The Saddest Altar Call I’ve Ever Seen!

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Anyone who has ever watched a Billy Graham Crusade has witnessed what is commonly referred to as an “altar call”. You know what I’m talking about, right? That endless stream of people walking/running or whatever to the front of the podium supposedly to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

That’s what an altar call is. Billy Graham wasn’t the one that invented it; Anglican ministers were the ones who did that. Charles Finney is the one that made the altar call famous.

The other night I saw a minister utilize the “altar call” and a couple of people responded to his call to accept Jesus yet no one was waiting there to pray with the respondent

The minister brought enough people with him to listen to him preach pray with respondents yet no one stepped forward to do so.

Usually there is someone waiting for the respondent supposedly to “pray with them and welcome them to the Kingdom”.

Sometimes people go forward to have someone pray with them for a very special need and again there is usually someone there to actually pray with them.

In this case the minister stood off to the side smiling while whispering to one of the other guys who led the show   service but neither of them made any attempt to pray with either person.

Did I forget to mention an “altar call” can’t be found in the Good Book?

I’ve been guilty of this before and I’m sure some of you have either called for one or have taken part in one. That doesn’t make it right does it?

Praying with people publicly is biblical (James 5:14-15). If that was the reason for calling folks up there in the first place that would have been a good thing.

Having folks make a public profession of faith is also biblical (Romans 10:9). Neither of the two fellas coming forward made any type of public anything nor were they asked to.

They walked up their alone, knelt down alone, prayed alone and walked back to their seats alone.

Like I said it was a very sad altar call.

I don’t want to get into motives here but some have actually used the “altar call” as a sort of census or way to count how many folks got “saved” while they preached.

I can’t say that was the case here but I can’t say it wasn’t either.

Did I mention these altar calls aren’t in the Good Book?

I want to be generous and say the minister had the very best intentions when they asked folks to come forward. I’d like to say there may have been some mis-communication between the lead minister and his associate.

I also want a yacht but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

The saddest part of all this is the message it sent. Christianity is meant to be done in community not in a vacuum.

No one from that community embraced either of those two fellas. They didn’t acknowledge them, shake their hand, nothing.

I didn’t pray with them either. That makes me just as culpable as they are.

Like I said it was the saddest altar call I ever saw.

Something that made me happy this week was recording Calvin’s Corner with my friend Pastor Michael Newnham. This week Michaels Minnesota Vikings beat my New York Jets in the first ever Calvin’s Corner Bowl, we talked about how we as Christians should respond to former Baltimore Raven Running Back Ray Rice, feuding over Eschatology and much more. I’ll leave the player below or you can use the link just above the player to download the program to your portable listening device.

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Calvin’s Corner #10: Limited vs Unlimited Atonement

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Pastor Michael Newnham and Phil Naessens talk Fantasy Football, answer a listeners question about two books written by George Bryson and talk about Limited and Universal Atonement plus more great talk on this weeks Calvin’s Corner.

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Calvin’s Corner is now on iTunes and Stitcher.

Listen to Calvin’s Corner on great networks Max Sports Channels and The 405 Media.

Calvin’s Corner #9: Is Good Health a Promise of Salvation?

Calvins Corner LogoWas Martin Luther an Anti-Semite? Is good health part of Salvation? Hell, Sheep, Goats, Works and Fantasy Football on this weeks Calvin’s Corner with Pastor Michael Newnham and syndicated radio host Phil Naessens

Download the MP3

Calvin’s Corner is now on iTunes and Stitcher.

Listen to Calvin’s Corner on great networks Max Sports Channels and The 405 Media.

Calvin’s Corner #8: How Could Jesus Die Yet Still Be God?

Calvin's Corner headerOn this edition of Calvin’s Corner Pastor Michael Newnham and syndicated radio host Phil Naessens talk Fantasy Football and answer listener’s questions regarding Mark Driscoll’s repentance, how Jesus could die yet still be God and the differences between Martin Luther and John Calvin plus more great Christian talk.

Download

Calvin’s Corner is now on iTunes and Stitcher.

Listen to Calvin’s Corner on great networks Max Sports Channels and The 405 Media.

Free Pastor Saeed Abedini

It’s Wednesday and this is the day we change our Facebook profile pictures to one of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the imprisoned Christian Pastor being held in an Iranian prison for simply being a Christian.

While I can’t possibly relate to what Abedini and his daily struggles are I do know what it’s like to be a long way from home.

I was blessed to have great friends both in Corfu and in the states that I knew cared about me and able to demonstrate that daily. That helped me through the rough times for sure.

Outside of family visits Saeed is mostly surrounded by people who want to make him suffer and see him dead.

When Jesus was on the cross He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” and I’m sure Saeed has had similar thoughts during his imprisonment.

Of course Jesus wasn’t forsaken and neither has he forsaken Saeed.

That’s why we change our profile pictures every Wednesday. We want Saeed and his family to know that we do care and haven’t forgotten him. Hopefully it helps him through the rough times as well.

So please feel free to use the image at the top of this posting and replace your Facebook or Twitter profile picture with that of Saeed Abedini.

Did you know that Michael Newnham, aka the Phoenix Preacher and I are hosting a brand new weekly radio program called Calvin’s Corner? On this weeks show we talked about Saeed Abedini and plenty of other topics that I think you’ll enjoy. I’ll leave the player below or you can download the program to your portable listening device by right clicking the image below and selecting “save as”

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Ken Silva Passes Away

Psalm_23This morning while I was preparing for my daily show a dear friend informed me that Apprising Ministries Ken Silva had passed away.

Ken and I weren’t exactly what you would call friends by any shape of the imagination. We didn’t agree ethically nor did we agree theologically. To put it bluntly we didn’t like each other very much.

I hate to admit it but my personal experience with him made me question if he had indeed even died. I’m glad I was wrong about that.

I hadn’t thought about him in years until this morning and probably after posting this won’t think about him again. My hope for him is the same hope I have for all professing Christians;

(Joh 14:1-4)  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

May the God Ken Silva professed to know and serve have mercy on his soul.

Putting Feet to Their Faith

Jesus Said...Ministries of Akron Ohio praying before they do their weekly Saturday morning street witnessing......photo from the Jesus Said....Ministries website
Jesus Said…Ministries of Akron Ohio from their website

This morning I was trotting off to the library and like the tool that I am I forgot the library doesn’t open until 10am. I’m glad the library was closed as I got to witness Christianity in action.

Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. I think that’s in the Good Book somewhere.

That’s what I saw this morning in the Plaza right next to the Akron Public Library. Apparently these kind Christian folks from a ministry called Jesus Said…Ministries meet there just about every Saturday morning feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

It was a bit chilly with a brisk breeze this morning but that didn’t deter the dozen or so volunteers from putting feet to their faith and doing what they feel the Good Book is telling them to do. It was refreshing to see.

Like I said it was cold out there but Jesus Said…Ministries had a bit of everything going on. They had a bit of live music, plenty of food, clothing and a bit of street preaching as well. They even brought their own kneeling bench so folks wouldn’t have to get dirty praying for salvation.

It’s always nice to see folks putting feet to their faith or in this case clothes on backs and food in bellies. Just in case you were wondering the Good Book says the following;

 (John 21:15-17)  When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. ESV from E-Sword

Strong words from the Lord and Savior especially in light of the fact Peter had just denied Jesus. A reminder of what he had done (hence the three separate commands) and then forgiveness.

The street preacher from Jesus Said…Ministries used the same approach to the crowd of about 150 that Jesus did with Peter reminding them they are sinners and then showing them the way to forgiveness by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’d say a job well done and if you reading this are in the Akron Ohio area you should check out Jesus Said…Ministries and see if you can either volunteer or maybe donate some food, clothing or even your time and put feet to your faith.

You’ll be happy that you did.