Well, The gospel Project is getting geared up for distribution and Lifeway has held their unveiling and now all that remains is the response from all the orders that are sure to come pouring in for this Reformed Perspective on the gospel. Oh yes, I forgot, it is not reformed although it was written and advised by serious, blood bought leading proponents of calvinism in the SBC today. But, have no worry, this project is going to be great for everyone, young and old alike and for Baptists of all stripes.
One of the advisors is none other than David Platt, lead pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Al. I was following some twitter references tonight and I came across one that went something like this: “David Platt says, Accepting Jesus into your heart is not dangerous; it’s damning.” I went to his personal website to learn that he has a book coming out that will clear up all the misconceptions and false teaching the church has done with respect to “personal evangelism” that has been falsely bringing people down the isles of churches and into the baptistery but not to Christ. Looks like the title of that book is going to be “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart”. I sure am comfortable knowing he is going to help clear up misconceptions for Southern Baptists on what is and what is not THE GOSPEL in The Gospel Project.
I went to a clip of Platt speaking at the Verge Conference 2012 and listened to the following clip of him speaking on this subject of “asking Jesus into your heart.” Here is a transcript of the clip I listened to:
Platt speaking: “And I’m convinced many people in our churches are simply missing the life of Christ. and a lot of it has to do with what we’ve sold them as the gospel, i.e. ‘pray this prayer’, ‘accept Jesus into your heart’,’invite Christ into your life’. Should it not concern us that there is no such supertitious prayer in the New Testament? Should it not concern us that the Bible never uses the phrase ‘accept Jesus into your heart’ or ‘invite Christ into your life’?
It is not the gospel preached. It’s modern evangelism built on sinking sand and it runs the risk of disillusioning millions of souls. It’s a very dangerous thing to lead people to think they are a Christian when they have not biblically responded to the gospel. If we are not careful we will take the life blood out of the gospel and put kool-aid in its place so that it will taste better to the crowds. It is not just dangerous; it is damning.
And then when we think about making disciples, it is all about getting people to go out and get people to pray the prayer or spread that… no lets give them a full picture of the gospel; lets show them a full picture of the greatness of God. Yes He is a Father who loves us; He is a loving Father who will save us but He is also a wrathful judge who may damn us.”
OK. I am glad to know that somebody has finally arrived here to help us get it right. It is certainly interesting that some things not being in the Bible verbatim is ok and then other things not. I have heard more times than I care to count that the Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible but it is certainly a biblical concept and therefore doctrinally sound. Romans 10:9-13 certainly speaks to this issue as I see it. Here Paul writes, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I will admit this passage does not say to “invite Jesus into your heart” but I am not sure that giving that kind of invitation is not an acceptable application of the instruction Paul is giving.
Personally, I am careful to explain that we are all sinners and we are all in need of a Savior and that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins; He died in our place; He paid a debt He did not owe for a debt we could not pay. He was taken down off the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb and three days later He rose from the dead; He walked out of that tomb triumphant over the grave, victorious over the tomb; free for all to see a Glorious Savior, Risen and alive! He is alive forever more and because He lives, I can live for Him today and with Him forever. Jesus willingly went to the cross… and you and I have to do the same thing.
I do not simply get up and ask people to invite Jesus into their hearts and come down and take me by the hand and join the church. So, Dr. Platt is oversimplifying what I believe is more commonly seen today as a practice that ought to be abandoned and that is giving altar calls or invitational evangelism and this is his way of pointing out its weaknesses.
Well, Dr. Platt your case has been made and I for one will continue to invite people to Christ because I believe that is indeed the heart of the gospel. I believe God in His sovereignty has chosen to make us all sovereign in our choice to choose Him and in His sovereignty He has chosen the consequences of our choices and is just to carry out those choices. So, I believe it is imperative that people hear the truth of God’s provisions for sin that was settled at Calvary and made available to those who believe and through faith in God being everything He says He is and that He will do everything He says He will do, one can through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in ones heart, ask God for forgiveness and to save him and the Bible promises that individual that God will hear his prayer, forgive his sin and make him or her a part of His forever family! That individual will become an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus and it does not get any better than that!
You may hear the clip of PLatt’s message BY CLICKING HERE.
There may be better clips somewhere, this is the one I happened to come across.