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Featured The Sinners Prayer

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Salty, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Often the subject of "the sinners prayer" comes up here on Baptist Board.

    In order to have a realistic discussion, we need to agree exactly what the sinner's prayer is.

    If you have a 3x 5 card with "TSP" written on it and someone simply reads this "prayer"
    Is this person truly saved.
    Same goes for Bible Tracts - There is usually "TSP" printed at the end of the trac -

    Often a teleevangelist will lead the congregation and TV audience in a phrase by phrase adaption of "TSP"

    Again - is such a person truly saved?


    Lets add a bit to this - Some on this board are totally against alter calls.
    Is it because - many use this as a prelude to "TSP"

    Open for Discussion
     
  2. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    I will start with the alter call. If it is solely used to entice people to come forward and sign a card after saying a quick prayer - then I am not in support of that.

    I would encourage an alter call - - provided that when a person comes forwarded - they are fully and truly counseled - which could be an extended amount of time. More often than not - said person and counselor should retire to a different room, so the individual can fully understand what he is doing - as well as the opportunity to ask questions

    (BTW - dont even waste my time saying the Alter call is not Biblical - UNLESS you can show me where the Bible PROHIBITS the Alter Call.)

    Now for the Sinners Prayer - what else would you call it- He is a sinner and he needs to pray to be Saved.
    As I mentioned in the OP - "reading a prayer" IMHO is not sufficient. As I stated before, when the counselor has properly explained what a sinner should include in his prayer, the individual should understand what he needs to do - ie ask forgiveness - requesting Christ Jesus to be his Saviour.
     
  3. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    I would encourage preachers to direct sinners straight to the Savior:

    "God has not appointed salvation by Inquiry Rooms and talks with ministers, but by your laying your own hand upon the Sacrifice which He has appointed! If you will have Christ, you shall be saved! If you will not have Him, you must perish! All the talking to you in the world cannot help you one jot if you refuse your Savior! Sitting in your pew this morning, without speaking to me or any living man or woman, I exhort you to believe in Jesus! Stretch out your withered hand, God helping you, and lay it on the head of Christ, and say, “I believe in the merit of His precious blood. Look to the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Why, Man, you are saved as sure as you are alive, for he that lays the hand of faith upon this Sacrifice is saved thereby!" —Charles Spurgeon, Putting the Hand Upon the Head of the Sacrifice
     
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  4. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Yes, I agree with that -
     
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  5. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    End of Charles Spurgeon sermon "A Free Grace Promise" (1888):
     
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  6. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    I don't think the Sinner's Prayer is any less effectual than the Lord's Prayer. Christ helped his disciples put words to their prayers. Only a devil would begrudge that kind of help to new converts.
     
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  7. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Usually, not always, the peoe who complain loudest about the manner in which others evangelize do little to no evangelism themselves.
     
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  8. padredurand

    padredurand Well-Known Member
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    Alter:
    verb (used with object)
    1.to make different in some particular, as size, style, course, or the like;modify:
    to alter a coat; to alter a will; to alter course.
    2.to castrate or spay.
    verb (used without object)
    3.to change; become different or modified.

    Altar:
    noun
    1.an elevated place or structure, as a mound or platform, at which religious rites are performed.


    Alter your alter to altar.
     
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  9. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    The rote sinner's prayer that is part and parcel with most Baptist churches never saved anyone, ever. At best the sinner's prayer is verbalizing what has already taken place in the immaterial part of man, accomplished by God the Holy Spirit through regeneration, repentance, faith, and justification.

    The reason I am viscerally against both is that they can leave a person who has made an emotional decision only, with a false assurance of salvation. I have been witness to this more than once.
     
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  10. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    No prayer has saved anyone. It is Christ Who saves, and always according to faith, not formula.
     
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  11. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    That's the issue, isn't it. Most Baptist churches that use the sinners prayer do not do so as a salvific formula but rather an explanation and perhaps affirmation of the gospel message. Those who oppose the sinners prayer do so because they imagine it to be a salvific formula.

    Like anything, such a "prayer" can be abused. While I see a need for clarity, I don't see a need to assume the worst. When I was a child the "sinners prayer" was often used (I have not personally heard it used for years, except by an occasional guest preacher). It was through that "prayer" that I, as a child, came to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ - not through praying that prayer but from hearing the gospel explained within those words. One day the "prayer" changed for me. It stopped being a cue that the service was coming to an end and started describing the work God had done in my own life.
     
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  12. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    There is no reason to be against the sinners prayer. The prayer itself never gets presented as the saving factor. The only ones against are Calvinists and that is based on their poor theology. They often claim abuses and misleading factors but when it comes right down to it if you removed all of those they would still be against it. There have been a few in the convention that has tried to start a movement against it but there was immediate push back and it fell to the wayside very quickly.

    Part of our responsibility in salvation is confession Romans 10:9-10. We must be willing to confess what we believe. As is practiced today that confession starts in an acknowledgement to God of the change in our hearts and an expression to God that we want and desire a true relationship with Him. It continues with a confession of our changed lives via baptism. Baptism is in fact a public confession that we identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This confession also extends to being a witness to others who are lost.

    This criticism of the prayer is nothing more than deterministic garbage.
     
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  13. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Respectfully, your view is a bit simplistic. I do know Baptist churches that de facto use it as a formula. Once recited, the individual is considered saved and never challenged as to the veracity of their profession. This is in keeping with Finneyism. Not every Baptist church is like that, but there are plenty that fit the bill.

    My own reason for opposing the sinner's prayer is the false assurance it gives for those who made an emotional decision. I have been witness to that as well. I believe the more biblical approach is a confession evidenced by good works and progressive sanctification (Romans 10:9-10; Philippians 1:6; Galatians 5:22-23). In other words, confessing what one believes, and the growing evidence of faith in one's life. In this way, a "decision for Christ" is validated by growing in faith.
     
  14. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I understand but I think the issue itself is very simplistic. Those who call upon the Lord shall be saved. This could be erroneously used as, or mistaken for, a formula for salvation. Or the calling may be the work of God. The first two (using a prayer as an incantation or blindly condemning the prayer regardless of how it is used) is wrong. The last is Scripture.
     
  15. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    Your statement is simplistic and wrong as that is not what the text means in its context. First, it is "with the heart man believeth" followed by the mouth (Rom. 10:8-10). The prayer in verse 13 is not a rote prayer to obtain salvation but the effect and declaration of a changed heart whereby that heart of belief is being expressed vocally. There must be first a heart transformation or the mouth is meaningless. The mouth is the effect whereas the heart transformation from unbelief to belief is causal in their contextual relationship with each other. So to simply quote "those who call upon the Lord shall be saved" is not only simplistic but wrong as that is simply jerking the text out of context and doing precisely what these easy believist evangelists do. Easy believism reverses this order of cause and effect DECLARING the effect the cause of salvation as you have done in your contextual quotation of this verse. That is, they provide a rote prayer and then put emphasis upon making the profession with the mouth and then tell the person that salvation has occurred. That is wrong and backward! The truth is that only a NEW heart which is inclined to righteousness will believe the gospel and that must first be "given" (Ezek 36:26; Deut. 5:29 with 29:4 with Ezek. 31:33 with Heb. 8:10-12). Faith does not come by merely an external hearing of the the gospel, but by the word of Command (rhema - Rom. 10:17) by God internally that is a creative command that produces a new heart (2 Cor. 4:6) whereas the command to repent and believe by men alone and by itself never produces faith as the very next verse clearly states (Rom. 10:18). So these Baptists and evangelists place the emphasis upon the effect DECLARING that performance of the mouth is causal in obtaining salvation when it is not.

    What the evangelist should be seeking is not a profession but a transformational experience (new birth) and calling for "fruits of repentance." The proper and real profession will declare such a transformational experience rather than repeating a rote prayer. The prayer of Romans 10:13 is not motivated by humans and prayer formulas but motivated by an inward experience of a changed heart.

    It is simple to get a child to say this prayer but it means nothing. It is simple to go through a Romans Road routine and ask "you don't want to go to hell do you? you want to go to heaven don't you? and get a yes followed by a rote prayer but that is not salvation. Salvation is first and foremost and internal experience with God that cannot be produced by rote prayers and Romans 10:13 was never meant to be such a prayer but rather the external expression of a changed heart or an inward supernatural experience with God (Rom. 10:8-10).

    Romans 10:13 is a declaration not a prescription and that declaration is contextual based on verses 8-10.
     
    #15 The Biblicist, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  16. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Like I said, a rote prayer said in order to be saved is different from a "prayer" expressing the salvation God has wrought in the life of a new believer. We can add to "repent and believe" all we want, but when we do we end up with another gospel.
    What exactly would you add to "repent and believe"?
     
  17. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Rom 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Is this not a part of "repent and believe"?
     
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  19. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    The Complete Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Book 1 (Vol. 1-3)

    "The world likes a religion they cannot comprehend. But have you never noticed how gloriously simple the Bible is? It will not have any of your nonsense; it speaks plain, and nothing but plain things. 'Look!' There is not an unconverted man who likes this, 'Look unto Christ, and be ye saved.' No, he comes to Christ like Naaman to Elijah; and, when it is said, 'Go, wash in Jordan,' he replies, 'I verily thought he would come and put his hand on the place, and call on the name of his God. But the idea of telling me to wash in Jordan, what a ridiculous thing! Anybody could do that!' If the prophet had bidden him to do some great thing, would he not have done it? Ah! certainly he would. And if, this morning, I could preach that any one who walked from here to Bath without his shoes and stockings, or did some impossible thing, should be saved, you would start off to-morrow morning before breakfast. If it would take me seven years to describe the way of salvation, I am sure you would all long to hear it If only one learned doctor could tell the way to heaven, how would he be run after! And if it were in hard words, with a few scraps of Latin and Greek, it would be all the better. But it is a simple gospel that we have to preach. It is only 'Look!' 'Ah!' you say, 'is that the gospel? I shall not pay any attention to that.' But why has God ordered you to do such a simple thing? Just to take down your pride, and to show you that he is God, and that beside him there is none else. O, mark how simple the way of salvation is. It is, 'Look! look! look!' Four letters, and two of them alike! 'Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.' Some divines want a week to tell what you are to do to be saved; but God the Holy Ghost only wants four letters to do it 'Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.' How simple is that way of salvation!"
     
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  20. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    I can't find where you said that.



    Sorry, but I don't follow you here. Who said that telling people to "repent and believe" is something "we" add? That is part of the gospel command.

    I don't add anything to repent and believe, but I judge a profession by its content not by a rote prayer. Saved people have a testimony of what God did not what they did or do! Saved people have experienced God INSIDE them and their testimony is just exactly that - a testimony of what God did.
     
    #20 The Biblicist, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
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