Southern Baptists: "Sinner's Prayer not a magical incantation"

The Southern Baptist Convention met in New Orleans from 19-20 of June for its 155th meeting. Historically, the messengers (congregational delegates) elected Fred Luter as the Convention’s first African-American president. Other business considered included,

A resolution on the sinner’s prayer said the prayer is “not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel.” It further said that messengers “promote any and all biblical means of urging sinners to call on the name of the Lord in a prayer of repentance and faith.”

I think the passage of such a resolution is interesting considering the many times this issue has been brought up in various forum topics.

The full resolution is available here.

Glad to see that Southern Baptists edging tentatively towards Christianity.


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I have never seen nor have I ever heard of anyone claiming the Sinner’s Prayer worked apart from having faith. Did someone accuse others of using that prayer as a kind of incantation? If so, how widely did the story spread? If it spread widely, did many people find it credible?

Its good to see the Baptists stressing the importance of prayer and repentance. It sounds so very Catholic :p. although their prayer lacks the Mass and repentance to a Priest. :frowning:

As I have explained before the SBC is not a hierarchical denomination, it is democractic. The best the big wigs in the SBC can do is make suggestions, each church is autonomous. They can make a resolution saying the moon is made of cheese, that’s not going to affect the individual church if they don’t care to recognize it.
Having said that, its nice to see at least some in the SBC are rejecting this fundamentalist heresy.

No prayer is a magic encantation. You can´t use God. You can only be close to Him or far from Him. The Our Father covers everything a person could possibly need or want. So simple and yet so complete. God bless:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:



Thanks for posting this. I hope it “catches on” since, as mentioned by JustaServant above, it appears that the resolutions of the convention do not carry the force of “authoritative Church teaching” (like Catholic Church councils do).

I haven’t been involved in a lot of “sinners prayer” threads but I suspect that when it is brought up in any sort of “magic incantation” sense, it probably has to do with OSAS type issues.


Prayer is conversation with the Lord, which when constantly adhered to leads first to friendship with the Lord, then to Love.

The idea that any self prayer can invoke our will through the Lord in simply incorrect. We communicate with the Lord constantly so we may gain a two way conversation to further develope the conscious to the Lords will.

Paul stated it in Romans 7-8 and elsewhere, Luke etc. This constant conversation enables the Lord to live through us by us constantly making ourselves available to be in essense a mold for the Lord. Or as the Apostle’s state, it is no longer I who lives, but the Lord who lives through me.

From here we understand our nature clearer thus the state we are undeed subjected to. “Rather sin, in order to be seen clearly as sin, used what was good to bring about my death. We know that the law is spiritual, whereas I am weak flesh sold into the slavery of sin.” So with the mind serve the law of God, for the flesh is inclined to the law of sin.

Hello JS, Is the sinners prayer said after one runs down the isle for an alter call and stands
or kneels in front of a small table?


Among fundamentalist Baptists in every Baptist denomination the prayer is used in conjuction with the “invitation” at the end of the sermon. The “invitation” actually dates back to a revival preacher in the 19th century named Charles Finney. Billy Graham popularized it. The idea is to get the sinner convicted to “accept Jesus” and become and instant Christian. Some churches are high pressure in the practice, while others are more subtle.
The prayer itself is simplistic and varies from camp to camp. That’s why its hard to pin down a specific prayer. The common denominator however is always “instant” “zap” salvation. It’s rejected by Reformed Christians and in fact, some of the best critiques of it come from that side of the Tiber.

My computer says that this link is trying to download dangerous files.:eek:


Greg Laurie says that the reason people do not come forward to accept Jesus is because they do not want to be convicted of their sins…another reason is because perhaps in my case…I don’t want to be Protestant. When you have something that has no alternatives other than what Greg proposes you gotta wonder if anyone that does this thinks it through…:slight_smile:

In other words it has ties to O.S.A.S. :rolleyes:
Thanks for the info…


Really? It’s a simple link from the resolution’s page on the SBC website. The website is On the left of the home page there is a bunch of tabs, one says “Resolutions”. Click on that one and search the 2012 resolutions for “sinner’s prayer”.

It doesn’t have to have ties to Once Saved Always Saved. There are many evangelical Protestants (and I’m sure there are many Baptists) who reject Once Saved Always Saved but who also include an “invitation” to “accept the Lord” at an “altar call” during their services. The prayer of repentance and faith followed by a public confession of accepting the Christ as Savior and Lord is often called a “sinner’s prayer” though there is no single written sinner’s prayer. Saying a sinner’s prayer does not mean that you never have to confess your sins to God again. And it also does not mean that you are guaranteed a spot in heaven. You will be saved, if you persevere in your new found faith in Christ. This faith will become progressively more evident by good works as you are progressively sanctified by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence and your deepening relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. However, if faith in Christ is lost then any chance of salvation is lost, whether you have said a sinner’s prayer once or a dozen times.

So the so called “sinner’s prayer” does not have to be indicative of Once Saved Always Saved theology.


I don’t know what happened but my virus protection “Kaspersky” gave me an alert.

You are correct that the OSAS is not tied into it however “getting saved” is and that is the rub…too many get saved, get lost, and as you recall I posted “born again, and again and again”…the paradigm of getting saved loses something with this paradigm.

Of course it does! Your computer is Catholic, while the file is Baptist!!! :smiley:


Well what is your paradigm of salvation? My paradigm is that I’m always in need of saving and that Jesus is always saving me.

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