The Sinner’s Prayer: Superstitious or Scriptural?

May 3, 2012

By Ron F. Hale.
He has served as Pastor, Church Planter, Strategist (NAMB), Director of Missions, Associate Executive Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for a State Convention, and now in the 4th quarter of ministry as Minister of Missions.


“You will not find a place where a superstitious sinner’s prayer is even mentioned. And you will not find an emphasis on accepting Jesus.”[1]

Chuck Colson died recently. Nixon’s former hatchet man is now with Jesus! Out of crisis, Colson came to Christ many years ago.

A friend influenced Mr. Colson’s salvation experience by giving him a copy of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. The Holy Spirit began convicting and convincing Colson of his sin and need.

Colson finally said, “No, I knew the time had come for me: I could not sidestep the central question Lewis (or God) had placed squarely before me. Was I to accept without reservations Jesus Christ as Lord of my life? “[2] He went on to say, “And as something pressed that question home, less and less was I troubled by the curious phrase “accept Jesus Christ.” It had sounded at first both pious and mystical, language of the zealot, maybe black-magic stuff. But “to accept” means no more than “to believe.” Did I believe what Jesus said? If I did, if I took it on faith or reason or both, then I accepted.”[3]

So early one Friday morning, in a secluded cottage along the coast of Maine, Charles W. Colson prayed a kind of “sinner’s prayer” to God, as he cried out, “Lord Jesus, I believe You. I accept You. Please come into my life. I commit it to You.”[4]

The “Sinner’s Prayer” has been getting a lot of negative press over the last few years. People showing disapproval of the “Sinner’s Prayer” will also say something like, “The Bible never talks about asking Jesus into your heart.”

This article will deal with two questions: Can Jesus Christ come to live in our hearts as Believers? And, can a sinner call on Jesus to be saved? Hopefully, some confusion will be cleared up as we look at the Scriptures. I will not be addressing Dr. Platt’s assertion that the sinner’s prayer is superstitious. Hopefully, he can explain more about that in the days to come.

Can Jesus live in our hearts?

“. . .  and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith, I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love” (Ephesians 3:17; HCSB).

Q: Who will inhabit or dwell in our hearts at salvation?
A: The Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Q: How will He dwell there? How is the door opened?
A: “through faith” the Bible says.

Q: Are there other verses to support the teaching of Jesus living in our hearts?
A: Yes, John 14: 23 is speaking of Jesus as He says, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to Him and make our home with Him” (HCSB).

Q: What other words besides “home” can be used in John 14:23?
A: “Abode” is used in the KJV; this implies that the Father and the Son will manifest themselves by their permanent presence in the believer. They will reside in the heart as their dwelling place.

Q: Is there another verse of Scripture that drives this point home?
A: “Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17; HCSB).

Q: Can we say “where” the Spirit is there is the living Son of God?
A: Yes, where the Spirit dwells, the Lord Jesus also dwells!

Q: I Corinthians 6: 19 . . . asks a very important question: “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body” (HCSB). Paul is teaching the Christians in Corinth that their bodies were sacred vessels — why?
A: Because every true believer has the Spirit of God indwelling their lives and we are to be reminded that we have been bought at a great price! Jesus, our living Lord, paid the price for our salvation. He lives within us. We need to live in a way that honors and glorifies Him!

Q: Is there another verse that refers to this internal relationship with the Lord?
A: “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (I John 4:4; HCSB).

Can a sinner call on (pray to) Jesus to be saved?

Under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we saw how Chuck Colson accepted Jesus by calling on Him for forgiveness and salvation. Maybe not as dramatic, but Colson’s testimony is that of many Southern Baptists. We realized we were sinners. We understood the claims of Christ in the gospel. We prayed . . . calling on Jesus to save us!

Q: When does Jesus come into our hearts and lives?
A: As we call out to Jesus in repentance and faith, after hearing the gospel — “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13; HCSB). This verse is referencing the Prophet Joel in the Old Testament (Joel 3:32).

Q: Does the Old Testament speak of God indwelling His people?
A: Yes, the writer of the book of Hebrews (10:16) in the New Testament is quoting the Prophet Jeremiah as he says, “… I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33; HCSB).

Q: Is this saying that in God’s New Covenant, He will have an ongoing “internal” relationship with His people?
A: Yes, the Ten Commandments were “external” tablets of stone, for those who are “in Christ,” the relationship is personal, intimate, and eternal.

Q: Can anyone (any sinner) call on Jesus to be saved?
A: Jesus said of Himself, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10; HCSB). The Bible teaches that “whosoever will” may come to Jesus!

Q: Did the thief on the cross pray a kind of “sinner’s prayer?”
A: Yes he did and Jesus told him that He would see him in paradise (heaven) that very day!

Q: Does Jesus give us an example of someone praying a kind of “sinner’s prayer”?
A: Yes, in Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells a story of the Pharisee (a very religious man) and a Tax Collector (a lost sinner). Both men went up to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee displayed an air of pride and self-righteousness before God. But, the tax collector prayed a sinner’s prayer to God. He said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Jesus said this concerning the humble sinner, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18: 14; NKJV).

C. H. Spurgeon preached a message on this passage and entitled it: “A Sermon for the Worst Man on Earth.” It was preached on February 20, 1887, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. At the close of the message, as the great preacher pleaded with his hearers, he said,

Perhaps, my Hearer, you have never been to the Tabernacle before. Possibly, my Friend, you are one those gentlemen who spend Sunday mornings in their shirtsleeves at home reading the weekly paper. You have come here this morning quite by accident. Blessed be God! I hope you will go home “justified!” The Lord grants it! Perhaps you always come here and have occupied a seat ever since the Tabernacle was built – and yet you have never found mercy. Oh, that you might find mercy this morning! Let us seek this blessing. Come with me to Jesus. I will lead the way! I pray you say with me this morning –”God be merciful to me the sinner.” Rest on the great Propitiation – trust in Jesus Christ’s atoning blood! Cast yourself upon the Savior’s love and you shall go down to your house justified!

Spurgeon was careful to point sinners to Jesus, not just a “prayer” to repeat. However, he did see a need in helping people call on the Lord according to Romans 10:13. Another great preacher from a later generation said, “There is no salvation apart from Christ. And only the gospel tells us the plain and simple truth about how to be saved. The gospel is not so high and mysterious that few will get up to it. It is so simple that few will get down to it.”[5]


[1] David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream, (Multnomah Books: Colorado Springs, 2010), 36.

[2] Charles W. Colson, Born Again (Old Tappan, NJ: Chosen Books, 1976), 129.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 130.

[5] Adrian Rogers, The Passion of the Christ and the Purpose of Life (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005), 57.

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Michael

Thanks for the article, but I think it misses the point. I believe what you have stated above is fine, but I also believe the type of “sinner’s prayer” that is of concern is not addressed here. Yes, we have to pray (talk to God) when we repent; nobody I know believes otherwise. However, the concern is when a preacher stands before people and says something like, “you want to go to heaven then repeat this prayer.” I believe that approach is very misleading and can leave people with the false understanding that if they repeat some prepackaged prayer then they are good when there may have never been any repentence. I believe we just need to be real careful not to try and convince people of something that “maybe” God has not done in their life. Just my thoughts, Thanks.

    Ron Hale

    Michael,
    Thanks for your comment and concern.

    I can say that in thirty-five years of ministry with my SBC pastor brothers … I have never heard one of them use the sinner’s prayer as a magical formula by saying, “If you want to go to heaven, just repeat this prayer.” Those that I know … point people to Jesus and use the prayer as a spiritual tool in helping sinners call on Jesus. Blessings.

      Randy Catoe

      Ron,

      Would you show me an example in the bible of someone using “the prayer” as a spiritual tool in helping sinners call on Jesus?

      Thanks,
      Randy Catoe

        Ron Hale

        Randy,
        The Great Commission of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 28 gives us the authority and marching orders to go and “make” disciples. He give us the Gospel to go and tell. To preach, teach, share, and call sinners to repentance and faith. In Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 — he shares how in the last days God will pour out His Spirit on all humanity. He closes by saying, “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (v21).

        Aren’t you grateful that we get to be part of the harvest in these last days by helping people with the gospel and helping those who need help … call upon Jesus?

        I think you are in the radio biz … if I asked you the question: Where in the Bible does it say anything about Christian Radio? We know the answer to that; it doesn’t. Nor, does the Bible speak of seminaries, Bible college, mission boards, pulpits, choir lofts, pews, or Christian blogs …etc. and etc.

        Hopefully you see what you are doing (radio)as a way to help sinners “call” on the Lord (tool, means, help, whatever).

        Blessings!

      Michael

      I am glad you have not seen that, but I can tell you that I have. I have also heard a pastor say, “If you said that prayer then you’re saved.” He has no right to say that because he doesn’t know. Again, I think praying is a must, but we need to be careful. I have witnessed to many people who show no evidence of regeneration tell me that they are saved, I ask, how do know? They say because I said a prayer some preacher told me to pray. I think there is a danger of people believing that saying a prayer equals salvation and it does not. Thanks again brother.

    Joshua

    Paul Washer speaks of the dangers of the sinner’s prayer being abused in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9hd3pV2VxU

    David Platt, as quoted by Ron in the article, is not saying we should not seek God’s mercy and salvation through prayer. He is referencing the despicable evangelism practice of encouraging everyone to say a prayer of salvation at the end of an evangelism event as if that is how conversion is wrought. “Say this prayer and be saved today” is not repent and believe as John the Baptist came proclaiming.

Steve Evans

Bro. Ron, So good of you to address this subject. I suppose I am just ignorant enough to believe what Romans 10: 9 -10 says. I don’t know of any other way to accept Christ! I am praying for you and yours.

    Ron Hale

    Thanks Steve … keep telling others; you are a great witness for Him.

Bill Mac

I think the sinner’s prayer is fine, depending on the prayer, and the context. Leading someone into salvation is a great thing. I’m not a fan of “ask Jesus into your heart”, not because He doesn’t live there, but because that isn’t really how the Gospel is presented. If a person knows what asking Jesus into their heart means, then there isn’t a problem. But I fear that often they do not, especially children. The same goes for “ask Jesus to be your personal savior”. Obviously He is, after we are saved. But the bible does not present the Gospel in those terms, so I think the language can be confusing. People can be and obviously are saved when praying the sinner’s prayer using those terms, but I don’t think they are the best. So it isn’t the prayer as such as the language and context. I’m not dogmatic about this but advise discretion.

David R. Brumbelow

Ron,
Very good article.

I don’t understand why some say the Sinner’s Prayer is not in the Bible.
I don’t understand why some say you’re not saved by a prayer.

And obviously, according to Scripture, Jesus lives in our hearts.

Yes, we are always to explain the Gospel and that you must believe it in your heart. Yes, Jesus death and resurrection is what saves us, but we get His salvation by calling on Him.
Good balance to some of the other views out there.
David R. Brumbelow

    Ron Hale

    David,
    Thanks for the good word.

    BTW … I enjoyed your series at Gulf Coast Pastorhttp://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/

darryl brunson

Ron,
Thanks for the article. Would 2 Corinthians 13:5 also be applicable to this discussion?

    Ron

    Darryl,
    That is a great verse!

Chris

Ron,

This is just my perspective, but I believe you are reading a denial into Platt’s writing that is not there. Platt is addressing the habits of poor evangelism that give a poor understanding of following Christ. A few points:

1) I HAVE heard evangelists give a very poor presentation of the gospel, then point a crowd to pray a set prayer. “If you’re not a Christian, repeat this prayer after me: Dar Father, I know that I’m a sinner…” Then, after leading a congregation through a short “sinner’s prayer, telling the congregation, if you just prayed that prayer, congratulations, you are now a Christian!” I think Platt’s bone of contention is that such pratices can be misunderstood as pointing people to trust in a prayer, rather than Jesus. I have also heard numerous people encourage others in evangelism by saying, “You have to really mean this prayer if you want to be saved.” Again, the emphasis is on the efficacy of the prayer, not on placing our faith in Christ Jesus or explaining that the sinner’s prayer is an expression of faith. I have not heard alot of pastors making this error, but poorly trained lay people.

2) Superstition: I once had a member call me at 11:00 in the evening (I had only been at the church for a couple of months). She had been witnessing to her friend all evening, telling her that she needed to become a Christian. Her friend said she wanted to be saved, so my member called me. I am not making this up. She called me because she wasn’t sure if she could “remember all of the words of the sinner’s prayer.” THAT is a superstitious understanding of the sinner’s prayer. She thought God would not save her friend if she left out a portion of the magic formula. She was trusting in the efficacy of specific words to save someone rather than the atonement of Christ.

3) I believe that Platt is using a bit of hyperbole and responding to a caricature that exists in many SBC/Evangelical churches. He didn’t deny that sinner’s must “call” upon Jesus to be saved. He denied that the sinner’s prayer is used as a formulaic method for evangelism in Scripture. He denied that we are saved by specific words, instead, affirming that we are saved by faith in the work of Christ. Many who share Platt’s perspective believe that the idea that “accepting” Jesus has been misused and morphed into something that is entirely unbiblical. Most use the phrase to mean surrender to Christ’s Lordship, others don’t. The bone of contention, I believe, is with the clarity of the term.

4) There is nothing wrong with “Asking Jesus into your heart,” if that phrase is properly understood. The problem is, we don’t always explain it well. Usually that phrase is used with little children who struggle with the abstract thinking that is required to grasp the meaning of that phrase. Hence the little boy in my last church, who upon an interview with me to discuss baptism, came to our meeting literally thinking a 10 inch tall Jesus was living in his heart. Why? His mom explained the cross clearly, explained sin clearly, then told him that to be saved, he just needed to ask Jesus into his heart. He did just that, but he didn’t understand what those words meant. He understood everything but the proper response to the gospel. Once I explained faith and repentance and how one recieved the work of Jesus on the cross by faith, I led him in a prayer where he confessed Christ as King and asked Jesus to save him. My little 7 year old friend gave his life to Christ that day.

    Joshua

    Chris,

    Well said! Glad to see Platt’s words dealt with in fairness.

    Ron Hale

    Chris,

    Thanks for your comment – but I think you had more words than my article.
    I can’t respond to everything, but I’ll make a comment to your Superstition comment.

    You said: “I once had a member call me at 11:00 in the evening (I had only been at the church for a couple of months). She had been witnessing to her friend all evening, telling her that she needed to become a Christian.”
    Me: First of all, praise the Lord that you had a member with that kind of passion and love for the lost! They are very rare, my friend.

    You said: “Her friend said she wanted to be saved, so my member called me. I am not making this up. She called me because she wasn’t sure if she could “remember all of the words of the sinner’s prayer.”
    Me: Chris … that was such a wonderful time to train and teach this precious person to be a better witness. Hopefully, you gave her the “just in time” kind of training that she needed.

    You said: THAT is a superstitious understanding of the sinner’s prayer. She thought God would not save her friend if she left out a portion of the magic formula. She was trusting in the efficacy of specific words to save someone rather than the atonement of Christ.
    Me: As pastors … that is our job to train witnesses. I’ve learned through the years, it’s easier to cool down a fanatic, than warm up a corpse. I wish we have 100 of those people in my church. With a little instruction, they can make a lot of disciples.

      Chris

      Ron, I certainly did thank her for being a witness for Christ. I also provided some on the spot training and was privileged to baptize her friend a few weeks later!

      I was just trying to point out that there are folks that have a misunderstanding of the sinner’s prayer. I think that’s what Platt is replying to in his book.

      Thanks for the article,
      Blessings,
      Chris

Bill Mac

I said it above, but I’ll say again here. “Ask Jesus into your heart” is fine if the hearer knows what that means, in other words, if they understand that it is a shorthand way of saying they accept the Gospel message. But like some have said here, I have heard plenty of people use it as the Gospel message, which it most certainly is not.

Let me put it another way. If you were witnessing to someone and they said they believed the Gospel message, believed in the resurrection, and told you that Jesus is Lord, then Romans 10:9 and 10 (among others) is satisfied and they are saved already. A subsequent prayer is unnecessary. That’s where superstition might come in to play, if anyone thinks that to “seal the deal” they need to lead them in the sinner’s prayer. Thankfully most probably don’t, but I’m willing to bet that some do.

    Bob Hadley

    You wrote, “If you were witnessing to someone and they said they believed the Gospel message, believed in the resurrection, and told you that Jesus is Lord, then Romans 10:9 and 10 (among others) is satisfied and they are saved already.”

    I certainly hope you misstated this a LOT. Your simple explanation describes a lot of folks in the good ole Bible belt who need to pray that sinner’s prayer Ron is speaking about to be saved. You all KNOW that everyone KNOWS that the point to this is not the efficaciousness of the words themselves. This is a ridiculous charge and if it were made against your particular position all we would hear is that bogeyman mumbo jumbo.

    Even Chris’ statement at the end where he said is a little pompous: “He understood everything but the proper response to the gospel. Once I explained faith and repentance and how one recieved the work of Jesus on the cross by faith, I led him in a prayer where he confessed Christ as King and asked Jesus to save him. My little 7 year old friend gave his life to Christ that day.”

    At 7 years old, who is to say he understood your explanation any better than he did his mom’s… and since it is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of an individual, who is to say that the Lord did not hear his prayer the first time and forgive his sin? God is the One who saves; we hear that every day with different nuances. Chris’ explanation has no more efficacious power than anyone else’s yet in his mind, his explanation made all the difference in the world…. or should I say eternity. I am not trying to be critical of WHAT Chris did; I am sure we would have all done the same thing.

    I am expressing some disagreement with his assessment of the end results. God most certainly understands the heart of 7 year old little boys and He meets their needs just as He does ours. He can save to the unttermost anyone who calls on the Name of the Lord even when the message may not be as clear as it ought to be and even when there are requirements and statements about God’s grace that may or may not be as accurate as we say they are!

    Isn’t it amazing that God is the One who saves even when we don’t get it just right!

    ><>”

      Bill Mac

      Good grief Bob. I didn’t think I would have to spell out every detail. I was of course assuming that the person in my illustration was being truthful. Do you really think that someone who confesses Christ as savior and believes in his heart that God raised Christ from the dead also has to pray the sinners prayer in order to be saved? Because that certainly seems to be what you are saying.

      I understand, as does everyone else, that anyone can say the words in my illustration, just as they can say the words in the sinner’s prayer, and not mean them.

      I’m not saying God won’t save the person praying the sinner’s prayer. I just hope you aren’t saying God won’t save the person who doesn’t.

      Chris

      Bob,
      I certainly apologize and repent if I’ve come across as pompous. My point was that when I met with the young man, he did not understand what it meant to repent and believe the gospel. He misunderstood the idea of “asking Jesus into his heart.” Who is to say that he understood my explanation? Both he and his mother. I think we both agree that it’s not enough just to understand the message of the cross…you have to respond to it in faith and repentance. My little friend didn’t initially. All I am saying is that “asking Jesus into your heart” probably doesn’t clarify things sufficiently enough for a young child, the phrase needs to be explained.

      Blessings,
      Chris

        Bob Hadley

        Chris,

        The pompousness is in the tone of the rebuttal to the article not you personally and not just your comment. I find it appalling that we as Southern Baptists are even having this conversation in the first place. I think Bill Mac’s comment really says about all that needs to be said: “Good grief Bob. I didn’t think I would have to spell out every detail.”

        AMEN. We would not even be having this conversation were it not for the theological underpinnings that come with total depravity and irresistible grace. This is the new whipping point that is seeking to identify everything that is wrong with church for the last 50 years… no one is suggesting that the efficacy is in the words… but to seem to suggest that a person just wakes up and is a Christian is equally ridiculous.

        Truth is, the Holy Spirit takes hold of an individual’s heart after he has heard the gospel message and convicts him or her of their lost condition because of their sin and the promises of God’s forgiveness made possible by Christ at Calvary are available to anyone who will repent of their sin and by faith trust Christ and Him alone to save them from the penalty of their sin.

        No one that I know thinks saying a series of words gets anyone into heaven… and you ALL know that. So lets not keep playing this coy little game here. It is demeaning and to suggest that you do it the right way is equally demeaning. The prayer is an attitude of the heart that is part of the salvific process.

        Good grief. I didn’t think I would have to spell out every detail. Thank you Bill Mac.

        ><>”

          Chris

          Bob,
          My response to the article has NOTHING to do with total depravity and irresistible grace. I merely questioned whether Ron had read something into Platt’s statement about the sinner’s prayer that was not there, then I demonstrated that there are in fact, people who have had a simplistic/superstitious understanding of the prayer.

          Southern Baptists have always endeavored to be a people united by the great commission : missions and evangelism. If that is the case, we should regularly have theological discussions about the proper response to the gospel.

          For the record, I think Ron’s article was a good one, the critique of Platt not withstanding. I DO employ the “sinner’s prayer” in my personal evangelism, but I do not want to create a “sinner’s prayer mentality” where people look more to a prayer thy prayed at sometime in the past than they do to the cross for salvation.

          Blessings,
          Please pray for Susie, a roman catholic lady I had the privilege of witnessing to this morning in the lobby of my hotel. She is a cancer survivor and is thinking more and more about eternity. She has
          my contact info. Hopefully, she will follow up our conversation with some questions a out the gospel.

          Bill Mac

          Glad I could help.

          “No one that I know thinks saying a series of words gets anyone into heaven… and you ALL know that. So lets not keep playing this coy little game here. It is demeaning and to suggest that you do it the right way is equally demeaning. The prayer is an attitude of the heart that is part of the salvific process.”

          This is a good point. My concern is more about the way a person is led into a sinner’s prayer. A good, biblical, sinner’s prayer is no problem.

Thomas Clay

What Chris said!

    Ron

    No … I like what Christ said.

      Randy Catoe

      I like what Christ said too and it sure wasn’t, “I’m standing at the door knocking, please ask Me in to your heart” and Jesus didn’t ask the Rich Young Ruler pray the sinners prayer and believe it with all his heart so he could go to heaven one. Jesus said, Repent and believe the Gospel. People can’t ask Jesus into their heart because Ezekiel says we have a heart of stone. We need to be given a new heart and if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. It doesn’t say if Christ is in any man. SBC churches are over loaded with people who live like the world and love the world yet they believe they are on their way to heaven because at VBS they asked Jesus into their heart or they repeated a sinners prayer one time. If 10% of the people in the last 20 years that the SBC baptized were truly born again, I can promise you this nation would not be anywhere close to the shape that it is in. Ron, with all due respect and in love you need to step back and take a cold hard look at the truth. Many are gonna come in that day and say Lord, Lord we prayed that prayer and we asked Jesus into our heart and He is going to say Depart! I never knew you. I will say I do believe some have been saved repeating a sinners prayer, but they are saved in spite of it not because of it. God is the author of salvation, not the prayer.

        Ron Hale

        Randy,

        You said: \”People can’t ask Jesus into their heart because Ezekiel says we have a heart of stone. We need to be given a new heart and if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.\”

        Bingo … isn’t this the real problem you have with my article. That according to reformed doctrine man is totally incapable of responding to God; that he has not free will to respond by receiving or rejecting Christ. That the sinner (0nly the ones chosen before the foundation of the world) will first have their hearts regenerated so they can then repent and believe.

        Also, I think the same thing you have accused SBC churches of can be said of Reformed congregations. Are you saying that all the people in Reformed congregations are on fire for Jesus and walking in the Spirit? Are you saying that all the people in reformed churches are saved?

          Bob Hadley

          Ron,

          Bingo. Bongo. Whatever.

          What is amazing to me is this whole argument being made by calvinists in the first place. It is an argument that we as non-calvinists certainly ought to be making and points to what I believe is a serious inconsistency with calvinists in the first place.

          A calvinist ought to be the last person on the earth to complain about “praying to ask Jesus into ones heart” since it is God and God alone that brings regeneration in the first place. It simply does not make make any sense to me for a calvinist to argue this point; it is as if they are complaining that this is the only condition that God cannot overcome! If God does it, who cares if we have it wrong?

          It really does not matter. If God saves as the calvinist contends, then this whole discussion is a moot point; yet for the inconsistent calvinist, it is not. I cannot for the life of me understand why.

          Oh well. Just another day in the neighborhood!

          ><>”

          Randy Catoe

          Ron,

          Hoenstly, the real problem I have is the poor use of scripture to defend your sacred cows. You can’t take scripture and use it to justify these man made traditions that have no foundation in recorded church history up until the last 100-200 years.

        Joshua

        Randy,

        This is what “returning to the Bible” does. It forces you to examine your traditions in light of the Word of God.

        What hath the Conservative Resurgence wrought? A generation of Southern Baptists who refuse to bow to the sacred cows of the SBC when the Bible does not warrant such beliefs.

          Ron Hale

          Grace … gentlemen.

          Bob Hadley

          cows… tulips… bogeymen…I guess the SBC ought to be grateful for the “new you!” NOT.

          ><>”

volfan007

Ron,

I think there’s no doubt that Jesus does come to live in the heart of the sinner, who calls upon Jesus to save his soul. I really like the way you just quoted the verses from the Bible, which show this very clearly.

David

    Bill Mac

    Dave: There’s no question that He does. But if someone were to ask you how to be saved, would you tell them to ask Jesus into their heart? It might be ok, but the phrase requires a lot of unpacking to make certain that the person doing the “asking” understands what that means. Asking Jesus into your heart doesn’t indicate whether the person knows that they are a sinner, that Jesus died to save sinners, that he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified and resurrected. It doesn’t indicate whether the person knows that hell awaits them because of their sin. The person has to know and believe the Gospel message. If they do, then asking Jesus into their heart is fine. If not, it is meaningless, and make give false assurance to the person asking.

    Ron Hale

    Thx David … you are an encouraging Brother!

    Ron

    David,
    The Word says it all!

Les

Serious part: the necessity to pray a prayer of any sort is nowhere to be found in the bible.

Serious part 2: Inviting Jesus into your heart is also nowhere to be found in the scripture as a way of salvation.

Fun part for you Ron: you said, “I think you are in the radio biz … if I asked you the question: Where in the Bible does it say anything about Christian Radio? We know the answer to that; it doesn’t. Nor, does the Bible speak of seminaries, Bible college, mission boards, pulpits, choir lofts, pews, or Christian blogs …etc. and etc.”

Apparently explicit commands and/or examples are not always necessary.

I have two words: Infant baptism.

Blessings brother.

    volfan007

    Les,

    1. So, you dont see “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord” as prayer? Or, how about confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart? You dont see that as prayer? Prayers dont have to said out loud. And, besides that, how in the world are you gonna express your repentance and faith without words, even if they’re just internal words?

    2. Did you not read all the verses that Ron quoted about Jesus living in the heart of a saved person? Would you not at least say that there’s nothing wrong with the expression “asking Jesus into your heart?”

    3. I agree with you, and some of the others in here, that “easy believism” is a bad thing. We need to stress to people about repentance and faith. But…..

    David

      Michael

      Didn’t Jesus return to heaven with His physical body, so I do not understand what all the talk is about inviting Jesus in someones heart. I thought it was the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) that indwells a believer. Why are believers on here making such a big deal about this? It seems to be common sense that if Jesus ascended bodily then He can’t be in our heart. Just my thoughts

        Ron Hale

        Michael,

        How to you explain …..“. . . and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith, I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love” (Ephesians 3:17; HCSB).

        Thanks

          Michael

          I think that if the law of Christ is written on our hearts, then the love of Christ is shed abroad there, so in that sense Christ is there. Where His Spirit dwells, then Jesus dwells, but it is His Spirit not Him. Maybe I am being to literal

          Tim B

          Romans 10:9-10 also confirms the presence of Jesus in the heart of the believer.

          However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Romans 10:9-10

      Les

      David,

      “1. So, you dont see “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord” as prayer? Or, how about confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart? You dont see that as prayer? Prayers dont have to said out loud. And, besides that, how in the world are you gonna express your repentance and faith without words, even if they’re just internal words?”

      Yes, “whosoever … can be a prayer, out loud or silently “in our head” so to speak as we hear ourselves think. What I said above is that a prayer such as a sinner’s prayer is not a necessity.

      How one expresses their repentance and faith is a changed kife, not words.

      People are born deaf and mute. The bible says ” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

      How can a deaf person hear? A mute person “confess Christ with their mouth” as Paul also says?

      It is not the verbal words that save us. It is Christ, even if we never utter a syllable.

      “Did you not read all the verses that Ron quoted about Jesus living in the heart of a saved person? Would you not at least say that there’s nothing wrong with the expression “asking Jesus into your heart?””

      Yes, I read them. I know Jesus comes to live in those who are born again. But that expression is unnecessary and confusing.

        volfan007

        Les,

        There is a beginning point to the Christian life. It is when the sinner repents and puts his faith in Jesus. For this to happen, then one must verbally call upon the Lord Jesus to save him or her. There must be some response from the sinner. Or, are you saying that one day, you just wake up, and you’re saved….wondering what in the world happened?

        David

          Les

          David,

          I wrote, “People are born deaf and mute. The bible says ” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

          How can a deaf person hear? A mute person “confess Christ with their mouth” as Paul also says?”

          What about that situation?

          All I am saying is that the so called sinner’s prayer is not necessary. Can God use it? Sure. He has. Is it required? No. It is not in the bible. Just two conversions in Acts show that…Lydia and the jailer.

          I would guess that typically someone hears the gospel preached and hears an appeal to place their faith in Christ and if they are being saved, they believe by God’s grace. At that point, assuming regeneration, they are saved. They don’t have to pray anything.

          That was my case.

          “Or, are you saying that one day, you just wake up, and you’re saved….wondering what in the world happened?”

          No.

          So, what about deaf and mute people. Can they be saved though never able to verbalize anything?

          volfan007

          Les,

          The deaf can read and understand sign language. The mute can pray silently, in their minds. Let’s not get ridiculous here.

          Even the deaf must “hear” the Gospel, in order to be saved. They must know the Gospel, or they’ll never, ever, never get saved. They dont just wake up, one day, saved….wondering what in the world happened to them.

          Also, the mute must call upon the Lord, just like everyone else, even if they cant talk out loud.

          C’mon, Les.

          David

          volfan007

          Also, Les, nobody is saying that a person must talk out loud, repeating a prayer to get saved… as if saying a prayer is some magical formula. I am saying that a person must call upon the Lord for salvation. There must be a response from the sinner….a response of repentance and faith….expressed from the sinner towards God.

          David

          Les

          David,

          That’s all I’m saying too. Calling on the Lord is not necessarily verbal. So on that point we agree. I simply was pointing out that the deaf and/or mute are saved the same way as everyone else…by Christ via faith, not words.

    Ron Hale

    Les,

    You know that I write as a non-Calvinist … for non-Calvinists. I realized a long time ago that my role was not to even try to write to convert the already “reformed” or newly reformed. I’m not smart enough to do that (you don’t have to agree with me on this :)

    However, what I do know … is that when non-Calvinists, especially those new to the blog world … read some of the comments on theological blogs … they are shocked into reality. They understand …Nashville, we have a problem here!

      Les

      Ron,

      Were your comments for someone else? I didn’t mention Calvinism. I’m not sure what your reply to me means.

      Les

        volfan007

        Les,

        Ron can answer for himself, but I think that Ron is saying that he knows that you’re coming from a Reformed perspective in your views. He, of course, is not. Thus, you’re not gonna like the things he says.

        David

        Les

        Thanks David. I still don’t get Ron’s reply.

volfan007

Bill Mac,

I do encourage people to surrender thier hearts to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. I encourage lost people to turn to Jesus with all of thier hearts, and put all of thier faith in Jesus for thier salvation. I encourage people to come to God, as humbly as a child, and ask God to save thier souls. I encourage people to call upon the Lord, as Romans 10:9-10 and 13 tells us to do. And, I believe that Acts 20:20-21 is one of the most clear passages of Scripture dealing with how to get saved.

But, I still believe that Jesus does come to live within the heart and soul of the repentant sinner. And, I still believe that the way to Heaven is by “calling” upon the Lord for salvation.

David

    Bill Mac

    David: No issues with any of that. Like I said, I believe God indwells every believer. I don’t usually lead with that, however.

    We probably shouldn’t be talking about the sinner’s prayer, and “ask Jesus into your heart” in the same thread, because they aren’t necessarily the same thing. I can think of a very solid sinner’s prayer that doesn’t use that kind of terminology.

      volfan007

      Bill Mac,

      I usually dont use the words “ask Jesus into your heart” either. But, as you can see from the Scriptures that Ron used, it’s not wrong, or bad to use that phrase. It is a true statement. Jesus does come to live within the heart of someone, who repents and believes.

      I try to stress to people that they need to repent and believe. They need to turn to God with all of thier hearts, and put all of thier faith in Jesus. I encourage them to call on the Lord like this…as humbly as a child. Because, I do believe that “easy believism” is not a good thing. Saying a prayer absolutely does not save anyone.

      David

Brad Whitt

David needs to understand…

Mark 12:30 – And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Romans 10:9-10 – That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Hebrews 3:12 – Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

Hebrews 10:22 – Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

I am with Ron. While there may be rare and extreme cases of pastors or evangelists being careless in the invitation time (I won’t dare swing to the other end of the spectrum and mention those “hyper-Calvinists” who are afraid to give a Gospel invitation for fear that some unelect person might accidently “get saved.”) I can honestly say that I’ve never witnessed somebody do what David claims is evidently common practice.

I would ask David, as I understand he’s already been asked, what he would say to a plane load of people about to die in a crash. Would he share a simple way of understanding and expressing the thoughts of their mind and the longings of their heart? Would he tell them to find a quiet place and work out their own salvation? Would he just tell them to wait for the Lord to warm their heart? What would he do? What would he say? How would he bring them to Jesus?

I personally think that this kind of overreaction to something I’ve never witnessed as a life-long Southern Baptist is both dangerous and possibly eternally deadly. Just my thoughts.

BTW, great and recommended article, Ron.

    volfan007

    Brad,

    I’m guessing that you’re talking about David Platt; right?

    David

    Bill Mac

    Brad: If your plane was going down, would you really shout to everyone that they need to ask Jesus into their heart?

    How about: We are all about to die. We are all sinners. Christ died to save sinners. Put your trust in Him now, before it is too late. He will not turn you away. The good part is that most people will be praying like crazy already, so this won’t seem too much to ask.

      Brad Whitt

      Bill,

      I pray that I would have the presence of mind and courage to explain their need for Jesus in a simple, understandable way and share how they could ask Christ into their heart and life. I know that I would hope to be like the preacher my friend Doug Mize from FBC Taylors wrote about in this recent BP article:

      http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37601

      Now, there is an example that every believer should seek to follow!

        Ron Hale

        Brad,

        Doug wrote a wonderful article; I have shared it with many people! What an evangelist in the icy waters that night.

        Bill Mac

        Brad: That is a great article and I certainly have no reservations about the language he used in his efforts to win those people to Christ. His language was biblical and understandable. A great example.

        And that’s really my point. I think Joel Osteen gives a quick invitation at the end of his little talks. I think it is along the lines of asking Jesus into your heart. But we all know he provides no context for it. So for the millions of listeners he has, it may very well have no meaning. That’s my concern.

          Brad Whitt

          Bill,

          I love the story as well.

          I’ve got to be honest, this current trend to downplay and disparage open invitations and the “Sinner’s Prayer” not only bothers me, I think that it is down right dangerous and must be countered at every opportunity.

          I was talking to one of my reformed friends and mentors a week or so ago. This is a godly, retired pastor with a ThD who sat under my preaching for the past couple of years. I told him about Platt’s video and he expressed the same thing that I believe: the “Sinner’s Prayer” doesn’t save anybody. It’s simply a way to verbalize what a person believes and wants to say to God. (That’s the way that I always explain it. I say, “If this prayer says what you want to say to God…”) I really appreciated his balanced, biblical view. I love that he realizes that there must be repentance and faith in a person’s heart, but that scripture also talks about a confession being made with their mouth. It doesn’t contain some sort of magical words, but it does have to express the same thought, truth and “sentiment” we see so often in the pages of the Bible.

          We need more men like him speaking reason, truth and scripture into this young generation of Dortians.

          Bill Mac

          Brad: Thanks for the response. I’ll be honest and say that I personally had seen such manipulative and abusive invitations over my years as a Christian that I had pretty much written them off (not invitations as such, but rather altar calls). Time has a tendency to moderate some of our views however, and although I’m still cautious, I see the positive side of well done invitations and even sinners prayers.

Brad Whitt

Of course, I was referring to the highly esteemed and right Reverend, Dr. David Platt. Just making sure that nobody misunderstood me.

John Adams

Thanks, Ron. I was saved using the sinner’s prayer and I praise God I did. I know many, many others who have been saved praying the sinner’s prayer. If the sinner’s prayer, in some form or fashion is not used, what is? Just asking.

    Ron

    Dr. Adams,

    I too was led to the Lord by a Pastor that took the time to simply share “how” I could trust Jesus. I remember saying to him, “I don’t know how to pray …will you help me?” He did. I was twenty-three years old.

    I know that you have led many people to Christ in your years of ministry. Isn’t it a joy! I’ve determined that I’m not going to walk around …fearful that somebody might get saved. The gospel is the power of God unto Salvation.

    Btw …we had a precious girl get saved in our Monday night apartment ministry.

    Les

    John Adams, praise to God that you were saved, whatever the manner.

    I was saved without ever saying any sort of sinner’s prayer and I cannot remember the day and time. I can narrow it down to about a six month time period. That was about 29 years ago.

      volfan007

      I was saved, one night, when I called upon the Lord to forgive me and take over my life. I remember exactly the night that I was born again and given a new heart. I cant tell you the exact date…even though it was in the Spring of 1980…but, I remember that night as if it were yesterday.

      Thank God for His saving grace.

      David

Stephen Fox

If you click on my name it should take you to Ginny Brant’s website and her tribute to Chuck Colson mentioned in this blog. I don’t think she would mind me expediting the process to get to her tribute.
But in one aspect of the world that Colson begat, I hope the Baptists here will explore Richard Land’s connection to Karl Rove in the coming days. Looks to me as folks are saying at Baptistlife.com; gonna bet lot of repercussions for the conservative resurgence in the wake of the new Steve Coll book on Exxon Oil.

    Ron

    Stephen,
    Thanks for the article …it was very good. However, the second part of your article is way off track for this post. If I could, I would delete it.

    volfan007

    Stephen,

    What’s this got to do with what Ron Hale wrote about?

    David

Matt

Ron,

If someone, after hearing the gospel, believes the gospel, regrets thier previously sinful ways, and has a genuine desire to live a life that is pleasing to God is that person saved? If so, then where is the need of a “sinner’s prayer”? If someone does not believe, is not repentant, or does not truely desire to live for God can saying a “sinner’s prayer” save that person? I understand that you do not believe that repeating words after someone saves anyone, but I hope you can see how a “sinner’s prayer” could be misunderstood by many people especially those not very familiar with scripture. Because of this possible misunderstanding, shouldn’t these “repeat after me” prayers either be qualified with a detailed explanation of what this prayer actually accomplishes in respect to salvation (nothing) or be abandoned altogather?

Like a public profession and baptism, the “sinner’s prayer” doesn’t actually save anyone. Unlike a public profession and baptism, the “sinner’s prayer” is not commanded in scripture.

I don’t want to come across as saying that praying with someone in a way that expresses thier true feelings and thanks God for His work in thier hearts is wrong. I do not believe this. I just want to explain why use of a “sinner’s prayer” is not needed in presenting the gospel, and emphasize that great care should be taken to guard against any misunderstandings if such a prayer is used as a tool in presenting the gospel. Despite the purest intentions on your part, a misunderstanding of the “sinner’s prayer” could easily lead to apostacy instead of true salvation because of the false sense of salvation someone could have after repeating such a prayer but not experiencing true conversion.

God has intrusted His people with the gospel and commanded us to share it with others; Let’s keep it pure and carefully guard against any misunderstandings of exactly what the gospel is.

    volfan007

    Matt,

    I think what Ron is saying is that its not wrong to help someone pray to receive God’s gift of salvation. I think Ron is responding to the thought by some of the Reformed that leading someone in a prayer is somehow wrong, and bad. And, that talking about Jesus living in the heart of the saved is somehow wrong and bad.

    I agree with you that “saying a prayer” wont save anyone. Saying a prayer is not the way to be saved. We’re saved by grace thru faith. When someone repents and puts thier faith in Jesus, then they are truly saved. But, to repent and to believe, we must verbalize it in a prayer. We must confess, whether silently, or talking out loud matters not; but, we must express our faith in some way. The Bible tells us that calling on the Lord is the way to turn to God and put our faith in Jesus. We should confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts. We must call upon the name of the Lord.

    I’m beginning to think that some Reformed people think that we somehow, unexplainably, just become saved, all of a sudden….without any response from the sinner towards God. I mean, it’s starting to sound like yall think that we just magically find ourselves saved….wondering what hit us.

    David

      Les

      David,

      “I’m beginning to think that some Reformed people think that we somehow, unexplainably, just become saved, all of a sudden….without any response from the sinner towards God.”

      For the record, this Calvinist believes that ordinarily there is a response from the sinner towards God. he/she must repent and believe. He/she must come to Christ as he/she is called by Christ.

    Ron Hale

    Matt,

    I pray that each of us will seek to preach, teach, and share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit — leaving the results to God and do it with pure motives and in ways the Lord will bless.

    In your life calling — if you choose not to employ the sinner’s prayer (or invitations i.e. altar calls, etc.) that is wonderful and fine with me. However, my article is speaking toward the many, many articles that are being written with titles like: 9 Reasons You Should Never Ask Jesus Into Your Heart — or –Why the Sinner’s Prayer, Invitations, Revivals, Crusades Are Un-Scriptural — or …Why is Billy Graham Wrong? …or …Modern Apostasy in the Sinner’s Prayer. The list can go on and on.

    In sharing their testimony of coming to Christ, most of the people arguing against the Sinner’s Prayer … will talk about the moment they prayed calling on Jesus to forgive and save them. Go figure.

    Blessings for the Day ….

Clif Springer

Sorry, but “accept” is not just another word for “believe.” But, in fact, both of these words are probably too weak to use with 21st century pagans. We have millions of lost Southern Baptists who are absolutely convinced that they are going to heaven because they read the sinners prayer and got baptized. They “accepted” salvation, but have steadfastly rejected the Lordship of Christ. If we are going to make disciples in this day and age, we must make it plain that they are making Jesus the Lord (Master, Boss) of their lives. We cannot use soft, weak phrases and just hope that lost people sorta, kinda know what we mean.

    Joshua

    Amen! This is what Platt and others are addressing when speaking against “asking Jesus into your heart.”

    Ron

    Clif,
    So what is your witnessing plan?

      volfan007

      Cliff,

      Is salvation a gift from God? Do you not accept, or recieve, gifts? Can a person not accept Jesus into their hearts as their personal Lord and Savior? Can a person not receive God’s gift of salvation, and receive the Lord Jesus as thier Lord and Savior?

      Once again, accept Christ, or recieve Christ are not words that I normally would use…..BUT, to say that it’s not Biblical, or somehow wrong????? Way off base.

      David

        Joshua

        David,

        You may benefit from Dr. Dan Wallace’s article on “inviting Jesus into your heart.”

        He says:

        “What then should we say when we are trying to lead someone to Christ? I think a better picture is simply what the New Testament uses as its normative word– ?????/???????. The noun form (?????) can be translated ‘faith,’ ‘belief,’ or ‘trust.’ The verb can be translated ‘I believe,’ ‘I have faith,’ ‘I trust.’ In some contexts the object of belief is emphasized (namely, Christ); in other contexts, the kind of belief is emphasized (namely, a genuine trust, an embracing). Thus, ????? has this twofold force of content and conviction. To be saved, one must have the right object of faith (content); and one must truly put his trust entirely in that object (conviction).”

        http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/09/inviting-jesus-into-your-heart/

          volfan007

          Joshua,

          Maybe you didnt read my other comments? Where I said that I dont like to use phrases like “inviting Jesus into your heart?” Or, “accepting Christ?” Or, “receiving Jesus?” Maybe you missed that I prefer to stress repentance and faith?

          But, the point is, that it’s not unBiblical, or wrong, or bad, to say that Jesus comes to live in your heart. It’s not terrible to lead someone in a sinners prayer, as long as your stressing to them that they have to mean it; that saying a prayer wont save them. There’s nothing terrible, bad, or unBiblical about telling people to call on the name of the Lord; to confess with thier mouths, and believe in their hearts.

          So, you think that there’s something wrong with this?

          David

          Joshua

          David,

          Ron’s article has missed Platt’s point. Platt’s objection is to the deceptive and damning practice of telling people to pray a prayer and then announce them Christians because they said a magical prayer.

          Platt is not addressing whether or not in some manner Christ actually indwells the believer’s heart. What is “unbiblical” is using a prayer, that usually involves “inviting Jesus into your heart,” to declare people converted and in Christ.

          This entire comment thread, for the most part, has jumped from minutia to minutia while failing to understand Platt’s actual message.

          As the first commenter and others stated, Ron has missed Platt’s point and the comments continue to do so as well. Ron and others who refuse to correctly represent what Platt is saying owe him an apology and need to correct the article.

          volfan007

          Joshua,

          I have led many people to pray and call on the Lord to save them. I have led many people in a prayer for salvation, because they didnt know how to pray, and didnt feel like they could do it. I have always stressed to those people that they had to mean what they were saying…that saying a prayer was just saying words, if they didnt mean it in thier hearts.

          Have you ever, personally, heard anyone tell someone to just say a prayer, and that saying the prayer would save them? I have. He was a layman, who was just doing the best that he knew how to do. But, have you ever heard a Pastor do that?

          Also, it seems that Calvinists shouldnt worry a whole lot about this. I mean, after all, if the elect are going to be saved…no matter what; then what does it matter what someone says to the unregenerate? I mean, looking at from the Reformed perspective, then it really doesnt matter….because that person’s going get saved no matter how the Gospel is presented to them. So, why would Platt, or you, care a whole lot about this to begin with? The elect are gonna be saved, so why make this such a big deal?

          Just curious.

          David

          Joshua

          David,

          Good for you. Consider yourself not one who needs to be rebuffed for promoting decisional regeneration.

          Yes, I have heard a pastor do this.

          Your last paragraph is fatalism, David. After years of reading what Calvinists believe, you still repeat the same canards. We Calvinists are fatalists. Your outright refusal to understand what Calvinists believe, year after year, is tiresome. You are a pastor David, please have the integrity and charity to understand and properly represent what your Southern Baptist Calvinist brothers and sisters believe.

          volfan007

          Joshua,

          Do Calvinists believe that the Elect are gonna be saved; no matter what? I believe that’s called the Tulip theory…especially irresistible grace. So, where am I misrepresnting what the Reformed believe with the statment I made?

          Would you not say that the Elect are gonna be saved; no matter what?

          So, again, I say, what would it matter to the Reformed if the Gospel is presented the way Platt says, or the way that Ron is saying?

          Please tell me.

          David

          volfan007

          Joshua,

          Also, on a side note, why dont you show some integrity and quit accusing people of not having integrity? I mean, seriously Dude, you just throw accusations out, right and left.

          David

          volfan007

          Joshua,

          I noticed also that you said that Ron should apologize to Platt for writing what he’s written. Why? Why should he? Ron is just simply responding to some things that Platt said, and he disagrees with Platt. Okay. So, why should Ron apologize?

          I see on your blog, the Dailybleat, that you’ve strongly disagreed with Ron, Brad Whitt, Eric Hankins, and others. Should you apologize to each one of them for disagreeing with them?

          David

        Ron

        David,
        Some people will think we are making this stuff up.

Max

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18: 9-14)

    Ron

    Thx Max …it seems that some would suggest that Jesus was leading us astray with this wonderful passage.

Charles

Ron, hello!

Holding to their “regeneration before faith” theology, the extreme Calvinists hate anything like sinner’s prayers and altar calls. Their theology comes from the pedobaptists as Bob Ross has pointed out.

As you noted, Spurgeon urged the use of the sinner’s prayer. Even Ernest Reisinger “prayed the prayer of the publican” at his conversion!

Thank you, Ron.

Charles

    Ron

    Thx Charles for pointing out …how Spurgeon pleaded for sinner’s to come to Jesus!

    Les

    Charles,

    “Holding to their “regeneration before faith” theology, the extreme Calvinists hate anything like sinner’s prayers and altar calls. Their theology comes from the pedobaptists…”

    Well, I suppose we who hold to five point Calvinism might be “extreme” by your standards, In any case, we happily espouse regeneration before faith because…., well it’s biblical and we like to be biblical.

    As to the paedobaptist thing, no it comes from the bible, not the paedobaptists, though they generally get soteriology correct too.

    And Ron, we love Spurgeon’s regeneration before faith theology and we also love that he pleaded for sinners to come to Jesus. Calvinists believe in that practice too!

David R. Brumbelow

Does the Sinner’s Prayer work?
It sure worked for the tax collector; we have Jesus’ word on it (Luke 18).
We later have His word on it again in Romans 10:9-10, 13.
Anyone who prays the Sinner’s Prayer and means it, will be saved.

“God, be merciful to me a sinner” is one of the all time great prayers.
David R. Brumbelow

    volfan007

    Also, David, let’s not forget about the thief on the cross.

    David

Ben

Brad, I’m not sure if I should be surprised at the condescending tone of your comment toward our brother in Christ, David Platt. Your jealousy glaringly shines forth. Awwww, Brad, will Platt not let you have the microphone?!!

Bill Mac

I’ve said that a good, biblical sinner’s prayer is not a bad thing. Some sinner’s prayer’s that I’ve seen are not quite so good or biblical.

But it seems to me that some of you are using a tautological argument. Essentially saying that whatever someone did at the time of their conversion was a sinner’s prayer, therefore the sinner’s prayer is a good thing. If whatever form someone uses to confess Christ (Rom 10) is what you call a sinner’s prayer, then of course the discussion is over, because essentially everyone has done it.

Tejas

Hahaha the comments on this post are so in-depth and complex! Can I just answer your 2 questions briefly? If I could, I’d say yes to both. 1) The holy spirit takes up residence in the believer, that’s what the bible says. 2) God is awesome. He’ll save anyone who repents and tuns to him.

    Ron

    Tejas …you win the prize. Your answers were clear, concise, and compassionate.

Charles

Les, hello!

You said, “we love Spurgeon’s regeneration before faith theology.”

Brother Bob Ross argues that Spurgeon did not hold to this pedobaptist view. I would refer you to his seminal article, Regeneration In Relation To Faith In Calvinist Theology, in additon to other articles such as Spurgeon’s “Ordo Salutis” vs Murray’s, Spurgeon vs. Galyon, etc. , and Spurgeon’s Views Continue To Be Distorted.

Charles

    Les

    Tanks Chatles. But I’ve actually read that and find the argument that Spurgeon didn’t hold to the biblical view of regeneration prior to faith as really not even close to credible. If this were not such a serious subject that notion would be laughable.

Les

“Tanks Chatles” obviously should read “Thanks Charles.” And while I’m at it, the regeneration pior to faith view is not exclusive to paedobaptists nor can one say it came from paedobaptists exclusively. Since the NT allows for paedo and credo Baptists, and regeneration is in the NT, then it follows that it comes from both paedos and credos.

Norm

A notable SBCer once opined that a person could say the ‘right’ words w/a wrong heart and go to hell. Conversely, another could pray the wrong words w/a right heart and go to heaven. Salvation itself isn’t verbally formulaic; it\ is at some point a non-verbal matter of the heart as the aforementioned opinion indicates.
My former pastor — who made no secret of his Calvinism or his Beeson alma mater– complained similarly (as some in this thread do) of certain “evangelists’ tactics to pad conversion numbers.” He noted that such “evangelists” were condemning to hell those who prayed formulated prayers while leading them to believe they were heaven-bound. When I suggested his opinion undermined his own high view of God’s sovereignty, he was aghast, (angry, really).
My explanation left him speechless. I told him no evangelist could preach the elect into hell any more than he could preach the non-elect into heaven — if God is sovereign in such matters. Further, if some are sovereignly and, presumably, incontrovertibly elected to heaven, and their counterparts irrevocably damned to hell from the foundation of the earth, then what was all the fuss about? Whatever prayer the evangelist prescribed is of no salvific consequence to either the elect or the non-elect — if God is sovereign in such matters. (Crickets are still chirping.)

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