Friday, May 30, 2008


CHARLOTTE, NC (JTC Media): Seventy five leaders from the National Association of Evangelicals have attached their signatures to a document billed as the "Evangelical Manifesto." Those signing include best selling author Max Lucado, according to World Magazine in their May 17-24, 2008 issue. Announcement of the signing took place at the National Press Club in Washington D. C. on May 7. The entire document can be read or downloaded from:

Among other points of creedal identification, the National Association of Evangelicals signers pledged themselves to the assertion that salvation is by faith alone ["Salvation (is) God's gift grasped through faith. We contribute nothing to our salvation."]. In addition, the document takes the National Association of Evangelicals into full retreat from previously perceived close identification with the Republican Party, attempting to equally embrace both major political parties in times to come. Those Evangelicals not signing the document include Dr. James Dobson and Chuck Colson, both avid supporters of many Republican leaders. Another missing signature is from Saddleback Church’s Rick Warren, though his “purpose driven” theology appears to be consistent with the entire document. Portions of the document are strikingly similar to Warren’s global inter-religious P.E.A.C.E. initiative.

Five of the National Association of Evangelicals foremost personalities held a news conference for the occasion of rolling out the document. Well known author, Os Guinness, was joined at the lectern by "Christianity Today's" John Huffman and David Neff, public relations man Larry Ross and Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary.

Traditionally, evangelicalism has been closely associated with ecumenicalism, premilenialism, the "Sinner's Prayer" salvation experience and extreme support for the modern day secular Jewish state of Israel. However, during the last several years evangelicalism has become increasingly influenced by the newly evolving "Emergent Church." The “Emergent Church” is a mystic and pragmatic fellowship of both neo-denominationalists and otherwise un-churched people. The “Emergent Church” is driven by the teachings of eastern patristic teachers including Origen, Augustine and Aquinas. Brian McLaren and Tony Jones are leading personalities in the movement. McLaren is slated to speak at this falls “Summit” sponsored by Abilene Christian University.

According to World Magazine, some signers signed as "individuals and not representatives of their organizations." Lucado is identified as one such signer by the magazine.

Preaching for what once was one of the largest churches of Christ anywhere [Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas], Max Lucado and his eldership have in the last several years dropped the name of Christ from their name plate, introduced instrumental music in worship and rejected baptism as being necessary for salvation. [See: Michael Foust, “Max Lucado Transcends Church of Christ Beliefs,” in Baptist Press News, May 9, 2005. Lucado is interviewed by Foust in this article where Lucado speaks candidly regarding his changed views. An internet search using the article title will render it in full context and entirely unedited.]

With his signature permanently attached to the “Evangelical Manifesto,” Lucado is nearly 180 degrees doctrinally from where he was just a few years ago.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Is the "Sinner's Prayer" Taught in Acts 3:19?

I have a website at: Recently I received an inquiry asking my input as to whether or not Acts 3:19 taught "some version" of what many call the "sinners prayer." What follows is an outline I put together in order to better my understanding of Acts 3:19 and to share it with you.

I apologize for the format, I have yet to figure out how to "do outlines" on a blog!

I am always excited when people reach back through history, as it were past the philosophies of men, to discover in God's Word the realities of the church that Jesus built in the 1st century. If we believe the things they did, live the way they did and practice the things they did we will be one with them on the last day. As it has been said, "the Bible only makes Christians only." Not only is "Biblical Christianity" possible, it was the very thing for which our Lord prayed in the garden.

My respondent flagged Acts 3:19 as a matter of primary concern. Knowing that all Scripture is inspired of God, we must treat it with care in its original context, seek to understand the message conveyed to the original audience and use other similar passages to broaden our understanding for "scripture interprets scripture."

I would like to thank Bro. David Pharr for assisting me in my understanding of vs. 20 of Acts 3. David is the editor and publisher of "The Carolina Messenger." (

Acts 3:1 - 4:4 - The Context of Acts 3:19

I Peter and John heal a lame man
A. vs. 1 - 10
II The "Spontaneous Gospel" - The Amazed Audience Hears Peter's sermon
A. vs. 11- chpt. 4:4
1. The amazed Jews gather on Solomon's Porch - vs. 11
2. Peter's introduction - vs. 12
3. Peter's God is made known - vs. 13-15
a. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our
fathers has:
1) Glorified His servant, Jesus:
a) The one whom you delivered to Pilate
b) The one whom you disowned in Pilate's
presence when he had decided to release
A) When they disowned him, they:
(1) Rejected the Holy and
Righteous one
(2) Traded Christ for a killer
(3) Murdered the Prince of Life
(4) Murdered the one whom
God raised from the dead.
4. Peter's bold assertion and accusation - vs. 15
a. The Resurrection is an undeniable FACT
1) They (both Christians and non-Christians
present) were ALL witnesses!
a) (No one disputed this assertion!)
5. The Proof of the FACT of the Resurrection - vs. 16
a. On the basis of faith in the Name of the one raised:
1) The Name of Jesus has healed this man
a) A man they saw and knew
2) The faith that comes through Jesus has given
him (the lame man) perfect health
a) This faith in Jesus has done this in the
presence of all of them, the witnesses
6. Ignorance is no excuse - vs. 17
a. The audience acted in ignorance regarding Christ
b. The rulers acted in ignorance regarding Christ
7. The foretelling of God's prophets that Christ would suffer
IS fulfilled (vs. 18):
a. These verses and others bear this out:
1. Matthew 21:42
a) Christ is the rejected cornerstone
2. Luke 24:25-27
a) Moses and ALL the prophets said he was
to suffer
3. Luke 24:45-47
a) Christ "open their minds" to understand
the Scriptures…that Christ should suffer
and rise on the 3rd day.
8. Having made the case of their clear guilt, Peter extends the
ACTS 2:38. - Acts 2:38 and Acts 3:19 are PARALLEL
statements using different words rendering the same
meaning as illustrated below:

Reference Compunction Responsive Action Result

Acts 2:38 Repent Be Baptized Sins Remitted
Acts 3:19 Repent Be Converted Sins Blotted Out

a. The word "repent" is used in both verses and is the
exact same word METANOEHO - According to Strong's,
to think differently afterwards, to experience moral
compunction (Mental anxiety & distress over guilt
resulting in a turn away).
1. Peter calls for them to TURN AWAY from their
sins in a "responsive action."
b. There is always in Scripture a "responsive action"
taken by the people of God upon true belief. Christ
exegetes this principal himself in John 3:14-15
1. The people sinned in the Wilderness
2. God sent snakes among the people biting
and killing.
3. The people cried to Moses
4. Moses appealed to God
5. Moses was instructed to raise a brazen serpent
6. The people were told to "look upon the serpent"
for their physical salvation.
7. Those who looked lived, those who did not
a. Moving across the camp and looking upon
the serpent was the "responsive action."
b. Mere "belief" in that looking on the
serpent would save them WITHOUT a
physical response rendered sure death.
c. There was no middle ground, no gray
area. Lookers lived, non-lookers died.
1) In a camp with as many as six
million souls, a LOT of physical
movement was required.
c. Jesus then applies this concept to Himself in
Jn 3:15-16. Belief in Him who was "lifted up" is
required by all who would be saved.
1. TRUE belief requires a responsive action
d. A "Responsive action" is NOT a work.
1. We cannot be saved by works - Eph. 2:9
b) We are saved only by the work of God.
1) Belief is a work of God - Jn. 6:29
2) Baptism is a work of God
- Col. 2:12
e. A "responsive action" is an "appeal to God for a clean
conscience" as expressed in baptism - I Peter 3:21
a) The INVERSE is true as well,
non-responsive action resulting in non-
baptism is an "appeal to Satan for an evil
f. Belief without a responsive action is a dead faith, one
cannot separate the two, they are synonymous.
a) Jesus makes this principal clear in
John 14:15 -
1) "If you love me you will keep my
commandments." Inversely, "if
you do not love me, you will not
keep my commandments."
(a) Baptism is a command of
Christ - Mark 16:15-16
(b) Peter commanded, on
behalf of Christ, that ALL
the Pentecostians be
baptized for the
remission of sins.
-Acts 2:38
(c) Baptism, despite the
denial of Billy Graham,
Chuck Swindall, John
MacArthur, R. C. Sproul,
et. al., DOES save us!
-I Peter 3:21
(d) Baptism (BAPTIZO in
Greek) means to "immerse
or to plunge" and is
metaphorically illustrated
by Paul in detail in
Romans 6.

g. Baptism is the required "responsive
action" that saves us, that brings remission of sins,
gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, adds us to the
church, is our appeal to God for a good
conscience and renders obedience to the
command of Christ as God's saving work is
accomplished when His gracious free gift of
salvation is accepted totally separate from any
work of man, all done in the "watery grave" and
nowhere else.

h. Baptism is the responsive action noted in Acts 2:38
while "be converted" / "turn again" is the responsive
action" in Acts 3:19. Do these different terms have
different meanings? No.
1. "IF" Peter told the audience in Acts 2 to "be
baptized for the remission of sins" and then
told the audience in Acts 3 to recite a "sinner's
prayer for the remission of sins," that would
make God an "author of confusion," something
He is NOT. - I Cor. 14:33
i. In Acts 2:38 and Acts 3:19, "be baptized" and "be
converted" are synonymous and interchangeable terms
AS ARE "sins forgiven" and "sins blotted out."
j. In Acts 3:19, the term "be converted" or "turn again"
is from the Greek word EPISTREPHO, which according
to Vine's means "…(making) a turn toward…an
immediate and decisive change, consequent upon a
deliberate choic,e [i.e. baptism vs.non- baptism RM]
k. In both Acts 2:38 and Acts 3:19, the audience is told
to "turn away" from their sins and "turn towards" God
in the "responsive action" which is baptism.
1. "IF" the phrase "be converted / turn again"
does NOT refer to baptism, did Peter lie to the
Pentecostians when he commanded baptism
for the remission of sins?
2. "IF" the phrase "be converted / turn again" in
Acts 3:19 means to recite a "sinner's prayer,"
does that not make Peter a liar in Acts 2:38?
3. "IF" the phrase "be baptized" in Acts 2:38 is
different than "be converted" in Acts 3:19, does
that not make Peter a liar in Acts 3:19?
9. When we repent, turn again and have our sins blotted out,
then the "times of refreshing" come:
a. From the Lord that:
1. He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus
(you = the Jews) whom
a) heaven must receive until the time for
restoring all the things about which God
spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago
1) Moses said:

(a) God will raise up a
prophet like me
(b) From your brothers
(c) You shall listen to him
in whatever he tells you
(1) He told them
to keep his
(d) Every soul that does not
listen to him shall be
destroyed from the
10. Samuel and all the prophets after him proclaimed "these
days," the proclamation of the Gospel
11. Peter tells the Jews that they are the "sons of the
12. Peter tells the Jews that they are the "sons of the covenant
that God made with their fathers," namely Abraham
a. through whom "all the families of the earth shall be
13. God sent Jesus to the Jews FIRST in order to:
a. Bless them
b. Turn them from their wickedness

Chapter 4

14. While they were still speaking, the priests, the captain of
the temple and the Sadducees came upon them
a. greatly annoyed
1. for Peter was teaching the people
2. and the fact that Peter was proclaiming
in Jesus, the resurrection from the dead
15. Peter and John were arrested and kept in jail over night
16. Many of those who had heard the word believed
17. The number of men came to about 5,000
a. How were these men added to the number?
1. the same way the Pentecostians were:
(See Diagram below)
a) "So those who received his word were
baptized and there were added that day
about 3,000 souls."
1) "Receiving his word" and
"baptism" are synonymous terms
in Acts 2:41 descriptively
intertwined, one cannot have one
without the other

Acts 2:41 Received word were baptized were added 3,000
Acts 4:4 Heard the word believed (were added) 5,000
2) "Receiving the word" in Acts 2:41
and "hearing the word" in Acts 4:4
are synonymously descriptive
3) "Baptism" in Acts 2:41 and
"belief" in Acts 4:4 are
synonymously descriptive
4) The addition to the church
3,000 in Acts 2:41, and by
implication, 2,000 more by
Acts 4, took place the SAME
Way in BOTH instances.
18. "IF" God added 3,000 to the church in Acts 2 by baptism
and then added another 2,000 by the beginning of Acts
by a "sinners prayer," is not God then the "author of


The people in Acts 2 and the people in Acts 3 were both saved by repentance and baptism and were added to the church the same way in both instances, though the descriptive words chosen by the Holy Spirit to tell us of these events are different. Therefore, the conclusion is clear: Acts 3:19 does not in any way teach, endorse or imply the use of any kind of "sinners prayer" in regards to salvation, then or now.