As reported by The Christian Post, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution last week affirming the “sinner’s prayer” as a “biblical expression of repentance and faith.” The resolution passed with a vote of about 80 percent.
This resolution came about in response to a debate over the use of the prayer as a method to salvation, started by Calvinist and Reformed pastor David Platt, who said the prayer was “superstitious” during a conference speech in March. The resolution was brought before the convention by Pastor Eric Hankins, who also co-wrote and signed an anti-Calvinism statement emphasizing that “God wants everyone to be saved” and that the Gospel’s “good news” is that God made a way for this through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Several former presidents of the SBC also signed this statement.
Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told CP of the resolution, “I believe that the Holy Spirit tries to convict all men. If a person is concerned about their eternal destiny, like Woody Allen seems to be concerned with his eternal destiny, that’s the Holy Spirit trying to convict him, trying to bring him to a place where he will accept Jesus as his Savior. … And when we attempt to believe, I believe God gives us saving grace. And so when we ask Jesus into our heart, I believe he comes into our heart and gives us saving faith.”
He continued, “You have some Southern Baptists who are saying you can’t ask Jesus into your heart –you have to wait for the working of God’s grace. Whereas, people—like me—who aren’t Calvinists would say the natural man doesn’t understand the things of God for they are spiritually discerned but if the Holy Spirit convicts you and you feel convicted then you can say, ‘Lord come into my heart’ and the Lord will come into your heart.”
The full text of the resolution is available here.