Debating the sinner’s prayer

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” is a very common teaching in denominational churches. I have seen it published in tracts and there is even a website dedicated to it. The typical wording for what is called “The Sinner’s Prayer” goes something like this: “Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I repent of my sins. Please forgive me and save me by your shed blood; come into my heart. I want to receive you as my own personal Lord and savior. Amen”

In all likelihood, if you are a member of a denomination that believes yourself to be a saved person then you have said a prayer much like this; maybe exactly like this. I know because I have asked many denominational people that very question. That is, “do you believe that you are a saved person?” And, “if so, what did you do that makes you believe you are a saved person?” The most common response, by far, is, “I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me from my sins.” In other words, they believe they are saved because they said the so-called “Sinner’s Prayer.” But can such a prayer save a person?

There are several passages that clearly state we are born again — i.e. become a saved person — by the word of God. For example, Peter said, “having been born again … through the word of God…” (1 Peter 1:23). And Paul, “…in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). And James, “Of His own will he brought us forth by the word of truth…” (James 1:18). So, if we are “born again through the word of God” then, obviously, whatever we did that we believe made us a saved person must be in the word of God. There is absolutely no scripture, not a single passage, where a person is told to pray for their initial salvation. I am so confident of this fact that I have published a video on my YouTube page ( offering a $1,000 reward to anyone that can give scriptural evidence for the validity of “The Sinner’s Prayer.” That video has been online for nine years with over 4,000 views to date. I have received many, many emails providing passages that some believe establishes “The Sinner’s Prayer.” We will discuss those passages in future articles and you will see that each attempt has used scripture out of context and misapplied.

Norm Fields is the minister for the Church of Christ Northside in LaGrange. He may be reached at 706-812-9950.