Come on Down!

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.

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4 thoughts on “Come on Down!

  1. Sometimes I think you take the little things of the church a hundred times more seriously than most churches do.

    Maybe you need to work on letting that bitterness and anger go…just for your own sake.

    I’ve never experienced the die-hard viciousness concerning altar calls you’re talking about. The altar call exists, but it’s not like an usher is exactly strong-arming me down the aisle at gunpoint.

    If you accept Christ on your own, or during a Bible study with a good friend, no one’s going to think you’re some kind of jerk. Same goes for praying on your own. The altar call hurts no one, so what real, logical reason is there to get rid of it?

    1. Lady Tam Li – I disagree. If the altar call is lumped in with something you have to do to be saved, it is very damaging. You could not even be a member at the local church I attended unless you walked the aisle. craziness. It is like college fraternity hazing. Do this or you are not accepted.

      I am not bitter or angry. I just want others to see a different perspective on church practices, and get them to really think about why and what the are doing it for.

      Questioning the status quo makes me come across mad, but in reality I am far from it. i am really loving person (even to those who disagree with me 🙂 )

  2. I would have to agree. And to the other commenter… yes, the altar call does hurt some people. I know of people who were on the verge of accepting Christ….and then a ‘you-have-to-do-it-thus-way’ altar call drove them away. Altar calls can scare the crud out of the timid or the abused. I grew up in a church here altar calls were regular – it was understood that if you didn’t come to the altar, you might not really be saved because you were too ashamed to acknowledge Christ publicly. That is rarely the reason people are afraid to go up to the altar. Often, it is exactly because it looks and feels like a hazing ritual and they are unsure what they will have to do or what will be done to them if they respond.

    I know that a lot of people have been saved during altar calls, but…. I think it is mostly in spite of, not because of.

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