The Sinner’s Prayer

Early on in our discussion about the elements involved in a person’s salvation, someone commented that I had left out the sinner’s prayer.

Here’s the link to my reply

The problem with the sinner’s prayer in my estimation is simply that it is not found in scripture.  No where is there a sinner’s prayer recorded or do we read about any salvation experience where someone prayed a sinner’s prayer.

In fact, if we do a little research about the sinner’s prayer, it’s only about 500 years ago that it was first practiced and it didn’t get refined until Billy Graham.

Follow this link to this treatise/exposition about the history of the sinner’s prayer as well as a rebuttal to it’s validity.

Let me reiterate what the Bible does teach about a person coming to salvation.

  • A person must first become a follower of Jesus Christ (a disciple) believing in Him, that he is the Son of God and believing that God raise him from the dead (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10).
  • A person must realize that they are a sinner who will suffer the consequences of sin (Romans 3:23 & 6:23) and that they must repent of that sin (Acts 2:38 & 3:19).
  • A person must profess their belief in Jesus through confession (Romans 10:9-10).
  • And a person must be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21).

Of course a faithful life to God follows this as well, but the point is, what does the New Testament teach?


3 thoughts on “The Sinner’s Prayer

  1. 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.”

  2. Pingback: Baptism is the Sinner’s Prayer « Blogthechurch's Blog

  3. You should see the looks I get when I tell some Christians that people have shared and explained the gospel to me and I believe it so I have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God but I do not wish to do the sinner’s prayer to ask Him to come into my heart.

    Their expression changes to one of doubt about my eternal salvation even after I tell them I believe He died in my place, a sinner who cannot save myself who has repented of my sins, and I believe He rose again on the third day.

    They sometimes still push even further by asking, how do you know for sure?

    I then leave them with this comment, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I will gladly confess that to anyone, anytime.

    Everything I have stated and believe is straight from scripture, in particular 1 John 4:15 that says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” So God is already in my heart so there is no need to say any sinner’s prayer. I wonder if 1 John 4:15 even sounds familar to some of these zealous sinner’s prayer supporters? Because this passage is in the Bible but the sinnner’s prayer is nowhere there to be found.

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