Is the Sinner’s Prayer Biblical? What About Altar Calls and Decisional Evangelism? Or Monergism vs Synergism? Jesse Morrell

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Jesse Morrell

I’d say that God didn’t’ even hear 90% of people who said a “sinner’s prayer.” That is because they just wanted forgiveness. They were not determined to “sin no more.” God does not hear the prayers of the impenitent for a license to sin.

There is nothing inherently wrong with a “sinner’s prayer” given that it is a prayer of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. There are examples of sinner’s praying for forgiveness in scripture:

1. David in Ps. 51:7
2. The Lord’s prayer – Matt. 6:12
3. The Lord’s parable – Luke 18:10-14
4. The man on the cross – Luke 23:42-43

The REAL problem is a “sinner’s prayer” without repentance, since God does not hear the prayers of impenitent sinners.

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Ps. 66:18).

“The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayers of the righteous” (Prov. 15:29).

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight” (Prov. 15:8).

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Prov. 28:9).

“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Ps. 34:18).

“…your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (Jn. 9:31).

“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 Jn. 3:22).

A person is not necessarily saved because they said a “Sinner’s prayer.” Neither is a person necessarily unsaved because they said a “Sinner’s prayer.” The question is, did they repent of their sins?



Jesus was asked, “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (Matt 19:16). Jesus did not say, “You must do nothing!” He said, “…if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).

We also see another dialog Jesus had. “Then said they unto him, what shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (Jn. 6:28-29).

John the Baptist was asked, “What shall we do?” (Luke 3:10; 3:12; 3:14). He told them to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. He did not say, “You must not do anything!”

Peter was asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter did not say “Make sure that you do nothing!” Rather, Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

When Paul was asked, “What must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30), he did not respond with, “You cannot do anything to be saved! Make sure that you do nothing!” Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

It could not be any clearer from these examples that men must do something to be saved!

Jesus Christ taught that if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; or if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better to go through life without these than to have your whole body cast into hell (Matt. 5:29-30). Jesus was clearly teaching that we ourselves must do something about our sin if we were going to escape hell. The idea that we do not have to do anything to be saved or to escape hell is a notion which is completely foreign to the Bible.

John Fletcher said, “We have received it as a maxim that a man is to do nothing for justification. Nothing can be more false. Whoever desires to find favor with God, should ‘cease from evil, and learn to do well.’ ‘Whoever repents, should do works meet for repentance.’ And if this be not in order to find favor, what does he do them for?… The express declarations of God’s word: – ‘To him that ordereth his conversion aright will I show the salvation of God.’ Is ‘ordering our conversation aright’ doing nothing? ‘Repent ye, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.’ Are ‘repentance and conversion’ nothing? ‘Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,’ I will justify you. Is ‘coming’ doing nothing? ‘Cease to do evil, learn to do well. Come now, let us reason together, and though your sins be read as crimson they shall be white as snow’ you shall be justified. Is ‘ceasing to do evil and learning to do well’ doing nothing? ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.’ Is ‘seeking, calling, forsaking one’s way, and returning to the Lord,’ a mere nothing? ‘Ask, and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock, and it will be open unto you.’ Be ‘violent, take even the kingdom by force.’ Is ‘seeking, asking, knocking, and taking by force’ doing absolutely nothing? Please to answer these questions; and when you have done, I will throw one or two hundred more of the like kind your way.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Men must do something to be saved… The difference between the wise and the foolish was not that one class heard while the other did not, nor that one class believed while the other did not, but that one class did what was required in the teachings of Jesus, while the other did not. The whole matter turned on doing and not doing what the Lord commanded… The Lord requires man to do something in order to be saved…Any theory that leads men and women to disobey God is wrong. Any theory that leads men and women to do nothing, when God has commanded them to do something, is sinful.”

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2 Responses to Is the Sinner’s Prayer Biblical? What About Altar Calls and Decisional Evangelism? Or Monergism vs Synergism? Jesse Morrell

  1. Tom Torbeyns says:

    I haven’t watched the video but I like the text of decisional evangelism 🙂

  2. The Calvinist Cliche’ of “I can’t save anybody” is false.”

    – he that winneth souls is wise Proverbs 11:30
    – I have begotten you – 1 Corinthians 4:15
    – Begotten Onesimus – Philemon 1:10
    – Converteth the sinner – James 5:20

    It is synergism, not monergism. 1 Corinthians 3:9 – laborers together with God

    The sinner himself is active.

    Acts 2:40 – save yourselves

    Romans 6:17 – obeyed from the heart

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