Does the Bible give a biblical mandate for altar calls? Is it irrelevant whether you came forward at an altar-call or not in terms of whether you have actually received Christ or not?However, it is not at all irrelevant whether your faith personally displays the qualities and characteristics of true saving faith.
I think there are serious dangers that modern Christians should be especially and particularly aware of concerning altar calls. Here are just 6 of them:
1. Individuals can be easily led to believe that their trip down the proverbial aisle during an "altar call" is somehow equal to salvation. The public act of 'going forward' can be so intimately associated with the genuine act of faith...that confusion results.
People begin to believe that they are "saved" by this act alone...rather than by Christ.
2. Requiring a public act at the point of salvation can lead a person to think they have 'done something' to 'get' salvation...which compromises the doctrine of grace.
3. Altar calls can lead to an over emphasis on the public response or the public aspect of 'decisions' . But a public decision for Christ is not always a reliable indicator of true conversion. In fact usually, its quite the opposite.
History has shown that public decisions frequently prove to be quite unreliable as barometers of genuine conversions. And scripture itself teaches that the fruits of true conversion will only be evident in the life of a believer over time.
4. Altar calls can eclipse the real cause of conversion. The real cause is not the 'decision' or the 'appeal' , or the 'walking down the aisle', nor the 'sinners prayer' nor the 'felt' emotion of the moment as emotional soft music is playing in the background.
True conversion is caused by the HOLY SPIRIT, who draws some by His Spirit to believe as the Gospel is proclaimed. And that will happen whether or not an altar call is given.
5. Some churches think they are 'evangelistic' merely because they use 'altar calls' . But in reality, many churches are being lulled into a evangelistic 'passivity' where their only attempts at evangelism as a church (or as individuals) are the altar calls at the end of each service. Many of which is so diluted and unbiblical in their presentation of the whole Gospel, that they are consistently fruitless...regardless of how many people 'come forward' and 'appear' to 'receive' Christ.
6. The historical record is undisputable, altar calls have produced 'considerable mischief'. Gospel presentations have grown increasingly diluted, much shorter and less complete, false conversions have become epidemic in the modern church, and God's truth and way are being maligned as a result.
And countless thousands have been and continued to be led into an emotion without a clear understanding of just what they are doing. As a result:
FALSE CONVERSIONS HAVE ABOUNDED!
Remember: The bottom line of all this is that a conversion to Christ is best made when a person has a clear eyed, grasp of exactly what they are doing. Emotions can be fleeting, so it should be our goal to persuade the mind and the heart by way of an accurate complete and Holy Spirit led and empowered presentation of the truth of the entire Gospel.
IT IS NOT OUR GOAL TO MERELY PRODUCE AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE! We seek CLEAR, CERTAIN, SPIRIT PRODUCED decisions for Christ. With or without ALTAR CALLS.