In a recent double video posted at Praisegod Barebones Dr. David Platt is seen at the latest Verge conference speaking negatively of using the Sinner’s Prayer. Dr. Steve Gaines is seen, speaking from his pulpit, in the other video responding to the use of the Sinner’s prayer. Dr. Platt called our use of the Sinner’s prayer a “superstitious” practice and said that is was “damning” people to Hell. He also said the Bible never once uses the term of asking Jesus into your heart. Dr. Platt even went to describe discipleship in a way that one could term “osmosis” due to his aversion to anything resembling works on the part of humans. Dr. Gaines eloquently responded with a clear Biblical position in the exposition of the word “received” and how it is used in the Scripture.
Dr. Bart Barber, in his post, explains the sinner’s prayer from the perspective of the wedding vows. Dave Miller, at SBC Voices, responded in his usual way by posting his “two cents” which in turn reveals nothing but riding the fence between the two positions. Peter Lumpkins picked up these two videos and responded using the very words of Dr. Platt and Dr. Gaines. Trevin Wax tries to calm the waters with a post about this controversy. However, his post really is no more than Dave Miller’s expounded into a more articulate fence straddling position. Dr. JD Greerar has now posted on his blog the position he takes as he has written a book and deals with this very issue in a not yet released manuscript. Dr. Greear positions himself with Dr. Platt, but uses less abrasive words to do so. However, Dr. Greear tries to position himself with Dr. Gaines and Dr. Platt in his position but really devolves to a position of fence straddling also.
With these various positions of others one has to ask a very simple question; Why the controversy? For me the answer lies, not in what is being said, but in what people are not saying. While these mentioned above are articulating their positions on the subject, they are not really speaking to the issue of the controversy.
The issue is we have a leading pastor that is promoted within the SBC Leadership by heading up prime conferences throughout the SBC that said the Sinner’s Prayer is a superstitious recitation. The problem is not being dealt with at all. The reason this controversy is continuing is the mere reason that this leading pastor is being defended by people that will not take a position in support of his position. Instead Wax, Miller, Greear, and others who are talking about this issue are not in support of Dr. Platt’s position. Instead they are trying to tell us what Dr. Platt means by the words he uses. NEWS FLASH–When someone uses words then they either own them or explain them. Dr. Platt has preached the message and no one has heard anything from him. He has not so much as belched since he made this statement.
What step(s) should be made to bridge this divide? There is only one. Dr. Platt needs to speak clearly what he means when he called the Sinner’s prayer a “superstitious” prayer used to fool people into thinking they were saved and that it was being used in “damning” people instead of bringing them into a right relationship with God.