Altar call

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by TurboMike, Jan 2, 2002.

  1. TurboMike

    TurboMike
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    Something is really bothering me in my church. Sometimes, we don't have a altar call. The Pastor didnt give one a few weeks ago, so I asked him about it. He said he was very sick and didn't think he'd make it through the service. I wondered about the other times he didn't give one, but didn't ask.
    This sunday we had a great service. Music was great, people were in the spirit, some new unsaved guests came (yes, i am sure they are unsaved)and some saved (yet church-less)guests came...but NO altar call. I went up after the service anyway. I know some will say, "where your heart is, there is your altar also" but I, for one, really think the "opportunity" should be given to come to the altar during (or after) the service. What is everyones opinion on altar calls???
     
  2. Harald

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    Sir. Have you gone to the sole authority for faith and practice, the inspired and inerrant word of Almighty God? Take and look if you find that Christ Jesus the Lord or the apostles taught about the so called altar call. Take and look if the apostles in practice used this so called altar call. And keep in memory the following scriptures as you go along; Isaiah 8:20, 1Tim. 6:3-5. Yet I am sure you might get some opinions from some, but remember the Bible is the final authority.

    Harald
     
  3. Love43

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    The altar in the Church is the call to faith. I am sure the early church had "altar calls" if not what is the point of preaching? Do we preach every Sunday and then send people on their merry way without giving them an oppertunity to come and meet the Savior?
     
  4. Lorelei

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    Since when did salvation rely upon coming to the alter and praying? Can't one meet the Savior wherever they are? Whether they are at the alter, in their pew, in thier car, in the thier home, or sick in bed, they can meet the Savior.

    The alter call was something new that was invented when some evangelist thought the audience needed some emotional motivating factor to get people to respond. I can do some research and find the specifics on this, but the alter call is fairly a new idea starting in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

    Now, I am not saying that alter calls should be done away with. I think they can be beneficial, but let us not give ourselves credit for saving others. Let's leave that to the Holy Spirit. It is He who convicts and brings a sinner to repentance. I dare to say that God would not let someone rot in hell because he didn't make it to the alter. If God is working in thier heart, then they will come to know the Lord, whether or not a call to the alter is made.


    ~Lorelei

    [ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: Lorelei ]
     
  5. Barnabas H.

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    The so called "altar call" wasn't instituted before the late eighteen hundreds. It was initiated, argued, and defended successfully against other evangelical preachers by C. G. Finney (1792-1875). However, it was not known as "altar car" in the beginning. It was dubbed "the anxious seat," by Finney. ;)

    The friendly fight among evangelicals concerning "altar call" contniues to our present day. It is interesting to know that according to Ian H. Murray (who wrote the book: "The Invitation System"), Harold J. Ockenga, of Boston, speaking at the World Congress on evangelism (convened in Berlin, speaking under the chairmanship of Billy Graham, Autumn, 1966), judged that it was valid to use or not to use 'the invitation' because conversions occur in both instances. 'We must conclude that we cannot be exclusive in our methodology, nor can we sit in judgment upon those who use a different methodology in evangelism from our own.' So, if you do it you are ok, if you don't do it you are ok. Does this answer your question? [​IMG]

    [ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: Barnabas ]
     
  6. Brian

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    I for one am very much for an "alter call". Sad as it is to say many times you can sit through a sermon and not hear a clear evangelical message. Or even a small portion of a message devoted to the Gospel. So the alter call becomes the time devoted to giving people a chance to respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The alter call doesn't save anyone. The alter call gives every one a place to profess their faith in Christ. Also it gives potential new members of like faith a method of joining a congregation. Can anyone find a scripture against it?
     
  7. Barnabas H.

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brian:
    Can anyone find a scripture against it?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As it was stated above, "altar call" is a modern day phenomena. Even though you grew up with it, that doesn't mean that everybody has to practice it. There are strong arguments for and against. The bottom line is: It doesn't hurt! So, you have my blessings if you practice it - but I hope you do not judge others who do not. ;)
     
  8. susanpet

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    I believe that any one can get saved wherever they are, if the Lord is dealing with them. But sometimes a person needs an invitation to come to the alter. I am thankful that our pastor always gives an alter call. I have felt the need many times to go and bow on my knees during a service.The Holy Spirit , thru the preacher, or someone else, will beckon, and I can't sit still. It feels like I will burst inside if I don't go.
    I definitely believe there should be an alter call at every service. What if the Spirit is dealing with someone and all they need is an invitation, but no one gives one? What if they die on the way home?
    When I said I have been back to the alter, it's because I wanted to bow and worship my Lord in reverence and it makes me feel even closer to God. You will know when the Spirit is leading you.
    Susanpet [​IMG]
     
  9. Barnabas H.

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    Susanpet, I understand where you are coming from because we attend an Independent, Soulwinning, Bible preaching/teaching, Fundamental, Separated, Etc., Baptist Church. And we have altar call at every occasion. But if you are telling me that faith is equal to what you feel at any given time, then I have to tell you that you must be riding a wild roller coaster. Faith is not feelings; it is the blessed knowledge and assurance that you are saved by the precious blood of the Lamb. [​IMG]

    Feelings never come into the equation of salvation, it is rather a byproduct. Please consider the following scenario, which must be a Bible standard of new birth:
    1. FACTS = A sinner must hear the word of God.
    2. FAITH = The sinner must believe in the accomplished work of Jesus on the cross, accept Him into his heart, and be baptized.
    3. FEELINGS = Joy comes from a heart where Jesus dwells!

    A classical Bible example is in Acts 8:26-39. It is the well-known story of Philip (the evangelist) and the Ethiopian eunuch. By using the above three points, we see the following:
    1) FACTS = The eunuch read God's words but did not understand it. Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus (v. 35).
    2) FAITH = The eunuch believed! And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (v. 37).
    3. FEELING = The feeling of joy came after baptism. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went his way rejoicing. (v.v. 38, 39). PTL! [​IMG]

    Now it is an altogether different animal when we speak of convictions of the soul. After hearing a fired up sermon for the Lord and we are convicted about something, which is not according to the will of God and we repent of same, we may come under the cross fresh and anew. If to you it means that you walk forward and pray there, it is fine. Others may prefer to do it in the pew where they stand. There is no commandment to go forward at any given time, only that you deal with your heart before the Lord. And lastly, it is the Lord who saves – not a preacher, not a member of the church. Therefore, unless the Lord prepares the heart of the sinner you can have thousands of “altar calls” without any results. But when the Lord prepares the individual, you do not need “priming the pump” for there is a well within that soul already from the Lord. (Just my humble opinion) [​IMG]
     
  10. Larry

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    Every head bowed and all eyes closed, no one is looking around. (Speaking in a low voice) if you think the altar call is a psychological ploy, raise your hand. … I see that hand…. Yes … yes… hands up all over the Internet.


    If you think the altar call is biblical, raise your hand. … I see that hand…. Yes … yes… hands up all over the Internet.


    ………Fifteen minuets of the same song, over and over and over, with my pleading you over the music…………

    If you raised your hand come up front and post. There are counselors who will be glad to post with you.


    The things about most alter calls I have heard:

    1) no mention of Repentance or Faith
    2) infuses is on you doing something, not believing something
    3) Some of these guys are so slick… they could go to work for Amway and make a bundle.
    4) As soon as the altar call is over, you’re off the hook.
    5) Some how, preachers have gotten the idea that lost souls are supposed to come in to the church and hear the Gospel. (that’s just plain ******)

    God is NOT bound by our “What ifs” what if we had sang one more verse, what if the Spirit is dealing with someone and needs an assist from some man? The God, who saved me, he didn’t need anybody’s help!

    [ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: Larry ]
     
  11. Jamal5000

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TurboMike:
    What is everyones opinion on altar calls???<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    When I first joined my church back in 1994, my Pastor "forgot(?)" to give an alter call for the only time that I can recall. He is very insistent on alter calling and further emphasizes it by calling everyone in the congregation to the front of the church for an extended prayer immediately after he opens the doors to the church.

    I definitely believe that you always need to invite sinners to the alter to give their life to Christ rather than to let them come by their own aggressive bravery because most of them don't really know what to do in order to join a congregation.

    UNP, Jamal5000 [​IMG]
     
  12. Miss Bobbie

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    The church I attend has an altar call every week, and I like that part of service. The pastor always expresses his hope that those who have not yet asked Jesus to be their personal Lord and Savior will make that commitment. If I had heard that in a church years ago, I might not have been so old when I finally realized that I needed to ASK for salvation. [​IMG] No, it didn't happen at the church, and I was already saved when I started attending, but it's a gentle nudge/reminder for those attending who are NOT saved. Our church calls it a "time of invitation," and I just love to see the people go forward!
     
  13. Lorelei

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    I remember when I first joined the church that I attend now. One thing I didn't like was that the alter calls weren't as..."moving" if you will. Maybe it's because we don't really have an alter. I dunno. The invitation is for those who want to know more about accepting Christ, for those who have accepted Him and want to publically testify, or for those who want to join the church. You can also go and pray with the Pastor if you want, but they never really say, just come and kneel and pray if you feel led. You know, going forward, just you and God alone. I missed that. But after awhile I got used to praying right where I was. The sermons (well the Holy Spirit through the sermons) still move and convict me, I just don't have to mosey on up to the front for it to "mean" that much to me.

    You must remember one other argument against alter calls. They can make someone feel "forced" into making that decision and it tends to lead to some "false" conversions.

    It made me wonder, how many people were actually saved at an alter call. I started another thread just to see how many people here were saved at the alter. Go answer if you would. I just wonder how effective they can be. It sort of bothers me when people talk about how they went forward at some crusade, yet thier life just doesn't look any different. I am certain there are many real conversions too, it should just be noted that not all of them are.

    Again, I am not against alter calls. Personally I like them, I just don't find them "necessary" and don't think others should be judged for not using them. The Holy Spirit can and will convict with or without them.

    ~Lorelei
     
  14. mark

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    The Bible says, "confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord" (or something like that) and alter calls are such obvious ways to do that, so I hope they happen at every service (and even at potlucks haha).
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Altar calls to respond in faith to the proclaimed truth of God's Word are good. Every message SHOULD have some imperative or else it is just a speech.

    But we have elevated them to another level; a test of whether a church is "soul winning" or not. They have become a time of psychological manipulation that is a disgrace to the working of the Holy Spirit.

    We have been one year "altar call free" in our ifb church. We found that 99% of the true converts were saved elsewhere, and that the few who rushed forward to pray soon fizzled as the emotional high wore off.

    Okay, I've gotten a little cynical after 30+ years of pastoring. Back to the Bible! How many altar calls can you find in the NT?
     
  16. Barnabas H.

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    That's easy! None, 'cause altar call was first instituted somewhere in the early eighteen hundreds. [​IMG]
     
  17. Brian

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    This may be a little hard because I don't think the scriptures are specific on this. At pentecost when Peter had preached and the rest were speaking in tounges, thousands were converted. Did they have some type of alter call? How else would they know how many conversions there were? One would think like all new converts these people would want to talk to someone about thier new faith. It seems that such and event would take place after the message had been delivered. Very similar to our modern 'alter call' style of invitation. BTW I agree with most here that a protracted invitation can be a bad thing.
     
  18. Jamal5000

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    I don't understand how altar calling can be bad when there are so many people who just do not know what to do to give themselves to the Lord. As a "veteran" disciple who has studied the concepts of salvation, redemption, righteousness, holiness, and Christ for years, I believe I have a solid grasp on them. However, when I first came to Christ, I really did not get any of it. I needed help. Lots of help. I needed someone to hold my hand and teach me how to be Christian. Altar calls faciliatate inexperience by guiding an unsaved person just like a teacher must guide a new student in a new school to their classroom and orient them to the daily routine of the school. They help a baby disciple take his first step. Yes, God guides us through the Holy Spirit, but, a lot of new converts don't fully understand what the Holy Spirit is let alone how it guides him.

    Publically giving yourself to God can be frightening. I think there would be a LOT less GENUINE people coming to God if we did not have altar calls.

    God Bless You All [​IMG]
     
  19. Love43

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    How and when do the new converts make their conversion public? At Baptism?
     
  20. Lorelei

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brian:
    Did they have some type of alter call? How else would they know how many conversions there were? One would think like all new converts these people would want to talk to someone about thier new faith. It seems that such and event would take place after the message had been delivered. Very similar to our modern 'alter call' style of invitation. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Indeed, here is our example!

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Acts 2
    38
    Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    39
    The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
    40
    With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."
    41
    Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
    42
    They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
    43
    Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
    44
    All the believers were together and had everything in common.
    45
    Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
    46
    Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
    47
    praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Peter didn't ask them to come down and pray, but he did offer a summation with request for a commitment to be made (v 38). And indeed they did want to stay and talk with others, that is how we do know how many were added. They didn't walk the aisle and go home until next Sunday. No, they "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common.
    Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
    Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
    praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people"


    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Love43:
    How and when do the new converts make their conversion public? At Baptism?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    When you share the gospel message with everyone we meet! It is not in the Bible that the "public profession" must be made in front of the Church congretion. The Bible says to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord! I would think we were to do that always, not only to people who already believe, but especially to those who need it most, the un-believers!

    Let's not confuse man-made tradition with scripture. AGAIN..there is nothing wrong with professing publically at an alter in front of believers, but that is not the only time you should profess Him as Lord! I can think of many people who went before the church to make that public profession and all they did was answer "yes" when the preacher asked them "Did you accept the Lord as your Savior and profess Him here today"? Surely that is not what God meant.

    ~Lorelei
     

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