Solid Solitary Converts

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!

3 thoughts on “Solid Solitary Converts

  1. Hey Peter,

    I think you should do a few posts on how to give an invitation. I don’t know if you have seen an out of print book by Roy Fish called, “Giving a Good Invitation.” Allan Street also has a good book.

    I don’t do much preaching right now, but I do a lot of invitations. I’m convinced the public invitation can be good if done right. The seeker approach with the card can be effective too. You’re right, integrity is key. Follow up is also.

    I read this post wondering where the rest of the context was. What did the preacher preach on? What did the decision counselors do? (if they were used) Where they rededicating? Etc.

    I find most preachers don’t know how to give a bold invitation with confidence that allows God to work.

  2. Thanks Alan. The context was a big name, well-known preacher. I won’t name him. He came to the city where I was studying and I decided to attend one of the evenings. Many are skeptical of his ministry, but I wanted to see it all live. Some of it was very concerning, some of it was not. The gospel presentation was decent, if not super-refined. But there was a very deliberate shift during the altar call. The following comments from the stage, once all were standing at the front or heading out for counselling, made it clear that we were to praise God for these new brothers and sisters in Christ! On this occasion I feel there was definite dishonesty in the way it was handled and presented. Obviously this is a very negative example. There are many fine and trustworthy examples too. Altar calls are not wrong, as you wrote, they can be good if done right. And I agree, both integrity and follow-up matter a lot.

  3. Peter,

    Yeah, that’s wrong! And the sad thing is the numbers don’t really matter at that point. Only a selfish preacher would draw attention to salvation numbers when he doesn’t know for sure. I’ve seen that a lot and think it’s because preachers don’t have a good doctrine of salvation translated in their practice of evangelism.

    Good stuff bro. Pray for me as I finish my project for October.

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