From the lives, hearts and minds of Matt and Carrie...
Dude...you should check out "The Invitation System" booklet by Iaian Murray at Banner of Truth on this. I'm reading "Revival and Revivalism" by Iaian Murray right now and it's amazing to see how when a practice like this trumps truth how confusing it is for people and how much it gets in the way of the Holy Spirit's slow (or fast) work of conviction in a person's heart. The "invitation system" introduced during camp meetings by Methodism and then taken over by Finney and others is truly a marring of American evangelicalism.In ChristNoah
Our tendency is to rule out certain methods of evangelism because of past abuses. But, when we look to Scriptures to see the varied and, frankly, strange methods of proclamation that were used, we should pause before we condemn a particular evangelistic tactic. I think that altar calls can be done without being manipulative and misused.
I read Ian Murray's book years ago, and that's what got me thinking about altar calls. I don't object to them categorically and absolutely, but I've only used them very sparingly, and with sufficient explanation so that anyone who comes forward knows why they are coming forward -- for prayer and counsel. It's for serious follow-up, it's not a melodramatic statement to thrill onlookers. Certainly not something that God requires. God calls for response, and the ceremonial dimension of response mandated by Scripture is baptism.
B. Thomas, I agree with you;) Notice I said that the "invitation system" as it was introduced by Methodism and then taken over by Finney marred American evangelicalism.If you do the "invitation system" without putting people under compulsion, without confusing people as to what coming forward signifies, without representing the practice as part of a “liturgical” expectation of worship, without trumping baptism and communion as the sacraments given by Jesus, and without confusing people as to what Scripture teaches is involved in true conversion then…knock yourself out;) I would argue that these clarifications do not happen often...therefore they cause a lot of confusion. In Christ,Noah
I would argue that these clarifications do not happen oftenIn my experience, they never happen. In Baptistic circles, using the invitation system = being evangelistic, going forward = becoming a Christian. This is a big reason why I always disbelieve evangelism statistics. I know there are people who are unsettled by my muted responses to accounts about how many people allegedly became saved at such-and-such meeting. I never doubt that a certain number of people most likely do become believers! But since I never think that there's a real 1:1 ratio between respondants and true converts, it makes me a lot more cautious about such claims.
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