Monday, September 28, 2009

Saved By The Sinner's Prayer

God, be merciful to me a sinner! -Luke 18:13

This month I heard a young preacher say to a student group, “You’re not saved by a prayer. A prayer won’t save you.” This seems to be a popular view among some on the internet. Somewhat related, Anglican Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called an individual salvation formula “heresy.” I disagree.

Are we saved by a prayer? According to the Bible, yes. Prayer is simply talking to God; calling to God. Must we do something to be saved? Again, according to the Bible, yes.

“If you confess with your mouth,” “believe in your heart,” you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Romans 10:13; see Joel 2:32). The “Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12).

The tax collector prayed what has come to be known as the Sinner‘s Prayer, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Did that prayer save him? Well, Jesus Himself said, “This man went down to his house justified” (Luke 18:13-14).

The thief on the cross prayed, “Lord, remember me.” Did this prayer save him? Yes, we have Jesus’ word on it, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). Jesus saved him, but a prayer saved the thief in the sense that he had to pray, believe, ask.

The Gospel (Good News) is that Jesus, God the Son, died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus has done the work of our salvation. He made the once for all, perfect sacrifice by shedding His blood for us (1 Peter 1:18-19; Hebrews 7:27; 9:12). But we are not automatically saved; we must repent, receive, believe, ask God to save us.
We are to “receive / accept” Jesus. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

We are to “believe” in Jesus for salvation (John 1:12b; 3:16, 36; 5:24; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 4:3; 1 Timothy 4:10). “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

We are to “ask.” Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

We are to “repent,” turn from our sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:37-38; 3:19; 26:20; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9).

How are we saved, regenerated? “For by grace you have been saved through faith..” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are saved by the grace of God. But wait, it also says we are saved through faith (also Luke 7:50; Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 3:17). James 1:21 says we are saved by the implanted word. The point is that a whole lot of things happen simultaneously at regeneration. We are saved by grace; but on the other hand we are saved though faith, by the word, by calling on the name of the Lord. You do not enhance the grace of God by denying the necessity of believing and calling on the name of God. You do not detract from Jesus’ blood atonement by pointing out the role of repentance and faith.

“Dear Lord, I know that I’m a sinner, that I’ve done things that are wrong in Your eyes. I believe You love me and died on the cross for my sins. I believe You rose again and are living today. I ask You right now to forgive me of all my sins and to come into my heart and save me. Help me to make You the Lord, the Boss, of my life. Help me to live for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Will someone be saved if they pray this or a similar prayer? If they pray it and mean it, of course they will be saved. You have God’s Word on it.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 28, AD 2009.

Related Articles:
The Roman Road of Salvation
Also see Gulf Coast Pastor Articles in lower right hand margin. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Differences Between the 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message

The Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M) is the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Several years ago an evangelist asked me the difference between the 1963 and 2000 versions of the BF&M. The following are my thoughts.

The BF&M 1963 was a good, conservative statement of faith. But its statement on Scripture knowingly or unknowingly left a couple of loopholes for those who may be theologically liberal. Also, in 2000 Baptists felt we should deal with some more modern day challenges to our faith, challenges seldom heard in 1963.

1. There were a couple of changes in the article on Scripture. The 1963 BF&M stated the Bible “has... truth without any mixture of error.” Some said, therefore, the Bible has truth and the truth it has is without mixture of error. But it does not say the Bible is truth. So, according to this liberal view, the Bible has truth, in addition it may also have error. Therefore a liberal could state agreement with the 1963 BF&M, all the while believing there are errors in the Bible. Conservatives would be deceived into believing the liberal was really theologically a conservative. This is a case where there is a significant difference between has and is.

The 1963 BF&M also said, “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Christ.” While a little confusing to some, the sentence sounded good. After all, we believe in the preeminence of Jesus.

Some, however, interpreted that statement to mean, “If Jesus speaks directly to an issue it is true. If not, then we can make our own decision.” For example, while the Bible says homosexuality is sinful, Jesus did not directly say that, so we have the option of agreeing or disagreeing with those passages in the Bible. (Actually, Jesus did speak to the issue. He spoke of marriage as being between one man and one woman. Jesus also affirmed the truth of the Old Testament, and it directly speaks to this issue.) Some have said that Jesus and Paul disagreed on some issues, such as the role of women. Therefore we disregard what Paul wrote in the Bible in favor of what Jesus said. The conservative believes all Scripture is true and inspired by God, and that Jesus and Paul do not contradict each other.

The 2000 Baptist Faith & Message does away with these misunderstandings by stating that “all Scripture is true and trustworthy” and by removing the “criterion” statement.

While some liberals who believe there are errors in the Bible could use the above “loopholes” and sign the 1963 statement, they cannot do so with the 2000 statement. At least they could not sign the 2000 statement without being openly dishonest.

2. The 1963 BF&M does not speak to the issue of the Family, the 2000 statement does.

3. The 2000 BF&M says the pastor of a local church should be a male. The 1963 BF&M does not refer to this issue. The BF&M 2000 does, however, make it plain that both men and women are of equal worth before God and gifted for ministry.

4. The BF&M 2000 speaks against euthanasia, pornography, abortion, and homosexuality. The 1963 statement does not deal with these issues.

The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 is now the official statement of faith of the SBC. All our SBC seminary professors and missionaries are expected to sign it and not teach contrary to it. Other views are presented in class, but the professor is expected to believe what the majority of Baptists believe on these issues.

Some protest that we should not require professors and missionaries to sign this statement; they should be free to follow their own beliefs. They do have freedom to follow their own beliefs. We also have freedom to not provide them a living with our mission gifts.

It makes little sense for churches and pastors to support people with their mission money to teach what we do not believe. J. B. Gambrell, an old time Baptist leader and SBC president, maintained, “Baptists never ride a horse without a bridle.” We will always disagree on some issues, but the BF&M 2000 is a summary of some of our most basic beliefs.


Read the entire Baptist Faith and Message 2000 at It can be purchased in pamphlet form at LifeWay Stores or ordered from LifeWay (800/458-2772). It’s a good idea for a church to have some copies available for their members and Sunday School teachers.

Note:  You may also be interested in Brief History of the SBC Conservative Resurgence and a couple other articles under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in the lower right margin.  Click the heading Conservative Resurgence
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Order copies of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 from LifeWay

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 21, AD 2009.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Scofield Bible, First 100 Years

C. I. Schofield; c. AD 1920

When I was a teenager our church had a testimony meeting right after Christmas. I stood and gave thanks that I had received a brand new Scofield Bible for Christmas. Another stood and said the same. Then a third said they had received a Scofield Bible.

My dad used to say that Jesus would one day return to this earth riding a white horse with a sword in one hand, and a Scofield Bible in the other hand.

The Scofield Reference Bible or Study Bible is 100 years old. It’s been a remarkable century. The Scofield Bible was virtually as common as the King James Version itself in many churches. For anyone serious about Bible study, the first purchase was this standard Study Bible published by Oxford University Press. It has sold millions of copies. Arno C. Gaebelein even wrote a book on The History of the Scofield Reference Bible (1943, 1991).

Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921), better known as C. I. Scofield was a Civil War veteran, lawyer, politician, and an alcoholic, who was gloriously saved by the grace of God. Led to the Lord through the witness of a YMCA worker. He became a Congregational, then a Presbyterian preacher. He was good friends with D. L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, James Brooks, J. M. Gray, Lewis Sperry Chafer. D. L. Moody asked Scofield to continue his ministry at Northfield. Dr. Chafer gave Scofield significant credit in the founding of Dallas Theological Seminary.

C. I. Scofield was a leader in the emerging Bible Conference movement and was a popular speaker. These Bible Conferences, as well as the Scofield Bible, were designed for the common man rather than an exclusive scholarly audience; one of the reasons for their wide success. Scofield also wrote extensively for the Sunday School Times.

A Study Bible contains not only the text of the Bible, but study notes, concordance, cross references, introduction to each book in the Bible, maps, explanations, and short articles on major subjects in the Bible. There are many other Bible study tools, but a Study Bible is a great place to begin.

Some object to a Study Bible saying there is a danger that the reader may assume the study notes are inspired Scripture. But I think most folks easily understand that it is only the Scripture itself that is divinely, unerringly inspired. So when you get a Scofield Bible, study it, but feel free to debate the notations. We’re all going to disagree with it at some points, but it is a great resource.

The original Scofield Bible (1909, 1917) was revised in 1967, and there is a centennial edition. Each edition is still available. The Scofield Bible is available in several translations, including my favorite, the New King James Version (NKJV).

There are several reasons for the wide influence of the Scofield Bible:

First, it was a pioneer in providing study notes with the text of the Bible and was virtually the only such Study Bible for years.

Second, it presented study notes in an easy to understand form. Preachers and laymen could use it whether or not they had a formal education.

Third, it was influential in its conservative theology. In a century in which historic Christianity was under assault by theological liberalism, the Scofield Bible stood as a lighthouse for the basic doctrines of our faith. Doctrines like the Divine Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, Jesus’ Death for our sins and His literal bodily Resurrection , Jesus is God, the Return of Christ, Salvation by grace through faith, Resurrection and Judgment, Heaven and Hell.

Fourth, it was very influential in explaining the Premillennial Return of Christ. Premillennialism has been around for 2,000 years, but it rose to prominence in the 1900s due in part to the acceptance of the Scofield Bible.

With its conservative, Premillennial theology, some ministerial students enjoyed flaunting the Scofield Bible in front of their more liberal or Amillennial professors. Especially annoying to those professors was any student who dared use the Scofield Bible as a reference on a research paper. A favorite class comment, “But Dr. Cobb, that’s not what the Scofield Bible says.” And then there was that great old hymn, "My hope is built on nothing less, than Scofield's notes and Moody Press" :-).

So to the Scofield Bible I wish a Happy 100th Birthday! I still use it and pray it may have many more years of helping students better understand God’s infallible Word.


Contributors to the original Scofield Bible (1909, 1917): C. I. Scofield, Henry G. Weston, James M. Gray, William J. Eerdman, A. T. Pierson, W. G. Moorehead, Elmore Harris, Arno C. Gaebelein, William L. Pettingill.

Contributors to the New Scofield Study Bible (1967): E. Schuyler English, Frank E. Gaebelein, William Culbertson, Charles L. Feinberg, Allan A. MacRae, Clarence E. Mason, Jr., Alva J. McClain, Wilber M. Smith, John F. Walvoord.

-by David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 14, AD 2009.

See related articles under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in lower right hand margin (Bible Study and Study Bibles).
Purchase at the NKJV Scofield Study Bible III

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wit And Wisdom Of My Dad

This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. -Psalm 102:18

The Writing of The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow

My dad, Joe E. Brumbelow (1930-2002), was a pastor for many years. He was never famous, powerful, wealthy, but like all faithful pastors he had a profound impact on a number of lives.

He died suddenly, unexpectedly in 2002. We usually remember stories for one or two generations, then they are forgotten. There were too many stories from his life and ministry that should not be lost.

About six months after his death, on a drive to Damon, Texas, dad’s hometown, I discussed with mom plans to write a few of his stories and sermon illustrations and make several copies. The booklet would probably be 20 or 30 pages.

I began to write the first stories that came to mind. Stories he used in preaching, incidents that happened in his life and ministry. His advice, his humor, his experience, growing up in a small town in the 1930s, his passion for revival and telling the lost about Jesus. His strong stand on the racial issue, his commitment to the inerrancy of the Bible and the SBC Conservative Resurgence. He was a strong inerrantist and premillennialist, yet he had good friends who disagreed. He was faithful to his wife and three boys, his boys are now all pastors. There was never a hint of moral scandal in his ministry. Brother Joe had a great love of people and a love for preaching the Word of God.

The stories (well over 200) are brief, most less than a page. So if you only have five minutes at a time to read, you can enjoy it. Several couples have told how one read it to the other in bed at night, or as they drove across country. One would tell the other, “You’ve got to hear this story.” One man recently said he was getting a copy for his son; he thought it could be of help to him. Another related that he wished he could live the kind of life that his son would want to write a book about him. Wit and Wisdom has been given to a number of young preachers at HBU, ETBU and elsewhere; I pray that it will especially be a help and encouragement to them. Some have already said it has been a help to their ministries.

Wit and Wisdom has hunting and fishing stories, history, folklore, sermon illustrations, stories of lives changed by the Gospel. It contains a lot of humor. It will make you laugh; it may also make you cry. I know that in its writing, I did both.

I asked mom, Mrs. Joe E. (Bonnie) Brumbelow, to write a chapter to women and preacher’s wives. Several pastor’s wives said they wished they had read her chapter when they first began their ministries. Bonnie even includes some favorite recipes in an appendix, and has her own best selling Cookbook (sold over 400 copies at the local Christian Bookstore, Sonshine Shop, Lake Jackson, TX); now in its second printing.

After about a year and a half, the “booklet” had grown from 20 pages to 240 pages. Louis and Kay Moore of Hannibal Books were extremely helpful in getting my book, The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, published in 2005. It has been recommended by Adrian Rogers, Ed Young, Franklin Atkinson, Jimmy Draper, T. C. Pinckney, R. L. Sumner, Paige Patterson.

Some Recommendations of Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow

“You will enjoy this book. Some of the funniest stories you will ever read are contained in the pages of this volume. As I read these stories I laughed and you will laugh, too. You will laugh out loud…”
-Foreword by Dr. John A. Hatch, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Lake Jackson, TX.

“Dear David, Thank you, my friend, for the finished product - The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow. I spent much time this morning reading, smiling, amening, and just nodding my head. It is a beautiful book, easy to read, and full of genuine spiritual wisdom. God is love. Jesus is wonderful. In His Dear Name.”
-Adrian Rogers, Memphis, TN. June 21, 2005

“David, it is a great book. Like you I am a pastor’s son. My father was a simple country pastor for more that 50 years. The kind of wisdom that he passed to me from many years of practical ministry is found on every page of this book. You did a great job of pulling it together…Let me say as boldly as possible, this book would be a great addition to the resources employed in the training of every young pastor. In fact, it probably ought to be mandatory reading and re-reading for us all.”
-Kevin Stilley, Fort Worth, TX;

Additional Comments on The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow

Already it has been a source of illustrations for me.”
-Paige Patterson, President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.

“I laughed, I wept, I praised God repeatedly in its reading…This is the kind of book you can sit down and read from ‘kiver to kiver’ (and many will, too engrossed to put it down), but at the same time it is the kind you can read a little, quit, pick it up later and not miss a beat. Or you could pick it up and start reading any place: front, back or middle.”
-Dr. R. L. Sumner, The Biblical Evangelist, NC.

“Throughout, you will be laughing, crying, and reaping lessons and anecdotes to use in your own ministry or with your own family. Wit and Wisdom is an easy read, an enjoyable read, and very helpful to both laymen and ministers.”
-T. C. Pinckney, The Baptist Banner, Virginia, April, 2007.

“His sense of humor was contagious and his seriousness about the things that really counted was remarkable.”
-Jimmy Draper, President, LifeWay Christian Resources, Nashville, TN..

“Delightful reading of this book will refresh, teach, and inspire God’s people. ”
-Franklin Atkinson, Th.D., longtime Bible professor at East Texas Baptist University, Marshall, TX.

“You will enjoy the warmth and emotion that permeate the pages.”
-H. Edwin Young, Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas.

Referring to how she laughed, “This book is better than going to a psychologist!”
-Esther Cline, DeLand, Florida.


The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow can be ordered directly from: 
your local bookstore

A signed copy can be ordered at: David R. Brumbelow, P.O. Box 300, Lake Jackson, Texas 77566 USA; $12.95 postpaid, 10 or more copies $8 each.  240 pages. 

If you get it, I think you’ll enjoy it. If you read it, I’d love to hear from you.

Mrs. Joe E. (Bonnie) Brumbelow’s Cookbook, Masterpieces From Our Kitchen, can also be ordered from the same Lake Jackson address for $10; 10 or more $6 each. 

233 recipes, some of the best food you will ever wrap your lips around!  All recipes have been personally used and endorsed by Bonnie, a pastor's wife and mother of three boys.  Recipes include Sugar-Free, Tamales, Eggrolls.  Includes Mexican & Chinese recipes.  Most recipes are easy with simple ingredients. 

-by David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 5, AD 2009.