Monday, June 28, 2010

#166 The Sinner's Prayer

The sinner's prayer is an assortment of confessions that Christian culture deems necessary for salvation. Not to be confused with the Lord's Prayer, the Sinner's Prayer is not found in the Bible.

The sinner's prayer is Christian culture's litmus test for salvation. "Have you prayed the Sinner's Prayer?" is the ultimate question for those unsure of their eternal repository. If death is imminent, this is the type of prayer an evangelical would guide you through. In this sense it is like the Catholics' last rites, but an evangelical wouldn't cop to this. We've already discussed how they feel about Catholics (see here).

1 comment:

Gary said...

Baptists vote to keep the Sinner's Prayer...again

Preuters News Agency

Meeting today in London, a convention of the world's Baptists narrowly endorsed the continued use of the Sinner's Prayer as the hallmark act of Christian conversion. Here is the final draft of the convention's statement on this issue:

"Baptists today again affirm the Sinner's Prayer as the act by which a sinner is justified before God. To be clear, it is not the recitation of the prayer itself that saves, nor is it necessary to endorse a set order of the words to be prayed, nor must the prayer be verbalized to others. What is necessary for salvation is this: A genuine, heartfelt prayer that 1.) acknowledges one's sinfulness and hopeless state of perdition before God 2.) cries out to God with true repentance of one's sins 3.) petitions God for his free gift of salvation 4.) asks Christ to indwell his heart/soul 5.) commits to abandoning his prior sinful lifestyle and promises to follow Christ and his righteousness."

Controversy over this statement simmered for the entire three days of the convention. A group of younger Baptists from the developing world pushed for the removal of the Sinner's Prayer from the Baptist Statement of Faith, declaring that it was unscriptural and lacked any evidence of use in the Early Church. These young people read statements from the Early Church Fathers from the convention podium, noting that requiring a prayer (spoken or thought) for salvation was unheard of in the Early Church. This assertion created quite a stir as many of the older convention attendees were not accustomed to hearing appeals to the "catholic" Church Fathers as a source of authority for Baptist doctrine.

The younger group put forward a new, brash, proposal as the new official Baptist Act of Christian Conversion:

"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins."

This proposal prompted outrage from the majority of convention attendees. One prominent Baptist pastor from the United States summed up the majority's sentiments by this statement:

"Too Lutheran."