Altar Calls are


#1

Not Biblical…

trinity-baptist-church.com/altar.shtml

Many Christians are not aware of the fact that the altar call system, deemed by many today to be so essential to evangelism, was not known in Christian churches until the 19th century. It was Charles Finney who introduced and popularized the system (though occasionally similar methods had been used by some Methodists before Finney), and though it is perhaps consistent with Finney’s theological views, it is hardly consistent with a Reformed and Biblical doctrinal position. Men were invited to Christ, and by God’s grace, came to Christ for 1,800 years before altar calls came to be used in churches.

This author states that for 1800 years before Finney there were no Altar Calls…probably because there were no groups that did this…comments.


#2

Umm, I think most educated evangelicals are smart enough to realize that Jesus was not giving altar calls in 1st century Palestine. :o Yeah, ok so the "altar call" as we know it emerged in the 19th century, but men have been calling on the name of the Lord since he began to poor out his grace on us. I really don't care if you come to God at an altar or standing on top of your head, I just hope that all men can come to know the love, grace, and goodness of God. My prayer is that all men will call on his name and be saved.


#3

I have never seen Altar Calls by standing on the head. So much for Grace :rolleyes:

MJ


#4

We had those in my former Fundamentalist church, but we more often called it "the invitation", though both terms were used. I found it ironic that we were asked to come to the front to lay our sins on the altar, but we didn't have an altar. We had a lectern. Sure, the name was symbolic, but it still seemed an odd usage when we didn't believe in altars.


#5

[quote="CopticChristian, post:1, topic:281798"]
Not Biblical...

trinity-baptist-church.com/altar.shtml

This author states that for 1800 years before Finney there were no Altar Calls...probably because there were no groups that did this..comments.

[/quote]

I'm glad somebody recognizes this. More power to Trinity Baptist Church!

First of all, they do not have altars. An altar is a place of sacrifice. It is almost a universal Protestant concept that there is no "sacrifice" involved in worship. So it's a mis nomer from the get go.

Second, the concept that somebody "gets saved" by hearing a good sermon and coming forward to say the sinner's prayer is simply bizarre. Obviously there are conversion moments and experiences that take place at such events. The underlying concept that whatever one does when one leaves the church after the event is irrelevant to salvation is just wrong and unbiblical.


#6

[quote="Georgia, post:4, topic:281798"]
We had those in my former Fundamentalist church, but we more often called it "the invitation", though both terms were used. I found it ironic that we were asked to come to the front to lay our sins on the altar, but we didn't have an altar. We had a lectern. Sure, the name was symbolic, but it still seemed an odd usage when we didn't believe in altars.

[/quote]

The question is not really about altars. The real question is about the process. A dynamic preacher makes an an emotional appeal to a crowd he has been put into an emotional state. He asks them if they want to be saved to stand up and come down the aisle, and stand before him. They can say the sinner's prayer or some other nonscriptural formula and know once and for all forever that they are heaven bound and their sins are forgiven.

When the crowd asked Peter what they should do he said repent and be baptized. That is the process of Christian initiation from the beginning that is scriptural.

I once was listening to a call in radio show. A man called in and said he had cancer and did not have much time left. He was dying. He had never been involved in any church, but believed in Jesus and wanted to know what to do as death neared.

The host counciled him about what he believed. Believe Jesus died for your sins and be saved. Admit you are a sinner, etc. He never mentioned baptism, because this unscriptural emotional get saved notion is not only not scriptural, it has replaced the salvation theology held by the church since the beginning. Baptism is an afterthought, a ritual we do, because Jesus said to do it, but we don't know why or what happens there other than getting wet.

All that matters is that you are born again and you know that you have had this spiritual experience if you have had the emotional experience.

The fact that all the Christians that existed until recently believed with Paul that you are born again in the waters of baptism doesn't matter.


#7

[quote="JRRTFAN, post:5, topic:281798"]
It is almost a universal Protestant concept that there is no "sacrifice" involved in worship. So it's a mis nomer from the get go.

[/quote]

Im already involved in another thread so don't want to get too deep in this one, just a quick comment to say this isn't the case. There is a sacrifice involved in Protestant worship, one which is supported rather strongly by scripture: The sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the sacrifice of the believers entire life:

Romans 12:1: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

Hebrews 13:15: "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."

1 Peter 2:5: "you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

As such there is a sacrifice, but not a propitiatory one in the form of the Eucharist as Catholics see it.

Regards

Lincs.


#8

[quote="Lincoln7, post:7, topic:281798"]
Im already involved in another thread so don't want to get too deep in this one, just a quick comment to say this isn't the case. There is a sacrifice involved in Protestant worship, one which is supported rather strongly by scripture: The sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the sacrifice of the believers entire life:

Romans 12:1: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

Hebrews 13:15: "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."

1 Peter 2:5: "you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

As such there is a sacrifice, but not a propitiatory one in the form of the Eucharist as Catholics see it.

Regards

Lincs.

[/quote]

Where is the scriptural reference that says that praise and worship IS a sacrifice please? I think I missed that one while reading John 6.


#9

[quote="Maryann_C, post:8, topic:281798"]
Where is the scriptural reference that says that praise and worship IS a sacrifice please? I think I missed that one while reading John 6.

[/quote]

It's right there in Hebrews 13:15: "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."

Regards

Lincs


#10

[quote="Lincoln7, post:7, topic:281798"]
Im already involved in another thread so don't want to get too deep in this one, just a quick comment to say this isn't the case. There is a sacrifice involved in Protestant worship, one which is supported rather strongly by scripture: The sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the sacrifice of the believers entire life:

Romans 12:1: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

Hebrews 13:15: "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."

1 Peter 2:5: "you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

As such there is a sacrifice, but not a propitiatory one in the form of the Eucharist as Catholics see it.

Regards

Lincs.

[/quote]

[quote="Lincoln7, post:9, topic:281798"]
It's right there in Hebrews 13:15: "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."

Regards

Lincs

[/quote]

Sorry didn't get a chance to edit my post in time , I meant to quote you correctly and say "praise and thanksgiving" none the less OK and continue then Hebrews 13:16 " do not neglect to do good and to share what you have , for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." RSV So getting back to the OP 's point ,where is the scripture that links these sacrifices with being sufficient , in other words ignoring the rest of the scriptures saying one must be baptised by water to join the family? Not to mention John 6 ...lets read from verse 22 through John 6:66. and the fact that Paul quite clearly several times talks about not eating "food offered to idols" because "the cup of blessing which we bless , is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" 1 Cor 10 : 16, this entire discourse of Paul here is emphasizing the fact that it was well accepted (and Jesus did not change this either) that the physical act of offering some kind of food and drink to something believed to be a god was the creation of a union a "participation" with that god ( Paul says they are actually sacrificing to demons) . Paul goes on In 1 Cor 11 notably v 23 -34 how can a person " eat and drinks judgement upon himself" v 29, if there is not something very real and powerful in what he is eating and drinking? Note also that Paul has specifically differentiated this kind of eating and drinking from what we do to satisfy our hunger BUT no where does he say that it is a 'symbolic' or just a 'spiritual' kind of union. He is talking about a physical act that has spiritual consequences. I will have to continue this after work :)


#11

Sorry didn't get a chance to edit my post in time , I meant to quote you correctly and say "praise and thanksgiving" none the less OK and continue then Hebrews 13:16 " do not neglect to do good and to share what you have , for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." RSV So getting back to the OP 's point ,where is the scripture that links these sacrifices with being sufficient , in other words ignoring the rest of the scriptures saying one must be baptised by water to join the family? Not to mention John 6 ...lets read from verse 22 through John 6:66. and the fact that Paul quite clearly several times talks about not eating "food offered to idols" because "the cup of blessing which we bless , is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" 1 Cor 10 : 16, this entire discourse of Paul here is emphasizing the fact that it was well accepted (and Jesus did not change this either) that the physical act of offering some kind of food and drink to something believed to be a god was the creation of a union a "participation" with that god ( Paul says they are actually sacrificing to demons) . Paul goes on In 1 Cor 11 notably v 23 -34 how can a person " eat and drinks judgement upon himself" v 29, if there is not something very real and powerful in what he is eating and drinking? Note also that Paul has specifically differentiated this kind of eating and drinking from what we do to satisfy our hunger BUT no where does he say that it is a 'symbolic' or just a 'spiritual' kind of union. He is talking about a physical act that has spiritual consequences. I will have to continue this after work

I just had a massive thread discussion on here about Eucharistic sacrifice, not sure it's really this threads topic..

The amount of varied topics in your post mean this will quickly become a discussion on everything.. I posted simply as I saw something that was not actually what Protestants believe.

I'm well aware of John 6 and interpret it in a rather different way. As for 1 Corinthians, im perfectly happy with them and the theology of Calvin.

Regards

Lincs


#12

Would it be safe to say the "The Alter Call" is a "tradition of man"?


#13

[quote="JRRTFAN, post:5, topic:281798"]
I'm glad somebody recognizes this. More power to Trinity Baptist Church!

First of all, they do not have altars. An altar is a place of sacrifice. It is almost a universal Protestant concept that there is no "sacrifice" involved in worship. So it's a mis nomer from the get go.

Second, the concept that somebody "gets saved" by hearing a good sermon and coming forward to say the sinner's prayer is simply bizarre. Obviously there are conversion moments and experiences that take place at such events. The underlying concept that whatever one does when one leaves the church after the event is irrelevant to salvation is just wrong and unbiblical.

[/quote]

JR,

It gets more complicated than that...they are getting saved in some circles...the saved are "hearing His voice" by the preaching and the saved are being identified.

This is some crazy stuff.:)


#14

[quote="Lincoln7, post:7, topic:281798"]
]Im already involved in another thread so don't want to get too deep in this one, just a quick comment to say this isn't the case. There is a sacrifice involved in Protestant worship, one which is supported rather strongly by scripture: The sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the sacrifice of the believers entire life:

Romans 12:1: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

[/quote]

So Paul says our BODIES are presented and become living sacrifice acceptable to God and this is our spiritual worship. Refer to Genesis, Cain and Abel, acceptable and unacceptable sacrifice to see why Paul designates the sacrifice of our bodies as acceptable..

What is the purpose of us sacrificing our bodies? What does it accomplish? A sacrifice is an exchange where one thing is sacrificed to obtain another. So what does bodily sacrifice obtain in exchange?

Wouldn't Protestants say that Jesus sacrifice is the only sacrifice?

Hebrews 13:15: "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."

Praise is called sacrifice, but one can not take a sentence from Romans and tie its meaning to Paul's intent in Hebrews, or vice versa. In Hebrews it says the sacrifice of praise is to be continuous, coming from the mouths of those who acknowledge Jesus. It does not say that this sacrifice is worship as Romans says the sacrifice of our bodies is. It does not say worship is getting together and getting worked into a loud frenzy shouting glory to God or alleluia thank you Jesus is worship, but the sacrifice of our bodies is. The sacrifice of praise in continuous, not necessarily linked to communal worship, but continuous. It goes on and on echoing from the mouths, coming from the souls of believers.

1 Peter 2:5: "you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Here we see that Jesus is not the only priest who offers sacrifice to God. The Old Testament prophets say that God will raise up for Himself a priestly people, a royal priesthood, a nation of priests. Jesus is the eternal high priest. Implicit in that is there are others of lower rank. Also implicit in that is He is still a priest. What makes a priest a priest is the offering of sacrifice. Jesus ascended into heaven in His body. His body retrains the wounds of His sacrifice. Thomas probed them. So we see in the Romans scripture you quoted that there is BODILY sacrifice that is SPIRITUAL worship. Jesus offered His body and blood as sacrifice for a spiritual exchange. The offering was made to the Father from our eternal high priest who offered Himself and it was accepted by the Father. The key here is matter was offered as spiritual sacrifice. The two are not seperated, matter here, spirit there. They are joined, married, forever in the person of Christ. But we too make bodily sacrifice according to the scipture you quoted for spiritual reasons, and it is accepted, because it is married to the sacrifice of Christ who offers the only acceptable sacrifice. We are part of Him, in communion with Him, one body, one flesh, the two become one flesh, His priestly people. He offers us to the Father with Himself.

As such there is a sacrifice, but not a propitiatory one in the form of the Eucharist as Catholics see it.

Regards

Lincs.

If you are correct then the earliest Christians believed false doctrine. History not theology reveals what they believed about the Eucharist. The canon of the Mass goes back to at least the year 100. If you are correct then until your novel doctrine was realized the faith of Christians was in error. Luther did not teach what you believe. Calvin did not. It is a newer idea and it says all Christians of all previous centuries were wrong.

Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to lead His Church into all truth. If His promises are true then what Christians believed in faith until you came along is true. If you are correct, His promise is false.


#15

If you are correct then the earliest Christians believed false doctrine. History not theology reveals what they believed about the Eucharist. The canon of the Mass goes back to at least the year 100. If you are correct then until your novel doctrine was realized the faith of Christians was in error. Luther did not teach what you believe. Calvin did not. It is a newer idea and it says all Christians of all previous centuries were wrong..

Are you saying that Calvin and Luther both saw the Eucharist as a propitiatory sacrifice?

Regards

Lincs.


#16

If you are correct then the earliest Christians believed false doctrine. History not theology reveals what they believed about the Eucharist. The canon of the Mass goes back to at least the year 100. If you are correct then until your novel doctrine was realized the faith of Christians was in error.

m.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/history/3_ch07.htm - Schaff here on the Eucharistic histroy of the church, numbers 95 & 96, starting around half way down the page. I don't think the current RC is a unanimous one of the earliest church.

Regards

Lincs.


#17

Please allow me to explain what some Protestants mean by altar.

Some of them have a low bench, or communion rail where congregants kneel for altar call" nvitation, and sometimes they just use it for prayer.

Since most of them don't have kneelers in the pews it's the only place they have to kneel for prayer.

I think this comes from Methodism and their related denominations. My Grandmother went to a Nazerene church which is split from Methodism. At the end of worship and especially revival meeting sessions they would have an altar call where people would come forward to prayers.

It was not done every service, and it was not just the sinners prayer, they would pray for any needs they had.

These prayer sessions were always very emotional, and sometimes lasted a very long time.


#18

[quote="JRRTFAN, post:5, topic:281798"]
First of all, they do not have altars. An altar is a place of sacrifice. It is almost a universal Protestant concept that there is no "sacrifice" involved in worship. So it's a mis nomer from the get go.

[/quote]

That's not true. In worship, WE are living sacrifices. We bring all that we are and have and lay it down before God.

Second, the concept that somebody "gets saved" by hearing a good sermon and coming forward to say the sinner's prayer is simply bizarre. Obviously there are conversion moments and experiences that take place at such events. The underlying concept that whatever one does when one leaves the church after the event is irrelevant to salvation is just wrong and unbiblical.

That would be bizarre, but evangelicals don't believe that.


#19

[quote="Lincoln7, post:16, topic:281798"]
m.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/history/3_ch07.htm - Schaff here on the Eucharistic histroy of the church, numbers 95 & 96, starting around half way down the page. I don't think the current RC is a unanimous one of the earliest church.

Regards

Lincs.

[/quote]

So let me ask you, should us Catholics take a protestant historian's view over our own Church's view of the history of the Eucharist and teaching of the Eucharistic celebration and sacrifice of the Mass? This document holds no authority and only a biased opinion of history.

Heb. 13:15Through him [then] let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.

If you would take this verse by itself you could make the case that the typical current day praise and worship fits here, I guess you could make that case, but it’s a stretch. Put this verse in context of the letter as it is not written to stand alone, none of Sacred Scripture is stand alone doctrine.

This chapter is directly addressing the need to stand “outside” of the Jewish faith, and their traditional sacrifices of animals performed by the priests. Jesus was crucified outside of the city gates and was considered outside of the Jewish faith. So which sacrifice would please God; the sacrifice of the Jews on the altar of the temple, or would it be the once for always offered Eternal Sacrifice of Jesus on the Altar of the Cross?

I think we can all agree it would be the latter. Although we can agree the author of Hebrews is not referring specifically to the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist, he is referring to the Sacrifice of Jesus which we profess. So just as this verse is not referring to the Eucharist neither is it referring to current day P & W. To say it is minimizes what Jesus has done for us, and deemphasizes the acceptable Sacrifice offered to God the Father to a meager song and dance.


#20

[quote="ltwin, post:18, topic:281798"]
That's not true. In worship, WE are living sacrifices. We bring all that we are and have and lay it down before God.

That would be bizarre, but evangelicals don't believe that.

[/quote]

Jesus is the only living sacrifice worthy of God's attention; we are not without Jesus' death on the Cross. That sacrifice is the one and only eternal sacrifice which God the Father finds acceptable.

Let's think about this, if Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb, and His death on the cross is the eternal Sacrifice, and the Mass is, as the Catholic Church has always proclaimed, an entering into that one eternal sacrifice on Calvary; how does the Church get it wrong?

A protestant altar call is an act of man, it is nothing more. I've been asked before, "Are you saved?" And I asked several of these well meaning people of more than one denomination, "How does one get saved?" I always get the same answer, "just declare before others that Jesus is Lord of your life." Wow, that's pretty easy, all I have to do is stand before God and the congregation and declare with my tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord and I accept Him as my Lord and savior.

So it’s my choice to take my action to get saved, what did Jesus have to do?

Back to the topic directly, if I cannot make the sign of the cross gesture when I pray without taking part in a tradition of men, doesn't it seem ironic and hypocritical that some of the same people who say the SOTC is a tradition of men, origination in the second century, take the tradition of the protestant altar call as not a tradition of men when it originated in the 1800's? This is amazing!!!


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