S. E. writes,
While we may disagree on different things such as the example you gave about what to eat, what about when the pastors teach about salvation? I grew up Presbyterian. So, I’ve been taught you must acknowledge you are a sinful person, then confess your sins, then ask God to save you by inviting Christ into your heart.
I was taught TULIP and witnessed to others from the teachings of James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion (EE) when I attended a nondenominational church for a while. If we taught people that they had to confess and invite Christ into their hearts, was that wrong?
Yes, I would say that “confess and invite” is not an accurate reflection of John 3:16 or any evangelistic verse. It misleads people.
The sole condition of everlasting life is believing in Jesus for that life. It is one thing for a person to recognize he is a sinner and that apart from the shed blood of Christ, he has no way to be born again. That can and should lead a person to believe Jesus’ promise of everlasting life for all who simply believe in Him for it. It is another thing to say that one must confess his sins to the person witnessing to him in order to be saved. There is no confessional that will get someone to heaven.
Inviting Jesus into one’s heart is a very unfortunate evangelistic appeal that has become popular. There is no promise that if you ask Jesus in, then you are born again. That is well intentioned, but unbiblical. I’ve known people who invited Jesus into their hearts hundreds of times, never finding assurance. Assurance is found in God’s promise, not in seeking some elusive feeling.
While the EE approach promotes a mild form of Lordship Salvation, which I do not like, I do like the EE opening question: “If you were to die today and God said, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you say?” That helps a person grapple with the question, What must I do to be saved?
The Biblical answer is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). The issue is not confessing your sins and inviting Jesus into your life. The issue is Believe Him or not. Believe Him and you have everlasting life that can never be lost.