Praying to Receive Christ

May 14, 2012

Is it unbiblical to encourage someone to pray to “receive” or “accept” Christ as their Lord and Savior? Is it unbiblical to speak of inviting Christ into your heart or life? Dr. Steve Gaines (Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in the Memphis suburb of Cordova, Tennessee, and a member of the committee that framed the Baptist Faith and Message 2000), speaking from John 1:12 and numerous other scriptural texts, provides a biblical perspective on these questions in this YouTube video entitled, “What the Bible Says about Accepting Jesus into Your Heart” –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQBduikVS5E

Dr. Malcolm Yarnell (Professor of Systematic Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Director of the Center for Theological Research, and Editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology), provides a further discussion of these issues in this blog post about “Is It Biblical to Ask Jesus into Your Heart?” –

http://baptisttheologians.blogspot.com/2012/05/is-it-biblical-to-ask-jesus-into-your.html

Both of these respected theologians and preachers find plenty of biblical evidence that praying to “receive” Christ is not only allowed in Scripture, but is commanded in Scripture. What does your Bible say?

 

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Ron Hale

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7).

The majority of Southern Baptists do not categorize people as elect and non-elect, but lost and found! At the age of 23, I was pulled from the pagan pool and I called on Jesus to save me and He did! There’s something about that name – Jesus!

    Bob Hadley

    The question is, did God pulling you from that pagan pool ALLOW you to call on Jesus to save you! The REAL question is, did God save you before or after you called on Him? Did God give you faith to exercise or do we exercise faith in His promises?

    ><>”

      Les

      Hey Bob. I was transformed from darkness unto light, moved from among the spiritually dead to among the spiritually living, sometime in 1983. It was sometime between my oldest daughter’s birth in November 1982 and April 1983 (when I made a public profession of faith in a SB church). I don’t remember the day and certainly not the hour.

      But I know I was already born again when I made my POF. I never prayed a “sinner’s prayer.”

      Uh oh?

      Les

      Bob, and…

      Of course I was baptized upon that POF. Then about 2 years later, while joining a SB church in Riverside, LA while a seminary student at NOBTS, I was told I needed to pray a “sinner’s prayer” and be baptized “for real” because when joining the church I couldn’t recount the day and hour of my salvation. I was told I needed to “nail it down” and make absolutely sure I had things in order and make doubly sure I was indeed saved. True story. Which things I dutifully did.

      Hmmm.

        Bill Mac

        That is shameful.

          Les

          I agree Bill Mac. I was young and a fairly new Christian. I would not go along now with that at all.

        Bob Hadley

        All of this regeneration mumbo jumbo aside (for a second) the critical element for me in someone’s conversion is that sense of “lostness.” For me, a person must understand with more than a head knowledge that the Bible says he is a sinner; for me, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my lostness and that was the MOST horrific felling I have experienced in my whole life. I was a pretty good kid… (back then… before anyone takes a stab at that comment.)

        I knew I was lost; I knew I was lost because of my sin and I cried out to God to save me… actually for 5 nights… I cried myself to sleep because of this sense of “hopelessness and lostness” and then on Thursday night… this was all during a summer revival and I was 10 or so years old… I went to bed torn up on the inside and it was as if God reached down and picked me up and help me in His arms and I went to sleep and I knew He was mine and I was His from that moment to now.

        The Holy Spirit came over me when i surrendered to preach… I was in a church service at my home church, I was a freshman in college as a physics major and the Lord said I want you to preach and I said not… and that preacher sang 20 verses of Just as I am and I literally pulled one of those LONG wooden pews out of the floor… screws and all and and in the same motion of that pew coming up I stepped out and it was as if the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.

        I really cannot believe God would call someone like me to preach… but I know He did… and like Paul if He can save me and put up with me after all that, He can save ANYONE.

        Just felt like sharing my story… at least that part of it anyway!

        ><>”

Ron

Bob,
I was lost but now I’m found.

Some theologs get too profound in the founding and lost in the lostness.

carl peterson

What I find in many who are so against the sinner’s prayer is a good word on discipleship and living out one’s faith. That faith without works is dead. However, I also see an overbalance on works. I listened to one message on youtube and the missionary said “If you do not come to God everyday then God does not want anything of you. If you are not completely abandoned to God then he does not want anything to do with you. ” My experience and what I read in scripture that while works are important that still the Father, Son, and Spirit are also in the business of grace and mercy. That we (ME) is still messing up a lot. That I still need a my union with Christ through grace. That that still is the only way to come to the Father. Again works are importnat but that I can rest in God’s love me. I do not deserve it. I do not even understand it fully but I am not trying to live a more righteouss life because I think Jesus or the Father might reject me if I do not. I do it because of the amazing gift He has given to me. I do it because through my union with Christ I can go to the Father and by the Spirit call him “Abba Father.”

In this video there was also the claim that God does nto want to come into our hearts because God wants nothing to do with our sinful disgusting hearts. Well the amazing thing is He does. That is the great exchange. Not that Christ wanted all my sin and shame and to be cursed. Be because he loved us, he became a curse for us. So he took on my human life by becoming a human being (incarnation) and he took on my curse and sin and paid for it on the cross. So now He created in me a clean heart and renewed a right spirit with in me. That to me is the gospel.

I think there is a message to some of the rejection of hte sinner’s prayer. And that is that Christians must foreget disciplship and works. I also think that there is a good message in the hell fire and brimstone and the more fanatical (not derogartoryly speaking) preachers of God’s wrath and our sin. But so many forget God’s love and forget that God redeems us. He does not replace us with something else.

volfan007

I think that Platt has gotten “easy believism” mixed up with “sinners prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart.” Easy believism is a big problem; it does seem to me. There are many people, who think that just because they believe in Jesus….purely a head knowledge….where they said a prayer and got baptized….that they are saved. When in reality, they’re just as lost as the Demons, who believe in God and tremble, according to James. They have a head knowledge of God. They may have even said a prayer. They probably got baptized. BUT, they never really, truly got saved; because they never repented and put their faith in Jesus.

But, helping people to pray to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is not “easy believism,” as Platt has stated. If people have been counseled that they need to turn to God with all of thier heart, and put all of their faith in Jesus; then helping people to pray, or using the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is not “easy believism. If people have been counseled that faith is a surrendering faith; one that will produce good works due to a changed heart; then helping them pray, or to call upon the Lord, is not “easy believism.”

So, I think Platt has really missed the point on this whole issue.
I think that Platt has gotten “easy believism” mixed up with “sinners prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart.” Easy believism is a big problem; it does seem to me. There are many people, who think that just because they believe in Jesus….purely a head knowledge….where they said a prayer and got baptized….that they are saved. When in reality, they’re just as lost as the Demons, who believe in God and tremble, according to James. They have a head knowledge of God. They may have even said a prayer. They probably got baptized. BUT, they never really, truly got saved; because they never repented and put their faith in Jesus.

But, helping people to pray to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is not “easy believism,” as Platt has stated. If people have been counseled that they need to turn to God with all of thier heart, and put all of their faith in Jesus; then helping people to pray, or using the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is not “easy believism. If people have been counseled that faith is a surrendering faith; one that will produce good works due to a changed heart; then helping them pray, or to call upon the Lord, is not “easy believism.”

So, I think Platt has really missed the point on this whole issue.
David

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