The following was submitted to me from a BJS reader about a concern at a church. We are opening up the question to other readers.
This is the last two or three minutes of the Christmas Eve Service at my LCMS large contemporary church. My question: does this border on decision theology or is it an affirmation of faith by repeating line by line of a prayer spoken by the pastor. My 20 year old son attended the service with us and said he didn’t like that the pastor had a “repeat after me” type of a prayer. He said, how would you know what and where the pastor was going with the prayer and to blindly repeat after him just didn’t seem right. The following is end of the sermon — the “pray with me” prayer section is bolded.
A Savior that can walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death, yet I will not be bound by the grave.
A Savior who has the qualifications to step down into my world and my life and he takes upon himself my sin and my death who is both the Son of God and the Son of man.
Qualifications that take him from a manger to a cross and from a cross to a grave and from a grave he steps out. He stepped down and now he steps out. He says all this is for you. All of this was because of my love for you. I know that many of you finally in your heart believe that.
There may be some here this night that may be hearing this for the first time.
What I want us to do is have a moment of prayer together. A moment in where we affirm our faith or for the first time speak about Jesus as Savior.
So, here’s what I want to do is to take you, to kinda lead you through a moment of prayer and I’d like to ask you to consider strongly that I speak a line and then you speak a line after me. I begin this way.
God, I thank you for Jesus. He stepped down from Heaven, to a manger and into our world, from swaddling clothes, to a crown of thorns, from this first breath to his last, from His resurrection to His return, I acknowledge my sins and rejoice in Him my Savior. Together lets say Amen.
The sermon can be listened to below. The above trascript starts around 13:40 into the audio clip.