At least they’re debating what I’ve come to call “the little magic Jesus prayer.” The title of Fr. Andrew’s post is completely accurate: it’s an initiation rite, however much many evangelicals I know would be horrified by that phrasing.
While I have problems with the Calvinist critique quoted in the article—I hardly think its widespread use is damning—I have to give credit to my Calvinism experiment (“I’m not a Calvinist, but I experimented in college!”) in my early 20s for waking me up to how deeply problematic is the idea of this little prayer. A moment of personal sincerity? But who knows how sincere they are? How many times have you said something you thought you meant, only to look back and realize your motivations were entirely different than what you thought? I sincerely hope my salvation doesn’t depend on my personal sincerity at any given moment in time; my heart is desperately wicked and mostly opaque to me.
Fr. Andrew’s critique has it exactly right: both sides of this debate within the SBC are too narrowly focused on individualism. Entrance into the Church is “sacramental and therefore communal.”
It is sacramental and therefore communal.
And that is such a relief.