Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Beware the beast Man, for he is the devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed.

There is often talk of a "sinner's prayer," in which an interested party is to be led in order to become a Christian. Of course, praying doesn't make one a Christian anyway, but there's also folly in thinking that an unconverted person would ever want to pray such a prayer prior to being born again.

What would a true sinner's prayer look like? In other words, what would an honest prayer from an unconverted person* look like?

John Gerstner, mentor of R.C. Sproul, gives this suggestion:
"Dear God, whom I hate with all my being precisely because you hate and threaten me with hell, I hate this punishment perhaps even more than I hate you. Or, maybe I should say that I love my comfort even more than I hate you. For that reason I am asking a favor of you. I want you to make me love you, whom I hate even when I ask this and even more because I have to ask this. I am being frank with you because I know it is no use to be otherwise. You know even better than I how much I hate you and that I love only myself. It is no use for me to pretend to be sincere. I most certainly do not love you and do not want to love you. I hate the thought of loving you but that is what I’m asking because I love myself. If you can answer this 'prayer' I guess the gift of gratitude will come with it and then I will be able to do what I would not think of doing now—thank you for making me love you whom I hate. Amen."
-John Gerstner, Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Powhatan, VA: Berea Publications, 1993), 3:81.

*As described by Scripture ... e.g., 1 Cor 2:14; John 3:3, 6-8, 19-20; 6:44; Acts 16:14; 2 Cor 4:4; Jer 17:9; Ezek 36:26-27; etc.

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At 08 June, 2010 07:48, Blogger samurai said...

Wow... And yet we were really that far apart... more even.

Thank you for sharing Gunny.

At 05 July, 2010 15:41, Anonymous NCguy said...

Gunny, ironically, don't you think that if someone "sincerely" asked God to turn their heart to love Him, because they realized that they do love themselves and their own comfort (and possibly more than they love God - or so they "think"), that God would indeed answer that very prayer? Or you could flip the question to: Would an unregenerate person ever "sincerely" pray such a thing. This is actually something that I wrestle with all the time personally and is at the heart of much of my own doubt. I often wonder whether I'm that 'third' category in the parable of the sower - that which was sown among thorns.


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