I ran across this article about the Southern Baptists debate on this issue. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/...rs-prayer.html
Here are two quotes from David Platt that sets up the debate."I'm convinced that many people in our churches are simply missing the life of Christ, and a lot of it has to do with what we've sold them as the gospel, i.e. pray this prayer, accept Jesus into your heart, invite Christ into your life," Platt said. "Should it not concern us that there is no such superstitious prayer in the New Testament? Should it not concern us that the Bible never uses the phrase, 'accept Jesus into your heart' or 'invite Christ into your life'? It's not the gospel we see being preached, it's modern evangelism built on sinking sand. And it runs the risk of disillusioning millions of souls."Here is a quote by Jared Moore."Many assume they are saved simply because of a prayer they prayed," he said. "It's not that praying a prayer in and of itself is bad—but the question in John 2 and 3 is what kind of faith are we calling people to?"
And Steve Gaines position"I live in a community where everyone has asked Jesus to come into their hearts and none of them are at church," he told the delegates. "Many of them live contrary to Scripture. They're not repenting and having faith in Christ, yet they asked Jesus to come into their heart. … I have to get them lost before I can get them saved."
I find it interesting that a denomination built around total depravity and predestination are arguing over the sinner's prayer. But I do find their arguments to be similar as what we might find in our denomination.Meanwhile, Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, who has preached against Calvinist theology, called the Sinner's Prayer representative of God's New Covenant. He also noted that 262 children at his church recently prayed the Sinner's Prayer and invited Jesus into their heart. (Gaines also preached a defense of the Sinner's Prayer and "accepting Jesus into your heart" last month.)
"While asking Jesus to come into your heart may not be specifically in the Bible, I believe the concept is, just like the terms inerrancy and Trinity," he said.
I have recently begun to struggle with the push to get people to pray a sinner's prayer without having a relationship with that person or without someone in the church having some relationship with the person.
One of the last things I coordinated before leaving my last church was VBS. There were over 30 children who accepted Jesus as their savior. Yet, I'm not sure exactly how I feel about that. Yes, I got them saved, but then I left. Where are they now and what relationship do they have with the church? Who is discipling them?
Is it proper for any church leader to lead someone into a sinner's prayer if there is not a relationship in place that will assist them as they grow in Christ?
It seems to me that for many years our denomination has focused on this prayer without providing the support system to disciple. I'm not talking about Sunday School or sermons, but one on one mentoring that is meant to have accountability and to provide a voice into the heart of the one who has come to Christ and is being transformed.