The Saddest Altar Call I’ve Ever Seen!


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.



The NFC and AFC Conference Finals!!

This Sunday (actually early Monday morning here in Corfu) I will have a choice. I can either watch;

1). The Australian Open tennis matches


2). Watch the New York Jets play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game…..

I think I will be watching the Jets! Continue reading

Friday’s Front Row!!

This week’s Friday’s Front Row is filled with MLB Baseball, NCAA Football, the NFL and great NBA action.

The San Francisco Giants travel to Texas to face the Rangers in games 3, 4 and possibly game 5 of the World Series. The Giants have pounded the Rangers in games 1 and 2 and if this continues the Giants will be returning to ‘Frisco Sunday night World Series Champs. Game 3 is slated for Saturday and game 4 is Sunday. Continue reading

Friday’s Front Row!

This week’s Friday’s front row is packed with outstanding sports matchups! Believe me when I tell you when I see this line-up it makes me wish I was back in the states!

In NCAA college football we have two inter-state rivalries as well as several games of interest.

The #17 ranked Michigan State Spartans travel to Ann Arbor to meet the #18 ranked Michigan Wolverines. Continue reading

Front Row Fridays!

Today I begin a new feature called Friday’s Front Row which is named after the famous ballpark restaurants. Each Friday I will be putting you in the front row of some of the weekend sports action.

The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants close out the regular season with a 3 games series that will decide the National League West winner. The Philadelphia Phillies travel to Atlanta to face the Braves. The Braves need a sweep Continue reading

In the Mailbag!!

Readers send me quite a bit of email asking all sorts of questions. Mostly they ask questions of a theological nature but one reader asked the following question that I’m extremely happy to answer. The question?

You go on and on about the New York Mets. Are there any other sports teams you like besides the Mets?

Dear reader, Continue reading

Oakland Raiders Hall of Famer George Blanda Passes Away at Age 83

George Blanda, the man who played more seasons than any other player in the National Football League has passed away at the age of 83. He was a class act both on and off the field and will be sorely missed. For more on the life and career of George Blanda please see the following link.