The ultimate unbelief and haughty practice concerning - a “The Sinners prayer” – “Salvation Prayer” in the Christian churches.
To really, fully understand what is happening we need to get into the core of the concept of a “salvation prayer” and the haughtiness and unbelief required to subscribe to such theology, which is very sinful.
Everybody is extremely haughty in the period when the Holy Spirit is convicting us regarding sin and urging us to repent so that we can take the first steps on the Narrow Path of righteousness. It is the Love of God the Father that draws us to Jesus and to the finished work at the cross, His resurrection and His exaltation. We have no other alternative but to let His Blood cleanse us from every sin and worldly desires and from the hard grip our old friend our ego has on us.
It is also the Blood of Jesus which cleanses us from haughtiness. The Blood cleanses all, if we allow it to. So at that moment we repent and totally come under willingness to obey, provided we mean to in our heart, asking forgiveness of sins, especially the haughtiness. Then haughtiness will start to disappear more and more in our lives. Christ will enter in and make us “new beings” and we will have a renewed mind and get born again. This can happen in any sequence as the Lord sees fit. After all, the Lord’s ways are mysterious. This will of course bring faith and the unbelief has to go.
This does not happen too often in the congregation in the western world, because a true, pure and simple Gospel is not preached. Everything else is preached instead.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Whatever we preach, provided we end up with the concept of a “Salvation prayer”, we come under the above passage. That is if we deliberately do it after knowing the truth.
The “invention" of an “alter call” and a “salvation prayer” (“sinner's prayer") is very old stuff. If one is extremely studious, one can argue that it goes back to the Gnostic and the Nicolaitans, which Jesus hates. (Rev.2:6)
Certainly, this is seen in the period after Luther and of course increasingly from the times of Charles Finney (1792 - 1875) and Dwight Moody (1837-1899). We talk about time and definitely not the person, even if they started taking those called by the Lord into the "back room" and serve them there.
There is no evidence, to the contrary, that these brethren adopted what we now call the altar call and then a salvation prayer. But the foundation was laid when the concept of "back room" was changed with water baptism and water baptism did not always occur. It was only at the beginning of 1900 that the altar call and especially the “sinner’s prayer” was introduced on a large scale by Billy Sunday and at mass meetings held by Billy Graham. In recent times it is Reinhard Bonnke whom most people associate with this, but also evangelists in large.
Alter call and prayer room (backroom) should of course be replaced with a pool of water or the nearest lake or beach, or a bucket of water for that matter. If the willingness remains to baptise believers, an opportunity for baptism will always be there. If you are in the Sahara then bless sand as water. What also should be noted here is that it is sad that Luther did not take argument also against "infant baptism". He lacked at least two or three "theses".
We know that evangelists, (me included) sometimes leave the water baptism to the local pastor, agreed upon at pastoral conferences before the meetings. That is a practice that we sometimes can accept. But not even that is according to the description in the First Church. 3000 were baptised on Pentecostal Day.
We really, really hope that a Godly form of “safety control” is the practice if such a practice is used, if not the evangelists for sure have to return to do the job themselves, which I had to do more than once. So because of that I have more or less stopped leaving it to the local pastor.
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
38Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We do not pinpoint some of these men of God and evangelists who really surely lead and are leading many thousands on the path to Heaven. But we will here explain the point of that haughtiness in this particular "phenomenon"; "salvation prayer".
Many of these also in their preaching concentrate on rebirth which is what we need to concentrate on. But they also have what should not be there, namely the declaration that "now you are saved". And we're not talking about saved out of this world. We are talking about that being established that when you die you will go to Heaven.
The same thing applies when we speak of "eternal security", which will come back to. When we mention names, it is just to get the time period and the order in which it has occurred within this period. We put our finger on the haughtiness that occurs even in men of God who have “big” names in history. We want get the “how long and how widely this has been going on” into the open.
We would also like to mention that there are studies showing that the number of backsliders after a “salvation prayer” and an “altar call” are around 84 to 97%.
Paul Washer revealed on a video that Billy Graham would be “happy” if just 5% of those who come to an alter call are actually “saved”. What he forgot to mention was that 95 % then get lost, probably. Let’s pray and hope for something better. Let’s hope and pray the all will be saved one day. The problem is, many of them have been told they are “saved”
What we do is that we exalt ourselves to decide who goes to heaven. It is not only the haughtiness in this which we shall deal with in this chapter. it is also unbelief, in more than one way. There are books today that deal with this “prayer of salvation” and a few examples are; "Ten indictments Against the Modern Church" by Paul Washer and especially "The Sinner's Prayer - Fact Or Fiction?" by Andrew Strom. Even a search online provides millions of hits and Wikipedia have even come up with an article in the latest entry.
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
So it's Jesus who will execute judgment. He will one day let you know who goes where. It is the fact that we have taken on that role, which is the disaster. This is the arrogance, the haughtiness, the pride and the unbelief, adding disobedience of course.
Every priest and pastor in every funeral has taken the role of Jesus and is judging the dead and those in sorrow into Heaven.
We can recite the many scriptures about the promises and explanations, but there's no denying:
5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
These passages deal with the same thing. If not, there would be contradictions in Scripture, and in fact there are not. This would also be arrogance if we think there could contradiction in the Scriptures. We have to be humble enough and accept that we do not know everything yet.
Can anyone tell me how we are to worship in spirit and truth without being in spirit and truth? And since it is Jesus who baptizes in the Holy Spirit we most leave it up to Him when He does this. This is also the great mistake we make when we tell others the time when they were baptised in the Holy Spirit and Fire by Jesus. What we actually do is to tell Jesus when He baptises someone in the Holy Spirit.
It is Jesus who baptises, so how can we proclaim something like that in another believer’s life? Some claim there is proof of this like speaking in tongues. But they are wrong simply because they should leave it to Jesus when He does these wonderful tings. There is no such biblical truth either. You don’t find it in the Scriptures for the same reason. Leave it to the Lord!
The preaching of repentance, baptism, remission of sins and Spirit baptism has long been shelved for a while. This is the fatal mistake that came after finger-pointing preaching also by famous evangelists. It is strange that we cannot manage to keep ourselves in the middle of the road, in the centre of the well-lit area for more than a few years. Even the "Azusa Street" revival faded pretty fast, also because of arrogance and unbelief.
The moment we say; "Now you are saved and go to Heaven when you die", then we exalt ourselves. Many believers are not aware of this, but it is definitely the case.
Mat 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
It's that simple. It is Jesus who decides. No matter what some others might think. We must humble ourselves to let Him decide who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell, one day. It is of course a disaster also to tell someone to go to Hell or to think of them as deserving to go to Hell. Both suggestions are similar errors. Both statements are judgmental. If only we could be so humble and admit that Jesus decides. Yes, we have the promises, and the promises cannot fail, but still we must not tell God Almighty what He can and cannot do.
The fact is this: when you are born again, you do not need to constantly be reminded that "now you're saved”. We thank Jesus 24/7 for our rebirth. What we talk with Him about is one thing, but what we proclaim in the lives of others is another thing. We cannot proclaim the saving faith in the heart. It's the Holy Spirit who does that. He is the Only One who can do that. And when given a guarantee from the Holy Spirit we do not need to hear it from others.
It is the same people who criticize both the one and the other who pray a quick salvation prayer with people and send them out into the world with a pat on the back and a good luck to follow. Just as if God Almighty is dependent on luck! It is most arrogant and full of disbelief.
These same people are also the ones who assume the following, as an explanation to justify “salvation prayer” and to give references in the Scriptures of this "phenomenon".. Let us try to explain the phenomenon that is being used for verification that a salvation prayer has been a success. They are looking for gifts from the Holy Spirit, and when it is seen by one in his or her life, it is used to verify the success in those who have prayed this prayer. It is also sad to note that invitation to baptism is often omitted.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
For with this saying, they claim that they have produced something. They forget that it is the Holy Spirit who produces this, and it is His gift in one’s life.
But when Jesus talks about fruit it is something quite different:
John 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
NLT says: “… the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life…”
Mat 12:33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
Mat 13:8-9 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Mat 13:23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
But they forget (like many others) and make the big mistake (like many others), they take things out of context. Therefore the verses of the fruit of the Spirit can’t be used alone as they do. The sum of God's Word is the Truth:
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.
12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
(A chapter is the minimum of what we have to deal with if we are to provide a solid reference for things that are very difficult).
Psa 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
So when someone then tries frantically to find scriptures that support a "salvation prayer" that they fall short because it is more than the fruit of the Spirit. It is also very largely fruit of the harvest. But to take it further and use Gal. 5:22 to say that when one has prayed a "salvation prayer" with someone, it is simply to look for the Fruit of the Spirit., Furthermore, if you find any of this, then everything is in order. Similarly, we say that if one has one of the errors in Gal. 5:19-21, then you are not "saved". Both these statements are nonsense and arrogance of course.
I can assure you that you might find many gangsters who will claim they have one or more of these things present in their lives; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
The world can give these things in a worldly fleshy way. And many are mistaken.
We can assure you that we are therefore not looking to point out errors or defects in the preaching of anyone, but to “highlight” names among the "pillars" because what has been practised is something that we would call arrogance. We are all proud in some way and these “famous” preachers have, with the help of the Holy Spirit, perhaps led millions to Jesus. But that's not the point. The point is that we must understand that even the most "trusted" pillars fall under this haughtiness and unbelief.
For it is so that “easy” and “nice” “actions” have taken over, meaning to say that it seems to be the easiest thing in the world to get a free ride to Heaven. It is not so.
Who says that it should be so easy to get into Heaven? It has now reached such a stage that we do not need to believe in order to get into Heaven. God's grace is enough. Well this is a massive lie.
Not everyone will go to Heaven:
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."
So in addition to this we have all the parables of Jesus and a number of statements.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (underline added)
23 Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there few who are saved?" And He said to them,
24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (underline added)
As we see, it's not just the Gate who is narrow, but Way too. When we are going to understand and accept this? Today people think that the road to Heaven is so wide that it is almost impossible to go astray. Maybe we will refer to it sooner or later, but read the second most read book in England after the Bible, namely The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. Read at same time how he came to write the book (and in prison). Try a "Google Search"
We do not need to give more references. Read the Scriptures carefully and you will find that the seductive, “easy and nice”, convenient teaching which now characterizes the preaching, is not found in Scripture. Take for instance a couple of examples from Luke.
We just want to remind you that what is impossible with men is clearly possible with God and that all need to be born again.
So we conclude this chapter by saying in short:
We must be humble enough to trust the Lord to give us assurance of Eternal Life.
Humility is courageous confidence in a God who keeps promises. We can have 100% confidence in Him. Humility is to have confidence in the Father. Humility is to entrust all things to Him. Humility is to Fear God.
So now gradually we begin to understand the tip of the iceberg when it comes to arrogance in unbelief. Eventually, we will also take a little look at what is beneath the water and then leave it to the reader to assess whether pride and unbelief is important to get rid of it from everyone's life. This also applies to those who are born again. The flesh is after all fighting the Spirit. Constantly!
It is of course leaders, pastors and elders who must take the main blame for the current state of the church. That is because the few who come to faith are subjected to this hilarious, outrageous, false "salvation prayer", but having said that, each member has not done his or her job to test everything. When we really analyse the “salvation prayer” and make claims that could be hard for many to swallow. We should go into prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us only the truth, and whether it is according to Scripture or not.
There must now be an end to the lukewarm-ness, which is why today we may not have more than about 2% of those who claim to be born again who is in fact truly born gain. This is because of one thing:
Unbelief / haughtiness.
What is required rather, than a simple salvation prayer, is the Gospel of total surrender. When Jesus can see in your heart that a total surrender has taken place, the Holy Spirit will do the rest. That's what promises are. It's this that is calling Jesus; Lord.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
It is this that we need to take to our hearts. It is this that we need to believe, that we need to be born of God. Born Again!
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
This definition of faith implies total surrender; nothing less..
When a figure like 2% of the congregation being born again is mentioned, we do not want to go into detail about it, but the reader can begin to figure it out for himself, and begin to test this claim.
Leonard Ravenhill goes this far in his claim, and we agree with this. He says, among other things, to put it very simply, "The Prayer of Salvation has led more people to hell than all the bars in America combined."
When someone says "pray after me" and ends with "now you are saved" they preach a false gospel.
Finally in this Chapter, we should mention something about "God TV" (not the specific channel of that name; it is used in the generic sense) and certain websites. These media are experts in declaring that: "Pray after me so that you will go to Heaven when you die." But they have got it ALL wrong. For example, who will baptize those who "accept" a false "salvation prayer"? Never have I heard anyone tell the viewer to ask a local Bible-believing church to baptize him.. I have asked some friends and they can verify that this has very seldom happened. "God TV" therefore has a major problem. Or in fact, a double major problem that they have to answer for one day. And this is arrogance or haughtiness, as well as unbelief.
Even the devil believes in Jesus. Hitler believed in God. Muslims and Hindus believe in Jesus. There are many who believe in Jesus. How is it with you? Do you believe in Jesus? Well, that is no guarantee of not spending eternity in Hell. Hell would one day then be full of people who have declared that they believe in God. They claim to know about Jesus. But Jesus actually says You must be born again. -
Joh 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
What is worth noting here is that those who think that saying "I believe in Jesus" provides guaranteed admitance into Heaven, always supporting this with Paul's letters. Why on earth can they not see that these letters were written precisely to remove this lie of the diluted, "Lite" gospel? Over three tearful years, night and day, Paul had to exhort these churches. And this is what they refer to, in order to support their claims? I do not know whether to laugh or cry!
To explain how wrong and diabolical this is, here is a teaching from a website:
How to become a Christian:
You can do this by praying a simple prayer:
“God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ and showing us who you are. Thank you that Jesus died and rose again for everyone and for me. Let me be your child and live the rest of my life as a follower of yours.
Not only do they compromise their own doctrines of course, but furthermore is all blasphemy against God's Word.
It is sad, so unspeakably sad - Such huge degree of haughtiness unbelief, and they are in for a big fall.
At the moment I have just bought and gone through a new "Spirit-Filled Life" "study Bible" 2002 edition that came in the mail yesterday. I was careful to buy a new one when we were in Norway, since Amazon is very quick on delivery of books there. The previous edition that I had, I gave away at Manila International Airport.
Yes, you should always be entitled to give away the Word of God. Freely, we have received it and freely, we give. When you come to talk to someone who needs a Bible, especially in this case as it was a lady who was travelling alone to a Muslim country, we should be ultra quick to respond, no matter how many yellow, blue, green and red personal underlines that we have in our “own favourite bible" …
This new Bible, however, is almost an exact copy of the old one, and has been attributed to various extra material at the end that was not in the old version. A number of quite well known evangelists and others have come up with some "To assist you" material as well. This one is, after all a "study Bible" so should this should be included.. But in one of they have written, something that has been added called "How to lead a person to salvation," and it is what I would call a particularly sad idea.
I browsed quite quickly as one does with new things sometimes, and somehow my eyes fell on a section where it says:
"... you can now be sure that you will have eternal life in Heaven "-" When you pray after me, He will forgive you of sin and He will give you eternal life. "
So then the book suggests a fairly well known salvation prayer that contains the words, "I ask you to give me eternal life"
So they have managed to sneak this extremely dangerous forgery into Bibles through the back door. The publisher boasts on the cover “over 2 million sold”. So what should have been a joyful message is now a less joyful message. How many millions of people have learned this lie in churches, libraries, schools, bible schools? We can only weep!
Yet again, rebirth is sadly not mentioned. Yet again, water baptism and Spirit baptism go unmentioned. Yet again, you are given an assurance that, "Pray with me and you will go to Heaven when you die." What arrogance! What haughtiness! Those responsible are in for a big fall.
I should like to add that I’ve just been reading the “Heavenly Man” for the second time. If you have not already done so read it! Yun, the man who got this nickname from his guards and the authorities, is deeply troubled how far the western countries have defiled the Gospel by making it into something different. He, as many other Chinese, cannot recognise it when they hear it. Neither can I.