Are 'Alter calls" a Biblical practice or not?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JesusFan, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. JesusFan

    JesusFan
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    just curious, were they proscribed in the Bible?

    As they seem to be more of a "accept jesus in your heart and get saved now" message?
     
  2. jbh28

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    It's being discussed here
     
  3. Jerome

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    The Bible does not proscribe them.
     
  4. mandym

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    How alter calls are handled varies from church to church. Trying to use a broad brush to paint all of them is a mistake.
     
  5. Tom Bryant

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    I don't mean to mean to be the spelling police, but alter and altar are different things altogether. Church give an ALTAR call and pray that when someone comes forward, they will ALTER their actions and attitudes. :smilewinkgrin:

    Are you asking if the Bible proscribes them meaning " to denounce or condemn (a thing) as dangerous " or prescribe meaning "Recommend (a substance or action) as something beneficial"

    If you're asking if they are condemned, I don't think so. If you're asking if they are prescribed, I don't think so, either.

    But there was apparently opportunities for people to respond to the message. In Acts 2, Peter told them what they must do to be saved. But in terms of coming forward, I think their baptism was their public profession of faith which is sometimes the idea of an altar call.
     
  6. J.D.

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    The Bible does prescribe giving an invitation, but does not prescribe a time or place such as at the end of the Sunday sermon in which one must respond to it. In modern invitations, the objective is not merely to give an invitation, but to get an immediate response; thereby measuring the successfulness of the various manipulative methods employed to garner such reactions.

    But even if we allow that invitations with demonstrable responses are warranted, and are well-suited for making professions and inquiries, the modern invitation does not stop there, but proceeds on to make it an idolatrous event by convincing people to come forward to "get saved" and/or pray on the altar, making the altar an idol. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols".

    BTW only Catholic churches have actual "altars".
     
  7. Ruiz

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    There are two different beliefs on this issue.

    There is the Regulative Principles which says, "unless commanded in worship, it is prohibited."

    The Normative Principles are the second view which says, "unless prohibited in worship, it is allowed."

    I hold to the regulative principles of worship; therefore, I believe that an invitation system (like altar calls) are prohibited for corporate worship.
     
  8. Amy.G

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    Actually it's altAr, although when we are called, we are altEred. :)

    But seriously, the only true altar is the one in heaven where Jesus placed His blood.

    I prefer "invitation", not to an altar but to Christ.
     
  9. Jerome

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    Accept Jesus into your heart?

    Get saved now?

    Just what kind of message is that???


    "But, just as you are, if you will receive Christ into your heart and confess Him with your mouth, you shall be saved! Oh, this glorious way of the salvation of sinners—so simple, yet so safe—so plain, yet so sublime—for me to lay aside my own righteousness and just take the righteousness of Christ and be covered with it from head to foot! —Charles Spurgeon


    "Admit the Lord into your heart and the limping of your unbelief will be exchanged for the leaps of faith! Then shall you see those things to which your heart has long been blind. Let Him in! Let Him in! Believe on Him! Trust Him and let Him into your heart—and you shall find Him the Physician of your soul." —Charles Spurgeon


    "our real object is to have our hearers saved—and to have them saved now. I never did come upon this platform desiring that my ministry might be blessed to you months after you had heard the sermon! I trust I have prayed times without number that it might be blessed at once to the salvation of souls. It is an immediate result that we must look for and labor to achieve. There were three reasons why Abraham’s servant wished Rebekah to go with him at once—and these move me to desire your conversion tonight. . . .
    May you, then, come and trust Him now, saying—
    Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Your blood was shed for me,
    And that You bid me come to You,
    O Lamb of God, I come
    !" —Charles Spurgeon


    "Sinner, it is your only hope. You will be lost for ever, the sword shall pierce through your soul to your everlasting destruction; but fly now unto Christ the temple, and lay hold upon the altar's horn. . . .Poor sinner, if you have never done this before do it now, and say in your heart,
    "My faith doth lay her hand
    Upon that altar's horn,
    And see my bleeding Lord at hand
    Who all my sin has borne."" —Charles Spurgeon



    Now that's an altar!
     
  10. JesusFan

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    Think that we need to rethink this procedure of sinners comingto Christ, as IF the HS is doing His work to bring them to faith by grace, than they will do mor than just "ask jesus in their hearts!"
     
  11. convicted1

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    Alter or altar calls are not biblical. I've never read where Jesus stood and said, "Come down the aisle and pray at the altar. If you fail to do this, you are not confessing me, and in turn, I will not confess you". Nor have I read where He said, "Come as you are".


    The bible states for you to find a closet, and close the door behind you, and whatsoever you ask in secret, He will reward you openly. IOW, salvation is between you and God Almighty, and no one else.
     
  12. Luke2427

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    Wrong.

    I am not a fan of altar calls myself. But your reasoning against it is unsound.

    This "Jesus did not say to do it" statement is no proof that no one should do it.

    Jesus did not say to do thousands of things that we do which are perfectly OK to do.
    Jesus did not say, "Pass the offering plate" but since he did not condemn it we find no reason to stop it.

    Jesus does not have to say, "Come down the aisle and pray at an altar" for it to be OK to do so.

    Your next logical error is when you make the case that we should not do it based on the fact that Jesus DID say to enter into our closet and pray.

    Just because Jesus said TO enter our closet and pray does not mean that we can't also pray at an altar. Affirming the one is not negating the other.

    We can pray over the Lord's Supper. That's not private prayer. But if your line of reasoning stands we should not pray over the Lord's Supper for the same reason we should not pray at an altar- why? Well becaue Jesus said that when we pray we should enter our closet!

    Do you see how willy that reasoning is?

    Then, finally, the last reason your argument is no good is because you take the passage about praying in your closet and teach something from it that the passage has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH. You say that this passage means that salvation is between you and God Almighty and no one else.

    That verse is not saying that at all. That verse is a million miles from that altogether.

    Whether or not it is true that salvation is between you and God Almighty and no one else is irrelevant at this point. What is relevant is that you don't get to quote a verse and then say the verse is saying something that it has nothing to do with.

    BTW, I don't like altar calls at all. But my reasoning for being against them had better be more sound than that which you employ here.
     
    #12 Luke2427, Oct 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2011
  13. convicted1

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    Look Brother, the point I am trying to make is this. Salvation is between God and that lost individual. I have heard waaaay too many times that if you don't come and pray at the altar, you are being ashamed of confessing Jesus, and in turn, He will be ashamed to confess you before His Father and His holy angels. I do not know how they are practiced in your area, but around here, it's 99.99999% theatrics. If no sinners respond, they will then ask if there are any christians here that need to come to the altar and pray about something. They will do anything to keep from having a "zero response" to the altar call.


    The bible does not state that we are to confess Jesus as Saviour in order to be saved(Romans 10:9,10 get abused this way), but we are to confess Him AFTER we are saved. We confess because we "possess", not confess to "possess".
     
  14. Luke2427

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    That's not the point Willis.

    I agree with your conclusion. I despise most altar calls. I despise the theatrics.

    The point is that you put up a verse to support your reasoning that had nothing at all to do with your reasoning.

    It's not enough to happen to be right- you have to be right for the right reasons. In other words the means whereby you come to the right conclusions are more important than the conclusions themselves.

    If you are against the mistreatment of black people- that's good. But if the reason you are agaisnt the mistreatment of black people is because you believe God is black- well that's a problem.

    I'm glad that you don't like altar calls. I'm not happy that you don't seem to be able to support your reasoning exegetically.
     
  15. David Lamb

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    There have been several threads on this matter on the BB. During one, called simply Altar Calls, I wrote in Post 14:
    Like several others who have already replied, I would say that "The Altar Call" (in the sense of the preacher pleading with people to get up out of their seats, come to the front and accept Jesus as their Saviour) is not biblical, but encouraging people to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved definitely is biblical.

    However, one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the very name, "altar call". Such a name is misleading, to say the least. For example, the Wkipedia article "Altar Call" states:
    "It is so named because the supplicants gather at the altar located at the front of the church. Most altar calls occur at the end of an evangelical address. The invitation may be referred to as an "altar call" even if there is no actual altar present."
    I'm aware that anyone can write an article for Wikipedia, so the writer may have been wrong, but if so, I'm sure he or she is not the only person to be misled into think that way. Perhaps the origin of the name was the idea of Jesus Christ Himself being the altar, prefigured by the Old Testament altars and sacrifices. But to me, it still seems a misleading name for the practice.
    My beliefs would seem to agree with yours, and are still the same on the matter as they were back in 2007.

    By the way, if by "Catholic" you mean "Roman Catholic", it is wrong to say that only Catholic churches have actual "altars". Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptic church buildings, and maybe the buildings of some other groups, also have a table-like structure which they call an "altar". But baptist church buildings do not. Hebrews 10.10-14 make it clear why not:
    10 By that will (the will of God the Father) we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

     
  16. J.D.

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    Thank you for those pointers. I did intentionally shorten it to Catholic without Roman because I tend to lump the Eastern and Coptic Churches into the Catholic family. But I was not aware that the Anglicans had an altar.
     
  17. convicted1

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    To Bro. Luke2427



    After giving this a more indepth analysis, I hope I can explain why I used that which I bolded as an example.


    Bro. Luke, you know, as well as I, that the bible is our sole source on how and why the local church functions. We are to set our rules, practices, statements of faith(ORBs call them "Articles of Faith"), worship from the bible. They were given the name CHRISTian(Christ like) at Antioch.

    Now for us to be Christ like, we must do as He did, not that we can ever attain His most perfect holiness. What I mean is that Jesus told His Disciples that while He was in the world, He was/is the Light of the world. Whenever He was to leave, He told them that they would be the light of the world. He even went as far as to tell them that they would be compared like a "city that is set on the hill, can not be hid." Now, that we have obtained that like precious faith, we have that Light in us, that others may see our good works, and glorify God, which is in heaven. We are to do what He has commanded us to do: go forth and preach His Gospel, feed the hungry, visit the sick, and even them in prison, etc.


    Now, let's look at how our church is to function. Jesus went throughout the land, and any and all who called out to Him, He healed, fed, and saved. No where have I read where He begged anyone to come to Him. As He passed by, if someone called out, He would go to them. It is to be that way in our churches. We are to present the Gospel to the lost, and let them know that if they die lost, they will end up in hell. If we preach the Gospel, in a Holy Ghost empowered service, let me be the first to tell you that that will suffice. Man wants to take too much credit(we deserve zilch) when someone is saved. If God is truly dealing with someone's heart, if man tries to intervene, all he does is muddy the water. God knows how to save, and does not need us to get in His way.


    The reason why I have a vested interest in this(altar calls), I had a bad dealing one time. God was dealing with me, and I had a desire to be saved. I did not know how to be saved, but I knew that if I died, I was a goner. One night, I asked a church I went to to pray with me. One of the preachers there began trying to "save" me. I told him I didn't feel the load lifted(I knew I wasn't saved at that moment in time), and he told me the bible never said anything about feelings. He then told me that all I had to do was confess Jesus, and they would take me and "baptize" me. If I would have listened to him, instead of God, I would have been no better off. This wasn't during an altar call, but I wanted the church to pray with me before the preaching started.


    On May 24th, 2007, around 1:30 AM, God saved a vile, wicked, self-centered, unworthy sinner from his sins. It was He and I, and no one else was involved.


    I pray that you now have a better understanding of why I used what I bolded in that post. Christ isn't a begger, and neither should we.

    I love you, Brother Luke. May God richly bless you, your wife, and 5 children this coming weekend.


    i am I AM's!!

    Willis
     
    #17 convicted1, Nov 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2011
  18. convicted1

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    Bumping this so that Brother Luke can see, and hopefully respond.
     
  19. Luke2427

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    I agree with all of this. That is besides the point.

    If you and I are going to condemn anything we need Bible RIGHTLY DIVIDED, interpreted via a proper hermeneutic to do so.

    I do not like altar calls. But the verses you have provided do not condemn them- at all.

    Just posting a verse and then making statements is not enough. That verse needs to actually say what you say it says.

    It is not good at all for you to post a verse and then say something it does not say as if it did.


    All of this is true but it does not address my earlier grievance.


    There is no biblical precedent for basing ones assurance on FEELINGS.

    This is absolutely KILLING us today.

    I wish to God I could purge this way of thinking from off the face of the earth!

    We are the most TOUCHY FEELY age of all time I suppose. We base WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY too much on FEELINGS.

    Would to God we would altogether abandon such shallowness and embrace this instead: the basing of our conclusions, our assurance, our theology, our decisions, our worship on godly WISDOM. This WISDOM comes from the Scriptures rightly divided and properly exegeted.

    I am glad. And I agree that Christ is no beggar. But what we have not done yet is rightly divide a passage of scripture that condemns the use of altar calls.
     
    #19 Luke2427, Nov 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2011
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Alter calls....pure BS!
     

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