Chief of the least

Paul Washer has declared a war on the sinner’s prayer. He even goes so far as to call it the “golden calf” within some Baptist circles (Washer is Baptist mind you). I agree with much of this shocking sentiment. Hear me out: Though I believe the biblical reasons are manifold, I also have personal reasons for my particular distaste. I don’t believe I am alone.

Here is the way the sinner’s prayer is presented in many church (Vacation Bible School) contexts:

Towards the end of the week, the children (K-5)are herded into a big room where a pastor is waiting for them. They are greeted, seated, and told to have “every head bowed and every eye closed.” There the pastor gives a very brief Roman Road-ish gospel presentation and prompts the children to a decision in this way:

“Now you don’t want to spend an eternity  in hell apart from Jesus do you? (only the spawn of Satan would really want this

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

5 thoughts on “”

  1. This is a point that bears considering. Another point, show me in the New Testament where there is an “altar” to which we are supposed to go and kneel down and pray? The altar call, too, is a product of modern evangelism and I think in both cases it is an attempt on the part of church leaders, to generate a visible evidence of a work of God, which the Bible tells us takes place in the inward man. But these days it has beccome such a habit, it is done without even questioning whether it is Scriptural or not.

  2. I can’t watch the video right now because I’m in a public place but I agree. I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” as a kid and didn’t mean it. I was just repeating after someone. When I was 13 I prayed all by myself and it was not someone else’s words, but my own. That time I meant it.

  3. This past Sunday morning, we were asked to raise our hands at least six times if we wanted some particular result from God, asked to stand multiple times, and then all dads who wanted to be “prayer warriors” for their families were asked to come to the “altar.” I did not go up. I despise manipulation in a church service. After the dads got up there, he asked all the wives and children of these dads to go up there and pray “out loud” over them. Then he said, “Somebody take a picture.” The picture was later posted on Facebook. I’m very disappointed in my pastor right now. I’m not sure where he thinks he’s taking us. Mind you, I have nothing against prayer, and I have nothing against dads being prayer warriors. At that time in the service, I leaned over and told my wife that I would explain to her later why I didn’t go up there. She looked at me with complete love in her eyes and said, “I think you already are (a prayer warrior).” My heart melted…she understands.

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