No, it is not about Bob Barker on the Price is Right. It is about another topic that gets my BS allergies kickin’ in… the good old altar call.
My personal feeling about altar calls ranks them as one of my top 5 all-time most dishonest and most destructive pieces of man-made religious crap to be created. They are often introduced as a salvation pre-requisite, and also as a pre-requisite to “join” the local church. After the wonderful walk down the aisle, afterwards you get to talk to a “decision counselor”…. oh boy, do not even get me started with the decision counselors…. achoo!
An altar call, or more popularly called an “invitation”, is an appeal for an immediate public response to a sermon that was just preached from the pulpit. These invitations could involve hand raising, or signing a post card for “church” commitment. But most often it involves “walking down the aisle” to the front of a church sanctuary to show you mean business.
Many times I have heard these “invitations” tacked on to the end of a sermon, a skit, a rock concert, and typically is used to have people “come forward and accept Christ as their personal Savior.” Give me a break.
A lot of unique emotional tactics are used to create a certain mind-altering mood. Maybe the pastor uses a sad story, or plays some emotional mood music in the background… all to get a response from the people to “come forward”.
I feel the altar call is used for all the wrong reasons, as if there is a reason to do it at all.
Talking with people over the years, a bunch of them were terrified that if they would pass away before they got up the courage to walk to the altar some Sunday morning they would not be saved and would risk hell. They would not be part of the church until they did that… pure hogwash is what I would tell them.
Or I would say, come on people, this “altar” is totally man-made, and part of a man-centered approach to a certain salvation doctrine. It makes the altar a place in a church building sacred ground, and then becomes absolutely paramount in the so-called salvation “experience.” People talk about writing down the time, remembering the date for when they approached the pastor. The pastor uses it for writing down how many people walked up to measure how good his sermon was.
I am sure a lot of people have come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel, and it may have even happened while they were up at the front of the church altar. However, by adding this man-made tradition to the gospel, and with many churches pushing this tradition so hard, makes me want to puke. To think, many people who do not know Christ think they must approach the altar some Sunday to actually be saved … how sad is that.
I am going to just say it, and I am sure I am going to piss off some fundies out there. The altar is nothing. It is a tradition, a mythical man-made church tradition that is more about the experience of the place than it is about the Gospel or the person of Christ. There is nothing sacred about the front of the church, the stage, the pulpit, or the lectern where the pastor sits or stands. Stop the practice of relying on a mythical tradition to seal the deal regarding salvation.
Stop the practice all-together. This BS is unbiblical at best, and emotional manipulation at worst.