Monday, March 14, 2011

Why Altar Calls Should Not Be Presented During Regular Church Services

Many preachers extend invitations for people to come forward at the end of their church service if they are interested in getting saved. Here's what the Bible has to say:

Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

2 Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

It is evident from these two verses that the early Christians gathered together and worshipped God. This is especially true when Acts 20:7 says "disciples came together". It does not say "disciples and heathen came together". Also, Christians have fellowship with one another when "ministering to the saints". Note how it does not say "ministering to the saints and sinners combined".

Because of this, there is no place for non-Christians in church services. While most readers find this surprising, the average person's impression of Christianity today has been clouded by the Western lens of thought and have thus deviated from the original purpose for the gathering of saints-that is to worship and glorify God. It is true that people do sometimes get saved from stepping forward during an altar call but the reality is that more people get hindered from the chance of obtaining salvation because of this. Those that do step down to the altar and get saved have already had seeds planted in them. This however does not justify the altar call.

Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

Christ, in his ministry fed the hungry, healed the sick, and taught lessons. People would then go up to him and ask how does one get saved. He rarely mentioned that one must believe on him without them asking first. If they have not had enough seeds planted in their lives to be concerned about salvation then we should not present the message of salvation to them. If they had enough seeds planted in their lives, they will inquire.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

We each have different roles in evangelism as we will go about meeting the sinners needs by planting seeds or watering seeds that someone else planted. Once they are moved by the Holy Sprit they will then seek the Kingdom of God. Our job is to go into all the world to preach and teach but too many Christians want to see one get saved from what they said and not from God using a plethora of Christians in a sinners life to bring one to salvation.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen

Those who just spill the message of salvation to people who's hearts are not prepared for it are casting their pearls before swine and have the potential to lose the respect of the sinner they were trying to witness to.

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

People who grow up in church may never get saved because they've been hearing the message of salvation all their lives that they have become desensitized to it. They may think they are saved but have never had the heart for it. It is man who looks on the outward appearance but God who looks on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 . . . for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Have many "Christians" cast out demons in God's name only to be cast into utter darkness?

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

If we truly examine the history behind the altar call it is evident that it began as a way for members of a congregation to seek encouragement but later developed into a form of evangelism. (Source: If one were to look at Billy Graham's ministry as an example, he went out to the masses and preached the Gospel. It is apparent that many preachers today want to follow Billy Graham's example so they begin to present the Gospel of salvation every Sunday morning, followed by an altar call.

This is where the issue arises, preachers today are no longer preaching what the Bible says except for the message of salvation, lest anyone at church that day leaves and remains a lost soul for eternity. To amplify the matter, all Christians are instructed to go into all the world preaching and teaching.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen

However, the current trend in evangelism is to invite all of one's non Christian friends to church. Peradventure they'll hear the pastor and get saved. It is not the job of the preacher during a regular church service to evangelize. It is their job to feed the sheep.

John 21:17 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

A church service is for the gathering of saints and not for the salvation of the lost.

Matthew 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

Just as there always be poor folks among us, there will always be sinners in need of salvation but the time is short and Christians should be properly equipped at doing the Lord's work.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Other avenues besides regular church services are reserved for evangelism including individual Christians ministering to non Christians, as Christ has instructed all those who follow him to do. When preachers constantly focus on the milk of salvation every Sunday morning, they are not equipping the saints to do the Lords work but rather having them dwell on the message of salvation and prove a hindrance to moving on to perfection.

Hebrews 5: 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

It is sad to say but Christians today remain in a novel state in their understanding of the Christian life, and have not matured in their faith because they are not being fed, due to two things. First, most preachers have the notion that it is their duty to present the gospel of salvation to everyone they come in contact with, and what better place then during a church service where they are speaking to a lot of people at once. Second, Christians no longer spread the gospel of salvation to non Christians. They would rather take the easier route and bring the heathen to church and hope their pastor's "magic" will get them saved. Too much stock is put in their pastor and not in the Holy Spirit.

If I ever go "Church Hopping" and attend a church that does altar calls I get disgusted. The pastor generally preaches a very superficial message and then calls people to the altar to get saved, as though their message was the best in the world. They are clearly puffed up in themselves and where is God in all of this?

Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Scripture implies that the visible Church will be a mixed body consisting of both wheat and tares (Matthew 13). The Church's responsibility is to deliver the Word of God and His ordinances "in season and out of season". By their fruits, the character of the field will be known. This is accomplished through faithfully preaching the Full Counsel of God, that which shall never return void (Isaiah 55). It seems that overtly attempting to coerce repentance from a stony heart will more than likely result in failure, or at best breed a form of pietistic sentimentality.