Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Others' Views on 'The Sinner's Prayer'.

....and what they have to say 

I have included three responses I received from my last letter regarding “The Sinner’s Prayer.” Another detailed response (that I haven’t printed) included the idea that once you say “a prayer” the Holy Spirit takes over and new life begins. The person writing this is an esteemed colleague of many years experience and I know he has seen the Spirit of God at work in the lives of people who have cried out to God. And I don’t deny this can happen. Who are we to limit the Holy Spirit? But I have printed the shorter letters of people’s experiences to allow you to see what I believe are more typical of our journey to God.
 
Hi Jack
What you have written is so true and seems to me to be endemic in the institutional church. I’ve noticed that invitations to find out more about Jesus or Christianity are sometimes tacked on at the end of the Pastor’s message. We need genuine repentance not tickled intellects or appeals to our emotions. I remember the experience of a friend of mine who had become interested in Christianity after his cousin was converted. About the same time his father died and I remember my friend saying ‘if they give an altar call next time( the context was a Barry Smith series of meetings)I’m going up! Well, they did and he did, but he soon fell away. I met him a couple of times after that and his words betrayed the true state of his heart, still unregenerate. I don’t think the fault was necessarily the evangelist’s here, but my friend’s. I felt that after his father died he was looking for something or someone to replace his father, to fill an emotional hole. I thank God that I was not inoculated with the gospel but had gone through the real experience of being an awakened sinner;a convicted sinner; a repentant sinner and finally a converted sinner. May God revive us once again and may we see that’ apart from Jesus we can do nothing’ but what is impossible with man is possible with God.



 
Good morning Jack,
 
Thank you for sharing this.  I was wondering too, but unlike Angela (thank-you Angela) I didn't take the time to write.
 
In the early days of being 'saved' in the Pentecostal Church I struggled when people said you are not 'born again' if you cannot remember the day and hour when it happened. It took years to accept that my many small steps of enlightenment were genuine, and I can recall most of them, starting at age 6 when I accepted God as my Father as I had no earthly one.
 
Your explanation reminds me too of how different was/is Jesus' response and actions regarding people's healing. Every one being especially designed for the individual needing it.
 
So enjoying this email fellowship.
 
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I love your response, Jack!

I've not been a fan of 'the prayer' for quite sometime myself. You explained it beautifully...
 
You hinted at this - but one of my other 'concerns' about 'the prayer' is that it is treated like a 'ticket to heaven' - say this prayer and you're good to go.

Now - I don't like to debate the whole 'once saved, always saved' topic - but I do believe that following Christ is a lifetime of making one decision after another. Some are more 'important' than others, but each one is a step in the journey with God. The prayer can carry with it the idea that you can take one step with God and then a thousand in whichever direction suits you...
 
I'm not one for formulas, but if we had to have one for 'salvation' - I would suggest that baptism is more scripturally sound as the 'monument' to a new life in Christ. But... I'm not one for formulas and I don't think Jesus was either. Relationship, relationship, relationship. ;)
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What do you think? I’d love to hear! And so would others!!
 
Jack

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