Thursday, June 21, 2012

Southern Baptist "Sinner's Prayer" Resolution - Compare & Contrast

The following is offered without commentary:

This is the text of the resolution that was passed yesterday at the Southern Baptist Convention:

Resolution 3

An Affirmation of a “Sinner's Prayer” as a Biblical Expression of Repentance and Faith

WHEREAS, The Gospel of Jesus Christ offers full forgiveness of sins ans reconciliation with God to anyone who repents of sin and trusts in Christ; and

WHEREAS, This same Gospel commands all persons everywhere to believe this Gospel and receive Christ as Savior and Lord (Mark 1:15; John 1:12; 6:25-52; Acts 17:30); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures give examples of persons from diverse backgrounds who cried out for mercy and were heard by God (Luke 18:13; Acts 16:29-10); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures also give numerous examples of persons who verbally affirmed Gospel truths but who did not personally know Jesus in a saving relationship (Luke 22:47-48; John 2:23-25; 1 Corinthians 10:1-5); and

WHEREAS, Empty religion and formalism, of whatever kind, apart from personal relationship with Christ, cannot wash away sin or transform a heart (Matthew 7:21; 15:8; John 3:3); and

WHEREAS, The Bible speaks of salvation as including botha a confession with the mouth that Jesus is Lord and a belief in the heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Matthew 16:16; Romans 10:9-10); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, reaffirm our Gospel conviction that repentance from sin and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation (Acts 20:20-21); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm that repentance and faith involve a crying out for mercy and a calling on the Lord (Romans 10:13), often identified as a “sinner's prayer,” as a biblical expression of repentance and faith; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a “sinner's prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel (Matthew 6:7; 16:7-9); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we promote any and all biblical means of urging sinners to call on the name of the Lord in a prayer of repentance and faith; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptists everywhere to continue to carry out the Great Commission in North America and around the world, so that sinners everywhere, of every tribe, tongue, and language, may cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

This is the text of the resolution originally proposed by Dr. Eric Hankins, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi, and principle author of the "Anti-Calvinist Manifesto":

A Resolution on the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be presented at the SBC in New Orleans, June 2012

WHEREAS, God desires for every person to be saved and has made salvation available for any person who hears the Gospel (John 3:16; Romans 10:14-17; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2); and

WHEREAS, A free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel is both possible and necessary in order for anyone to be born again (John 3:1-16; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13); and

WHEREAS, Prayer is God’s gracious means through which any person can communicate with Him and is everywhere in Scripture commanded and commended for every matter and every person (2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 7:7-11; Mark 11:17; Philippians 4:6); and

WHEREAS, Praying to God to express repentance for sins, to acknowledge Christ as Lord, and to ask for forgiveness and salvation is modeled in the Bible (Acts 2:37-38; Romans 10:9-10); and

WHEREAS, While there is no one uniform wording found in Scripture or in the churches for a “Sinner’s Prayer,” the prayer of repentance and faith, acknowledging salvation through Christ alone and expressing complete surrender to His Lordship, is the biblical means by which any person can turn from sin and self, place his faith in Christ, and find forgiveness and eternal life (Luke 18:9-14, 23:39-43); and

WHEREAS, It is biblically appropriate to help a sinner in calling on the Lord for salvation and to speak of Christ’s response to such a prayer as “entering a sinner’s heart and life” (John 14:23; Acts 2:37-40; 16:29-30; Romans 10:11-17; Ephesians 3:17); and

WHEREAS, A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel (Matthew 6:7, 15:7-9; 28:18-20); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, LA, June 19-20, 2012, commend the use of a “Sinner’s Prayer” as a biblically sound and spiritually significant component of the evangelistic task of the church; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all Christians to enthusiastically and intentionally proclaim the Gospel to sinners everywhere, being prepared to give them the reason for the hope we have in Christ (I Peter 3:15), and being prepared to lead them to confess faith in Christ (Romans 10:9), including praying to receive Him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12).

Class assignment: Compare and contrast these two documents.

Class dismissed.

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5 comments:

Robert Warren said...

Hmmm...I'll bet Dr. Hankins didn't like the part in the adopted resolution where the word "world" is only 5 words away from the phrase "every tribe, tongue, and language"

I also hereby move that the 6th "WHEREAS" in Dr. Hankins' resolution be known as the Edgar Bergen / Charley
McCarthy clause
.

reformbama said...

Was there a fruit checking and self examination resolution?

Bumchecks said...

I have earnestly tried to find the "Sinner's Prayer" in the Bible but can't seem to locate it. I do find people asking "how to be saved" (Acts 16:29-30; Acts 2:37-38), and I read about various conversions in the book of Acts. I never read of any inspired person saying "saying the sinner's prayer," however, to be saved from their sins.

Brad @
Lord let me grow

Joe said...

As a Southern Baptist, I am both perplexed and dismayed that such a "prayer" should be composed and/or adopted a some sort of stance. It is a gross misrepresentation of the purpose of prayer in the first place.

Gary said...

Did you hear that Billy Graham Ministries has abandoned the Sinner's Prayer? It's true. They wanted a "fresh" slogan to appeal to nonbelievers. Here is what they decided on:

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

I personally don't like it: too Lutheran.