Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Response to Bill Wagner

Considering the comments of Dr. Wagner (click here), I must say that I received Christ by a Gospel presentation given through a tract and by means of the "Sinner's Prayer." Having experienced this, I would not neglect the fact that people can be saved by Gospel tracts and by an individual presenting the Gospel in hopes of the completion of the "Sinner's Prayer." All this aside, I also understand that I am not saved because I prayed a prayer, because I read a tract, or because I walked an aisle. In fact, I believe that the "Sinner's Prayer" was more of a way to work out a new attitude of repentance and faithfulness to God rather than a particular moment of salvation. It seems with emphasis on the "Altar Call" and the "Sinner's Prayer" devoid of any meaningful theology, we have created a new kind of Christian: A backslider. How often we hear that term relating to some "Christian" who persists in a lifestyle of sin. The very fact that Calvinists are so evangelistic (sharing both the whole counsel of God and not using some man-made gimmick to effect salvation) is the major reason I first began to examine the claims of the Doctrines of Grace in accordance with Scripture.

The other side of both the giving of the "Altar Call" and recitation of the "Sinner's Prayer" is that many who use these methods as their primary tools of evangelism are too quick to affirm the new "believer" in the certainty of salvation before having viewed their fruits. Really, the issue seems to tie together the tenets of Calvinism. Believing man is capable of coming to God on his own, believing that God chooses us because we will choose Him, believing that anyone can be saved if we just coerce them enough, and believing that God cannot draw us unless we allow Him only causes man to create methods in which we can do all the work so that we can get all the glory.

Are we to work? Yes. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So we are to preach the Gospel with fervency. However, God is both the author and finisher of our faith, solely responsible for effecting salvation, but yet not removing our responsibility to Him in our obedience to that Gospel and the preaching thereof.

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