Explanation, please...

What do Protestant Christians mean by “accepting Jesus Chris as personal Lord & Savior”? I grew up in an overwhelmingly Catholic island, and it wasn’t until I lived in Washington state that I was exposed to Protestant Christianity. Aren’t we, as Catholics, taught that Christ is the Lord and Savior of the entire world? Doesn’t that, by definition, make Him every single person’s personal Lord & Savior? So why the question to “accept Him as personal Lord & Savior”?Am I misunderstanding either faith? I’m asking for serious explanations, not condescending ones about either. I love the Catholic Church, and in no way, shape, or form will I be persuaded away from my faith. I’m just extremely interested in learning about other beliefs, as well as more about my own. Thank you.

In OSAS (once saved; always saved) denominations, salvation is typically saying a prayer. That’s it. It comes from a phrase in the Bible (can’t remember the book or verse) “born again of water and the spirit.” As Catholics, we interpret this to mean baptism. You’re born again into the Church by water (one of the two key components of a valid baptism) and the Holy Spirit (proper form, that is being baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). In OSAS denominations, “born of water” is physical birth and “born of the spirit” is saying the “salvation prayer” and accepting Jesus personally.

Thank you very much. I didn’t understand the separation of “born of water” and “born of spirit” by OSAS denominations.

It stems from different translations. The original Greek as well as Catholic translations have it “born of water and the spirit” (water and the spirit being objects of the same preposition) OSAS Bibles have “born of water and of the spirit” (water and the spirit being objects of separate prepositions)

Speaking as a former Protestant, what they mean by “accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior” refers to praying the sinner’s prayer. This prayer acknowledges, in a very general way 1) you are a sinner. 2) you can’t solve the problem and be reconciled to God by yourself. 3) Because we can’t be reconciled (saved) by ourselves or our own merits, good behavior, etc. God sent Jesus to die for us. 4) By believing in Him, confessing Him as Lord and Savior, we are “saved”. (It’s called the 4 Spiritual Laws.) That’s also the sum total of Protestant reconciliation. There are no “degrees” of sin. No mortal sin, no venial sin, no Original Sin, no Actual Sin. Sin is sin and it all sends you to hell equally. Once you have “accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior” that’s it.

To a Catholic, as a Catholic, when I am asked if I have done that, I always reply, “frequently”. Because I recognize that I not only have to accept Jesus as my Lord, I have to live like he’s my Lord.

With regard to the baptism by water and the spirit, first, it’s from John 3:5 “Jesus answered (Nicodemus) ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.’” (NABRE)

The Protestant denominations I attended (which was most of them in one form or another) all took this to mean two things: 1: Born of Spirit: salvation. (Accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior)
2) Born of water: After you have been born of Spirit, you need to be baptized.
To most Protestants, baptism is an outward sign of an inward transformation. It’s a statement to the community of faith in Christ. Therefore it is necessary.

The Protestant churches I have been a part of never did translate “born of water” to be natural human birth.


Thank you to those who helped me understand. It was real interesting to learn.

:shrug: Shows what I know about Protestants. I’m a cradle Catholic :smiley:

Another aspect of this "accepting JC as your PL&S is this: many Catholics go through the motions of Cathoicism but never mentally accept the graces that are freely given to them in the sacraments - and so their lives never change and they never seek to grow in holiness.

Many Protestant churches thrive on proselytizing lukewarm Catholics, and this appealing to a personal relationship is something that strikes a chord in the ritualized-but-not-catechized Catholic. They don’t realize that they are leaving a waterfall of grace to seek after a trickle. The sacraments afford us the most intimate means of experiencing God, but without that personal devotion and commitment on the part of the believer, it is formalism, and it is easily shattered by the devout Protestant evangelist.

That is why we all need to recommit ourselves not only to receiving the Sacraments, but to daily prayer and daily learning the faith.

Growing up on Guam, I did not know the different Protestant denominations (Baptist, Lutheran, etc.) were Protestant. They were an extreme minority on the island. Since my return from the states, however, they’ve grown, even converting some of my own extended family members. But they couldn’t explain to me what is meant by “Christ as personal Lord & Savior”. Religion tends to be a “believe what you want, but don’t discuss it” topic in my family. But again, @klm120861 thanks for clarifying it for me. and Razanir, as well.

Thank you everyone lol :smiley:

When evangelical Protestants say that, what we mean is exercising our free will to submit ourselves, all that we are, all that we have to Christ. When we say “personal,” we mean that we ourselves (not our parents or anyone else) are making that decision and that we are committing ourselves to not just claim Christ as our lord and savior but to actually know him and to be known by him.

No, it doesn’t. God gives us free will, and we must choose to love and obey him. We must embrace the grace that he freely offers.

Because when we here the gospel message, we must decide whether we believe it or not. If we do believe it, we have to decide whether we will embrace it and live it out.

That may the “the sum total” of some Protestant’s ideas of reconciliation. The evangelical Protestant circles that I move in stress the necessity of continual reconciliation through confession and repentance from sin. The “sinner’s pray” is not some magical formula that permanently seals the believer. For “accepting Christ as your personal lord and savior” to mean anything, Jesus must continued to be your lord and savior. For that to happen, you have to continue to walk in obedience and faith. If faith in Christ is lost, then there is no justification.

Protestants do believe in Original Sin.

Many Protestants feel the same way.

I never heard that either.

Again, I don’t really know much about Protestants. I wrote what I thought I remembered reading. :rolleyes:

When I was in other Christian Churches some you would have an alter call,calling out Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and recite the sinners prayer. Others, you had to repent and be Baptized by submerged in water.In the Catholic Faith, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit at Baptism, even as a child with Baptism of water, thus the Graces of the Holy Spirit start working immediately.Confirmation is the Baptism of fire, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, to further our Graces and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Every time we dip our hand in Holy Water,make sign of the Cross, we reaffirm Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,reaffirming our baptism.Sacramental life, Eucharist,Confession,ect… Gives us Graces and fruits of the Holy Spirit so we become more like Jesus in Perfect love.
God Bless

Being in Evangelical churches for 45 years, my understanding of the phrase is the same as Itwin’s. “Personal” is used to emphasize that each of us is called by Christ to follow Him —rather than just being culturally Christian because our parents were Christian. “Lord” emphasizes that our relationship with Him is meant to be at the center of our lives, rather than simply something we think about on Sundays; and by calling Him Lord we
show our intent to worship Him, obey Him, and trust Him to take care of us.

I don’t think the word “accept” is appropriate. Everytime I hear the sentece is like something screeching in my ears. I worship our Lord, who am i to accept Him?

Ah, the joy of the English language. The word here is being used to describe something like opening a door to Him—“Here I stand at the door and knock…” It implies a softening and.permeability in our souls instead of hard-heartedness, or being like rocky ground. “Accept” here also means to submit to Him as Lord, rather than to deny, fight, or ignore His rightful place as Lord. That doesn’t mean we won’t ever be angry, selfish, and doubtful towards Him, of course…I’ve been all those things, many times over.

We aren’t using “accept” to mean something like, “Hey, Jesus,
you’re okay by me.”

As a former OSAS believer myself I might be able to answer. This phrase has to do with trying to emphasize a personal relationship with Christ. I do not know where this term came from, but I can tell you that I know many non-OSAS christians who have said this to people so it is not just a reformed theological thing. This is a brief answer I have finals so this message me if this isn’t explained well enough I can get back to you in a week or so.

In the circles I was involved in and ministered in, the question, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior” was a starting point. However, for most Catholics, it’s a question that needs to be explained before they can properly answer. If you have always been in Church, always believed, always tried to grow, etc. then, yes, you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, even if you can’t point to a specific date when it happened. For some, it’s a continual process, rather than an “Ah Ha” moment.

I am curious, in the Protestant circles you move in, how does the confession and repentance happen? In mine, there was an altar call, and you went forward to pray, but you never confessed your specific sins out loud to anyone. For example, you never said to the pastor, “I gossipped about my co-workers.” It was just between you and God. There was no absolution by the priest acting “in the person of Christ”. And since everything sent you to hell (they are very legalistic), you spent a lot of time repenting.

We don’t confess to a minister. We confess directly to God. And then we repent of (turn away from) the sin. This doesn’t have to happen just at an altar rail, but it can happen anywhere. Of course, if you have sin in your heart towards another person, then you need to go to that person and work things out. But as to confession to someone acting in “the person of Christ” well no we don’t do that. We’re told in Scripture that if we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us. What other absolution do we need?

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