Many Christians have been taught that there is an altar within a church building. It is usually located just in front of the first pew before the pulpit. Christians are exhorted to come to the altar to pray at the end of the sermon during an invitation where an invitational hymn is sung. This is what they termed an altar call.
Sometimes, the time of the invitation is prolonged with repetitive singing of the invitational hymn when the preacher perceived that his objectives have not been achieved where people are not coming forward or not enough people are coming forward to pray or to repent in response to the sermon. Before you think this is a scriptural practice in the New Testament, a recent incident should be noted to see how such a practice could lead to false teachings not found in the Bible where Christians are told to do certain things against clear biblical teachings from the Holy Bible.
Jerry Falwell’s Funeral
May 20, 6:27 PM EDT (From the Associated Press)
Falwell’s Sons, Mourners Vow to Carry On
The Rev. Jerry Falwell’s son told thousands of parishioners packed in a church Sunday that the man they remembered as a mighty force in conservative Christianity would want them to continue the work he began.
Quoting one of his father’s favorite sayings, “Nothing of eternal consequence happens apart from prayer,”
Falwell urged parishioners to join him on the altar to pray for his father.
“Fill this altar so that dad can look down and see that this altar that he built is full of God’s people,” Falwell said as hundreds left their seats to kneel behind him, some holding each other and sobbing.
Falwell Junior urging the congregation to pray for his dad? For what?
Falwell Junior turned Catholic or was it inaccurate reporting?
Here is the folly of filling altars to feel that God is working among His people.
This kind of altars is strange fire as far as the New Testament is concerned.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (Hebrew 13:9-13)
The altar in the Old Testament is used to burn animal sacrifices. The altar in the New Testament is not within a church building but without the camp bearing Christ’s reproach where the New Testament born again child of God is to present his body as a living sacrifice to the Lord.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1&2)
So anyone still feels comfortable going to the altar and kneel before the pastor?