Altar Calls- The primary cause of membership death

I’m in the process of reading on of the books that I bought at the Gospel Coalition, and decided that one portion was too good to leave un-mentioned.

51x8S7mIWEL._SL160_

The book is, Who Saves, God or Me?: Calvinism for the Twenty-First Century by Erroll Hulse, and it has been such a blessing to read. On his chapter on Arminianisms (chapter 7) Hulse brings forward the issue of Altar calls and decision cards. He is neccessarily harsh with those who would trust in this conversion method:

The result of this practice (altar calls and decision cards) is that there are many churches with substantial memberships, consisting largely of people who do not attend services, still less the prayer meetings. A typical example would be 1,000 members with 700 to 800 rarely seen, and hundreds who haven’t been seen at church for years.

How true is that of American “Christianity”? How many churches can you think of whose members act in that manner?

Hulse goes on to say…

If moves are taken to purge the membership of those who are obviously only nominal, there is an outcry and the pastor is in danger of being fired. (p. 73; emphasis mine)

Why is this the case? Hulse places the blame on those who severly misunderstand salvation by grace alone through faith alone. He says that those who truly understand God’s sovereignty will be humble to the extent of serving the Church as they are meant to be.

What kind of a member are you?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Altar Calls- The primary cause of membership death

  1. Jakob July 11, 2009 / 19:10

    What I must say (I realize after the fact) as a footnote, is that Hulse is referring only to those altar calls that are “sinners prayer” calls. There are many beneficial altar calls (calls to prayer, etc) that can be used of Churches and all, but he is referring to those that lead nowhere. These are the ones that result in Churches full of dead members who think that they have assurance, but in all reality are lost in their sins.
    He recognizes the need to put truth in these calls, but ultimately advises against them as they typically do not lead to active repentance.

    Also, it should be understood that when I say the Church, I don’t mean a single institution, but the Church as a whole- thus in saying, “those who truly understand God’s sovereignty will be humble to the extent of serving the Church as they are meant to be.” it is the Universal Church of Christ and not individual churches that I am referring to. In light of that, we can understand more fully Ephesians 2:10.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s