October 2, 2014

New Toys, Same Problem: Evangelicals, Evangelism and the New “Altar Call”

Becoming a disciple of Jesus just got a lot easier, thanks to your cell phone.

I’m on the record about the public invitation or “altar call,” as revivalists like to call here. (Here, here, and here.)

I don’t like it. Why? Read the posts, but for now, let’s look at one reason: You walk the aisle, you can say you’re a Christian. In most revivalistic contexts, it’s strongly implied- or absolutely assumed- that walking forward makes you a Christian.

Aisle walking, altar call invitationalism replaced baptism in the revivalistic tradition as the visible proclamation of personal faith in Christ. It also had the advantage of being non-negotiable in the mind of many “converts.” Before you said a word to anyone, you’d already “walked the aisle.” If you evangelist had done his job, “walking forward” at that meeting was all the assurance you would need for the rest of your life.

The “sinners prayer,” and “praying with someone” were additional revivalist sacraments, but the key was to walk forward. It was letting go and going to Jesus. “I have decided to follow Jesus. Well, actually, I’ve decided to walk forward. We’ll see how it goes after that.”

I’ve heard it for years: “Come to Jesus….here at the front.” In a Catholic mass, that makes sense. Not in an evangelical setting. We don’t have Jesus “up front” for you to come up and “get.”

And so, at least in my denomination and many other revivalistic traditions, millions and millions of people came to believe they had “accepted Christ” because they had done something. The “sacrament of the aisle walk” was efficacious and easy.

Really, really easy.

So I’ve heard it a thousand times. “I came forward at camp, so I’m a Christian.”

Could we make it worse? What kind of question is that?

Yes, we can make it worse. Read the following description by Lexington Herald-Leader CCM reviewer Rich Copley; a description of what replaced the “aisle walk” at a recent CCM concert in Lexington.

Then evangelist —- —– took the stage to deliver a message and a high-tech take on the invitation for people to commit to the Christian faith. No walking forward to Just As I Am, Without One Plea here. Winter Jam goers were told to text “Tony” to 38714, and they would receive a text with more information about where to go for information. Winter Jam organizers estimated 2,500 people responded to that invitation Saturday night.

I should have seen it coming. I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t predict it, but I’m really not part of the “texting” generation, so I was asleep at the wheel.

Will churches be far behind? Will denominations be able to resist a new way to register “decisions” for Jesus? Will it be long before I hear this from a teenager: “Well, I texted the preacher at Winter Jam, so yeah, I’m a Christian.”

It’s all so easy. So virtual. So convenient.

And we’ll be hearing stories about how the Holy Spirit used it, for which we should all rejoice. God is amazingly generous with his grace.

Don’t get me wrong. The invitation can be combined with the Gospel rightly proclaimed, and in that case texting is no worse than any other invitation, but all experienced evangelistic preachers know that in the mind of the person walking forward/texting, the wrong assumptions persist no matter how clear you’ve been that this does not save. It’s a big risk, and one that I avoid unless forced to use it.

But when it’s time to say what I think in public or on this blog, I’m going to say what I’ve been saying to revivalists for 8 years: anything a person DOES that becomes their confidence is false assurance. Christ is our assurance. Period. You are not saved by texting, aisle walking, sitting in church or preaching to stadiums. You are saved by sola fide, faith alone, simple faith, the faith of a child. You are saved by Christ, by grace and through faith.

You didn’t need to text anyone. You just needed to call upon Jesus. “Lord, have mercy.” In faith.

Then, as a disciple who has placed his/her faith in Jesus alone, you are baptized in the name of the Trinity. While God knows the moment of your conversion when no one else does (even you), your baptism represents, for the church and the world, the moment of crossing the line into the new creation.

Why is baptism not a work that we do? Because water can’t save, but Christ in the Gospel does. A baptism isn’t water. It’s the Gospel in water.

Jesus only left two outward rituals. Two. And one of them is about being able to say you are a Christian by saying “As a believer, I was baptized.”

Not, “I texted Tony” or “I prayed with the preacher” or “I came forward at camp.”

So the battle goes on. Evangelicals find a new technology and they appropriate it without thinking what they are doing to the faith once delivered. With their innovations, from the invitation itself to texting your decisions, they deconstruct the faith itself in the name of evangelism.

The entrepreneurialism of evangelicals has always been a missional strength, but it is an impulse that must be checked and critiqued, restrained and reconsidered. The use of technology can enrich the faith or erase the faith. A new generation of evangelicals taken with the possibilities of techno-evangelism but not willing to be more faithful to scripture than to the spirit of innovation will wreak further dilution and delusion upon a movement that is already as insubstantial as vapor.

Call me a Luddite. I really don’t care. Technology and evangelistic methodology are a potent mix. Playing with ways to get more decisions is another way to insure that many of those decisions are fake.

Now…..if we can just make a baptism app for Facebook. How does this sound? Instead of “I see that hand…,” “I see that Tweet…..”

[One note about comments: I will not post ANY denominational baptism debate comments. This post is an in-house, evangelical discussion, not a discussion of credobaptism vs paedobaptism. Thanks.]

Comments

  1. Just to back up Georgetta….I lived in the south for over 5 years, attended an SBC university, visited many of the local churches, and the invitation form of “come down the aisle” is very much alive and well. Outside of the South, it’s much less prevalent.

    Have been to several different types of evangelical churches here in Florida ans in the midwest, and there is hardly ever any form of invitation….and certainly not the sing 5 verses of a hymn until someone walks down the aisle.

    Part of invitationalism may be firmly rooted in culture, and in Baptist culture in particular.

  2. AT Chaffee says:

    Curtis is on to something. “Phones” and “sinner” are apparently the same word on my cell and the sinner’s prayer with the word-prediction function comes out “Lord, have mercy on of a phones”

  3. Just for Quix says:

    Being an ex-Mormon Christian convert I say that this post reminds me of a sore spot, a little burr under the saddle, of the community with whom I worship. I’ve found a non-D evangelical community (Ev Free leaning) where this issue makes it hard to feel like I fully belong. (While I do feel like I belong in other ways.)

    I generally agree with the doctrinal and ministerial grounding of my church, no meeting is free of an altar call, and the once-in-a-while Sinners-esque prayer call. With legalism like Mormon temple ritual in my past, I get turned off greatly by any act that explicitly or implicitly makes it appear such is effectual or necessary for salvation, or even for a saving faith. But I don’t say anything less I come off as unhelpfully critical troublemaker.

    I appreciate that baptism is taken seriously, and that they framed the importance of this act appropriately when I chose to be baptised. But the altar call, while not being a “requirement” always runs the risk to be functionally perceived as such, IMO, by new believers because they do not frame or contextualize the invitation. While the prayers themselves are not a verbatim prayer, and conducted after the service is over, our pastors don’t say something like, “You could have been moved to accept Christ as your Savior this day, or any other day, in faith. This is often a very private event, and that is appropriate. It does not need to be a public profession to be any more real. Yet if you would like to respond to Christ with pastors and friends in prayer today, or if you have any kind of prayer need, we are available after the service to pray together with you.” Even if a “policy statement” like this merely appeared in the program like the standing invitation that people may sing or not sing along, stand up or sit down, hold their hands up or not, etc., it would be very helpful and inclusive.

    I think it is a risky walk hand-in-hand with the common way I see my fellow believers referring to others as “saved” or “unsaved.” In my opinion God’s work is God’s work. I respond to His grace in my desire to build for His kingdom. But I don’t build His kingdom — He does. It seems arrogant and missing the mark to presuppose it is my call to judge the hearts of those who really have saving faith or not. Of course, many of my fellow church members wouldn’t say they do either, so why all the habitual talk about so-and-so not being saved and what not?

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Headless Unicorn Guy’s new Salvation-thriller novella series is going to blow up with this crowd. I can see it now:

    Coming in 2010 from Tyndale House: what if the world ended tomorrow? Entertainment blogger JockSanchez never thought he’d have to ask himself that question, but with planes dropping out of the sky, the strange disappearance of the world’s bees and a Dark Omen moving into the White House, he finds himself forced to consider the unthinkable when an strange encounter with a bum on the New York City streets rattles his icy rationality. Things only get weirder when suddenly, the Internet goes offline, plunging the world into chaos as people struggle to regain contact with their loved ones and acquire free music. As networks on either sides of the netsplits struggle to reconnect, sysadmins can’t help but notice the absence of hundreds of users – ‘ghosts’ who are logged on, but who’ve gone mysteriously silent. Are they there, or are they “AFK”?

    Follow JockSanchez as he struggles to piece together a web of conspiracies involving the dinosaurs, Charles Babbage and the shadowy hand of the Illuminati. Will he discover the Reason for Living before time Runs Out?

    From the people who brought you the acclaimed “Left Behind” series: AFK. — Pat Lynch

    I’m forwarding this synopsis to my writing partner, in case we need a project after our current one wraps. Sounds like it could be the next Christian Best-seller, “Just like Left Behind, except…”

    The worst thing about it is I could see us writing this as a complete joke and parody, yet having Tyndale and the Christian audience be clueless enough to take it 1000% seriously and start a REAL End-of-the-World scare.

    Oh, and Pat? It wouldn’t be a novella. These days, it’d be 1000-words-or-less flashfic (txtmsg abbrs or no txtmsg abbrs) or 200,000+ word Trilogy/Series components. I write novella-length, and the market between one-page flashfics and 500+ page trilogy components toots the pink piccolo.

  5. [Mod edited] How can you possibly say a walk to the altar is fake or something like that. It was that wanting of a relationship that prompted me to walk forward. …[Mod edite] In the end, your way of thinking will fall along the wayside along with many new thinkers that are critical of anything that is older than lets say, 6-12 months.

  6. IF you txt your salvation and have to pay a messaging fee–is that works salvation?

    :-)

  7. Marty:

    People who never gave a public altar call:

    Spurgeon
    Wesley
    Edwards
    Calvin
    Luther
    The Apostles

    People who commanded folks to believe and be baptized:

    All of the above. Everyone before 1800.

    The altar call was invented by Charles Finney in the 1800’s.

    I’m all for going back….way back.

    peace

    ms

  8. That is correct – the modern altar call really began with Finney and the seeker’s bench in the early 1800s. But at that time one who came forward was only considered a seeker, and only about 10% of seekers were ever accepted into fellowship.
    That changed in the early 1900s, when Billy Sunday (and later Billy Graham) began teaching that everyone who came forward was saved. But statistically only 5-10% of those who “come forward” bother to stick around, and I remember reading somewhere that on average it takes 17 trips to the altar (or decisions) before people truly become saved. Most who make “decisions” disappear just as quickly as they showed up.
    So realistically 90-95% of what are claimed as “conversions” or “decisions” are false.
    JtM

  9. Ky Boy but not now says:

    Mich
    “IF you txt your salvation and have to pay a messaging fee–is that works salvation?”

    No. Just that you’re more “saved” than those of us with unlimited texting. :)

  10. “People who never gave a public altar call:
    Spurgeon-Wesley-Edwards-Calvin-Luther-The Apostles.
    People who commanded folks to believe and be baptized:
    All of the above. Everyone before 1800.

    The altar call was invented by Charles Finney in the 1800’s.
    I’m all for going back….way back.”

    Michael, this is one of the best things I’ve ever heard you say. Church History could teach us much here, not to mention scripture. No matter the difference in mode of Baptism debates, I think we can all agree that Baptism is a sacrament that implies – The Gospel, Community, Church, The Body of Christ, etc.

    The “texting altar call” medium is not any worse than any trivialized altar call that puts all the emphasis on an isolated emotional decision, rather than understanding the Gospel, repenting of sin, trusting in Christ, and belonging to and maturing in a Gospel Community.

    Texting is just more evidence that the American Evangelical brand of the Christian faith is getting ever more isolated, stylized, individualized, ridiculously trivialized, and non-communal.

    One church in Myrtle Beach, SC announced this week that will be performing “Hot Tub” Baptisms during their March Madness Basketball party.

    Sad.

  11. Tim:

    This is why I am predicting a collapse. Evangelicalism is deconstructing itself before our eyes. Soon there will be nothing left but the egos on the stage and the audience. “God” will be whatever we’ve decided he is going to be today: hot tub baptisms, trips to the amusement park, 40 days of sex, raves, etc.

    Thank God for the places we can avoid this situation, but how sad for the millions that are seeing this as Christianity.

  12. I can’t wait for a chance to use that text version of the Lord’s prayer. Thanks, James!

    Paul would been a big fan of texting.

  13. I thought it was interesting that you blogged about cell phone evangelism. I am an evangelist and we recently used cell phones in an innovative way to reach out to people. Read about it on my blog: http://www.danielking.tv

    I am not sure you will agree anymore with how we used cell phones…but it is an interesting idea for using technology to reach out in modern ways.

  14. In this sense, you’ve got to love the honesty of the Catholics. They make it bloody difficult to join their church! You have to take a course – a course for goodness sakes! None of that texting rubbish – oh no – you have to have the attention span and committment to turn up at regular meetings that challenge you with scripture and canonical dogma. No wonder they’re losing numbers!

    :-)

  15. Captain Steve says:

    This is my first post after being a regular reader for about a year.
    This is an important subject, and I really enjoyed reading your essays iMonk.
    Altar calls and ministry time are a major part of our denomination’s worship.
    traditionally, the message is the focal pint of services leading to an appeal at the conclusion or climax of our service.
    At least, that’s how it used to be. These days services are an eclectic mix between traditional SA, whatever Saddleback or Hillsong are up to lately or a blended service. You never know from one place to the next.
    Our founder was an admirer of Finney’s and put a lot of importance on people coming forward to the Penitent Form (or the Mercy seat) as we call it now. it has fallen out of favour in some circles but retains a place of importance in most of our churches.
    One of the reasons for this was because there was a strong methodology of pragmatism in our movement, and the reason for that is we were never intended to be a church. We were an evangelical mission centre, ‘Gospel shock troops’ if you like, who outgrew ourselves with incredibly rapid growth.
    Now, like many others we are in decline in the West (although growing well in Africa I hear.)
    To arrest decline parts of our church have explored many of the same schemes, church growth, etc that many of our Evangelical brothers and sisters have with varied success.
    A lot of our more traditional prophetic types are calling us back to reinstating invitationalist meetings with renewed vigour.
    I have never been comfortable with making these type of appeals and like you iMonk, rarely have Altar Calls in my preaching,
    People being saved again and again, rededication after rededication?
    Yep, been there, seen that, too many times.
    I understand the reasons behind having a place of public prayer and making appeals during a sermon but I have sat through too many ‘cringe worthy’ emotionally manipulative ‘sermons’ and this post and the three essays was a lot of food for thought and also validation. So thank you!

  16. Thank you for this, Michael.

    I took my youth to WinterJam. The music was fine; they loved it – it’s what I would have loved were I still 16. But, of course, I was absolutely appalled by the virtual text-conversions being forced out by the evangelist. I could hear half the people in the stadium whispering his version of the “sinner’s prayer” and then they raised their hands when he asked who made a decision. It looks like several thousand more quivering, uncertain evangelicals gave their heart to Jesus for the 56th time.

  17. Randall: Sorry, but I said we weren’t going to have that debate on this post.

    peace

    ms

  18. rampancy says:

    @ Chris S: “It looks like several thousand more quivering, uncertain evangelicals gave their heart to Jesus for the 56th time.”

    I’m not saying this out of any desire to be sarcastic or snarky, but…I just never could figure that out. Why would you need to do that 56 times? Or 50 times? Wouldn’t…well, wouldn’t just once be enough?

  19. I find this discussion very interesting. Far to much is being read into an outside action: texting, raising a hand, going forward, etc.

    I don’t think that God really cares about any of that. When Samuel was looking at Jessie’s sons for the next king of Israel god told him, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

    It doesn’t matter how the journey of faith starts, only that it does start and does not end. I believe that what God looks for is a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Tim).

    Some are intelligent enough to reflect on salvation from a multitude intellectual angles. But not all are. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that God cannot require intelligence in our salvation. Salvation has to be reachable by all. Faith in Christ is required. Other things are of great value to the church in spreading the message.

    Let’s not complicate the astounding simplicity of salvation with our disagreements about how the journey begins.

  20. iMonk,
    I wanted to thank you for your insight on the altar call. I learned some new things today that I didn’t know. I have never been a fan of the “emotional plea” altar call either. It might just be because I have always made a lousy salesman and so I never saw fit to try and “sell” the gospel that way. I do still have an invitation time at my church. I have only been pastoring for a year and a half and never knew any other way quite frankly. But I have never consciously loaded the invitation with heavy guilt. I have much to think about to be sure. I like to have that time at the end for people to respond if they feel led to do so, and that is what I try to do with our invitation time.
    Thanks again for the excellent post and the links to the series of posts you did previously.

  21. How refreshing to see an honest, open discussion of the altar call. Because of my background, it took me several years to come to grips with the obvious fact that there are no altar calls in the Bible. Not even anything resembling one. So how did this get to be almost an article of Biblical faith for many?

    When my third daughter was fourteen, she was asked by an older lady, “If your church doesn’t give altar calls, how can anyone get saved?” To which she replied, “Now Mary, you just think really hard about what you just said.” Touche!

  22. Altar calls, “asking Jesus into your heart” (and now texting??) are modern religious counterfeits for the realities described in the Bible. Jesus strongly warned His disciples about following traditions of men; and that in the last days many would come in His name saying He is Christ, and would deceive many. Many, many modern religious traditions fit these descriptions.

    How people get saved is a very important issue. Paul was very non-ecumenical and very protective of proper doctrine within the church. “If anyone come unto you and preach any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” He would not condone the religious free-for-all going on today. I just attended a “prayer” meeting a couple of days ago in which the topic of discussion was a “rockin’ the river” evangelistic event that is going to be held. No doubt the youngsters will see it as a good place to hunt for the attention of the opposite sex. Jesus is ashamed and angry about what we call the church today.

    What is needed is not a reformation, Jesus never reformed an existing church. He started from scratch with calling of ministries and calling of disciples. We need to repent as a people to be able to hear Him calling us.

  23. I worked with youth at a SBC church for the last 4 years. During that time, I saw many young people respond to an altar call and pray the sinner’s prayer. At first, I rejoiced that the one of the young men or women that I had been pouring my life into had given their heart to Christ. I heard them told that the angels in Heaven were rejoicing and that their eternal destiny was secure, but in almost every I case I saw no change in the life of the young person who had professed faith in Christ. There was no evidence that the Holy Spirit was present in their life. There was no evidence that their hearts had been regenerated. They did not show a growing love for Christ or for the Word of God. There was no turning away from sin.

    After awhile, the altar call became a stomach wrenching event for me. I could not bear to hear these young men and women given assurance of salvation, when I was certain that most of them had not been born again.

    There are many problems that I have come to see in using the Altar Call to secure “decisions” for Christ (and many of them have been brought up here) but I think that one of the main issues (especially when the altar call is being issued to young people) is that it is presented primarily as a call to settle your eternal destiny. Young people are told that life is but a vapor and that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. “If you died today, where would you spend eternity?” is the pressing question.

    I’d don’t know any honest person who really wants to spend eternity in Hell. So when they are asked to make a decision to ensure that they will go to Heaven instead of Hell, many are ready to make that commitment. But in the end, they are deciding for themselves and not for Christ. They are ready to come forward if it means that they will go to Heaven, after all that’s what they are being asked to decide. They are only too willing to decide to save themselves, because it is not made clear to them that to accept Christ is to decide not for yourself but for Him.

    Altar calls have driven me to Calvinism. :)

  24. “I still see it now. The public school where I work is papered with flyers about True Love Waits rallies every year. I’m not saying that a message about what is Godly teaching on marriage is not okay, but doesn’t it seem that many times the issue is used to exploit young people’s emotions?” -Austin (a couple days ago)

    Not just exploit the emotions, but take the focus off of Christ himself and put it on what we do. I’m 26 years old and a virgin. I’ve been wearing a True Love Waits ring for eleven years that my parents had gotten me. I took it off last week. Why? Not because my commitment to waiting had wavered. But I was reminded through current life circumstances that my actions cannot give me any purity. I’m not any more pure than anybody else just because I don’t have sex before marriage. After all, Jesus said if you look at someone with lust you’ve already committed aldultery with them in your heart. So we’re all impure in our hearts. The only purity I have comes not from any actions of mine, but from Christ himself. He is our purity. We ARE pure, but not because of anything we’ve done or not done, but simply because we are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness through faith in Him and His work of atonement.
    And think about the message the True Love Waits ring sends to those who don’t know Jesus… “Christianity is about doing the right things, or not doing the wrong things.” When we’re displaying that message outwardly, how can we explain to somebody that Christianity is about falling in love with the God that created you… and trusting Him for EVERYTHING – life, breath, food, salvation, purity, sanctification?
    Sadly, I agree that much of evangelical Christianity has become focused on doing right, instead of knowing and loving Him. When we truly know and love Him, the natural reaction is to do right. But what do we emphasize to each other and the lost? We need to emphasize knowing Him, and the God-honoring decisions will naturally follow. (Yet they should still never be the focus of our faith.)

  25. Captain Steve says:

    Jeff,

    Here, here mate.

  26. Thank you so much for this discussion. I was involved in a church-plant/re-start effort and this “come to the front to make your decision” thing became a big issue between us and the pastor. I told him I didn’t really agree with the whole “come-to-the-front while we sing a 1920s hymn” method. He basically said that I must not care about evangelism. In his defense, I could have been kinder in how I expressed my disagreement. Nevertheless, this issue (and some other related issues similar to the ones on this site) caused a great deal of tension between his family and ours. I was and still am so sad that things didn’t work out better between us; I believe his family and ours are still brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe we can think about how Christians who disagree on these issues can still work together.

  27. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    @ Chris S: “It looks like several thousand more quivering, uncertain evangelicals gave their heart to Jesus for the 56th time.”

    I’m not saying this out of any desire to be sarcastic or snarky, but…I just never could figure that out. Why would you need to do that 56 times? Or 50 times? Wouldn’t…well, wouldn’t just once be enough? — Rampancy

    Problem is, there’s usually a lot of heavy-duty manipulation in altar-call preaching, sometimes to the point of emotional abuse, literally browbeating the audience into doubting themselves and their previous 55 trips down the aisle.

    Under the browbeating pressure, the marks in the audience come to doubt whether those previous 55 times really took (“Are You SURE? Are You CERTAIN? Are You SURE You’re CERTAIN?”) and try again, this time For Real, For Sure, For Certain, For Sure It’s Certain.

    Until the next time.
    And the time after that.
    And the time after that…

  28. When I was growing up as an evangelical, there was a refinement of pastoral emphasis: whereas the previous goal had been to get as many people down the aisle as possible and so to them “saved”, the refinement addressed the faithful already in the pews by giving them a chance to come down and “re-dedicate” themselves to Christ. Soon, re-dedications were all the rage, and the churched could troop down the aisle with the unchurched whenever they needed a spiritual shot in the arm.

    Now, for these folks without access to Confession (even a general confession), the cell phone provides an opportunity for instant non-confession. Feeling bad? Just send a text. Spiritually blah? Send a text. Disconnected from your faith? Send a text. All from the comfort of your own [fill in the blank]. No community required. No face-to-face accountability. Yay!

  29. I believe that altar calls (or public invitations, whichever term is more preferable) cannot be separated from an Arminian understanding of man’s role in salvation. I strongly suspect that most (if not all) of those in that list of preachers who did not give altar calls were Calvinists or advocates of God’s sovereignty over the affairs of mankind.

    The idea that a person’s eternal destiny is left entirely up to whether or not they choose to walk down an aisle before the last stanza of the song is over does not strike me as biblical in the least. The image is one of God looking down from above, wringing His hands and fretting that a particular soul will be lost forever if the pianist somehow strikes the wrong key or somebody nearby sneezes loudly, breaking the emotion-bending “spell” that has been crafted in the last ten minutes of the service. So much of it is about manipulating the individual into walking the aisle because Arminianism asserts that salvation ultimately hinges on the free-willed response of the individual, not on God’s sovereignty over our rebellious will.

    A Calvinist understanding of salvation as given in the Bible confirms that no lost “sheep” or “coin” that God seeks to find will EVER go unfound. Nobody ever “slips through” God’s fingers at the last moment to His dismay. Put simply, God does not and cannot fail at anything He attempts; that is what omnipotence is all about. If the Holy Spirit is working a transformation in the life an individual, that individual is going to seek counsel from Christians even if they are never given the chance to walk down an aisle at the end of a service.

    This is why John MacArthur once stated that we should make becoming a Christian MORE difficult for people rather than LESS difficult. That insures that only those who are truly willing to “sell everything” for the “pearl” or the “treasure in the field” will see the process through to the end. It also makes it less likely for people to wrongfully believe they are saved just because they went through some motion on one particular day.

    If the Holy Spirit is drawing a soul to Christ, then no lack of an altar call, no waiting period, no required course, or any other “obstacle” is going to get in the way of that person accepting Christ.