The Sinners Prayer



Should we not go to strenuous efforts for the salvation of men souls? Why deceive them that they have (instant) assurance of salvation?

No warnings?

No telling them of reality that if there is no change of heart, change of mind, change of spirit, then they are still unconverted, and they face the wrath of God?

A deception, a delusion is what we give them. A deception, a delusion is what they take home.

“Repent of your sins and believe the Gospel”, is the biblical call.

“Repent from your rebellion and hatred against God, and from all your sins that you have committed, that you have committed against Him alone, the thrice HOLY God, and believe that, in His grace and mercy alone, He can save such as you are!” That is the gospel call.

The doctrine of regeneration. Look at the Wesleys. Look what they had to face for a moment and my dear Whitefield. What was he? Everybody believed they were Christian, thoroughly Christian. Why? Well, they were baptized as infants, brought into the covenant. They were confirmed. They lived like devils. Regeneration was traded for a type of credalism that was given authority by the religious leaders of the day.

And then here comes the Wesleys (and the Whitefields). No. It is not right with your soul. You are not born again. There is no evidence of spiritual life. Examine yourself. Test yourself to see if you are in the faith. Make your calling and election sure.1 “Ye must be born again.”2

Here in America because of the last several years, several decades of evangelism the idea of born again is totally lost. It only means that at one time in a crusade you made a decision and you think you were sincere. But there is no evidence of a supernatural recreated work of the Holy Spirit in your life. If any man, not if some men, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature.

And now it is the same today. What do we face? I will tell you what we face.

It is not a sort of infant baptism necessarily most of the time. It is not a high church confirmation by an ecclesiastical authority. What we face is the sinner’s prayer. And I am here to tell you, if there is anything I have declared war on it is that.

You say. “Brother Paul…”

Yes, in the same way that infant baptism, in my opinion, was the golden calf of the Reformation, for the Baptists and the Evangelicals and everyone else who has followed them today, I will tell you, that sinners’ prayer has sent more people to Hell than anything on the face of the earth.

You say, “How can you say such a thing?”

Go with me to Scripture and show me, please. I would love you to stand up and tell me where anyone evangelized that way. The Scripture does not say that Jesus Christ came to the nation of Israel and said that “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, now who would like to ask me into their hearts? I see that hand.”

That is not what it says. He said, “Repent and believe the gospel.”4

Now men today are trusting in the fact that at least one time in their life they prayed a prayer and someone told them they were saved because they were sincere enough. And so in their salvation if you ask them, “Are you saved?”

they do not say, “Yes, I am because I am looking unto Jesus and there is mighty evidence giving me assurance of being born again.”

No. They say, “One time in my life I prayed a prayer.”

And they live like devils. But they prayed a prayer. And some of them… I heard of one evangelist who was coaxing a man to do that thing. Finally the man felt so uncomfortable the evangelist said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. I will pray to God for you and if it is what you want to say to God, squeeze my hands.” Behold the power of God.

Decisionism, the idolatry of decisionism. Men think they are going to heaven because they have judged the sincerity of their own decision.

When Paul came to the Church in Corinth he did not say to them, “Look, you are not living like Christians so let’s go back to that one moment in your life when you prayed that prayer and let’s see if you were sincere.”

No, he said this, “Test yourselves, examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.”5

Because I want you to know, my friends, salvation is by faith alone. It is a work of God. It is a grace upon grace upon grace. But the evidence of conversion is not just your examination of your sincerity at the moment of your conversion. It is the ongoing fruit in your life. It is the ongoing fruit in your life.

Oh, my dear friends, look what we have done. Isn’t a tree known by its fruit? What 60%, 70% of America thinks it is converted, born again. We kill how many thousands of babies a day? We are hated around the world for our immorality. Yet we are Christian.

And I lay this squarely, the blame, at the feet of the preacher.

—Ten Indictments to the Modern Church, a sermon preached Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 at the Revival Conference in Atlanta, Georgia by Paul Washer.