We’ve probably all heard about evangelistic preaching that has somehow manipulated the crowd. I remember sitting in the back row of a meeting with a very famous preacher. When it came to the evangelistic part of the evening, he presented the gospel. Then when it was time for the altar call, somehow the gospel message morphed into “if you have done this before but still struggle with sin, come forward…” Naturally the numbers swelled significantly! It may look great on reports, but it is manipulative and dishonest if these people are counted as converts.
I’m not in any way suggesting altar calls are inappropriate. In some situations they are highly appropriate. But manipulation and dishonesty in preaching is always inappropriate. The end does not justify the means. Let’s be sure to preach the gospel and pray for thousands to respond, but rather than get clever with the call, let’s praise God for solid solitary converts!