Alter calls

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Jedi Knight, May 9, 2009.

  1. Jedi Knight

    Jedi Knight
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    What do you think about Alter calls at the end of services? Scriptural? Sometimes it feels so mechanical and wonder if there is a different way for people to accept Christ where they are seated?
     
  2. Olivencia

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    Good thread. When I was unsaved I would be terrified to come forward. I was and still am many times very shy.
     
  3. historyb

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    I find nothing in Scripture about Altar Calls, nor are they needed to become a Christian. It does help some though, but one can become a Christian sitting in the pew to.

    I believe Christians have let a lot of non biblical stuff creep in like that, the hardest thing to do will be to shed all the extra to non biblical baggage Christian have added.
     
  4. Jedi Knight

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    When people are STARING at you it would feel funny.I got saved in my room.....so I didn't face such pressure:saint:. I remember visiting a Pentecostal church as a kid and their alter call was to look at me with stares till I felt so pressured to go up front.:tear:
     
  5. ~JM~

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  6. Amy.G

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    Thanks. I just ordered it.

    I also read MacArthur's Truth War and really liked it.
     
  7. Salty

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    Acts 2:41 tells us that 3000 were added to the church - I Suppose that Peter gave an invitation.

    Scripture does not require an alter call, neither does it prohibit.

    There are extremes, for example when "Just as I Am" is sung 4 full times (x 4 verses = 16). That I do have a problem.
    I do remember at Fellowship Baptist in Wildflicekn, as I was closing the invitation ( I suppose after 2 or 3 verses) Dennis stood up and said "you cant close the invitation, because my friend wants to get saved!"

    I also remember one time soon after I started attending Trinity Baptist in Hopewell, a 7 year old boy went forwarded to get saved. I started talking to him, explaining he must repent of his sins - he said he had never sinned!
    Mr Bean came by and asked me to fill out a card. I told Mr. Bean it was not necessary to fill out the card as the boy had NOT gotten saved. Mr. Bean was very upset at me. Later I learned that the boy would come forward about once a month and "gotten saved" each time

    My bottom line - an alter call can be a good thing - if it is not abused.
     
  8. ~JM~

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    More to think about.

    source
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    I don't mind them...if done appropriately. The worst kind is when a minister/evangelist/speaker prates on the emotions of people.

    Also, I enjoy seeing ministers still available off to the side after the service. Not necessarily gladhanding the laity. Too many decisions are made afterwards to ignore them.

    Not necessarily. More Scriptural is a baptismal confession that explains someone's decision to follow Christ than an altar call.

    I accepted Christ seated. I made my public profession by coming forward and being baptized.

    Altar calls are a rather modern invention. They can work well when done well. Most decisions for Christ aren't made at an altar but in the seat, before someone comes forward.

    good convo, thanks
     
  10. PeterM

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    I would draw a distinction between an "alter call" and giving folks an opportunity to respond to what the Lord has done or said during the service or at some time during the week. Most people who accept Christ have already done so in the pew or more than likely somewhere else. Coming forward is simply making that decision public so that the congregation can celebrate and encourage the individual(s). It also establishes an accountability with those folks and the church moving forward.

    Anyone who limits what I call a "time of response" to the business of salvation is missing a valuable part of a worship gathering. I include decisions for those who want to be baptised and join the church as other decisions that I believe should be made public. People are also invited to come to the platform to pray with me or one of the staff.

    I don't think having or not having this time at the end of the service is either right or wrong as some churches do and some don't. Freedom is a beautiful thing...
     
    #10 PeterM, May 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2009
  11. ~JM~

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    altar = a usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship

    alter = to make different without changing into something else
     
  12. Jedi Knight

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    I would like the pastor to try closing in prayer and lets the person know they can call on the Lord where they are. The alter is in the heart and can go upfront for whatever later....rather than "just as I am" for the millionth time.lol Ahh now I see where the mechanic comes in.......lets sing unto the Lord a new song! "My Opinion may not reflect others on here nor the Baptistbillboard":tongue3:
     
  13. Jon-Marc

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    I haven't noticed that altar calls are very effective at getting unsaved people to come forward for salvation. Most people don't like making a spectacle of themselves and wouldn't think of walking forward in front of strangers (and especially friends and relatives) and say "I want to be saved."

    Still, I have nothing against altar calls and always wonder why the pastor didn't have one. One time I was going to go forward for membership in a church at the altar call, but there wasn't any.
     
  14. MB

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    Everything concerning God and the Bible was always precise in the OT. From building an alter to sacrifices and the temple. The ark was precise in how it was made even the clothes the priest wore all had to be precisely as God commanded. Everything was precise. Salvation is no less precise. Man is not able to save himself nor do anything to make him worthy of Salvation. An alter Call does not save a man nor does going forward. Only Grace through faith saves the man nothing else is needed. And both of these are gifts. Repentance is granted by God so even that isn't of man but of God. The only thing man can do is mess it up. Like Cain did with his sacrifice. Any time we try to add or take away from the process it doesn't work.

    We are first drawn by God to Christ. We are then convinced of the gospel by the Holy Spirit and the Word. We are convicted of our sins and these all together take us to our knees in submission. Every bit of it is of God man doesn't have anything to do with his own Salvation.

    It is precise because God never changes and it is all of God.
    MB
     
  15. ~JM~

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    Al Mohler and Mark Dever on the subject, h e r e, at around the 20 min. mark.
     
  16. Allan

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    The link needs to study up a little more.

    The 'term' alter call was what was not used so much. The same aspects were there there for going way back to the examples in scripture where a plea was given to hears that they could respond. Both Peter and Paul gave the people an opportunity to respond to the preaching.
     
  17. ~JM~

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    Altar calls are fools gold.

    Should We Use Altar-Calls in Our Evangelism?
    __________________________________________________________________

    21 Flaws of the “Altar Call”
    by Pastor David Wooten

    The invitation system is a modern evangelism innovation…

    1. …without scriptural warrant.
    2. …that is faulty and dangerous.
    3. …that has created a new, unbiblical vocabulary (i.e., “repentance and faith” have been replaced with “decide for Christ,” “ask Jesus into your heart,” “Give your heart to Jesus,” “first-time decisions,” etc.)
    4. …not practiced by the church until about 150 years ago.
    * It was begun by Charles Finney who believed conversion was a psychological event and used this “anxious seat” to replace the purpose of baptism.
    * It was popularized by Dwight L. Moody.
    * It was standardized by Billy Graham.
    5. …that has contributed to filling our churches with unregenerate church members.
    6. …leading easily to abuse and manipulation of the method, especially towards children and teenagers.
    7. …established upon psychological premises.
    8. …mistakenly equated often with the new birth and/or conversion.
    9. …involving a high rate of apostatizing (90+% according to the Billy Graham Evangelisitic Association).
    10. …that is unnecessary for the Holy Spirit to do His regenerating, saving work.
    11. …that is used to attempt to quantify soul-winning results.
    12. …that is not the biblical mark of whether a church is committed to evangelism or not.
    13. …where often the appeal to “come forward” supercedes or replaces any explanation of sin, repentance, or faith.
    14. …that implies (or sometimes states explicitly) that those sinners who do not “come forward” are disobeying a divine command.
    15. …climaxing with the recitation of a sinner’s prayer that is equated with conversion.
    16. …that some respond to in their attempt through human effort to earn their standing before God.
    17. …calling for the sinner’s instant performance rather than his careful contemplation of his sinfulness and the One whom he has offended.
    18. …that adds a condition for salvation (”come forward”) that Christ never gave.
    19. …that confuses the unregenerate man as to the specific obligations of his duty.
    20. …that morphs the task of the evangelist to the duty of “drawing the net” by coaxing people to come down the aisle.
    21. …seeking to give men relief from God’s conviction before He has made them fully humble and miserable over their sin.

    I believe that the altar call has become the modern evangelical equivalent of Roman Catholicism’s pennance. Ask a Catholic how he knows he is right with God, and he will tell you that he did his pennance (x number of Hail Mary’s, etc.). Ask someone in a modern evangelical church how they know they are right with God, and he will likely tell you that he “came forward” during a public altar call. Both are woefully inadequate and unbiblical evidences of the new birth.
     
  18. Allan

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    Again, you need to look into why it was/is called an 'alter' at the front of the church and why it was called an "alter call".

    The alter was much more than what you give.
     
    #18 Allan, May 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2009
  19. Allan

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    But only the uniformed would say such because he is limited in his understanding of it. Can it be abused? Yes. Has God used and blessed it in the Church? Oh Yes.

    The guy above who gave such a poor analysis is not only woefully mistaken but sadly misinformed and one sided in his view. What he gives cam be 'easily' refuted point by point but there is no need to.

    Editted in:
    Also - it did not begin with Charles Finney and they forgot to add men like Spurgeon to their list who used it.
     
    #19 Allan, May 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2009
  20. Revmitchell

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