Alter Calls


I have a question for everyone, catholic or protestant…

What is your interpretation of an alter call? What have you been told it is? What do you perceive it as?

Just curious… it seems to have been brought up more than a few times lately so I would like to know what people believe it is…

Thanx! :thumbsup:



I put other .

I never came forward for an altar call, but from what I understand it is the HS leading that person to Christ and the time has come for them to accept the Good News of the Gospel. So, they are convicted now to go ahead on up there and make their profession of faith to commit their life to Christ.

I see nothing wrong with this if the person truly believes and is lead by the HS to do so. I say God Bless them for getting up in front of all those people. That takes humility!!!

Our church does not do altar callls because they dont believe they are necessary.:shrug:

I personally dont care one way or the other. I believe it is a personal preference.

It only becomes a problem if it is somehow forced or made to be a rule within the church that you are not saved unless you go up for an altar call. The church in which I accepted the Lord was baptist and did do altar calls. I didnt feel the need to go up. Does that make me any less saved–NOPE–I asked God to come into my life and save me in the privacy of my own thoughts and conversation with God. Worked for me:thumbsup: AMEN!!!


I couldn’t respond to the poll because none of the choices fit a Catholic understanding of altar calls. :slight_smile:

From the Catholic perspective an altar call in the Protestant tradition is a call to awaken or discover faith in Christ. It is a grace of God in either case because God calls us out of his mercy to be fully committed to him.

Having said that, though, Protestant altar calls can be no more than that, as good as that is because 1) there is no real altar to which one is being called–it is strictly metaphorical. What happens is a spiritual reality, of course, but not a real coming forward to offer sacrifice on a real altar. I’ve often puzzled why use a term that does not really describe what is being asked of people, but that is a discussion for another thread.

Catholics make a real altar call at every Mass when we actually approach a real altar upon which a real sacrifice has been made–the re-presenting of the once sacrifice of Christ. The pity is many a nominal Catholic doesn’t realize they are approaching Christ himself, but take it for granted, or misunderstand what it is they are doing. That is a problem for us Catholics to tackle, though, not our Protestant brethren who have their own fish to fry. :wink:


Where is alter call in the bible and who in the bible had one?:confused:


I don’t think that “alter calls” are bad in themselves. Nonbelievers sometimes do respond to the Holy Spirit in these moments.

What I don’t like, is the emphasis on the intitial salvation experience being a done deal. Not all denominations think this way, let me be fair. Some though act as though that first rush of emotions is all that is needed to accept Jesus.

I’ve gone to some Protestant churches(again not all) who preach about salvation, Sunday after Sunday, but never talk about how the already Christian should act or grow. The whole service is just about the alter call. This used to aggravate me. I wanted to learn more about being a Christian and how I should behave.

Salvation is not a one time deal. We recommit ourselves to Jesus over and over and over again. It isn’t easy being a Christian.

Also some of these churches don’t allow room for the fact that not everyone has a sudden moment of accepting of Jesus. Some very good Christians come to the realization that Jesus is savior in a slower, more methodical way. They are no less Christian then the ones who respond to an alter call.


As far as I know they aren’t in the bible. This in itself is not bad. Protestants are allowed their traditions to. This only gets aggravating when certain groups of Protestants try to deny that they have any traditions outside of the Bible like we Catholics do.:rolleyes:

I chose the second choice, because I do think that responding to an alter call can be a valid first step for a new Christian.


May I ask a question?

Is this a Freudian slip?

A-L-T-E-R call. This implies that by answering the call, you will be “altered” or “changed” in some way.


A-L-T-A-R call. Approaching the altar of the Lord with a sacrifice, yourself.

I realize that it is incredibly rude to bring up misspellings in online settings. But it occurred to me that maybe this is the way some churhces actually spell it and they do it intentionally. Kind of cool

Thanks for the clarification!

I have no objection to altar/alter calls, BTW, having been raised Baptist. I just like to see followup done with all who come forward. The altar/alter call is not the end, it’s the beginning.

And when I first started going to the Catholic Church, I became aware right away that every mass featured an “altar/alter” call!


This has nothing to do with my original question. Please keep on topic. Thank you.


Well, I should put a disclaimer here that your response to the poll (i.e. your vote) can be seen by everyone. I can see who voted for what so I want to call out the 2 so far who think it is evil and idiotic… Come out Come out wherever you are! :stuck_out_tongue: I can use your names but I would rather have you ‘fess’ up yourselves…


raises hand
Please Sir, what’s an altar-call? :confused:


I think you were addressing me… LOL… which would need a ma’am… :smiley: Well, that is the question of this thread now isn’t it… See the above posts and mine below:

And ‘altar call’ as it is referred to is something that some protestant churches do whether at the beginning, middle, or end of a church service or special occassion at the church. It is an opportunity for those who are not christians and those who have strayed away to make a profession of Faith that Christ is Lord and He is the Savior of ALL. Are they ‘saved’ at this point? That would be between them and God for we don’t know what is in their heart.

I view it to be like the baptisms that happened in the bible. Take the scene where John the Baptist is in the wilderness talking to a throng of people. He asks them to make the profession and come down to be baptised in front of everyone to show that they needed God in front of all their peers. This is essentially what an altar call is. Something inside you moves to compell you to go to the front of the sanctuary to profess that you cannot do it on your own and you need God. What is so evil and idiotic about that, I do not know…


I think it is a way to tell your conversion story to have a deep relationship of Jesus Christ. Though it lack certain truths which I have address in another thread, I think is one to interior oneself on his own well being. How has Jesus change your life.

Fr. Corapi once told of a story about a Catholic from Russia and went to a Southern Baptist Church. She brought her rosary and told them about her life experience concerning praying the rosary. The elders of the church saw the glowing rosary and he fainted.

After that, she took with her 25 Catholics who left the Church and return to the Catholic faith.:cool:


Thanks SB


Does He mean to Say that the Rosary was Glowing in a Supernatural way ?


It’s one of those glow in the dark rosary available in any store. I have one. This one is natural…not supernatural


I once went to a Pentecostal service with a friend (he didn’t tell me beforehand that it was a service, rather that it was just a youth gathering).

I hated it. From the terrible poppy music to the cake in the face bible guessing games to the “come up and boast about your recent converts” bit to the scriptural reading that was read 4 times until we had oxen on the brain to the 1 hour sermon that wandered off topic and was just utterly ridiculous.

So maybe you understand just how I feel when I say that all of that is nothing compared to how much I hated the altar call. It seemed to me like some sort of brainwashing ritual, or some kind of deception where the pastor seemed to be suggesting that he had the power to forgive sins. He didn’t just say once “okay anyone who would like to ask Jesus to help them, come up the front”. No, he went on and on, appealing to the spiritual, mental, and especially emotional sides of people, in the hope that they would be willing to make a symbolic gesture of joining this church. I was already a Christian - I shouldn’t have been bothered by it. The fact that his words seemed like a worm wiggling in my brain despite this, makes me realise that what he was doing there was not natural or fair or anything.

We Catholics don’t need altar calls. We’ve got the sacrament of Reconciliation for those who want to repent and get back into a state of grace. We’ve got private prayer for when someone ‘just wants to recommit themselves to God’. We’ve got RCIA for those who want to join - a careful and detailed process to reflect the importance of the decision, not something resembling one of those informercials trying to sell you a set of steak knives.

Make Altar Calls History!


I think it does, sorry. I could not respond to your poll since I did not know much about the history of this practice. So, I voted “other”.

But, now since I see you think that it does not matter if its in the bible or who did it in the bible, I may change my vote to “unbiblical tradition of men”:stuck_out_tongue:


The question was and still is:

[quote=Singinbeauty]What is your interpretation of an alter call? What have you been told it is? What do you perceive it as?

Not, do you think it is valid. Not, prove that it is true or false. But what do YOU perceive it as. That is the topic. The point of this thread isn’t to prove or disprove altar calls though it may turn into that eventually when people have given their definitions but you didn’t even answer the question (even though I asked anyone who votes ‘other’ to explain why they chose that choice:rolleyes: ) you just went right ahead and attacked it.

Please keep it on track…

And yes, I do believe it is biblical but you would know that from my other post above this one…:shrug:


hello Singing Beauty,

I don’t think that anyone actually views alter/altar calls as evil They can be a good first step for the nonbeliever.

Some, though, might view the word altar call negatively because of the way that certain Protestants use the term. It can be annoying to deal with someone who decides to judge your Christianity based on a few pat questions asked while you are trying to get through the parking lot. If your experience isn’t just like theirs then, hey, you’re not a Christian.


I have had the experience you describe above and believe me it ain’t no fun! :thumbsup: But the reality is that not every church is like that. I think that we should focus on getting rid of the negative perceptions that have been held by people rather than the act itself. In and of itself it is a beautiful and wonderful thing if done with the right heart. Nothing is to be promised through an altar call, only the profession that you need something greater than yourself because you just can’t do it anymore and you feel God calling you. That’s it. Please don’t hate the act but hate the way people try to manipulate others and misrepresent the act. I am sure you can say the same about prayer to the saints when SOME catholics take it a wee bit to far… Don’t get rid of the act (Heavens NO) but try to respond to the negative connotation to turn it back to God. :slight_smile:

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