Altar Calls

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by VoiceInTheWilderness, Jan 26, 2003.

  1. VoiceInTheWilderness

    VoiceInTheWilderness
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    Just looking for a little survey here, on another thread I was confronted with the prospect that alot of Baptist churches today do not have altar calls. Personally I am acquainted with a great deal of churches and to the best of my knowledge, altar calls are still predominately the norm as far as Baptist churches are concerned. I suppose I'm looking for confirmation - would ya'll please keep it short.

    Yes to altar calls at your church or NO. [​IMG]

    [ January 26, 2003, 10:17 PM: Message edited by: VoiceInTheWilderness ]
     
  2. Thankful

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  3. Ben W

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  4. donnA

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  5. Sherrie

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    Yes!

    Sherrie [​IMG]
     
  6. I Am Blessed 24

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  7. Scott J

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    Yes to one degree or another.

    The movement away from the "bow your head/raise your hand" type of altar call is because of education in many cases. As best as I can tell, the altar call was an invention of Charles Finney.

    Finney had some doctrinal problems not the least of which was teaching a form of easy believism/decisionalism that is rightly viewed as dangerous by sound Independent Baptists.
     
  8. TomVols

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    No....but we do have response times.

    The man-made, man-centered "Come shake the preacher's hand and think you're saved when you're not" Altar call has no place in the church. Modern Decisional Christianity, which the NT knows nothing of, has no place in the church. Christianity got along fine until these things came along, and many of the problems in the church "just so happened" to begin to flourish when the "altar call" came into its heydey. But part of preaching is pleading with those who are lost to be saved. There are response times for them to do so, or for believers who need to respond for whatever reason.

    Clear as mud? [​IMG]

    [ January 26, 2003, 11:46 PM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  9. donnA

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    Been thinking about that Tom, most people who come foreward in the altar call are coming becasue they have been saved, or becasue they want to move membership, some becasue they want special prayer, very few times have I seen anyone come to be saved. And those have been talking usually to the pastor already, they know what they are doing, what they are getting into. We don't tell anyone they are saved unless they have repented, and then we don't tell them what only God knows. Easy believeism and doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with altar calls.
     
  10. rlvaughn

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    Voice, by "altar call" do you specifically mean coming to an altar or mourner's bench to pray, or do you just mean a time at the end of the service when people are urged to "come forward," or possibly something else? Thanks.
     
  11. I Am Blessed 24

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  12. rsr

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    rlvaughn said:

    That would pretty well describe the practice at the church I attend.

    The church I grew up in had real "altar calls" with "altars" where folks could come forward to pray. We might wear out two or three hymns in the process.
     
  13. Sherrie

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    Yes my other church...you could go to the alter and just pray. It wasn't just for those who needed to announce they wanted to be saved.

    The preacher would say...if you just want to come up and pray...come...

    but at the church I am attending and a new member.....the Pastor never says if you would just like to come up....its just short and sweet.

    Sherrie

    [ January 27, 2003, 12:55 AM: Message edited by: Sherrie ]
     
  14. SaggyWoman

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    Response time.
     
  15. Jeff Weaver

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    No, No. No.
    Never had 'em, never will.

    Salvation was bought at a great price, a terrible price, the blood of Jesus. It is not a spectator sport.
     
  16. Abiyah

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    Jeff --

    What do you do instead? Very interested, and not
    in order to criticize. We do it differently, too.
     
  17. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Abiyah

    Firstly not offended.

    Salvation is of the Lord, period, end of discussion, and it is up to each person to come to realize that and work out their own relationship with Him. We emphasize that point, and then trust that they will do it in private. It seems everyone is bent on getting others to know Jesus as their "personal" savior, (Is there any other kind?), but want to go through some ritual prayer and cathartic experience in public in order to believe that it really happened.

    The understanding of Salvation is different for each person. There should be no one size fits all approach to it.

    BTW, their is considerable evidence that the modern altar call was invented in the mid-18th century during the great awakening. The notion was that if a person hadn't had an emotional experience then that person wasn't really saved. In order to prove they had had an emotional experience it had to be done in public. Historical Baptists never held such a position, and neither do I, nor Primitive Baptists in general. That isn't to say the understanding of the work of grace can't be emotional, and can not be shared, but it isn't necessary for a genuine relationship with God.

    Clear as mud?

    How do your folks see it?

    Jeff
     
  18. Abiyah

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    Amazing. Same way, Jeff. And I certainly do not
    mean to offend either, but most of the people
    where I go came away from Christian churches
    and were already believers. Only some came in
    other ways.

    On occasion, one of my pastors will feel strongly
    inclined to make a plea for those in attendance to
    be sure they are really born again, but there is no
    public display of people going forward. We do,
    however, meet with and minister to people one-
    on-one.
     
  19. donnA

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    Without the altar call/response time, how does a person convey to the church tbey have been saved and want baptism? Or is baptism private too?
     
  20. All about Grace

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    Since this question was written in response to my post on another thread, I think some clarification is in order:

    I never said I was talking about Baptist churches. I said the more contemporary church models (with which I am very familiar). In other words, churches that have been started in the last 2 decades which have grown significantly. You can toss in Willow Creek & Saddleback along with a multitude of other more modern church models. Few of these type churches employ the traditional altar call of previous generations.

    I would also suggest that there is an emphasis among the more Reformed "church reform" movement to eliminate altar calls.

    It is interesting that both of these church models are seeking the same goal for similar but distinct differences.
     

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