Correspondence With a Missionary About Quick Prayerism
April 2, 2024 (first published November 6, 2019)
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is a series of communications with a young missionary that I have a lot of hope for. From my knowledge of how he has grown through the years and his eagerness to learn and his willingness to reject tradition and pragmatism when it contradicts God’s Word and his focus on raising a godly seed, I expect that he will do the solid, patient biblical work of building sound, life-changing, New Testament churches which are the pillar and ground of the truth in this dark world.

Note that this preacher doesn’t get offended at my biblical exhortation and reproof. That is an evidence of a spiritual and wise man, as we see emphasized in Proverbs, the book of practical wisdom. “He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth” (Proverbs 10:17). “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish” (Pr. 12:1). “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured” (Pr. 13:18). “A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent” (Pr. 15:5). “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die” (Pr. 15:10). “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding” (Pr. 15:32). “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool” (Pr. 17:10).

He does exactly what God says we should do with biblical instruction, exhortation, and reproof, and that is hear it, prove it by God’s Word, hold fast that which is good, and reject that which is wrong, and go on with his business (Proverbs 14:12; Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

Quick Prayerism is a method of soul winning that was popularized by the late Jack Hyles and the Sword of the Lord (the publisher of Hyles’ books such as
Let’s Go Soul Winning and a chief promoter of “great manism” and “Jumboism”), as well as by many other prominent preachers. Quick Prayerism is an evangelistic methodology that is quick to get people to pray a sinner’s 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 Jesus Christ and even if they give no biblical evidence of having been born again. Quick Prayerism typically incorporates psychological salesmanship manipulation. In Quick Prayerism, a “sinner’s prayer” replaces Holy Spirit conviction and miraculous regeneration.

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

We think of Gospel Light Baptist Church, Walkertown, North Carolina, which was pastored by Bobby Roberson beginning in 1956 and during its heyday in the 1970s through the 1990s. It has regularly hosted Sword conferences. In 2015, the church hosted a Southwide Baptist Fellowship meeting. David Gibbs was the moderator, and Roberson was honored. (He died in 2018.) Gibbs said that the church and its bus ministry were responsible for four million people getting saved. Four million! There are only ten million people in all of North Carolina! How can they boast of such numbers with a straight face? Do any of them really believe that four million people were actually saved or even one million or even half a million? Don’t they know that they are speaking lies? One discerning pastor in North Carolina commented, “I believe our state would be much different if that many people were truly saved through one ministry, not to mention how many other similar churches there are in this state.” Indeed!

Bobby Roberson attributed his “success” in soul winning to a Jack Hyles/John R. Rice training conference in 1956. He said, “I never knew how to win people just personally to Christ. He [Hyles] taught us thirty-five points, and he acted out knocking on a door, getting a conversation up with a person, and how to approach him. I wrote it all down. That was on Tuesday. On Thursday I got one of my men to go with me, knocked on a door and led my first two people to Christ. And that’s been almost fifty-four years ago” (“Walking with Giants: An Interview with Dr. Bobby Roberson,” Paul Chappell, Oct. 7, 2010).

Paul Chappell describes how that Roberson led a stranger to Christ in a matter of minutes. “Not only did he lead his church in faith-filled, strategic outreach, but he personally shared the gospel with people one on one. I remember another time when I was preaching at his church as we were walking across the parking lot he saw someone he didn’t know. He stopped to meet him, asked him if he knew the Lord, and led him to Christ right there in the parking lot” (Paul Chappell, “Five Way Dr. Bobby Roberson Influenced Me,”, Feb. 13, 2018).

This is Quick Prayerism.

I have no doubt that Bobby Roberson was a gracious, sincere Christian man, but any Bible student knows that sincere men of God can do wrong and stupid and damaging things, and none of them are above being tested by God’s Word. We must be more loyal to Jesus Christ and the Word of God than to any mere man. There are none great, no not one! We don’t see Peter calling Paul “great,” and if any saint could be called great it would be Paul, but he would never have allowed such a thing. He himself taught us that at best we have this treasure in earthen vessels.

We realize that not everyone who professes Christ will “pan out.” There will be false professions in any ministry, but Quick Prayerism is characterized by the fact that the majority--yea, usually
the vast majority--of its professions are empty.

A pastor friend wrote, “Several years ago I asked one of the ‘soulwinners’ from a church in Bridgeport, Michigan, how many out of 100 professions get baptized. The reply was ten. I asked of those ten how many stick. The answer was one. I just could not in good conscience buy into that type of thinking.”

In fact, no biblically-thinking preacher will “buy into” that type of thinking unless the virus of pragmatism has invaded his brain.

For more about this see
Fundamental Baptists and Quick Prayerism, available as a free eBook at


Recently I received a prayer letter from a missionary friend with the following statement:

“Praise the Lord for two ladies who visited one of our morning services and came forward at the end to receive Jesus as Saviour. Please pray that they would return and grow. Their names are ------- and --------.”

Following is an edited version of my communication with this missionary in regard to this statement:

BRO. CLOUD - Hello, Brother ------. Always good to hear reports from there. In regard to these two women, you didn’t really try to lead them in a sinner’s prayer right then without spending some time with them and instructing them in the gospel and getting to know them some, did you?

MISSIONARY - Correct. They sat in through an entire gospel sermon. Usually, my morning sermon is evangelistic. Then they were dealt with individually in two separate rooms by two other ladies. I hope I didn't give the impression of easy prayerism or believism.

BRO. CLOUD - Thanks. I would definitely call that quick prayerism, and I’m truly shocked that you would do that type of thing. They were strangers? Coming in from that confused religious society in -------? Do you really expect to make sure that they understand the gospel, repentance, and saving faith properly in such a format? I would make an appointment to meet with them and to go through everything carefully and patiently and get to know them and what they are thinking and make sure everything is clear as a bell. That's the only way you can build the right foundation. Way too quick and shallow! Have you looked at the Seeker’s Bible Study? I sent you the link? It has three major parts: the gospel, repentance, and saving faith. We deal with every part of the gospel as summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Who is Christ? What are the Scriptures? What does it mean that Christ died and rose “according to the Scriptures?” What is sin? What does it mean that Christ died for our sin? What does it mean that Christ rose again? We only recently published it, but we are seeing good fruit from it already in our own ministry. I’m going through it every week with a medical doctor, and some other of the men are using it to conduct evangelistic Bible studies in homes. It’s a way, also, to try to get friends and neighbors and relatives into the Bible study to increase the fruit. My goal is to have every truly interested visitor assigned someone to go through it.

MISSIONARY - I appreciate this and I appreciate you, too. I will take a look at these materials. I certainly do not want false converts and I am against quick prayerism.

BRO. CLOUD - Great. You will like it, I have no doubt. You said that you hope these ladies will come back. But if they actually got saved, they will most definitely come back. Passages such as Acts 2:41-42 and 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 describe true salvation and the evidence that will always be present. A true New Testament church is a spiritual house made of living stones. A living stone is a great miracle, and there can be no doubt that a living stone can be distinguished from a natural stone!

MISSIONARY - Yep. That to me is a good sign, if they come back and continue with us. If they do come back, I would give them a visitor’s card, then set up a time to meet with them, examine them, walk them through the Scriptures (depending where they are at, whether it becomes evangelistic again or discipleship is determined by their response). If they don't come back, I asked the person who brought them how they are doing and ask for their contact info and go from there. I do go back to "professing" visitors and lay out the truth that if they are just professing faith, then that is not Bible faith, and that they may not have truly been born again. Bible faith is not just in the mind or the emotions but it is evidenced by the heart and life, and if there are no evidences then that shows there isn't salvation. I would then offer to them another chance for a personal Bible study, many times they reject it, and so I know then, they were not truly saved.

BRO. CLOUD - That is a backwards program. You (or your workers) have already had these ladies pray a sinner’s prayer or otherwise “receive Christ” the very first time you met them, and you have thereby given them some idea that they are saved, without first having spent significant time with them to go through the gospel, repentance, and saving faith carefully, and without getting to know them so that you can know how they are interpreting the words you are saying (i.e., reinterpreting the words “grace” and “receive Jesus” from a Catholic background and understanding) and knowing what might be hindering true repentance in their minds and hearts. Only after they have been hastily dealt with and led in a sinner’s prayer are you going to try to meet with them and deal with them properly about salvation? That is the path of confusion. What’s the rush? Deal with souls carefully and thoroughly and wisely. If they aren’t willing to spend time with you, they aren’t ready to be saved. There is not one example of salvation in the New Testament wherein the person was not ready to spend time trying to understand the gospel. How long does it take to deal with souls properly? It takes as long as it takes, until we see a natural stone turn into a living stone through the miracle of supernatural regeneration (1 Peter 2:5). That is something only God can perform, and He performs it in the life of the sinner who exercises repentance toward God and saving faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Our part is to preach the gospel clearly and thoroughly, explain and proclaim God’s command that all men everywhere repent, and explain saving faith, which is not just any old type of “faith,” and call on sinners to exercise that faith.

MISSIONARY - I appreciate your admonition. I will take it to heart. I do agree that we must be careful when dealing with folks about the gospel. I have some reservations (perhaps questions - trying to think things through), and perhaps, when we see each other again, Lord willing, I will be able to speak with you about it. Both ladies returned and have been attending. They have manifested some good changes (including especially their countenance), they are very young in the faith ... they bring with them the Bible that we gave them on their first visit. Since they came, we saw a new man come and visit us, he raised his hands interested about salvation. This time, I didn't call for an invitation. Rather, I talked with him after the service, and set up a time to go over the gospel with him personally. So, we shall see how things go. Many things to talk with you, ask you, Lord willing.

BRO. CLOUD - I look forward to discussing this matter face to face when the Lord makes that possible. I would say that what you have described is a weak, insufficient test of salvation. Lots of lost people attend church, show interest in Christ and learning the Bible, have a good countenance at church, and carry a Bible. We have had many people attend faithfully for a year and show all of those things and more before they were truly born again. In these confused times when the vast, vast majority of Christianity, including Protestantism and Fundamentalism and Baptistism, is apostate and deeply compromised, we need to be a lot more careful and biblical in testing salvations. Following are some biblical tests: Has he or she repented and humbled himself before God (Mt. 18:3; Lu. 13:3; Ac. 17:30; 20:21)? Has he renounced all false religion and believed that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation (Joh. 14:6; Ac. 4:12; 19:19; 1 Th. 1:9)? Does he believe that he is the sinner that God says he is, that he is not good, that he has no righteousness that is acceptable to God, that he deserves God’s eternal condemnation (Ro. 3:10-12; Isa. 64:6)? Does he believe 100% that Christ died for his sins, trusting Jesus Christ and His blood 100% for salvation, believing that Christ bore all of his sin when He shed His blood and died on the cross (Isa. 53:6; 2 Co. 5:21)? Does he believe with all the heart that Jesus is the Son of God (Ac. 8:37; Joh. 6:68-69)? The heart is the whole inner person. To believe with all the heart is to believe with the entirety of one’s person. Does he believe that salvation is by grace alone without works and that works are the fruit of salvation and not the way of salvation (Eph. 2:8-10; Ro. 11:6)? Does he believe that he has been born again and that he is a new creature in Jesus Christ, and does he know when this happened (Joh. 3:3; 2 Co. 5:17)? Does he have the Spirit of God living in him crying Abba, Father, and since when has he experienced this (Ro. 8:15-16)? Does he hear the Bible as God’s voice; does it speak to him as God’s voice; does he accept the Bible as God’s Word without reservation and without argument (Joh. 8:47; 10:27)? Has he renounced the world and does he consider himself a pilgrim on the way to his heavenly home (1 Jo. 2:16; 1 Pe. 2:11)? Is he looking for Christ’s return (Ro. 8:23; 1 Th. 1:9-10; 2 Ti. 4:8; Heb. 9:28)? It all comes back to taking the time to deal with people properly and to know where they are spiritually in these deeply confused times. If a sinner is ready to repent and believe on the Lord for salvation, like Cornelius or the Ethiopian eunuch or the Philippian jailer or Lydia, he will do that, but haste makes waste in soul winning, even as in other areas of life. The law was given to plow the soul deeply so that the Spirit of God works enlightenment, conviction, and brings the sinner to true repentance and faith. Baptists used to believe that before Quick Prayerism corrupted everything in the 1960s and particularly in the 1970s. Salvation is 100% the work of the Spirit. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Co. 6:11).

BRO. CLOUD - Most Ind. Baptist preachers have been deeply influenced by Quick Prayerism, and it is not an easy thing to shake off tradition and training. I want to challenge any man who will listen to be much more wise and careful about the matter of salvation, baptism, and church membership. That is the foundation of maintaining a regenerate church membership, something that most Baptist churches haven’t taken seriously since the late 1800s, as far as I can tell from my studies and experience. You will like the new series Building a New Testament Church, particularly the first messages which are expository messages on key passages that describe a New Testament church.

MISSIONARY - I am listening! Especially since you have Bible. That is what matters most. AMEN!

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