A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Altar Calls:Microwave Conversions?

By Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1979)

In the church where I ministered in South Wales I used to stand at the main door of the church at the close of the service on Sunday night, and shake hands with people as they went out. The incident to which I am referring concerns a man who used to come to our service every Sunday night. He was a tradesman but also a heavy drinker. He got drunk regularly every Saturday night, but he was also regularly seated in the gallery of our church every Sunday night. On the particular night to which I am referring I happened to notice while preaching that this man was obviously being affected. I could see that he was weeping copiously, and I was anxious to know what was happening to him. At the end of the service I went and stood at the door. After a while I saw this man coming, and immediately I was in a real mental conflict. Should I, in view of what I had seen, say a word to him and ask him to make his decision that night, or should I not? Would I be interfering with the work of the Spirit if I did so? Hurriedly I decided that I would not ask him to stay behind, so I just greeted him as usual and he went out. His face revealed that he had been crying copiously, an he could scarcely look at me. The following evening I was walking to the prayer-meeting in the church, and, going over a railway bridge, I saw this same man coming to meet me. He came across the road to me and said, ‘You know, doctor, if you had asked me to stay behind last night I would have done so.’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘I am asking you now, come with me now.’ ‘Oh no,’ he replied, ‘but if you had asked me last night I would have done so.’ ‘My dear friend,’ I said, ‘if what happened to you last night does not last for twenty-four hours I am not interested in it. If you are not as ready to come with me now as you were last night you have not got the right, the true thing. Whatever affected you last night was only temporary and passing, you still do not see your real need of Christ.’

‘This is the kind of thing that may happen even when an appeal is not made. But when an appeal is made it is greatly exaggerated and so you get spurious conversions.’

This article is an excerpt from a larger Post:    The Altar Call:Is it Harmful or Helpful? by Fred G. Zaspel.


7 responses to “Altar Calls:Microwave Conversions?

  1. Born4Battle July 18, 2010 at 23:32

    I downloaded the entire main article…….good post!

  2. kathy July 19, 2010 at 02:53

    generally speaking, harmful. Not only are they generally not long-lasting, permanent changes, they leave the one who has approached the altar with a false sense of security. “Well I said the sinner’s prayer! I believe Jesus died on the cross! I’m saved.” And he will say to many of them, “depart from me… I never knew you.” Sad, really.

    • Acidri July 19, 2010 at 03:21

      Thanks Kathy, the sinners prayer doesnt save…the gospel saves through repentance and faith in Jesus alone.

  3. Stefan August 10, 2010 at 10:14

    Of great interest to me this, as I have had similar experiences with people who come through the Pub and want to speak afterwards. Not having the time for a variety of reasons, I have then attemted to follow up with them only to find the interest is gone.
    I have been beating meself up about this and thinking that I should have made the time.

    So this brings some relief but I do not find myself totally off the hook!

    • Acidri August 10, 2010 at 10:25

      Stefan, thanks for sharing. After a gospel message is proclaimed and the sinner is aware about the law God that he has broken and grace that God offers him through the subsitutionary death of Jesus Christ the rest is the work of the Holy Spirit to draw him to repentance. The work of regeneration is a sovereign act and the best analogy is the one that Jesus gave of the wind blowing and you dont see the wind but can see the effects of wind. It didnt take long for an Ethiopian eunuch to tell Philip he believed and was ready for baptism while for Paul it took three days to be broken down by grace. Hey thanks for sharing.

      • Stefan August 10, 2010 at 10:52

        Thanks Michael!
        The more I learn the less I know 😉 but God is gracious and is taking this old fart on an interesting and exciting journey for which I am very grateful!

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