If you haven't seen or heard of this practice, a Judgment House is the spiritual haunted house. Instead of monsters and serial killers, there is a car wreck or some other disaster that ends the life of a young teen (possibly younger) that had never "accepted Jesus into his heart". You walk though rooms filled with the events leading up to the horrible accident (in this case it was a wild high school party filled with as much alcohol as a rebellious teenager could ever imagine - the alcohol was just red SOLO cups filled with water), the back yard with crushed cars and screaming (the actual one in this article is pictured above), a mock hospital room wherein the parents are told of their young son's leaving this life, the funeral filled with crying teenagers and then, eventually, the group that you are in is brought into a beautiful white room smelling of baby powder and fake smoke (you're in Heaven awaiting the Judgment). There's a tall middle aged man standing in beautiful white robes and a line of those high school students that died in the crash you witnessed earlier. He tells the young lady that she has been accepted into Heaven and the angels come to great her. The next is told the same thing. And the next. But then he gets to the young man dressed in the black that you recognize from the pictures at the funeral scene. And...he is reminded of his infidelities and is banished from the presence of the tall man. Screams immediately begin. You come into a pitch black room filled with the most horrible screaming and ominous laughing you have ever heard (that's hell). It is here when a man who is obviously the "Youth Pastor" steps in front of the group and asks a simple question, "Do you want this to happen to you?" followed by instructions to those that do not to go to a special counseling room to speak with one of the volunteers. In that room, an eight or nine year old boy is told to pray a prayer to escape the coming Judgment that might happen at any time.
That eight or nine year old boy, was me. And the prayer that I prayed at the help of the volunteer was the Sinner's Prayer.
But, thankfully, latter in life I was taught something so different, so unique that it intrigued me. And, after learning the Truth of God's Word, I was baptized for the remission of my sins.
I said prayers before that, but none of them culminated in my salvation. Because the Sinner's Prayer is fundamentally flawed...
The Sinner's Prayer Fails to Teach Obedience to God's Law
"...in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 2 Thessalonians 1:8
Did you catch it? Paul told the Thessalonians that Jesus was coming back and in doing so would bring judgment on those who did not "obey the gospel of Jesus Christ"!
The Sinner's Prayer fails to teach people how to do this. Not only because it is found nowhere in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (How can a person be taught something from a source that mentions nothing about it? It's like learning about geometry from a book on how to eat an Oreo.) but also because there is no real sense of obedience within the Sinner's Prayer.
It is just something you utter, like a magical spell, that forces God to give you salvation, instead of the Biblically defined acts which ask God for salvation through doing what He has commanded (cf. 1 Peter 3:21).
The Sinner's Prayer Keeps People from the Blood of Christ
But, what is the "Gospel of Jesus Christ" that we are to obey? - Paul said that it was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). So the question is, "How can we obey something that Jesus already did? Are we supposed to be crucified, buried and rise from the dead? How in the world can we do THAT?"
That is where it gets remarkably simple (almost like God planned for it to be easily found and obeyed)!
We are crucified with Christ in understanding our sins, repenting of them and being obedient to His commands (Romans 6:1-3, Galatians 2:20).
We are buried with Christ when we are immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 6:4, Acts 22:16).
We are risen from the grave with Him when we are raised from the water and begin our new life in Him (Romans 6:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3:27).
The Sinner's Prayer fails to show people how to access that Gospel. And in doing so, it fails to show people how to touch Him and His blood!
The Sinner's Prayer Teaches Apathy Instead of Commitment
People have been teaching the Sinner's Prayer for years, and the vast majority of those who have prayed that prayer never changed their lives, never darkened the door of a church building for worship, never taught anyone else. Why? Because they didn't know what they were doing? The prayer that they prayed was, and is, seen as a magical spell that fixed everything when in fact they didn't have time to count the cost and assess what they were doing.
So, not only did the Sinner's Prayer not teach me a change of life, it didn't show me how to access Christ's blood and it definitely didn't teach me to obey any commands because it isn't a command.