Is it really as easy as 1-2-3?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by ScottEmerson, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. ScottEmerson

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    How many of your churches share the gospel message using something like this:

    A-Admit that you are a sinner.
    B-Believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
    C-Confess that Jesus is Lord.

    AFter the "ABC's" of salvation are explained, usually the pastor will say, "It's as easy as ABC to become a Christian."

    Does anyone besides me think that this is completely missing the point of what it means to be a follower of Christ? Does anyone here think that the "ABC's" are giving scores of people a false security?
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    That is what is used in VBS but not in our regular witnessing programs. I agree that it's very simplistic but it does open the door for the kids who are around 10 to ask questions.
     
  3. Hardsheller

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    Exactly.
     
  4. ScottEmerson

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    In our middle school group this summer, I have had 3 kids come to me and say that when they were young they did the ABC thing. They came to the realization in really examining their faith that they were not saved. They placed Christ as Lord of their life this summer. All three of them assumed they were saved because of the ABC's -they realized later they weren't. Is there a lesson in this?
     
  5. dianetavegia

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    I had a thread about this a few months ago because we have had about a dozen kids ages 4-7 be baptized this last few months. One would go and then next week three of his friends would follow. My own 8 year old told me HE wanted to be baptized so the women in childrens' church would be proud of him too. We had a LONG conversation about that and why that is NOT the reason to be baptized.

    I do have to admit here that I was saved during VBS at age 8 but if you've seen my salvation experience you'll know that I KNEW exactly what I was doing and followed the lead of the Holy Spirit.

    I agree that we must be very careful and need to follow up. Our church is having 'Young New Member's Class' starting in Sept. for all those little ones who were 'saved'. It's on Sunday nights and will go over and over what salvation is, etc. I'm guessing others are concerned.

    Diane
     
  6. Artimaeus

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    A - Accept that you are pregnant
    B - Be in a birthing position
    C - Contract, Contract, Contract

    Birth is a simple matter, easy to understand.
    Becomming a mature adult takes a whoooooole lot longer and is a much more complicated process.

    The fact that the gospel is easy to understand doesn't mean it is done thoughtlessly or carelessly. Jumping off a cliff is a simple concept to understand but ought yo be done very thoughtfully.

    One moment YOU claim the right to be in charge of your life and the next moment you relinguish that right to CHRIST. Simple. It is not all that complicated, but it is all that profound.
     
  7. ScottEmerson

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    Giving up that right isn't found in the ABC's. Take up your cross and following Him, surrendering ALL you have is what lordship truly is. That is sorely lacking from what is spoken by evangelists and pastors behidn the pulpit.
     
  8. Scarlett O.

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    The ABC evangelistic tool is used strictly with our VBS children.

    On Thursday of VBS, our pastor extends an invitation to be saved. He explains the ABC's, he asked that anyone who wish to be saved to bow their head and pray.

    Then...

    ...he really emphasized the confession part. He say to the children, "If you prayed that prayer with me, then tell a grown-up. The craft teacher, the Bible teacher, the recreation teacher....someone."

    If a child tells someone that he prayed a pray to be saved along with the pastor, then that adult tells the pastor.

    The child's parents are contacted and a counseling session is held with the pastor, the parents, and the child. That's when a deeper understanding of salvation is privately explained. The pastor and the parents decide if the child understands.

    Our pastor has never used this method in his sermons.

    Peace-

    YSIC
    Scarlett O. [​IMG]
    <><
     
  9. Karen

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    Yes, we do need to explain the Gospel clearly and fully. And sometimes we do oversimplify.
    In my own church, each year in VBS, a number of children make commitments. I don't think all of them understand. We have real responsibility to explain clearly,follow up, and disciple.

    I was truly convicted when I was 7, although I did not become a Christian right away. My oldest became a Christian when he was five. Almost thirteen years later, his life bears fruit. Of course, he was discipled along the way.
    He knows a lot more now, but that does not mean that he did not truly follow as a young child.

    We should not go to the other extreme. Some groups in their desire not to have easy believism are on the verge of making salvation harder than it really is. We should not deny children who are really being called to Him at a young age.

    There are real benefits to being a Christian. Sometimes we are so eager to emphasize the persection and suffering part we go to the opposite extreme of those who only emphasize the peace and joy.

    When I became a Christian, Jesus became Lord of my life. However, as an 11-year-old, I became a Christian as an 11-year-old, not automatically understanding every part of what had happened to me. Sometimes we are more impatient than God is, Who is about the business of teaching us more and more about Him. And Who seems to do it over a period of time after initial salvation.

    Falls Creek, the largest Baptist camp in the world is in OK. Each year thousands of kids walk the aisles, saying they realize they never really were a Christian till now. For some I am sure that is true. For others, I believe they are already Christians but now have a deeper understanding of what they really did years ago.

    Karen
     
  10. Karen

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    Dear Scott,
    From SOME evangelists and pastors, I would say.
    How far and in what manner do you apply this?
    Have you sold all your worldly goods and given them to the poor? If not, then what is the context in which you seem to be emphasizing the total surrender? If not immediately discernible by others when they look at you, I would caution you about making too many assumptions when you look at other people.

    Karen
     
  11. ScottEmerson

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    Surrending is a matter of Lordship. Of saying, "I am no longer in control of my life, but you are!" Too often, we settle for people who believe that Christ died for sins, when that is only one half of the equation. What I have found from my own life, and through talking to both adults and students, is that far, far too often, we teach that salvation is merely a matter of belief. We do not teach that Christ must be Lord of our lives as well.

    It's not a matter of making assumptions. I have found this out from people who have truly accepted Christ several years after going up front or saying the sinner's prayer. It happens far, far too often. People think that Christianity is a matter of believing the right things. I believe that Christ taught salvation in another step - that of placing Him as the Lord of your life.

    As for my own personal surrender, I am a minister of the gospel. I dropped out of one of the top Ph.D. programs in marriage and family counseling in the world to follow God's will. I have no doubt that if Christ indeed called me to give up everything I have, including my family, that I would be willing to do so. That is what Lordship is all about - being open and following the will of God no matter what that is.
     
  12. ScottEmerson

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    If someone comes up and says that they have never been a Christian until now, I trust that they are right, and that God is revealing that to them. Perhaps a clear question to find that out is, "What would have happened to you if you were to have died yesterday?"
     
  13. donnA

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    We've been using it for years in VBS, my first graders can understand it. We've had several kids saved in VBS, and in the months afterward. But it is not as easy as you say it, no sir, theres more to it, if your going to quote it, use all of it. Theres much more the kids are told. They talk about what it means to be a sinner, to be disobedient to God, Jesus is God's Son, He lived without sin, without disobeying God, He died to pay for our sins, and He came back to life. Jesus Lived, died, and lives now, this you must beleive. Repent, beleive in Jesus' death for our sins, tell others you've been saved, adn eb baptised. No child in our church gets baptised without being able to tell what they've done, without being sure God has forgiven their sin.
    The gospel is not for super smart people, older adults who have enough life expereince to understand it, people who read greek and hebrew, but for those who can accept Jesus by faith like a child does, Jesus said not to forbid children coming to Him. The gospel is not hard, it is simple.


    It most certainly is a part of, he just isn't telling you all thats involved in the ABC's. When my kids hears ABC's from me, they always hear that Jesus become thier boss, they make decisions to do what Jesus wants them to do. And thier told this before their salvation, not after, no surprise.

    Why is it when people do something different from you it is automatically wrong? If the gospel is handled right, then what wrong with the ABC's? Just becasue you don use it makes it wrong? Nope, sorry, don't buy that.
    The original poster failed to tell those unfamiliar with the ABC's what all is actually part of useing it with children. And the fact I've never heard it used anyother time the VBS.
     
  14. ScottEmerson

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    The problem is that I've seen at least four churches use it for high school students and/or adults. Salvation involves both believing in Christ and placing Him as Lord of your life. The gospel isn't for super smart people - in fact there's a passage in the Bible that talks about "confounding the wise." However, far too many of our Baptist churches have made salvation to be an easy sinner's prayer and have ignored the rest of the story.
     
  15. Karen

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    If someone comes up and says that they have never been a Christian until now, I trust that they are right, and that God is revealing that to them. Perhaps a clear question to find that out is, "What would have happened to you if you were to have died yesterday?" </font>[/QUOTE]Dear Scott,
    My comment comes from a partial agreement with your original comments. We don't always explain things as clearly as we should, including at Falls Creek. And sometimes (more than a few) I have heard it explained in my church and in revivals that if you have any doubts, you may not be saved, so come down the aisle and make sure.
    (And yes, I have had some vigorous talks behind the scenes, questioning this methodology.)

    Often Falls Creek counseling likewise is done just in context of: "If you have any doubts or can't remember one very clear precise moment, then come make sure." In other words, as the teenager is having an emotional experience at Falls Creek, the counselor is interpreting it for them with one interpretation, "just to be on the safe side".
    To give a personal example, my elderly teen has been intensively discipled by his parents. If he had not been, I do believe it very likely that he would have walked the aisles to "make sure" when he has gone to Falls Creek, and that he would likely have come home with a view that he did not really understand what he was doing when he was five. The atmosphere seems to be geared that way.
    But I wholeheartedly believe that he did become a Christian when he was five and that the interim has been maturing.

    Karen

    Karen
     
  16. ScottEmerson

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    I became a Christian at the age of 19. I was in my junior year of college and was studying for the ministry. I went up front when I was 5 and always thought that I was "okay." I did all these things hoping that God would be happy. What I recognized on Easter Sunday, during the "My Utmost for His Highest" musical, is that I was lost, and that I was relying upon a prayer prayed when I was 5 instead of the cross of Calvary and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was saved right then and there under the conviction of the HOly Spirit.

    I called my parents and told them. They were convinced, as you were, that I had been saved all along. But I knew in my heart without a shadow of a doubt that Christ was not Lord. I had been trying to manage my sin and look all Christian-like, instead of surrendering to Him. I told my parents up front that "If I had died yesterday, I would have been spending eternity in Hell. That is how sure I am that I was not saved before today." They were able to understand after that.

    The point is that no matter how well we know our children, the only people that know if they are saved or not are themselves and God. If your son is convinced a certain way, I would be inclined to believe him. So many children, teenagers and adults are used to putting on certain masks, but on the inside they are white-washed tombs.

    As a youth minister, I am always thankful for parents who rejoice with their child's decision and understand that this is a true salvation experience, for that is what the student himself or herself proclaims. It is a struggle, on the other hand, to deal with parents who try to convince their child that they had been saved for awhile and this wasn't a real experience. I have found that this is quite discouraging to students.

    I would encourage you, as a student minister, to talk more with your son about his salvation experience. If he believes that he was saved here, then it may be a good idea to rejoice with him and accept that.


    Grace and peace,

    SEC
     

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