*** DEBUG END ***

Atheists who pray to be converted

28 September 2012


From Mr Alan Bartley

Sir, - You report ( News, 21 September) that 50 atheists have taken up the challenge to pray for God to reveal himself to them.

Would not Pascal's wager have been a better challenge - that it is more rational to live as a Christian and live a better life and find there is no God, than to live as an atheist and find that there really was a God, that this life was a probation, and that there really are two alternatives?

Is God under any obligation to answer their prayers, given that he has already given sufficient answer in revealing himself to them in both the Bible and in the wonders of Creation, howsoever created?

As Christians, we have assurance that when we who believe in Christ pray in his name, according to his will, he will hear us, while the unbeliever, and certainly not one not invoking the name of Christ, has no such promises. Can such atheists expect any uncovenanted mercies unless they first comply with the conditions of the gospel offer, that they first repent, with the implication that they accept that they are sinners?

Nevertheless, given that God has promised to answer our prayers when made according to his will, then would it not have made more sense for groups of Christians to pray for these receptive atheists? We have general promises that their salvation is according to his will.

More interestingly, we could perhaps invoke Luther's logic, which may have inspired our Prayer Book service of infant baptism. As godly parents are promised the inclusion of their descendants to many generations, some of these atheists may well be so included. If so, a prayer for their salvation is according to God's will, and, if made in Christ's name by Christ's people, we may hope for their salvation.

17 Francis Road, Greenford UB6 7AD


Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Train-a-Priest Fund 2022 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this year. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Forthcoming Events

24 May 2022
Disability and Church: Intersectionality
A joint webinar from HeartEdge and Church Times.

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)