Please make sure you read the UPDATE at the bottom of this post.
No, this is not a recipe or cute story about my son... believe me there will be enough of those to come. This is more important than that. Please read... this subject has become a huge burden on my heart and the heart of my husband. We want you to know...
Below is a blog entry that my husband posted on his myspace page. Over the past few months God has completely changed the way we look at the gospel message and the way the gospel is shared. No, the gospel hasn't changed, it never changes! Sadly though, the way the gospel is presented has changed. We truly believe that the reason there are so many in the world claiming 'Christianity' but living a life so completely opposite of Scripture is because of how watered down and 'easy' coming to Christ has become in the modern evangelical church. It's not Biblical and it's not the way Jesus did it.
More Biblical Evidence against the use of the Sinners Prayer
My question is for anyone who can answer (with a Biblical response) where the sinners prayer is found in the Bible. By no response, I am to assume you have no answer. In the Gospel of Mark the 10th chapter verses 17 -22, we see Jesus' encounter with the rich young ruler. This rich man comes to Jesus asking a question that many in the church have asked at one time in their life, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus does something Biblical, shocking, I know. Jesus takes the man through the commandments. When Jesus was finished the man said "I've kept all these from my youth". Jesus then says "One thing you lack, go and sell all you have and give it to the poor". Then the Bible says this man went away sad, because he had great possessions. Let's fast forward 2000 or so years into the future and put this same scenario into most modern day Baptist churches (I'm Baptist so I can say this). What would happen if you have this same man come to the front during the invitation? The conversation would go something like this:
Pastor- "Sir do you believe Jesus is who He says He is?
Pastor- "Do you believe He died on the cross?"
Man- "Yes I do."
Pastor- "Do you want to invite Jesus to be the Lord of your life?"
Pastor- "Well say this prayer and mean it with all your heart....".
Who is wrong here? I can assure you of one thing, it's not Jesus. How come Jesus did things completely different than it is done today, yet today we call what is done in most modern evangelical churches His work? When God is nowhere near the place because of the hypocrisy that is involved in church today.The Bible does speak of this "modern day evangelism" method. In 2 Timothy 4:3-4. "For a time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." Do you know what is so scary about this passage? These "fables" sound like truth, because they will be said by a preacher in "Jesus' name". In closing I pray that if you go to church and you hear the 'say this prayer' gospel, you would question where that comes from? I believe that true Christians want to follow God's way and not mans. Seek the truth out.
By the way, you can't use Romans 10:9-10 ( 'that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation' ) as your scripture to support the sinners prayer. Paul is talking to the church in Rome, a group of believers who were being persecuted for their belief in Christ, not lost people. It goes like this: back in AD 60 when the book of Romans was written, the custom of that day was for the Roman citizens to sprinkle incense on an altar and say 'Caesar is Lord'. If you didn't say that Caesar was Lord than you were killed. A Christian couldn't do that because only Jesus is Lord, saying otherwise would have been (and still is today) a sin. Paul was saying "Jesus is Lord, even if it cost you your life". Also Revelation 3:20 ( 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.' ) isn't talking to lost people either. John is speaking about the church at Laodicaia, the "Lukewarm Church". Jesus is wanting the church to Let Him come in. Jesus isn't knocking on a lost person's heart asking if He can be Lord. HE ALREADY IS LORD, HE DOESN'T NEED YOUR PERMISSION!!!! Jesus wouldn't knock on the door, He would knock the door down. Don't make Jesus out to be a beggar, He is King of King and Lord of Lords.
So, how do you share your faith or lead someone to the Lord without the sinners prayer? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'll go into more detail about that later. Until then check this out.
I've got a Walk Away the Pounds DVD calling my name...
Updated: So, it seems, that maybe I should clarify a few things. Please here my heart in saying that I (we) am in no way saying that everyone who has said a sinners prayer is lost. That would be ridiculous! There are tons of people who God was dealing with and they meant every word of that prayer. I absolutely believe that God supernaturally saved them! I've just recently come to realize that the modern methods of reaching lost people and presenting the gospel is not the Biblical way that Jesus did it. I truly believe that if the gospel was shared the way Jesus shared it there would be more *true* conversions. Should we not follow in Christ's footsteps in every way possible? This can be a hard thing to swallow... I mean of all people, I know! Like I said previously, this is something new to me as well. With all my heart I never want to lead people astray in the way I live or share Christ. I will share something personally from my life about this and then I will leave it alone. Before all of this "sinner's prayer" stuff came about in our lives I began to deal with this on my own... here it is:
When R and I first came to our current church he had a big youth night planned as his first youth service. It was awesome. There was about 40-50 students there. We were blown away. Well, at the invitation time several students came forward. I took 3 girls with me to council with. I went through the gospel and then got to the sinners prayer part and led all three of them in the sinners prayer. After the service I was talking to R and said, "I am so uncomfortable in leading someone in a sinners prayer. Not because I can't do it.. or can't share the gospel.. just because it doesn't seem right. I feel like they should say their own prayer. They don't need me to tell them what to say if they really want to get saved." All of a sudden God just started revealing things to R and I about this and to our pastor as well. I just knew deep inside something wasn't quite right. When I hurt R's feelings I don't need someone to write me an apology and then go and recite it to him, why should we have to do that with God? When people are truly convicted and broken over there sin, repentance just comes naturally. I'm praying hard for the Holy Spirit to speak to hearts through this....