Why doesn’t The Pope Make Altar Calls?
I remember when I was younger I walked down countless altar calls at crusades. Said numerous sinners’ prayers. But was I flirting with the grace of God? I don’t know. Did I feel bad about my sin? You bet. With every sermon about sin the hair at the back of my neck would get bristly and cold sweat would trickle down my arm pit. I had a deep fear of God. But I don’t think I repented or even turned from sin.
This week the Pope’s been visiting the United Kingdom. It’s interesting to see how many catholic friends are hanging on to every word he speaks. In him they live and move and have their being. Others listen with tears and others with smiles. If he told the crowd to jump off a cliff no doubt hundreds would with out hesitation fling their heels into the marrow of the winds. I have a mischievous idea. If the Pope made an altar call, how many people would walk forward? My guess is as good as yours.
I loved sinning and just doing my own thing. God was an after thought. No wonder the Bible says we are all born dead in sin. Today I read this quote by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and really loved it in a way.
“I feel that this pressure which is put upon people to come forward in decision ultimately is due to a lack of faith in the work and operation of the Holy Spirit. We are to preach the Word, and if we do it properly, there will be a call to a decision that comes in the message, and then we leave it to the Spirit to act upon people. And of course He does. Some may come immediately at the close of the service to see the minister. I think there should always be an indication that the minister will be glad to see anybody who wants to put questions to him or wants further help. But that is a very different thing from putting pressure upon people to come forward. I feel it is wrong to put pressure directly on the will. The order in Scripture seems to be this – the truth is presented to the mind, which moves the heart, and that in turn moves the will.”
If the pontiff made an altar call sure enough some body would walk down that aisle. Millions would trot down any aisle for absolution. They would walk away feeling “catholic”. But can you be more catholic than the Pope?
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Good post. I put it on facebook and twitter. I think most people would come just to see the Pope if he did some kind of “altar call.” They would be most likely going in idolatry to worship him. It would be just like meeting a celebrity to them.
I went as a counselor to a Pentecostal church camp this summer and it was brutal. Every service they had these ridiculously long altar calls that would last upwards of an hour. It seemed like the same kids went forward every time and they were always told that this altar call will be the one that gets you over the top. They were told that the previous days altar calls weren’t heart felt and they needed to come and do it right. I attempted to go and pray with some of them but some didn’t even know why they were up there they just went forward because their buddies had. The babbling prayers and repetitive music about drove me nuts so I left usually very early into the altar call. Also, I found that these kids were usually emotianal head cases (more so than other kids), they knew very little about scripture, and because there was so much emphasis on emotions their Christianity was just that.