I post pictures like this because it makes very clear just how unbiblical much of the "evangelism" done in church is today. I also understand the good intentions behind the actions. Even the motivation. Again I DID IT TOO! However, we cannot sacrifice sound doctrine for tradition of any kind. No matter how much applause it brings or how much support it brings to our ministries due to numbers on a tally sheet.
I don't think any honest pastor acts this way because their sole or even their primary goal is numbers. In fact I firmly believe many God loving and God honoring pastors due so out of not much more than blind tradition. Yet, I know, because I've been there, that when using methods like this, we DO focus on numbers to some degree and seek to improve them.
We are not to seek numbers at all. We are to seek to powerfully and truthfully proclaim the undiluted saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, and know that He will save all those who come to Him in repentance and faith.
When you see someone judging someone by telling them they are going to Hell it should upset you. It does me! However, the hypocrisy of the modern church is that we make eternal judgments all the time. When pastors and/or evangelists, or even lay people, all over the country declare that if anyone sincerely prayed this prayer and "asked Jesus into their heart", or "accepted Christ", or said and/or did absolutely anything they prescribe for salvation, and then judges that person assuredly saved and declare it to be so, is equally unfounded and usurping Christ's sole position as the Judge of all men! Friends this should not be so!
Friends, We cannot make tradition into doctrine. Sadly the last hundred years or so of Church history has done that for us and many are still caught under the sway of tradition that does not honor God. On top of that it offers no strength or comfort for men either.
When we take it upon ourselves to tell a person that we judge them to be saved and going to Heaven we do so without scriptural support and are actually in opposition to Holy writ. Please friends, examine scripture and see how Jesus and all the apostles and saints proclaimed the gospel. It was a command to repent, believe, and follow Christ up a narrow, difficult, and singular path that few find. Let us proclaim that hard but true message with a compassion for the lost fueled by a desire to glorify God in all things!
Oh and as a quick note I do remember all the big verses we can use to justify these methods. But before I address maybe the biggest ones ever used let me say just a couple more things.
First, we must remember to always have scripture as our guide. If we are evangelizing and preaching in a way that does not line up with scripture we are wrong. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Second, as you look at any text that seems to point to our ability to rubber stamp someone as saved, remember that true faith is a living faith.
Last an not least I want to say again that we must remember that we are not the judge of anyone as either saved or unsaved. All judgment has been given by the Father to the Son.
OK, here is probably the most famous verses used to say we can declare someone saved by a sinners prayer, etc.
"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. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Rom. 10:9-11
Remember, as we read this or any passage. We have a living faith and everything here shows that. It does not say that those who once "believed" or "confessed" are saved. Look how emphatic and clear the wording is. Here's the key words, "confess", "believe", and "believes". Notice that these are active and living words!
It does not matter that one once confessed or believed. It matters whether someone will say till their dying day that they do believe and continue to confess to any man, woman, or child, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!
Maybe my favorite verse for relaying Christ's command to the lost is this:
"...Repent, and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15
Again notice the wording. Key words, "Repent" and "believe". These are again living and active words. It is not someone who once repented and believed who is saved. It is the person who by the grace of God was saved and by the grace of God continues every day to repent and believe as Christ commanded!
Now, don't think I'm a sinless perfectionist. 1 John makes very clear we sin. However, we are growing in holiness, being conformed to the image of the Son as Paul promises us in Romans 8. Some slide back further and longer than others but all who are saved sin with regret and tears. Whether seen by men or not.
I could go on with lots of verses but scripture is clear. Salvation is wholly of the Lord and we are humble and grateful recipients of amazing grace! Let us do as we're commanded to cast and water seeds. Then let us trust in God to bring the increase for His glory and the eternal good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!