What constitutes an invitation?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mima, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. mima

    mima
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    Yesterday Easter Sunday I heard an excellent excellent message. Praise the Lord!! 2000 people were in attendance, many were visitors an unknown to the pastor. At the end of the message the pastor said maybe some of you have made a decision for Christ this morning and that is wonderful. Does this ending constitute an invitation, altar call, are suitable ending to you?
     
  2. Rubato 1

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    SHAME, SHAME. Can't have confrontation, now, can we? 2000 people? how many unsaved? How many walking away, never to return, never urged to accept Christ in a pointed way. At the THRONE, someone is going to be embarassed...

    Invite people to act on their decisions. You don't invite people to think about things, you invite them to come to take care of things. Action is the key.
     
  3. J.R.Maddox

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  4. DHK

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    On the other hand if the Holy Spirit isn't going to change their hearts by the preaching of the Word it is fruitless to try to coerce them to change their minds by manipulating them up to the front of the church and applying psychological pressure into a false profession in which the Holy Spirit had no part of. If the Holy Spirit is going to do a work in the person he will do it whether the person comes forward or not.
    He works through the preaching of the word; not through the manipulation of invitations.
    DHK
     
  5. Rubato 1

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    Yes, try to include the Holy Spirit into all portions of the service.
     
  6. Hope of Glory

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    Well, since church is for the fellowship of the saved, I don't spend much time in the service preaching salvation. However, I do offer the invitation that if anyone wants to know how to be saved or wants assurance of their salvation or simply has a question, please come talk to me or one of the elders. That's what usually happens. No manipulative plays on emotionalism and few spurious decisions.
     
  7. DHK

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    I can agree with that.
    But when the preacher sings 10 verses of Just As I Am, and one gets so tired of standing that he goes forward just for a change in position, then...?
     
  8. Hope of Glory

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    Then everyone should thank the man for getting the preacher to stop singing...
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    I agree with DHK and Hope of Glory.

    A Romanian pastor told me that the reason he doesn't do invitations is that when the Spirit of God stirs someone's heart, it is not necessary to "create an atmosphere" in which the HS can work. When the HS stirs hearts, those hearts respond without begging, pleading or pressure of any kind.

    My objection is not so much to the use of invitations, but the abuse of them, like that described earlier by Hope of Glory. In my opinion, those kinds of invitations demonstrate a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit's power.

    Part of the gospel message is a call to lost men and women to repentance and faith. Too often, I'm afraid what we get is a corruption of that call.
     
  10. bapmom

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    "it is not necessary to create an atmosphere in which the HS can work"

    Yes it is.

    Of course it is.
    What do you think Christian camps are doing? They are creating an atmosphere in which all the world's distractions are taken away for an entire week and the campers can really hear the Holy Spirit. It's not that He talks more to us within any given "atmosphere", it's that we can HEAR Him better.

    Of course the Holy Spirit can and will work in any and all atmospheres. But we ARE supposed to "compel them to come", urge people to come to Christ, and earnestly warn them of the danger they are in. How in the world can any of you think that that is wrong? (And I think Im being quite specific....not talking about a million verses of "Just As I Am" when no one is moving from their seat.)

    But the OP is talking about a service in which there were MANY visitors, a special service...not just the church family. I believe it was unconscionable to not provide some sort of invitation in which soulwinners were available at the front to talk to those who wished to talk to someone. Yes, the Holy Spirit will work, but not everyone knows how to respond on their own. People don't just "know" what to do....many times they don't even know that it is God convicting their heart. They need these things explained, and we have to stop just letting them walk out the door assuming that if they really wanted to know how to be saved than they'd ask us.

    How many times have I heard testimonies of people who FINALLY got saved after growing up in church where no one ever talked to them about Christ, and no one ever invited them to learn how to be saved. Inevitably they were saved when they visited a church that actually talked to them about it in some form of mild "confrontational" invitation.

    Ya know, most of you here on this board who post are a bolder type person. You most likely would ask a pastor you didn't know if there was something in his sermon you were curious about. The vast majority of us regular people out here would not do that. We've been raised in church, we're used to it. We know the drill. So when we are in an unfamiliar church, it's still familiar to us. Most visitors to special services like Easter are not like that. They tend to be more unchurched, and the whole thing is unfamiliar to them. They don't know us, and they aren't sure yet that they want to. They probably won't be coming up to us and interrupting our nice little fellowshipping after the service in order to ask us what we meant by "being saved". Some will, sure. So of course some reading this have already started thinking of the few times in the last 20 years that this actually happened in their church. What about all the other times it did NOT happen?
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    Maybe someone can, but I can't find a single instance in the New Testament where an atmosphere was created to make it more condusive for the lost to be saved.

    As a matter of fact, Paul preached quite often in hostile territory.

    I have no objection, Bapmom, to retreats, camps, backyard Bible schools and the like.


    I define creating an atmosphere is a heart-touching invitation hymn, choir singing, preacher exhorting over it all.

    Outside of using the preaching or sharing of the gospel and the way of coming into a right relationship with God, the Holy Spirit requires nothing else from us.

    I do agree with you, Bapmom, about the OP. I think the pastor could have at least invited inquirers to meet with him or a deacon or elder after the service.
     
  12. Brother Bob

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    We simply announce "an open church door" after ever service with the explanation that the door was opened by God and that we are just announcing it. We don't dwell on trying to encourage people to do something that the Holy Spirit is not leading them to do when it says "go home and tell your friends what great things the Lord has done for you".
     
  13. Grasshopper

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    Act 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
    Act 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened , that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

    I think Paul could have preached a monotone sermon on tithing and Lydia still would have been saved with or without an alter call of 5 verses.
     
  14. Joseph_Botwinick

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    As a matter of fact, I believe this is exactly the way Edwards would preach his sermons from what I have heard.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Joseph, I also read somewhere that Edwards buried his face in his manuscript and rarely looked at the congregaton as he read his sermon.

    Why, how in the world could anybody be converted under that kind of preaching style?
     
  16. Hope of Glory

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    Who is this Edwards guy? Some knucklehead who actually read a sermon? Surely he didn't last long preaching...
     
  17. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Jonathon Edwards of the Great Awakening...maybe you've heard of him.

    :D

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    I was making a joke about Edwards, and I think Hope of Glory is, too. Uh, isn't he?
     
  19. mima

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    "it is not necessary to create an atmosphere in which the HS can work"? If the answer to this question is no then I have a question. What is the purpose for inviting people to church? Is this not trying to create and use an atmosphere? We all recognize that without the conviction of the Holy Spirit there can be no salvation. Are we not then supposed to bring about an atmosphere in which the Holy Spirit conviction can take place. Yes some conviction does take place without an invitation. While street preaching I myself have had people rush forward, go to their knees and start praying for forgiveness. But the numbers are very very small.
    Experience has shown me that a clear question followed by a clear message sets the stage(atmosphere) for the Holy Spirit to work and convict the hearts of listeners.
    About 40 years ago the Lord showed me that I needed to be results oriented person. I have made every attempt through experimentation and effort to be a results oriented person.
    I have never been guilty of begging for conversion or giving multiple invitations. In fact I'm told by some people that I am the shortest most direct messenger of the gospel that they have ever encountered.
     
  20. bapmom

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    Perhaps some of you are getting the impression that we are saying the Holy Spirit is limited by the atmosphere. It isn't that, so much as we are saying the person listening is perhaps being limited by the atmosphere around him. This is why we recommend always going out soul winning with a partner. Whoever is NOT doing the witnessing can then minimize any distractions in the area to the best of his ability.

    I agree with Tom Butler's definition of an invitation that he made on the last page. But it's still setting an atmosphere in order to try and cut down on the distractions around us.
     

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