“The Sinner’s Prayer can lead to … “negligible misunderstanding, lacking necessary transformation.
“It seems like a tool a salesman would use to promote fire insurance.”
7 Problems with The Sinner’s Prayer
(It often produces False Converts)
It’s not in the Bible. (It doesn’t promise anything. Though preachers tend to intimate that it does. “If you come forward and say this prayer all your problems will soon be over, and you’ll start a whole new life in Christ. Note: The Prayer doesn’t give you a whole new life in Christ. You start a whole new life in Christ, by starting a whole new life in Christ. The Prayer. The Decision. The Evangelism Crusade–they can’t do that for you. Only you can do that for you.)
It is not a magic formula. (It doesn’t make anything magically go away, and it doesn’t make anything magically appear.)
It has no power in itself.(It can have the show of Religion, but it can also deny the power thereof.)
It is often used to promote and benefit the preacher–not the believer (to improve his bragging rights–so he can tell how many people “got saved” at his crusade–when in reality, more than 90% of Crusade results produce false converts who never truly got saved in the first place. They were manipulated into making a momentary emotional decision, and then told the had a new life. No, they don’t get a new life by an emotional momentary whim. They get a new life by diligently pursuing a new life, and rejecting the old life, saying “good-bye” to it forever.).
It can cause significant confusion in the new convert (thinking he has accomplished some great goal, when in reality he has not really done anything significant at all, besides being emotionally manipulated.)
It can and does produce multitudes of false converts. (Many give up once they realize the magic prayer didn’t work. Many many will say, “Yah, I tried religion, but it didn’t work for me.” In other words, they said the sinner’s prayer, but it didn’t change their life, and give them everything they wanted, and maybe even were promised by a false message, from a false teacher.)
It focuses on an the outward action, rather than a inward change (although both are necessary, they need to work together. (Once a man changes on the inside, the outside automatically changes. But if someone tries to change outwardly without changing inwardly, they will end up failing, becoming a hypocrite, or worse.)
Here’s the Statistical Reality: you may say the sinner’s prayer, and your whole life may change and be glorious. And the Salvation of God may fill your whole life. (Which may happen, statistically, about 4% of the time.) Or … you may say the prayer and then nothing happens, except that you feel like you were tricked into saying a magic prayer that didn’t work! And instead of enjoying the benefits of Salvation, you get angry at God, at Christians, at Church, at the Bible, and any thing to do with Jesus–even Christmas. (This happens as much as 94% of the time.)
Either way, it was not “the sinner’s prayer” that made the difference. It was the internal change of heart and the transformation of the soul, that was the result, not the prayer. The prayer didn’t make Salvation happen, nor did it hinder it.
If a preacher, or a new convert put their faith in the prayer, and not in the Risen LORD and Savior, the prayer will do the sinner no good in the end. In fact, it may harm them more, than if they never said the prayer in the first place. It is not the prayer, but the relationship that needs to be restored. Asking forgiveness for your sins, is only the first step. If the other steps of faith are not taken, the prayer will not matter in the end.
We have Jesus’ own testimony on this subject:
Not every one that saith unto me,
“Lord, Lord!” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven [possibly those who trusted in the sinner’s prayer]
But he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
~ Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
In summation, I think the liabilities of trying to use the “the sinner’s prayer” as a tool for evangelism or as a genuine spiritual step that will promote ongoing, life-changing, radically transformed growth, in a New Holy and Heavenly Relationship with Almighty God.
The Sinner’s Prayer can lead to … “negligible misunderstanding,” lacking necessary transformation. It seems like a tool a salesman would use to promote “fire insurance.”
If you want to talk about the Biblical Steps of Repentance and Faith, let’s do so. If you follow these biblical steps, it won’t matter whether or not you say the sinner’s pray, because you will be living out the Call of God on your Life.
These steps are 1) Simple, 2) Easy to Follow & Understand, 3) Powerful, 4) Effective, 5) Endorsed by the Word of God, 6) eternally progressive, 7) constantly keeping us current in our duty to: A) Love God with ALL our Heart, and B) Love our Neighbor as Ourselves.
The Bible’s 12 Step Program
A man will come under conviction.
(When he will see his sins, and how the has harmed the Son of God, he will feel the shame, the guilt, and the condemnation his thoughts, words and deeds have done.)
A man will confess his sin to God.
A man will ask forgiveness for his sin’s against God, (and man).
A man will receive forgiveness, and also receive a gift of gratitude and Love Towards God as a result.
(This will be the beginning of a totally New Relationship with God!)
A man will repent of All known Sin, choosing never to return to his Sin–that nailed Jesus to the Cross in the first place.
(This does not mean he will live “sinlessly,” but he will “sin less” because he will continually renew and cleanse himself from all sin, as he confesses and rejects sin in the presence of God, his Father. Can you imagine sinning in the very Presence of God? That would actually be next to impossible to do. Right?)
A man will make restitution. Return or payback anything stolen, confess lies told, confess slander, gossip, whatever the Holy Spirit directs. He will do what He can to mend his broken fences with those he has offered. He will share his testimony of new life with his old friends, his party animal buddies, etc. The majority will most likely reject him initially, but over time, many may change their minds when they have a chance to see the new life that is happening in his Spirit.
A man willseek restoration with those that he has wronged or hurt or harmed–rebuilding trust takes time and effort.
A man will give forgiveness for everyone that has harmed him (this is a biblical requirement).
A man will daily grow in praise, prayer, and Bible learning, to know the will of God for His Life.
A man will live a daily life of continual repentance and faith in the Son of God.
A man will pursue the Will of God for his life right unto his last dying breath.
A man will stand before the Judgement seat of Christ — and He will hear these Words:
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant:
Thou hast been faithful over a few things,
I will make thee ruler over many things: Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” ~ from Matthew 25