And our pastor may have committed it. Sorry, Josh. On Easter morning, nonetheless. I should have been looking for the lightning bolts to thunder down from the heavens, I guess.
Last night at the prison bible study I played the excerpt from the IRBC Easter sermon that was posted here last week, and which I will reproduce shortly. I wanted to get the thoughts of the men on it – men from all over the Christian spectrum.
Once again, here is the except – this is the last four minutes of the sermon, Easter morning at Indian River Baptist Church:
There were about 30 men there listening. The very first comment, from one of the men with whom I butt heads frequently, was this:
“It’s a sorry church that doesn’t close with an altar call.”
Proof positive that the Spirit is working is the fact I didn’t say something dumb in response at that point.
Isn’t it curious (well, perhaps not, seeing where the “evangelical” church has gone over the past 150 years given the influence of Charles Finney and his descendants) that the comment had nothing to do with the content of what was said? That an altar call is an essential element of a sermon?
The following video and links deal with what has in essence, become a “sacrament” in many churches/denominations. I can’t speak for the denominational background of the man who made the above comment, but the resources below deal with it primarily from a Baptist perspective.
Fred Zaspel (PDF)
I have recounted this before, so I’ll be brief. I was being interviewed for a staff position at a small Baptist church. The elder (they only had one) on the committee asked my opinion on the altar call. I responded I didn’t see that they were necessary because I didn’t see them anywhere in the New Testament. “Apoplectic” wouldn’t describe his reaction, but it’s in the neighborhood. He claimed his three sons never would have been if it had not been for an altar call being issued. I responded that perhaps his osn were already “saved” before they made the long walk – but we in many cases have made the altar call a requirement for salvation. I said that there was nothing inherently wrong in doing an altar call, but I saw them – as we “do” them – nowhere in the New Testament.
He was not impressed, to say the least. The lightning bolts were held back. I never did hear back from that church, which is another story.
Perhaps our merciful, loving, sovereign God will grant Pastor Josh some grace for not doing an altar call in the Easter sermon. Some Christians, on the other hand……