Steve Gaines on “The Sinner’s Prayer”

June 23, 2012

This is a video of Dr. Steve Gaines being interviewed by Joel Southerland on Talk SBC. The interview concerns the “Sinner’s Prayer” resolution approved by the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans this week, and the proper use of the Sinner’s Prayer in churches.

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volfan007

Steve Gaines,

Thanks for such a sound, intelligent, sensible way of dealing with this issue. I appreciate you, Brother. I’m glad we have men like you in the SBC, who can be a leader, who helps us stay on a good road. I’ve been a “fan” of yours for a long time, ever since I heard you preach at our Annual Meeting at our Assoc. in Obion and Lake and Weakley Counties(Beulah Baptist Association)…back when I was there. Also, hearing about you at Gardendale, Alabama from my wife’s cousin, Rick and Dianne Craig. Of course, you being from Dyersburg..being a West TN boy like me….endeared me to you, as well.

God bless you, Brother.

David

Todd Benkert

Thank you Dr. Gaines. I appreciate the clarity you brought to the issue. I especially appreciate you acknowledging the legitimate concerns over abuses of the sinner’s prayer at the outset of the interview. I thought the resolution addressed those concerns effectively while at the same time affirming the role of prayer in conversion. Thanks for your leadership and gracious spirit in this interview.

Robert Vaughn

Totally off topic, but at about 5:30 or so into the interview there is some singing in the background that sounds good. Can anyone identify what that is? Thanks.

I notice Joel started off the interview with a positive reference to Curtis Hutson (long time editor of The Sword of the Lord, who followed John Rice). That doesn’t help the case of the sinner’s prayer, imo. Several in my family subscribed to the Sword. Once when Curtis Hutson was in the area I went to hear him. In my opinion he used manipulative techniques to get people to come to the altar. This is exactly what some people are objecting to, while some seem to be saying “we don’t know anyone who does this.”

CW Griffith

Great interview. I think the resolution on the Sinner’s Prayer struck a sound and proper balance. We need to reject easy believism, but hold to the scriptural truth that prayer is a necessary part of conversion. Dr. Gaines expresses this point very well.

    Steve Martin

    Just curious…what prayer did Saul pray before the Lord knocked him off his horse?

      selahV-hariette

      What horse?

      holdon

      “what prayer did Saul pray before the Lord knocked him off his horse?”

      Paul (Saul) made a choice:

      Whereupon, king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision

      Don Johnson

      Steve,

      Saul did not pray on the road to Damascus. He prayed in Damascus where he was saved.

        Mary

        Don,

        I think a lot of people make a mistake in interpreting verses by taking a descriptive passage such as Acts 9 and then building a doctrinal point. What we have to do is start with the prescriptive verses such as Romans 10:8-13 to help us know what’s going on in the descriptive passage back in Acts 9

        Ross

        Acts 22
        10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

        12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13  came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

        I don’t see a prayer. I do see a baptism (to wash away sins).

          Lydia

          Check out Acts 9

          11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12

          Don Johnson

          Ross,

          Acts 22:16 …calling on the name of the Lord.

          What do you think he was asking the Lord?

          Cb scott

          Ross,

          Are you advocating that the passage you presented in your comment above gives credible, biblical evidence to baptismal regeneration?

          Do you believe that the experience of water baptism literally removes the guilt and penalty for lostness in a baptismal candidate?

          Randall Cofield

          CB Scott,

          While it was certainly never my intention to offend you, clearly I have.

          I humbly ask your forgiveness.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/2012/06/22/8604/#comment-24929

          June 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

          Cb scott

          Randall Cofield,

          Obviously, since you linked to the thread, this apology concerns our set-to from another post and comment thread.

          Randall Cofield, You do not owe me an apology. I think you have things somewhat confused. You stated in your apology that you had no “intention to offend” me. I believe that.

          That is where the confusion rests. I know you were not intentionally trying to offend me.

          On the contrary, it was my willful intent to offend you. I intended to offend you with my comments. You needed to be offended because you were being a jerk to some of the folks on the thread. You were acting exactly like the “Elephant in the Room, Hybrid-Cal type of jerk” that Jerry Vines referenced along with several others in recent weeks and I wanted to bring that to your attention, so I purposely and with willful intent made offensive comments toward you.

          You needed to be offended so I offended you. It was as simple as that. But please know that you did not offend me, other than in the fact that I have been following your comments for a while and have determined you are exactly the kind of Calvinist, (or “Fresh, Upstart Calvinist) who has been so instrumental in causing this unnecessary divide in the first place.

          Calvinists have been involved in the SBC from the beginning and were certainly involved during the CR. This divisiveness is a recent thing and I personally attribute it to guys who have chips on their shoulders who think they have made a recent discovery relating to soteriology.

          It seems to me that some of you have maybe read a book, taken a class under some guy who has read two books, visited some Calvinistic websites, then took off to the Biology lab as fast as you could run, grabbed up a white rat and a pickled frog, sacrificed them before a plastic statue of John Calvin and declared yourselves as to have arrived, complete with all of the answers to all of the questions about the mystery of the gospel.

          It is for that reason that I sought to offend you, Randall Cofield. I wanted to offend you in hopes that you would stop and realize that you really do not have all the answers and maybe you should comment with just a little less swagger than you have been.

          So trust me when I state you have not offended me and you owe me no apology.

          Now, if you want to thank me for calling your hand for being obnoxious and acting like a jerk, that is fine with me. My response will be, That’s OK. I am just glad I could help you in your time of need and just call on me anytime in the future and I will be glad to help you out again. ‘Cause you ain’t heavy, you are my brother.

          Randall Cofield

          Cb Scott,

          The request was sincere. I\’ll leave it at that.

          If anyone wishes to arrive at their own conclusions the exchanges can be found here:

          http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/2012/06/22/8604/#comment-24929

          Ross

          Cb scott,

          I believe in one baptism for the remission of sins.

          Cb scott

          Ross,

          Would you mind explaining what constitutes the “one baptism” you have in mind for the remission of sins?

          Les

          To willfully offend someone “for being obnoxious and acting like a jerk” is just bizarre. How is that anything close to godly correction, not that correction was needed? I don’t think it was.

          Ross

          Cb Scott,

          Sure thing. The one baptism consists of water with the Word of God. As instituted by Christ in Matthew 28.

          Through this one baptism, God forgives sins as taught by Christ and the Apostles and confessed by His Church in the Nicene Creed.

          There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

Bill Mac

I’m still not certain such a resolution was necessary, but what resolutions are? The rewritten resolution that came out of the committee was one I probably could have voted for.

Darryl Hill

I am very glad to hear that people are not using the “tool” of a “sinner’s prayer” today as they did the entire time I was growing up in a Southern Baptist church, attending a Southern Baptist university and serving on staff in many different southern Baptist churches along the way. The way it was always employed was as a mass evangelism tool. You present the Gospel, you have them bow their heads and close their eyes, you tell them to repeat a prayer after you, and then you declare them saved.

I just saw that very thing done by an “evangelist” back in March. Perhaps it’s not such a straw man argument after all. I know of many other evangelists who do the same thing.

But hey, I will say this: if the attention that has been brought to this “simmer’s prayer” resolution stops that practice, I will be thrilled. I thank God that Steve Gaines doesn’t do that any more- but I bet he did at one time because at one time it was THE primary practice, especially among those who desired to lead large churches.

Here’s what I fear will be the result of this “sinner’s prayer resolution.” I fear people will read “Southern Baptists approve the use of the sinner’s prayer” and they will ignore the line that states this is not an incantation that result in salvation purely by its recitation. They will just see a green light and an affirmation of what they’ve always done.

Here’s a novel idea: if you’ve presented the Gospel and explained the need for repentance and believing, why not just let the person pray what is in their own heart? And why not let God affirm and confirm within them that what has been wrought within them is a genuine work of the Holy Spirit?

Here’s what evangelists often say: “Write down this date in your Bible so you won’t forget.” OR “Drive a stake in your back yard” or something similar. And then when someone comes to them and says, “I’m doubting my salvation” they say, “Was there ever time where you prayed a sinner’s prayer?” And if they say yes, the evangelist will say, “Did you mean it?” And if they say yes, the evangelist will say, “You’re saved. You need to tell the devil to leave you alone, making you doubt your salvation.”

But what does Scripture say? Examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith.”

Lydia

“I thank God that Steve Gaines doesn’t do that any more- but I bet he did at one time because at one time it was THE primary practice, especially among those who desired to lead large churches.”

Gee whiz,. Darryl! I am no fan of Steve Gaines for a ton of reasons but even I see how unfair is this accusation. Was that really necessary? As one who consulted in the seeker mega world for a long time I can tell you it is NOT a sinners prayer that built mega churches. It is the marketing of programs and “relationships” that built the mega temples along with the cult of personality.

“Here’s what I fear will be the result of this “sinner’s prayer resolution.” I fear people will read “Southern Baptists approve the use of the sinner’s prayer” and they will ignore the line that states this is not an incantation that result in salvation purely by its recitation. They will just see a green light and an affirmation of what they’ve always done.”

Like imprisoning and burning heretics? :o)

    Darryl Hill

    Lydia, I love how you ignored the primary content of my post, picked one phrase out of one paragraph to talk about mega-churches, which wasn’t even the point of that paragraph, and then quoted another paragraph to attack people who burned heretics, which again, has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    How about addressing what I actually said if you’d like to have a conversation with me?

      Lydia

      Darryl, In other words, you want us to ignore your insulting zingers that even you admit are not primary content. Ok, I get it.

        Darryl Hill

        And you’ve done it again. Do you actually want to discuss the sinner’s prayer and its use?

          Lydia

          Here is the deal, Darryl. You “might” want to discuss the sinners prayer but you had to get in an insulting accusation first. Here it is:

          ” I thank God that Steve Gaines doesn’t do that any more- but I bet he did at one time because at one time it was THE primary practice, especially among those who desired to lead large churches.”

          Where do you get this idea? Can you provide some sources?

        Lydia

        “…and then quoted another paragraph to attack people who burned heretics,…”

        Are you sure you want to say that? LOL!

        It is a bad thing to verbally repudiate the burning of and imprisonment of heretics from your religious tradition? I know. It is not allowed to mention those traditions or why they could be brilliant scholars and not see the problem with it. Stick to doctrine and not how doctrine might have driven behavior that looks nothing like the Jesus they taught about?

          Darryl Hill

          Well, at least it’s clear you have no intention of discussing the topic at hand.

          Hey Lydia, what do you think of using the sinner’s prayer as a tool for mass evangelism?

          Lydia

          “Hey Lydia, what do you think of using the sinner’s prayer as a tool for mass evangelism?”

          I am not sure what you mean by mass evangelism. I have not seen large rooms of people told to recite a prayer then declared as saved.
          It probably happens somewhere but it is not something I have experienced in the SBC even from childhood.

          Darryl Hill

          Lydia, just fyi, the logical fallacy in which you’ve just attempted to engage in, unsuccessfully, is called moving the goalposts or shifting the goalposts. It’s one that I’ve noticed you use frequently and it’s one reason I’ve avoided discussions with you in these threads. It’s a fallacy in which a person changes the goal of a debate midstream in order to gain an advantage in some way, rather than discussing the actual topic at hand. If that is what you continue to do, I will return to my original thought, which was that it is clearly fruitless to attempt to converse with you.

          Darryl Hill

          Well hey, a light…

          I’ve grown up in the SBC as well and have been doing youth ministry for 20 years. It happens all the time. I will say this- it used to happen more than it has been happening in recent years, so that is good.

          Still, I just witnessed it back in March and know that it happened in a youth rally for my home church and that an evangelist I know personally uses this technique often.

          I see no need to put words in the mouths of people when I’ve just shared the Gospel. I share the Gospel with children in our church and community every summer in VBS and I have never had them repeat a “sinner’s prayer.” Those who are truly being drawn to the Lord don’t have to “say the right words” in order to be saved. Putting words in the mouths of children will usually result in several false decisions. Avoiding that drops the number of “decisions” but it also means that those who do come forward are likely truly being called by God.

          I definitely agree with Dr. Gaines that each child should be interviewed individually, and that is what I do as well.

          Darryl Hill

          By the way Lydia, for me the issue of a sinner’s prayer is separated from the whole Calvinist vs Traditionalist debate. I was staunchly a traditionalist until 2005 but had stopped having people repeat a prayer after me nearly 10 years before that because of a personal conviction that I had come to through dealing with these evangelistic experiences and through prayer and study.

          Michael Vaughan

          It’s probably silly for me to wade into this one, but okay.

          I grew up in Georgia. I was converted in a mass prayer around 1998. I witnessed youth groups and evangelist rallies and youth conferences use te mass prayer in 2004. What typically happened was that the evangelist would lead the prayer with everyone’s “head bowed and eyes closed,” and then declare people who prayed the prayer saved. They would then be invited to come forward for counseling.

          So, merits one way or the other aside, I personally witnessed this practice A LOT growing up in Georgia.

BOB

Would this be an example of an abuse of the Sinner’s Prayer?

    Darryl Hill

    Yes, that is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.

    However, I think most Baptists get the Gospel better than Osteen. Osteen throws in a sinner’s prayer at the end of a message that, very often, is merely some kind of therapeutic talk. Most Baptists at least share the Gospel before hand. So, while I would agree that’s a blatant example of the misuse of this tool, I wouldn’t accuse my Baptist brethren of doing such a thing.

      CW Griffith

      Is this an example of the abuse of the Sinner’s Prayer?

      Charles Spurgeon “A Free Grace Promise” 1888

      “Oh, that the unconverted among you may be moved to pray. Before you leave this place, breathe an earnest prayer to God, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner. Lord, I need to be saved. Save me. I call upon thy name.” Join with me in prayer at this moment, I entreat you. Join with me while I put words into your mouths, and speak them on your behalf—”Lord, I am guilty. I deserve thy wrath. Lord I cannot save myself. Lord, I would have a new heart and a right spirit, but what can I do? Lord, I can do nothing, come and work in me to will and to do of thy good pleasure.”

        Randall Cofield

        CW,

        “Lord, I am guilty. I deserve thy wrath. Lord I cannot save myself. Lord, I would have a new heart and a right spirit, but what can I do? Lord, I can do nothing, come and work in me to will and to do of thy good pleasure.”

        Do you honestly think–given the “Traditional Statement” and this modern emphasis on the “Sinner’s Prayer”–that this is the sort of prayer that is being advocated by Hankins/Gaines, et al?

        Soli Deo Gloria

          volfan007

          Its exactly what’s being promoted by Hankins and Gaines.

          Good quote, CW, no….great quote by Spurgeon.

          David

          CW Griffith

          I believe that is precisely the kind of prayer being advocated by Hankins and Gaines. They have both clearly stated opposition to easy believism.

          Now would you say Spurgeon was wrong to give as part of his invitation instructions to, “Join with me while I put words into your mouths, and speak them on your behalf?”

          Randall Cofield

          Vol, CW,

          …and the Sinner’s Prayer Resolution is Hankins et al’s best effort at articulating that?

          Randall Cofield

          CW,

          Now would you say Spurgeon was wrong to give as part of his invitation instructions to, “Join with me while I put words into your mouths, and speak them on your behalf?”

          Given the potent nature of the Gospel Spurgeon preached….no.

          Given the kind of Gospel being preached today….oh yeah.

          Peace

        selahV-hariette

        CW, this is a wonderful, wonderful prayer from Spurgeon. Thanks for sharing it with us. It is very similar to one I have used several times to lead others to Christ. I have explained it before hand (the exact reasons one needs Christ and what He has done for them and how He wants to come into their lives as surely as we invite someone into our home” only He wants to come in forever. I tell them they can thank Him for saving them too. And then I have led them in this type of prayer.”

        Unlike some folks, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of their lives most of the times and I have been able to either disciple and encourage them in their walk thereafter, or I’ve been able to leave them in the care of those who will. I always tell them they need to follow in obedience to the Lord’s commands and be baptized, too. Then I tell them the Holy Spirit will guide them to walk in His way and teach them the Bible as they read it. I find myself praying more and more for those I led to Christ and those whom I have taught through the years in youth group. For instance…

        I had one young man in my youth ministry in Kentucky, and even though I had not kept in touch, I’d prayed for God to use him and the others I’d taught. This past year I learned he had been commissioned to be a foreign missionary. It was such a joy to know I played some tiny part in his life. I will continue to pray for God to use him mightily. He is an extremely talented and gifted young man. And soon to be a first-time father. So exciting. selahV

Lydia

“It’s a fallacy in which a person changes the goal of a debate midstream in order to gain an advantage in some way, rather than discussing the actual topic at hand.”

Never mind the strawmen in your original comment was not a goal? Fact is, I just don’t automatically accept the premise of every comment and some do not like that because they want to frame the debate and force people to accept their definitions and premise.

But I am certainly confused why you would make a comment on a blog and then try to limit which parts of your comment are acceptable to be discussed. Fact is, the insult of Gaines was not necessary to the discussion nor did you provide proof of what you accused him of doing. You know and I know it.

Lydia

“Still, I just witnessed it back in March and know that it happened in a youth rally for my home church and that an evangelist I know personally uses this technique often”

How did it work? I am curious to know exactly what you all are talking about.

Tim G

Thank you Steve Gains for getting this clear and right! I too am left wondering how and why we had to deal with such. The straw men being created are tied to some limited abuses. To take those limited and then turn them into broad generalities is being less than honest and obviously being used to push an agenda!

This was a great interview and great comments from Dr. Gains – may his tribe increase!

Lasaro Flores

The point should not be “prayer;” for any sinner that comes to the Lord Jesus Christ WILL pray, even simple words as the publican: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Or, Paul, ‘What would you have me to do, Lord?” Our saving experience starts with prayer after being convicted of our sins in hearing the Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus. So, that is not the issue.

What I believe is the problem is the “invitational system” that is utilized by pastors and preachers to get people to come to the front to make a decision for Christ. That, beloved, IS the problem. You would be hard pressed to find any practice of such a creature used by the apostles in Acts; or even commanded in the epistles to use such a method. It was either Moody or Finney that started doing that. I used to do it at first because I thought it was Scriptural, esp. since it was used by Southern Baptists. But as I studied the Word of God, I was made uncomfortable in doing it because I had no Scriptural basis to do so.

Now, I know that God’s does the saving; and it’s not the coming to the front and repeating a so-called “Sinners’ Prayer” as it is used today. Any sinner that is truly convicted by the Holy Spirit at the preaching of the Gospel, will call on the Name of the Lord to save him, whether sitting on the pews, or going home in his car, or somewhere else. The jailor asked: “What must I do to be saved?” The answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” That’s it! Anything else that might be used might be cause for deception; esp. if we are not commanded to use any other methods to try to bring sinners to Christ. God has to to do the drawing and has to give the sinner what they need to come to Christ by faith. If the Spirit doesn’t do the work, than the flesh, for sure, can not so it! Amen.

    Bob Hadley

    Lasaro,

    This whole thread is a bit ridiculous. Any method in any aspect of life is suspect if it is used irresponsibly or incorrectly. I do appreciate your honesty here when you stated, “What I believe is the problem is the “invitational system” that is utilized by pastors and preachers to get people to come to the front to make a decision for Christ.” What is really so off base is the motive ascribed to individuals who use an invitation at the end of a service. I really do not believe anyone who stands before a group of people and pours out his heart and preaches the Word of God will ask people to respond so he can come away bragging about the altars being filled with people. I suppose there may be some who do and I know there are comments made quite often of the number of folks who came forward to give their hearts to Jesus… etc, etc, etc. In defense of that, I hear grandparents and friends and parents proudly talk about that new born baby born into their family quite often… I read that the angels in heaven rejoice when an individual gets saved; Somehow I do not believe God’s eyebrows lower because someone down here shares the story of seeing people come to Christ. Seems like there may even be some Biblical significance at the day of Pentecost when 3000 souls were added that day… someone must have counted!

    But… here is the question I have for all you who loathe this method. First of all, no one can argue that God does not use the method to effectually touch people’s hearts. No one asserts that this is the ONLY WAY FOR A PERSON TO COME TO CHRIST but it does seem to me to be a responsible tool for people to respond IF they feel the Spirit leading them to do so. And for the record, for ANYONE to step out publically and walk down an isle in front of God and the company of folks in a church service not to mention family and take a preacher’s hand is an open statement of confession that most certainly beats letting a person make that decision in his seat, get up and go home and never tell anyone anything about that decision.

    You wrote, “The jailor asked: “What must I do to be saved?” The answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” That’s it! Anything else that might be used might be cause for deception; esp. if we are not commanded to use any other methods to try to bring sinners to Christ. ” I am quite confident the jailer probably responded to Paul’s answer… with I believe! That is all the invitation is; it is an opportunity to publically proclaim a personal commitment to Christ or an opportunity for people to come as the jailer did, to ask… how can I be saved. Certainly someone can come to our office or to a counseling room and all of these things need to be used to follow up on and walk with any person who comes forward and to fail to do so is an indictment of that person’s ministry. There would be no difference in having a baby and at 3 months, give him a credit card, a suitcase and set him on the street corner and tell him there is the world son, enjoy!

    Your final comment is partly correct… “God has to to do the drawing and has to give the sinner what they need to come to Christ by faith. If the Spirit doesn’t do the work, than the flesh, for sure, can not so it!” God no doubt must draw the repentant person or else there is no perceived need to repent. Your statement “give the sinner what they need to come to Christ by faith” is a calvinistic twist that I believe is at the base of this who conversation and the whole reason for the debate in the first place; if an individual believes irresistible grace and regeneration are required for an individual to be saved, then there is no need for a sinner’s prayer.

    I close with this statement and question. If I were a calvinist, Personally I would not care if anyone used a sinner’s prayer and here is why. A lost person is dead… the sinner’s prayer is not going to make him even more dead. Here is my question… how can anyone here say that God does not use the sinner’s prayer to effectually call someone to Christ? You can’t! If God is the ONE who saves, and He is, then it makes no sense to shoot the messenger! God can touch the heart of someone sitting in an Osteen service; He can speak to someone in a Benny Hinn service; and I am confident He can save someone who walks the isle of a church service, no matter what the intent of the one issuing the invitation may or may not be!

    To God be the Glory!

    ><>”

      Randall Cofield

      Bob,

      You said:

      And for the record, for ANYONE to step out publically and walk down an isle in front of God and the company of folks in a church service not to mention family and take a preacher’s hand is an open statement of confession that most certainly beats letting a person make that decision in his seat, get up and go home and never tell anyone anything about that decision.

      You are presupposing that Calvinists have no other means of engaging those with whom the Spirit may be dealing. Have you ever asked a Calvinist how they might deal with those without using the “invitation system?”

      Soli Deo Gloria

        selahV-hariette

        yes…repeatedly.

          Randall Cofield

          Why, thank you for asking, SelahV. :-)

          1) Preach the gospel

          2) Urge the lost to close with Christ

          3) Pastors and Deacons will be available for private counsel in rooms 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 after the service is dismissed.

          It has been my personal experience that far more people respond to this than are willing to “walk the isle.”

    selahV-hariette

    Lasaro, I wondered how long it was going to be before someone complained about the invitations. guess the convention will have to vote on that resolution next year. This is ludicrous. If you don’t want to use the invitation, then don’t. But leave us alone if we want to use what we know is valid and most certainly used when Peter pleaded for the people to be saved right then and there that moment. Great day in the morning. selahV

Randall Cofield

16 million S.B. church members on our rolls.

10 million cannot be found anywhere near the house of worship on Sunday morning.

Is it unreasonable to think the “Sinner’s Prayer” might have something to do with the obviously unregenerate nature of 2/3 of S.B. church members?

Soli Deo Gloria

    selahV-hariette

    Randall,
    and I dare say, more and more are being bullied out the doors every day with the attitudes of people we are hearing here. I would believe that many I’ve discussed this situation with since I’ve been blogging in 2006, who have not been welcome in their churches anymore would love to be a part of a church if they didn’t have attitudes of superiority every time they opened their mouths. I’d go AWOL too. God have mercy upon us all. selahV

      Randall Cofield

      SelahV,

      Bullied out of the doors?

      Who in their right mind would bully people out of the doors of the church?

      I am expressing deep and genuine concern, as a pastor of 15 years, for the souls of people who show little to no evidence of having been born again.

      I not only should have these concerns, I am commanded by the Word of God to watch for their souls.

      Soli Deo Gloria

Randall Cofield

Let me try that again.

16 million S.B. church members on our rolls.

10 million cannot be found anywhere near the house of worship on Sunday morning.

Is it unreasonable to think the “Sinner’s Prayer” might have something to do with the obviously unregenerate nature of 2/3 of S.B. church members?

Soli Deo Gloria

    Bob Hadley

    You do know that the probability of your being in that 2/3 group is not in your favor right?

    What is interesting to me is that ALL THOSE who employ this statistic know they they are in the right side of that stat and those of their tribe are equally… their children as well. It is as if your clan thinks you are the only ones headed to the pearly gates… oh wait… what am I thinking… you are the only ones… because God has hand picked you and your four and no more.

    Amazing… simply amazing.

    ><>”

      Randall Cofield

      Bob,

      So…shall I take it you do find it unreasonable to think that the much-abused practice of repeating a sinner’s prayer might have anything to do with the fact that most S.B. church members can’t make it to Sunday morning worship?

        Bob Hadley

        Randall,

        Actually, I would say that the sinner’s prayer itself probably has very little to do with the situation… because it is the follow up to the decision itself that is the problem. With that follow-up comes all kinds of difficulties. Adequate SS teachers, solid Biblical preaching, personalities and dynamics of congregations, outside influences and pressures from the world, financial factors and then the realization that becoming a Christian is MORE than walking an isle… I seem to remember a crowd of folks following Jesus and He told them what following Him meant, and a lot of those folks decided to go back home.

        The reason there are so many in the company of the non-committed is because the devil does not stop working on them just because they get saved. I am convinced that is why Jesus mentioned making disciples of them in the Great Commission. Look at the children of Israel… they were as a whole more rebellious than they were obedient..

        So… I would say it would be more responsible to say there are a NUMBER of factors leading to the situation we are in and not simply the sinner’s prayer. If that were the case, we would all simply stop using it and go to something else. My problem there is, that probably would not satisfy some folk either.

        Go figure. I am not concerned with pleasing you or anyone else for that matter. I do the best I can to be obedient to what I believe the Holy Spirit would have me do and as long as He is pleased with what I do and His presence is in our services, I believe I have done the best I can do and I am confident He will do the best He can do!

        ><>”

          Randall Cofield

          Bob,

          You said:

          Actually, I would say that the sinner’s prayer itself probably has very little to do with the situation… because it is the follow up to the decision itself that is the problem.

          While I agree with you that our Concern for Discipleship and Growth (literally the title of my evening sermon today) is woefully inadequate, wouldn’t you agree with me that the numbers would have to be substantially better if these people were actually saved? After all, discipleship should be part and parcel of our Sunday messages. Yet most feel no compulsion whatsoever to attend.

          You also said:

          So… I would say it would be more responsible to say there are a NUMBER of factors leading to the situation we are in and not simply the sinner’s prayer.

          I will point this out again: I framed the question by asking if the sinners prayer might have something to do with the deplorable statistics.

          You further said:

          Actually, I would say that the sinner’s prayer itself probably has very little to do with the situation…

          Brother, my personal experience through 15 years of ministry indicates the exact opposite. The number of people who “walked the isle” or prayed the “sinner’s prayer” and are convinced they are saved, though they never darken the doors of our churches…is breath-taking.

          The abuses of the sinner’s prayer and the invitation system within the SBC is a serious problem, and it needs to be addressed.

          This resolution is not helpful.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Les

          Bob and others,

          I’m asking because I do not know. Do any of you pastors ever clean up the membership rolls? Like say, after one year of non attendance and no response from the absent member or after being unable to locate them, do you remove them from membership rolls?

          Thanks

          volfan007

          It’s not the sinners prayer thats being abused; its the lack of stressing repentance and faith in the Gospel presentation thats the abuse. Its the lack of good counsel, while dealing with the lost person thats the shame of it all. AND, possibly the reason that there are many lost, Church members on our rolls.

          But, you also have to take into account the parable of the sower and the different soils that Jesus taught us about. I mean, even Jesus said that there would be people, who make false professions!

          False professions of faith can and are made in every type of church….no matter how good the counsel, and no matter how excellent the Gospel presentation.

          David

      Joel Hunt

      This comment doesn’t really deserve the to have the ichthys at the end of it. :(

        Joel Hunt

        The one of Bob’s, at 0700, I mean.

Bill Mac

You know I think we all need a little perspective here.

NonCals talk about the deceptive Calvinists sneaking in and destroying churches. Calvinists respond that this is an overblown fear.

Calvinists talk about easy believism spawned from irresponsible use of the altar call and sinner’s prayer. NonCals respond that this is an overblown fear.

We all need to acknowledge that these things do indeed happen, that they are bad, and that we should stand together to combat them.

We need to acknowledge that not all Calvinists are bent on destroying churches and that not all non-Calvinists are bent on inflating baptism numbers through irresponsible use of the altar call and sinner’s prayer.

We need to acknowledge that the altar call and invitation can be useful, but optional tools in the work of evangelism. No one should be made to feel wrong or inferior for using them, or not using them.

We on both sides should be thankful that whether we support the resolution or not, that the good and bad side of the sinner’s prayer has been publicly discussed, so that hopefully it will be used responsibly by those who wish to use it. We should not bemoan the fact that it is still part of the repertoire of Southern Baptists, nor should we bemoan the fact that it is not some type of inviolate sacrament of the SBC.

So I have changed my mind about the resolution. I’m glad it was presented, regardless of the outcome. I have my concerns about the use of the SP, but the rewritten resolution that came out of the committee was thoughtfully written and I could have supported it. But most of all, I am glad it came up because we are now discussing it.

Randall Cofield

Bill Mac,

You said:

We need to acknowledge that not all Calvinists are bent on destroying churches and that not all non-Calvinists are bent on inflating baptism numbers through irresponsible use of the altar call and sinner’s prayer.

I couldn’t agree more. Which is why I framed my question by asking if it is reasonable to consider whether the invitation system might have something to do with the deplorable statistics mentioned.

Apparently Bro. Hadley is unwilling to even consider the question. Of course, he has made his intentions toward Calvinists quite clear on another of these threads:

“I do not beleive the theological implications of calvinism are accurate and I do not believe they belong in the circles of influence that the entities of the SBC hold.”–Bob Hadley

Soli Deo Gloria

    Randall Cofield

    Sorry. “invitation system” above should read “sinner’s prayer.”

Randall Cofield

To deny that wide-spread abuse of the invitation system and the sinners prayer exists in S.B. Churches is to deny what virtually everyone on these threads knows to be fact. Most, if not all, have personally witnessed it.

Les Prouty

Just an anecdote.

I was part of a Reformed church for 17 years. We never once gave an altar call type of invitation. During and/or at the end of the sermon, an invitation or urging or call was issued for sinners there to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel was explained and an invitation was given. They were told that if today or later on they believe that God was working in and on them, to contact one of the pastors or elders. Many times people did. Some that day. Some later.

We were an evangelistic church with probably about 15 different families called out to mission work during that span. 1000 members/attenders. Missions support and activity all over the world.

We hosted numerous EE clinics. In fact we were considered a top EE church. Many people came to faith in Christ thru the preaching and EE and other outreach methods.

Again, not ONCE did we have an altar call. And, we encouraged people not to use the little prayer thing at the end of the EE booklet and presentation. Some still did.

Did I mention we were a Reformed church? All 5 points?

    Bob Hadley

    Les,

    That is fine. No one has advocated that a person cannot be saved apart from an altar call. I was actually saved in my bedroom in my bed. However, just because an altar call is not necessary to be saved, that does not become a reason NOT to use them either. And for the record, one’s coming forward in an invitation is not the end but rather the beginning of a life long walk with the Lord which involves what you have mentioned here.

    Now to Randall’s comment earlier as well, the sinner’s prayer has nothing to do with church membership. Counselling and baptism are necessary before one becomes a member of most churches.

    When I came to Westside, we did clean up our membership rolls.

    ><>”

      Randall Cofield

      Bob,

      You said:

      Now to Randall’s comment earlier as well, the sinner’s prayer has nothing to do with church membership. Counselling and baptism are necessary before one becomes a member of most churches.

      Brother, let’s assume for a moment that the use of the sinner’s prayer has nothing to do with the obvious church membership problems in the SBC. Let’s further assume that you are right, and the problem lies entirely in poor counseling before baptism.

      Why didn’t Dr. Hankins submit a Resolution For Quality Counseling Before Baptism and Church Membership?

      Soli Deo Gloria

      T.R.

      One problem I have with the altar call is that it originates with Charles Finney, who, if you read his systematic theology on the topic of justification, you find that Finney clearly denies the Gospel. I personally believe that Finney encouraged many people to put false hope in themselves during his altar calls. It is difficult for me to follow the altar call practice since it is first found in a heretic\’s ministry, Charles Finney.

Les Prouty

BTW, I’m not one to think its the end of the world for someone to use a sinners prayer or an altar call invitation. But I do thik it both unnecessary and not supported in scripture in the typical wat we see it, even when not being abused. It is too open for misuse.

Besides, even with the best intentions and motives, i. e. wanting people to be saved, is it not really for us? We want to see the results of our preaching or one on one gospel conversation. I’m not saying you who use this are all about yourselves.

But it’s perfectly natural to want to see some fruit of our labors. That’s understandable. But there can be a tendency to overdo it.

Matt Svoboda

The problem with this discussion is that everyone is saying, “We are against bad practices of the Sinners Prayer.” and yet many people who say this are the ones practicing it poorly.

I grew up in your typical SBC church and have been to several and I saw the Sinners prayer done poorly more than I saw it done well… Yet, most of those pastors would obviously say, ” We should not use it in a bad, manipulative way.” All the while they are playing on the emotions of people.

Calling people to repentance and faith ought to be enough, but many who use the “Sinners Prayer” go beyond the gospel call to repent of sins and believe in the gospel. Often times they even leave off repentance as they invite people to simply “ask Jesus into their heart.”

Lydia

“The problem with this discussion is that everyone is saying, “We are against bad practices of the Sinners Prayer.” and yet many people who say this are the ones practicing it poorly.”

You have been such an advocate of this so, name names.

:o)

    Les Prouty

    Alright, Lydia. On the count of three, you all publish the names of the angry, arrogant new Calvinists and we’ll publish the names of the ones misleading and manipulating using sinners prayers.

    1,2…:)

      Lydia

      Les,

      Matt posted a blog piece calling for names of angry New Calvinist.

      http://sbcvoices.com/who-are-the-new-calvinists-start-naming-names/

      I thought the whole idea was very childish not to mention the potential legal problems of such things on the internet. But now Matt comes here and makes a broad accusation that those who are saying they do not misuse a sinners prayer, actually do.

      Will he name names for his accusation like he demanded other do? Or is this a case of him making demands of others he will not do himself?

        Les Prouty

        Lydia,

        Since a common tactic I see from the non Calvinists is, “Well, ok. But you don’t, or didn’t, or yeah, so…your side does it too,” I am not surprised you called for it.

        I suppose I could say, as we all used to as children, “yeah, but I asked you first.”

        But no. I’m content for all to name names at the same time. Or, you can simply assume we can’t and we assume you can’t. Either way.

Lydia

Les, I am simply asking Matt to do what he demanded others do on another blog. Is your response sort of like affirming the teaching: do as I say and not as I do?

By the way, I thought his blog post demanding names was a perfect example of the arrogant NC. I am realize I am the minority in that conclusion. That sort of thing seems to be the norm nowadays. So there is your first name from me.

Lydia

Les, I am no fan of Billy Graham. He has said in several venues that people can be saved without knowing Jesus. I find him inconsistent.

    Les Prouty

    Mark the date. We have agreed on something!

    Les Prouty

    While we are agreeing, I’m no fan of Driscoll, Keller, Mahaney. I don’t read nor do I listen to them.

    Randall Cofield

    Lydia,

    If you are going to insist that Calvinists own every mistake every Calvinist has made over the past 500 years….to be consistent you should own Billy Graham.

    Right?

    Peace

      Lydia

      I should own Billy Graham? There is such a thing as Grahamism? Does he have a point system, too?

      This is fast becoming surreal.

        Randall Cofield

        Lydia,

        Surreal? Yeah, that can happen when one is inconsistent.

        :)

        Peace

volfan007

It’s not the sinners prayer thats being abused; its the lack of stressing repentance and faith in the Gospel presentation thats the abuse. Its the lack of good counsel, while dealing with the lost person thats the shame of it all. AND, possibly the reason that there are many lost, Church members on our rolls.

But, you also have to take into account the parable of the sower and the different soils that Jesus taught us about. I mean, even Jesus said that there would be people, who make false professions! There’s gonna be people, who make a profession of faith, who’ve not truly been saved; even if you dont use a sinners prayer….no matter how much you try to disciple them afterwards. It’s just gonna happen….Jesus said it would.

False professions of faith can and are made in every type of church….no matter how good the counsel, and no matter how excellent the Gospel presentation.

David

PS. Are some of you, Calvinists, trying to say that there’s no Calvinist churches where people make a false profession of faith? Seriously?

    Randall Cofield

    David,

    Do you honestly think that is what we are trying to say? Seriously?

    Good grief.

    Peace

      volfan007

      Randall,

      Its what it sounded like to me.

      David

        Randall Cofield

        David,

        Could you point me to what it was that lead you to that conclusion?

          volfan007

          Randall,

          Maybe the 8,001 comments about the sinners prayer leading to false professions, and being the reason why there are so many people on the rolls of SB Churches, who do not attend Church?

          Ya think?

          David

          Randall Cofield

          David,

          So…your above observation lead you to the conclusion that Calvinists believe they have no unconverted members in their churches?

          You do realize there is no logic in that whatsoever, don’t you?

          Peace

Tim Rogers

Let me get this straight. We have people who believe that using the “sinners prayer” is a manipulative way to get people saved and the manipulative reason for this is to merely “count numbers”. These accusations are being presented by those who would agree that one who was chosen before the foundation of the world for salvation will be saved regardless of what happens. Those who are elect will be saved, but you would agree that salvation is given by God but the person must respond to God through repentance. However, that response is not the person’s free will, it is the regenerated heart of the person that God has placed the desire and that person is responding, not by their own free will, but because of their greatest desire that God has placed there.

Thus, if a person prays a sinners prayer and they are not part of the elect, what difference does that make? They “think” they are saved when in reality they are not and they never had a chance to be saved because they are not part of the elect, chosen by God. However, let’s say that one of the elect prays the “sinners prayer” falsely and they are not really saved. Are you saying that God’s electing power is not powerful enough to overcome the false profession and the person will never be saved?

    Randall Cofield

    Tim Rogers,

    You asked:

    Are you saying that God’s electing power is not powerful enough to overcome the false profession and the person will never be saved?

    Not at all, brother.

    Would you be comfortable standing before God having lead someone in a sinner’s prayer and declaring them saved when in reality they were not?

    Soli Deo Gloria

      Bob Hadley

      Would you be comfortable standing before God having lead someone in a sinner’s prayer and declaring them saved when in reality they were not?

      Absolutely I would… my intention is simply to plant the seed; It is God who gives the growth; that is NOT my responsibility as I believe you would answer your own question.

      Now.. let me say this; what I would not want to do is have to answer God if I were a calvinist, God speaking here… “How on earth could you read MY WORD and conclude and teach others that I am responsible for sending people to hell?”

      ><>”

        Randall Cofield

        Bob,

        I said: Would you be comfortable standing before God having lead someone in a sinner’s prayer and declaring them saved when in reality they were not?

        To which you responded:

        Absolutely I would… my intention is simply to plant the seed; It is God who gives the growth; that is NOT my responsibility

        That is truly astounding. If that is the belief of the majority of Southern Baptists you are right. I don’t belong here.

      Cb scott

      Randall Cofield,

      Will you feel comfortable standing before God having led no one in anything?

        Randall Cofield

        No, I would not.

Randall Cofield

Bob Hadley,

You said:

“I do not beleive the theological implications of calvinism are accurate and I do not believe they belong in the circles of influence that the entities of the SBC hold.”

In light of that, Brother, what do you propose be done with the Calvinists that are in the SBC?

Soli Deo Gloria

    Bob Hadley

    Randall,

    My proposal is that the people in the pew be made aware of the issues and make a decision as to what THEY believe is best for the future of the SBC. Right now, that decision is being made by a very select group of individuals and while they have every right to do what they are doing, I have every right to say I disagree and hopefully people will read our various positions and decide for themselves what they believe the future of the SBC ought to look like.

    Leadership is like activity; it is not always good.

    ><>”

      Randall Cofield

      Bob,

      May I rephrase the question?

      In light of your above statement, what do you, personally, want to do with the Calvinists in the SBC?

      A. Allow them to remain in the SBC
      B. Have them removed from the SBC

      That is the question we would like to have a clear answer to.

      Peace

      Randall Cofield

      Bob,

      One other note. You said:

      My proposal is that the people in the pew be made aware of the issues and make a decision as to what THEY believe is best for the future of the SBC.

      My problem with this is that Dr. Hankins, Dr. Gaines, and Dr. Caner (just to name only the latest) have managed to caricature Calvinists and attribute multiple beliefs to us that, frankly, most of us find utterly ridiculous.

      Are you concerned at all with the fact that the manner in which the “people in the pew” are being “made aware of the issues” is disingenuous and unbiblical?

      Or do you approve of the current witch-hunt methodology?

      Peace

        Bob Hadley

        Personally I find no real problems with the positions these men as a whole have made concerning calvinism. When compared to the intentional misleading statements made by calvinists themselves as to what they may or may not believe to churches to get hired, (because those calvinists do not see themselves how the non-calvinists see them)… so I am thinking there is plenty of misgivings to go around.

        No witch hunt that I see; just the facts sir; just the facts.

        ><>”

Cb scott

Randall Cofield,

It does seem that the only specific group of people you have, thus far, accused of making false disciples are those Southern Baptists who advocate the repentance of sin and confession of faith in Christ by praying.

So why is not Vol’s question a valid question?

    volfan007

    Exactly, CB….

    David

    Randall Cofield

    Do you honestly think that is what we are trying to say?

      selahV-hariette

      Randall, “we”? no.
      You?…sadly, yeah…I think you are. But I don’t think you mean to say that. It is the way your conversation and arguments are coming across, little brother. selahV

        Randall Cofield

        CB Scott, Vol, SelahV,

        Do any of you guys find it odd that it is only the “Traditionalists” on these threads who misunderstand my posts?

        I thought only Calvinists were “tribal”??!!

        BTW SelahV: I ain’t young, and I ain’t restless…little sister. :-)

        Peace

          Cb scott

          Randall Cofield,

          I do not think it odd that three people ask the same question if all three are reading the same comments on a thread.

          What may be odd is that you would rather ask that question than answer the one posed to you, especially since it would appear to be a valid question since three people from three varying perspectives on this issue as you basically the same question.

          So, I ask again; Why is not Vol’s question a valid question?

          Randall Cofield

          CB Scott,

          Vol’s question:

          Are some of you, Calvinists, trying to say that there’s no Calvinist churches where people make a false profession of faith? Seriously?

          Your question:

          So, I ask again; Why is not Vol’s question a valid question?

          Because I’ve never known of a Calvinist to make such an…shall we say absurd…claim.

          Randall Cofield

          Que “divinely inspired” sarcasm….3…2…1…

        Randall Cofield

        Vol, CB, SelahV,

        I’ll make it easy for you guys.

        In answer to Vol’s much ballyhooed question…….

        no

        That was rather anti-climatic, wasn’t it?

        I’ll be away from my computer for a while….waxing my Calvinistic horns…

        :-)

        Peace

          volfan007

          I’m beginning to think that Randall just likes to argue and fuss….

          David

dan

So people who are mute are all going to hell, if they can’t audibly pray and confess christ?

    volfan007

    Dan,

    Surely you dont think that anyone in this comment thread thinks such an idiotic thing….do you?

    Of course, a prayer asking God to save a person does not have to be spoken out loud….good grief. But, even a mute has to “call” on the Lord for salvation.

    David

John S.

He quotes Ephesians 1:13 but leaves out 3-12. Of course all men are dead in their trespasses and enemies in their minds before hearing the gospel. Otherwise salvation isn’t salvation.

However, “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

It all goes together–God’s elect in Christ will hear the gospel and respond as He has preordained that we should do.

It’s according to the pleasure of His will.

To the praise of the glory of His grace.

He made us accepted (not the other way around).

He has abounded toward us (not the other way around) in wisdom and prudence.

He made the mystery of His will known to us (who? The whole world?) according to what? According to His good pleasure.

Why? That he might gather together in one all things in Christ (is this Universalism?)

How have we gained our inheritance? Is it not from being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will?

C’mon: this isn’t Calvinism or Augustinianism or whatever other “ism.” It’s just Scripture. Why is there so much fighting among Baptists over this?

It’s mind-boggling.

    John S.

    Maybe what we need to do is define what we mean by “the promise.”

    Do we believe “If you believe Me, I’ll save you?”

    Or do we believe “I will save My people?”

    I’m just throwing out some food for thought.

    “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

      volfan007

      Wow….I’ve never studied those passages of Scripture before, and I’ve never preached on them…..so, all due to John S. quoting these passages and explaining them so clearly, I just became a Calvinist! By an act of my free will, I just chose to be a Calvinist!!

      lol

      David

        John S.

        lol…I’m not a Calvinist, so I’m not trying to convert anyone to it.

        What I’d like to see is all the labels and straw men taken away from the conversation and just look at the Scriptures verse-by-verse. If we find out God doesn’t fit our idea of what we think He should be, then we should either change our views to fit what He says or just don’t accept what He says.

        Think about this–didn’t He order the deaths of Canaanite babies? How can we accept that and then reject the other hard stuff?

          John S.

          I should probably tie that all together a little better: my point is that most folks don’t have a big problem with Eph. 1:13, but maybe they rule out a “Calvinistic” interpretation of the verses before it because they already know a loving God wouldn’t do that.

          If God was harsh enough to order infanticide in the OT, then maybe He’s still harsh towards people who aren’t His.

          I know, I’m a little nutso, but if I’m honest with myself I just have a hard time seeing it another way.

          So, is the promise to Abraham and his descendants made to just natural Israel, the whole world, or just spiritual Israel or what?

          I’m leaning heavily towards the notion that the promise is made to Abraham and his spiritual descendants who are only elect because they are “in Christ” and He is the Elect.

          What think ye? Am I beyond salvaging?

    Bob Hadley

    John S.

    Not so fast there… you wrote… It all goes together–God’s elect in Christ will hear the gospel and respond as He has preordained that we should do.

    If you read the opening statement, ” “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”… chosen “us”; who is us? Those who have believed! Then your interpretation falters terribly…

    Lets continue… “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: ” being predestined can refer to we or it can refer to the inheritance that is according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will… I believe the provisions of salvation God has made available fit this statement as well as does your position.

    Notice what Paul writes after this statement… “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

    The truth seems to me to be clear… we who believe share in the inheritance that God has planned all along for Christians to share in… that includes the promises to the children of Abraham who also trusted God and believed in His promises… which speaks to the mystery that was given to them that gentiles were now recipients of God’s grace and His invitation to be made part of His forever family.

    Just my thoughts on the passage you highlighted… it does not demand a regeneration before repentance and faith interpretation. Not at all.

    ><>”

      John S.

      I apologize, but I want to make sure I understand you: Are you saying that the inheritance could be what is predestined?

      “being predestined can refer to we or it can refer to the inheritance”

      I think that we have to tie the inheritance back to verse 5–our adoption, don’t we? What I mean is that Christ kept the Law and won all the blessings of the promise, and since we’re predestined unto the adoption of children then we have a legal right to the blessings of the promise as well.

      Does that make sense?

      It all gets confusing pretty fast for me, but I think that’s why we see the emphasis of “in Him” in that whole first part.

        Bob Hadley

        John,

        I see that which God predestined as the provisions that He has made available in Christ Jesus through our adoption as sons WHEN we believe; you are seeing those whom God has predestined.

        Some will accept my statement but then say the provisions that God has predestined are applicable to individuals! So the circle grows even thicker!

        I do not see predestination as a choice by God with respect to individual choices or decisions. I believe God gave man the “gift of salvation;” it is fully paid for by the blood of the lamb at Calvary but in order for it to complete, we as individuals have to accept that gift. God has taken all the initiatives; He convicts us of our sin; He draws unto Himself. We have to look up to Him; that is the only thing He does not do for us in this process.

        ><>”

Bill Mac

I don’t know how many people have seen this, but David Platt, who may be said to have, in part, precipitated the sinner’s prayer discussion, has responded:

http://www.radical.net/blog/2012/06/the-sinners-prayer-and-the-sbc-part-i/

    Darryl Hill

    Platt’s response is very good and seasoned with grace. I think he and I agree that our strong distaste for this method is unrelated to the doctrines of grace, despite the repeated charge that it must. And actually, on a relatednote, that is my frustration with this new statement andthe discussion that has followed… it is the misrepresentation and mischaracterization of what I believe that is most frustrating. And the continuing in the same mischaracterizations has made me want to give up even trying to be understood. It seems a borderline hatred for “Calvinists” has developed for some repeat commenters here. I think this conversation is essentially over because people are now arguing to save face it seems. I’m about done.

Matt G.

I must say I have been very disappointed with the way Dr. Gaines has responded to this issue, specifically the way he is embellishing David Platt’s position. Dr. Gaines even mocks/raises concerns about those “taking the Gospel to the nations”. I know of no church that is truly concerned about missions on an international level thatdoes not serve locally as well. I know he is definitely not referring to Brook Hills where they have many affluent members living in the poorer communities for the sake of building relationships and sharing the Gospel.

Ariel

The thing about sinner’s prayers, if a person voices repentance, it seems that it is the church’s job to follow up, to get into a community relationship with that person, discipleship. A person doesn’t pray a prayer and become a fully mature follower of Christ. They will need help learning the Bible, and discipleship in learning how to be doers of the Word.

It is wonderful if a person cries out or mercy. But it will take months and even years of intimate Christian relationship to help that person to see if they are truly good soil. My husband recently got into a friendship with a man who is expressing interest in God, and went to our Bible Study once. (He was never invited to ‘pray a prayer’ because if God is drawing him, he will bare fruit, plus it just seems awkward. Better to learn the Word and trust God to do his internal work. No doubt as the friendship deepens we will pray together. I look forward to it.) Then he got arrested for drunken assault. Okay, so that opened a great opportunity to visit and bring gifts and sermons to him in jail. That was about a week ago, now he is seeking God more than ever, and asking to come over during the week to study the Bible with us, and his girlfriend and children too. Is he good soil? I don’t know. But we pray for him and his family daily and pray for the Holy Spirit to bless us the impossible job of discipleship, something only God can do, but chooses to use his children.

It would be terrible to instruct pray a prayer and not follow up continually, as a pastor, elder, or a regular Christ follower. A broken sinner who is in an ungodly relationship or with a drug addiction should not be a ‘notch on our belt’ but a person we cry out on behalf of with brokenness in our hearts for them. I don’t think anyone does this intentionally, but if we fail in discipleship, how do we know that we are even saved? We will be held accountable. Jesus poured his ministry into 12 people. We should follow his example, and ‘wash the feet’ of our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Darryl Hill

Attending a lifeway fugecamp this week… one of our students was saved tonight. His testimony is that he repeated a sinner’s prayer in VBS as a child and has spent years excusing his ongoing lifestyle of sin. Tonight God brought him to the end of his excuses tonight. I began Monday night sharing with them what scripture teaches which is not “did you ever pray a prayer and did you mean it?” It says “examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith.” So we began this week with the tests of genuine conversion from 1 John. I didn’t play a game of “let’s determine the authenticity of a prayer you once prayed.” Maybe we can agree on this even if you guys all think I serve a false “Calvinistic” God otherwise… if justification has happened sanctification will ALWAYS follow.

By the way if you attempt to disciple a lost man you’ll get a man who learns how to cover up his sin with religion… or as Jesus said of the Pharisees they make men twice sons of hell.

The answer doesn’t “begin” with follow up or training. It begins with genuine conversion, which is truly what I have in view here. I would submit that if a man is genuinely converted you won’t have to hunt him down the next time the church meets nor twist their arms to make them students of Scripture or to submit to discipleship.

T.R.

Great article about the use of the “Sinners Prayer”:

http://www.ccwtoday.org/article_view.asp?article_id=209

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