Praying To Receive Salvation Is Not Scriptural
There are some things that just really annoy me. One of them is false teachings about how to get to heaven. Now, I don’t profess to be the smartest person. I haven’t gone to Bible college, theological seminaries, or anything like that. There are a lot of things that I just don’t know. But, what I do know, without a doubt, is what the Bible teaches about salvation and what God expects us to do in order to be saved.
I also know that it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in theology (nor an M.A. or B.A. degree) to read and understand the Bible. Many of Christ’s first disciples and His apostles were not educated men (Acts 4:13). The Scriptures are what make people wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). So anyone can open up the Bible and read what God has said about what they must do in order to be saved, understand it, and do it.
If someone teaches anything about the soul’s salvation, they need to be able to point whomever they are teaching to Scripture for what they are teaching. The Bible is very clear about God’s plan for man to be saved. I have detailed that plan in the previous posts: You Can Be Saved and Know It, You Can Believe In Jesus As Christ, You Can Confess That Jesus Is Lord, You Can Repent of Your Sins, You Can Be Baptized for The Forgiveness of Your Sins, and You Cannot Be Saved By Faith Alone.
The other day, I went to the website of Dr. Tony Evans, who’s a preacher in a denomination that is Baptist or closely related to it. I heard him on the radio speaking once, and then sometime after that my brother-in-law sent me a link to one of his messages to encourage me. Thanks John – good looking-out. Well, Dr. Evans and I don’t share the same beliefs about doctrinal issues, but I’ve been encouraged by many of his messages since they are Bible-based. So I already knew that we disagreed on some major teachings of the Bible.
What I saw on his website, though, got me upset. There’s a video posted there with a heading Prayer to Receive Salvation, or something very similar to that. God has not said anything about praying a prayer for salvation in the Bible. It’s just not there. I would love to sit down and open up the Bible with Dr. Tony Evans and find out why he believes and is teaching that false teaching. There’s just no book, chapter, and verse for that teaching from the Bible. If he believes that there is, I would like to see where he gets that understanding from that he has.
He seems to be very sincere and, like me, very open to correction about teachings from the Scripture. That’s what the Bible does – it reproves, it rebukes, it corrects, and it gives instruction for righteousness ( 2 Timothy 3:16). If I was teaching something wrong, I would want someone who knew the right understanding to tell me – especially if people’s souls were at stake because of what I was teaching. And, I say that as humbly and respectfully as I know how. Like I said, I don’t know everything, but I know what the Bible says about how to be saved; it doesn’t say anything about praying a prayer. That’s not a biblical teaching.
I know that he would probably never read this and that Bible study with him will more than likely never happen. But, if anybody happens to read this and believes that same teaching, I want you to know that it is wrong. What the Bible says a person must do in order to be saved from eternal damnation and to have eternal life in Christ is this: You must hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), confess that Jesus is, in fact, Lord (Romans 10:9), repent of your sins and all your wrongdoing (Acts 2:38; Luke 13:3), be baptized to receive forgiveness (Mark 16:16), and live a faithful life in service to God (Revelation 2:10).
Again, I don’t think that Dr. Evans is purposely teaching the wrong thing to people about how to be saved, but he is. I think he wants people to be saved, but he is unfortunately teaching something contrary to what God says. And the Bible says that if anyone preaches any other gospel than the one that was first preached, then a curse will be on them (Galatians 1:6-9). I don’t want that to be Dr. Evans. I actually don’t want that to be anyone.
You cannot pray a prayer and expect to receive salvation from God. We have to do exactly what He says. Let’s all just stick to the Bible and do what we know it says to do – no matter what the cost or how hard it may be to lay aside long held beliefs or to do something different than what we’ve always been taught to do. As my friend says, let’s commit to submit!