In the Evangelical Christian tradition, an altar call is a public invitation for individuals to come forward and make a commitment to Jesus Christ. Altar calls are a common practice in Evangelical churches, but they are also found in the Bible.
In this blog post, we will explore five examples of altar calls in the Bible and their significance for Christians today.
What is an Altar Call?
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An altar call is a public invitation for individuals to come forward and make a commitment to Jesus Christ. This practice has been a hallmark of Evangelical Christianity for many years. During an altar call, individuals are often invited to come forward and pray with a pastor or church leader, confess their sins, and ask Jesus Christ to become their Lord and Savior.
While the practice of altar calls is not specifically commanded in the Bible, many Christians point to examples in Scripture where individuals publicly declared their faith in God and made commitments to follow Him. In this post, we will explore five examples of altar calls in the Bible and the lessons that we can learn from them.
Example 1: Abraham’s Altar Call (Genesis 12:7)
The first example of an altar call in the Bible can be found in Genesis 12:7, where God called Abraham to leave his country and go to a land that He would show him. After arriving in the land of Canaan, Abraham built an altar to the Lord and called upon His name. This act of worship and devotion was a public declaration of Abraham’s faith in God and his commitment to follow Him.
From this example, we can learn that making a public declaration of faith is an important part of the Christian life. When we publicly declare our faith, we are demonstrating our commitment to follow Jesus and our willingness to obey Him, even when it is difficult. Abraham’s altar call also shows us the importance of worshiping and praising God, even in the midst of uncertain circumstances.
Example 2: Elijah’s Altar Call (1 Kings 18:30-39)
The second example of an altar call in the Bible can be found in 1 Kings 18:30-39, where the prophet Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest to see whose God was the true God. After the prophets of Baal failed to call down fire from heaven, Elijah built an altar to the Lord, placed a sacrifice on it, and called upon the name of the Lord. God answered his prayer by sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.
This powerful display of God’s power and Elijah’s faith was a public declaration of the truth of God’s Word and the power of His name. From this example, we can learn that God is faithful to those who put their trust in Him and that He will honor those who publicly declare their faith in Him. Elijah’s altar call also shows us the importance of standing up for the truth of God’s Word, even when it is unpopular or goes against the prevailing culture.
Example 3: Peter’s Altar Call (Acts 2:38-41)
The third example of an altar call in the Bible can be found in Acts 2:38-41, where Peter preached a powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost. After hearing Peter’s message, many of the people in the crowd were convicted of their sin and asked what they should do. Peter responded by calling them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Three thousand people responded to Peter’s call and were baptized that day.
This example shows us the power of the gospel to transform lives and the importance of responding to God’s call to repentance and faith. From Peter’s altar call, we can learn that God is willing to forgive even the most sinful and rebellious among us and that He calls us to turn away from our sins and follow Him. Peter’s altar call also teaches us the importance of preaching the gospel boldly and clearly, as he did on the day of Pentecost.
Example 4: Paul’s Altar Call (Acts 16:30-34)
The fourth example of an altar call in the Bible can be found in Acts 16:30-34, where Paul and Silas were in prison in Philippi. After an earthquake shook the prison, the jailer asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. Paul responded by telling him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and he and his household would be saved. The jailer and his household responded to Paul’s message by believing in Jesus and being baptized.
From this example, we can learn that God is able to use even the most difficult circumstances to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. We can also see the importance of sharing the gospel with those around us, even in unlikely places. Paul’s altar call also teaches us the importance of responding to God’s call to share the gospel, even in difficult and uncomfortable situations.
Example 5: Jesus’ Altar Call (Matthew 4:19)
The final example of an altar call in the Bible can be found in Matthew 4:19, where Jesus called His first disciples, Peter and Andrew, to follow Him. Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Peter and Andrew responded to Jesus’ call by leaving their fishing nets and following Him.
This example shows us the importance of following Jesus and the impact that following Him can have on our lives and the lives of those around us. From Jesus’ altar call, we can learn that following Jesus is not just a one-time decision, but a lifelong commitment to obedience and service. We can also see the importance of responding to Jesus’ call to serve Him and share the gospel with others.
In conclusion, while the practice of altar calls may not be explicitly commanded in the Bible, there are many examples of individuals publicly declaring their faith and commitment to God. From these examples, we can learn the importance of making a public declaration of faith, trusting in God’s faithfulness, responding to God’s call to repentance and faith, sharing the gospel with those around us, and following Jesus with all our hearts.
Altar calls can be a powerful tool for inviting individuals to respond to God’s call to faith and commitment. While not every church may practice altar calls, it is important for Christians to remember the importance of publicly declaring their faith and sharing the gospel with those around them. May we all be faithful in responding to God’s call and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those around us.
Furthermore, altar calls can help us to focus our attention on the most important things in life. It’s easy to get distracted by the worries and concerns of this world, but when we make a public declaration of our faith in God, we are reminding ourselves of what truly matters. Altar calls can also serve as a reminder that our faith is not just a private matter, but something that we are called to share with others.
Finally, it’s important to remember that an altar call is not the end goal of our faith journey, but just the beginning. Making a public declaration of faith is an important step, but it is just the beginning of a lifelong journey of following Jesus. May we all be faithful in responding to God’s call and may He give us the courage and strength to follow Him wherever He leads.