A mega-church and mega-salvations

Published 9:58 pm Friday, September 7, 2012

By Chris Surber

You are and I not saved because we prayed the sinner’s prayer. A recent headline on a popular Christian news source read “SC Megachurch Celebrates 1,251 Salvations in One Weekend.” The church in question is multi-site New Spring Church in South Carolina, where well-known Christian author Perry Noble serves as pastor.

Did they really elicit that many salvations on one weekend? Maybe. Maybe not. Is there any biblical precedence to support the notion that because you say a formula prayer at a church meeting, evangelistic crusade, revival meeting or elsewhere that you are necessarily saved eternally? No. There is not. The Bible says that sinners are saved by grace through faith as evidenced by a changed life.

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More accurately, the headline could have read “SC Megachurch Celebrates 1,251 Professions of Faith in One Weekend.” Many of those who made a profession of faith on that weekend are very likely actually regenerated, reborn, followers of Jesus. Just as many are not, and time will prove that they are not.

Puritan Pastor Thomas Manton wrote, “None can hope for salvation but he that would keep God’s way, because God hath by a wise ordination conjoined ends and means.”

In other words, while the means of eternal salvation and forgiveness of human sins is God’s grace, the ends of grace are a changed life. Life change verifies the presence of grace.

In the article, Noble says New Spring Church is praying for God to bless them with salvations after the pattern found in chapter 2 of the book of Acts. That is commendable. However, the pattern in the book of Acts was profession of faith, baptism and then a radically altered lifestyle that produced the evidence of salvation.

So many professions of faith in one weekend is to be applauded. For many of these people, there is little doubt that this will be the turning point in their relationship with God and His Church.

But we must be very cautious in trusting in what we did in that moment, rather than what Jesus did for us on the cross and what God did in calling us to repentance. The evidence of salvation is a changed and ever-changing life, not the punching of a prayer card at a church altar.

It isn’t enough to confess Christ but go on with your life as though all you did was to head down to an altar in a church, pray the prayer, and pick up your ticket on the train to eternity.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.” (Hebrews 10:26 NIV84)

The evidence of salvation is not following a pastor’s call to walk to a church altar and pray a prayer. The evidence of salvation is walking an altered lifestyle filled with constant prayer and following after Jesus as His disciple.