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Daniel Kriss

Daniel is pastor at Mount Cathedral Community Baptist Church in Taggerty, Victoria. Daniel has studied theology and has been involved in itinerant preaching since 1999. In 2006, Daniel founded SWAT Camp which helps develop young leaders for Christian ministry. Daniel and his wife Jessica live in Melbourne. You can contact Daniel at daniel@teaminfocus.com.au.

10 Comments

  1. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    Great topic Daniel.

    I have been in churches that had an alter call every week and in churches that never used an alter call. You correctly identified that is not Biblically supported nor forbidden.

    I look at the ‘alter call’ as a preference. It should be used by the preacher as appropriate to the message, the setting and only for the benefit of the audience.

    Positives: The alter call allows for audience reaction. Too often sermons are simply monologues. In reality, I believe the best forms of teaching is a dialogue – where the audience can response and apply the teaching to their lives. If done well, the alter call can facilitate this.

    Negatives: You are correct that the alter call has been overused in many circles and has lost its impact. If the preacher is using it to gauge reaction or feedback for his own benefit or ego, then he has some series motive issues to examine. Less is more. The overuse of the alter call has watered down its impact.

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  2. avatar

    PJ

    I mostly agree Daniel, though I think there is something important about the public confession involved in altar calls. To go forward requires great humility and a willingness to declare before others that one is in need.

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  3. avatar

    Matt

    This is a topic that I’ve been wrestling with as well. Growing up in “fundamentalism”, it’s something that I’ve seen and that I’ve experienced. It’s been used both for good and it’s been used against people. It’s just one of those things that can be both used and abused. I agree with what Jeremy said; less is definitely more when it comes to altar calls. However, there are other methods, like perhaps a reflection after church to let the Holy Spirit work or a designated place where those who have been impacted can meet with others, but not in front of the whole congregation. Just some more ideas…

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  4. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Good post Daniel. That was a helpful summary of the history.

    It was an interesting point PJ made about humility. I’ve struggled with this argument over the years. I think for some personalities, it does humble them. For others though, I think it is more akin to humiliation/mortification… in other words, for some, going forward might be the most embarrassing, emotionally charged thing they’ll have ever done in their life. And I think many preachers use that on purpose to make this a “red latter day” in the persons life. I’ve heard preachers say that if someone won’t come forward, they can’t be saved. Many times.

    Is adrenaline and intense emotion what we really want to inject into the picture when someone is under conviction? Isn’t that more likely to result in an emotional decision rather than spiritual submission?

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  5. avatar

    PJ

    @Jason – you make a good point on the whole humility question. It’s probably quite a subjective thing – in my own life there have been 3 or 4 significant points where I ‘walked the aisle’ or ‘responded’ to an invitation in some way. It was a humbling and yet necessary step.

    I would never claim that these were the “be all and end all” of my spiritual progress, but I would not wish to diminish the importance of those moments either. I appreciate that ultimately spritual submission is a day-by-day proposition.

    I also think there are some Beleivers, particularly as teenagers who made significant “decisions” for Christ in response to an altar call and those decisions set the course of the life.

    That being said, I agree with what seems to be the consensus so far that less is better when it comes to altar calls. I have seen the altar call used as simple manipulation or just as an empty ritual tacked on the end of a sermon.

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  6. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @PJ, Yeah, I too have walked “the sawdust trail” and was sincere and the decisions were real and shaped my life.

    I like the idea of being creative and careful. Which makes me wonder, will the next generation have an “Invitation App”?

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      They could post their repentence on the twitter and Facebook status.

      Hmmm. An invitation app seems to lack gravitas. Or am I just old fashion?

  7. avatar

    Elizabeth Quinn

    Charles Spurgeon’s quote, written about a hundred years ago of the modern day revivalism of his time hits the nail on the head. I dont see that the issue is really that of whether there is a preacher called invitation or a physical walk to the front or back or wherever. The real issue is the condition of the heart. Do I see the sin (whether it be a sin of the flesh or the spirit) as God sees it and am a I ready to turn from it. Its all about integrity before God not reputation or appearance before mankind. Its about fellowship with God or broken fellowship because of sin. For the sake of the unsaved or baby christian there needs to be some instruction of how to get in right fellowship though and I believe thats why the great evangelists used these methods, that we still use today. Todays church visitor knows very little of how to make his peace with God. Once the Holy spirit convicts him of his need, who will tell him. For those of us more muture christians we ought to have a daily walk of humility, so the altar call should not bee a daunting prospect. We ought to go forward in joy with a burden lifted…the acknowledgement that we are in agreement with the Lord about our sin. Very thought provoking article…thankyou for the opportunity to comment.

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  8. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @Jeremy, I was speaking tongue in cheek, but it was more a response to the idea of a dialogue approach to preaching… looking for a response. Some pastors collect questionnaires from the congregation on a regular (sometimes weekly) basis. An app that allowed everyone, not just major decision-makers, to respond to a message might have some merit in terms of easily collecting and collating a lot of information and asking specific kinds of applications and responses to God’s Word preached.

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  9. avatar

    Benjamin Molesworth

    Indeed the whole issue of salvation seems to be questionable these days. Our church had baptisms last Sunday night, and the most common thing I heard was, “I have decided to make a commitment to Christ.” It seemed so shallow, as did their testimonies, which seemed to lack conviction of sin and repentance. I would have hoped that those being baptised would have been expressing their desire to be obedient to Christ, to the point of their own death to self, and their identifying in Christ’s death, burial & resurrection. But, as with many of these current day issues, there seems to be plenty of people following the watered down approach.

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