How may one be saved without praying? (Unless like calvinists, you believe that God alone may choose whether or not you are saved!)
This comment came in today. I have spent much time thinking my reply through, and feel that it may be of assistance to others who may be struggling with the same or similar questions. Name etc have been omitted but are held on file.
While I don’t agree with Calvinism, you have completely taken a lot out of context in regards to what Mr. Todd has said. He’s stated repeatedly that he doesn’t believe in works salvation. But, as the Bible states, faith is never alone. There will be fruit and a transformation. Just “saying a prayer” is not enough. Faith without works is dead. No. This does not mean works saves, but works/fruits are a BY PRODUCT of a genuine confession. We are saved and justified through grace, and Christ righteousness is imputed to us. Sanctification should be intentional and as the holy spirit makes us more into the image of Christ, we are growing. No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.
I am unsure just what I have said that you disagree with. What have I actually stated which you feel is incorrect? Please quote my words! I have repeatedly said that if anyone wishes to comment on what I have said, you must state clearly what it is that I have allegedly said. Unless, of course, you don’t really know what it is that I have said that you find out of context.
You say, “There will be fruit and a transformation. Just “saying a prayer” is not enough. Faith without works is dead.” Where have I said otherwise? In fact, I do not have any disagreement with these words. In fact, I agree with much (not all!) of what you have written. You seem to have misread what I have actually said!
Friel says (“Ten reasons to not ask Jesus into your heart” – also see The Heresy of Todd Friel) So, what must one do to be saved? Repent and trust. (Heb.6:1)
Yet Hebrews 6:1 (Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,) actually teaches that we should move on from the foundation of repentance and faith toward God. That is, to grow as a Christian instead of staying a Christian baby. (See the context in Hebrews 5:12-14 in your Bible.) Apparently Friel is teaching that we must do the works of our salvation in order to be saved. But the works should be a consequence of that salvation, not the cause. At the very least Friel seems to be mightily confused here.
I have quoted Todd Friel (with my comments added) in The Heresy of Todd Friel:
In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith. [I fail to see even one justification, here or anywhere else for that matter, how asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith! This is a ridiculous grasping at straws! It might be possible to leave out faith, but nothing says the sinners’ prayer cannot involve faith! It’s the person who has or hasn’t faith, not the sinners’ prayer!]
Are my comments out of context here? The mere praying of the sinners’ prayer cannot automatically assume faith, nor the lack of faith for that matter. And if you think faith is a gift of God, check it out properly, for faith is the response of man to the character of the God who makes such great and precious promises. (Try reading Hebrews 11 carefully.) Also, the gift of God in Ephesians2:8-9 cannot grammatically be faith. The word genders are wrong! The gift of God there is your salvation by the grace of God.
I also mention the sinners’ prayer in Calvinism is incompatible with Biblical doctrine: “This calvinist lack of free will leads directly to a serious problem between calvinists and non-calvinists. Calvinists cannot accept any notion at all of free will in your salvation. If you claim to be a Christian because of any decision of your will to repent and be saved, or pray the sinners’ prayer, or ask Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour, or anything else that relates to choosing today whom you will serve, then calvinists have to reject your testimony as invalid.”
The point being made is that any decision made by one’s own free will is unacceptable to the calvinist because of that claim to have used free will to decide. I am not giving an unqualified tick of approval to every sinners’ prayer that is prayed. However, if one has free will to decide to come to Christ for salvation, then one must pray to Him at some stage. (I assume you believe that it is acceptable and maybe probable even that a person may pray at this time?)
Todd Friel says: People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. (“Ten reasons to not ask Jesus into your heart”)
Where does it say in the Bible – or even suggest it – that “people who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved”? Is it a sin to ask Jesus into your heart? And where does it say that it was because they asked Jesus into their hearts that caused Jesus to reject them? Read it carefully! Also note Matthew 7:21-23 – 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many 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? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
It is those whom Jesus never knew (who didn’t do the will of the Father) who will be rejected. And the will of the Father is that all should call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4). There are many who profess to know Christ but never submitted to His authority.
You said, “No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.” However, as for the sinners’ prayer not being in the Bible, how else may one call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) if one cannot use prayer to do so? Calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved is the biblical requirement for salvation. Please tell me, how may someone call upon the name of the Lord to be saved without praying? And if someone calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved, then that is a prayer for salvation, that is, the sinners’ prayer. I do not claim that all who pray such a prayer will be saved, either. If a person’s life does not show the change of such a prayer, then that person’s salvation must be considered non-existent. I quote from my last post: “Many do struggle with sin for a while after they are saved; sins such as addictions do not always miraculously completely disappear immediately the person comes to Christ for salvation. However, if they do not disappear at all, ever, then that person’s salvation was probably non-existent. But it should not disqualify them from being declared Christian if they do not completely change from the start. What they often need is encouragement, not a dismissal because they failed to measure up immediately.” (Just exactly what is the calvinist gospel?)
That is, if there is no transformation ever in a person’s life after praying to be saved, then it may be assumed that the person was never truly saved. Certainly faith without works is dead. Where have I stated (or even implied) that this is not so?
In Luke 18:10-14, Jesus gave the example of a sinner who prayed to God to be merciful to him a sinner (actually “to propitiate him a sinner”). This man prayed a prayer to God, “Lord be merciful to (propitiate) me a sinner!” (And if a sinner prays to God like this, then how is it not a sinners’ prayer?) He showed no works other than extreme repentance for his sins, yet Jesus declared him justified. Now, if the sinner had then made little or no effort to put this prayer into action (that is, continuing to live as he had previously), then it is clear his prayer may well have been false and his justification non-existent. Of course, this is just a parable that demonstrates the effective use of a sinners’ prayer. Because it is not necessarily a real situation, we are not told what happened after that. It was a parable, after all.
But it is an example of a sinners’ prayer. Is it not in your Bible?
One last thing to note: the only people who deny a sinners’ prayer in any shape or form are those who believe that man has no free will to choose his salvation. Thus the calvinists teach that only God alone may choose your salvation for you, and thus a sinners’ prayer cannot be acceptable to them regardless of whether it is genuine or not! You disagree with calvinism but you also appear to disagree with a salvation that requires a person to pray to God for salvation. Some sinners’ prayers may well be a waste of time, especially if not accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
However, some sinners’ prayers must be genuine. If man has free will to choose to accept or reject salvation, then in order to be saved he must pray a prayer at some stage to call upon the name of the Lord. (Unless no genuine Christians exist in the world today??)
By the way, did you make a decision to be saved at some point in time? That is, did you call upon the name of the Lord to be saved? Of course, calvinists don’t agree with this, because they don’t believe man has the free will to do so. “You don’t choose God; God chooses you!” they say. But you have said, “I don’t agree with Calvinism” which may assume you agree in the free will of man. Or do you? Free will requires a response to God, generally in the form of prayer, unless you have found another way?
You said, “No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.” Apparently the following verse may be missing from your Bible?
Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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