It was very unwise of me yesterday making the bald statement, “There is nothing magical about the Sinner’s prayer”.
We have all heard preachers say, “now that you have prayed that prayer you are a Christian”. No man can see into the human heart and therefore how can people say the spiritual transaction has taken place. I have asked 1000’s of people did they have to pray the Sinner’s Prayer” more than once, and it seems the majority said yes. Even three or four times.
Paul says it is not just confession with the mouth but also believing in your hrart.
I am a product of Billy Graham Salvation Counselling training, and we were told seek to leave the person with ASSURANCE that they were born again 1 John 5.13.
This is why discipleship is so important, because when a person makes their first decison for Christ, it may just begin a journey that may take days, weeks, months before they have assurance.
The Parable of the Sower tells us that seed fell in many places and some went into good soil. We have a responsibility to see that the seed (divine sperma) of God’s Word has entered into the womb of the heart and conception has taken place.
Rodney Howard Browne (and other preachers) when making altar calls would invite 3 categories of people to respond:
1. The unsaved
2. The Backslider
3. Those who were not sure
In large rallies sometimes thousands come forward because they were not sure. We sadly, probably have people sitting in our churches who are “not sure” and hoping they are Christians. What a responsibility Disciplemakers have to see the new bleiever has assurance of sins forgiven.
Many churches take people’s names on a Sunday, and may not call the person until the Tuesday or Wednesday to see how they are. Experts say the first 48 hours following the decision is so important, the enemy wants to steal the seed away.
As a 10 year old boy I prayed and I was born again but after being in the ministry for 50 years, I speak out of painful experience in my involvement with people, that simply praying a prayer does not necessarily produce that spiritual transaction. Remember a Discipleship Class is NOT enough, someone should walk with the person not only confirming their assurance of sins forgiven but lead them into a developing spiritual maturity.
My statement and position on this neither makes me an Arminian or a Calvinist simply someone who wants to get it right.
I do trust the above clarifies the statement.