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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by salzer mtn, Jan 17, 2013.
Are altars down at the front of the pulpit in the church scriptural, if not what are there purpose ?
The word "alter" means to change. If someone comes to the Lord inside his garage..., could that be his "alter"?
Altars are just furniture. We do not have a religious system, like the Jews in the OT, that used specific items commanded by God to be used in their corporate worship.
That said, we do have a great deal of freedom here. People need to sit. So we choose either pews or chairs, or whatever. It is good to have a place to set the elements for Communion. An Altar works to meet that need. So would a simple table. It is good that we have means for collecting the offering. A bag, a bucket, a plate....free choice. It is good to have everyone sing in an orderly manner. Powerpoint, overhead projector, hymnals....another choice.
Is it helpful to have a place to ask people to come to for prayer or counsel when the preacher has called for a decision or response of some sort? Sure. Does it have to be an altar? No.
I see no biblical reason to demand a church has one, or not have one.
There are no altars in a Baptist church--or there shouldn't be.
Altars are places of sacrifice, all over the Old Testament. There is no longer a need for an altar. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, and satisfies completely the demands of the law.
We use the term in a figurative sense to describe total commitment of life and soul to the Lord Jesus.
I tease preachers sometimes who, during an invitation, plead for people to "come to the altar." I ask them, where is the altar in the church? Is it down front where he is? Why do I have to come down there? Why can't one trust Jesus for salvation where he is; or rededicate his life? Why can't one pray in the pew?
Sometimes we fall into using "churchy" language without thinking it through what they're saying.
Then could you please explain Matt. 5; 22-24
Yeah... there you go. Interpret a text 2,000 years old against modern structures and traditions. That'll help.
For a good discussion on this, cf. "Murder and Anger, Cain and Abel (Matt. 5:21-25)" in Studies in Matthew by Dale Allison. Very insightful as to what the altar there is a reference to.
In the south (bible belt) a altar is in most of the churches. It is considered by some as a holy thing. To throw the altar out, you have thrown God out of the church. I have witnessed preachers giving invitations to come to the altar and be saved. This leaves an impression that unless you come to a altar you cannot be saved. I've heard it descibed as an old fashion altar when in fact Charles G. Finney introduced this practice in the early eighteen hundreds known then as the mourners bench. IMO this practice of coming physically to a altar to be saved does away with the spiritual seeking and makes the person seeking believe you cannot come to God except you make a move with your body.
Jesus was speaking to Jews about Jewish sacrifice at the altar of the Jewish Temple.
Jesus is addressing the self righteousness of the Pharisees and how they only followed the law externally. Their hearts were far from God. Jesus was teaching them that even though they may offer a sacrifice, if their hearts were not right, God would reject it.
Jesus has made the final sacrifice on our behalf. We have no need of a brazen altar.
Every where in the new testament where the altar is named in scripture except Rev. it is referring to the altars under the law and how they brought gift's and sacrifices as part of their worship. In Hebrews 13:10 the scripture say's, We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. Verse thirteen say's let us go forth therefore unto him (Christ) without the camp, bearing his reproach. All the furniture of the tabernacle was a type of Christ in shadows, but we have no need today of types and shadows, we have the substance.
In other words, alter calls are for those goin ta get slaughtered.:smilewinkgrin:
Seriously? You see nothing in the passage that can teach us or apply to us in the post-Cross era?
Yea.... I agree! :thumbs:
Bingo! Amen sister! :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
Where did I say that?
The poster asked for an explanation Matt 5:22-24, which I did.
But ya know what I hear all the time Amy....."It sure is a right nice way ta close out the service!" ROFL Yea, so is a congregational prayer &/or a hymn glorifying the Lord! Praise be His name.
I'm sorry since you did not really address why the passage applies to the discussion, and your "seriously?....." implied you don't think it applies at all I hope you can understand my confusion.
Well said, my friend.
The alter is just a piece of furniture. A wooden cross is just two pieces of wood fastened together. A church building is just construction materials assembled together to provide protection from the elements.
As members of the body of Christ, we can assemble in a ploughed field with absolutely nothing except God's earth beneath our feet and His sky above our heads. There, we can worship Him and praise Him. We can beg for forgiveness and His guidance. We can simply come to Him in prayer.
Alters, pulpits, choir lofts, wooden/metal crosses, pews, bulletins, hymnals, books that printed with His word and the building that contains them, all serve useful purposes for an assembly of the faithful.
One thing seems to have been left out of this discussion, so far.
We are to be a witness for our Saviour. On Sunday morning there are many ways to be a witness to Him. It begins with our physical presence in a physical assembly of believers. On a given Sunday, our witness may be our testimony during services. It may be a heartfelt AMEN during the sermon. Or, an upraised hand during a hymn. Depending on the context of the message, it may also be a walk down the isle to the front of the church. To take the pastor's hand? Maybe. To kneel and pray? Maybe. Both? Maybe. -- as the Holy Spirit leads.
No, we don't have to do anything more than sit or stand at our place in the pews (chairs, benches, floor, ground) to worship our Lord. However, each (sincere) step we take towards a designated piece of furniture or a selected tree/rock is a witness to others that Christ dwells within us.
Do we HAVE to witness in this manner? No.
Should we be given the opportunity to witness in this manner? I'll leave the answer to that question with you.
What next ? prayer beads, saint statue's, lighted candles for incense, pictures of Jesus hanging on the walls. The altar has come to be recognized in southern churches as a material object that has saving power. Ask some people how they know if they have been born again. Answer: I came to an old fashion altar when i was a kid.
The same could be said about saying the "sinners prayer".
An Excellent example of good Bible Truth from a balanced Dispensational point of view. It also takes the proper context of the passage into consideration. Many of our church "traditions" should be evaluated in this manner. Many of them, like unscriptural NT "(so-called) tithing,etc., should be rejected and discarded if we are to be true B I B L E believers. Thank you Amy.