The “Get Saved Quick” Scheme

Frustrated scriblings. Don't judge- it says "Freaking."

One of the top ten most frustrating experiences I’ve had was at a Passion Conference. Seriously. As we sang “Hosanna in the Highest” I was surrounded by people falling to their knees, tears streaming down their faces, hands in the air.  The whole building was going nuts with God moments.

The whole building minus me, that is.

I had no idea what the crap the word “Hosanna” meant. It made me feel like everyone else around me was faking it. It made me angry. It made me want to walk away.

I can’t imagine that anyone likes that feeling of being left out. I mean, it really sucks. Yet we are leaving people out. It may be a complete accident, but it is happening. Ok… Maybe I should have been studying up on my New Testament terminology before going to worship. But we are still leaving people out because we don’t take the time to fully tell them about this story of love.

I realize, of course, that everyone needs to know that Jesus is the way. I know, guys… but I struggle with how a lot of Christians go about sharing that information. The truth is a lot of people are desperately lost and they aren’t hearing things the same way you are. At the first sign of “if you don’t believe exactly like I do,”  they run away. I don’t blame them, either. That rhetoric gives no room for crossing over, no bridge, no grace.

Yes, Jesus is the Way. Yes. Absolutely.

But listen, if I got the impression of a pious person telling me I had to believe exactly the way they do (and I know that isn’t quite the case, but it is still the initial impression put out there), then I wouldn’t listen, either. I need to know you love me before I hear something even in the neighborhood of that ballpark at all. I need to learn about grace. I need to learn about a suffering messiah, I need to learn all the words to “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, then I need to put it all together. Remember we are talking to the same people who have seen plenty of “turn or burn” signs as they go to a Braves game.

I think the traditions of what we call “outreach” have become backward. Why do folks demand that nonbelievers immediately turn and say “Jesus is Lord”? Yes, I get where that comes from in the Bible. However, unless you’ve spent your life in church, the meaning of the word “Lord” is a bit confusing- and I can certainly relate to that frustration.

What I get from the Bible is the God who wants to give you a relationship with himself. He loves us. He’s reaching out for us. We read all this wedding and romance imagery yet we can’t wait to make other people “go all the way” in the first few moments.

And I think that is spiritual molestation.

I’m not debating the importance of Jesus, or the importance of learning that he is the way through which we are all saved. I’m just questioning the methods with which we share.

What do you think? How did you get saved? What keeps you from listening?

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35 comments

  1. Pingback: Top Seven of 2011 | CHADWICKFLOYD

  2. Christians don’t own love. OK … ??? I don’t understand the point, unless one is obsessed with semantics. I suppose by prefacing the word “love” with a 1st person plural possessive personal pronoun (1st PPPPP), one might be accused of claiming ownership of love, but … really??

    OK, I’ll bite. How about we combine semantics with valid deductive reasoning: If God is Love, and He is MY God, then … ???

    • A) I think just one question mark should take care of things from now on. ;)
      B) The point of what I was saying on that comment is that to nonbelievers phrases like “they are supposed to know us by our love” while meaning well, usually offend because it communicates a kind of exclusive ownership over a characteristic. I’m not going to discuss this further, because it is only semantics and I was only trying to raise a question about how we communicate love- either by saying we are supposed to be love, or by being loving.

      • B) OK. I get it now. Christians don’t own love = Christians aren’t the only people that love. Makes sense in this context. My bad.

        A) I like “being in the question.”

    • RE: “I think we should be very intentional about when we talk about “being known.” I’m not entirely sure the Bible asks us to be known for anything, but only to obey.”

      Question: What are your thoughts on obedience to Matthew 5:14-16?

  3. I once got saved at a Baptist Church, on accident. I was in 6th grade and was not listening to the speaker. Once I zoned in I saw a lot of the kids walking to the front of the room. Thinking it was over I walked to the front too. BOOM SAVED! That unfortunately was the 1st time I accidently got saved- there was a second. The 2nd was at a Baptist New Years Lock In. Eye closed heads down I raised my hand when the pastor asked who hasn’t been saved. He then for the next hour (with everyone’s eyes closed) prayed for me until I figured out he wouldn’t stop until I came up front. So I did, didn’t mean it, but I did. Looking back its amazing I ever really got saved. That was a few years later, one on one, with God and not a Baptist Preacher.

    • I was saved once during a concert, then missed my favorite songs as a very nice lady finished saving me in a back room.

      Funny, I imagined what it would be like if Jesus had done that from a boat. “Ok I need all of you to bow your heads and close your eyes. No one is looking, just me. Who here has not heard me speak before? Oh a young lady in the front- thank you, two men in the middle, thanks I see your hand… If you would like to be saved swim out to this boat.”

      • Huh? What do you mean you were saved “once?” How many times have you been saved? How many times does it take??? Are you saying you weren’t really saved because you missed your favorite songs? Or because *they* did it wrong??

        I am amazed at how many “accidentally” or “pretend” salvation stories are out there. I don’t understand. I was saved one time and one time only.

        I was eight or nine years old. I had been thinking about it for several weeks. I finally got out of bed one evening and went downstairs to where Mother was cleaning the kitchen and told her I wanted to be baptized.

        At the time, we belonged to a denomination that teaches one isn’t really “saved” until he or she is baptized, so that’s really what I was saying. Because of this teaching, we didn’t schedule once a month mass baptisms. When a person made the decision to make Jesus the Lord of his or her life, they went to the church ASAP and got baptized!

        We called a few close friends and my grandparents. We met at the church on a Thursday night, and my Daddy baptized me. It was very meaningful to me and I’ll never forget it.

        Then, as an adult, I started going to a Baptist Church. After worshipping there for nearly a year, I decided to join the church. When I went forward and told the pastor I wanted to join, he asked me if I was saved. I said, “Yes, when I was nine.” He then asked *where* I was saved. When I told him, he said I might need to be baptized again because that paricular denomination teaches salvation and baptism differently than the Baptists do.

        I could feel my sister rolling her eyes behind me. I told him, “No, I do not need to be baptized again, and I won’t be baptized again.” That would have been “confessing” that the first time was null, void, and meaningless. Nope. Not doing it. He backed off and said, “We’ll talk.” We never had that talk, but I was “permitted” to join their club with my less than perfect credentials.

        Sadly, this experience would have been enough to turn some people off of church and Christianity all together. Understandable. No … not understandable. I mean, I understand being hurt by church and religion and being turned off of that, but why take it out on God? And why would that cause one to turn away from God and their supposed faith? I didn’t like it one bit when the pastor said that. But he wasn’t my God. And God didn’t say it, so … ?

  4. I’m not sure I know even now what the dictionary definition of “Hosanna” is, but am almost certain I have sung “Hosanna” songs from the heart because of the context clues. I see myself shouting “Hosanna” and waving palm branches because … “Jesus is coming! He’s coming! He’s coming!!!! There He is!!!!!!! I see Him!!!!!! Hosanna!!” I get chill bumps and tears just imagining …

    But, yes … I see your point. Now … what does it mean?

  5. Chad, its a proven fact that if you do not know the words to Pharoh Pharoh, you go to hell.

    I relate to the lyrics idea. I often struggle with worship lyrics that are saying things that I either a) Do not understand at all – like what is an ebenezer- or b) are reflecting thoughts that are either not backed by the Bible or even counter-intuitive of what the Bible proclaims. If you are going to sing these songs about God to people who are trying to learn about what it means to be a Christian, its good to be singing lyrics that back core doctrines. It ruins worship completely for me.

    Sometimes I’ll see artists that change words to “well known” songs to be more accurate or to make the words more understandable to the average person. I really like that when it happens. It makes me feel like they actually want me to understand. It makes me feel like they care. [To me] It shows a piece of the love that we are trying so hard to express.

    I remember one song that is describing our love of God and it says “… you love me like a brother.” I have a broken relationship with my brother. If God’s love for me was like my brother’s love of me, I wouldn’t be a Christian. The guy that wrote that must have had one incredible relationship with his borther. I mean absolutely breath-taking and life changing. Even worse than that, I can only imagine the struggle for someone being introduced to God the Father when they were abused/abandoned by their earthly father. How does that make them feel? Words are powerful. Actions are even more powerful. What if they are paired together to display a false image of Christianity?

  6. My first encounter with the word “saved” was when I was a junior in high school. Two girls sitting next to me in art class asked, “Laura, are you saved?” I asked them what it meant to be saved. Their response? “Well, if you don’t know what it means to be saved, then you’re not.” That was it! Of course I was confused, so that night at home I asked my mom what it meant to be saved. She explained it to me, and I understood. I also understood that I had been “born again”, as I prefer saying, when I was eleven years old. I remember the experience well.

    When I was in college, I was a bit obsessed with telling people about Jesus. I know that some of you who read this will think that is a good thing. But it wasn’t good for me or some of the people I witnessed to. I finally realized that I CAN’T SAVE ANYBODY. I was trying too hard. God is the one who “saves”. So I changed my approach. I am 46 now, and I still have the same approach. I love. People want to be loved. People want to be heard and understood. Relationships develop, even if it’s a short relationship with the person bagging my groceries. I share myself with others – the real me. And sometimes that includes sharing MY relationship with God. I don’t tell others what they need, or where they’re going, or that I’m right and they’re wrong. I share my experience, and I trust that God has both the desire and the ability to work in their lives, to talk to them personally.

    • Aren’t moms great for that kind of thing?

      When I did the first most innocent asking Jesus into my heart it was right after Ma told me what that meant as we drove out of the driveway.

      • I … I … did something … *right*?? Whoo Hoo!! I’m proud of me! Wait, what did I tell you it meant? Just curious because that was a long time ago.

        Matthew 22:36-40
        36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
        37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

        Everything, but EVERYTHING hangs on these two commandments. Keep these two and EVERYTHING else will fall into place. Period. Walk in love, folks. Not that you aren’t … just sayin’ … that’s my response to everything. Not only are we commanded to do so, but if we aren’t coming from love, we are coming from fear. It’s one or the other. And if we are steeped in Him, who is Love, we will have the compassion, the insight, the wisdom to know how to be with others, preparing the way for God to do His thing. “They will know we are Christians by our love.” At least … that’s the way we are *supposed to be known … sigh …

        • Ok I need to clear something up here: In a previous post “Love the World” I used the phrase “will the know we are Christians by our love?”

          A) It has been pointed out to me that Christians don’t own love. Yes, Love is really important to us, but that is another post for another day.
          B) I used that phrase to challenge people older and/or more traditional than myself who would recognize that old song and weigh that question against the current culture of traditional american church. It was commentary.
          C) Yes, Thank you for bringing that scripture up. Excellent point. I think we should be very intentional about when we talk about “being known.” I’m not entirely sure the Bible asks us to be known for anything, but only to obey. We live in such a PR and media saturated culture right now that it is completely natural to think we should be known for something. After all, everyone is. My personal opinion is when individual Christians take it upon themselves to make Jesus known they only really make themselves known (said the guy writing a blog). We have to use great discernment and prayer.

          All that to say, yes, we must love. But I don’t think we should start that by saying what we need to be known for. We should just do it. Thoughts?

  7. The church is often misguided by decisionalism rooted in the Second Great Awakening, one that seeks to wrest salvation from the hands of a sovereign God and force people into praying a prayer. We forget the concept of discipleship and want instantaneous results. Though salvation is an instantaneous moment in which someone is given the Holy Spirit, believes in Jesus, repents, etc. etc., often it is not in a Pentecost experience.

    I think the marriage metaphor was misapplied, given that the Holy Spirit is our guarantee on our inheritance, and that we are waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb. The metaphor seems to infer that the church is the betrothed of Christ, or in our langauge, engaged/fiance. Yes, we are the bride of Christ, but the Jewish understanding of betrothal, given its weightiness and the requirement of a divorce contract if one wanted to break off the relationship, would allow for such language before the actual wedding. Those who do not believe are still enemies of God, or in the language of Jesus in Matt. 7, those whom he does not know, i.e. no wooing.

    And I think you can still worship Jesus and not understand every lyric of a song, though we ought to be educated and worship leaders should lead us in that education if they’re going to sing songs like that.

    • “The church is often misguided by decisionalism rooted in the Second Great Awakening, one that seeks to wrest salvation from the hands of a sovereign God and force people into praying a prayer.” -I seriously love when you comment. You are so much smarter than I am. :)

      “I think the marriage metaphor was misapplied” -Fair enough. I see your point for sure, and even agree with you.

      Misapplied though it may be, I think a little bit of cultural relevance is appropriate. We are the most media-saturated generation, ever. Because of that, we are also the most skeptical when someone is pitching a sale to us. We can be relevant by giving them as much about our experiences with Jesus as possible (one of the bigger reasons why I blog now), letting them know that we honestly find this to be legit (and LOVE it).

  8. I got “saved” when I was a little kid. Lighthouse Baptist Church sent a bus onto the military base where I lived to pick up all the little kids whose parents wouldn’t take them to church. My family was Christian (because they grew up in the church), so they let me get on the bus. I also had a huge crush on the Pastor’s son, so I got saved.

    Later, when I was a teenager, I met a few kids at school who tried to talk to me about Jesus, but I was a party-kid and couldn’t stand being seen talking to them. I always thought it was weird how persistent they were, even after I told them a million times I was not interested in organized religion. To this day I am amazed that April Clark and Matt May attempted to be my friends in highschool. They were good kids and I was not. But they were always kind, always genuinelyconcerned about my choices, and at the same time never judgemental, never hateful. I did not know it then, but they were my first glimpse at Jesus.

    When I was 19, I went to a church service where the Pastor told us that Jesus would forgive all of our sins. All of them. Sex, drugs, rock n’ roll? He’d forgive that too. So I got saved. For real. Like, tears-sorrow-repentance-acceptance-Hallelujah-saved. I remember being very embarrased about not really knowing what Easter was. I had never read the Bible (and I didn’t start until a few years later). I thought being a Christian meant 1.saying a prayer 2. voting Republican.

    I did not get saved and all of a sudden become a perfect, sinless person. Instead I continued to make stupid mistakes and abuse the grace of God. But I had people in my life (namely, Wes & his parents) who were willing to forgive me, even love me, in spite of all that. I do not mean to discount the transcendent and overwhelming power of God’s Spirit, but I know that without such examples I would not be where I am today. I would not be seeking God if not for others showing me what it looks like to seek God. Too often our examples of Christianity are like haphazardly recited hymns–memorized, rushed, unfelt and unpracticed, only sung when it’s “appropriate.” That’s what I saw in my family and in the Church, and I didn’t want anything to do with that.

    I think what turned me off to Christianity more than anything else was the sense of shame I felt when speaking to Christians. A few times it was conviction, but more often than not it was the superior attitude of the person speaking to me. It was “You need what I have, and you can only get it if you do what I say.” Yes, I now know that they were mostly right, but at the time I felt belittled. It was only in the instances in which the speaker showed humility and grace, when they said things like “I’m telling you this because it’s changed my life. I care about you. I want you to have what I have,” when they did not give up when I said “no thanks” that I listened. I try to remember that now when I talk to people about my faith.

    I know that we should be bold and tell the truth at all costs. But that doesn’t mean that we should forget who and where we were before we came to Christ. Even in my sin and arrogance, Christ extended me His grace and mercy. If I’m living my life as an imitator of Him, I will do the same for others.

    This is a really long comment. I hope that you aren’t reading this and thinking that I think I’m some kind of perfect, super-Christian now. I know I’m not.

  9. Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

    I believe our conversations should always revert the to the Word of God. Once we get on, “What I believe,” or what someone “feels,” we have begun to walk on shaky ground. Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is also the truth. So if we share the Word of God, we are sharing the truth and should be unapologetic about it. Sure, some will still deny Him and His life changing power, and that is sad, but that is the way it will be.

    Matt 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

    The problem for some though, is that they don’t accept that. They dont accept the Word as it is written; they dont agree with some of it. So they decide to change God in their minds, and create a God that they can agree with; a more palatable God if you will. I have an agnostic friend that once said, “I believe in God. I just don’t like him.” For some “christians,” rather than admit that, they just change God into someone they like.

    If we want to love people, we need to give them the truth. I believe in sharing the Gospel not from the angle of what I believe, but from what the Bible says. Let God speak. He says it better than any of us.

    • Yes, absolutely. When you get to a point of sharing, share the crap out of it.

      Did you watch the video? I’m really sad for non-Christians and Christians alike when a believer jumps the shark and requests that someone just say “Jesus is Lord.” Can we please share who Jesus is first?

      There are, of course, exceptions:
      A) If you were being chased by zombies and were going to incinerate yourself with others so that you would not become a walking dead after you die, and you only had mere seconds to share Jesus.
      B) While sky diving with non believers and none of your parachutes open, leaving you again with only mere seconds to share Jesus.
      C) Meteors? … I don’t know. More stuff with mere seconds.

      Also, just to clarify, this post isn’t about who is a heretic and who isn’t. High Fives all around.


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