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Jared Kennedy: I believe the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” can be a dangerous way of calling someone to faith. Here's why.

Editor’s Note: Sharing the gospel with our children is an extremely critical task and the language we us to communicate the good news to them is also vitally important. This article offers an alternative view to a very traditional method of evangelism. We encourage you to share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below to help create a valuable discussion on this kingdom issue. 

Your child lies in her snuggly, warm bed and says, “Yes, Daddy.  I want to ask Jesus into my heart.”  You lead her in “the prayer” and hope that it sticks.  You spend the next ten years questioning if she really, really meant it.  Puberty hits, and you only have more questions.  She turns away from faith.  You spend the next ten years praying that she will come to her senses.  What went wrong?

Of course, there is no way to guarantee that an early acceptance of the gospel will stick, and parents should not feel defeated when their adolescents question or even rebel against what they have been taught from a young age.  However, we can be careful to avoid language that would give our children a false understanding of the gospel or a false impression about their own condition.  If you’ve grown up in a church setting, you have probably heard the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” a thousand times—at evangelistic meetings or at the end of impassioned sermons.  Perhaps you have seen it modeled as part of a gospel presentation.  I have come to believe that the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” can be a dangerous way of calling someone to faith.  Here are a few reasons why:

1. This kind of figurative language is not appropriate for most children.

Little children think literally, and they can be confused (or even frightened) at the prospect of asking Jesus into their hearts.  Does Jesus reside in my blood-pumping organ?  Does he live in the upper or lower ventricle?

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Jared Kennedy Jared Kennedy is the husband of Megan and the father of three girls-Rachael, Lucy, and Elisabeth. He leads SojournKids as Family Pastor at Sojourn Community Church, a multi-campus congregation in Louisville, KY.

More from Jared Kennedy or visit Jared at http://sojournkids.com

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  • Christinee2412

    I strongly disagree and encourage any Christian when they have an opportunty to speak with and pray with people that they ask if Jesus is their Lord and Savior and would they like to have a relationship with him.  I praise God that he has used me to lead people to accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior and it is an absolute privilege to do so.  I will continue to ask this question and pray with people to receive jesus christ in time to come and encourage Christians to do so – after all God wants us to go forth and make disciples, baptising in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirt.  Its called the great commission in His word – the Holy Bible.

    • Chosen1yque

      The heart referring to the inner man, not your physical heart. John chapter three Jesus says to Nicodimus what is born of the spirit, spirit is and what is born of the flesh, flesh is!

      • FollowingThatWhichIsPerfect

        Pretty sure he said you need to be born again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only way to do that is through baptism. Which Jesus commands more than once.

        • Condescending Wonka

          Oh, you are so educated in the Word.

          • Jimmy

            Oh, Mr. Wonka, you are so smug and self-absorbed!  Please, tell us how it feels to love yourself so much! How do the rest of us breathe the same air as you?  God Himself must be so pleased with your comments here!  You must be a super-Christian!  Oh, tell us your stories!

    • ephremhagos

      The “Great Commission” is a misnomer and a disguised cover-up for the great ommission of knowledge of Jesus Christ without whom there is none of the sovereign works of Jesus, viz.: the perfect baptism with the Holy Spirit, a.k.a., baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching of new disciples.

      • Cam

        What?

      • Mr. Smith

        you’re making no sense. there is not a cohesive thought in your statement, Ephrem Hagos…it is a “cover-up” because without Jesus there is none of the works of Jesus? Just trying to figure out what you’re saying….

        • Condescending Wonka

          Oh, you are as bold as the 12 themselves…

    • Mr. Smith

      so you write that God wants us to “go forth and make disciples, baptising in the name…” (your quote), but you would rather lead them in a prayer than baptize them? or do you lead them in the prayer and then baptize them? there’s nothing wrong with the prayer in and of itself as long as it is combined with baptism. so are you telling your converts about baptism?

  • ephremhagos

    “Asking Jesus into one’s heart” is full of the open-ended risk of allowing deception by Satan disguised to look like “an angel of light”. (2 Cor. 11: 1-15)

    • Matt

      asking Jesus into one’s heart is of Satan.  Wow!  Talk about twisting the Scriptures to fit your own theories.

      • Mr. Smith

        he probably just meant that since the prayer is not scriptural, Satan can use it to deceive us into accepting Christ in a way that was not intended to be used for salvation. He can trick us into thinking, “If I just pray this prayer, I’m all good.” Of course, Satan can make people think baptism is the end and after that, they don’t need to do anything else. Satan can use many things to deceive us. He is very clever. Paul talks about not being “outwitted” by the devil and “the devil’s schemes.” We should always be on the lookout for Satan’s lies.

        • Condescending Wonka

          Oh Mr. Smith, please enlighten us with your fresh nuggets of truth…

          • John G.

            Who IS this Condescending Wonka? Not one WORD to aid or help!
            ONLY big mouth ignorance! Do you have any ideas at all?
            You are useless!

  • Christ follower

    I cannot agree with the article.  Our walk of faith is a life-long process and saying a prayer/committing oneself to Jesus Christ/asking him into one’s spiritual heart is a good and tangible starting point.  (If we believe that saying a prayer is the be all to end all is enough, then I can see how we do others a disservice by explaining the gospel in such a way.)  

    I am well aware of people who cannot understand the Bible but come to a point of asking Jesus into their hearts and suddenly they understand.  I have seen transformation – alcoholism for example, completely wiped out after that prayer being earnestly prayed and that person living the rest of his life totally sold out to Christ.When I said that prayer 25 years ago, I did not say it flippantly.  My personality is such that I take any kind of commitment very seriously.  I knew what I was asking and it was a conscious choice, a line in the sand, that I purposely stepped over.  I believe that the sinner’s prayer is a place of memory, a place where believers can say, THAT is when I surrendered to my King.  The enemy of our souls will often try to convince us that we are not good enough…the truth is, he is right…our righteousness is from Christ alone and in moments of doubt or accusation, we have the testimony of our mouths as a reminder to stand our ground.God uses prayers, people, nature, whatever – to bring sinners to him.  He reveals himself uniquely to each one who is seeking.  Who am I to say that God works a certain way every time?  The prayer is simply a human way to express one’s surrender/need/longing for a Saviour.I am thankful our children said that little prayer when they were younger.  I taught them that they could call on Jesus to protect them, and he is there to help them in times of fear. They often pray over themselves or ask me to pray over them when they get in the car to drive somewhere or when they find themselves in new situations.  I personally do not feel that the method in of itself matters, nor do I think we should get caught up in “doing it right;” it is the heart of the seeker that God sees and my Bible tells me that seekers find.    

    • Mr. Smith

      well, if the method doesn’t matter, why was Jesus baptized? Why did he command baptism? Why was Paul baptized? In fact, why were all of the conversions in scripture performed through baptism? (Of course, you may point out that Jesus told the criminal on the cross that he would be with him in Paradise, so there is one instance where Christ himself saved someone directly, but that is the only exception, but Jesus didn’t ask him to pray a prayer). Nevertheless, you can’t acknowledge or even show a thread of scriptural support for the sinner’s prayer anywhere in scripture. There is no script given nor is there any example of someone doing it. It is a post-biblical tradition that was initiated into the church by people who were needing a faster way to convert people at gospel meetings and crusades. It is not biblical. I’m sure some good has come from praying it, but it is not the way Jesus taught us to be saved. And you’re point of “Who am I to say that God works a certain way every time?” is very strange. God definitely works the same way in bringing about our salvation. He doesn’t have different rules for different people. Look at Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. Philip told him he needed baptism to be saved. The Eunuch said, “Here is water, what can stand in the way of me being baptized? … the Philip baptized him.” End of story.

      • Condescending Wonka

        ^ “End of Story…” Oh, you are such a bold man. Please, let me hear more of your seasoned theological knowledge…

  • Joseph Benigno

    There are so many spiritual terms used in the preaching of the gospel.  I am sure that   not all people will understand these terms especially that they need spiritual understanding from the Holy Spirit. If we will not use them because of the possibility that not all people will understand your point in using those terms, then, there is no need to preach the gospel.  If the point of Bro. Jared Kennedy is about kids who do not understand the real meaning of what we are teaching them, what spiritual matters do a natural mind easily understand?  Understanding spiritual matters does not come through natural understanding even to the extent of salvation.  It is the Holy Spirit that will enlighten the minds of children or young people or adults.  Using terms such as “believe, saved, accept, redemption, justification, regeneration etc” could not be understood by the natural mind.  In teaching salvation, we are using simple terms,  but without the Holy Spirit, they will not understand.  It is a miracle that people accept the Lord Jesus Christ even if the could not fully understand it all.  Did the people who have no knowledge about spiritual matters understand everything about salvation when they accept the Lord as their Saviour and Lord? They only believe that they are sinners needing a saviour.  When you ask them to accept Jesus into their hearts, it is the Holy Spirit that will make them understand because that is just another term of telling them to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I will continue to tell people to ask Jesus to come into their hearts because that is another term in saying “come into my heart and cleanse me and be my Savior and Lord. Start teaching your children while they are still small and not wait when it is already late. 

    • Condescending Wonka

      Oh, tell us more…

  • Archiepennington

    Although he makes some good points, it is still an excercise in academics and vernacular.  As a child evangelists, I have seen hundreds of children genuinely born again with this “wrong” phrase, simply because it is not us who are doing anything, but God the Holy Spirit who draws souls to Him.   I don’t think it is as much about how we share the Gospel but if we share the Gospel as much as we should.   With all that said, it is good to be as clear as we can in our Gospel presentation but we need not have analysis paralysis on how we are doing it, but make sure to shared the Good News that God loves you enough to die in our place for our sin, so that we might trust in Jesus and His work on the cross for our eternal salvation. 

    • Condescending Wonka

      Oh, your a children evangelist? You must be just like Jesus…

      • Cam

        And you must be a real idiot – having read all your stupid posts, all I can say Wonka is shut up and get off this sort of forum

  • PookieJesss

    I love Jesus with all my heart, anyway I try to, but really, this is weird. In our attempt to get deeper, I think instead we’re drowning! I gave my life to Jesus 32 years ago, & I started by asking him into my heart. My sons gave their lives to Christ when they were little boys, & guess what? it started with asking Jesus into their hearts. My sons are married & serve God! I think asking Jesus into your heart is a really good place to start!

    • $23313105

      I agree. My son did the same at the age of 5. He now is 31 years old, married to a wonderful Christian woman and they both serve the Lord in a local Church and in missions here and Africa. I do not remember his exact words but they were simple and maybe the same one criticized by the author. As I heard Matt Chandler once say to David Platt, “how do you get saved wrong?”. Millions are faithful Christians have been saved by Gods grace in response to a yielded heart that was expressed in a seemingly theologically insufficient prayer. The prayer is not magical. Consider these the Lord Himself told us were saved. “Lord be merciful to me a sinner”, Seven words yet Jesus said he was “justified” at that very moment. Consider “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom”. Nine words yet Jesus said “Today” he would be with Him in “Paradise”. Consider the woman of the city in Luke. She wept at Jesus feet and the Bible records NO WORDS of prayer (I quickly add this is not recommended) yet Jesus said to her  “daughter thy faith has saved thee, go in peace”.  My point is the Lord looks upon the heart. Faith, repentance, yes! However no words are magical that save, only sincere words  with the intent to express such a commitment from the heart. It is not words that save, it is God. I must also say I have grown weary of these “Ten Things..etc ” lists. They are often so superficial that they are meaningless. I am so glad that the Lord reigns above any systematic theology of man.

  • simple man

    I disagree with this article, “Christ follower” makes good points. My question is “where does one begin their journey of servanthood to Christ?” Surely making a commitment by saying the sinners prayer is like drawing a line in the sand and saying to Satan and people in general as well as to God, “so far no further, from now on I no longer do it my way, I am no longer Lord of my own life, I submit to Christ, He died for me, now I choose to live for Him” It’s like being baptised in water, it certainly makes a statement, and is also a good starting point for the race that lies ahead. Surely leading a child into asking Christ into their heart is not the end of the story, but only the beginning – from that point on, the parent or youth leader mentors, encourages, teaches, walks along side that child, when they enter the difficult teenage years, at least they have an anchor, the word tells us to raise a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it. I really cant see the harm in leading kids to say this prayer.

    • DaveEkstrom

      Very good.  A child’s profession is the beginning, not the end.  But then again, the New Birth is the beginning not the end of salvation for all of us.  We begin at justification, progress through sanctification, and end at glorification.  We do need to be careful that we distinguish between a profession and conversion.  Only the Holy Spirit brings conversion.  A profession might (or might not) be a sign that the Holy Spirit has converted someone.  We can only see the fruit.  So we should be careful in our teaching to distinguish between profession and conversion.  But there’s nothing wrong, as far as I can tell, with the verbiage, “Ask Jesus into your heart.”  We offer the Gospel and plead for sinners to accept it.

  • RevKev

     Ephrem, I would like to encourage you to invite Jesus into your heart and life. He will change you heart and life. Being born again is life changing. My heart has been transform by His love and grace. I believe He will do the same for you.

  • http://twitter.com/chazzdaddy charles hill

    I am growing very tired of reading posts like this the past few weeks. It started getting popular with David Platt. 

    I am not one to rant publicly [haven't written a comment like this in a long, long, long time], but these posts are just not needed.
     
    Read Romans 10.9-10. I get your point about saying a prayer and not seeing change…but there is tons of evidence that there can be a “Moment” where someone repents and confesses with their mouth and believes in their heart.

    These line of posts trying to grab headlines are very counter-productive. Christ did die for there to be “work done in my heart” not just as a historical fact [point #3].

    Did someone vet this article before posting it or is it just trying to grab readers by the provocative title? I am all about provocative titles, but this line of theology, though ripe with some truth [again, people are praying and not turning in repentance...I get it], flies in the face of Biblical truth.

    • Dr Jorge O

      Thank you. Jesus is concerned about my heart. His work is all about the heart. Why on earth would nobody post anything as blasphemous as this? Why o why?

  • dan

    this is the first article I have read that in this site that made me feel uneasy…I cannot explain why!

  • Cuauhtemocrios

    I disagree with this article and the points the author is making on behalf of the mind of a child is untrue. Not only do we teach our our children that Jesus wants our hearts but our minds, soul and strength! And to assume a child will be afraid of the concept is erroneous. I wonder if this author has children? And if he does, where is conviction and truth “for with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

  • Pslindow

    I think the author is on the right track. We have dumbed the Gospel down and watered it down so much that it has little meaning. What does it mean to ask Jesus in to your heart. What does it mean to build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ…These  phrases have little meaning outside the circles they are used in. Often in those circles they are not understood. We need to see God for who he is, see ourselves and our sin for what it is, and see the Savior as the only solution, the only way to restoring the relationship with God. How can asking Jesus (someone we cannot see) into our heart (where there is no room) have any meaning to a child, or an adult for that matter.

    We live in a society that does not have standards of right and wrong, so therefore there is no sin. We no longer confess our sins one to another, so no one has sin. Therefore, we no longer need a Savior. Let us get back to calling sin what it is, and seeing it as displeasing to God. Let us see God as being holy and seek to be holy also. Let us seek to know and do the Word of God. 

    Would it not be better to point out the Holiness of God, and the sinfulness of the child so that he would have a need of a Savior, instead of just someone cuddly to spend time in their hearts. Too many people have prayed a prayer and are relying on that to get them to heaven. Too many people laugh at the sin in their lives and their community (churches). Too many have never seen any Salt or Light.

  • Stephen

    I believe that this article makes perfect sense as the “heart” in scripture most often refers to the will. The struggle I believe the author is attempting to address is the tension for any person(s) that have prayed a prayer of “Jesus come into my heart”, find themselves ‘backsliding’ and wondering why everything is wrong simply because they “said a prayer.”
    It is true that scripture states it is with the heart you believe and the mouth you confess but the focus is never ‘into my heart’ but actually towards what Jesus has done already.

    • LDonald

      Agreed.

  • Robwaldorf

    Total repentance sounds like works salvation let’s not water the gospel down, but make sure you do not poison the gospel we are saved through faith in Christ and nothing else

  • John Downey

    I agree with this article 100% especially point 9…Jesus called us to repent and trust Him…not “invite Him into our heart.”

  • LDonald

    We have the tendency to focus on the outward,  what we can see and hear and feel, but we know God looks at the “heart”.  So some ask the Lord to come into our heart, or to change our “heart.”  While it may be helpful for some to say the “sinners prayer” or to ask Jesus into their heart, we must be careful not to indicate that this is what saves them … God knows the “heart”.

    We need to be seeking to understand the whole counsel of Scripture while trusting God’s Spirit to help us present the WHOLE GOSPEL in such a manner that it can properly take root in their lives.    It is only by God’s grace that we are saved.  It is the Holy Spirit Who opens a persons eyes as they choose to believe God.WE MUST BE VIGILANT NOT TO REDUCE THE GOSPEL TO A FORMULA.  Jesus didn’t do this.  To Nicodemus, Jesus said, “you must be born again”.  To the woman at the well He said, “come drink”.  To the rich man he said, “sell all you have, give to the poor and come follow me.”  Rather than a formula it seems like Jesus pointed to the missing link hindering them.  Sometimes the apostles would say, “repent and be baptized”, other times they said, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”, depending on the person, the context, the leading of the Holy Spirit.      

    • Mr. Smith

      this is not correct. the Apostles didn’t change their story based on the person, the context, and definitely not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit did not change the story. Look at Romans 6, because you’re quoting Romans 10:9-10 here with the “confess with your mouth” verse, but you’re missing that Paul believed in baptism for salvation! Romans 6:2 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 3 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” You can’t go taking scripture out of context for your own benefit. And please please please DO NOT say that salvation changes based on the person, the context, or the leading of the Holy Spirit. That is never true.

      • DFA54

        We must remember that Paul stated ” I came not to baptize, but to preach” and then he listed the few people whom he baptized. Putting a sinner in water results in having a wet sinner. By Grace are you saved through Faith.
        Don’t ritualize any of the ordinances of God. Faith in Jesus work on the cross is the only way to salvation, and that includes accepting Jesus( the Holy Spirit) into your heart.

      • Condescending Wonka

        Oh, you are such a theologian…

        • Tre

          Why are you so bitter? Did someone hurt you? Ask God to forgive them and then forgive you for harboring unforgiveness. Allow Him to bring His love back into your heart! He loves you and will be delighted to do that for you (Matt 6:14 and 1 John 1:9). Bless you!

  • http://www.ajperspective.com/ Ashley Jackson

    Everyone seems to be advocating the need for a line in the sand – some tangible experience or moment after which the decision has clearly been made. I agree this is necessary. In the OT God’s people were always building altars, setting up points of remembrance and naming them significant things for what happened there. We NEED to remember! I think biblically, though, that moment has been set out as baptism, not a prayer. Presumably, however, the prayer would precede the plunge, so to speak ;)

    • DaveEkstrom

      Good point!

    • Mr. Smith

      it was interesting how he mentioned in his article that a “sinners prayer” was never used in scripture as a means of converstion. he FAILED to mention that EVERY account of conversion after Jesus (including the awesome act of Jesus himself in Matthew 4, which was to fulfill all righteousness) was through BAPTISM. Every one. Every single one. My favorite is Saul, who after not eating for three days, was baptized first, and then ate (Acts 9:18-19). Priorities? Salvation, then food. It’s funny to me how the Baptists, which means Baptizers, are the biggest proponents of the Sinner’s Prayer. Oh well. Some people ignore the obvious for the sake of convenience. It’s way easier to save a thousand people in 15 seconds than have to baptize them all, right? But of course, then you can proclaim incredible numbers like, “We saved 10,000 people at the Crusade this weekend!” I wonder how long it took to baptize the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2? They didn’t seem to worry about time or convenience. They knew how to save someone because Jesus taught, you must be born of WATER and the SPIRIT. Not a “sinner’s prayer.” Just saying…

      • http://www.ajperspective.com/ Ashley Jackson

         Those are some stout words… I wasn’t intending all that in my comment.  Just pointing out something I’ve become pretty passionate about in recent years – the importance of baptism.  If you read my comment to the end, you’d see my assumption is that some form of communication with God (and I equally believe in the importance of communication with the body of believers around you) would have taken place prior to baptism.  I think prayer and baptism are both valid – neither excludes the other from taking place.  I cannot speak to any denomination, preacher, church’s intentions in choosing one path or the other.  :/  We can all sit and argue passionately about baptism next :)  But it doesn’t get anyone any closer to being like Jesus, does it?  All of us wielding theological swords ought to be careful and remember they have a double-edge blade.

      • Adpofahl

        For baptists, baptism is an outward sign that you have admitted, believed, and committed your life to Christ. Going through the water doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than wearing a ring makes me married. It’s symbolic of what I’ve done and what He’s dine for me much like my wedding ring. And by the way, why are you bashing on here? Seems counterproductive to the cause of Christ. When you don’t have a complete understanding of something, but you talk about it negatively, you thus are acting in ignorance.

        • Mr. Smith

           I understand fully what the Baptists think about baptism. I am very aware and have attended a Baptist church many times with my parents. I’m not bashing. Nothing I said was bashing. I think the prayer might have a small place alongside Baptism–but that does NOT make it scriptural or the way to receive the Holy Spirit and salvation. Saying I’m being counterproductive to the cause of Christ by proclaiming what Christ preached is an oxymoron. I do not act in ignorance. I offered more scriptural support for my comments than anyone else on this blog post. I didn’t see any educated replies from you…(sorry, that was bashing that time)

          • Condescending Wonka

            Oh, you are educated? Enlighten me on your “theological language”…

        • Mr. Smith

          Furthermore, your analogy is faulty. A wedding ring would be like wearing a cross or saying wearing a cross makes you a Christian. The act of baptism is like a wedding ceremony. In a wedding, you confess your love and commitment to your wife and then at the end of the ceremony, you kiss her (and consummate it with a physical act (sex) which really seals the deal). In the physical act of baptism, before which you confess that Christ is Lord (with your mouth and believe in your heart), you are buried with Christ and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). It’s great how Paul and Christ both used marriage analogies for salvation. Baptism is the wedding ceremony of us and Christ. Baptism is not a ring.

      • $23313105

        Friend I see you a strong believer in water regeneration. I believe baptism is an essential act of obedience but disagree that it is the expression of faith necessary for salvation. I don’t want to argue with you (already done that many times locally) and respect your commitment to scripture as you understand them. I simply see the teaching as otherwise.

      • Chad

        Salvation does NOT occur through baptism (something we can do), but rather through Christ’s work on the cross (something only God could do).  If baptism is our salvation, Christ was unnecessary.  I believe in baptism for those God has redeemed, but not for salvation.  Jesus set a great example by being baptized. Surely He didn’t need to be saved.  I think you sound bitter here.  Perhaps you should refrain from your comments for a bit and check your own heart.  May God bless you greatly!

        • http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/crazydays44 crazydays4444

          Jesus agrees with that! in John 3, with Nicomdemus- Jesus teaches (It took me many years of studying, praying,fasting,seeking,knocking,asking, before The Holy Spirit opened up my eyes!)… But, it finally became fact to me, and settled. I stand upon the Rock of Truth. That is where my house is built among others. As, when “way to simple for theology”.. Jesus taught we must be “born-again”! So very true! Nicodemus took Jesus as a baffling fool saying, ” What Jesus? Do I now crawl back into my mother’s womb? (water- born of flesh,) not the symbolizing beauty of publicly proclaiming what happened in our hearts through water baptism. Neither Jesus nor Nicodemus were talking about that “Wonderful baptism when a heart has been regenerated by the Spirit of God”… But they were speaking about once born to a woman, how can a man be born again? Jesus reffered to it like the wind we “See Not!”…. Sadly, we pressure children, and others to be baptised before a true new-birth has even taken place! Because, not to trivialize water baptism, but anyone can get dunked. (Not being born-again) I know many of man’s doctrines having gathered in amny camps searching for followers of Christ with every-fiber of their being. *There is no address for it I learned the hard way!…. If a believer openly studies John Chapter 3 it is a very useful Chapter in the Christian’s life! One of the best! in the Gospel accounts… Just as Romans chapter 12 sums up volumes of God’s Word to us condensed in that chapter. God is great. Jesus Finished the Work we could Never do! Believe, “falling upon His Truth, The Cross, and plead for His Blood to cleanse us, and walk away from the Cross with your old “cursed” nature crucified on that Cross with Christ, and now a Blood-bought New Creation in Jesus Christ! Continue in this freedom in love, and testify of it! Learn how wretched we were, and how during our wretchedness Christ died for us!… Oh, the beauty of Jesus Christ’s Good News! It surpasses all knowledge, and the beauty we get a small glimpse of, for if we saw it in fullness, our weak earthly bodies would beconsumed instantly! For those you know, who enjoy romantic love stories, there is No Greater Love! None!…. Testify of being opened to this Great Love. Some will listen and respond, some not. But we know not if God did not take that seed, and years later cause it to come to life!.. Blessed be the Name above all names! As it rolls of my lips, it looks and contains the Beauty of more tahn 20 thousand rainbows! Beauty over 6 million breath-taking sunrises & sunsets.. No greater beauty than the Lamb of God!… We have but days left before our hour of life here has come. Spread salt and light by Christ Spirit dwelling in us…. Holy Holy Holy! Holy is The Lord God Almighty!

      • Condescending Wonka

        Oh, you are such wise in your words. Please enlighten us more and more…

  • David Buffaloe

    Interesting and well balanced article. As a pastor I have seen the ill effect of people who PROFESS to know Christ and yet have none of the fruit of the Christian life. The Lord has walked with me as I’ve pastored Churches filled with people who were marked with bitterness, hatred and envy toward one another, prejudice toward anyone not of their color or fold, members who say hurtful things, Iscariots that would rather love the purse than the Person of Christ. The fruit of the Christian is to be love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and tenderness (Gal 5:16-26) not meanness and divisiveness – something I often see in the comments section on this Christian site. The Bible says that Jesus came unto His own, but they would not RECEIVE Him, but those who RECEIVE HIM, to THEM gave He power to become the sons of God (John 1:12). Why so little Christian fruit among so many professing Christians? Because a majority of those who profess Christ never received Him as He is – both SAVIOR and LORD. Many were sold a half Gospel – believe on the Savior Jesus – but were never told to count the cost. Jesus told His disciples to count the cost before committing to following Him (Luke 14:25-33), because being saved means forsaking all you have, giving all that you are to Jesus. Salvation is an exchange: my life for His, His life for mine. I am “bought with a price” and “am not my own”. (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). My body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, Who came upon me when I was saved (1 Cor 6:19), and does not belong to me. When I sin I do not delight in it, but recognize sin as sin and repent daily (1 John 1:8-10), read His Word, and grow in Him. The Christian never delights in sin but delights in the Savior, walking as Christ walked, loving as Christ loved. As a pastor I have preached the Gospel of the Kingdom as a great pearl that, when the merchant found it, he sold all that he had to buy it (Matthew 13:46). Is salvation a free Grace gift? Absolutely – but it is only given to those who RECEIVE HIM. Who is Jesus? He is Savior and Lord of all. This is why the Scripture says “If you confess with your mouth that JESUS IS LORD and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you Shall be saved (Rom 10:9). Teaching anyone – little children or otherwise – that to just receive Jesus “into your heart” implies infatuation without commitment, and was no message that Jesus Himself ever preached. Notice how Jesus illustrated the Gospel with a child:

    Matthew 18:2-4 (KJV)2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

    To be saved we are CONVERTED and become as little children like the little child Jesus showed the disciples. (1) Jesus called, and that child came to Him (2) The child stood where Jesus placed him (3) The child did not fight Jesus (4) The child its mouth shut while Jesus taught (5) The child submitted to the Master, and was therefore teachable. I have pastored Church after Church seeing the same thing over and over: a few children of God intermingled with unrepentant children of Adam. Crippled Churches that are inward focused, self entertained, self satisfied, but never missional and outreaching to the lost. I’ve been in Churches where visitors to the Church have come to me and said “Preacher, I see that so and so is a deacon here. I’ve worked for him for years, and never even knew he was a Christian!” In a land where a reported 94% of the population says that they are Christian we are having to vote and get the Federal Government involved to prove that marriage is between one man and one woman. In a country where a professed 8 out of 10 people profess to be Christian, only about 15% are part of a local Church. Churches throughout our land do things that are contrary to Scripture, baptizing practicing homosexuals and people living together in sexual sin, all professing to be Christian. God help us, if we don’t get back to preaching the Kingdom Gospel, the light will be extinguished in America. 

    • $23313105

       Thank you for a meaningful “reply” which is far better that the article. You speak as a seasoned minister. I respect that and must say it is in contrast to many of the writers on this site. False conversions is a real concern for me as a pastor and a killer in the local Church. The real dilemma is how do we avoid them happening and what do we do with those already in membership in the local Church. I struggle with this issue continually. A move of God is the only hope. May the Lord bring us power, wisdom and strength by His Spirit.

  • Spoklib

    So much for Billy Graham and his crusades.  Guess all those people he brought to Jesus were wrong??  Symantics is the devil’s toolbox.  Be careful.

    • stephen

      “Symantics is the devil’s tool box.” –All the more reason to be accurate. That way we can be an “approved, workman who handles the Word of God accurately.” 

      • Condescending Wonka

        Oh, you are such a workman who handles the Word of God accurately… praise God for you oh wise one.

  • Cathcart Boy

    Self-indulgent piece with no alternative suggested. I suggest a revisit of John ch 14 v 23, and of John ch 15 to discover in indwelling relationship at the root of our walk with God. Or does the writer wish to leave children confused by some tint of unworked through Calvinist thinking?

    • AreGee

       “self-indulgent”! I trust this hyperbole is meant to jar the reader and not conclusion (judgement).  “no alternative suggested”?  I suggest you read it the article again.  There an alternative clearly marked out – it just is not a “formula”, bless God.

  • Traci

    I was with you more or less up until the”false assurance.” So it is preferableto leave your child in terror that he/she might end up in hell?

    I think you are correct to begin asking questions about the received formula for salvation. I just don’t think you went far enough. Keep going. What is salvation? And won’t even a child begin to wonder if that penal substitution idea makes sense? What has a 9 year old done to merit the torture and murder of an innocent?

    Believe me, we have richer traditions of understanding in the Christian tradition. We don’t have to make it all up in 2012.

    • Tuff

      Yes that would be better then lying to them and teaching them a false gospel. The elect are the elect and the ones being passed over are the ones being passed over. We can’t change that. Let’s not put anymore pressure on parents. Teach the bible to your children and allow God to be God.

      • Condescending Wonka

        Oh Mr. Outrage Nope, enlighten us with your fresh theology from the God of wonders…

  • Scott

    Another “editorial article” that is simply wrong.

  • PrescottJayErwin

    What in the WORLD is going on here? This comes on the heals of the e-mail with a link to David Platt’s video “Why ‘Accepting Jesus into Your Heart’ Is Unbiblical.” Here, we’re told that “the Gospel is not primarily about Christ’s work in our hearts…” HOLD ON! The Prophets promised that the New Covenant would be WRITTEN on our hearts and that stoney hearts would be turned to hearts of flesh — for goodness’ sake, it’s ALL ABOUT the heart. There’s heart language throughout the Old and New Testaments. Our hearts are sick and deceptive above all things and must be changed. It’s also about the transformation of our minds. We’re to love the Lord with all our heart and mind and souol and strength. Certainly there can be and is a superficial, manipulative appeal to emotion using heart language, but there’s a genuine appeal, too — there’s no need to confuse the two.

    I’m sorry, but I have to say this article is deceptive.

    And it’s inconsistent on biblical exposition. Just one instance is the appeal to Rev. 3:14-22, as a rebuke “for being ‘lukewarm’ in their love toward Him.”  Really? That’s not in the text. There’s no appeal to love here. What are they to be hot or cold about? It’s about their deeds, which Jesus knows, and their wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked sense of self-sufficiency. Jared writes, “As a scorned husband, Christ pleads with the church,” then he complains that the appeal to receive Jesus into our heart “makes God a begger.” So, which is it? Does He plead or not?

    From this same Scripture, he writes, “God only saves those who turn away from sin and delight in His Son.” Where is THAT language? There’s nothing here about delighting in God’s Son. In fact, there are no passages cited referring to delighting in God’s Son.

    There’s SO MUCH wrong with this article! “This kind of figurative language is not appropriate for most children.” Really? The I suppose the Bible is not appropriate for children because it’s LOADED with figurative language. Baptism itself is both literal AND figurative. Give me the strength!

    I do believe the appeal must lean more toward calling people to give their whole hearts to God, but we can go too far by ignoring passages like the following:

    “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son INTO OUR HEARTS…” (Gal 4:6, emphasis mine).

    “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God DWELLS IN YOU. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead DWELLS IN YOU, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who DWELLS IN YOU” (Rom 8:9-11, emphasis mine).

    “…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our HEARTS through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us” (Rom 5:5).

    There is something important in the idea of Christ Jesus in our hearts. Paul expressed it well in Col 3:15, where he wrote about letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, and Peter in 1Pt 3:15 where he wrote about sanctifying Christ as Lord in our hearts, and Paul in his prayer to the Ephesians:

    “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever — amen” (Eph 3:14-21, emphasis mine).

    Do not dismiss it out-of-hand as necessarily shallow.

    And I can’t let this go: “When these children become aware of their sins, they may become introspective and worry…” And…? Sinners must be concerned about their sins — even children. This is just NUTS!

    And then there’s another article, “Evangelism Is Not Biblical?” This is CRAZY! I’m going to walk away now…

    • stephen

      “”Here, we’re told that “the Gospel is not primarily about Christ’s work in our hearts…” HOLD ON!””
      I think what the author was shooting for was that it’s easy to turn everything about ourselves, making us the most important article. Rather, the truth is, God first and foremost has done everything for his sake and glory. I think there is great error in believing that everything Jesus has done/is doing is because he is a love sick boyfriend attempting to woo his love. If we are true to context, God is just and righteousness had to be accomplished, we partake in that as secondary. The Gospel, (good news) is that in Christ God has been satisfied and we then ascribe and identify with that. 

      • PrescottJayErwin

        You wrote: “I think the author was shooting for…” That may be, but he was grossly unsuccessful — and that’s not what he wrote. But your position presumes that Christ’s work in our hearts is primarily for us; it isn’t.

        You wrote: “I think there is great error in believing that everything Jesus has done/is doing is because he is a love sick boyfriend attempting to woo his love.” Read this from his #7 and re-evaluate your contention: “As a scorned husband, Christ pleads… [for her to] delight in him again… He knocks on the door of his bride’s bedchamber… He promises to renew their marriage…” This demonstrates just the opposite of what you’re asserting on his behalf.

        The Gospel is about more than what you assert, as well. At least, that’s what the Bible tells us: “we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Rom 5:11); “Now all these things are from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2Co 5:18-19).

    • http://twitter.com/Joe_Drisdale Joe Drisdale

      PrescottJayErwin Collapse
      – Great points you brought up.

       

      After
      all, how can we possibly
      eliminate figurative language and the same time preserve scriptural integrity
      when the biblical writers themselves couldn’t—or didn’t want to—do that? We’d
      have to find a new word for “heart” in more than 150 NT passages alone. Besides,
      Thomas Jefferson already tried something like that and it didn’t work out so
      well.

  • Joe McGrew

    Although I see your point of “the prayer” reason # 1 is a bit dramatic don’t you think?  

  • Outrage ? Nope

    A HUGE amen to this article. And I would say yes, that the majority of crusaders were not born again. Here we have more mans traditions that is not founded in scripture “sinners prayer” “asking Jesus” in your heart. It’s not biblical and yet many will post their outrage of this article. I hope you are not leading churches.

    • Condescending Wonka

      Oh, Mr. Outrage please, you have the boldness of John the Baptist…

  • Abby

    Authors’s last word ‘….It is not simply a decision on the believer (or sinner’s) part’ Conversion, as much as it is God’s work in a man, is as much man’s acceptance of the finished work of Christ. The message in this article is a bit muddled up and not suitable for a young christian who might end up more confused than enlightened. How best do we let children know they can be saved or indwelt by the holy spirit? how do we make them realise that they need to accept the offer of salvation, and that though Jesus died for everyone, only those who received him can have the power to become the sons (and daughters) of God? Some of the argument are right on point though, many confessing without repenting etc. The responsibility is on the preacher or parents to present Christ as simply as possible. By the way, the problem is not peculiar to kids, a lot of adults say the sinners’ prayer chewing gum or smiling away. Mercy Lord! 

  • Chuck Bagby

    Amen Jared!

  • JAF

    Perhaps the writer can clarify, for us,  the assertion of Romans 10: 9- 10, “… if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
    A child, who is at the point of understanding the need for salvation, can understand that the word “heart” in the Bible, and in our current culture does not just refer to the muscle that causes our blood to circulate.
    To be sure, we oversimplify very serious and complex issues; but I am one who, at the age of six,  invited Jesus to come into my heart, and recognized that I was asking God to give me assurance that I belonged to Him.

    • Mr. Smith

      maybe you can explain what Paul meant when he wrote Romans 6:1-4 “we were buried with him through baptism..in order that…we too may live a new life”? Paul did not write Romans 10 in exclusion of Romans 6. He obviously wanted the people to be baptized and CONFESS with their mouths. The two work together. Furthermore, a child, who is at the point of understanding the need for salvation, who picks up a Bible on their own and reads it for themselves, without being “taught” the sinner’s prayer, will not walk away saying, “I need to pray the sinner’s prayer to be saved.” The child will see Jesus’ baptism, see Jesus commanding baptism and being born of water, will see 3,000 baptized in Acts 2, the Jailor and his family being baptized at midnight, the Ethiopian Eunuch stopping the chariot to be baptized, Saul’s baptism after fasting for 3 days, and the child will say, “Daddy, I need to be baptized to be saved.” We influence the children by teaching them something that is not scriptural. If left to their own cognitive processes, children will see that the Bible says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38) and “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded…” (Matt 28:19-20)

      • Condescending Wonka

        Oh, you are such a seasoned evangelist. Tell me, more of your fresh revelation… 

      • PrescottJayErwin

        That same child will, left to his or her own cognitive processes, understand that something is happening inside of them somewhere. There’s something happening inside that requires something to happen on the outside. That’s why they come and say, “Daddy…” or “Mommy…” Baptism is an outward act that, if genuine, cannot be divorced from an inward reality, just as genuine repentance is an inward change necessarily accompanied by or demonstrated in an outward change. Children need be guided to understand both aspects and biblical heart language is not beyond their ability to comprehend.

        “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized…” (Act 16:14-15 NAU) “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart…” (Act 2:37 NAU)

  • Larry

    I agree in many ways with the author, only one problem, the heart is emphasised a lot in scripture. I just preached a sermon on the heart, it is in scripture 569 times, more than the word love, or faith or hope. So do we want a new heart, God said he would give us one, are we willing to turn in our heart of stone and get a new perfect one from God, spirit included (Ezekiel 36).

  • jAb

    Nice article (THE STYLE) but wrong content.

    • Condescending Wonka

      Wrong content? Oh, please, share with us your knowledge Mr. Theology…

  • Minota1

    I am sorry for this young man who wrote the article and am especially sorry for his children because he does not really know what he is speaking about.  I am a Christian who became one in my 18th year and am now almost 78.  I asked Jesus to come into my heart and was baptised several months later.  I have not always lived like Jesus wanted me to and I knew better – I knew I was sinning because the Holy Spirit revealed it to me.  Sometimes I chose to obey the Holy Spirit but other times I didn’t.  There is no excuse for this.  However, we still have 2 natures within us. The old (carnal) nature and the new (spiritual).   In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “…therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  That is why Paul, the apostle said, “… the things I should not do, I do;  but the things I should do, I do not..” Romans 7:15 – 2 natures.  This article is misleading and not scripturally based at all.  The writer does not know of what he speaks and is misleading.  I now understand why the church no longer invites people (children and adults) to accept Christ as their Saviour by letting “Him into their hearts”.  The heart is where all things spiritual/unspiritual begin.  I do hope you young people will review your anti-Christ-like views.  You are deceiving many.  I shall pray for your eyes to be opened to God’s truth!

    • clarisse carrasco

      and once again I would say that you should read over what you have said here..go back to the beginning of your post..you asked Jesus to come into your heart..before you did that though the Holy Spirit called you FIRST..the recognition that you needed to ask Jesus into your “heart” did not come from your own mind, it came from the prompting of the Holy Spirit by either hearing the word of God or reading it and the Holy Spirit “convicting” you of your need..THEN follows the desire to ask God to renew your mind and heart to line up with God’s word and that desire is caused by the moving of the Holy Spirit within you, you cannot take credit for the moving of the Holy Spirit, that’s His job, not your efforts. The “heart” being our very core of being. The act of accepting is actually a “reaction” to the prompting of the Holy Spirit because of His desire that”….NONE should perish…” we are saved by grace not our own efforts. I will pray that your “eyes” will opened to the wonderful simplicity of God’s grace..a gift to us freely given, not asked for, not travailed for, it’s FREE because HE first loved US….God continue to bless you…

    • LVH

      Your views are like many I’ve experienced growing up in the church.  “Truth” based on tradition instead of the word of God.  Dangerous!  The deception begins when we lead people to believe if they say a few words to Jesus, they will be saved.  JESUS said, “John 3:16 ¶ “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

      John 6:47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 

      John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 

      John 11:25  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;   .
      Sorry, the argument is now over.  Let’s stick to the Bible, and not to the way we were raised.

  • Condescending Wonka

    Oh, you don’t believe in the “Sinner’s Prayer”? Enlighten me with your “new revelation”…

  • Condescending Wonka

    Oh, you don’t believe in the “Sinner’s Prayer”? Please, enlighten me with your “knowledge and fresh revelation”…

    • clarisse carrasco

      If you are praying “the sinners prayer” you need to do it in the understanding..understanding that you are doing that because the Holy Spirit has prompted you to do so..it is not your idea, it is the Holy Spirit’s idea and your prayer is in acknowledgement of His Spirit opening your mind and heart to accept Him and His word as truth and what follows is the renewing of your mind and heart..the Holy Spirit of God is the initiator in salvation..we are already chosen and opening our “hearts” to accept that is what follows…

  • JimmyJoe

    First of all, the heart inviting Christ into one’s heart is really asking Christ to take control of your very being.  It is giving control of your life to Him because you believe He can do a work in you that you could never do yourself.  It is also asking Christ to have a relationship with you, and that relationship is necessary for you to walk after Spiritual things and not yeilding to fleshly desires.

    • Clarisse Carrasco

      and what is causing you to invite Christ into your heart? The very desire to do that is the prompting of the Holy Spirit of your need..step one is obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit..it is not your choice to accept Christ, it is your choice to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit..Christ chooses YOU first, everything else that follows, the acceptance of Him, the change of heart and mind is the Holy Spirit at work in you, His Holy Spirit is the initiator to salvation..

      • John Gregory

        Clarisse Carrsco Is (as some other persons on this page are) a CALVINIST!
        BEWARE!
        John G.

  • Niceguy4life01

    insightful in some respects but he missed the implication that it isn’t in the Bible.  What is in the Bible is obedience to the Gospel.  I fear the lie of the sinners prayer will lead many to the path of destruction. 

    • Condescending Wonka

      Oh, you don’t believe in the “Sinner’s Prayer”? Please, reveal to us your fresh revelation from God…

  • Rsickler29

    Well brother, it seems you have hit a nerve with the “sinner’s prayer” folks.  I am an old man and I have said:”Now that you have asked Jesus into your heart, don’t you fell better?” How foolish a young man I was!  Don’t get me wrong, I believe we both know that we need Jesus (the Holy spirit if you can handle it) to work a change in our heart, but that does not come because we recite some mystical words called the “sinners prayer.”

    I sit here typing and smiling … I wish you had commented on the belief that by saying the “sinner’s prayer” we are given a ticket to heaven … we are now saved for ever, no matter what we do.

    God bless you brother …

    • Condescending Wonka

      Oh, enlighten us on your “wisdom”…

    • PrescottJayErwin

      I think we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, even one who advocates the use of the so-called “sinner’s prayer,” teaching that a heart is changed by reciting it. The sinner’s prayer is prayed because of the change of one’s heart, else it’s not genuine.

      Tuth be told, a biblical “sinner’s prayer” can be found in passages like Luke 18:13-14, where we find a man “unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'” This man went to his house justified.

    • clarisse carrasco

      the “ticket” was freely given by God’s grace as a gift to ALL who will accept it. It was not given BECAUSE we chose to take it, it’s already available to those who heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and reach out for it..WE dont start the process, the Holy Spirit does..we pray an accepting prayer because of the  operation of the Holy Spirit within us opening our eyes to the truth of His word and we pray acknowledging that God’s grace is meant for us and proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God, the renewing of our minds and the transforming of our “hearts” is what follows because of the continued presence of the Holy Spirit within us…the concept of losing salvation and finding it again and losing it again and finding it again is a misdirected belief by many (myself included at one point) being out of fellowship with God is different than losing your relationship with Him…our salvation is promised as a FOREVER thing by GRACE not by what we do or dont do…when Paul said in the word of God “…the things I should not do, I do and the things I should do, I don’t…” does that mean he was saved, then he wasn’t, then he was, then he wasn’t and so forth? Of course not, how exhausting! Right? Praise God for His GRACE freely given! For if we didn’t make any “mistakes” we would then be perfection and if we were perfection, we would be GOD and we are not and He knows that!

  • Jamesmgaya

    Dear author, Jesus work is never history! Remember History is all about things of the past but the work of Jesus is for all the time even to come. Please don’t confine God in a small box by arguing that children will be confused when telling them about the heart. God knows how to handle every thing, You just tell them what the bible says. I’m sorry to tell you that they may well understand than you do.  If it says ”believe in your heart” you have to obey. Teach children the way of God and they will remember……. 

  • Alberte1f

    lol

    • Condescending Wonka

      lol

  • Alberte1f

    @Condescending Wonka

    • Condescending Wonka

      Condescending me Wonka?

  • Ozzie Garcia

    You guys are missing the point all together (splinting hairs as they say). My kids asked Jesus into their hearts long ago and they are still walking with Him. You had a blonde moment on this one. Yes its all about what Jesus did on the cross, but how do you think one ask for that? I usually find your articles some what interesting, some more than others, but this one shows you have run out of things to whrite about. The lights are on, but…………

    • PastorT

      Nobody’s home! Lol

    • Inquiring Mind

      Do they actually make splints for hair?  Hmmm, must be very tiny.

      • Condescending Wonka

        Oh, you must be so “Educated”… please, correct us all on our grammar.

  • Awakesound

    Interesting from everyone.  The Holy Spirit has to be at work in salvation.  He is the one that brings people to Christ.  Tactics can be right if He is in them; or wrong if He is not.  So with that in mind, everyone is right here, and those trusting in a certain method or trusting against it are wrong in some way.  So now I’m going to get a comment from the peanut gallery as well.  Well throw me some peanuts with your reply sir.  I thought the article was well written and thought provoking.

    • Condescending Wonka

      (Peanuts thrown)

  • Outofur

    I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge a the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. 4 They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2Tim 4:1-5. The bible warned us that these days would come…

  • Pastorgunner

    Salvation is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us and we come to a knowledge of salvation in more ways than just the “sinner’s prayer” or any other personal method. You can be saved without ever saying a prayer it is a belief in the heart and a proclaiming of that belief with our mouth that saves us.

    • clarisse carrasco

      You are ALREADY saved by grace, it’s not anything we do or say that saved us….just say THANK YOU JESUS for all You did and continue to do on my behalf to make it possible for me to have the promise of eternal life with You.  

      • Jed

        ..Paul said “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” Phil. 2.(12)…you sound like you have a short cut..Jesus said “Depart from me I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness” Matthew 7 (21.23)..Paul said “shall we sin more so grace abound?  God forbid!” Romans 6 (1) and Apostle John said “sin is transgression of the law” 1st John 3 (4)..

  • Sam O’Donnell

    I really think we can “strain at the gnat and swallow the camel” on this issue. If someone “asked Jesus into their heart” “got saved” or whatever description you’d like to use is really not that important in my view. If a person understands that they are making a decision to follow Jesus as Lord, and accept his sacrifice on our behalf then they are a part of the family of God. 

    I’ve seen the holy spirit work in people’s lives when they just simply said to the Lord something like “take me if you want me, I’m yours”. The gospel message is simple. It was designed to be. Let’s be as clear as we can so people can get to know how much God loves them. Often, words get in the way. Let the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth as we follow Jesus mandate to “go make disciples”. Much love to all of you, my brothers and sisters in the faith.

    • clarisse carrasco

      AMEN Sam!! The simplicity of God’s grace freely given and the sacrifices ALREADY made for us and remembering that Jesus intercedes for us consistently is sooo freeing indeed! So many words to say it simply, the “job” has been done for us, rest in the “gift” freely given. to me the concept of “getting saved” is actually me saying THANK YOU for the GIFT of salvation You  always had waiting for me Lord, I accept it! Thank you for all you did that let’s me now REST in You!   

  • Tasha

    I totally agree with James and Ozzie…I only read the article to see what it was about because of the heading…… if my child tells me they want Jesus Im not going to spend any time wondering if they really meant it because just them asking at any age shows the Holy Spirit at work in their heart. They are smarter than we think and their view of the world opens their heart and mind to receive and believe Christ Jesus.

  • patrick

    yes , i think there is a lot of nit picking here , you will end up getting people more confused then preveously , you say a type of sinners prayer to be saved , you cannot [ as far as i know ] , give up eg- 50 years of sin without help from the holy spirit , please stop stiring up trouble .

  • GlennDulaney

    Obey Acts 2:38 and there will be no question. It’s how the early church did so why did we change it? Peter’s proof to the questioning Jews in regards to Cornelious and his (gentile) house was that they heard them speak with tongues just as they did on the day of Pentecost. Nothing has changed.

    • 1234Johnson

      So people are saved by ‘hearing’ tongues? Geez, all these years I thought it was hearing the gospel that God saved people.

  • Jdroper3

    I’m a pastor in the Southern “Bible Belt,” and the opinions expressed in this article are exactly true, I believe.  My own experience bears this out.  Tho raised in a very strong relation to the church, I never really come to faith until I was 32, having graduated from a Christian college and nationally-known seminary many years before. Having pastored now for 21 years, I have seen many, many church members in just this situation.  They’ve walked an aisle, shaken a preacher’s hand, signed a card, and been pronounced “saved,” and it’s on this basis they attempt to live a works-oriented sanctification.  If they fail–which they of course will–they come to a “revival-meeting” and make a “rededication” of their lives, minus, of course, any form of repentance.  It’s my estimation that more than half, and perhaps as many as three-fourths, of all church members have no personal relationship with Christ.  Any comments?

    • PrescottJayErwin

      The fault does not lie in the appeal to receive Christ, even when it’s put into the terms of “asking Jesus into your heart.” The fault lies in inadequate explanations of what it means to do so and then in shallow discipleship — or complete lack of discipleship — following it. It doesn’t help the effort of trying to ensure that a person making a profession of faith actually has a relationship with Christ by divorcing it from relational language.

    • THOMAS

      READ THE ABOVE MAN FOR GOD SAKE LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. LISTEN TO THE HEART YOU CLAIM THAT THE LORD LIVES IN, NOW THAT YOUR AN ADULT RIGHT?

  • R2j2tsamaniego

    I, too, am a SB pastor, and since then I have always known that there is a right time (not physical) for understanding what the Word of God from Rev.3:20 if it is to be instrumental.  I never make people they’re making God a beggar when they ask God into their hearts, rather to give Him His rightful place. sovereign, and from there reign in the life of every believer who accepted Jesus Christ.  Not because you have another way to do it means what others use is incorrect.

    • THOMAS

      Im sorry pastor but why would a christian as yourself even remotly entertain this extremely confused man on his intelectualism on rewriting what GOD has ordained as the truth? This man is preaching false doctrine as clear as day!

  • Xnavftnjoh

    King James Bible Jer 17 9
    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Is this why he belongs there, or should I keep him at the head of my life? with my heart desperately wicked where should I ask Jesus to be?

  • Al Brown

    I am 70 years old and still serve on the mission field in Thailand. I accepted Jesus into my heart and life when I was five. I have depended upon and trusted God to treat me as his son ever since. He has not failed me even when I have failed Him. I celebrate that early “decision”. I understand the arguments put forth and the dangers for some youngsters but for me, it was a timely “decision” and “surrender” that started me on a journey of obediently living love.

  • Condescending Wonka

    Oh, so your real mad? Please, enlighten us on your “bold” statements…

  • Fwbpastor

    Wow, just where does this leave us? Point three is very interesting and leaves one stumbling in the dark. A very simple truth is this: If Jesus doesn’t do a work in my heart, then the work He did historically leaves me lost. So while my Lord’s work historically may be truly primary, what He did in my heart is very primary for me personally. Thank you Lord working grace in my heart.

  • Joseph

    How I wish that we should discuss this in a civil manner and learn from the convictions of others. 
    We have a lot of verses about “Christ in us” such as Col.1:27, IICor.13:5,  Rom.8:10, John 14:20, Rev. 3:20.   Is it dangerous for us to teach children the importance of asking Jesus to come into their hearts when Christ is in the life of every true christian?  If the above scriptures are true (that Christ is in us), when will this occur? Is it not at the time of conversion? When would be the right time to teach our children to invite Christ into their hearts if not at the time when their minds are still soft and not yet so polluted with worldly and devilish matters. Proverbs 22:6.  If I would like my child to invite Christ in his heart inorder for ” Christ to be in him” according to the above scriptures, then, I will start to teach him when he is still young even if it takes time for me to do so for I know that his salvation is possible if Christ is in him.  When would be the right time to teach my child that he is a sinner needing salvation? Do you think that a child will easily understand that he is a sinner? If he could not understand about his being a sinner, would it be a mistake to continue teaching him?
    It seems to me that the author’s belief about salvation is –“salvation is obtained not because of your choice but because it is God’s will whether you like it or not.” This belief leads him to the conclusion that there is “No need for us to teach a child to accept Christ in his heart.”

  • Jed

    James 4 (8) “draw nearer to God and He will draw nearer to you…prayer and following  of God’s ten commandments will bring Jesus into our hearts…as Apostle John said in 1st John 2 (4)..those who say I know Him and keep not His commandments are liars and the truth is not in them”!

  • Daniel1cavaco

    This article and commentary is trivializing God. Did Jesus not say,Assuredly I say unto you, unless you are converted and become as little children you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18;3 also he says in verse 6. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a millstone around his neck and drowned on the sea. I asked Jesus into my heart at 5. Yes I walked out of his will as I got older but, I had his covering and his faith in me. He is faithful even when we are not. I thank him and praise him for never giving up on those who, at an early age ask him into their hearts and I know it makes him happy too. He would not refuse a child why would you? This is what happens when people think to much and not have the faith our humbleness of a child.

  • Dorothy-670

    Just the title looks like an insult to me. Please, I think that when a child asks Jesus into his heart, there is more truth and sincerity in it than when an adult says it, and the Lord knows it! So let us not stop our children from inviting their savior into their lives.

  • http://twitter.com/jsglover96 John Glover

    While parents may try and teach their children about Jesus Christ by giving them and understanding of the truth, every child has to come to the point (through the leading of the Spirit) where they are willing to accept Christ into their lives. Parents should teach their children concerning these things, but they also have to leave it up to God to work out His plan in their life!  

  • Pipel2667

    Stock on number eight with my 17 years old son. He was doing well until a revivalist became to prophesy over his future life as a pastor. He panicked and now does not even want to attent church.
    Is very frustrating for me to see him wandering throughout the church building totally disconnected from the service. I am counseling him but as the article says: “they have to believe in their heart who Jesus is and what he does”.

  • Italics62

    All these posts are opinion with NO scripture that has not been taken out of context. Do a complete study. There is NO sinners prayer. It is all about REPENTANCE.

  • Josh

    Jesus said “to enter into life keep the commandments”..He identified these as the ten commandments…He also said “anything you ask the Father in my name will be given you” John 14 (13.14)..so we ask God for forgiveness of sins in Jesus name, and we sin no more and follow the Commandments (Sin is transgression of Gods law..the commandments. according to 1st John 3(4)…

  • Michelle

    I’m a Children’s Pastor, and I explain it as a “friendship” with Jesus.  I tell my kids that when we begin a friendship with Jesus, we receive the free gift of Grace.  Salvation is a relationship with our heavenly Father.  He did the work, there is nothing for us to do but accept His love.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NUDXWJCYWE4TNDMUCNM2ABLIPE Josh

      Jesus said in John 14.15 if you love me keep my Commandments” and in  Matthew 19.17 “to enter into life keep the Commandments’ and He identified these as the ten commandments..so there is definitely something we need to do..and that is keep His Commandments as He instructed!

  • ePHraimAg

    Desiring Christ-likeness for Our hildren is probablyThe richest aspiration Of Our Hearts toward Our Children…in this I can agree

  • W.C. Rogers

    I had a real life changing experience with God by asking Him into my heart at the age of 10. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I am 52 years old today and I Pastor a church. He became my savior at 10, and became my Lord as I developed in my faith. God Bless!

  • CKS

    On a superficial level, I agree that the answer should be no. This is because salvation is a matter of or partly a matter of (depending on which school of thought) of divine sovereign election. But i don’t think this is that simple. Because this is based on the assumption that we will have a sustainable contact with our children until they are matured enough to comprehend adequately the matter of faith. But what if really untoward incident happens (God forbid)? Also, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 19:14) Although not explicitly stated as a matter of salvation, the connotation is to allow an unhindered access to the Savior. Notice in that case, the children “were brought to Jesus” not children “come on their own”; and no age limits were specified. So, my answer is I don’t know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/crazydays44 crazydays4444

    *(you can disregard all this writing and fast-forward to the last sentence)
    Amen. What needs to be added? This will of course get back-fire from youth “leaders”..??? And such. Even many pastors.
    There is an old dear saint of ours that began, speaking so boldly at the last 15 years of his life against this “church of facade” that is so lukewarm. Many of us who daily read and pray, find these sundays gatherings nothing but carnal!..brother Leonard Ravenhill.
    *for your knowing, I like some of the man quoted so much on the thread “David Platt”, but I see a rigidty with many of his sermons…
    (Now before you go, giving me all the good points~ I am not ignorant of such!) And I don’t blanket my statement for every building called church!… But, Amen! God is bringing back repentance sermons, and teaching’s of being seperate “holy” as the only way to see a Holy Almighty God. We know these verses, yet think culture has so much influence, and we dare not scare the one who just prayed the “sinner’s prayer”… so we tip-toe around, and try not to wake the baby (metephoricly speaking), and the Power of God is yet to be seen! I will tell you this. By obeying God,raising our daughter in The Lord, she knows the Gospel of Christ better than most elders and pastors in our town. (She is 4, and we go over scripture, and what it means daily, and before bed. If I was to plop her into a “church-building” she would be looking for people like her that belive, yet cut down to size, as her ideas where formed from the old ways… “In many of these places”…
    There is a huge spiritual war, happening as we read and write. We dare not be as the 5 foolish Virgins. For God even says the “Elect” will be tested and tried and persecuted, like never before! So, their are many awake to this fact, that coffee shops and music clubs with a motivational speach we give God, (I dare not even say it for it repulses me, as it is a conjuring up of man’s ideas) But I will for the sake of a reader, we go to these places, and at the end give THE LORD ALMIGHTY GOD CREATOR OF ALL THINGS a simple hand clap at the end, and get home or to a restaraunt that we can fellowship with each other, usually “spiritual”, but nothing powerful enough to worry demons. But, again~ I am hearing more and more of biblical repentance as Christ taught. If we turn not from our former wicked self? How are we born-again?…. But The Holy Spirit is bringing out strong reproof by the Very Word of God that we have 5+ copies of in our home, yet do not thirst after it as The Life Giving bread and water It imparts.
    I am so happy for those who are on board with dividing John 3:16 with Luke 9:23 or Galatians with James, as God desires those “Who have been born-again by faith in what Jesus did was enough, and in Him, it is Finished”…. (many call holiness, works salvation?) We are surely not saved by works, but from the time we are truly born-agian of The Spirit as Jesus teaches in John 3:8… I am so in love with Jesus, for I was the one with “in parable teaching” I had the greater debt! (More sin).. So, to hear Our Lord trivialized into a sweet little “acceptable” phrase, is putred to my heart. But greivious as well, because all that are in such delusion (as so many claim I am in), Well it won’t be long before we ALL find out. Until then, I will be a humble student of Jesus Christ, and follow His commands. It is costly, and the sword of division from Jesus is way more evident. Our enemies are those of our own house, and we are spoke evil against, because we teach and preach The Cross. Love covers so many things, but eventually we must love enough to say the truth. For those whom feel my wording or thinking is in error, please follow up reply’s with some meat of God’s Word. For then we can sharpen each other, and learn to love more. Struggling with many concepts I still do. Hubbled and chastised by God~still happening. Pruning, so uncomfortable, yet nessesary. May in All things Our Jealous Father over our lives recieve the due Praise and Honor through The Blood of Christ. Would one disagree that God saved us to be His workmanship through being guided by The Holy Spirit into good works He planned for us “before” we were made into a New Creation in Christ. And for the “Great number” of those hanging everything on our confession, I don’t belive the writer has overlooked the innocent child-like faith required to be “accepted” by God.
    And, just as so many are apalled at this article and write off the “ignorance” of such thinking as myself, may you truly examine yourself. Are your for real? If so, great! But do examine before labeling other brothers with what you/I would disagree with. And what shakes me, is how is it made so easy and applicable to a proffesion of allegience for us, when Jesus Christ openly showed the difficilties that would stop us from coming to Him? I believe there is a narrow road (and few there be that find it) and a broad road, (that many chose instead). I can conclude the entire post I wrote in 1 verse. (Mind you’ from Romans too!)…
    (disregard and disagree with all that I wrote. I am ok with that. Just please examine This Scripture “in context” to the many idea’s and label’s associated with this article.)
    Romans 11:22~ Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.
    (In love and thanksgiving may we unite in accord as commanded. I don’t force some works salvation/ and i would bet, you do not endorse an easy “come to Jesus” doctrine… but the fellowship of the sainst is needed today more than ever! God’s Will be done, and if I am wrong or in error ~ We know God is Great, and will deal with each person, if they built with wood, hay & stubble, or precious stones.) May God consume us with Himself, so people see He is so very real, and desires all people to come to repentance “a turning from the dark, to the Light of Christ in child-like faith” But not leaving out the difficult verses for their very souls sake.

  • Pastor John

    Though there are some issues that can be addressed here in making the process of salvation more clear. Overall, this article is glalim (גללים)- in Hebrew, in Greek kopro. For those who speak neither Crap!