I went downstairs Sunday to check the furnace filter, to see if it needed to be changed. We have one of those combination electronic & pleated paper filters, with a humongous filter that needs to be changed once or twice a year, and I frankly never remember to either when I changed it last, or even to write down when I do.
Well, it didn't need changing, but while I was rummaging around in the utility room, I happened across the scissors/letter opener set pictured above. I remembered I'd gotten it for teaching in insurance class on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana, and when I turned it over I found out the details. On the back, I'd written my name, and "IIAI Basic School, 5/10/67". And, since I keep losing letter openers off my desk, I brought the set upstairs.
It's been around a long time. People have designed things they thought were better, I'm sure. But I still have this, and I'm going to be using it. It may not be the prettiest around, but it works.
What struck me about the set was that I could misuse it, too. I could used the scissors to cut wires when I'm working on my car. I could use the letter opener to stab someone. Or as a can-opener. Or I could try to open a corrugated cardboard box with one or the other, or dig a hole for flowers, or some equally inane thing. But I didn't, and for their proper use, they work just fine.
Don't try to convince me otherwise.
You might have noticed I don't normally blog about desktop implements, but I have a reason this time. A couple months ago, a well-known Southern Baptist preacher cast aspersions on "the sinner's prayer". He called it, among other things, "superstition". That prompted, eventually, a resolution passed overwhelmingly by the SBC this past week, affirming the use of what we term "the sinner's prayer" in leading someone to saving faith in Jesus. Although I am not one to used any sort of "canned prayer" or "formula" when that occasion arises, I cannot assume that the lost person whom I am talking to, about saving faith, knows better what they should do, than I do. And if I can't depend on the Holy Spirit to lead me in a time like that, I have no business talking about faith at all. Whether I tell them the gospel and tell them they need to conform to what the gospel says is necessary, or simply lead them through simple questions (the most awesome conversion I've ever witnessed .. to me .. occurred in such a case), or tell them what they need to tell God and what they need to ask Him and what they need to agree to ... we all know what they need to do. Their doing that is the objective, not my words.
I don't think anybody that's not there can put the exact words in the witness's mouth.
Be clear on this: the gospel is that we're hopelessly lost in our sin, but if we'll repent of our sin and turn in faith to Jesus, asking Him to forgive us and be (lip service not allowed .. He either IS, or is NOT) our Lord, then He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If He'd wanted us to use a formula or canned prayer, He'd have given us one. But if there was any other way to get saved but via the gospel, repentance & confession, He wouldn't have shown us instances of that happening, so many times.
Sinner's prayers. Can they be "misused"? Sure. But if we're going to throw out everything that can be misused, we're going to have to toss out the scriptures, too. And I don't think we want to do that.
Throwing out just the "sinner's prayer" would do enough of that.