The sinners prayer

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by evangelist6589, Feb 28, 2014.

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  1. evangelist6589

    evangelist6589
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    Just ordered my easter gospel tracts and unfortunately WOTM & Tract Planet have none (as of this writing) so I ordered some from CBD. One by John Piper on 10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die I noticed uses the sinners prayer at the end of it. However the tract hits hard on sin, God's wrath, judgment, and God's Holiness so its a recommended tract, unlike most of the other easter ones. Someone told me once that Reformed before the 20th century used the sinners prayer, is this true? I can understand the use of the sinners prayer, however I do not think people whom think they are saved just for saying a prayer and then living like Satan after it. Plenty of false converts whom are currently into New Age, and Wicca also said the prayer at one time. Dozens of these examples fill the WOTM book I am reading as the author has a zealous passion against the prayer. So what say you? Did Reformed at one time use the prayer? Personally the prayer can be a good starting point as long as people understand that it does not save anyone, it just communicates turning from Sin to God.
     
  2. Greektim

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    A sinner's prayer almost has to be used on a tract, doesn't it?
     
  3. Don

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    Anyone who tells another, "read or say this prayer, and you'll be saved" doesn't understand salvation in the first place.

    So say I, a confessed arminian.
     
  4. JamesL

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    Only if you want to derail someone's opportunity to believe in Christ
     
  5. OldRegular

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    Just what do you consider the "sinner's prayer" and is there a problem with a sinner praying for forgiveness?
     
  6. webdog

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    I wish tracts were worded more along the lines of "if this describes you, and you realize the magnitude of your sin and its consequences against a Holy God, wherever you are right now, in your heart silently or out loud with someone, in your own words go to Him in prayer asking Him to cleanse you from your sin with the precious blood of Jesus, and to replace your unrighteousness with His righteousness. Thank Him for taking your punishment and filling you with His Spirit that will be with you from this day forward. Just pour your heart out to Him. There is no magical words to say, just an honest discussion with the One who took your place on the cross. What would you say to someone who gave their life to save yours?"
     
  7. JamesL

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    There is a HUGE problem with directing an unbeliever to ask for forgiveness. Grace is accessed through faith, not by begging. Faith is something that no human can see because it's inside.

    Faith is over and over contrasted against "you do", especially Paul's epistles.

    You gently lead the man all the way to the cross, explaining Christ's merits with great care. God's love, wrath, grace, forgiveness, beautifully expounded...

    Only to throw the man into the ditch of self effort, six inches in front of the cross. Good job.

    And people wonder why there are so many who "fall away" after saying this rancid prayer. They never believed in Christ, they were believing in their prayer.

    All in the name of a bedpost notch for the one who isn't satisfied with leaving the results to God

    It's amazing how many spouse the work of this prayer, yet rail against the work of baptismal regeneration. Mind boggling

    And Romans 10:9-13 in no way supports a sinner's prayer. Such a travesty that when this issue was voted on by the SBC a couple of years ago, there wasn't one opponent who could accurately handle this passage. Shameful
     
  8. Greektim

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    I'm not advocating it, I'm just saying it is almost a necessary element. I like Webdog's answer. It is good.
     
  9. Jerome

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    Charles Spurgeon, "A Free Grace Promise" (1888):

    "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.""
     
  10. JonC

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    :wavey: Anyone who tells another, "read or say this prayer, and you'll be saved" doesn't understand the "sinners prayer" in the first place either.
     
  11. OldRegular

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    I still pray a sinners prayer because I still sin. There is one by David I use often though not for the sin of David at that time..

    Psalms 51:1. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

    Then there is another one I like, this one by the boy's father after Jesus Christ came down from the mount of transfiguration.

    Mark 9:24. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

    Then there is another favorite which should be familiar to all:

    Luke 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.

    I believe in the Doctrines of Sovereign Election and Grace. Faith is an essential aspect of Salvation but I see nowhere in Scripture where repentance is not also an essential aspect of Salvation. And it follows that if one is truly repentant prayer for forgiveness of sin will follow.
     
  12. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I've never heard anyone make such a stupid statement. Have you?
     
    #12 thisnumbersdisconnected, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2014
  13. preacher4truth

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    Well, there are some who believe they've always sought God, were always good, were not those in Eph. 2:3, Romans 3:10-18, Romans 5:6, 10, nor were they those in Colossians 1:21 and by their own testimony have always loved God.

    Now what use would giving a tract to someone like that be? I mean, 'tell them of the greatness of their sin?' Seriously? They believe they're good, have always been good and seeking after God by their own words. Aren't they the 'ninety-nine that need no repentance' (Luke 15:7 which is a rebuke to the self-righteous not a proof text for proving some are good)?

    A person has to 'get' lost before they 'get' saved. Only the Spirit of God can bring a person to such a conclusion. Christ died for the ungodly, not for those who think they've always been good.
     
  14. Greektim

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    Not in so many words, but the spirit behind the message of "pray after me" is just that.
     
  15. JamesL

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    Which statement? The one advocating "pray after me" or the statement that the one who advocates it doesn't understand salvation in the first place?

    I was victimized by thus insidious "sinner's prayer" for years, being led into it a solid 300 times or so from ages 6-12, and another 300 or so times saying it on my own over the next decade and a half

    It was attached to other man-centered works like making a "decision" to "give my life to Christ"

    It was a major stumbling block for me for 20 years. And yes, I would agree that anyone who suckers a sinner into a works-based attempt to access God's grace, probably doesn't understand salvation in the first place.
     
  16. JamesL

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    You make an excellent point about one aspect of self righteousness. There is also a similar, yet alternate, demographic.

    In my case, I was raised in a works based church and home. Fire and brimstone all around, embers falling on our heads incessantly.

    I had all the "bad news" a sinner ever needed. I knew I was a condemned sinner, but found no way out.

    I was taught that if I walked to the front of the church, if I was sorry enough, if I asked for forgiveness, if I committed my life to Christ, If I walked the line, if I determined to turn over a new leaf, and acted upon it, me, me, me.

    I was so steeped in this notion that I had to earn my way, that when I finally heard the gospel I flatly rejected it.

    It wasn't that I thought of myself as good enough, I had just never heard of this thing called grace

    And I have spoken with many, many people in churches who are under the very same impression I was under. They are trying to work their way to heaven - not because they see something worthy in themselves, but because they've only heard the bad news and are severely lacking the good news.
     
  17. quantumfaith

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  18. quantumfaith

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Almost complete "agreement" OR... almost. :)
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Nonsense!! No responsible evangelist or pastor leads anyone in a prayer of that type without ascertaining the mindset of the person saying the prayer. Perhaps when this kind of prayer is used in a corporate setting, it can border on oversimplicity, but if Charles H. Spurgeon could lead someone in a so-called "sinner's prayer" then it ought to be good enough for any Calvinist. :laugh:
     
  20. Don

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    I totally agree with you, especially in your use of the word "responsible." Unfortunately, I know of a few baptist groups that look for numbers, and used to actually hold contests for how many people led others in the prayer (may still, but I don't associate with that crowd, so I can neither confirm nor deny). The original pastor was preaching about actually being saved; his message and methods were turned into this thing that Evangelist refers to as "easy believism."
     
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