While I have nothing against a prayer of repentance, I do have a big problem with those who trust in mouthing a set of words that somehow magically get them admitted into Heaven.
Paul is right; there are thousands who have trusted in a prayer; who have went to an altar in an emotional moment or to get their wife off their back or sought “fire insurance.”
Without life change – evidence of new life – salvation is not certain. For some, change comes slowly; for other, quickly. But one thing is certain – if there is new life, their is life change. Real repentance brings life change. without life change, their is no salvation.
A sad, but Powerful truth!
Here’s another powerful video from brother Paul….
Seeking His Kingdom,
I’m confused, if the ‘sinner’s prayer’ is in-accurate, what exactly is used in ‘place of it’ then? Do you get the person to say ‘something’ on their own, ask them how they feel about what you’ve discussed with them etc.? What comes next? I’ve never seen a ‘real answer’ to this question.
Since ‘altar calls’ are not Biblical, what’s the next step for sinners to come to Christ???
Bea, thanks for stopping by. Part of the problem here is what churches and pastors are doing today to provide a false sense of assurance to so-called converts. There are several issues at stake here actually. There is a real answer to your question, but I first want to address the issues at stake as shown or testified against in these videos.
First, pastors have been brought to the point that they think of invitations as the clearing of their conscience in regards to the sinner sitting in the pew. They have been taught that if a sinner does not get an “opportunity” to come forward at an “altar call” and they leave the building and enter eternity that the blood of that sinner is upon the hands of the preacher. This is based on verses taken completely out of context that refer to the watchmen or prophets of Israel in Ezekiel and has NOTHING to do with modern ministers of the gospel.
Second, pastors have moved away from expository ministry of the Word and have a lack of understanding of the purpose of the church. It is NOT for unbelievers, but is for the edification of the saints. So instead of taking the time to prepare to faithfully exposit the Word, they find it easier to prepare “gospel” messages for a Sunday morning with the hopes that a visitor might show up and “get saved.” If the minister believes that all of the congregation is saved, then at least it was a good reminder of the work that God has done in our hearts and in his mind is therefore not in vain.
Third, pastors imply by the unbiblical use of altar calls that they do not believe the Holy Spirit is the sole means of regeneration in the heart of a sinner. The minister is required to exert some form of pressure on the unsuspecting sinner to try and coax him or her to “respond of their own free will” to the message of the gospel. Such tactics as “If nobody comes down here after 2 more verse of Just As I Think I Am or There Were Ninety and Nine, then we will still sing one more until somebody’s guilty conscience conveys them down to this old-fashioned altar. Jesus is standing and knocking at your heart’s door. Don’t disappoint Him. Open the door and let Him in today!”
Fourth, pastors then compound the problem of false assurance by taking the person who has walked the aisle and solemnly informing them that all they need to do to “accept” Jesus is to pray this little (sinner’s) prayer and Jesus will save them. There has been no true work of regeneration. There has been no godly sorrow unto repentance over sin. There has been no understanding that hell rightly and justly awaits because the penalty must be paid for assaulting the commands of the holy, righteous God of the universe. The sinner goes away having prayed a prayer and believes that it is his or her prayer that has saved them. Many times they will even hear messages reminding them of the “time” they prayed a prayer and if that is the case, then their name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and they are saved eternally.
Fifth, pastors never encourage their people to truly examine themselves to see whether they are really of the faith or not. They never preach enough against sin and offending a holy, righteous God that the people in the pew are brought face-to-face with the reality of impending doom and judgment but for the mercy and grace of God. It is all about “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” or some similar type drivel. They never preach that repentance with no works showing a change of heart is a sure sign that regeneration has not taken place!
Finally, pastors after having counted the person as another number in the saved column, in order to keep their own conscience salved and the hearts of the people in check, he cannot bring into question his own flawed theology and preaching. He will rarely come to the point where he will admit that he was wrong and that the “prayers” he is getting people to repeat is not actually the saving factor. Instead, he now resorts to preaching that those who have “fallen away” are merely “carnal” Christians and just need to be prayed for.
This is why Washer and very few others are now declaring war on the sinner’s prayer and rightly so. We do not question that people have prayed seeking mercy at the feet of the Saviour, but it is NEVER a prayer that saves. It is God ALONE by grace through faith, NOT OF WORKS (including the praying of a prayer) that saves lest any man or woman should boast.
The Desert Pastor
Well said DP.
Brother Paul Washer is also spot-on accurate when he declares that the root cause and single biggest problem underlying many (most?) congregations’ abysmal efforts at discipleship – which is another one of those pesky COMMANDS of Christ that is conveniently shirked by many (most?) congregations – is the sad fact that they are attempting to disciple an unregenerate herd goats with perhaps a sprinkling of sheep in their midst. When one is pastoring the First Assembly of the Goats and Tares discipleship will necessarily suffer, but there’s more!
A lack of Biblical discipleship naturally leads us to, and goes hand in hand with, the all too frequently jettisoned COMMANDS regarding the proper exercise of church discipline. A refusal to exercise proper, Biblical church discipline leads to spiritual chaos and it fails to protect and preserve the purity and holiness of Christ’s church as He has commanded and it allows wolves free reign to rend Christ’s little flock from within. There’s a reason God has revealed His wisdom and His ways and men are not permitted to tinker with God’s commands or else disaster and confusion will inevitably follow.
The new life in Christ is organic and is likened unto a vine, with God Himself as the vinedresser. In His wisdom He prunes us that we may bear much fruit to the praise of His glory alone, and among the means He is pleased to utilize in His divine purposes are the ordinances and commandments He has set forth in His Word that men might be obedient to them and profit in the Lord. When sinful rebellious men reject, ignore, or otherwise distort God’s ways for their own – ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH, THE VISIBLE CHURCH – it is sin. When sinful men decide what portions of God’s Word they will and won’t obey out of their own darkened reasoning and selfish pride, then apart from the gracious intervention and restoration of a merciful, patient and loving God they will find themselves cut off and cast out of His presence into everlasting flames and torment.
The Gospel is ours to proclaim, not to modify.
Such tactics as “If nobody comes down here after 2 more verse of Just As I Think I Am or There Were Ninety and Nine, then we will still sing one more until somebody’s guilty conscience conveys them down to this old-fashioned altar. Jesus is standing and knocking at your heart’s door. Don’t disappoint Him. Open the door and let Him in today!”
If you were fortunate enough to have not heard Perry Noble’s pep-talk he gave on AC/DC Sunday, that is EXACTLY what the last 20 minutes of the audio are all about. Soft music playing, Noble begging and pleading for someone–ANYONE–to PLEASE come forward. All guilt and manipulation that led 100,000 people to open their heart and let Jesus in. Now, which Jesus it was that they let in is anybody’s guess.
But let’s consider the case of the Philippian jailer (And no, Matt, we’re not going to use this to talk about infant baptism. Try it and your comment will disappear). If you read Acts 16:31-35, you see that they talked ALL NIGHT. Paul didn’t simply hand him a tract, rush him through a prayer, and go on his merry way. He spent all night making sure that the jailer and his family knew WHO they were worshipping and WHY.
Okay thanks everyone but no one told me how to led a person to salvation. If they say yes what to make them say. Is it just say Jesus is Lord. romans 9:10
To be saved one is commanded to Repent and Believe the Gospel. Essentially he does not have to say anything to be saved. Confessing Christ as Lord is more than lip service but a life of conformity that is the result of true conversion. During the Roman Empire if one Confessed Christ as Lord instead of Caeser they would often be killed on the spot. Today, Confessing Christ as Lord means nothing more than repeating some prescribed prayer. In the historical context and biblical context it means more. It is confessing Christ before sinful men. Such as at the workplace or with lost friends.
We are never commanded in Scripture to lead people to Christ using a prayer and no one is ever commanded to pray. Rather Christ commands men to Repent and Believe. Many will exhort sinful men to cry out to God for salvation. IF one truly cries out to God and calls upon his name than faith and repentance are being exhibited. Besides one who calls upon the Lord for salvation will call upon Him for the rest of their life.
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