I would respectfully disagree with the recent article, “Terms That Abuse the Gospel.” The article’s five points are listed below, with my differing views.
1. Let Jesus into your heart.
The direct term may not be used, but over and over Scripture speaks of Jesus and / or the Holy Spirit living within the heart of the one who believes (Ephesians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 4:6; Galatians 4:6; 2 Peter 1:19; Colossians 1:27; etc.).
2. Invite Jesus into your life.
This is simply another way of saying “Let Jesus into your heart” or “believe” or “receive” (John 1:12) or “call” on the name of the Lord.
3. Just say this prayer and you’ll be saved…
OK, I partially agree this abuses the Gospel. I would simply add, if you are presented with the Gospel (Jesus, God the Son, died for our sins and rose again. If you will believe in Him, you will be saved.) then if you pray the Sinner’s Prayer and believe it in your heart, you will be saved.
We should always present the Gospel, not just ask someone to mindlessly repeat a prayer. But if they understand and are sincere, a prayer will bring forgiveness and salvation (Romans 10:13; Luke 18:13-14).
4. Make Jesus the Lord of your life (we don’t make him Lord. He IS Lord!)
Yes, and no. It depends on how your define it. I remember years ago a few evangelists saying this. It sounds good, but don’t require everyone to use your personal vocabulary. In a sense, we do make Jesus the Lord of our lives. Once we walked the ways of the world, then we chose Jesus as our Lord (Master, Boss) and Savior (yes, I know Jesus also chose us.). In a sense, Romans 10:9 asks you to confess, believe, and make Jesus Lord.
While some would disagree, God gives us the choice to make Him the Lord of our lives.
5. Turn from all your sin (and, no, that’s not what “repent” means!)
The Holman Concise Bible Dictionary says of repent, “A feeling of regret, a changing of the mind, or a turning from sin to God.” Often repentance is mentioned in connection with salvation, for example in Acts 3:19 and Luke 13:5.
These issues hardly rise to the level of denying the Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).
Certainly “believe” is also biblical (John 3:16; 5:24). While respectfully disagreeing on some points, I’m convinced we agree on the huge majority of issues. I agree wholeheartedly with Greg Stier, “Let’s keep it simple. Let’s preach it clearly.” Let’s always make the Bible our final rule of faith and practice.