Family Notes 02/12/2015



I was reading a blog article recently about the use of evangelistic tools. At the end of the article were comments by readers. The first comment, obviously a spoof and not based in fact, said:

Did you hear that Billy Graham Ministries has abandoned the Sinner’s Prayer? They wanted a fresh slogan to appeal to nonbelievers. Here is what they decided on…

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

Below which the commenting reader added his own opinion:

“I personally don’t like it. Too Lutheran.”


“Hell and Mr. Fudge,” the feature movie that tells the human story behind my book The Fire That Consumes, is now available through Verizon “On Demand.” This top-quality film was awarded Platinum (top prize) in its category by the Houston Independent International Film Festival.


By the time the Apostles’ grandchildren became grandparents themselves, the institutional Christian church in the West had largely identified sin with sexuality to the point that preaching concening morality very often had to do with little or nothing else. In his classic, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis concludes the chapter on sexual sins with the following exhortation to biblical balance in such a discussion:

[T]hough I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and backbiting; the pleasure of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 3, Chapter 5)


Some gracEmail subscribers have requested a link to my lecture titled “The Fire That Consumes” presented in the Lanier Theological Library Lecture Series in September 2011.
Enjoy it at:


A positive example does far more good than many complaints. In that spirit, I share the following personal testimony from my friend and gracEmail subscriber Dr. James Ayers, which I received as feedback to a recent gracEmail article titled “Rethinking ‘The Sinner’s Prayer.”

I stopped using the “sinner’s prayer” decades ago. It sets the wrong tone for the divinely initiated relationship–basing salvation on something we “do.”

Instead, I share the Gospel story of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and His present intercession, explaining what it all means to the hearer.

Then I ask “So! What do you think about all of that?” Whatever their response, I let them know that what they just heard is true for them, and has been true for them from before the foundation of the world, that God Himself had brought them to this very moment of hearing His message to them.

They invariably ask, “So what should I do?” “Believe it, and be baptized!” And they are.

The Gospel truly is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. The preaching of it is the channel of God’s grace. It come freighted with divine power. I am merely the catalyst. God does it all.