"But 'Accept Jesus Into Your Heart' Isn't Even In The Bible" (Or Is It?)

Taken from the post "We Left Our Church Because of Calvinism (Things My Calvinist Pastor Said)", under point #15.


I just watched a video of one Calvinist preacher who said that it's unbiblical and dangerous to tell people they can "accept Jesus into their hearts."
            
He says to his congregation, in a very creepy, wide-eyed, mouth-hanging-open, stilted way (paraphrased), "Shouldn't it bother us that we tell people to do this but that the phrase 'accept Jesus into your heart' isn't in the Bible anywhere?"  (Honestly, it was very creepy, almost like "the lights are on but no one's home."  Or like he wasn't really in control of his own mind.  Here is a link to that clip featuring David Platt.  Doesn't it seem like there's something wrong here?  Can't you almost feel it?)  He says it will mislead millions of people into thinking they are saved just because they "prayed a prayer."  (Millions?  Really?  How stupid does he think the average person is, accusing us of being unable to realize that our words aren't magic, unable to figure out that believing in Jesus has to be a genuine heart thing?  And once again, that's why you explain to them that it's not their words that save them, but it's their belief in Jesus that does.)
            
Well ... let's see what else is "not in the Bible":
            
1.  There is no verse saying that in order to be a sovereign God, God has to control all things.  (In fact, the word "sovereign" is not even in the concordance, the King James Bible, the Greek, anywhere.  It's the NIV that adds it hundreds of times.  And it uses it to replace the title "Lord."  The word "sovereign" is a title, designating that God is Lord over all, in authority over all.  It is not about how He has to use His power or authority to control everything.)
            
2.  There is no verse saying that it's impossible to seek God unless God makes you do it.
            
3.  There is no verse saying that "spiritually dead" means you are "dead like a dead body and cannot do anything but lay there all dead, that you are unable to want God or think about God unless God enables you to."
            
4.  There is no verse saying that the Holy Spirit has to regenerate you before you can believe.
            
5.  There is no verse saying that God only chose a few people to save and that He predestined the rest for hell.
            
6.  There is no verse saying that God only loves a few people enough to save them or that Jesus only died for the sins of a few people.
            
7.  There is no verse saying that God has two different Wills that oppose each other or that He has two different kinds of calls, one for the elect and one for the non-elect.
            
8.  There is no verse saying that Adam and Eve lost the right to make decisions after they sinned.
            
9.  There is no phrase "total depravity" or "unconditional election" in the Bible anywhere.  There is no phrase "limited atonement."  There is no "irresistible grace."
            
10.  And my Calvinist ex-pastor once said something like "We tend to have a problem with the idea that God can choose who to save and who not to save.  We don't like it.  But the Bible clearly teaches it.  The Bible calls it 'the doctrine of election, the doctrine of predestination'."  (But the funny thing is, you won't find the phrase "doctrine of election" or "doctrine of predestination" in the Bible anywhere.  So ... NO! ... the Bible does not call it that.  But making it sound like the Bible actually uses those phrases and clearly teaches those "doctrines" is a good way to deceive people and get them to stop doubting it.)  
            
And these are just a few.
            
Should it not bother us that none of these essential Calvinist ideas are clearly laid out in any verse in the Bible?  That they have to fabricate support for these ideas by cobbling together other verses taken out of context and reinterpreted through a Calvinist lens?

            
[And in fact, the opposite of Calvinism is in the Bible, when read plainly, as it was written, without filtering it through one's own assumptions first.
            
In Genesis 1:26 and Psalm 8:6-8, we read that God sovereignly decided to give man a certain level of control, dominion, over His creation.
            
In Amos 5:4God tells His people who have rejected Him to "Seek me and live."  If they aren't spiritually "alive" yet then they are "dead," which means God is telling "dead people" to seek Him.  "Dead" men can seek God!
            
In Acts 2:38, we see that the Holy Spirit enters a person as a result of their choice to believe, not before he believes in order to give him the ability to believe.  And this is evident, as we already saw, in Acts 19:1-6 when Paul found some disciples who hadn't yet received the Holy Spirit.  They were disciples, believers, before they got the Spirit.  And 2 Corinthians 3:16 tells us when the veil (of our minds) is removed - "Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away."  After we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed.  But in Calvinism, the veil has to be removed before you can turn to the Lord.  Big difference!
            
There is no verse saying that God only loves a few people, only wants to save a few people, or that Jesus only died for a few people, but there are multiple verses saying that God loves the world, wants all to be saved, and that Jesus died for all: John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, John 1:29, Romans 5:18, Hebrews 2:9, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, Ezekiel 18:32, Romans 10:13etc.
            
There is no verse saying that God has two different Wills, one that wants all to be saved and one that really wants most to go to hell.  But there is a verse -  Acts 20:27 - about how Paul preached the "whole will" of God.  And what was the thing he preached?  "Repent and believe to get eternal life."  And he calls this "the whole will of God."  Where is there room for a secret "God-really-wants-most-people-to-reject-Him-and-go-to-hell" Will?
            
"Election" in the Bible does not have anything to do with individuals being chosen for salvation.  In the concordance, it simply means to be picked out, chosen.  But there is no mention of what the "elect" are chosen for.  So "chosen for salvation" is not inherent in the word "election."  And when it's used in Romans 9 (a big "predestination" chapter for Calvinists), we see that it's not at all about individuals being chosen for salvation, but it's about Israel/Jacob being "elected" for a certain role/responsibility.  "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand: ... "The older will serve the younger." ... Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?"  (Romans 9:11-12, 21)  This election is not about God choosing certain people for heaven; it's about God choosing to use certain people for big purposes, to give certain people a big job/responsibility.  And in this case, when you read the chapter in context, you see that it's about God choosing Israel (Jacob) to be the bloodline that brought Jesus into the world.  This totally contradicts a Calvinist's view of election, that God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.  Election is about being chosen for a certain responsibility, not about being chosen for salvation.  
            
(Also consider "election" in Romans 11:28"As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."  This is important because it destroys a Calvinist's idea that election is about being "chosen for salvation."  This verse is about Israel, and it's saying that they are elected but are basically enemies of the gospel right now.  How can "elected" people be enemies of the gospel if election means "predestined to be saved"?  Calvinists also say God only really loves those whom He elected and that He elects (predestines to heaven) those He loves.  But in this verse, the "elect" are enemies of the gospel (not going to heaven), yet still loved?  How can this be - how can elect people be unsaved and unsaved people be loved - if Calvinism is true?  Answer:  It can be so because Calvinism ISN'T true, because election isn't about the eternal salvation of individuals, about being predestined for heaven.  It's about being called to fulfill a role, a special job/responsibility.  This verse is saying that even though Israel is an enemy of the gospel right now, they are still part of the elect, the bloodline that was chosen to bring Jesus into the world.  And because of that election, that special call of God's, He still loves them, even if they are His enemies right now.  And because of His love, God will someday, in the end, soften their self-hardened hearts and bring them all to belief in Him.  Once again, election is about God choosing people to fulfill a special role, not to be individually predestined for heaven.  That's why Israel can be "elect" but lost, and lost but still loved.)
            
And, yes, predestination is a biblical concept, but not the way Calvinists view it.  Notice how it's used in Romans 8:29"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son..."  It's not that people are predestined for salvation; it's that true believers (foreknown by God) are predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus.  Whether or not you get saved is not predestined, but if you become a believer, the ultimate path you take has been predestined, because the Holy Spirit leads us to reflect Christ more and more.
            
If you pay attention carefully and get rid of the preconceived idea that "predestined" has to mean "predestined for heaven or hell," you'll see that any and all "predestination verses" can be read in one of these other ways:  God has predestined Israel's involvement in His plans and their salvation as a nation.  He predestined Jesus's death for humanity because He knew we would sin.  He predetermined that Jesus's death is the only way to salvation.  He predetermined to have a family of believers with Him in heaven (but we decide to be part of that family or not).  He predestined people in general to know Him and have a relationship with Him (yet He allows us to resist that plan and to rebel).  He predestined which generation would see the arrival of Jesus and be the first to be saved through His death.  And He predestined the path that believers walk once they choose to believe in Him (a true believer will be led by the Holy Spirit to grow to be more like Christ, to grow closer to Christ, to be more obedient, and to bring God glory).  (For more on this, see these posts: "Predestined for Salvation?  Or For Something Else?" and "According to the concordance, it's NOT predestination.")
            
There are so many other ways to understand "predestination" than "predestined by God to go to heaven or hell."  And unlike a Calvinist's view of predestination, these other ways do not contradict the rest of the Bible and do not change God's character into something horrible, irrational, and contradictory.  An accurate view of predestination will always keep the Bible consistent and God's character intact.
            
And these are just a few.
            
Calvinists ignore what God plainly, clearly, repeatedly said, in favor of their "secret knowledge" of what God supposedly "meant to say," turning the consistent, easily-understood, available-for-all gospel into a contradictory, confusing, only-for-a-very-few-lucky-people mess.  And I think there will be a heavy eternal price to pay for this!
            
If you change what God clearly, plainly said to make it fit your views which God never clearly, plainly said - your views which contradict what God clearly, plainly said - then it is absolutely certain that your theology is wrong!]


            
When a Calvinist criticizes the "accept Jesus into your heart" phrase, essentially it's because they don't want you to think you have a real choice about it.  That's what it's really about.  Because to "accept" something means to decide to embrace it, to let it in, to make a choice.  And they don't believe you can choose.  And they don't want you thinking you can choose.
            

But while the phrase "accept Jesus into your heart" isn't in the Bible, the idea sure is.
            
"That if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.... Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  (Romans 10:9-13)  
            
"Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."  (Revelation 3:20.  Is Jesus knocking on a literal door at your house?  Clearly not.  This is a metaphorical door - the door of your heart.)
            
And on top of that, according to the concordance, "receive" and "believe" (such as in John 1:12"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.") mean that we take hold of something (we "receive" Jesus by taking ahold of Him, it is a "self-promoted taking," not passively acquiring something) and that we are persuaded by something, becoming convinced that it's true (we "believe") and, as a result, we commit to it.  These are both actively done by us, not done to us while we passively sit there doing nothing, waiting for God to instill this stuff in our hearts.
            
So let's see ... "confess with your mouth and believe in your heart" ... "call on the Lord" ... "open the door of your heart to Jesus so that He can come in" ... "grab ahold of Jesus, be convinced that He is the truth and commit to Him" ... sounds an awful lot to me like we are responsible to make the choice to accept Jesus into our hearts, into our lives.
            
This is what's behind "accept Jesus into your heart," and it's a much more biblical concept than any of Calvinism's nonsense.  There is more than enough support for "accept Jesus into your heart" if you don't get hung up on the exact wording of the phrase.  (And if they want to nitpick about that phrase not being in the Bible, I wonder what they'd do if they learned that "sovereign" isn't in the KJV, the Greek, anywhere?  Shouldn't it bother us that they built their whole theology on their wrong understanding of a word that isn't even in the Greek at all?)
            
(Of course, we need to be careful about using the phrase "accept Jesus into your heart" with children, because they can't understand the "in your heart" part and it might scare or confuse them.  But we older people know what it means.)  
            


And so let me ask this:  Which one is truly more dangerous ... 

Telling people they can ask Jesus into their hearts if they want to be saved, even though that exact phrase is not in the Bible ... 

... or teaching people that they can't seek God or believe in Him on our own (even though He tells us over and over again that's what we need to do to be saved), and that we can only believe in Him after He regenerates us with the Holy Spirit and only if you are one of the few elect because Jesus never died for the non-elect anyway and God created the non-elect simply so He could hate them and send them to hell for His glory, even though He caused them to be the unbelievers they are and to commit the sins they did, never giving them a chance to be saved or to do right?

One of these opens the door of salvation to everyone and makes them take responsibility for their choices ... and one of them closes the door of salvation to most people, reducing Jesus's sacrifice and God's love to only a very few lucky, randomly-chosen people who apparently have to do nothing to be saved except sit there and wait for God to make their choice for them.

            
(I hate Calvinism!  And if you really understand Calvinism and God's Word, you would too!)

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