Back in 1970 Roger Whitaker had a hit with - I don’t believe in if anymore. Basically an anti war song probably aimed at the aftermath of the Viet Nam conflict. The chorus line says “if’s an illusion”! I now find myself thinking the same thing about if in respect of salvation as it finds its expression in much Evengelical thought and practice. A dear well meaning friend has just posted a version on facebook of the sinners prayer effectivly saying IF you pray this you are safe, your in! But surly this IF has the power to make me the author of my own salvation. Yes I did pray a prayer somewhat like this along time ago but now I wonder. Is IF an illusion? You can find the song on the net and its a good song and worth a listen. I will admit to being one of his fans.
Yes indeed Chris… this obvious “works salvation” of Evangelicalism’s ‘IF’ has ALWAYS been the inconvenient elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge.
I had a lot of Southern Baptist acquaintances growing up. Even as a teenager I saw the contradiction:
“Jesus did it all. We can’t add anything or do anything. Scripture says our good deeds are dirty rags. We’re not like Catholics who believe in works-righteousness. You can’t work your way into Heaven. We’re saved by faith, not works, lest any man should boast. When we’re up in Heaven, we’ll be there because of Christ’s blood shed on the cross, not because of anything we did.” Etc.
“So, to get to Heaven, you need to say the Jesus prayer (or a prayer very similar to it) and mean it. If you do that, you’ll go to Heaven when you die!”
I try not to focus on negative things but I couldn’t help but to notice that a lot people use the word ‘if’ when fear mongering. What if this/that happens. Insurance companies use the word if all the time too