Thursday, June 28, 2012

We Agree! And, Disagree

I just read a piece on a resolution by the Southern Baptist Convention, and I agree with the premise of that resolution as reported at While both the resolution and the article are much longer, the agreement point I want as focus is:
God desires for every person to be saved and that the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for any person.
The discussion of soteriology, the study of salvation theologically, does become divisive among those who believe there is a God. This particular subject, the ‘Sinner’s Prayer,’ has been a topic in our own church.

Several years ago we had a group of young men, still in high school, who were committed to a life of ministry. (As a side note, all but one are ministers in a church today.) They witnessed at every opportunity, encouraging the use of the Sinner’s Prayer. When the person repeated the prayer, they expressed success. However – I personally agree with the SBC resolution as the article commented:
One strong caution in the resolution: "The '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."
Take for example the jailer’s question and Paul’s response:

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. (Acts 16:30-32 KJV)

I like that pattern – give those asking the truth as we know it, then give them “the word of the Lord.”  As I’ve said often in this blog – do NOT take my words here as fact.  Verify and study the scriptures, the divinely inspired word of God given to men. Jesus said so:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)

However, taking one verse and creating a religion around it causes problems. That’s tantamount to reading War and Peace (if people still do that) and reviewing only one paragraph. Know your scriptures, and how they came to be. ( As an aside:  Even Peter included Paul’s epistles as scriptures:

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16 KJV))

Does all of that sound as though I agree?  Yep, sure does.  What about that ‘Disagree’ then?  Well, I disagree with assuming that a resolution, even with 80% voting for it, speaks for all SBC members. Disagreements remain within the denomination. Disagreements remain within Christianity.

I thank God that the differences are in God’s hands, not man’s.

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