Billy Graham, Altar Calls and the Bible


#1

Time and time again I have been asked by non-catholics to show explicitly where something is in the Bible. If I can’t show explicit evidence (I can always show implicit evidence) it is denied. Well I have been searching through the Bible and am having a difficult time finding an altar call anywhere in scripture that does not include baptisms. The Peter Bar Jona Crusade on Pentecost had 3000 come forward and be baptized. A few days later 4000 were baptized. The Jailor, Cornelius, Lydia all were baptized. Nowhere is there a crusade where people come forward and say a sinners prayers, therefore being declared as Christians. Am I missing something? Perhaps you have a proof from scripture for this Protestant practice?

Look forward to your replys.

:slight_smile:

Peace.


#2

[quote=thessalonian]Time and time again I have been asked by non-catholics to show explicitly where something is in the Bible. If I can’t show explicit evidence (I can always show implicit evidence) it is denied. Well I have been searching through the Bible and am having a difficult time finding an altar call anywhere in scripture that does not include baptisms. The Peter Bar Jona Crusade on Pentecost had 3000 come forward and be baptized. A few days later 4000 were baptized. The Jailor, Cornelius, Lydia all were baptized. Nowhere is there a crusade where people come forward and say a sinners prayers, therefore being declared as Christians. Am I missing something? Perhaps you have a proof from scripture for this Protestant practice?

Look forward to your replys.

:slight_smile:

Peace.
[/quote]

Be careful not to paint yourself into a corner. That is a great observation but we also say just because something is not explicitly in the Scriptures does not mean anything. It must be specifically rejected by the Scriptures.


#3

[quote=thessalonian]Time and time again I have been asked by non-catholics to show explicitly where something is in the Bible. If I can’t show explicit evidence (I can always show implicit evidence) it is denied. Well I have been searching through the Bible and am having a difficult time finding an altar call anywhere in scripture that does not include baptisms. The Peter Bar Jona Crusade on Pentecost had 3000 come forward and be baptized. A few days later 4000 were baptized. The Jailor, Cornelius, Lydia all were baptized. Nowhere is there a crusade where people come forward and say a sinners prayers, therefore being declared as Christians. Am I missing something? Perhaps you have a proof from scripture for this Protestant practice?

Look forward to your replys.

:slight_smile:

Peace.
[/quote]

Well, you could ask them, and they’d probably refer you to implicit passages about professing with your lips…, but nothing concrete.

The root issue is the idea of going by the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) being not only false, but self-refuting as it is no where in the Bible.

geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/solascriptura21.html


#4

.Great first step. Next comes the fact that you must abide in Him and obey Him. Just because one says the sinners prayer alone doesn,t mean they are automatically saved. It requires an action on our part. Just because you sleep in the garage doesnt mean you are a car. :smiley: Just because you go to church doesn,t mean you are a Christian. :confused: God Bless


#5

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Be careful not to paint yourself into a corner. That is a great observation but we also say just because something is not explicitly in the Scriptures does not mean anything. It must be specifically rejected by the Scriptures.
[/quote]

No corner at all. I am just asking them to hold themselves to the same standard they hold me. Some of course don’t take such an extremist view of Bible alone but that is the minority from my experience.

This quote from Albert Mohler I think puts him in a corner:

“Whatever’s in the Bible we have to believe but we can’t go one step beyond the Bible.”

In complaining about a couple of Lutheran theologians he says:

[size=2]He says:

“There is no particular scripture that says I can’t do this so I can do it and if I can do it I should do it. I would argue that this is the reversal of a proper biblical and theological logic”.

Blessings
[/size]


#6

[quote=SPOKENWORD].Great first step. Next comes the fact that you must abide in Him and obey Him. Just because one says the sinners prayer alone doesn,t mean they are automatically saved. It requires an action on our part. Just because you sleep in the garage doesnt mean you are a car. :smiley: Just because you go to church doesn,t mean you are a Christian. :confused: God Bless
[/quote]

This is not a dispute about altar calls and their merrit. In fact I won’t criticize them except for the fact that they tend to minimize baptism. It is about whether by your standards of Bible alone it is a practice that is justified by Biblical exegesis. Show me in scripture where someone only did an altar call on they day they accepted Christ as their PLS. Where are altar calls in scripture? Anyone? Anyone?


#7

Of course, in all the cases you cited from the Bible, Thessalonian, the people had not been baptized because they were hearing the Gospel for the first time.

Billy Graham really is preaching to the choir because he is generally preaching to baptized Christians who have let their faith slip. He may not understand that that is what he is doing, but it is. So, he is not making Christian converts but merely giving Christians an opportunity to renew their baptismal vows to follow Christ.

Of course, you are right that altar calls are not in the Bible, and I agree that “Bible Christians” holding themselves to a different standard than they hold Catholics in the matter of biblical proofs is hypocritcal, if unconsciously so. But, “BCs” think they are preaching to non-Christians when they are “reaching out” to Catholics and other mainline Christian groups. That is their real mistake.

They don’t know that most of the time all they are doing by “converting” people is getting them to take a hard look at their commitment to Christ. Probably something they have never seriously done before. We Catholics could take a page out of their book on that issue and do more to challenge our fellow Catholics to take their faith, their confirmation vows to follow Christ seriously.


#8

Perspective noted and agreed Della.

That you Cathy?


#9

[quote=thessalonian]Perspective noted and agreed Della.
[/quote]

Good! :wink:

That you Cathy?

And yes, it’s me! (Only it’s Kathy with a “K” :)) Feel free to write to me off the board, if you like.


#10

Hello thessalonian,

I have not found much in the bible on altar calls. If I were you I would turn the tables and go on the offensive. Usually when Protestants point something out in the bible, it is St. Paul. St. Paul’s writings can be confusing according to St. Peter (2 Peter 3:14). Many times people can be lead astray from the teachings of Jesus when Protestants focus only on St. Paul.

Ask your Protestant friends, “What must I do to share in everlasting life?” When they say, “Accept Jesus as your personal saviour”, say “No, What is the best answer for this question. What was Jesus answer?” The Protestants really do not like Jesus’ answer because, to them, it counters St. Paul’s writings that the law and works are out and now “faith alone” is all that is needed.

Please visit Jesus, What Must I Do To Share In Everlasting Life?
for many scriptural verses from Jesus and the Father telling us to do works of obedience out of love for God to go to heaven.

NAB MAR 10:17"Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?" Jesus answered, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments:

'You shall not kill;
You shall not commit adultery;
You shall not steal;
You shall not bear false witness;
You shall not defraud;
Honor your father and your mother.’"


#11

[quote=Steven Merten]Hello thessalonian,

I have not found much in the bible on altar calls. If I were you I would turn the tables and go on the offensive. Usually when Protestants point something out in the bible, it is St. Paul. St. Paul’s writings can be confusing according to St. Peter (2 Peter 3:14). Many times people can be lead astray from the teachings of Jesus when Protestants focus only on St. Paul.

Ask your Protestant friends, “What must I do to share in everlasting life?” When they say, “Accept Jesus as your personal saviour”, say “No, What is the best answer for this question. What was Jesus answer?” The Protestants really do not like Jesus’ answer because, to them, it counters St. Paul’s writings that the law and works are out and now “faith alone” is all that is needed.

Please visit Jesus, What Must I Do To Share In Everlasting Life?
for many scriptural verses from Jesus and the Father telling us to do works of obedience out of love for God to go to heaven.

NAB MAR 10:17"Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?" Jesus answered, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments:

'You shall not kill;
You shall not commit adultery;
You shall not steal;
You shall not bear false witness;
You shall not defraud;
Honor your father and your mother.’"

[/quote]

OOOOH! Your site is soooooo bookmarked!!! :smiley:


#12

Hi,
It’s really a bad mistake when a Protestant talks to me about alter calls. I live in the bible belt, and it happens to me. If fact I try to get around to the subject.

I tell them about the Catholic Alter Call. I call it “The Ultimate Alter Call” I get out my bible and open to John 6. Then I ask them “Do you mind if I preach the word?” I want top talk to you about the Word made flesh.

WATCH OUT!

Go on offense.
John


#13

[quote=thessalonian]This is not a dispute about altar calls and their merrit. In fact I won’t criticize them except for the fact that they tend to minimize baptism. It is about whether by your standards of Bible alone it is a practice that is justified by Biblical exegesis. Show me in scripture where someone only did an altar call on they day they accepted Christ as their PLS. Where are altar calls in scripture? Anyone? Anyone?
[/quote]

I guess its about coming before our brothers and sisters in Christ as witnesses and confessing with our own mouth that we are sinners,and are in need of a Savior and recieve Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Church is where the Body of Christ meet,so why not in the house of God. Does everything have to be written? Not according to scripture. :confused:


#14

[quote=adstrinity]OOOOH! Your site is soooooo bookmarked!!! :smiley:
[/quote]

Thanks for visiting adstrinity!


#15

[quote=SPOKENWORD]I guess its about coming before our brothers and sisters in Christ as witnesses and confessing with our own mouth that we are sinners,and are in need of a Savior and recieve Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Church is where the Body of Christ meet,so why not in the house of God. Does everything have to be written? Not according to scripture. :confused:
[/quote]

I agree. Thanks for making my point. At the very least then you would agree that the quotes I posted above from Mr. Moyer are an abuse of Scripture and if that is his definition of Sola Scriptura then it is a false one.

Blessings


#16

If saying the “sinner’s prayer” was the way to “get saved”, then certainly we should expect that someone, somewhere, at sometime wrote down a sinners prayer before 1500 AD. Yet when we look for that evidence, we find nothing. None of the Fathers of the Church ever talked about how they gave altar calls where they invited the Gentiles to come up and say the sinner’s prayer to get saved. :rolleyes:


#17

:wave: In fairness…The Bible :nope: doesn’t contain the words “act of contrition”, but that is what the sinner’s prayer really :yup: is, you see.
God bless.


#18

What exactly are altar calls, and why do you suppose there isn’t much in the Bible about them?


#19

[quote=Zooey]:wave: In fairness…The Bible :nope: doesn’t contain the words “act of contrition”, but that is what the sinner’s prayer really :yup: is, you see.
God bless.
[/quote]

Your missing the whole point of my thread. We Catholics don’t make statements like “where’s that in the Bible?”. We do make statements like Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“Whatever’s in the Bible we have to believe but we can’t go one step beyond the Bible.”

In complaining about a couple of Lutheran theologians he says:

[size=2]He says:

“There is no particular scripture that says I can’t do this so I can do it and if I can do it I should do it. I would argue that this is the reversal of a proper biblical and theological logic”.
[/size]
Therefore this thread is not about being fair. Do you think his statements are and those like this I hear regularly from Protestants are abuse of Sola Scriptura at least? Or is he being hypocritical in condemning things Catholics do (which he does regularly) while ignoring Billy Graham and Altar calls.

Blessings


#20

[quote=michaelgazin]What exactly are altar calls, and why do you suppose there isn’t much in the Bible about them?
[/quote]

Altar calls are when a sermon has been preached and then people are asked to come up in front of the Church and say a sinners prayer, repenting of their sins and putting their trust in Jesus. Many times people pray over them. This is supposed to be their moment of conversion to Christ.

I suppose there isn’t much in the Bible about them because I simply don’t see anything that says that this is the way people “get saved”. Every place that the Bible is specific about “getting saved”, people come up and are baptized. Billy Graham rarely mentions baptism from what I have heard. That is my main objection to altar calls (they minimize baptism) which I really do not think are otherwise bad. In reality from my perspective as Della said above they are mostly just people who are already baptized, recommitting to Christ.

Blessings


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