1-2-3- Repeat after me

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by Salty, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    I have heard this system of evangelism. Just get'em to say the sinners prayer.

    Is it effective, is it valid, is it eternal.

    I attended a seminar by Church Growth Institute several years ago. The one thing I remember being said was that we often have heard a preacher say "You may walk out this church tonight, get hit by a truck and never have the opportunity to receive the Gospel again" The speaker went on to ask if we have ever seen that happened. The point he was leading to, is that true evangelism may take weeks or months to accomplish. The plan was to establish a relationship with the individual you desire to witness to.


    Thoughts?
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    One size does not always fit all.

    The Biblical examples we have of witnessing almost uniformly do not show that witnessing was delayed until a relationship had been established.

    Yet, in some cases, as the Spirit leads, that might be advisable.

    However, We should also be careful of our motivations. If one is seeking to establish a relationship with someone merely to grease the way to get him to say some magic words, then forget it. You're just looking for another pelt for the belt.

    Seek to be guided by the Holy Spirit in the matter of witnessing, and the timing of that witness.
     
  3. The Rocket

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    Children are much easier to win than adults, of course. But even with children, you must be careful to fully explain the gospel, and make sure that they understand it before leading them to pray the sinner's prayer. Adults are harder to win (usually) because of years of worldly philosophies piled up on them. I've been in northern Alberta as a pastor for two years, and I have found that the most effective way of winning people is through establishing a relationship with the person, and dealing with them on on one in the home. I have won several to Christ by inviting them to our house for dinner.

    Even this way is not perfect, because we are not the Holy Spirit, and just do the best we can. But we must follow the Spirit's leading, and let HIM do the saving. 1-2-3 repeat after me soul-winning is dangerous, and IMHO, is just a numbers racket.
     
  4. Johnv

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    One prayer and a cloud of dust. No, sorry, a simple prayer does not a conversion make.

    That said, I see nothing wrong with a sinner's prayer. If a person wants a relationship with Christ, and doesn't know where to begin, saying a sinner's prayer probably points them in the right direction. But simply saying the prayer doesn't save you, neither does not saying it damn you.
     
  5. The Rocket

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    I see where you're going with that, and you are correct. Simply saying the sinner's prayer does not save anyone. "Believe with thy heart" must precede "confess with thy mouth". If there is no believing, then confession is empty. Maybe that's why there are so many false professions.

    There must be a confessing with the mouth, a repentance and believing in the heart in order for conversion to take place. I think the order is this: repent, believe, confess. In other words, if I truly repent, I will believe, and if I truly believe, I will confess.

    What say you?
     
  6. Johnv

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    Sounds about right. Now, I'm sure that a lot of people who say the sinner's prayer, but don't believe it with all their heart, eventually go on to believe it with all their heart. But that still doesn't mean simply saying the prayer is a litmus for getting saved.

    I concur that the proper order for the saved person is repenting, believing, and confessing. It should also be noted that these three things are processes, not single events. Just saying a prayer is an event, and seems a bit inconsistent with the biblical model of having a relationship with Christ.

    Again, I got no problem with a sinners' prayer, I just have a problem with vending machine theology (put a coin in and get salvation out).
     
  7. gb93433

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    Didn't that start with Moody? If there is not a sense of urgency today then when is the time to receive Christ?

    I wonder how anyone can skirt around 2 Cor. 6:2, "for He says, "At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation"
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    I challenge the conventional notion that the objective of our witness is to bring someone to the point of praying a prayer. The prevailing instructions from Peter and Paul were "repent" and "believe," not pray.

    I have no doubt that a repentant sinner who cries out to God for salvation will be heard. But the Philip did not instruct the Ethiopian eunuch to do that. He simply said he would baptize him if he believed that Jesus Christ is the son of God.

    The Philippian jailer was not led to pray; He was urged to believe.

    Paul urged the Athenian philosophers on Mars Hill to repent, not pray. To the command to repent, the response was "some believed."

    The danger of using the Sinner's Prayer is that it gets corrupted into some magic words that will work if we really, really, really are sincere.

    I have said this before. Some of the most chilling words I have ever heard came from a young woman whose sole hope of heaven was "I said the prayer."

    I know this strays somewhat from the OP, but there seemed to be an assumption that every soul-winning witness involves "saying the prayer."

    I never said the prayer. My response was to answer yes to these questions: Do you understand that you are a sinner who deserves to go to hell? Do you repent of your sins? Do you trust Christ and him only for your salvation?
     
  9. JPPT1974

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    Well make sure the motivations are right with the heart as well as with the soul. Praying that everything will be right!
     
  10. Jerome

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    "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.
    'Thou alone hast power, I know,
    To save a wretch like me;
    To whom, or whither should I go
    If I should turn from thee?'
    But I now do from my very soul call upon thy name. Trembling, yet believing, I cast myself wholly upon thee, O Lord. I trust the blood and righteousness of thy dear Son; I trust thy mercy, and thy love, and thy power, as they are revealed in him. I dare to lay hold upon this word of thine, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Lord, save me tonight, for Jesus' sake. Amen."
    ---Charles Spurgeon, "A Free Grace Promise" (1888)
     
  11. DHK

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    There is a fallacy there also.
    "Do you repent of your sins?" I challenge you to find anywhere in the NT where it commands us to repent of our sins. It doesn't. In fact it is impossible to repent of all one's sins, let alone remember them. Even then, repenting of all one sins is reformation--a works based salvation.

    Biblical repentance is a change of mind with respect to one's attitude to the authority of God.
    A rebellious heart is willing to change and become submissive to the authority of God. That is repentance. It is a change of mind with respect to God's authority over him.
     
  12. Johnv

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    Good point, but I think the issue is symantics. People often think "repenting of one's sins" means to not sin anymore. But reprnting of one's sins is actually an turning of one's attitude in regards to sin. Also, repenting is not a one time event, it's a process. And during that process, it is 100% guaranteed that you will sin over and over and over.
     
  13. DHK

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    I was only using the phrase "repent of all your sins" in reference to salvation, which I believe is a one-time event, since I believe in OSAS, and is not an on-going process. Repentance for the believer is different.
     
  14. Johnv

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    I understand. I disagree with the differentiation between event and process. I don't believe something being a process disqualifies it as being OSAS. In other words, salvation can be a process, and still be consistent with OSAS. Just my $.02. I concur with the concept of OSAS.
     
  15. ray Marshall

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    You could get as much by saying, "wet water". The Gospel is meant for the born again child of GOD. Wet Water or the sinners prayer doesn't do no more than if you were to sa abbra-cadebra. Just words. The Holy Spirit must be with the person that is tolds to act upon just a pile of words.
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    I have no problem with your definition of repenting. I think when I was asked that question, the pastor was asking "are you sorry for your sinfulness and the sins it produced?" This is consistent with II Corinthians 7:10 "...for Godly sorrow worketh repentance..."

    I think your definition is also consistent with that scripture verse.
     
  17. JohnDeereFan

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    First of all, I have to be honest and say that I'm skeptical of anything that says "church growth". If we were really preaching the word of God like we're supposed to be, the false converts would be leaving our churches at such a rate that church numbers would fall, not rise.

    "True evangelism" doesn't take weeks or months.

    It only takes a minute or two.

    Likewise, I've always found the idea that you have to build a relationship with the person you're sharing the Gospel with a little silly, too.

    Just yesterday morning, I got on an elevator with two guys I didn't know and one of them said, "So what did you think of the Eagles' game yesterday?"

    By the time we got off, we were having a great conversation about the game.

    Why is it that we should be able to do that with a football game, but not the Gospel?

    I share the Gospel with people all the time and not once has anyone ever told me, "I'm sorry, but I don't have a relationship with you".
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    Amen

    Chapter and verse please

    Poor example the football game does not change their life and hold them accountable for their sin. Apple and refrigerators.
     
  19. Johnv

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    Then my church must be in good shape, because our attendance was 200 on our first Sunday, and then eventually settled into about 150 or so (we are about 4 years old).

    But it's also a false presumtion to think that everyone in the pews is saved. We have about 20 or so people (nonmembers) who come for the fellowship and message, but haven't yet accepted Christ. We let the Holy Spirit worry about when that will happen. We don't have a "get saved or get out" policy like I've known a few churches to have.
    True evangelism isn't concerned with time.
    My experience is that it usually helps. But it's neither required, nor should is be eschewed.
    Good point. Similarly, I've had occaision to be in a convsersation with a perfect stranger, and if they're sharing someting that's hurting them in their lives, I'll say "would you like it if I prayed for you?" , and I'd lead them in prayer right there. Never has anyone said "no thanks". Even an atheist said "sure" when I asked if I could pray with them.
     
  20. JohnDeereFan

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    If you don't like the way we do evangelism, then you're welcome to stay home.

    I guess Jesus was wrong when He didn't take a couple of weeks to get to know the woman at the well. I suppose you believe that Philip was wrong, too, because he didn't ask the Ethiopian eunuch how he was feeling. How about Peter? Was he wrong because he didn't get to know everyone of the people he preached to?

    We may be wrong in your eyes, but at least we're in good company.
     
    #20 JohnDeereFan, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2009

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