It’s not about getting people to recite a prayer, but about discipleship. And as little communities of faith come together and with wisdom, love, and humility through the glorious grace of our Lord, reject this easy-believism, how exciting to see actual persecution that Jesus guarantees to those who believe! Rejoice for great is our reward!

Darryl Hill

I do appreciate that final whereas…

“WHEREAS, A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel (Matthew 6:7, 15:7-9; 28:18-20)”

But it’s not enough, in my opinion, since the entire point of the resolution is to affirm the use of such a poor “tool” to get decisions. All people will see is that Southern Baptists just resolved to support the use of the “Sinner’s prayer.” They will NOT read the resolution and they will not read that it’s not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation. They will read, “Southern Baptists approve of the use of the sinner’s prayer,” which is a travesty in my opinion.

My personal opinion: I will never use this “tool” or the other manipulative methods that usually accompany it- bow your heads and close your eyes, soft music to set the mood, raise your hand, repeat after me, come forward in a massive group, declaring people to be saved. These are dangerous friends. I’ll never use them.

Here’s one of the great thing about believing in the Doctrines of Grace: I know I don’t have to “sell” the Gospel or make it “user friendly.” I simply present it and trust God to draw them. If God is at work, it will be evident. If He’s not, I haven’t manipulated anyone into “making a decision for Christ.”

And let me also add, (and acknowledge that it was mentioned in the resolution), many pastors, regardless of their message, include a sinner’s prayer at the end of every message. Joel Osteen has made it famous. No Gospel presented, just some other message, often therapeutic in nature, but “we don’t like to end any service without giving you an opportunity to make Jesus the Lord of your life.” And then repeat after me- and then, “We believe if you just prayed that prayer, you just made Jesus the Lord of your life.” Voila! Microwave Christian- 30 seconds and you’re done. I personally think the whole thing has produced more false converts than true believers, by a large margin, perhaps 10 to 1. And the affect on those who weren’t genuinely saved is not merely that they are indifferent to the Gospel- the effect is that they are inoculated to the Gospel. They zone out when they hear it now- because they already did that.

Wes

Looks like a different version was passed (http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38090):

AN AFFIRMATION OF A “SINNER’S PRAYER” AS A BIBLICAL EXPRESSION OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH

WHEREAS, The Gospel of Jesus Christ offers full forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God to anyone who repents of sin and trusts in Christ; and

WHEREAS, This same Gospel commands all persons everywhere to believe this Gospel and receive Christ as Savior and Lord (Mark 1:15; John 1:12; 6:25–52; Acts 17:30); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures give examples of persons from diverse backgrounds who cried out for mercy and were heard by God (Luke 18:13; Acts 16:29–30); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures also give numerous examples of per- sons who verbally affirmed Gospel truths but who did not personally know Jesus in a saving relationship (Luke 22:47–48; John 2:23–25; 1 Corinthians 10:1–5); and

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19–20, 2012, reaffirm our Gospel conviction that repentance from sin and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation (Acts 20:20–21); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm that repentance and faith involve a crying out for mercy and a calling on the Lord (Romans 10:13), often identified as a “sinner’s prayer,” as a biblical expression of repentance and faith; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a “sinner’s prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel (Matthew 6:7; 15:7–9); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we promote any and all biblical means of urging sinners to call on the name of the Lord in a prayer of repentance and faith; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptists everywhere to continue to carry out the Great Commission in North America and around the world, so that sinners everywhere, of every tribe, tongue, and language, may cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

    abclay

    Yes, I don’t think that David Platt could have written the actual “approved” resolution any better. God is Awesome! God took what was meant to be divisive and polemic and through the process turned it into a Biblical statement on the need for repentance and faith, not some superstitious recantation.

    Darryl Hill

    Yes, that is a far cry from the original document here, and I thank God for the changes. It appears that a motion was made from the floor to amend it to remove the use of the phrase “sinner’s prayer” altogether so as to avoid any confusion, but it was voted down- though certainly not by an overwhelming majority. Regardless, this final draft is MUCH more biblically sound than the original, and it’s not close.

    My opinion is that “the sinner’s prayer” has come to be seen as “an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation.” And it is also my experience that it is frequently “manipulatively employed” and “utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel.”

    The sad thing about “tools” like this is that once the basis for it is gone (the presentation of the Gospel and God’s gracious working), all you’re left with is the empty tool itself, which is very “effective” in getting people to “make a decision.” It’s easy believism and it’s not Scriptural.

    Now, I would definitely affirm encouraging people, when seeing their sin and their need for a Savior, to cry out for mercy to God. That is not putting words in their mouths. That is not speaking for them. That is the cry of their hearts. And that has been my experience- when a person is truly broken over their sin and understands their need for God’s provision in Jesus Christ- people do not need me to put words in their mouths. I simply would instruct them to pray what is in their hearts. But having them repeat a prayer and then declare them to be saved is just wrong on multiple levels.

      Gordon

      I am very pleased with the revised and affirmed resolution. It is much more in keeping with the biblical model of evangelism.

Stephen

Dr. Eric Hankins it seems that the convention has rejected your divisive spirit. I pray that the Lord is merciful to you for your divisiveness. I would encourage you to cry out to him for repentance.

    Gordon

    Sinners prayer, you say??

Max

Dr. Hankins,

If you are still monitoring comments on this post, I would like to hear your thoughts on your resolution as submitted vs. the version presented by the resolutions committee and approved by the messengers.

Gordon

Dr. Hankins

I am disappointed. God does not use a ‘prayer’ to save sinners. The sinners prayer to God serves as a demonstration of the spirits power in the repentant sinner. The fact that he repents and voices such repentance is evidence of his conversion not the cause of it.

Furthermore, when we share the gospel in the way it is supposed to be done, by explaining it to the hearer, he/she will know what is wrong and should they come to grips with the gospel and are broken by the Holy spirit. They will need no help from the evangelist because the issues will have been laid out in the gospel explanation. The question to ask the prospective convert is not, “would you like to pray and ask Jesus into your heart?” It is, “now that I’ve explained this, do you understand the gravity of your sin are you going to forsake it? What do you think about who Jesus is and what he has done? Do you believe and trust him?” These are the kinds of things that need to be discussed and not a repeated prayer. Too many people are trusting in a “walk the aisle” or “pray the prayer” experience instead of trusting in the finished work of Christ. They have no attraction to Christ and are more interested in the World and their own happiness. Lets not facilitate this any longer.

volfan007

Well, if the resolution coming out of the committee was so much more palatable for New Calvinists, then why did so many speak out against it? And, why did so many vote against it?

lol….spin it however you want, but most, New Calvinists were against this resolution. It passed anyway.

David

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