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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : What is Decisionism ?

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Joined: 2008/10/2
Posts: 203

 What is Decisionism ?

Maybe someone can help to clarify what is meant by the term ‘decisionism’ and what aspects of it qualify it as an erroneous doctrine ?

-Is decisionism considered an error because it implies that we should press upon sinners the imperative of turning to Christ immediately, without delay ?

-Or is the error of this present age one of sinners being called upon to repeat a prayer, a formula, especially when repentance is a missing ingredient from this formula ?

- If we are to press sinners to be reconciled to Christ now, what specifically should we ask them to do ?

It seems to me that many preachers of days gone by preached a salvation message which urged their hearers to respond immediately.

For example, here’s part of an address given by George Whitefield :

“And now let me address all of you, high and low, rich and poor, one with another, to accept of mercy and grace while it is offered to you; Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation; and will you not accept it, now it is offered unto you? Do not stand out one moment longer; but come and accept of Jesus Christ in his own way, and then you shall be taken up at the last day, and be with him forever and ever; and sure this should make you desirous of being with that Jesus who has done so much for you, and is not interceding for you, and preparing mansions for you; where may we all arrive and sit down with Jesus to all eternity!”

Then here is part of a message delivered by C.H. Spurgeon :

“II. May the Master give us power on the second point to deal with "NOW" AS IT RESPECTS THE SINNER.

The great mischief of the most of men is that they procrastinate. It is not that they resolve to be damned, but that they resolve to be saved to-morrow. It is not that they reject Christ for ever, but that they reject Christ to-day; and truly they might as well reject him for ever, as continue perpetually to reject him "now." Sinner, let me put thy "now" before thee as a man. Thou must soon pass away and be forgotten, like the flowers that withered in autumn, and the insects which flitted through the summer hours. Now, then, is thy time to think about eternity, and to prepare thyself to meet thy God. "See to your business first, James," said a careful father—"get a good trade, and after that, look to your religion." There spake a fool, who knew not that infinite wisdom has commanded, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Wouldst thou give God the fag-end of thy life? Take care lest thou have no old age at all; for many candles are blown out as soon as lit. Wouldst thou, as a lamb, be Satan's? and when thou art withered and worn out, shall the lean skeleton of tottering weakness be brought and laid upon the altar? Be it not so; let thy flower be plucked in the bud and put into the hand of Jesus. God grant thee grace to seek him in the days of thy youth, for the promise is, "They that seek me early shall find me." As a man, I charge thee, since there is only a "day of salvation" before the sun goes down and the black night of eternal ruin shall come upon thee, lay hold upon the hope that is set before thee.

As a sinner, I also address thee concerning this "now." "Now is the day of salvation: thou needest it now. God is angry with thee now. Thou art condemned already. It is not the torment of hell thou hast to dread only, but if thou hast thy senses, thou wouldst tremble at thy present state. Now without God, now without hope, now an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, now dead in trespasses and sins, now in danger of the wrath to come, thou wantest a Savior this morning, young man. “

In Jesus,

 2008/11/4 1:56Profile

Joined: 2007/12/27
Posts: 4

 Re: What is Decisionism ?

Hi live4jc,

The term in the general sense is used when referring to that type of evangelism that causes the 'convert' to put his trust in a 'decision' or 'praying a prayer' rather than the redemptive work of Christ and the regenerating work of God in the man.

This type of evangelism causes that if a man or woman is ever to question or be questioned on his or her conversion. They will point back to some point in their life where they had made a decision or 'prayed a prayer' and then try to measure their sincerity of 'decision' or 'prayer'.

Instead what one must do is repent and believe the gospel: that is to turn from your wickedness that you now hate(because you have been regenerated by God) and throw yourself on Christ(Our Savior and His redemptive).

Further, the correct response to the doubting of one's salvation is to examine one self in light of what scripture says a christian will look like and ask 'Has there been growth?'.

One must ask the question 'Why will I go to heaven?' and the reason should be 'I am looking to Christ and I am seeing the fruit of the redemptive work in my life(i.e. growing in holiness, love for God and the brethren, and knowledge of God.).'

Summarizing: basically decisionism is when the supposed convert is trusting in his supposed decision instead of throwing himself on Christ and trusting in the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit.

I've just typed this from my general understanding of the topic from what I've heard surrounding the term so I might be wrong on some(if not all :) ) things.

Hope this clears it up a bit.

Kind Regards,
Brother Grant

 2008/11/4 5:56Profile

Joined: 2008/10/2
Posts: 203


Hi brother Grant,

Thanks for the clarification. Yes, I agree that many preachers today leave out the biblical admonition to 'examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith'. Also, I think a vital difference between the preaching of men like Whitefield and Wesley, and the preaching of many today, is that many preachers of yesteryear would appeal to the 'consciences of sinners', rather than the intellect.

In Jesus,

 2008/11/4 8:34Profile

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