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karenoka27
Apr 1st 2007, 10:23 PM
I am giving a devotional tomorrow night at a women's ministry meeting. I was asked to do a training on altar calls (what a woman would do if a woman comes forward). I have mixed emotions about them. Before I share my thoughts on them...I would love to know how you all feel about them. I really appreciate you thoughts.

Ramon
Apr 1st 2007, 10:59 PM
what's an altar call? hope i don't sound dumb ;)

Cloudwalker
Apr 1st 2007, 11:18 PM
I am in favor of them, with some stipulations. First, when I give an altar call I always say something to the effect that "the altar is open" making it known that people are free to come just to pray as well as to rededicate their lives or to accept Christ for the first time. It is always helpful to have people primed to come to pray with people at the altar, unless your church, like mine, has a number of people in the congregation that will automatically do that and are attuned to the Spirit when to go. My biggest gripe about altar calls is when they go on unnecessicarily long. While I was in college I once had to endure a 45 minute altar call. The problem was, nobody was comming. I will leave the altar open as long as there are people needing it (up to all day and/or night if need be) but we need to be sensitive to the needs of other people. If an altar call appears to be lating a while (ie. people are still comming and/or praying) we should encourage those who need, or want, to leave to leave quietly. It is my opinion that in the ideal situation for every person that comes to pray at the altar, for whatever reason, there should, ideally, be someone to pray with them. Unfortunately, this is rarely an ideal world. But I hate to see someone alone praying at the altar. You don't always have to say anything when you join someone at the altar, just let them know that you are there.

Cloudwalker
Apr 1st 2007, 11:20 PM
Ramon, an altar call is where people are invited, or called, to come up to the altar of the church. Most often this is done for the purposes of making a public profession of faith in Christ or to rededicate their lives but can be used for other purposes.

karenoka27
Apr 1st 2007, 11:36 PM
no you don't sound dumb and thanks for asking. Believe it or not that helps me...An altar call is a practice in some evangelical churches in which those who wish to make a new spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ are invited to come forward publicly.


Romans 10:9-10-"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Ramon
Apr 1st 2007, 11:37 PM
oh now i know what it is :D

DAISHI
Apr 2nd 2007, 04:07 AM
Sometimes I don't like altar calls because they're too 'musical'.

Slug1
Apr 2nd 2007, 04:14 AM
In our church our pastor always asks that if you wish to be prayed with or prayed for then come to the left side alter area and if you wish to say your prayers only between you and God then come to the right side alter area.

Usually he and the youth pastor will pray with people on the left.

I think an alter call is a good thing because I have seen people hesitant to go up and then see a bunch'a people move forward then convicts the hesitant person to also move forward. I doubt that once they went up regretted doing it once they returned to their seat.

karenoka27
Apr 2nd 2007, 11:20 AM
thank you all..this will help me in sharing tonight. I don't like the "musical" altar calls either where they go on and on..until someone finally gives in. I wonder if it's not manipulation. I feel if someone comes forward it is the Holy Spirit encouraging them to do so. I also feel that once they hear the gospel and believe they are saved before they get to the altar. If that were not the case and they "had" to say a prayer to be saved then wouldn't that be an act of works? So the idea of coming forward is not to believe but to confess with your mouth after you have believed in your heart.

Slug1
Apr 2nd 2007, 11:33 AM
Alter calls can be for anything in my book. You had a problem during the week, a friend has a problem and you want to pray for them, you have a conviction; go on up and pray about it.

IMO alter calls are more then for the moment of salvation. Salvation to me is a personal thing and then after done in private either one on one (with God) or with another person (a friend or the pastor) "then" an alter call can be done in praise.

karenoka27
Apr 2nd 2007, 11:45 AM
Amen Slug I agree. I was saved at home alone through a tv evangelist.
What I have to talk about tonight at my women's ministry meeting, is what these ladies are to do when a woman comes forward for a salvation altar call.

Slug1
Apr 2nd 2007, 12:01 PM
Amen Slug I agree. I was saved at home alone through a tv evangelist.
What I have to talk about tonight at my women's ministry meeting, is what these ladies are to do when a woman comes forward for a salvation altar call.

I guess that does focus (and limits) what ya need to talk about tonight. You'll do great :pp

How do you know if salvation is the reason someone goes forward if the pastor doesn't announce that, "This alter call if for those wishing Salvation, 'only'...?"

karenoka27
Apr 2nd 2007, 12:08 PM
I am a part of a new church..about 100 of us started and it is growing. Our Pastor wants to be sure that those who have come are saved so he specifically does salvation altar calls. There are other times where he will do other calls for repentance or prayer.
I was asked to train the ladies on what to do when another woman comes forward to an altar call for salvation.
I think they should just pray with them...everything is new to the "new" believer and I'm quite sure they don't completely understand the Romans road or all the Scriptures that brought them there in the first place since they are only minutes away from being able to spiritually discern. Personally, I think the follow up is very important. We shouldn't just give them a hug and send them on their way. I believe discipleship follows immediately.

Steve M
Apr 2nd 2007, 07:14 PM
I don't like the term altar call; but other than that, find the practice useful.

We give a more general invitation at my congregation. "If there's any way the Church can help you."

I like that.

karenoka27
Apr 2nd 2007, 07:53 PM
ok...here is my outline for my devotional. Keep in mind that I am speaking to women about other women that might go forward. I too have my own thoughts positive and negative about an altar call. In this situation I am referring to an invitation to salvation: I'd love any input. Thanks so much!

Altar Calls
I. Introduction
No one is ever saved as a result of an altar call. We are saved only as a result of responding to the gospel.
A person should always feel safe and comfortable in knowing that as soon as they respond to the gospel even while they are in their seat, they are saved. They need to go to Jesus Christ first, who is the Only One who can save a person’s soul.

II. What is an altar call?
A. Altar calls were unheard of until the nineteenth century. It was started by a man named Charles Finney, an evangelist. Finney would have seats reserved in the front for those who, after the sermon, would respond to the challenge to come to the Lord. Those who were “anxious” for their souls were invited to walk forward to the “anxious seat” where counsel and prayer would be given them.
B. In later years, D.L. Moody, R.A.Torrey, Bob Jones, Billy Graham and others began using this method. Charles Spurgeon refused to direct anyone to an altar call . He believed in directing one only to Christ. “Go to your God at once, even where you are right now.”
C. We need to understand the act of coming forward is not biblical. The invitation itself is. Jesus invited His disciples to follow Him…Jesus invited many to follow Him..the woman at the well... Jesus shared His gospel with Nicodemus in John 3.
D. The apostles preached the gospel..Paul did the same as well:
1. 2 Corinthians 5:20-“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
2. Acts 20:21-“I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”
3. Acts 2:36-37- 3,000 souls were saved and not through an altar call but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

III. So why do we practice it?
A. The gospel call is for a man/woman/child to spiritually indentify with Christ through faith, to reach out with the hand of faith and lay hold of Him Who is life.
B. It is a way for then convert to respond to their new faith.
1. Romans 10:-“ 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
C. It is so important to tell the congregation that if they have believed on Jesus Christ it is exciting to share this new conversion with another as they biblically should.
An altar call should be an invitation to do just that…not to come to the altar to “get” saved. This would then be an act of works for salvation when we are saved by faith and faith alone.

IV. What do we do when we go to meet with someone that has gone forward at an altar call?
A. The first thing to remember is that we do not want to confuse them with the coming forward is for them to receive Christ. However, some may be coming forward because they have questions about what they have heard. You may want to ask them if they want you to pray, or if they would like to pray.
B. If you pray with them. Thank God for opening their eyes to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Praise Him for how He died for us all who are sinners with no hope. Praise and Thank Him for not only dying for our sins, but having the power over death and having victory over it and that now we can only through Him have eternal life.
C. If possible, give them a tract so that they can go over the plan of salvation on their own. (Unless they want to talk with you at that time…)
1. 1 Peter 3:15-“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
D. If possible, you may want to get their name and number. Give this to the pastor and keep a copy for yourself. You may be the person they want to talk with since you were the first one there when they made that confession of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
E. Give them a couple of days and call them. This will give you a better idea of where they are at now. There are times that they may say they made a mistake, they got caught up in the moment. If that happens, tell them you will keep them in prayer. Wait a little bit and then perhaps send them a card sharing once again the gospel or put another tract in it. We don’t want to lose a soul that has heard the truth!
F. Invite them to do a Bible study. If you aren’t comfortable with this, see the Pastor’s wife and she may want to invite them to do a study or she may refer them to someone else that she knows would be good with them..someone who is interested in discipleship.
G. Invite them to prayer meeting. It’s so good for them to right away get to know other Christians in the church.
E. Finally, look out for them. Be available to them. Let them know when events are coming up. Offer to sit with them, make them feel like they belong to the family of God.

Pilgrimtozion
Apr 2nd 2007, 07:59 PM
Looking good and thorough, Karen. I would give more feedback, but I'm so deadly tired that I'm not going to do that now. Time for me to go to beeeed...

karenoka27
Apr 2nd 2007, 08:01 PM
that's ok Pilgrim...thanks!

Slug1
Apr 2nd 2007, 08:07 PM
I PMed ya Karen.

The Parson
Apr 2nd 2007, 08:26 PM
I don't like the term altar call; but other than that, find the practice useful.

We give a more general invitation at my congregation. "If there's any way the Church can help you."

I like that.Just to be nosey Steve. What don't you like about the term?

Centurionoflight
Apr 2nd 2007, 08:28 PM
Why not a office call?
One can drop by the pastors office at any time they please.

Better yet learn some doctrine, then one can turn to scripture rather than some human.

To me a "alter call" sounds too much like a chance for some one to show off, to get all the eyes looking at them.

Matthew 6:5
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.
Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

karenoka27
Apr 2nd 2007, 08:28 PM
I don't like the term either...I prefer "an invitation" I think even then you have to be careful because you are not necessarily inviting them to receive Christ...they can do that in their seat after hearing the gospel preached.

I like the "office call" idea!

Centurionoflight
Apr 2nd 2007, 08:32 PM
karenoka27


I like the "office call" idea!



Makes sense to me;

Catch the pastor when he is not so busy with the functions of a sunday service.

Then there can be a full focus on the issue.

Drums4Him
Apr 2nd 2007, 11:09 PM
What is the point of going down to an altar to receive Jesus? It can be done where you sit, or anywhere.....as long as you're truly sorry for you're sins??

EarlyCall
Apr 2nd 2007, 11:57 PM
The alter is a place of many things and at the end of the service, it is a very good thing to open the alter for those that want to come publicly before God to pray.

What might a person pray for at the alter? They might pray for salvation. It is a public showing of accepting Christ as our saviour. Nothing wrong with that.

But it is for much more. Sometimes someone may come to the alter for prayer for deliverance, for healing or for something else where they would like others to pray with them.

It is a good thing.

Oh, I should add, it is always a good thing to pray quietly if you are praying for someone that has gone down to the alter. I always hated it when those praying for me got so loud I couldn't think and had a difficult time talking to God. Sometimes I actually wanted to yell for them to shut up already! Plus, don't pray out loud and assume you know what they are at the alter for. Pray quietly and pray for them - God knows. If they tell you and ask you to pray about that with them, then by all means do so and out loud but still quietly as to not disturb the others aorund you.

Centurionoflight
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:11 AM
EarlyCall



The alter is a place of many things and at the end of the service, it is a very good thing to open the alter for those that want to come publicly before God to pray.

What might a person pray for at the alter? They might pray for salvation. It is a public showing of accepting Christ as our saviour. Nothing wrong with that.

But it is for much more. Sometimes someone may come to the alter for prayer for deliverance, for healing or for something else where they would like others to pray with them.

It is a good thing.
To me it still looks like a attempt to get all eyes on the person standing in front.

A Attention getter.

We are to pray in secret.

matt 6
5"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

6"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
The bible calls them hypocrites, thus not sure if that is a good thing.




Oh, I should add, it is always a good thing to pray quietly if you are praying for someone that has gone down to the alter. I always hated it when those praying for me got so loud I couldn't think and had a difficult time talking to God. Sometimes I actually wanted to yell for them to shut up already! Plus, don't pray out loud and assume you know what they are at the alter for. Pray quietly and pray for them - God knows. If they tell you and ask you to pray about that with them, then by all means do so and out loud but still quietly as to not disturb the others aorund you.
That is what I mean; all eyes upon them.

They, rather than the pastor, are now the focus.
The church gossips get all in a tizzy and all that focus is now at a fevor pitch; is it some big sin; was he not saved; etc..

Matt 6
1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
They are practicing their righteousness before men.

EarlyCall
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:25 AM
EarlyCall

To me it still looks like a attempt to get all eyes on the person standing in front.

A Attention getter.

We are to pray in secret.


matt 6
5"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.



6"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
The bible calls them hypocrites, thus not sure if that is a good thing.


That is what I mean; all eyes upon them.

They, rather than the pastor, are now the focus.
The church gossips get all in a tizzy and all that focus is now at a fevor pitch; is it some big sin; was he not saved; etc..


Matt 6
1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
They are practicing their righteousness before men.

Well, if you believe that way, that's fine. I disagree and for a very good reason.

I'll tell you a story and you can believe it if you like - or not.

Sunday morning and the alter call was given. I had only attended this church a few times, but I knew a few people there. As the alter call was given, God spoke to me. He told me to go to the alter and claim my friend's soul for Christ. I told God that I would look like I was going down there for myself and no doubt people would come and pray for me and I just didn't want to deal with all of that when it wasn't about me. God said to do it anyway.

So I did.

Now I figure God wouldn't have asked me to do that if He had a problem with atler calls.

And you can believe that story or not. You can believe God spoke to me or not. God knows and I know. And God also impressed upon me, this time He said no words to me, that I should continue to be a good friend to my friend. And I did and I began to watch how God was working in his life and through other people and other means. It was not all that long after this that my friend died from his disease.

As for praying in secret, well not even Jesus did that all the time, so making that the standard isn't a good idea. We can do both, Jesus did and so did Paul and the rest of them.

Centurionoflight
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:55 AM
EarlyCall


Sunday morning and the alter call was given. I had only attended this church a few times, but I knew a few people there. As the alter call was given, God spoke to me. He told me to go to the alter and claim my friend's soul for Christ. I told God that I would look like I was going down there for myself and no doubt people would come and pray for me and I just didn't want to deal with all of that when it wasn't about me. God said to do it anyway.Sweet story, however in a dash of cold water I must ask.

This is based on what doctrine?

Proxy Claiming of Souls.

Remember in light of;

Philippians 2:12
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Each person must believe for them self; no one can proxy believe for them.
Each person must mature in spirit thru their own growth; no one can grow for them.

EarlyCall
Apr 3rd 2007, 01:12 AM
EarlyCall

Sweet story, however in a dash of cold water I must ask.

This is based on what doctrine?

Proxy Claiming of Souls.

Remember in light of;



Philippians 2:12
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Each person must believe for them self; no one can proxy believe for them.
Each person must mature in spirit thru their own growth; no one can grow for them.

I did not say I believed for him. He came to believe on his own. What I did I did because God told me to do it. And I said nothing of growing for him.

So you are off on a tangent that has nothing whatsoever to do with what I am talking about. Your use of scripture here is also out of context.

What God did, and I hate even having to bother explaining this to you, is to have me claim his soul for Christ. This meant I went to that alter that morning and I prayed and pleaded the blood of Christ for my friend's salvation.

I wanted to add that it was an act of faith on my part in praying for his salvation. The claiming of his soul for Christ was an act of faith in God and claiming what Christ had done for this man on calvary. It was my pleading to God for his slavation.

mikebr
Apr 3rd 2007, 02:09 AM
I agree with Centurion of Light. Way too often the alter call is a time to manipulate people to come to the front."What if you die on your way home, you are not promised tomorrow" Its almost like the more people they can get to come forward the more successful the sermon was.

My opinion anyway.

Slug1
Apr 3rd 2007, 02:14 AM
I agree with Centurion of Light. Way too often the alter call is a time to manipulate people to come to the front."What if you die on your way home, you are not promised tomorrow" Its almost like the more people they can get to come forward the more successful the sermon was.

My opinion anyway.

I've never seen anything like this before and I'm glad. Our pastor is pretty laid back about it, if you go up... cool, if you don't go up... cool :cool:

mikebr
Apr 3rd 2007, 02:23 AM
I've never seen anything like this before and I'm glad. Our pastor is pretty laid back about it, if you go up... cool, if you don't go up... cool :cool:


Maybe it's only a good ol' southern thing.

EarlyCall
Apr 3rd 2007, 02:27 AM
I agree with Centurion of Light. Way too often the alter call is a time to manipulate people to come to the front."What if you die on your way home, you are not promised tomorrow" Its almost like the more people they can get to come forward the more successful the sermon was.

My opinion anyway.

I think Billy Graham would disagree. I do too. I understand you and CoL have your opinions, but I've witnessed most of my life something quite to the contrary.

Pilgrimtozion
Apr 3rd 2007, 05:16 AM
One of the most important reasons I support the concept of an 'altar call' is because the Holy Spirit is always at work in a service. At the end of a sermon, there is often a need for people to deal on a personal level with God concerning the issues presented in the sermon. In a corporate setting like that where there is an anointing and the Presence of God, there is no more opportune time to deal with those issues than just after the sermon. Some might want to wait until they get home, but then other things will inevitably take up time, space, and attention. So the best thing is to deal with the issues while it is fresh on your heart and mind, while the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about it.

The fact that it can be used to manipulate is a fact. Can it be used as a show? Absolutely! But since when do we discontinue a practice just because a potential for abuse exists?

Centurionoflight
Apr 3rd 2007, 05:51 AM
EarlyCall



I did not say I believed for him. He came to believe on his own. What I did I did because God told me to do it. And I said nothing of growing for him.

So you are off on a tangent that has nothing whatsoever to do with what I am talking about. Your use of scripture here is also out of context.

What God did, and I hate even having to bother explaining this to you, is to have me claim his soul for Christ. This meant I went to that alter that morning and I prayed and pleaded the blood of Christ for my friend's salvation.

I wanted to add that it was an act of faith on my part in praying for his salvation. The claiming of his soul for Christ was an act of faith in God and claiming what Christ had done for this man on calvary. It was my pleading to God for his slavation.



Ok that is again all nice, real warm and fuzzy.

However,

There is a lack of doctrine;

Thus I am unmoved in my position.

Plus it may be a tangent off topic; this is about alter calls not "pleading the blood".

chal
Apr 3rd 2007, 07:49 AM
I've never responded to an alter call, simply because by the time I attended a church that did that, I was already saved and it was presented as a salvation issue (in that church). I have been in other churches where it was presented in a more general fashion.

I think that like all nuances of public worship, it can be used to "show off," or not depending on the motive. If we just write it off as "showing off," is the only possible motive, we may as well say to stop attending church altogether because someone may see us.

Proclaiming that kind of "one size fits all," tunnel vision perspective can by the same logic, just as easily be said to be a vocal "showing off." Why not drop by the pastors office and tell him your concern about his alter calls in this fashion as well?

matthew94
Apr 3rd 2007, 08:14 AM
The older I get, the less likely I've become to respond to an altar call. When I was a teen, I responded to quite a few of them at camp. The speaker would deliver an inspiring message and then urge us to commit to God. At college I think I responded to a couple in my freshmen year. Maybe 1 as a sophmore. I doubt any as a junior. And I know I haven't gone forward since then at any service. THAT is MY altar history. There are various reasons for my change in practice.

Imagine this scenario: An altar call is made. People go forward. They're ready to take a step in their relationship with God. They kneel at the altar and begin to pray/listen. 5 seconds pass. Someone places a hand on their shoulder. I'm not a fan of this. I love to see people interacting with God. I hate to see them interupted when doing so. I'm sure the motivation for laying your hands on someone at the altar is usually pure. But it just seems like more of a distraction to me than a help. So I don't like that common component of altar calls. I notice, in the modern church, a desire to 'control' God's work. We treat the church like an organization instead of as an organism. I think there's a difference. Laying a hand on someone at the altar (and sometimes even whispering a prayer or even interupting them to pray WITH them) seems like trying to organize the Spirit's work.

Another reason I'm not a big fan of the altar call is that I live in the post-cross era. I just don't see a New Testament case being made for the continued use of an altar in worship. In fact, I see the opposite. Hebrews 13 tells us that we have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. In context, the author is talking about the cross. That is where the once and for all sacrifice was made. In New Testament times, it's not about going to a certain location to get right with God. It's about turning to the cross no matter where you are. I don't care if it's an altar, pew, chair, car, bed, etc. Christ will find us.

Why did preachers start using altar calls? I mean, it doesn't seem to have been a significant part of early Christianity. I know there are answers to that question. I'm just not sure there are any GOOD ones. For about 1800 years nothing exactly resembling the modern day 'altar call' was commonplace by any stretch of the imagination. From Peter/Paul to Wesley/Whitefield there was hardly an altar call to be found. Since then, Finney/Moody/Graham made the altar call a staple in the evangelical world. Do people need to make a decision to follow Christ? Sure. But what does walking to the front of a room HAVE to do with that? As a pastor I can sympathise with the desire to SEE the fruit of a sermon, but I'm reminded of a quote from Wesley's journal regarding such: "Preached at (such and such a place). Many seemed deeply affected. But God alone knows how deeply." I think that lots of great things have happened at altar calls in the past 200 years. I'm not saying otherwise. But I have a conviction that the prop may have caused more harm than good.

Slug1
Apr 3rd 2007, 11:12 AM
Karen, how'd it go? :D

karenoka27
Apr 3rd 2007, 11:27 AM
thanks for asking Slug,...I was going to post in here last night when I got home, but there was a little debate going on and I didn't want to get in the way.

The meeting was in my pastor's home, so I asked him to go over my outline before the ladies started. He liked it but added that when a person does come forward in response to an invitation to salvation, instead of assuming that they are saved, like I mentioned my concern of getting confused with being saved by the "act" of coming forward, to ask the person, "what brought you to the front today?" or "what happened here today?" He said to ask questions that are in need of more than a yes or no answer. He said it is good if the person would pray themselves, but if not then you could pray for them.
I'm going to be doing this lesson with my high school class next week. They all tell me they got saved going forward at snow camp or another camp. When I ask them to write their testimony...none of them could. It caused me to be somewhat concerned.

Slug1
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:11 PM
thanks for asking Slug,...I was going to post in here last night when I got home, but there was a little debate going on and I didn't want to get in the way.

The meeting was in my pastor's home, so I asked him to go over my outline before the ladies started. He liked it but added that when a person does come forward in response to an invitation to salvation, instead of assuming that they are saved, like I mentioned my concern of getting confused with being saved by the "act" of coming forward, to ask the person, "what brought you to the front today?" or "what happened here today?" He said to ask questions that are in need of more than a yes or no answer. He said it is good if the person would pray themselves, but if not then you could pray for them.
I'm going to be doing this lesson with my high school class next week. They all tell me they got saved going forward at snow camp or another camp. When I ask them to write their testimony...none of them could. It caused me to be somewhat concerned.

I think God has been preparing you so you can act on your concern.

karenoka27
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:20 PM
I think God has been preparing you so you can act on your concern.

I do as well. I have to retype my outline and change it a little bit. We have to turn in what we are teaching when we go outside of the curriculum that was given us. I know it won't be a problem as I already told my pastor that I wanted to do this with the teens.
I also want to do a class on communion as I don't think they understand that either. They all take it like it's snack time...well that will be another week.

Steve M
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:30 PM
Just to be nosey Steve. What don't you like about the term?
Matthew totally beat me to the punch on this one.


Another reason I'm not a big fan of the altar call is that I live in the post-cross era. I just don't see a New Testament case being made for the continued use of an altar in worship. In fact, I see the opposite. Hebrews 13 tells us that we have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. In context, the author is talking about the cross. That is where the once and for all sacrifice was made.

That pretty much lays out my discomfort with the term altar, and with having altars in the Church service.

karenoka27
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:36 PM
I think that's what Charles Spurgeon's thoughts were as well. He said he would only point one to Christ and not to an altar....

EarlyCall
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:46 PM
EarlyCall




Ok that is again all nice, real warm and fuzzy.

However,

There is a lack of doctrine;

Thus I am unmoved in my position.

Plus it may be a tangent off topic; this is about alter calls not "pleading the blood".

Well, let's be very clear here about a few things.

1) I didn't tell my story for your approval
2) I don't care if you are unmoved
3) I don't care if you believe it, like it or anything else to be quite honest
4) My story is not off topic, but you arguing with me about it is. My story is about alter calls and alter calls involve reasons why someone would go down to the alter. Thus, my story is not off topic, but again, you arguing about it is.

I think that pretty well covers it. Now let's see if you can let it go.

jiggyfly
Apr 3rd 2007, 12:46 PM
My hope is that people won't just discard the term alter but will cease the religious practice of traditions formed by man. Church history is full of useless traditions that mean absolutely nothing to God. The pulpit is another traditonal piece of furniture that is generally regarded as sacred. Grape juice and crackers are yet another example of man's religious traditions. I could go on and on but I have to get to work soon. Hope to see more responses.

witness4Him
Apr 3rd 2007, 01:02 PM
James 5:14
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

I don't think its always a salvation standpoint on this issue.Could be a great time for people to come up and get prayer for healings.My opinion is that we have less time at the altar than we should.

karenoka27
Apr 3rd 2007, 01:10 PM
I was just doing some research on altar calls for teens for my Sunday school class...did you guys know that Marilyn Manson held an altar call at one of his concerts for those who want to come to satan?"Manson read from the Satanic bible and held a Satanic altar call in Lubbock, Texas."
I only point this out as it is so important to understand that it is a heart change not a going forward that saves you..(that's the point I want to get across to the teens...)

I don't want to turn this thread into a thread about Marilyn Manson..I know all about him and where he comes from and such...I only wanted to point out the other side of an altar call...I thought it was interesting...I wonder how many other religions have "altar calls"

EarlyCall
Apr 3rd 2007, 01:34 PM
I was just doing some research on altar calls for teens for my Sunday school class...did you guys know that Marilyn Manson held an altar call at one of his concerts for those who want to come to satan?"Manson read from the Satanic bible and held a Satanic altar call in Lubbock, Texas."
I only point this out as it is so important to understand that it is a heart change not a going forward that saves you..(that's the point I want to get across to the teens...)

I don't want to turn this thread into a thread about Marilyn Manson..I know all about him and where he comes from and such...I only wanted to point out the other side of an altar call...I thought it was interesting...I wonder how many other religions have "altar calls"

The thing to realize is that an alter call is not just a call to receive Christ as your saviour. If that was the case, all the alter calls I've seen in my lifetime would have had to been announced as, "Don't come forward unless you are doing so to get saved." Such was never the case. It is only one reason why the alter is there.

So I'm not sure why so much focus is put on that one single issue unless it is because it is often the reason an alter call is given.

But in all my days, I never once heard any minister say, you cannot be saved praying in your seat. You must come forward. It never happened to the best of my recollection.

That is why I said in an earlier post, those that go to the alter to pray with others should not assume why they are there or what they are praying about. They should pray silently for them unless the person says why they are there and asks them to pray with them. And then they need to pray quietly and softly so they do not disturb others nearby.

People go to the alter to pray for many reasons. But I mentioned a few of them in an earlier post so I won't repeat it here.

something some seem to be missing here is that this is an opportunity for people to come together in prayer. Where two or three are gathered...

It is a good thing, in my opinion to be a part of the church service experience.

As for the possibilty that it might be show for some, that is on them and God will deal with them later. But some come to church for show too. Perhaps we should shut the doors of the church then to prevent it. Same logical line of thinking. But it is a poor logic indeed.

watchinginawe
Apr 3rd 2007, 01:56 PM
My hope is that people won't just discard the term alter but will cease the religious practice of traditions formed by man. Church history is full of useless traditions that mean absolutely nothing to God.I don't share that hope. I believe that this kind of attitude towards the altars of God is one of the problems with the Church today.

Genesis 35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

For many, the day of their distress was met by God at the local Church at the altar after considering their "strange gods", cleaning up, putting on their Sunday best, and then making the journey to Church. I say let's not discard the term altar but see it as a place where God can still be found in our day of distress. For man, that works. Most don't believe they will find God at the local bar, brothel, xxx porn store, etc. even though they could. Instead, they believe God may appear to them as he did to "old Jacob" so and so years ago, at the place of the altar. Now some will take their distress to the bars and such, and some will deal with their distress where they are (as it was in my case), and some will bring their distress to the Church. My hope is that for those that bring their distress to the Church (both saved and unsaved) that there is a place where they can lay it all down and find hope.

God Bless!

karenoka27
Apr 3rd 2007, 02:38 PM
ok, everyone stop just for one second...I'd just like to say one thing:

"when I started this post, it was because I was asked to share with women's ministry what they should do when they go up to another woman who responds to an invitation to salvation. This was what I was referring to when I asked about altar calls.

Now...yes there are altar calls for prayer, I think they are good. I think sometimes we need to pray with someone else, confess our faults one to another and pray for one another (james 5:16)...that is a different topic than the one I started.

I apologize for any confusion I have caused or any disagreements that have come to be because of my question.

Frances
Apr 3rd 2007, 05:52 PM
Hi Karen, I've only just come across this thread. I thought your outline together with your pastor's comments was very good, and I would only suggest, when you do something similar with the teens, you encourage them to expect the Holy Spirit to be working in those situations - and to realise that tears often accompany His work in a person's life.
It is also very important, even if a clear presentation of the Gospel has already been given in the sermon, to ensure a person who has gone forward because they accept Christ fully understands the full Gospel. . . unfortunately some (in my experience) don't. Perhaps you might also encourage them to offer to pick up a new Christian and go to the next meeting with them? I've discovered over the years that many new Christians can be very nervous of entering a church on their own. . . .

Slug1
Apr 3rd 2007, 07:42 PM
I apologize for any confusion I have caused or any disagreements that have come to be because of my question.

Karen, you got what you needed from this thread don't let all the difference in opinion bring ya down :hug:

You did God's work and as I said, I truly feel that God is preparing you for this future possible discussion you'll have with the student's you mentioned.

There is still allot to be learned in this thread as some good points are being made.

Go where God leads you.

BadDog
Apr 4th 2007, 10:44 PM
I am giving a devotional tomorrow night at a women's ministry meeting. I was asked to do a training on altar calls (what a woman would do if a woman comes forward). I have mixed emotions about them. Before I share my thoughts on them...I would love to know how you all feel about them. I really appreciate you thoughts.
I imagine that "tomorrow night" has come and gone, so I hope it was an invigorating time.

Altar calls can be a powerful tool for the Spirit. But keep in mind that it is not the coming forward, raising of the hand, praying of a prayer or saying certain words which saves someone. It is the simple faith in Christ. We are trying to help people to do so in giving an altar call. So the focus should be on Christ and not on "doing" anything.

BD

karenoka27
Apr 5th 2007, 11:02 AM
I have loved every post of this thread. I am looking forward to sharing this with the teens on Sunday. My pastor alternates altar calls. On some weeks he will do an invitation to Christ. On another week he will have one for prayer or repentance.
One time when he had and invitation to Christ, a woman came forward and the pastor looked to me to go pray with her. I asked her why she came and she said something like "Oh I'm not here for that, I need prayer for my sister's friends, cousins neighbor (you know how that goes...). I just had to chuckle and pray. I hope she was saved...I never did get to ask her.