[anzac] LIE # 1 - "ASK JESUS INTO OUR HEART"

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 21:04:48 -0500
MODERATOR:  I have been overwhelmed with hundreds 
of emails since I published my article on the "9 Lies of
Today's church". Sadly, some people seemed to feel 
it very personally, and they could not look objectively 
at what I wrote. They got very "defensive". All I ask is
that people look at what I am saying objectively - asking
themselves, "What does the Scripture truly say?" 

In coming weeks we will be looking at each of the 'Nine
Lies' individually. I think a lot of people will be surprised
to learn what the Bible actually says on these issues.
Below is the first one:
****************************
 LIE # 1 - "ASK JESUS into our Heart"
-by Andrew Strom.

One of the most basic things that has amazed me for 
many years is the preaching of "Giving your heart to the 
Lord" or "Asking Jesus into your life" to become a 
Christian. Do we not realize that such a practice is 
found NOWHERE in the entire Bible? Is there ANY 
example of someone "asking Jesus into their heart" 
(or similar) to become a Christian in the book of Acts? 
NO - NOT EVEN ONE. The book of Acts is full of literally 
thousands of people becoming born-again Christians. 
And we are often told exactly what these people did. But 
there is no record of any of them doing anything like 
"asking Jesus into their heart" to be saved.

Now SURELY, if the church has even remotely got it's
act together, it would have this one thing right. Surely 
this has got to be one of the most crucial and basic 
points in the whole New Testament:-  How exactly are 
people supposed to become Christians? What were they 
told to do in the New Testament? A very simple and 
straight-forward question, you would think. And so vitally important.

But incredibly, it seems that very few of us have even 
bothered to ask this question or to take on board the 
glaringly obvious answer. Here we have one of the most 
vital, fundamental points that it is possible to have in 
Christianity:- "What shall we DO TO BE SAVED?" And 
generally speaking, our answer today is utterly different 
from that of the apostles. Incredible really, isn't it? It's 
right there in black-and-white, time after time! But 
TRADITION has blinded our eyes to the Truth. And I'm 
sure that even many of you reading this will be shocked 
at how obvious the truth of this matter is.

Let's start with the day of Pentecost (-a great place to 
begin!) As we all know, the Holy Spirit fell on the 120, 
and they all began to speak in tongues. This is officially 
known by theologians as the birth of the Church - the 
beginning of Christianity as we know it. And after Peter 
preached his convicting sermon to the gathered crowd 
that day, another 3000 people were added to the church. 
And we are told exactly what occurred:- "... They were 
cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the 
apostles, 'Brethren, WHAT SHALL WE DO?' And Peter 
said to them, 'REPENT, and be BAPTIZED every one of 
you in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS 
OF YOUR SINS; and you shall receive the gift of the 
HOLY SPIRIT'" (Acts 2:37-38 RSV). Notice how different
Peter's reply is to what we tell people today. We might
have said something like, "Just say this little prayer after 
me" but Peter said nothing like that at all. 

There were three elements to what Peter told them:- 
REPENTANCE, WATER-BAPTISM and receiving the 
HOLY SPIRIT. We see this pattern repeated again and 
again, right through the book of Acts (-in fact, throughout 
the New Testament writings) in the most glaringly obvious 
way. And yet still we hear, "Just ask Jesus into your 
heart" preached throughout Christendom today.

The next significant people-group to be reached by the 
early Christians were the Samaritans. In Acts chapter 8 
we read how Philip the evangelist saw massive Revival in 
Samaria:-  "But when they believed Philip as he preached 
good news about the kingdom of God and the name of 
Jesus Christ, they were BAPTIZED, both men and women...  
Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that 
they might RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT" (Acts 8:12-17). 
Note the identical pattern to the salvations on the day of 
Pentecost. 

I hope you realize that we have been talking about
THOUSANDS of conversions here. And NOT ONE of 
them involved "Giving their heart to the Lord" or "Inviting
Jesus to be their personal savior". If you look up these
Scriptures in Acts, you will see that every time it was 
"Repentance, Baptism and Recieiving the Holy Spirit".  
-Over and over again. 

The next significant people-group to be reached by the 
early church were the 'Godly' gentiles (-Acts chapters 10 
and 11). Peter was led to preach to Cornelius and his 
household. And God suddenly moved even while he was 
still preaching!:- "While Peter was still saying this, the 
HOLY SPIRIT FELL on all who heard the word... they 
heard them SPEAKING IN TONGUES and extolling God. 
Then Peter declared, 'Can anyone forbid water for 
BAPTIZING these people who have RECEIVED THE HOLY 
SPIRIT just as we have?' And he commanded them to 
be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:44-48). 
Peter later described the scene again: "As I began to 
speak, the Holy Spirit FELL ON THEM just as on us at 
the beginning" (Acts 11:15). He also referred to it as them 
being "Baptized in the Holy Spirit" (Acts 11:16). I hope 
you can see from these passages that the Holy Spirit 
'FALLING' upon people is the same experience as people 
'RECEIVING' or being 'BAPTIZED' in the Holy Spirit. 

Thus we see the same pattern as before, in the salvation 
experience of Cornelius' household - (1) Repentant hearts, 
(2) Receiving the Holy Spirit and (3) Baptism.

Another good example involves some disciples of John 
the Baptist whom Paul met at Ephesus:-  "And Paul said, 
'John baptized with the baptism of REPENTANCE, telling 
the people to believe in the one who was to come after 
him, that is, Jesus.' On hearing this, they were BAPTIZED
in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his 
hands upon them, the HOLY SPIRIT came on them; and 
they SPOKE WITH TONGUES and prophesied" (Acts 19:1-6). 
I guess I hardly need to point out the pattern by now?

Notice too that there were no "instructional classes" to 
prepare people for baptism. All the way through the book 
of Acts, people were baptized STRAIGHT AWAY, as 
soon as they were believing and repentant. With the
Phillipian jailer, he and his entire household were 
baptized immediately - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT 
(-Acts 16:32-33). With the Ethiopian eunuch, he was 
baptized by Philip straight away, in some water that they 
saw while travelling in his chariot (Acts 8:35-38). And 
the apostle Paul himself was baptized immediately by the 
disciple Ananias, who said something very interesting to 
Paul beforehand:-  "Rise and be BAPTIZED, and WASH 
AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16). 
This verse would be treated almost like "heresy" by 
many in today's church. How shocking to imply that 
baptism might have something to do with forgiveness 
and cleansing from our past sins! However, there are 
many verses like it scattered throughout the New 
Testament. Also note that Paul was told this DAYS 
AFTER he had had his blinding 'Damascus Road' 
experience. Today's Christians might assume that Paul 
was "born again" during this blinding encounter with 
God. Not so. Not until Paul was to be BAPTIZED was 
he to have his sins "washed away". This is clearly 
what the Scriptures say. Arguments, anyone?

Many Christians are taught today that Baptism is basic-
ally a 'symbolic' act. In my youth I was raised mainly in 
Baptist churches, and they always taught that baptism 
is an "outward SYMBOL of an inner change". Thus 
baptism is stripped of much of it's significance and 
power in Christian thinking. For a "symbol" is never as 
important as the real thing, is it? I have studied baptism 
extensively in the New Testament. It is NEVER spoken 
of as a mere 'SYMBOL'. Rather, it is spoken of as 
being a 'circumcision of the heart', a "cutting off", a 
"burial" into the DEATH of Christ. And it is also spoken 
of as being "for the forgiveness of sins" and to "wash 
one's sins away". I am convinced that in the spirit 
realm (from God's point of view), baptism is seen as a 
LITERAL "burial into death" (-see Romans 6) which has 
a profound effect on our hearts and lives. But still we 
preach, "Ask Jesus into your heart", and deny many
people one of the most vital keys to living a Christian 
life. I am also convinced that baptism MUST be by 
'FULL IMMERSION'. Sprinkling little infants is not 
enough. This must be baptism for BELIEVERS. And 
the original Greek word 'baptizo' actually means "TO DIP 
OR IMMERSE". So people must be 'buried' under the 
water in baptism, not just sprinkled. (-I'm sure most of 
you already agree with this).

Likewise I am convinced that Baptism in the Holy Spirit 
(accompanied by 'speaking in tongues') is ESSENTIAL. 
It is NOT just an option. As we have seen in the book of 
Acts, the way that people became Christians in the New 
Testament was to (1) Repent, (2) Be Baptized in water 
and (3) Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit (accompanied 
by 'tongues' as far as we can tell). What right do we have 
to change the fundamental teachings and practices of 
the Bible, just so we can make things more "convenient" 
for new converts? Unless we are getting people saved 
the Bible way, how can we claim to be getting them 
saved at all?  

We are forever talking about being "born again" in the 
church today. But are we truly getting people 'born 
again' like they did in Acts? Bearing in mind the 
pattern that we have seen in the New Testament, what 
exactly do you think Jesus was talking about when He 
declared that, "Unless a man is born of WATER and of 
THE SPIRIT he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"? 
(Jn 3:5). Born of WATER, born of the SPIRIT. 
Hmmmmmm. That's a tough one!

Baptism in water and the Spirit are never regarded as 
mere 'options' in the Scriptures. In fact they are clearly 
ESSENTIAL experiences to begin to walk in Christ's 
kingdom. There are many Scriptures on this that are 
often bypassed today or regarded as "inexplicable" 
because they do not fit in with current tradition. Please 
take the time to look up the following:- 
Mark 16:16-18, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Titus 3:5-6, 1 Cor 10:1-2, 
Gal 3:27, Col 2:11-12, 1 Cor 12:13, Heb 6:1-2, Rom 6:2-11, 
Rom 8:9, Mt 28:19, etc.

I really mean it. Please do take the time to look at the 
above Scriptures if you have any interest in this issue at 
all. Many people write to me with their opinions, saying,
"I cannot believe you are teaching this." -And yet they
have never bothered to actually look up the Scriptures
on the subject! PLEASE read Acts and look up the
above Scriptures before sending me your views.

It is my belief that there are a number of important 
teachings and practices from the early church that will 
be restored during the coming Revival. (-God often 
does this in Revivals). I am convinced that the above 
teaching will be one of them. (-I have believed this for 
many years).

I realize that I have probably shocked and provoked a 
number of you with this article. Please believe me, I 
myself was very shocked when I first came face-to-face 
with these truths some years ago. They really are very 
apparent when you study them, but I was blind to them 
for many years. I was amongst those who gave out 
tracts like 'The Four Spiritual Laws' and led people in 
the "sinner's prayer". Like many, I would back this up by 
mis-applying Rev 3:20 - "Behold I stand at the door and 
knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door I 
will come in to him, and sup with him and he with me."
It was only later that I realized that, as Leonard 
Ravenhill points out, this Scripture is clearly aimed at 
the CHURCH, not at unconverted sinners. It is Jesus 
standing outside the 'Laodicean' church, trying to get in! 
Please go and read the whole passage - Rev 3:14-21. 
You will see what I mean. It is very clear.

I am not ashamed that I used to preach these things. 
It was all I knew at the time. But I was certainly shocked 
to discover how much of the basic gospel I was leaving 
out. Like me, there are a number of you who will have to 
"search the Scriptures to see if these things be so" just 
as the Bereans did. Believe me, I fought these truths for 
months before I simply ran out of corners to back into. 
I knew the implications of this were huge and I just did 
not want to face it. But there they are in black and white. 
And this is not a trivial matter. These are key gospel 
truths that we are talking about here. 

After writing the first version of this article, many people 
wrote to me pointing out that the THIEF ON THE CROSS 
was not baptized or Spirit-filled, yet he was clearly saved. 
Please believe me, I had all these same objections when 
I first came across this teaching. But God annihilated all 
my excuses one by one. So let me deal with this "THIEF 
ON THE CROSS" thing right here.

The most obvious question is:- When did this event occur - 
was it under the OLD Covenant or the NEW Covenant? 
When Jesus proffered salvation to the thief, was the Old 
Covenant still in place, or had the New begun? For clearly, 
it only became possible to become an actual CHRISTIAN 
(-born again - a member of Christ's body) AFTER the New 
Covenant had started. And for the New Covenant to begin, 
Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb had to die and also be RAISED 
FROM THE DEAD. The New Covenant could not begin 
until this occurred. Surely we all know this? Jesus had to 
die and be raised from the dead, and then ascend into 
heaven, sending His Holy Spirit, before the Church could 
truly begin or people could start becoming born-again 
Christians. That is why people in the Old Testament, or 
even in Jesus' own day were not "born again" the way we 
are today. They simply couldn't be. Remember, Jesus 
said that John the Baptist was the greatest born among 
men, but even the least in the kingdom was greater than he.
John the Baptist couldn't become a "born-again Christian" 
because the New Covenant had not yet begun. I bet he 
would have loved the opportunity! Jesus died in agony and 
was raised again, to purchase for us this wonderful new 
life in Him. Surely we all know this? GLORY TO GOD!! 

Now back to the thief. Did he have his conversation with 
Jesus and die under the New Covenant or the Old? The 
answer, obviously, is:- The OLD Covenant. He was 
presumably a Jew - one of God's chosen people (though a 
sinner), who received a wonderful pardon from Jesus when 
he repented and turned to Him. But those were very 
different conditions to those that we live under today. We 
now have a NEW Covenant - a NEW "agreement" with 
God, very different from the Old. We have a new and living 
way in which to walk. How do we enter into it? By being 
born again - of water and the Spirit. And this has only 
been possible since Pentecost - the day the church 
began. I am not saying that "death-bed repentance" is 
not possible today. I'm sure that God has reached down 
in His mercy many times to people who have turned to 
Him when they were close to death. But these are 
special cases. They are not the "norm" for New Testament 
Christianity. Repentance, Baptism and receiving the Holy 
Spirit are ESSENTIAL to enter into the New Covenant, I believe.

As I said, many people offer me their own views and 
opinions on all this without truly studying the basic 
Scriptures on the matter. It is important to remember that 
fundamental doctrines are not about mere opinion. They 
are about what the SCRIPTURES SAY. I tell you, I have 
put MONTHS of study and prayer into this whole subject. 
I could tell that it really was THAT important. I honestly 
considered EVERYTHING - every angle I could find. 
Please treat this with the seriousness that it is due. This 
is a very crucial area. I believe these are SALVATION 
issues that are being discussed here. And the case is 
enormously strong. Just read the Scriptures. (-It should 
take less than an hour to read through the Scriptures 
highlighted above). I urge any of you who are the least bit 
interested in this to PLEASE read those Scriptures.

I am well aware that 'doctrine' tends to be divisive by it's 
very nature. And I know that I am taking a big risk talking 
so openly about such a controversial teaching. I try and 
keep right away from doctrinal debates in general. It is 
only the most fundamental and important issues that
I bother making a fuss about. You will notice that even 
though I run a 'Prophetic' site, there are no debates about 
the 'Pre-trib'/ Post-trib positions or the exact meaning of 
Daniel's 70 weeks, etc. I just find such debates pointless 
and utterly dull, to be honest. I heard the arguments many 
moons ago, and just cannot stomach any more. I have no 
desire for nit-picking arguments. But the BIG issues, like 
New Testament salvation and God's plan for His church - 
these things I really do care about. For I believe the devil 
is robbing us blind in some of these crucial areas. And 
God wants to restore these truths to the church.

Just imagine for a moment that I am right, and baptism 
and receiving the Holy Spirit are a lot more important 
than we have been led to believe. Just think how many 
thousands of believers around the world today have 
received the Holy Spirit (including 'tongues') but have 
simply not bothered getting baptized. After all, it's only 
"symbolic", right? Or perhaps they say, "I got sprinkled 
as a baby."  I myself know many people in this exact 
position. I think it's terrible, and I believe God does too. 
Not to mention all the believers who still have not been 
baptized in the Holy Spirit. Don't you think God's heart 
aches over all this? Why do people ignore His commands? 
Our church traditions and habitual patterns have a lot to 
answer for in this area. This has got to change, my 
friends. And I believe it will only change when the 
underlying doctrines are challenged. But if I am right, 
the devil will fight this all the way. He likes anything 
that leaves believers impoverished or still chained up in 
any way. This really is crucial doctrine, otherwise I simply 
would not bother with it. I have really stuck my neck on 
the line and risked my reputation over this. And I do not do so lightly.

I have been accused of being "legalistic" and 'majoring on 
minor points' by a couple of readers. I really cannot see 
this. As I have said, some doctrine is "straining at gnats" 
and some is really crucial. I believe this issue falls into the 
second category.  Others accused me of being "too literal"! 
(I had to laugh over this). Now this is basic Bible doctrine 
we are talking about here, isn't it? Too literal? What on 
earth else should we be?

Other readers accused me of believing in "baptismal 
regeneration". This is not the case. I believe that 
(1) Repentance, (2) Water-Baptism and (3) Receiving the 
Holy Spirit, are ALL ESSENTIAL. I do not believe in
"baptismal" regeneration. These elements are all equally 
important and we need to have all three to be able to call 
ourselves 'New Testament Christians', as far as I can see.

Other readers have brought up the verse in Romans that 
says "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and 
believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the 
dead you will be saved" (Rom 10:9). Actually, a number 
of theologians believe that this statement was used as a 
kind of "baptismal confession" in the early church. I 
remember a fellowship I was involved with years ago that 
used it in exactly this way. To me, this verse "proves" little 
doctrinally, either way. It needs to be put into context with 
the WHOLE New Testament to gain the proper perspective
on it. I certainly don't see it as proof for 'asking Jesus into 
our heart'.

One of the most serious allegations I have faced is that I 
am preaching a kind of "justification by works" by saying 
that baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are so essential. 
And that I am "adding to the gospel" and taking away 
people's freedom like the Galatians!! Serious charges, 
indeed. But let's look at this carefully. Is baptism a "work" 
that I can do to myself? Is receiving the Holy Spirit a "work"? 
I don't think so! These are initial experiences that are 
'DONE TO US' or given to us  - they're not things that we 
can "DO" ourselves, as such. Can I baptize myself? No! 
And isn't it a brief one-off act of simple faith and obedience 
anyway? To me, baptism is no more a "work" than, say, 
the act of "praying a sinner's prayer". The act of opening 
one's mouth, moving one's jaws and praying is not seen as 
a work. And neither should baptism be. They only take an 
instant, after all. The real question is:-  Is baptism a truly 
spiritual act, or is it merely a symbolic ritual? That is the 
real question. This also brings up the whole issue of 
'convenience'. For we love neat little packages that are 
comfortable and easy in this age, don't we? (-"Just asking 
Jesus in"). And baptism is so wet and messy, we think. 
But at the end of the day, what it boils down to is this:- 
We have to make a decision between doing things the 
Bible way and doing things the modern 'convenient' way. 
It is that simple.

Now, onto something else that numerous people raised:- 
Where does FAITH come into all this? Aren't we supposed 
to be saved by FAITH? Absolutely! And faith is at a 
premium right through this whole thing. What happens
when someone hears the gospel and BELIEVES it? (-A 
crucially important moment). Are they automatically a 
'Christian' now? Just through believing what they have 
heard? Or do they have to act on that belief in some way 
to become a Christian? Were the Jews who were 'cut to 
the heart' when Peter preached at Pentecost automatically 
Christians right then at that moment, or did they have to 
DO something in FAITH to become Christians? Clearly, they 
needed to DO something, because Peter told them, "Repent
and be baptized, and you will receive the gift of the Holy 
Spirit." And it is clear that each one of these elements 
involves the exercise of faith in Jesus. 

However, I believe that when the Bible speaks of the 
"faith that saves us", and being "JUSTIFIED BY FAITH", 
it is speaking of the LIFE OF FAITH that we undertake 
after we have become a Christian. It is 'WALKING IN 
FAITH' day by day, moment by moment, after having 
become a Christian that justifies us before God. It is the 
covering of the blood of Jesus that hides our sin and 
makes us clean in God's sight. If we are walking in faith, 
covered by the blood, we are saved, and we must 
continue to walk in it. And it is clear in the Scriptures 
that it is only by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that 
we can walk in this kind of saving faith. This faith is a gift 
from God -"Not of ourselves, lest anyone should boast..." 
Like the love of God, this faith is shed abroad in our 
hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us. So how 
can we obtain it without RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT?  
(-Which brings us back to Repentance, Baptism and 
Receiving the Holy Spirit as our ESSENTIAL starting point in the faith).

Actually, a couple of readers mentioned something quite 
interesting about baptism in the book of Acts. For it is 
noticeable in Acts that everyone was baptized "IN THE 
NAME OF THE LORD JESUS" or in the 'NAME OF 
JESUS CHRIST'. Now most churches today baptize in 
the name of the 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit', and I guess 
this is a small point, but I believe that if they felt it was 
important in Acts to speak the name of Jesus Christ 
over people as they were baptized, then I should do it too. 
I am not legalistic about the need for this, but personally 
these days I baptize people "in the name of the Father 
and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the NAME OF 
JESUS CHRIST". (-To make sure all the bases are
covered). 

To sum up, it is my belief that God has been slowly 
restoring truth to the church over the centuries since the 
Dark Ages when so much had been lost. Luther's 
Reformation saw the restoration of 'Justification by Faith', 
the Anabaptists re-introduced baptism by immersion, 
Wesley re-introduced the importance of the 'new birth', 
and this century the Pentecostals re-discovered the 
infilling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. (There have 
been many other things over time also, but this is just a 
simple overview). It is my belief that we are now at the 
stage where God wishes to restore the church to her 
true original glory, with all the basic doctrines and 
practices, "church life" and the full original gospel, the 
'five-fold' ministries, etc. -Everything. That is what is 
about to occur in the coming Revival, I believe. And that 
is another reason why I believe basic New Testament 
doctrines are so important. 

In past centuries, as now, the believers of that time 
walked in the light that they had, and God will judge them 
according to the light that was available to them. But now 
it is time to see the church truly restored to fullness in 
many areas. And it is going to be UNCOMFORTABLE, 
and it will surely leave much "SHAKEN" in it's wake. A 
new Reformation is coming, and it is important that it 
leaves nothing undone that needs doing. Otherwise our 
children are going to have to have a further Reformation 
to correct all that we left undone. Let's make it as 
complete as possible this time, shall we? For Christ 
cannot return until a glorious Bride is made ready for 
Him, without "spot or wrinkle or any such thing". 
Surely we live in the days of the 'restoration of all 
things' about which the Scriptures speak.

God bless you all.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.