Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is it Biblical to Lead a Person in a Sinner's Prayer?

Jesus is never recorded in Scripture leading anyone in a “Sinner’s Prayer,” nor are His disciples. Instead, Jesus (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 24:47), the twelve (Mark 6:12), Peter (Acts 2:38; 3:19) and Paul (Acts 16:30-31; 17:29-30; 20:21; 26:20) told people to repent and believe. We should do what they did. Many modern day “evangelical” types (Bill Graham, Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen etc.) lead people in a “Sinner’s Prayer” as a means to supposedly lead them to Christ. However, this isn’t done in Scripture. Jesus told people to ‘count the cost’ (Luke 14:28) and ‘forsake all’ (Luke 14:33). Consider the way He spoke to those who wanted to follow Him in Luke 9:57-62; Matthew 19:16-22 and John 6:59-69. For the most part these evangelicals will tell people it’s not about the prayer or the words, but then if that’s true, why is there such a strong focus on it. Granted, a person who is convicted by God and has their eyes opened will likely call on the name of the Lord in prayer and I’m not against a contrite person doing this (Psalm 51; Romans 10:9-13; Luke 6:45). However, we should follow the example of Christ and his disciples and tell people to repent and believe, not try to lead them in a prayer. Sadly, many people look to a “Sinner’s Prayer” for assurance of salvation, not solely to God through the work of Christ. Eternal life in Christ is a free gift received by faith (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9).

1 comment:

AL said...

Great post!
I think this is an issue of human pride, counting how many we've led to Christ through the "sinner's prayer."
When actually, it's not us at all, only God makes an actual conversion. I cringe when I hear people in my church talk about leading people in this unbiblical practice.

True assurance can be found in the Book of 1st John, which is a series of tests to know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

Glory to God alone!