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The Sword of the Lord and the Carl Hatch Squeeze - Abbreviated
Enlarged Oct. 11, 2016 - first published July 11, 2011
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
This is an abbreviated edition of a report that was published July 11, 2011. See the full report here.

“Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8).

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).

“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).

“But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).

Shelton Smith
In the June 10, 2011, issue of the Sword of the Lord, Editor Shelton Smith [pictured], published a reply to my warning about the Sword’s position on repentance. His response was to the following brief report that appeared in the Friday Church News Notes:

SWORD OF THE LORD OMITS REPENTANCE FROM SPURGEON SERMON (Friday Church News Notes, December 17, 2010,, 866-295-4143) - Recently I received the following e-mail from Jim Koenig: “Last night we watched your video ‘How to Avoid False Professions’ for the second time and the segment on repentance was even more enlightening this time around. Over the years we have noticed that the Sword of the Lord has shifted away from the doctrine of repentance and cunningly led their readers in that direction. A good example is the Charles Spurgeon sermon ‘Only Trust Him’ in the November 26, 2010 issue. They have left out what he said about repentance. The original sermon can be found at (sermon #1635) and the omitted part is on page three of the sermon, the 6th full paragraph down. Years ago my wife and I graduated from the Sword Soul Winning Director’s College, taught personally by Bro. Smith, Bro. Norris Belcher, and the late Bro. Larry Staner. At no time, never, was the word ‘repent’ mentioned or implied during the three day course. I am not anti-Sword, but they are 100% wrong on repentance and have influenced thousands of young preachers to spread their one-two-three repeat after me prayers.”


Sword of the Lord truly has a problem with biblical repentance, and this is not a new thing.

Sword founder John R. Rice taught that repentance is “a change of mind toward God and toward sin” and “to turn from your sin” (
What Must I Do to Be Saved, 1940).

But Curtis Hutson, Rice’s successor, changed the definition of repentance. He did this in his influential 1986 booklet
Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach?

Hutson denied that repentance means to turn from sin (p. 4). He denied that repentance is sorrow for sin (p. 8). He denied that repentance means “a change of mind that leads to a change of action” (p. 16). He claimed that repentance simply is “to change one’s mind.” Hutson ignored the many Scriptures that contradict this definition. He misquoted the writings of men like his predecessor John R. Rice and mixed in a heavy dose of human reasoning. (See our book
Repentance and Soul Winning for documentation.)

Under Curtis Hutson’s watch, the
Sword of the Lord also removed repentance from some of the hymns in the 1989 edition of the Soul Stirring Hymns. For example, the lyrics of “The Old Account Was Settled” were changed from “O sinner, seek the Lord, repent of your sin” to “O sinner, trust the Lord, be cleansed of all your sin.” (They also did this with the lyrics to “Almost” and “Give Me Thy Heart.”)

Since Hutson changed the definition of repentance,
the Sword stopped publishing two of its titles that formerly supported the biblical position.

They stopped publishing Leon Maurer’s book
Soul Winning: The Challenge of the Hour, which contained the following important statement:

A ROTELY MEMORIZED PRAYER OR SOME REPEATED STATEMENT WITHOUT TRUE REPENTANCE AND FAITH NEVER SAVES ANYONE. He must be very serious about it and really mean it. … Consider a case where the person being dealt with is going to repeat a prayer after the soul winner as he calls on the Lord to save his soul. Here is a pattern which can be followed merely as an example: ‘Lord, I realize I am a sinner. I am lost in my sin. I TURN FROM MY SIN. I repent of my sin. Right here and now I do trust the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour…’ (Maurer, Soul Winning: The Challenge of the Hour, The Sword of the Lord, 1970).

They also stopped publishing John R. Rice’s
Dr. Rice, Here Are More Questions, in which he stated:

“There ought to be plain preaching against sin. People ought to be taught TO TURN FROM SIN in genuine repentance” (John R. Rice, Dr. Rice, Here Are More Questions, Vol. II, 1973, p. 425).


Sword has been at the forefront of the downgrading of the doctrine of repentance (by redefinition) and of the promotion of the heretical practice of Quick Prayerism, I refuse to join hands in ministry with men who are guilty of this serious error.

Quick Prayerism is an evangelistic methodology that is quick to get people to pray a sinners prayer after a shallow gospel presentation and usually without any hint of the necessity of repentance. It is quick to pronounce those people saved and give them “assurance” and to try to baptize them even if they barely show any interest in the presentation and even if they give no biblical evidence of having been born again. Frequently, Quick Prayerism incorporates psychological salesmanship manipulation. In Quick Prayerism, an empty “sinner’s prayer” has often replaced Holy Spirit conviction and miraculous regeneration.

Quick Prayerism is characterized by soul winning reports that are grossly exaggerated, since the number of real conversions are minute compared to the overall statistics.

I call it “prayerism” because it focuses on a prayer. I call it “quick prayerism” because it specializes in quick presentations and quick decisions and an overall shallowness of spiritual and biblical depth.

I am thankful for many things the Sword has stood for through the years. I am thankful for the helpful things that I learned from Sword publications as a young Christian in the early 1970s that helped me personally, particularly the first year I was saved.

But repentance and soul winning methodology are not minor issues that can be treated as “non-essentials.” Quick Prayerism is death in the pot for any church that practices it.

An example of Quick Prayerism was communicated to me some time back by a pastor friend who had the following experience at Lancaster Baptist Church, home of West Coast Baptist College. The soul winner in question is a veteran Independent Baptist missionary to Japan, a man with significant influence in the Independent Baptist movement.

“We went out with their staff on Saturday morning for soul winning. We were immediately partnered up with some of the veterans. The first door we went to, we spoke to a friendly Catholic guy and to my surprise, the guy got ‘saved’ before my very eyes as ------- took him from a few scripture passages to the sinner’s prayer so smoothly that I was caught off guard. I caught myself and while ------- was recording this man’s contact details and writing it down, I asked the man whether (1) he believed that he was a good person and (2) that it is possible to go to Heaven by being a good person. This man who had just got ‘saved’ told me ‘YES.’ I looked around and the other two men beside me said nothing and did nothing. We went to a few more places and eventually reached a home with a Roman Catholic young lady who came to the door. She said she was a professing Christian. Even though she said that all churches were the same ------- gave her assurance of salvation by quoting 1 John 5:13.”

And this is a church that claims that it doesn’t practice Quick Prayerism!

The churches that have adopted this unscriptural method of evangelism have produced millions of false professions and have given a false hope to the same multitude.

There are many churches that can show only a handful of new creatures in Christ for every hundred or more converts they claim.

The late Jack Hyles, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana, was the king of “Quick Prayerism.” He claimed that thousands were saved every year that he was in Hammond, though these numbers did not reflect the reality of the active church family. If hundreds of thousands of people had actually been saved at First Baptist over the years that Hyles was pastor there, that entire region would have been dramatically affected. The reality is that most of the numbers were empty professions.

I have a friend who pastored a fundamental Baptist church in northern Indiana near First Baptist of Hammond. In 1980, a Hyles-Anderson student in his church obtained roughly 1,000 decision cards from First Baptist Church’s visitation ministry. They diligently followed up on these individuals but were extremely disappointed to find that not even one individual was interested in the things of Christ. The batch of professions was entirely void of spiritual reality. The pastor testified to me that this opened his eyes to the danger of the Hyles approach to evangelism and underscored the duplicity of the reports that are published by First Baptist. I will not give his name, because I don’t want him subjected to the carnal harassment to which I have been subjected, but I have it on record, and the Lord knows.

Longview Baptist Temple in Longview, Texas, claims that more than one million people have been won to Christ in 25 years ( Yet on an average Wednesday evening service, which is the truest reflection an American church’s active membership, you will find only a few hundred people in attendance. Literally hundreds of thousands of these souls that have been “won” are nowhere to be found.

When we were given the “decision” cards for follow up on a county fair ministry in Oklahoma in the late 1990s, of the hundreds of professions that were recorded we could not find
even one person who gave any evidence of salvation or was even interested in attending church.

A pastor friend followed up on the more than 100 “salvation decisions” that were made at a county fair ministry in Kentucky in 2011, and he
did not find one soul who was even interested enough in Christ to attend church.

There is something wrong about that picture. It is a very serious error.

The Sword of the Lord has never used its great influence to renounce this damnable practice and to publicly reprove those who practice it.

For decades I have observed the sad fruit of this technique: multitudes of false professions, confusion about salvation, indifference to biblical truth, agnosticism, reprobate living, failure to practice church discipline, and blasphemy against God. In many communities a large percentage of the population has prayed a sinner’s prayer under the ministry of churches practicing Quick Prayerism.
VAST NUMBERS OF THESE HAVE NEVER BEEN BORN AGAIN AND THEY ARE NOW ALMOST INOCULATED AGAINST BIBLICAL SALVATION. When challenged about their lifeless spiritual condition, they commonly reply, “I have done that,” meaning they have prayed the sinner’s prayer and even been “given assurance” of eternal life. Since they were not told that God requires that they repent of their sin and idolatry, they are comfortable and self-assured that they have a ticket to Heaven. In fact, this soul winning package sometimes even provides them with a “spiritual birth certificate.”

Those who observe these things are made to think that salvation means little or nothing in relation to one’s manner of living, but nothing could be more unscriptural.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).

I speak from nearly 40 years of personal experience, beginning as a worker in the bus ministry of Highland Park Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a pastor of one of the Highland Park’s chapels, as a preacher in jails, and as a pioneer missionary church planter.

Shelton Smith, editor of
The Sword of the Lord, says, “I am a full-voice opponent of what I call ‘sloppy soul winning.’”

That is an amazing statement, and I would love to believe it.

Here is my challenge to Shelton Smith: Send me an article in which you have plainly warned about sloppy soul winning practices and have identified exactly what this means and also have warned about prominent Independent Baptist preachers who are guilty of it. I will print that article and will gladly tell my readers that Shelton Smith, for one, is not guilty of promoting the culture of Quick Prayerism.

I issued this challenge in 2011 and have yet to receive a reply.

Smith said that he is opposed to “manipulating people, using tactics like vacuum cleaner salesmen.” He claims that “it is absurd that this charge would be made” against the

If Smith wants to prove that he is opposed to sloppy soul winning and manipulative salesmanship techniques and that my charge that they are so guilty is “absurd,” let him issue a warning about the late evangelist Carl Hatch, who was called “the world’s greatest soul winner” by Smith’s predecessor Curtis Hutson and by Jack Hyles.

In a seminar at Bob Gray’s Texas Baptist University, which I have on DVD, Hatch taught the following technique, which was his standard soul winning practice.

Carl Hatch says:

I don’t ask anybody if they want to be saved. If you want a positive answer you must ask a positive question. If you want a no answer ask a no question. If you want a yes answer ask a yes question. Soul winning is positive. And in soul winning you use a lot of reverse psychology and psychology.

For instance, if you are lost and I say, “Mr. Smith, let me ask you a question. You don’t want to go to hell, do you?”

He will answer, No.

I say, “Wonderful, you want to go to heaven, don’t you?” He will say yes. I will reply, “Sure you do. Sure you do. Sure you do. Sure you do. I thank God for a man that doesn’t want to go to hell.”

Did you get that? I am reinforcing the fact that he wants to go to heaven. I’m keep everything positive.

I don’t say, “Can I show this to you?” or “Do you mind if I read the Bible to you?” That’s negative and you will probably get a negative answer. I don’t ask people; I just say, “I’m so glad you don’t want to go to hell and I will just take a minute here to show you some verses. I don’t have long and I know you don’t, either. There’s three things that you need to know. First, Jesus died for you. Isn’t that wonderful? Two, Jesus loves you. Isn’t that wonderful? Three, Jesus wants you to go to heaven. Isn’t that wonderful? And I’m so glad that you want to.”

See, I am being positive.

He may say he has a lot of questions, but unsaved people don’t have questions. Don’t get on unsaved people’s questions. Tell them that you will answer their questions later, but first you want to read a few verses of Scripture. Unsaved people don’t have questions. If you get them saved, that answers all of them.

Let me tell you how to deal with someone who has a dumb spirit who bucks getting saved. You share the gospel and get them to the point of praying the sinner’s prayer, but they stop. How do you get that type of person saved? Now, this will work in most cases. If he is a man, put your hand on his shoulder and say, “Mr. Jones, I want to have prayer for you. I’m thrilled you want to go to heaven. God has been good to you. Bow your head with me. Then I pray, “Lord, I’m so thankful for this man that doesn’t want to burn in hell. I’m so thrilled he wants to go to heaven and not take his kids to hell. I thank you for this man. And I pray you will help him to see that need.” While our heads are still bowed, I say, “Mr. Jones, if you want heaven as your home and Christ as your Saviour, pray this prayer. Lord Jesus.” And if he doesn’t repeat that and tries not to pray, I squeeze his shoulder. I use this technique. If I am dealing with the president of the bank, I take his hand and when it comes time for him to pray, I squeeze his hand. We’ve titled that the Carl Hatch squeeze. It works. If I am dealing with a woman, I ask her to put her hand on the Bible, and when it comes time to pray I just tap her hand gently. It works; it works.

(The previous is from a Carl Hatch soul winning seminar at Texas Baptist University. Hatch was called the world’s greatest soul winner by Sword editor Curtis Hutson and by Jack Hyles.)

Since Brother Smith is allegedly opposed to sloppy soul winning, I am sure he will agree with me that Hatch’s technique was nothing more than cheap salesmanship. It might be a good way to sell a used car but it is a bad way to win souls to Christ. There is not a hint of such a thing in Scripture. We can’t imagine the Lord Jesus or the apostles doing such a thing. When Jesus dealt with the woman at the well, He didn’t ask a bunch of leading questions to keep the subject positive. He is the one who brought up the woman’s immoral lifestyle. When He dealt with Nicodemus, He confronted the man with his need of the new birth, which Nicodemus didn’t find positive at all. Christ told the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and follow Him. He told people if they didn’t repent they would perish, which is a very negative approach (Luke 13:1-5). He told the people that only those who continue in His Word are true disciples (John 8:30-31). Jesus and the evangelists in the early churches knew absolutely nothing of the “Carl Hatch Squeeze.”

We have been waiting in anticipation for decades for the Sword of the Lord to renounce the Carl Hatch Squeeze and the unscriptural soul winning program that it represents. There has been no such renunciation.


The Sword of the Lord has been promoting Quick Prayerism since at least 1962. That is the year that they published
Let’s Go Soul Winning by Jack Hyles. A copy of this booklet is before me as I write. Observe the following technique:

“There are several ways to do this, but you must try to get them to pray. If he is really ready, say, ‘Could I pray for you, and while I pray, would you pray and ask God to save you today?” Maybe he is not quite that ready. Maybe you don’t know. You could say, ‘Could I pray that you will get saved?

“Maybe you don’t think he will let you pray for him to get saved. Then you say, ‘Could I have a word of prayer with you before I go?’ Anyway, to get your head bowed is good. If you are talking to him, he might interrupt, but if you are talking to the Lord, he won’t. You can preach him a little sermon in the prayer. ... I always stop in the middle of my prayer. I say, ‘Dear Lord, lead this man to be saved. ... Now while our heads are bowed in prayer, Mr. Doe, would you be willing today to ask God to forgive you and tell Him you want to get saved?’ See, you stop in the middle of your prayer and lead him to pray. ... Fifty percent of the time he will make up a prayer. ...

“A lot of times he won’t pray. He does not know how to pray. He says, ‘I have never prayed before.’ In that case I say, ‘Mr. Doe, would you just say these words and mean them in your heart, ‘Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. Forgive my sins and save my soul. I now receive Jesus as my Saviour’?’

“[Then you say,] ‘God bless you, brother. Let me ask you this question now: According to this Book, where would you go if you died right now?’ ‘To Heaven.’ ... ‘That means you are God’s child. Now suppose somebody asks you tomorrow, Mr. Doe, Are you a Christian? When did you become a Christian? what are you going to tell them? ‘Yesterday.”

“May God use this simple plan to help make you a soul winner” (Jack Hyles,
Let’s Go Soul Winning: Step-By-Step Lessons in How to Win a Soul to Christ, The Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1962).

This is pure psychological salesmanship in the guise of “soul winning.” It was the program I was taught in an evangelism class at Tennessee Temple in the 1970s. It is heresy. It is damnable. It has resulted in multitudes of false professions by people who were manipulated into praying a sinner’s prayer. And observe that the Hyles’ plan gave “assurance of salvation” to every individual who was manipulated into praying a sinner’s prayer.

If Quick Prayerism is wrong, the
Sword of the Lord has lot to answer for before God, and no amount of smoke screening and strawmaning will change that fact.

I passionately want to obey the Lord’s Great Commission, and I have proved it by spending decades of my life it in one of the darkest, most difficult parts of the world.

I refuse to be shamed by a cheap, manipulative technique (i.e., implying that if a man is a critic of Sword-style soul winning programs he isn’t a “soul winner” and doesn’t care about evangelism and hindering the Lord’s work).

I passionately want to obey the Lord’s Great Commission, but I also want to do it in the Lord’s way and not man’s way. Insofar as it is possible, I want fruit that remains and not a bunch of empty professions and impressive statistics. The only “statistics” that matter are those that please the Lord.

To be the enemy of the Carl Hatch Squeeze and the Jack Hyles “bow your head” technique and that entire “program” is
NOT to be the enemy of biblical soul winning.

This nonsensical way of thinking was developed by Jack Hyles who had the audacity to list repentance as one of the “Enemies of Soul Winning” in his book by that title.

The repentance that is the enemy of the Hyles type soul winning is biblical repentance, which is life-changing repentance. The repentance that is the enemy of Hyles-type soul winning is Pauline repentance, which is focused on evidence -- “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).

I’m a friend of biblical soul winning, but I remain steadfastly and “unrepentantly” the enemy of Hyles-type “soul winning.”

In conclusion, I say to Shelton Smith: When you and the Sword publicly renounce the Carl Hatch Squeeze and Jack Hyles’ soul winning methodology, let me know. (I said this in 2011 and am still waiting in 2014.)

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).

“But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).


See also
SOWING AND REAPING: A COURSE IN EVANGELISM. This course is unique in several ways. It is unique in its approach. While it is practical and down-to-earth, it does not present a formulaic approach to soul winning, recognizing that individuals have to be dealt with as individuals. The course does not include any sort of psychological manipulation techniques. It does not neglect repentance in soul winning, carefully explaining the biblical definition of repentance and the place of repentance in personal evangelism. It explains how to use the law of God to plow the soil of the human heart so that the gospel can find good ground. The course is unique in its objective. The objective of biblical soul winning is not to get people to “pray a sinner’s prayer”; the objective is to see people soundly converted to Christ. This course trains the soul winner to pursue genuine conversions as opposed to mere “decisions.” The course is also unique in its breadth. It covers a wide variety of situations, including how to deal with Hindus and with skeptics and how to use apologetics or evidences in evangelism. There is a memory course consisting of 111 select verses and links to a large number of resources that can be used in evangelism, many of them free. The course is suitable for teens and adults and for use in Sunday School, Youth Ministries, Preaching, and private study. OUTLINE: The Message of Evangelism, Repentance and Evangelism, God’s Law and Evangelism, The Reason for Evangelism, The Authority for Evangelism, The Power for Evangelism, The Attitude in Evangelism, The Technique of Evangelism, Using Tracts in Evangelism, Dealing with Skeptics. Pastor Roger Voegtlin, Fairhhaven Baptist College, writes: “Your book Sowing and Reaping is excellent. I recommend it strongly. Our staff and many of our graduates use your materials regularly and, I'm sure, will find this especially helpful. The book is thorough as your materials always are and will be a help to sincere soul winners.”

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