The sinners prayer & Paul Washer

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by evangelist6589, May 13, 2014.

  1. evangelist6589

    evangelist6589
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    Was listening to a sermon by Mr. Washer the other day and was not very impressed. I had not heard this sermon before, but the way he insults people that disagree with him was not appropriate. He said of those pastors that use the sinners prayer that they all lack a biblical bone in their heads, he said those that are not convicted with his messages are most likely lost, and he added another sarcastic remark of a favorite teacher of mine, yet never once bothered to present an argument and looking on his website I could not find one. My conclusion is that he lacks grace. While I respect Mr. Washer, and appreciate his zeal for the Lord I realize that other men can preach hard on sin, but also preach hard on grace. Fo example Jerry Bridges is one example whom preaches well on sin, but also on grace.

    But overall I think people overreact to the sinners prayer and Mr. Washer is a big example. There are misuses of the prayer but one can't just assume that 8/10 people whom pray the prayer are false converts. Is God not sovereign in salvation? If someone is really convicted and really repentant he should pray the prayer, and as I have said in my street evangelism I have told people that God knows the heart and that the prayer saves no one, as only God does the work, but the prayer can confirm a repentant heart for people. The Bible says the following.

    Rom 10:13 (KJV)
    For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Therefore I am not anti-prayer. Below is what someone from the Moody Church in Chicago said of the prayer. So does Dr. Erwin Lutzer lack a Biblical bone in his head? I think not Mr. Washer if you would listen to his messages and read his books.

    ---
    As with many other things in the Christian life, the sinner's prayer may
    be used rightly or wrongly. We often see it misused in our modern
    context, and because of this, some ministers have sought to avoid it
    altogether. However, when used rightly, the sinner's prayer is a
    wonderful way for a new believer to express their faith in Christ, and
    confess their total dependence on him alone for their salvation.

    The sinner's prayer is wrongly used if it is regarded as a key that
    unlocks the door to heaven. This twists the prayer itself into a work
    that earns the favor of God. However, Scripture clarifies that it is
    faith alone in Christ alone that saves the sinner. Because of this, the
    sinner's prayer can be used rightly when it is a response to God's grace
    that flows from faith. It is then an expression of the faith that the
    sinner is already placing in Christ alone for salvation.


    It is important to explain this distinction to a person who desires to
    trust in Christ. As long as they recognize that it is faith in Christ
    and not the prayer that saves them, then it is perfectly acceptable to
    lead them in a sinner's prayer.
     
    #1 evangelist6589, May 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2014
  2. Aaron

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    Helping a sinner to find the words to ask for mercy? Who but a devil would begrudge him?
     
  3. evangelist6589

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    That comment will get you unfriended by die hard anti sinner prayer advocates on FB.
     
  4. kyredneck

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    ....what's FB?
     
  5. JamesL

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    IMO, the phrase "sinner's prayer" is a misnomer.

    Conversion is a passing - from death as a sinner to life as a saint. If the prayer is said while on is on the side of death, then God didn't hear it

    Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
    That it cannot save;
    Nor is His ear so dull
    That it cannot hear.
    But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
    And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear
    . (Isaiah 59:1-2)

    If the prayer is said after one has already passed from death to life, then it would be a saint's prayer - and therefore shouldn't be used at all in the conversion process


    I think Washer is off the mark, however, in his use of the Law as the definer of sin by what people do.

    Sin is not do's and don'ts, per se. A scriptural definition of sin would be doing what is right in one's own eyes. When one reaches a point in his life where he no longer considers right and wrong on the basis of outside influence (mom and dad, God, laws, etc), then he dies spiritually. That's what happened to Adam and Eve, and that's what happens to each of us.

    You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes - Deut 12:8

    In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes - Judges 17:6

    Go back and look at what happened in the garden. It was not the eating of the fruit that killed Adam and Eve, it was the knowledge of good and evil, and the desire to establish for themselves what is right and wrong - the desire to be wise is what Satan tempted Eve with (Gen 3:4-6).

    Romans 1:22 says "professing to be wise, they became fools"

    Proverbs 12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel

    Prov 21:2 - Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts


    This is the definition of sin, doing what is right in our own eyes. When we decide what is right and wrong, and nobody is going to make up our minds for us.

    Many quote 1John 3:4 - Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. - and they determine that transgressing the law is sin. But that's not at all what it says.

    It says two things - whoever commits sin (doing things your way) is also transgressing the law, for sin (doing things your own way) is the transgression of the law.

    Doing things your own way breaks the greatest command - You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. In other words, with every fiber of your being. And if you love Him, you'll obey HIM, not yourself. And not even a set of rules - HIM.


    The law was added BECAUSE of sin (everyone doing what was right in his own eyes). It was merely a treatise on what sin might look like, not to confine sin into a list of do's and don'ts

    Washer has reduced sin and righteousness to a list of do's and don'ts, just like the Pharisees. But Jesus said our righteousness must exceed theirs. They wanted a comfortable list of restrictions and rules. But Jesus expounded that it goes much deeper than that, to the inner man and his desire to do things his own way

    Why do you think love fulfills the Law? Because God is love, and desires that we love. Jesus said I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. And this one command fulfills the law.


    Washer wants to argue with heathens about a list of do's and don'ts, when he should be explaining the biblical meaning of offending God - doing it our own way. The fool says in his heart that there isn't a God. He makes his own rules, and does what is right in his own eyes.


    And saying a prayer, or being sorry for not conforming to a set of rules is not the biblical definition of repentance. Repentance isn't a promise to walk a straight line according to a bunch of rules.

    Repentance is a change of mind concerning sin and righteousness. Sinful on our own accord when we profess to be wise, thereby becoming a sinful fool, but then righteousness found only in Christ, through faith in Him.
     
  6. kyredneck

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    5 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Gen 6

    19 For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings:
    20 these are the things which defile the man…. Mt 12

    13 for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified:
    14 (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves;
    15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); Ro 2

    7….the law had said, Thou shalt not covet Ro 7

    Sin is an attitude.

    But then, so is obedience.
     
  7. Winman

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    The sinner's prayer is not wrong, we have examples of it in scripture.

    Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

    This publican prayed a very simple sinner's prayer. He confessed he was a lost sinner and cast himself on the mercy of God for forgiveness. And Jesus said he went down to his house justified.

    Even Paul said a sinner's prayer.

    Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

    Ananias told Paul to wash away his sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

    The prayer is not what saves a man, the prayer is simply an evidence of the faith in Jesus that was already there. If you believe that Jesus was simply a normal man who lived and died 2000 years ago, you are not going to call on him to save you, no once can speak to a dead man.

    But if you believe in your heart that Jesus truly was the Son of God as he said he was, that he died on the cross for our sins, and three days later rose from the dead and now sits by his Father, then you will sincerely pray to him to save you. So the prayer is simply evidence of faith.

    Yes, some folks get people to say a prayer when they really don't mean it, they are just trying to get the person to leave them alone. These persons are not saved. But I believe most folks really mean it, and they are really praying to Jesus to save them. And if they mean it, then Jesus does save them.
     
  8. Aaron

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    Was going to respond to JamesL with this verse, and ask, how would you have advised Jesus to word this prayer?
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    Bingo! He is full of himself.
     
  10. Thousand Hills

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    Golly gee Rev, I'm sure glad we don't have to deal with people like that here in the good Ole' Baptist Board Land o the USA. :tongue3:

    Me actually thinks your a bit jealous of brother Washer lets see here:

    RevMitchell Accomplishments- 25,000 Posts club on Baptist Board (90% of which are one liner criticisms or cut and paste jobs from Fox News)

    Brother Paul Washer Accomplishments - Travels the world preaching the gospel, writes books, runs a Missionary organization.

    Nuff said. :laugh:
     
  11. kyredneck

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  12. Thousand Hills

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    Evan, as you well know PW is a controversial figure here in BB land. A few people love him, most people hate him. Just a few weeks ago you were promoting one of his books now your giving him down the road. (Me thinks you like to stir the pot some?)


    Does Washer over react? Maybe, maybe not. I tend to think that our problem is more that we under react to how rotten we are before a Holy God, and the magnitude of what it really means to be reconciled to him through Christ. Overall though, there is nothing wrong with looking at how we do things and testing it against the scriptures. I think we frankly need more Washers in this day and age to challenge the status quo and bring much needed reform to our churches in America.
     
  13. Thousand Hills

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    ??? Conversion is the regenerative work of God breathing life into a dead corpse - Ye must be born again!

    ???? We are dead in our sins and trespasses and do what it is our nature to do. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. As such we are either slaves to sin (because of the first Adam) or slaves to Christ (because of the 2nd/last Adam).

    ??????? So, "All we need is love". The law reflects God's character, we cannot keep the law, it is our schoolmaster to point us to Christ, who alone imputes his righteousness to us. We love him because he first loved us.

    Overall, You've kind of lost me, and to be honest a few of the things your saying are giving me heartburn (I'm pretty sure its your post not the Taco Bell I ate yesterday). Nevertheless I take it that you don't believe "In Adam's Fall We Sinned All"
     
    #13 Thousand Hills, May 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2014
  14. Tom Butler

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    The problem with the Sinner's Prayer is not so much its use but its mis-use. No one objects to a sinner crying out to God for mercy, as the publican did.

    Years ago, our church brought someone in to teach us soul-winning. We were given a set of scriptures to read to the lost person. Then we'd get to Romans 10:9 (call on the name of the Lord) and 10:13 (confess with your mouth). Then we were to give them the actual words to say. In other words, repeat after me.

    So, that raised the question: if we're to call on the name pf the Lord, and if we're to confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, what do we actually say?

    The danger is in encouraging someone to "say these magic words." It implies that it is that prayer that saves. Or, at least, it has to be said aloud. I remember in the soul-winning class, we were to follow up with "Now you prayed that prayer, didn't you?" "Yes." "And did you really,really mean it?" "Yes." Then by the authority of God's word, I declare you to be saved. And, don't let anybody try to talk you out of it."

    See what I mean?

    By the way, in recalling my own salvation experience, I never "prayed the prayer."

    Another by the way, is "confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus" simply a public declaration of your faith? Is that public declaration salvific?

    I'm wondering about others here on the BB. Relate your conversion experience, with or without the prayer. Is there a cookie-cutter way to be saved? Have we boxed ourselves in with a formula for presenting the gospel to the lost?

    So, don't be too hard on Paul Washer. He may just be onto something.
     
  15. Aaron

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    "After this manner therefore pray ye . . ."
     
  16. Winman

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    As I wrote before, the prayer is simply evidence of the faith that was already there. If you believe Jesus was just a normal man who lived and died 2000 years ago, you are not going to pray to him to save you. But if you truly believe he is the Son of God who rose from the dead and is very much ALIVE, then you will sincerely call on him to save you.

    I also think the prayer serves to assure the new believer of his salvation. He can remember the day and time that he first believed the gospel and called on Jesus. I personally can remember when I did this 50 years ago like it happened yesterday. I know that I sincerely called on Jesus to save me, and by the authority of God's word I know I am saved. That is a good thing to know.
     
  17. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I'd like to think that ever time we have a thread like this, the discussion will be put to rest once and for all, but it never is. The subject keeps "resurrecting" like a bad penny.

    Here's the bottom line: Prayers are said every day by people who are convicted of the gospel and want to be saved. Is that a "sinner's prayer"? In their cases, yes, absolutely, and it was effective. Should we lead those with whom we share the gospel in a prayer of salvation? Why not, as long as we don't give them the impression it is the prayer that saves. Does walking an aisle, saying a prayer, marking a date in a Bible, even "asking Jesus into" one's heart, save anyone??

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

    Unless, of course, the acts are undertaken with sincerity. Faith comes by hearing, believing, knowing Jesus' word is true. He is not, as so many misuse Revelation 3:20, standing at the door and knocking at the door of an unrepentant sinner's heart. He doesn't need acceptance. He is sovereign. We need His acceptance. But that doesn't mean our prayer the day we were saved is not effective.

    It is only ineffective if we didn't know what it meant, didn't say it out of conviction, didn't really mean it. Or if the dummy leading us in the prayer thought it was the prayer doing the saving.
     
    #17 thisnumbersdisconnected, May 13, 2014
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  18. Winman

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    And see, I would disagree with your view of Rev 3:20. I absolutely believe that is a salvation verse showing us how to be saved. If we simply invite Jesus into our heart to save us, he will come in.

    I agree with Barnes and Spurgeon that Revelation 3:20 is a salvation verse showing any man how he might be saved. Just open your heart to Jesus and invite him in. He WILL come into you.
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    The verse is in the letter the Jesus Himself dictated for delivery to the church at Laodicea -- believers. In v. 19, Jesus says, " 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.' " He reproves and disciplines believers. He draws and calls sinners to salvation. Therefore, the verse is to the believer, given that despite Laodicea's lukewarmness, they were nonetheless believers.
     
  20. evangelist6589

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