At Winter Jam in Mobile we saw one of my favorite bands (The Newsboys) perform “Born Again.” I love this song and today I googled it and read some interesting stuff by Oswald Chambers. I’ve been thinking about the article on and off all day and would appreciate your thoughts. The article is called “The Born Again Experience vs. The Billy Sunday Convert.”
Here is what I read…”When a man fails in personal Christian experience, it is clearly always that he has never really received anything. When a man is born again, he knows it is because he has received something…as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People register their vows and sign their pledges, and determine to go through, but none of this is salvation.”
Then I read that Billy Graham was quoted as saying maybe only 25% of folks who prayed a prayer and went forward at an alter call actually became born again. Dr. Graham went on to say that this was more likely to happen to the 25% after the sermon/Gospel presentation, personal alter counseling and good follow up.
As long as I remember I have felt the goal of evangelism is not converts but discipleship. Lately I have been thinking about this. Why are there some who pray a prayer but nothing really changes? Ever. I’ve wondered about people who prayed a prayer yet year after year nothing has ever changed. Yes we are all sinners but Scripture clearly teaches we WILL BE DIFFERENT in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20 and that “by their fruits we will know them.”
The power of the Gospel is life change.
Can a person experience salvation and yet those who know that person the most (spouse or children) never see a difference? The NT Gospel I see is surrender. What if someone prays out of desire to go to heaven but refuses to surrender? When I share Christ I explain surrender and Lordship. Surrender might involve giving up living with your boyfriend or girlfriend, giving up porn, bitterness or some habitual sin in your life. Is it surrender if you refuse to lay these things on the alter? Can one really be born again without total surrender? Praying a prayer is truly not just an “I don’t want to go to hell” ticket to heaven.