3 questions with J.D. Greear
Why do you want people to stop asking Jesus into their hearts?
For many evangelicals, “asking Jesus into their hearts” has become something like a Protestant ritual or sacrament, which if you do correctly punches your ticket for heaven. God never promises to give salvation to someone because they pray a magical prayer or because they went through a ceremony at the altar of their church. God gives salvation to those who repent and believe the gospel. My concern is that over-emphasizing the prayer has often (though unintentionally) obscured the primary instruments for laying hold of salvation: repentance and faith. I wrote Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart to bring comfort to the unnecessarily troubled, and to trouble the unjustifiably comforted.
What advice can you give students about balancing school, ministry and personal life?
First, never underestimate the value of this time. When I was in seminary, I was so impatient to get out and do “actual ministry.” The second thing I would say is that seminary can create a very artificial environment that is toxic for both our personal time with God and the vibrancy of our ministry. The proverbial “dryness” of your spiritual life during seminary is well known, and I think the reason is because we get used to handling holy things lightly. Fight against it with everything that is in you. Be long in prayer, and zealous to serve your brothers and sisters because washing feet is one of the ways we destroy the pride that calcifies our hearts. Lastly, don’t forget the gospel. Review it often. The gospel is the greatest antidote for pride.
What were the last three movies you watched?
Is this a trick question? I think I’m supposed to say something like Jesus of Nazareth or The Passion. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but as a dad of four kids, two of the three were kid movies: Planes and the new Percy Jackson movie. I’m not sure I would recommend either to you. The third was one that I re-watched: Les Misérables. What a fantastic movie!
J.D. Greear serves as the Lead Pastor of the Summit Church in Durham, NC. He is the author of several books including his most recent book Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Hearts: How to Know For Sure You Are Saved. You can connect with J.D. on Twitter, Facebook or through his website.