The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Which Way Is It?

Posted by Pastor Szekely on March 6, 2008

Recently I’ve been perusing through many good Independent Baptist Church websites to read what they say about Bible salvation. What I’ve noticed is there are many sites which use as their standard to lead someone to Christ the text of “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” from Lifegate, Inc. To read the full text, please click on the following logo:

Lifegate Logo

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this…but what I’ve found is actually confusing…and I admit, it’s confusing to me…but is this confusing to you? The following is a portion of the text from “God’s Simple Plan…” that, I believe, is contradicting – check it out [Note: comments I’ll make will be in blue]:

My friend, “God . . . commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This repentance is a change of mind that agrees with God that one is a sinner, and also agrees with what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “ . . . ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . . . .’” *I believe they rightly emphasized by bold text how someone is to be saved! In fact, they state this emphasis in the next paragraph…:

Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected. His resurrection powerfully assures that the believer can claim everlasting life when Jesus is received as Savior. *That’s good…simply believe! And to believe does not mean to only believe that Jesus existed or that He was a good example. Belief in Jesus Christ as Saviour is to realize that He died for you, and to trust in Him as YOUR Sacrifice and Substitute on the cross for to pay your sin-debt you owed before a Holy and Righteous God.

*SO FAR: I’m reading that Bible Salvation is not of any “works of righteousness which we have done”, but it is obtained or received by believing, trusting, having confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ and the work HE has done. In fact, the next verse that they quote is very powerful to reinforce this: But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

*So from all this, I’m seeing that as a lost person, as I come from godly sorrow unto repentance which was stated in the full text version, I must trust, believe, put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver me, save me, from my sin-debt penalty before God. So why is there another way in the following?

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13). Whosoever includes you. Shall be saved means not maybe, nor can, but shall be saved. *Wait a minute…I just found out I must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, but now I also must “call upon the name of the Lord” as well to be saved? Really? Didn’t they read Romans 10:14a, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” The Bible is telling us that a person must have a saving belief FIRST before they can call on Him. [For further explanation on this, please click on my post, Sinner’s Prayer] Let’s read on…: 

Surely, you realize you are a sinner. Right now, wherever you are, repenting, lift your heart to God in prayer. [*Where does God ever tell anyone to do that? Here’s their answer to this:] In Luke 18:13, the sinner prayed: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” *Before we go on, can anyone prove or say that this publican was praying for salvation? Did he pray for salvation, or was this man who had come to the temple praying for mercy through forgiveness? Was the Pharisee praying for salvation? NO. The reason why I bring this up is for context. In Luke 18, the Lord is teaching on prayer. With this parable of the Pharisee and Publican, the Lord Jesus gave this parable “unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (vs9). God was teaching on Pride vs. Humility in prayer! This is the context! Jesus said in vs14, “for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” This was the outcome of the Lord’s teaching – not on “how to be saved”.

But what good men will do is ignore the many, many verses on “repent and believe” only for salvation, and they’ll take this one poor publican’s words, connect them with Romans 10:13 that they’ve taken out of context, and follow with this:

Just pray: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”

*I don’t know how many times I’ve talked with people who’ve doubted their salvation because they were fretting over, “Did I pray the right prayer” or “Did I say the right words“. SALVATION IS NOT IN THE PRAYER!!! A prayer is not like a magic incantation that makes you saved!!! ONLY JESUS SAVES!!! And the only way Jesus can save a soul is if that soul, after being brought through godly sorrow and repentance, believes on Him for who He is and for what He says He can do…He says He’s God the Son – that means no one can be saved if they believe Jesus Christ is a created being or a god; and He says that His Precious, Priceless, and Pure Blood that was shed can be THE PAYMENT, THE SATISFACTION for a person’s sin-debt before the Father. Salvation IS NOT in a prayer…in fact, they “change back” to the first [right] way in their next paragraph:

Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it! *Right on target! That’s good! No good works can save you – not even the good work of prayer! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

*Did you read 2 ways given to be saved? Is this contradicting or confusing to you? Which way is it – by believing or by praying? As I’ve said, many a good Independent Baptist Church websites and their church’s tracts use as their standard the “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” text.

Why? Do we really believe this? Maybe there are those who never fully read the text. And maybe there are those who’ve read it, took the text’s word over THE WORD, and never really studied it out. PREACHERS: We are expected to expound, or to lay open the meaning of the Bible. Are you really sure the Bible says you must pray to be saved? Did the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 pray to be saved? Did Saul of Tarsus pray to be saved between verses 5 and 6 of Acts 9? When the Philippian jailer and his family were converted in Acts 16, did they pray to be saved? [Not according to vs31 & 34!]

Pray to be saved / Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…

WHICH WAY IS IT?

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8 Responses to “Which Way Is It?”

  1. Pstr. Shane R. Groff said

    Amen and Amen!! “Soulwinning clinics” have warped our knowledge of truth. “Come and learn the 1-2-3 to get people saved!” We have learned how to lead someone into faith in a prayer, when we should be leading them to faith in Christ. Unfortunately, this is the soulwinning practice of most Baptist churches today.

  2. Bro. Szekely said

    You’re right, brother! In many Baptist churches it is “pray to receive Christ” or “invite Jesus into your heart” – foolishness! The Bible doesn’t say, “For by grace are ye saved through THE PRAYER OF FAITH”, or “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that REPEATED SOME WORDS”.

    I want to again make myself perfectly clear for ones who hold to this “technique” of soulwinning: I’m NOT against praying and thanking God BECAUSE He saves a soul; the Scriptures just do not warrant praying in order TO BE saved.

    When a soul has been convinced of his wickedness and sin debt before God; and when that soul has his heart and mind changed about his condition which will result in a change of direction; and when that soul puts confidence and trust, believing and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for who HE is and for the work that HE has done for that soul; that soul is born into the Kingdom and Family of God! After this, if that newborn wants to pray and thank the Lord for saving him, for giving him life eternal, and for paying his sin debt, I’d say “AMEN”! What a great start to discipleship. That newborn ought to pray, and not to faint. That babe ought to come to His Heavenly Father with the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving on his lips. Assurance can begin in prayer right AFTER salvation. But it is prayer AFTER salvation, not before.

    Do we realize that, in many Independent Baptist Churches today, we’re trying to get LOST people to PRAY for salvation? Do we realize we’re wanting GOD to hear the prayers of LOST people? Isn’t that “strange fire”? Is it Biblical?

    Well…I’ll stop for now…but getting back to you, Bro. G – thank you for your comments – right on!

  3. Tim Hewitt said

    Bro Szekely,

    Good article. Well pointed in the areas that have seemed to creep in and cast away the very foundation of our faith nad purpose. It is in my opinion that it came as a result of number one the ole devil. Two, from the desire of many a well meaning (at least I like to think so) soul winners trying to seal the deal. So often we want to do out part of telling the good news, then the Holy Spirit’s part of convicting the soul, then God’s part of drawing them unto Christ. Then, if they haven’t quite got it yet, then we will go ahead and finish up with doing their part of believing by taking them through a prayer. At least we leave the saving part to Christ…

    I’m afraid there is a generation out there sitting in Baptist churches that are two fold children of Hell because of this practice. The only answer for us is to keep preaching the gospel. The danger I have found in my journeys is sulking over the misguided ventures of our brethren and failing to go forth ourselves. Let us be about the business of not just knowing the truth but actually preach to those that have not heard so that they might have the opportunity to believe on Him…then they will certainly call on Him.

    Good to visit by the site again, I have periodically perused it over the years. Always enjoy the articles.

    Serving Him in a dark place,

    Tim

  4. Bro. Szekely said

    Thank you for the comments, Bro. Tim!

    You’re right – we must go on & keep on keepin’ on. It just really gets to me that good, God-loving and God-fearing men will follow after something that [I believe] isn’t Scriptural, AND like you said, just may be making some others two-fold children of Hell because of this unscriptural practice.

    I hope these dear men and others would look past me and search the Scriptures on this very important, foundational issue for the Lord’s sake – and for the sake of the lost. I’ve noticed that there are those who just won’t enter into a dialogue on doctrines for different reasons…but brother, we need to – Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”.

    I just pray that some good Independent Baptists stop acting like Billy Graham and Charles Finney in trying to “seal the deal” [just like you said] when a lost person hasn’t quite “got it”. I really think there’s a big problem in our ranks with this, and it sounds like from your comments, you think so as well.

    It’s a blessing to me that you point this out from what you see. We must now pray and exhort that attitudes and practices would change to the right.

    Well…got to go, but brother, thanks for clicking in, and Lord bless in “the dark place”! Keep on being SALT and LIGHT!!!

  5. Tim Hewitt said

    Brother,

    Send me your email address and i will send you my updates.

    Tim

  6. Bro. Szekely said

    Will do, brother!

  7. Courtney said

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Praying for salvation has long been a source of irritation to me because it just isn’t found in the Bible. Scripture is so clear that salvation is through belief in the Son of God and the atoning work He accomplished on Calvary, thereafter, being raised from the dead and seen by many. Unbelief is the sin unto death, not a lack of saying the right prayer. It is refreshing to see truth being upheld instead of this watered down, mamby pamby faith that seems to be so prevalent in the church of today. Your blog is such an encouragement to me. Thank you!

  8. Bro. Szekely said

    AMEN, COURTNEY!!!

    It’s so good to read your comments! Praying for salvation is so prevalent, but the only thing is – it’s not found in the Bible!

    It’s amazing how many good people fight this and try to justify praying over believing. You’re right: unbelief IS the sin unto death, and not, “Well…did I say the right words” = foolish!

    Keep on fighting the good fight and earnestly contend for the faith, my sister!

    “Watered-down, Mamby-pamby”…LOL! Great Comments, sis!

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