Rethinking our Terminology

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Over the past few years, I've been rethinking the way we as Christians talk, particularly in giving our salvation testimony, and the way we do invitations or altar calls.

    For instance, when we tell of our salvation, we say "I got saved." Wouldn't it be more accurate to say, "God saved me?"


    "I found Christ." How about "Christ found me?"

    "I accepted Christ." How about "God accepted me?"

    When the preacher does the invitation, have you heard him say "Come to Christ," meaning, come down here to be saved?

    "Come to the altar." What altar? There's no altar in a New Testament church. Why can't we just stay where we are and see the same result?

    At the same time, we have seen the Roman Road corrupted into nothing more than a sales pitch to manipulate a "decision." And the Sinner's Prayer has become "say these magic words" and you'll be okay.

    Are there other expressions that we use that we ought to abandon? Am I wrong about this?

    Tom Butler
     
  2. buckster75

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    Oh no! Tom, am I reading this right. You're not saying we are steeped in tradition with little or no Biblical support for those traditions are you?

    If you are I agree 100%.
     
  3. Ron Arndt

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    Tom

    Many of the things you say are true. But I believe CHRISTIANS should give testimonies on what God is NOW doing in their lives since they have been saved, don't you? What good is it to tell everyone I was saved or found Jesus X amount of years ago when you haven't really grown in your Christian WALK since then? How are you walking with the Lord now? I believe to many people rely on a PAST salvation experience and neglect getting into a deeper walk with the Lord since then.
     
  4. buckster75

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    Ron

    Wonder if people have been conditioned to this. Do we really here many messages about getting to work for God? Most of the preachers in past churches I have attended were content for the people to show up and put money in the plate. Growth was really not preached too much. But again many people are satisfied also to do what they have always done....not much if anything. A book title "An Enemy Called Average" comes to mind. The workers and growers are few.
     
  5. Baptist Believer

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    Same here. It’s quite a problem since human language can’t do justice to the fullness of God and His works.

    What about “God is saving me”?

    I like it except that Christ did not lose us in the first place. Furthermore, He always knew where we were.

    Not bad, except that it sounds like reconciliation with God was our idea and God decided to go along with it.

    I like “Come to Christ” since the call of Jesus to those who wanted to enter into His life was to “Follow Me”.

    I’m with you there! I’ve seen too many preachers who seem to believe that the Communion table or the platform steps are “altars”. :D

    It’s a tradition, and not necessarily a bad tradition. Unfortunately it is often used to manipulate people. I came to decisive faith in a counseling room after I walked forward during a manipulative invitation with a friend who did not want to walk forward alone. I had no real intention of giving my life to Christ that evening, although it had been weighing on me for months, but I finally submitted to the leadership of Christ when I prayed with the counselor.

    (I need to point out that the “counselor” was an extremely poor excuse for a counselor and should not have been working there. He asked about eight of us teenaged boys, “How many of you have been baptized?” Most hands went up. “Then you’re here for rededication… Pray this prayer after me. [Prays a prayer] …Okay, the rest of you are here to get saved… Pray this prayer after me. [Starts praying a prayer] At that moment, I decided I wasn’t going to be manipulated and almost walked out, but the prayer he prayer did express the longings of my heart and I decided at that moment to give in to the persistent inner urging that had consumed my life for the past few months.)

    Yep. Most of the “soul winning” programs I have encountered are rip-offs of “Evangelism Explosion” which is simply a sales technique for religious doctrine. The whole pitch is centered around ‘getting the decision’ instead of working with the Holy Spirit to help someone into the Kingdom. Of course, God can use all sorts of foolishness for His purposes, but I finally gave up the sales techniques about ten years ago.

    Precisely!! It’s amazing how people have embraced “the Sinner’s Prayer” and ignored the example of Jesus.

    Not at all. I’m guessing we would disagree with some aspects of terminology and theology, but I believe you are on the right track.
     
  6. Helen

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    Tom, this sort of thing has been bothering me for a very long time. Most nominal Christians were deceived into thinking they were saved because they repeated the 'magic words' of the sinners prayer -- sort of like using a key in a lock, or paying a check for insurance from hell. It had nothing to do with looking at their own lives and hating what they had become and repenting. It had nothing to do with wanting the truth more than the lie. And, in the end, it had nothing to do with being born again and receiving a new nature from Christ. But they fill our pews and, in some cases, our pulpits.

    Phrases like "I found Christ", however, are based on "Seek and ye shall find." But, yes, "Christ found me" is equally valid, for He came to seek and to save that which was lost!

    You want another expression which I find misleading in the EXTREME? "God won't give you more than you can handle" -- is almost deceptive it is so unbiblical. Almost every day of my life God has given me more than I can handle -- which is why I look to HIM for wisdom and strength and endurance! What the Bible actually says is that He will not allow into our lives any temptation which there is not a way out of. And that is a WHOLE different story!

    I have also seen people say "Money is the root of all evil." Nope. The LOVE of money is the root of MANY KINDS of evil.

    I've mentioned a few times here on BB that the slogan at the top is also misleading "The truth shall set you free." Not true for an unsaved person -- for him or her, the truth enslaves, causing enormous distress to someone who is preferring the lie. The actual Bible passage reads "IF you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

    It's part of an if/then statement and practically no one remembers the IF part!

    I guess, to sum it up, I would love it, and I bet God wouldn't object either, if people actually spent time getting to know the Bible before quoting it; getting to know what it said about conversion before trying to 'make Christians' of others....

    You hit on one of my pet peeves. Sorry for the rant.
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    Some great responses so far. Several years ago, I was listening to a tape by--I think John Reisinger was his name, it's been almost 30 years. He related the story of a service where a young man gave his testimony as follows.
    "I'm so glad that I came to realized that I was a sinner. I repented of my sin and made a decision to trust Christ for my salvation. I praise God that I chose Him."
    Next, another young man stood and said, "I am so grateful to God that He extended His grace to me. He opened my eyes to my sin, and began to convict me. He drew me to repentance and faith, moving me to turn from sin and turn to Him."
    The first young man used "I" many times. I did this, I did that. The second testimony gave God the credit entirely for his salvation.
    I tell you, it's hard to give your testimony without using "I," but I have learned from that story and tried to tell of what God did for me rather than what I did.
    That's basically the point of my OP. We are so conditioned to man-centered evanglism and witnessing, that even us who believe fully in God's sovereign grace have trouble breaking ourselves of bad habits.

    Tom B
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    I just thought of another cliche.
    "God has a wonderful plan for your life."
    Credit for the comeback to this goes to a blogger whose name I can't remember (this happens a lot) who said:
    "God has a terrible plan for the lost."

    Maybe both are oversimplified, but the point I took from it is, we witnesses to the gospel must tell them the bad news before we tell them the Good News.

    Tom B
     
  9. TennisNE1

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    Helen, I was wondering, how do you apply this to a young child that comes to the Lord?
     
  10. Rhetorician

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    Tom,

    I call us "Baptist Catholics."

    We don't have a confessional booth, but folk have to "come to the preacher" to have him pray with them and confess their sins.

    You can only "get saved" while they are playing "Just As I Am Without One Plea!"

    We have to have the "preacher" come to the ER when our little darling has fallen down so the preacher can pray for him or her.

    The truth of the matter seems to be that we have trained our Baptist folk to b/l one way and then to act another un-Baptistic way.

    Yes?/No?

    sdg!

    rd
     
  11. Helen

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    Helen, I was wondering, how do you apply this to a young child that comes to the Lord? </font>[/QUOTE]I don't think a young child NEEDS to 'come to the Lord'. They have not yet left. They Lord said the children are His.
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    Here's another, opinions, please.
    "Invite Christ into your life."

    If you think this is okay, do you have a Scriptural basis for it?

    If not okay, why not?

    Tom B
     
  13. TennisNE1

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    Helen,
    What age do you think divides Children from Adults as pertains to Salvation?
     
  14. buckster75

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    Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    Close as i could come. Not sure if an invite is implied though.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Another one:
    "Let's have the blessing."
    Bro. Tom, will you say the blessing?"

    I know,we mean give thanks for the food, but where did we come up with the term, "say the blessing?"

    Tom B.
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    Here's my point:

    We should measure everything we do and say against the Scriptures in presenting the gospel and urging people to repent and turn to Christ.

    Tom B.
     
  17. Hope of Glory

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    I go to visit with the family and comfort them and see if there's anything they need. I can pray from home.

    How about 7 reasons not to invite Jesus into your heart?
    7 Reasons Not to Invite Jesus Into Your Heart
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    Greetings, Hope of Glory,

    That sermon you referred to was on website of the Duluth Bible Church, and Pastor Dennis Rokser really got my attention with that message. Here's a paragraph that jumped out at me

    Powerful stuff.

    Tom B
     
  19. Helen

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    1. We see in the wilderness that God divided those who were being held responsible for their part in the rebellion and those who were not being held responsible and would be allowed into the Promised Land as the age of 20.

    2. Looking at my own children when I raised them, I noticed that both as children and as young teens, the reasons they did things had nothing to do with God or right or wrong! They had to do with escaping punishment, getting rewards, peer approval, parental approval, good grades, etc. It was not until the later teens that attention began to be turned to right and wrong, good and evil, in and of themselves, and the actual wrestling with God began.

    3. So I started asking people who were Christians, "When did you commit to the Lord". Almost invariably the answers ranged in ages from about 17 or 18 to around 26 or 27. That ten year span seemed to be a watershed moment in the lives of people. The vast majority of the responses were around 20-23 years old, though, and that was interesting.

    So if there is an age of accountability in terms of being held responsible for the sins one's sin nature causes one to commit, because one has sinned intentionally, knowing one should not, then perhaps in the late teens?

    In Romans 7:7-11, Paul talks about being alive before the law came into his life. When the law came, he says sin 'sprang to life' and he died. He did not say sin was not there before, but that it was not active in the sense that it could not hurt him. But when it sprang to life, it killed him. We know that does not mean physically, for he goes on from there. So it must mean spiritually, and this must mean that he was alive spiritually before that happened.

    In John 17:3, Jesus speaks of eternal life as knowing the Father and the Son. That would mean eternal death is not knowing, or not having an intimate relationship with God. If a child is alive before he or she knows the law, then that makes sense of Jesus' words that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these and that their angels always see the face of the Father in heaven. No child is in danger of hell, it would seem from all this.

    And this is no excuse for not teaching the child the Bible! For what other weapon will the child have against the doubts that come raging later in life? How could we not equip our children? And of course we must discipline them, for we must get them ready for the Lord's discipline later, and they need to know it is for their benefit and not because we are old meanies!

    The Calvinists have fought me tooth and nail on all of this, but the more I read Scripture, the more it all seems to come together in this basic pattern.

    Hope that helps a bit.
     
  20. TennisNE1

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    Thanks for all the thought in answering my question Helen!! I am not sure I agree with you 100 percent, but I am sure going to think on these things.

    Cindy
     

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