New IFB Pastors Are Wrong About Praying To Be Saved

John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

Acts 2:41, Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Kindly, the fact of the matter is that nowhere in the entire Gospel of John are we taught to pray to be saved. According to John 20:31, the purpose for which John was written is to get men saved. Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, is very wrong to preach that praying a prayer to be saved is the Bible method. It in fact is not.

When the Philippian jailer asked what he needed to do to be saved in Acts 16:30, Paul and Silas simply told him in verse 31 to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." No mention is made of saying a prayer, nor of confessing or asking God for salvation. The so-called "New IFB" movement are very wrong in this matter. Since it involves getting saved, I cannot back down on this issue and I won't. The Bible is on my side (Romans 3:4).

I have a few Facebook and web visitors who are angry and emotionally worked up over this issue, because whatever Pastor Steven Anderson teaches they follow with a cult-like loyalty. I on the other hand, support Pastor Anderson when he is correct, and I rebuke him when he is wrong. Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001) rightly taught me to be loyal to principles and truth, and never to men or institutions. That is what is very wrong with the Pensacola Christian College (PCC) camp, they are loyal to their institution; and to their unsaved Calvinist buddies at Bob Jones University (BJU). Truth doesn't matter to them at PCC or BJU, which is why they refuse to contend for the faith as I am doing, by God's grace. PCC refuses to expose the BJU infidels that they are in bed with spiritually committee adultery. You'll never expose the devil you are sleeping with!!!

In fairness, I have heard Pastor Anderson teach that a lost sinner can be saved without praying. Unfortunately, some New IFB followers foolishly think that you must pray to be saved, failing to understand that Pastor Anderson does believe you CAN be saved without praying. I agree with Pastor Anderson on that. I would expose him as damnable false prophet if he didn't believe you could be saved without prayer. Thankfully, Pastor Anderson does believe that faith in Christ is enough to be saved.

The problem is that Pastor Anderson errantly thinks prayer is God's way of leading people to Christ. But the Scriptures do not agree with him. Yes, some places in the Bible men accompanied their faith with a prayer at the time of salvation, such as the repentant thief on the cross, who asked Jesus to remember him in eternity. However, as I mentioned earlier, the entire Gospel of John and Acts 16:30-31 teach very clearly that BELIEVING is the Bible way to be saved, not by praying. Nowhere in the Gospel of John did Jesus tell someone to pray, follow, ask, turn from past sinful ways, confess or call to be saved, He simply said to BELIEVE ON HIM (John 3:16; 6:28-29, 40, 47; 11:25-26).

When the Apostle Paul wrote to rebuke the corrupted churches at Galatia, he asked them in Galatians 3:2 if they had been saved by the keeping of the law, or by THE HEARING OF FAITH. Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” 
Again, there is no mention of praying. It bothers me that the New IFB pastors are insisting that praying a sinner's prayer is God's method to be saved, when the Bible does not support that claim. Just because a few people prayed a prayer doesn't make it God's standard. I agree with what Dr. Bob Jones Sr. (1883-1968) said...
“'Pray to be saved. Ask the Lord to save you.' This is what I heard a minister say to a convicted sinner who came forward for prayer at the close of an evangelistic service. Nowhere in the Bible are men told to pray to be saved. There are examples where men did pray and were saved. Men are told to repent, to believe, to obey the Gospel, but the Bible never says to pray for salvation. It does say that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, but nowhere does the Bible command men to pray to be saved. I think I know why, God, who made the human heart, knew that it was not necessary to tell convicted sinners to pray. If a sinner can see Jesus Christ on the cross, it is as natural for him to pray as it is for birds to sing or flowers to bloom. 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'” —Dr. Bob Jones Sr., “Comments On Here And Hereafter,” chapter: Prayer And Praise, page 163; Bob Jones University Press, Inc., © 1942
I am not against pastors who use the sinner's prayer (as Dr. Hyles did), even though I am against using a sinner's prayer unless the person receiving Christ is told that they DON'T get saved by praying a prayer. When I got saved at age 13, I cried out in my soul for Jesus to save me. It was a natural response to my faith. But I was saved by God's grace through faith, not by praying silently in my heart to be saved. I could have just as easily believed without praying. It is very important to explain to people that BELIEVING the Gospel is enough to be saved, with or without praying, lest they become confused later on and doubt God's free gift of salvation.

Kindly said, to support his errant teaching Pastor Steven Anderson cites Genesis 4:26, “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” But notice how Abraham got saved in Genesis 15:5, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham simply believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness (cf. Romans 4:4-7).

How did Rahab get saved? The Bible says “by faith” she hid the 12 spies in Canaan (Hebrews 11:31). She wasn't saved by hiding the spies, but she did her heroic deed because of her faith in the Lord. Certainly we cannot assume someone is saved just because they do a good deed, but the Bible tells us that Rahab did what she did to help God's people because she had faith. The Bible is full of examples of saints who (as far as we know) didn't pray along with their faith. In Rahab's case, she hid 12 spies instead of calling upon the Lord in prayer. She hid the 12 spies because of her faith in the Lord. Noah by faith built an ark. When a person prays at the time of getting saved, it is “by faith” that they do so, because they were already saved the moment they believed (Romans 10:14).

Albeit, leading people in a sinner's prayer runs the risk of confusing them for years to come. I worried for many years that I wasn't saved, because every religious tract I picked up to read, and every preacher that I heard from the pulpit, unbiblically led people to pray to be saved. Even though I knew that prayer didn't save me, God's grace through faith alone did, I sincerely thought that praying was God's method to be saved. I had been indoctrinated with the following way to be saved (something along these lines)...
  1. Admit you are a sinner
  2. Realize there is a penalty for sin, death (including a second death in Hell)
  3. Believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried and resurrected three days later
  4. Pray and ask Jesus to save you (and they usually quote a prayer for you to repeat)
That fourth unbiblical and unnecessary step confused me utterly. I had been deceived and lied to by sincere but misguided preachers. For years I cried in fear, wondering if I had missed something when I got saved. What if? What if I missed out on Heaven?, I thought. What if I didn't really know that I was a sinner at the time I think I got saved? What if I didn't really know the facts of the Gospel? What if I didn't pray right? I was tormenting myself, looking back and trying to remember what I said when I called out for Christ to save me. Since I couldn't remember what my mindset was at the age of 13, there was no way to settle the matter of whether I was saved or not.

After several years of worrying, I learned some truths that helped me. I wrote a 42 chapter book to share my ordeal and help others, titled: “Salvation.” I learned that I had made the mistake of trying to look back to the time that I was saved. Since I couldn't remember my mindset at the time, it was futile to try to remember what I simply couldn't remember. So I realized that all that mattered is what is in my soul now, today. I can know what I believe right now. I do believe the Gospel. I do know that I am a guilty, needy of God's free gift of salvation. Thankfully, I have accepted that gift apart from all human effort or works.

Now, I know that I wasn't saved at the time of physical birth 55 years ago. But I do know that I am saved now. So somewhere along the way I did get saved. Where and when doesn't matter, just so long as I know that I am saved NOW. I do however think that every child of God should be able to think back to a time and place in their life when they at least think they got saved. I was about 13 years old. I didn't think back then to jot down the date and time. I remember the place (in a Baptist church). I remember that it was a summer Sunday morning. I think it was in 1980, but truthfully I do not know. I cannot remember when I got saved, but I do remember being convicted by the preaching. When the pastor said if you can sin without any conviction from the Holy Spirit, you are not saved, I knew immediately that I had never been saved.

So that morning, under strong conviction about my sins from the Holy Spirit, I trusted Jesus as my personal Savior the best I knew how. I was too shy, timid and embarrassed to walk down the church aisle to learn how to be saved. So I called out in my soul to Jesus to save me, and He did because I put my childlike trust in Him as my Savior. I believed that He is the Christ, the only begotten Son of God. I believed that He died on a cross to pay for my sins. I believed that I was calling out in my soul to the risen Savior. But that's all I knew theologically. I didn't learn that Jesus is God until 5 years later in Bible college. It is sad that my pastor didn't teach me that Jesus is almighty God. That is why I encourage all pastors to teach Bible doctrines, and not to merely dabble in psychology as so many incompetent pastors do today. I wouldn't give you a plug nickel for any pastor who doesn't educate his congregation about Bible doctrines.

It wasn't until decades later, when I learned from Pastor Max D. Younce's helpful book titled: "Salvation And The Public Invitation" (backup file) that my salvation beliefs were solidified. The reason why Pastor Younce's book resonated with me so much is because he writes about being saved in a church pew, which is exactly where I was saved. Dr. Younce scolds pastors who require lost sinners to walk down an aisle to learn how to be saved. Why does a person have to walk down an aisle to learn how to be saved? That is an excellent point! Those wicked pastors are adding an unnecessary step to God's simple plan of salvation.

I thank God for Pastors' Max D. Younce, Ralph Yankee Arnold, Hank Lindstrom, Mark G. Cambron, A. Ray Stanford and others who preach a simple free grace Gospel without using a sinner's prayer to be saved (as the Bible teaches). I will never use a sinner's prayer again, because it confused me and I know it will confuse others too, by obscuring God's simple plan of salvation, the simplicity that is in Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4).

In his helpful classic sermon titled: "Fundamentalist Heresy," Dr. Jack Hyles explains that we are saved by faith alone, not by praying a prayer or asking Jesus into our heart. It bothers me that Pastor Hyles preached that we are saved by faith alone, but then taught us to go soulwinning by leading lost sinner's to pray to be saved. That is a contradiction. I have no doubt that 90% of the people who prayed a sinner's prayer did get saved, but I am also firmly convinced that many of those alleged converts became confused (as I did) and didn't get saved, or as in my case, worried for years to come about not being saved.

It is critically important that people be told that faith alone is enough to be saved. Why even run the risk of confusing someone by asking them to pray? What is the purpose? Why cannot they simply believe the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen the third day?

I do not criticize any pastor who leads lost sinner's to pray to be saved. I have never criticized Pastor Anderson or Dr. Hyles for leading lost sinners to pray to be saved. But I personally don't do it, and I think I am following the Bible more closely than those preachers who do use a sinner's prayer. The Gospel of John is on my side (or I should say, I am on the side of the Gospel of John). I believe most of those people who are led to pray a sinner's prayer did get saved. But I do also think some of them may have been confused, missing the truth of the Gospel because they were told to pray a prayer. The "1-2-3 follow me" lame prayer recital doesn't save anyone. But that is what often happens when Christian workers are taught to lead people in a prayer to be saved. It is inevitable over time, because their is a chain of miscommunication. What saith the Scripture? Acts 16:30-31, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” They didn't tell the Philippian jailer to pray, did they.

The bottom line is that the Bible plainly teaches throughout the Gospel of John, 1st Thessalonians 4:14, Galatians 3:2, Romans 3:24-25, 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, Galatians 3:26 and umpteen other Scripture passages, that faith in Jesus Christ is enough to be saved. Galatians 3:26, “
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” I don't see any mention of saying a prayer, do you? Oh, why can't preachers just leave the Bible alone!

Faith alone is God's method, not praying a prayer. I will fight the New IFB to the hills in this important matter, because they are wrong. Respectfully said about them, Pastors' Steven Anderson and Bruce Mejia are calling Norm Diamante and me "idiots" and "stupid" for preaching that people don't need to pray to be saved. It's the other way around. Jesus didn't tell the woman at Jacob's Well to pray to be saved. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter didn't tell the 3,000 people who got saved to pray. They simply heard the Gospel and gladly received it and were saved immediately.

So that is my position in this matter. The New IFB are very wrong. I've noticed that whatever Pastor Anderson preaches, all the other New IFB pastors parrot. Steven Anderson is the New IFB movement! I thank God for their aggressive soulwinning efforts, but I won't support them blindly when they are wrong.

In this YouTube video link where New IFB pastors horribly gang up on Evangelist Norm Diamante, Pastor Anderson downplays the issue like it's no big deal, making a fuss of why some preachers are quarrelling over praying a prayer to be saved. Yet, the very fact that Pastor Anderson and his followers are making an issue, proves that this is a sore matter. The very fact that New IFB pastors are ganging up on Norm Diamante to criticize him, proves that this is indeed a critically important matter, which strikes at the heart of preachers. It sure is an important matter to me!

Kindly said, I will expose and rebuke anyone who teaches that praying a prayer to accompany faith is the Bible method to be saved, because it is not according to the Scriptures. Although I am not against someone naturally praying as a result of their soul's faith in Christ, the Bible way to be saved is to simply BELIEVE the Gospel. The fact of the matter is that 3,000 people were saved on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:41, because they "gladly received" the Gospel, without saying a prayer. Acts 2:41, Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

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