The Fine Print of the Gospel: All people are Sinners

First we must realize the entire “Plan of Salvation” is based on the Bible. More specifically the presupposition that the Bible is God’s Word and it is authoritative upon all humankind.

The IFB soul-winner will start by inviting you to church. Then they quickly move on to say something like,
“Even more important than church… Are you 100% sure if you died today you would go to heaven?”

If you say, “No.” They will continue, “You can know. Do you mind if I show you some Bible verses about how to know you are on your way to heaven?”

Then they start into the four point “Romans Road” I mentioned in the introductory post to this series.

You must admit you are a sinner.

Romans 3:10
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

I do not know anybody that would say they are perfect. We all make mistakes and do things we regret. IFB soul-winners play on this to get you to admit you have “sinned”.

The fact that people do wrong seems intuitive. We see evils all around us and read about it in the headlines daily. So, most people will concede this point and agree that all humanity are sinners. It is implied that you should feel remorse for being a sinner.

Now let’s dig a little deeper into this point and check out the fine print.

The soul-winner does not want you to question this point too much. The entire rest of their argument hinges on this first premise.

Why are all people sinners?

The IFB believes we are born sinners. We enter the world depraved because we inherit a sin nature from our parents. Supposedly this goes all the way back to Adam (Romans 5:12), the first human.

If something is a part of our nature, it is something we are born with. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t choose to be conceived or born. I did not have a choice in my race, gender, hair color, or eye color. These things are a part of my nature.

I do not feel guilt or remorse for any of the previously mentioned aspects of my nature. I had no control over these qualities. So I accept them. According to Christian theology, I was also born with a sin nature. I am not a sinner because I sin, but I sin because I was born a sinner. And I am supposed to feel guilty and repent for being born with this nature. Notice Jesus’ words:

Luke 5:32
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

So, essentially I am guilty for simply being born. How does this make sense? You may argue that we cannot not choose our nature, but we do willingly choose to commit sin. Dogs bark because it’s their nature. Birds chirp, ducks quack, cats meow because it’s in their nature. Is it wrong for these creatures to act in accordance with their nature?

Could I hit the mark if I wanted to?

In Romans 3:23b (cited earlier) it states “and come short of the glory of God.” Allegedly the coming short means “to miss the mark”. I have to wonder though… Could I even hit the mark? I am condemned because I was born with the wrong nature which prevented me from hitting a mark that I was incapable of hitting anyway! Yeah, that makes sense.

The Christian God requires us to live up to a standard (perfection) that it is impossible for us to live up to. As Christopher Hitchens has aptly said, “We are born sick and commanded to be well.” And if we don’t meet this standard we will have to suffer eternal torment. Which leads to the next post. Stay tuned…

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The Fine Print of the Gospel

I grew up as a preacher boy in an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church. My church was of the Jack Hyles/ First Baptist Church of Hammond stripe.

This particular sect of fundamentalism is notorious for what is called “soul-winning”. Soul-winning is the act of going from house to house attempting to win (convert) these souls (people) to Christianity. Below is a video demonstration:

IFBers feel this is their responsibility to fulfill the “Great Commission”. They believe Jesus gave them this mission after his resurrection. This is derived from verses such as the following:

Mark 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

I have heard many a sermons about going “into the highways and hedges” to win souls. Many IFB churches offer seminars on how to go from house to house and present the gospel. The tactics taught are basic sales techniques. They are selling eternal life. As with most door to door salespeople, it seems too good to be true.

I plan to write a future post about the gimmicks they use to persuade people to convert. However in the next few posts I want to focus on what they’re selling. Like with any insurance policy you purchase, the message these soul-winners are offering comes with fine print. Fine print that is not supposed to be read. Soul-winners are taught to deflect any questions regarding the fine print. Like telemarketers, Soul-winners have a script and want to stay on point. I want to challenge what they are selling. I want to examine some of the fine print.

Soul-winners will lead you down the “Romans Road” (because the Bible verses used are found in Romans) . This road is supposed to lead you to eternal life in heaven and “saved” from an eternity in hell. Below is a sample salvation formula given by IFB Soul-winners:

1. You must admit you are a sinner.

2. There is a payment for sin. This payment is hell.

3. Jesus (God’s Son) died and resurrected to make that payment for your sin.

4. If you believe all the above, pray for Jesus to forgive your sins, and accept his payment then you are forgiven. You are “saved”.

I will deal with each point in separate blog posts. Stay tuned for more…

**Note: There are a wide variety of ways to get saved throughout Christianity. I cannot deal with all of them. Some add to the list, but the majority accept these points.**