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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Jim Bublitz (who went to be with the Lord last year) had a blog The Old Truth from which I learnt alot in my early days as I came to understand Calvinism/Reformed Theology. Here is an interesting snippet from 2007 of a Q&A post with a reader called Joshua from Malaysia.
Joshua: “Here is a common phrase…..Ask Jesus to come into your heart or life…..is that how calvinists do it? … From a calvinist point of view….. When a sinner is convicted by the Holy Spirit, is there any “sinner’s prayer” to recite? If not…what would be the normal reformed way of doing this? Does “accepting Jesus into our heart” in line with reformed teachings? If not…how would you explain the steps of salvation? I know that it is GOD who chose and justified the sinner…how do you explain to the sinner that he needs to accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior? At this point of conversion, from my old arminian school, I am confused that we ‘invite’ Jesus into our hearts….and later was told it was the Holy Spirit… Could you explain this part? As I am now leaning strongly to reformed doctrine, I do not know how to explain this part from the reformed view…“
Jim Bublitz: Joshua, as you may know, some of the most noteworthy soul winners in church history have been Calvinists, and you can look through the writings of many of them including George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon to see the kinds of things they said. The emphasis is much the same as the Apostles as they preached that people should obey the Lord’s command to repent and believe.
Unlike much of today’s evangelism however, considerable time was invested by these men to use the law to communicate the ‘bad news’ before going on to the good news (the Gospel). Classic Calvinists avoid “come to Jesus because God loves you” as the Apostles never witnessed that way. There is a sense in which we do “accept Jesus” (those who are God’s elect are the ones that will eventually accept Him), but there are numerous problems with the “sinner’s prayer”. If you scroll down on this page, you’ll find an instance of how Charles Spurgeon closed out one of his church services. Notice his emphasis on sin and trust, and how he encourages the unbeliever to ask God to save them, rather than saying “pray this prayer” followed by “congratulations, now you are Christian!!!” as is painfully common today. I hope that gives you a better understanding, if not – feel free to write back.