In churches across this nation there will be a time in the service on Sunday morning when the Pastor will say something like this:
“With every head bowed and every eye closed, if you came here today and you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you would like to, would you slip up your hand? I’d like to pray with you.”
Before I continue on my thought process let me say that I’m not indicting the church. I love the church and I believe in her ability. This post is about my working out how this all works and bringing you into my own conversation.
Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.
We bow our heads and close our eyes to give someone the privacy to confess Christ. We don’t want to embarrass anyone or intimidate anyone into not making a decision for Christ. I get the sentiment but how does that fly with the scripture of public confession? If we had to confess in secret when do we proclaim in public? We then hear this:
“Let’s all join our voices with those who are confessing Christ for the first time and repeat this prayer.” What follows is what we church folk call the sinner’s prayer. It’s a good prayer, nothing wrong with the prayer, but we all confess so as not to call out the person receiving Christ for the first time as if it’s a bad thing. Did we tell them this is an every day confession? Did we tell them this was step one? Or did we let them walk away thinking they were good?
Matthew 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
We all repeat the sinner’s prayer together. It doesn’t hurt anyone to say the prayer but it does hinder the congregation to know who is receiving Christ for the first time. Which leads me to my main point:
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Who came to Christ for the first time? My head was bowed and my eyes were closed. How do I disciple someone when I don’t know they raised their hand? Then there’s the question; what about conversion? How does conversion happen if I said a prayer in a group and no one told me that there was more to the kingdom and this new lifestyle called Christianity?
I hear so often about those who profess Christ on Sunday but cuss like sailors and live like hell the rest of the week and post all of their nonsense on Social Media and how bad a witness they are. Is that their fault? I don’t always think so. I think they may not know better. I think they may not be in the process of discipleship. I think we may have to cut them some slack until we begin to teach them to observe the things the Word demands of us.