Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Its Not an Incantation

A revival meeting in a small Texas town was the source of an interesting revelation a few years ago.

It seems that the youth minister was assigned to go door to door with the evangelist inviting people and sharing. The speaker was a seminary-trained pastor with several years experience in the ministry.

After about a half-hour of visiting, they came upon a somewhat confused and erratic older man who lived alone in a small house. When he found out that they were with a church group about to have revival services, he told them he wasn’t interested in attending. His reasons, it seems, had something to do with a complicated conspiracy involving the Catholic Church and the Pope. They spent a few minutes trying to direct the conversation back to the message of the Bible and away from debates about religion and politics.

Finally, the evangelist gave up. “”Excuse me one minute,” he said “could I ask you to pray one prayer with us, and then we’ll be on our way?”

The old man tried to carry on telling them about his theory, but finally agreed to repeat “the Sinner’s Prayer.” As soon as they concluded, he attempted to take up the conspiracy debate again. They excused themselves, however, and left.

“Well, that was strange…and a little out there.” said the youth minister. “I don’t think he understood a word we were telling him.”

“Yes,” responded the evangelist, “but at least he prayed the prayer, so one day we will see him in heaven.”

Now, clearly the Bible does not teach the use of magic, and it certainly does not teach that people are saved by means of magic words uttered in some formula or prayer. Apparently, however, some Christians wrongly believe this.


  1. Back in 1973, Pink Floyd pretty much nailed it with this verse:

    "Far away
    Across the field
    The tolling on the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spell..."

    That verse stuck with me (still does, for many reasons) and at first hearing it reinforced my skepticism of the BAC's (Born Again Christians) who tried to convert me in my youth. It was only after years of personal study, reflection, and thought that I made my way back to a relationship with God. Although, in retrospect, I guess God was always there, just waiting for me to figure that out.

  2. I guess it says a lot that He could use Pink Floyd to strengthen someones understanding of Him. :) Nice, Paul.


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