Tuesday, November 06, 2007

10 Reasons We Don't Do Altar Calls

Recently a comment card came to our staff asking why we don't ever do altar calls at Desert Springs Church. Our teaching pastor, Ryan Kelly, sent these 10 bullet points around to the staff for their consideration. I thought I would pass them along:
1. The altar call is simply and completely absent from the pages of the N.T.

2. The altar call is historically absent until the 19th century, and its use at that time (via Charles Finney) was directly based upon bad theology and a man-centered, manipulative methodology.

3. The altar call very easily confuses the physical act of “coming forward” with the spiritual act of “coming to Christ.” These two can happen simultaneously, but too often people believe that coming to Christ is going forward (and vice-versa).

4. The altar call can easily deceive people about the reality of their spiritual state and the biblical basis for assurance. The Bible never offers us assurance on the ground that we “went forward.”

5. The altar call partially replaces baptism as the means of public profession of faith.

6. The altar call can mislead us to think that salvation (or any official response to God’s Word) happens primarily on Sundays, only at the end of the service, and only “up front.”

7. The altar call can confuse people regarding “sacred” things and “sacred” places, as the name “altar call” suggests.

8. The altar call is not sensitive to our cautious and relational age where most people come to faith over a period of time and often with the interaction of a good friend.

9. The altar call is often seen as “the most important part of the service”, and this de-emphasizes the truly more important parts of corporate worship which God has prescribed (preaching, prayer, fellowship, singing).

10. God is glorified to powerfully bless the things He has prescribed (preaching, prayer, fellowship, singing), not the things we have invented. We should always be leery of adding to God’s prescriptions for His corporate worship.


Anonymous said...

You have worded well why, as a church planter, I have joyfully left the altar call behind. It has been confused with baptism too often as a public profession of faith.

Rae said...

I was ridiculed for bringing this idea to my own family, (Grown siblings and father) and was met with hostility. Thank you so much for this. I do believe the act puts an invisible separation between us and God, which through Jesus Christ there is none.

Michael Reyes said...

Some good points. But where does God prescribe "preaching" for "corporate worship."

Also when do people actually "fellowship" during the "service?"

Lisa of Longbourn said...

In light of point #1, I am curious where point "5. The altar call partially replaces baptism as the means of public profession of faith." appears on the pages of the New Testament?

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Anonymous said...

Whether it's an "Altar Call" or "Coming to Christ" it is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE to give an invitation to those who are visiting or who are even members of the church. (We need to turn it over to GOD and leave the end results to HIM). We need to stop making excuses whether they seemed justified or not and stop giving the devil a foothold!!
He comes to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY----that even means downplaying the altar call so people will not take steps to receive Christ whether in a pew, up front or even at home!! SOULS are at stake and here we try to justify why we don't do ALTAR CALLS??? It is a pastor's duty to clarify and reinterate that coming up front or even just "saying" a prayer is all there is to it BUT a reckoning and submission of your heart to the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS is the first step in saying "Here I am Lord a sinner in need of a Saviour..I believe you died and rose again on the 3rd day for me and I want to receive you in my heart!" Are we that proud to not at least invite others to HIS saving grace???
Who cares if someone is upset we give an altar call in church----the only one who should be offended is the devil!!!

Just Me said...
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Just Me said...
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Anonymous said...

"10 Reasons Why You SHOULD Give An Alter Call"

1. Presents what could be yet another opportunity to trust Christ as Savior if God has been dealing with their hearts.

2. In a church setting, you have some seasoned saints who can address any questions the unbeliever may have that otherwise might not get answered.

3. The church setting provides an atmosphere of love and concern for the eternal state of the unbeliever.

4. An alter call is made available for NOT just conversion, but any matter of the heart that God may have dealt with for a person who sat under the preaching.

5. In the event an individual gets saved during an invitation, they immediately find themselves amongst those that are there to care for and disciple them.

6. The baptismal waters are available for the new believer to profess their faith.

7. There are countless believers who came to know Christ at church, so this is one of MANY places to offer them the opportunity to begin their new life in Christ. Why deny someone an opportunity?

8. Believers can rejoice, knowing that God is moving with convicting power in the conversion of a soul.

9. When a person receives Christ as Savior, that can prove to be the proverbial "icing on the cake" for the service.

10. God gets the glory, WHERever and WHENever a should gets saved!