Monday, February 05, 2007

Just How Biblical is the Sinner's Prayer?

This post is essentially thinking out loud about something I have been pondering for a while. I thought by posting this I could get some feedback and evaluate my thoughts. Someone may have already addressed this adequately. I hope I am not splitting hairs too finely, but here goes...

When I came to Christ as a teenager, I prayed a prayer similar to what you find in most Gospel tracts:
"Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am sinful and I need your forgiveness. I believe that You died to pay the penalty for my sin. I want to turn from my sin nature and follow You instead. I invite You to come into my life. In Jesus' name. Amen." Steps to Peace with God, Billy Graham
I know that countless others have prayed this prayer to initiate their life with Christ. On the surface, the prayer seems theological enough--there is acknowledgment of need, confession of sin, the substitutionary nature of Christ's death, and repentance, all biblically necessary for receiving salvation.

However, is there anywhere in the Bible that someone prays for their initial salvation? I don't think so. I do not want to say that if an apparently Scriptural practice, if it is not chapter and verse, that it is immediately unbiblical. There are a lot of modern constructs used in Christian life and practice that though they do not have a biblical precedent it does not make the usage of them sinful. Nevertheless, there is no notion of a sinner's prayer in the Scriptures.

God has outlined the plan of salvation clearly in the Scriptures. And from that plan, there is no mention of prayer being a prerequisite. The plan goes like this:
  1. Hear the Gospel message (John 5:24, Acts 15:7, Romans 10:14).
  2. Believe in Jesus as the resurrected Son of God (John 3:16-18, 11:25-26, Romans 10:9).
  3. Repent of sin (Matthew 3:2, Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30).
  4. Confess Christ before others (Mark 8:38, Romans 10:9).
  5. Be baptized as an outward testimony and as an act of obedience (Matthew 3:13-15, Acts 9:18, 16:33).
  6. Live faithfully and steadfast as a Christian (Matthew 10:22, Hebrews 3:6, 14).
Of all the conversions recorded in the New Testament, there is no witness to any kind of prayer to receive salvation. There are nine conversions in the book of Acts alone and all follow this plan.
  1. 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41)
  2. Simon and the Samaritans (Acts 8:9-12)
  3. The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39)
  4. Saul/Paul (Acts 9:1-19 & Acts 22:3-16)
  5. Cornelius’ Household (Acts 10:44-48)
  6. Lydia (Acts 16:11-15)
  7. The Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:16-34)
  8. The Corinthians (Acts 18:1-8)
  9. The Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7)
There are also the conversions recorded in the Gospels (for example, Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the Gadarene demoniac, Zaccheus) where similar patterns are evident, though they do not follow the pattern from the book of Acts.

What I am not trying to do is impose a rigid rule upon the salvation experience, for each person's experience coming to Christ is different. However, it seems that a pattern can be discerned from Scripture that is noticeably devoid of prayer of any kind. I do not think prayer as a matter of course cannot be part of the initial saving process. The concern raised in my mind is what the usage of the sinner's prayer has done to discipleship. Has the church overemphasized the usage of the prayer to the effect that it has the opposite effect on maturity?

The prayer seems to truncate the primary Christian discipline of discipleship as well as the most noticeable indicator of salvation; that one continues in the faith. I have served in church long enough to garner enough empirical evidence to see that those who have prayed the sinner's prayer, if it is not solidified with discipleship, the prayer then becomes an end unto itself. The sinner has then staked his eternal soul not on the merit of Christ, but a tenuous prayer.

The sinner's prayer, often used as a substitute for the dirty work of discipleship, can even be prayed again if one does not "feel" saved, purely contrary to the Scriptural teaching on salvation.

So, just how biblical is the sinner's prayer?

28 comments:

Headmistress said...

Well, here's my $.02...

As a former Lutheran turned Presbyterian--and I'm definitely not an intellectual Christian!--my first thoughts are that it's not biblical, and mainly for this reason (your quote):

The sinner has then staked his eternal soul not on the merit of Christ, but a tenuous prayer.

I believe the Spirit moves through the telling/hearing of the Word and that oft times, way too much emphasis is put on the effort of the newly saved...but then again, I still get hung up on free will vs. election (leaning more toward election, of course)!

Tony said...

HM,

Don't shortchange yourself! I have read your writings and you do quite well!

Free will and election can get sticky and I think the overemphasis of the use of the sinner's prayer is a direct result of free will run amok. The sinner's prayer is essentially a teaching that blossomed out of the revivalism of the 19th century and it capitalizes on man making a decision and that by praying that prayer, you become arbiter of your own salvation. I prayed to receive it; when I prayed, it became mine; Christ is subject to me, not vice versa. The prayer activated grace and mercy, not my faith or the appropriate exercise of it.

Salvation is then based on our merit, not Christ's.

Thanks for stopping by the RP.

Heather said...

Tony -

Thanks for posting this -- it gives much to think about. As you may know from reading my comments and blog the Lord is really "taking us through the ringer" (that is Brandon and me). God is currently in the process of stripping away every preconceived notion that we both have about Him and about ministry.

One thing I can say is that I was a 27 year old woman who came to the realization that I had been putting stock in having walked an aisle and been baptized at 6-year-old. But there was absolutely no life change, no becoming a disciple. My basis for salvation was not placed on the Lord, rather it was placed on me and my actions that I had taken.

Tony said...

Heather,

Tenuous, isn't it?

I came to the same conclusion that you reached and it revolutionized my walk with Christ when I discovered that my salvation was something that I did nothing to achieve. It opened my life up in ways I cannot begin to explain.

The revivalism I mentioned to HM above has in large part been a detriment to the body of Christ and virtually obliterated robust discipleship.

Oh, and btw, the "ringer" ain't all bad! :)

Gordon Cloud said...

This is a great post, Tony. It is very well written with some great points.

I agree with you that while it is not wrong to include prayer in the salvation initiation, it is dangerous to let one's faith rest simply in praying a prayer.

Tony said...

Gordon,

Thank you!

Your last couple of posts on getting to the root of the problem were well-written as well (on the mark, I might add). I was there in the stands with Steve, but he didn't know it...;)

Heather said...

Yes, we are rather enjoying "the ringer" actually! What a breath of fresh air and how freeing it has been and is and will continue to be as the Lord opens our eyes and ears more and more each day!

Thanks for your edifying blog!

Blessings!

~Heather

Heather said...

Tony -

Your comment at the end of this post,

"I have served in church long enough to garner enough empirical evidence to see that those who have prayed the sinner's prayer, if it is not solidified with discipleship, the prayer then becomes an end unto itself."

is dead on! Brandon and I both have seen this first-hand as well ... all too often :-(

I would even venture to say that the majority of those in church today have their "fire insurance" and that's about it as far as their salvation goes. Again, we both have encountered this immense lack of maturity all too often.

I have only been a disciple for 8 years ... but my maturity level far surpasses many I know and minister to who are much, much "older in the Lord" than I am. Why? For starters, I have had a couple of people in my life who have taken the time to disciple me. That has caused me to hunger and thrist for righteousness ... and I have been filled!! I don't say that to be smug or self-righteous or conceited -- if anything, the Lord has been showing me how much I truly don't understand :-) -- I simply say that to point out the sadness of the state of the church today and as an example of discipleship vs. lack of it.

Now, how can we be agents of change in this?

Headmistress said...

Hi Heather...nice to meet you on Tony's blog!

You said:

I would even venture to say that the majority of those in church today have their "fire insurance" and that's about it as far as their salvation goes.

I totally agree with this...it's a major concern for us, too. I often struggle with those self-righteous tendencies that creep into my thinking when frustrated by other believers who are so content in such spiritual infancy. It's then that I'm reminded to be thankful for the gift of faith and the Spirit doing so much work in me. Matthew 20 (parable of the vinyard workers) helps a bit, too.

Now, how can we be agents of change in this?

My guess would be to keep doing what you're doing--telling the Gospel, discipling others on how to disciple others, let the Spirit do its work through you, and pray-pray-pray!

Jamie Murphy said...

Thanks for the great post. I have thought about this subject for some time now. I will not ask someone to repeat a prayer after me. I think that we should point people to the cross, and tell them about the savior who is waiting to hear from them. Too many times I hear that a non-believer does not know how to pray. Well you don't have to teach a hungry man how to ask for food. All you have to do is point that person to where the food is. We need to tell lost people where to find forgiveness. They have to ask for it.

Geoff Baggett said...

Tony,

Good point. Truly, we need to steer our theological rudders in a direction other than the "magical words" of the salvation prayer. If you think about it, that's what so many people see in those words ... a magic formula. If you just say them properly, in the right order, with all of the issues covered ... then PRESTO! ... God saves you.

I guess I have always understood the truth that God saves a soul in the moment when the individual, somewhere within the depths of his/her soul and being, simply yeilds his/her life in faith to Christ Jesus. Of course, all of the intellectual aspects must be there ... understanding sin, repentance, understanding faith ... but I cannot help but believe that salvation comes in that moment when we say, "Yes" to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Then, the ultimate proof of that salvation is perseverance. I believe that is one overriding theme of the New testaments, especially the epistles of Paul.

Geoff
http://geoffbaggett.wordpress.com

Tony said...

Heather,

Thanks for the follow-up and the good word about how God is working in your family's life! I am always excited to hear those kinds of stories. I look forward to more!

Agents of change...to quote that oft-maligned theologian, Michael Jackson, "I'm starting with the man in the mirror..." ;)

HM and Heather,

I once heard that a lot of people who get into heaven will smell like they bought their clothes at a fire sale. I do however wonder at the truthfulness of such statements, because as Geoff has pointed out, there is no real salvation without Lordship and vice versa. I also appreciate HM's response about how to change the dynamic; telling the Gospel, discipling others on how to disciple others, let the Spirit do its work through you, and pray-pray-pray!

Jamie,

Welcome to The RP.

That is an interesting decision that you have made about refusing to allow someone to "pray the prayer" after you. I would love to hear further thoughts.

You are dead-on that a non believer does not know how to pray; Proverbs 15:29, 28:9. I have heard these verses marshalled in defense of a sinner's prayer, that it is the only prayer God will hear from an unbeliever. Hmmm...still tenuous to me.

Geoff,

You make a perfect point about the inextricable link between salvation and lordship. Intellectual assent with the cold, hard facts of the Gospel is absolutely essential, but it is not enough to get saved.

Hence, my difficulty with the usage of the sinner's prayer. It seems to foster that only intellectual understanding is required, that obedience and submission to God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily have to follow. In my understanding it does.

Perseverance is one of the overriding themes of the NT; I think Hebrews 3:14 is succinct in this regard:

For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

Thanks to all for your participation! Further comments are always welcome.

Les Puryear said...

Tony,

Just how biblical is the "Sinner's Prayer"? That's easy to answer. It's not biblical.

Les

Jen said...

Thank you for this post and for making me ask questions. It always leads me to a deepening of faith when I choose to investigate God's word rather than just accept at face value the things I have been taught.
I can't tell you how long I've been waiting to actually hear my dad say "I've just accepted Jesus as my Savior." Spending many years now in the Southern Baptist church, I'm sure you can understand why I had this expectation. There is so much emphasis on getting people saved, leading them to pray to accept Jesus. Unfortuanatly, at the churches where we've been members, there has been poor follow through on discipleship. Spiritual milk is not poured out to these new believers--there is the expectation to assimilate. Anyway, back to my Dad...I can see how silly this expectation is that he'll repeat a prayer and exclaim his newfound salvation, when what I really need to be looking for (praying for) is a change in the Lordship of his life. Who knows maybe he has already "prayed the prayer," but of what value is that if he is not following the salvation plan written out by God (per your blog):
Hear the Gospel message
Believe in Jesus as the resurrected Son of God
Repent of sin
Confess Christ before others
Be baptized as an outward testimony and as an act of obedience
Live faithfully and steadfast as a Christian
As my friend, the Headmistress, has often reminded me, our salvation has nothing to do with what what we do for God, but only what He does for us.

By the way, I'm a blog-posting novice. Hope I was able to clearly communicate!

brian said...

I appreciate the discussion.
I have always felt funny about pastors and others keeping count of the number of "professions of faith"; most readily acknowledge that a profession of faith through the sinners prayer is NOT equal to conversion to Christianity--they plainly state that "only God knows their heart."

My wife (jen)and I are AWANA Cubbies (3 and 4 year olds) leaders. Last week, one of our cubbies told us that he asked Christ into his heart the day before--wonderful news. I have no greater desire than for children to come to know the Lord as their savior early in life and to never stray away. However, after he told us this, I began to ponder the salvation of our own children (5, 3, 2 mos). Sadly enough, I began having thoughts of anticipating our children also "accepting Christ" through a similar prayer. Then I realized--they (the 5 and 3yo)don't know that they need to pray that prayer. They believe, matter-of-fact that they will go to heaven because Christ died on a cross for their sins. In fact, my 3 year old son very boldly asks visitors to our house and other daily acquaintances if the know about Jesus.

I agree with you--I don't think that the wording or the prayer is critical to salvation. Certainly, acknowledging our need for saving Grace is, and that may be represented by such a prayer. However, our walk with Christ is very dynamic. Placing too much emphasis on the beginning of the race (the prayer) and not keeping your eye on the prize (heaven) will lead you to run a pretty crummy course and returning to the starting line frequently.

Tony said...

Les,

Always straight and to the point.

Jen,

Hello and welcome! I would have never known you were a novice; glad to have you here.

Your expectation about your dad is not unreasonable and neither is the expectation of hearing those precious few words. I always remind myself when thinking of and praying for lost family members that if God can change my heart, He can also change___________ (fill in the blank). Do not lose hope.

You said, Unfortunately, at the churches where we've been members, there has been poor follow through on discipleship. Spiritual milk is not poured out to these new believers... I sincerely wish this was not the norm, but in most (Baptist) churches it seems to be commonplace.

I will echo Heather's sentiment from an earlier comment, we can change it, but we have to start with our own discipleship, just as HM said, discipling others on how to disciple others.

I am thankful that this post and I hope many others will work in your life to lead you into a more robust relationship with Jesus.

You are welcome here anytime.

Tony said...

Brian,

I submitted my previous comment at the same time you did.

May I also say unto you, welcome!

Your comments are so true. I have small children myself (9, 6, 4, 2, and expecting :)). My oldest has accepted Christ yet the prayer to her was inconsequential. We struggled one evening for several hours and her decision...yet she never talks about the prayer.

I have always found that odd until I really started thinking about it...we have to have faith like a child, you know? Many believers will begin their testimony, "I prayed to receive Christ..."

But I think after seeing it played out in my daughter's life and how she legitimately struggles with sin issues that is more convincing than someone saying they have prayed a certain prayer and then that means "I am saved."

The final statement you made is the gist of my post...Placing too much emphasis on the beginning of the race (the prayer) and not keeping your eye on the prize (heaven) will lead you to run a pretty crummy course and returning to the starting line frequently. Too often we keep our gaze turned backwards looking at what I did, (I prayed that prayer, why don't I feel saved?) rather than what Christ did, and essentially what encapsulates Christian perseverance, what Christ can and will do in your life when you are obedient and submissive to Him.

Again, thanks for stopping by.

Heather said...

Brian, you said

"However, our walk with Christ is very dynamic. Placing too much emphasis on the beginning of the race (the prayer) and not keeping your eye on the prize (heaven) will lead you to run a pretty crummy course and returning to the starting line frequently."

... there in lines a big part of the problem IMHO ... no one discipling others on how to press on in the race.

It's a great analogy, the race. Imagine if you were watching the Olympics and it was the final race to determine the medals. The runners are poised and ready and the gun fires (do they still fire a gun?). The runners take off as fast as they can, but some don't stay on the track, some decide to run backwards and most just stop running right after the start. How silly would that be?

Yet this is what we seem to be encouraging and allowing in the church today. No, the runner who finishes the race stays to the course, may get a cramp or two, may even trip and fall, but he or she gets up and gets moving again toward the finish line. The goal is the finish line, not the starting line. How silly we've all been thinking the starting line was all that was important!

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

I had to delete my last comment because I double posted (new Blogger is getting on my nerves!) ... sorry about that :-) ... just wanted you to know why it was deleted :-)

Anonymous said...

Tony,

I will not give you my full answer now, but will ask a question instead. I think it's related. It's something that sparked a whole new 'revelation' for me years ago. WHERE IN THE BIBLE DO YOU FIND ANY MESSANGER OF GOD, WHERE DO YOU FIND JESUS, THE DISCIPLES, THE APOSTLES, ANYONE, PREACHING THAT YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED FOR YOU IN ORDER TO BE SAVED? Where specifically? I once did a personal study on that. It brings an amazingly fresh understanding of things.

Brindusa

Tony said...

Heather,

That is a perfect analogy of where this post is coming from. Thank you for sharing it.

Brindusa,

Before I formulate a response, I wanted to get some additional thoughts from you. Would you care to elaborate? Thanks...

Anonymous said...

I don't believe there is a plan of salvation or a requirement to pray a sinner's prayer.


What about the criminal on the cross with Jesus, who just had to say to 'remember me'? Nothing else.

And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)

Tony said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment.

I agree that there is no biblical requirement to pray a sinner's prayer but your argument that biblically there is no plan of salvation is unsubstantiated.

You have based your argument on the exception to the rule, arguing from the part to the whole, a logically and philosophically inadequate argument in that the part (the thief's conversion upon His death) does not completely represent the whole, all that is revealed in the NT (at least nine conversions in Acts alone, plus conversions in the Gospels, and other Scriptures).

Certainly the thief on the cross aside Jesus was allowed entrance into heaven. To be sure, there are deathbed conversions. Nevertheless, most everyone who by grace comes to Him will not come to Him in this manner but will choose to follow Him with many more years left in their life. Then, the plan of salvation as I have outlined in the post will apply.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again according to the Scriptures. 1 Cor. 15:3-4

...that 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. Romans 10:9

I tell you no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:5

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of Him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38


Again anonymous, thanks for your comment.

Tim A Blankenship said...

Tony,
Great article, and along the lines I have thought myself.
It seems to me that there are people that are trusting in the fact they said some words in a prayer, but there was no life change take place when they arose from their knees.
Salvation is a life change. As a matter of fact from death to life.

Tony said...

Brother Tim,

Great to see you back again.

Your comment shows how salvation and lordship are intricately tied together and you cannot have one without the other.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Hello again. I'm sorry my last post was so short (I didn't have time for more) and it may have sounded like I was rambling. Afterwards I couldn't elaborate at all on what I meant because our computer kept shutting itself down. My husband finally discovered our cooler had died out and replaced it, so now we're in business again. :-)

I started with the sinner's prayer, which you quoted:

"Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am sinful and I need your forgiveness. I believe that You died to pay the penalty for my sin. I want to turn from my sin nature and follow You instead. I invite You to come into my life. In Jesus' name. Amen." Steps to Peace with God, Billy Graham

Nowadays you hear it and read it everywhere that in order to be saved you must believe that Jesus Christ died for you. It is part of the sinner's prayer above. The only problem is that such a claim is not biblical. I know it may sound absurd and scandalous to say such a thing, but nowhere in the Bible does Christ or any of His apostles preach this. Please read the New Testament looking for this and see how it's missing completely!! It's an addition and I think we have been 'brainwashed' to believe it (I certainly was for some time). This fact does make a whole lot of difference and that's why I said it is related to what you said (about discipleship being missing). It does make a huge difference because, since it's not a biblical 'requirement' for salvation, it encourages something that is not real saving faith. And if you don't have real saving faith, how are you going to have real discipleship? Of course you can't.

Why did I say it can involve a false faith, which does not save? I know from my own experience what a sterile, dry, purely intellectual thing it can be. You lead an unchanged life, but you keep reassuring yourself and trying to convince yourself: "The Bible says Jesus Christ died for sinners. OK, I am a sinner. So Jesus Christ must have died for me. Yes, I believe Jesus died for me, so I must be all right." That is not real saving faith. When I first found this clearly expressed by Spurgeon, in a sermon, it was like a small revelation for me. I found this quote in a wonderful book called "Spurgeon the Forgotten", by Iain Murray. Since I don't have it in English, I am translating it back into English. As I translate it, it may not be the exact wording, but here is what he says:

"I have sometimes thought, hearing sermons of some brethren, who kept saying 'Believe, believe, believe', that I would like to know what it is that we must believe in order to be saved. I am afraid that there is a great lack of clarity and maturity in this matter. I have often heard it said that if you believe Jesus Christ died for you, you shall be saved. My dear listener, do not let yourself be deceived by such an idea. You may believe that Jesus Christ died for you and you may believe what is not true; you may believe something that will do you no good. This is not saving faith. The man that has saving faith comes afterwards to the conviction that Christ died for him, but this is not the essence of saving faith. Don't stick this into your head, for otherwise it will ruin you. Do not say: 'I believe that Jesus Christ died for me'and for this thing feel that you are saved. I pray that you will remember that true faith, which saves the soul, has as a main element trust - absolute trust and rest of the whole soul - that the Lord Jesus Christ will save me, whether or not He died particularly and specially to save me or not to save me, and I am saved relying, as I am, fully on Him and only on Him. After that I come to understand that I have a special interest in the blood of the Saviour; but if I think I understood this before having believed in Christ, then I have inversed the biblical order of things and have taken for a fruit of my faith that which is obtained rightfully only by the man who trusts absolutely in Christ and Him alone, to be saved."

So it's a huge difference: telling people that they must believe Jesus Christ died for them in order for them to be saved makes them to focus on something of which they try to convince themselves that it has taken place; whereas real faith involves trust in the person of Christ, that He CAN make me right with God, and here I am committing all my sin problem to Him to deal with it, and now I trust Him that one way or another He WILL deal with it. It's trust that affects your future and it's an entirely different thing.

That is what I meant. I am not sure how clearly I have been able to express myself, but this is something that brought much clarity to my life and helped a lot.

Brindusa

Tony said...

Brindusa,

I felt like the last anonymous comment may have been you; I was not certain because you didn't sign your name.

I think you are correct when you say that nowhere in the Bible does it say that you have to believe in Jesus' death specifically to be saved. Nevertheless, I am persuaded that believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are tantamount to salvation.

There are numerous verses that reference that one must believe IN Jesus in order to be saved. We both know John 3:16; the verse tells us that in order to be saved one must believe IN Jesus; "whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

This classic text means that in order to be saved, it is more than just intellectual acceptance of those facts. It requires a wholehearted acceptance of those facts; a placing of faith and trust in Jesus for salvation.

I think what you are getting at is what I have heard many American preachers say as "missing heaven by eighteen inches" (sorry I don't know the metric equivalent right off the top of my head :)), which is roughly the distance between your head and your heart. It indicates that one can mentally understand the Gospel without actually believing it.

You quoted Spurgeon saying, I pray that you will remember that true faith, which saves the soul, has as a main element trust - absolute trust and rest of the whole soul - that the Lord Jesus Christ will save me, whether or not He died particularly and specially to save me or not to save me, and I am saved relying, as I am, fully on Him and only on Him.

I think Spurgeon was making the same argument; that belief without trust is not belief at all. What He says makes for great preaching and quite possibly he was illustrating similar points, but the death of Christ is intricately woven into the plan of salvation. To be fair, I have not read that particular work of Spurgeon's.

I don't think Spurgeon is saying that belief in Christ is unnecessary for salvation; it is not the only thing required. Intellectual acceptance is only the beginning. Even the demons believe (James 2:19) but that does not mean they are saved.

Believing my car will take me to town and then getting into my car and driving in are two separate things and I think adequately illustrates our points.

The doctrine of the atonement is the prince of all the other doctrines and without it, the others make little or no sense.

Several verses tie together, though not explicitly stated, that the death of Christ is specifically what one must believe in order to be saved. John 11:25-26, Acts 13:38-39, 1 Corinthians 15:1-3, and Romans 10:9 just to be brief. Moreover, Jesus predicted over and over throughout the Gospels that He was to die as a sacrifice for sins.

And, the capstone of Paul's argument for the forgiveness of sins in 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of Christ; forgive my being over simplistic, but without a death, there can be no resurrection.

I think you and I are essentially saying the same things, just in a different way.

I am always overjoyed to see comments from you on the blog as well as emails in my inbox. Please know Camilla and I still pray for you and your family, and please, continue to send us prayer concerns, OK? You can be assured that they are prayed for!

Many blessings in our Lord!

Oh, and by the way, I met Iain Murray at a Bible conference in 2005. Very pleasant English fellow!