What does it take to get saved?

Around the 1970s and 80s the sect The Children of God, sometimes known as The Family, was actively involved in street evangelism. They lived in small community groups, or communes. One of their ideas was that a person is saved by simply saying a prayer to Jesus, asking for forgiveness and acceptance - say the words and you are saved. "All you have to do is receive Jesus, God's Son, as your savior by asking Him into your heart." "I now receive Him (Jesus) as my savior.... and ask Him to come into my heart." The Children of God would do anything to get someone to say these words.

For a time many young girls in the cult practiced "flirty fishing". This was nothing less than prostitution, anything to get someone to say the words. Many years later those same girls, now grown women, were able to admit that for the offer of free sex a male is willing to say anything. As one former cult member put it, "I'm sure some were saved, but mind you they would have been saved anyway without the sex. As for the rest, they certainly went away happy, but that was all." The sex was the bait on the end of the gospel hook, but of course, the gospel hook doesn't need any bait - it will always catch the true seeker, and only the true seeker. In China, before the revolution, many missions baited their hook with rice. It was known as Rice-bowl Christianity. While the rice flowed, conversions followed.

At the other extreme there are those in the Christian church who say that a true conversion requires a detailed knowledge of the Christian faith, particularly of the human state of sin and of Christ's necessary sacrifice for sin (ie., the theology of the Atonement). In this understanding of conversion a person cannot truly become a believer without undergoing a series of Bible studies.

I certainly don't agree with the mechanical simplicity of the Children of God, nor their desire to bait the hook of the gospel, but I do go along with their fundamental view that "salvation is simple! All you have to do is receive Jesus, God's son, as your savior by asking Him..." Yes, it is that simple; just like the thief on the cross who leaned across to Jesus and asked "Remember me! And Jesus replied, "This evening you will be in paradise with me."


[Pumpkin Cottage]