A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Ten reasons why we will hence forth do no ‘Altar Calls’. No, the piano isn’t broken.

You can imagine the uproar that could occur if the above notice met congregants to most mega churches. Well not only mega churches do ‘Altar Calls’ but most churches I know do. We all know when that moment is a bout to be breached….when the pastor gives a nod and the pianist and worship leader begin to take their places.

But what’s wrong with the ‘Altar Call’ you ask? Well here are ten reasons but first Thabiti Anyabwile humbly explains:

I’m sometimes asked by people why we don’t do “altar calls” at our services. Like the people who ask the question, the churches in my personal background pretty much all practiced “altar calls” at the conclusion of a sermon or service. I’ve seen them done in very poor fashion, and I’ve seen some pastors be really clear about the gospel, repentance, faith, and the fact that “coming forward” does not save. I date my own conversion to the preaching of Exodus 32, which concluded with an altar call.

So, why don’t we practice “altar calls”? I don’t think the pastor who practices an “invitation” at the end of a sermon is in sin, but he may not be acting wisely either. This list of reasons, compiled by Pastor Ryan Kelly of Desert Springs Church, is a pretty good summation of some of my thinking (HT: Z).

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.

Excerpt from Defending. Contending.

Advertisements

2 responses to “Ten reasons why we will hence forth do no ‘Altar Calls’. No, the piano isn’t broken.

  1. abbeygirl July 3, 2013 at 17:50

    Are there particular denominations that simply don’t do altar calls? i’m looking for a church we can attend that doesn’t include them as part of their services on Sundays.

    • Acidri July 4, 2013 at 09:49

      Well try looking for a Reformed Church. Most conservative churches do not do Altar calls….reformed churches are theologically conservative and will not do anything that the Bible doesn’t mandate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: