What is the danger of altar calls?

  1. The altar call confuses “coming forward” with coming to Christ. In order to be saved, people must repent of their sins and believe in Christ, which has nothing to do with walking down an aisle.
  2. The altar call may deceive people about their spiritual state. The altar call encourages people to think that they have been saved because they’ve come forward and prayed a prayer. But this isn’t necessarily true:the outward response of coming down to the front is no guarantee of genuine faith and repentance. So, the altar call may lead people who haven’t repented of their sins and trusted in Christ to think they’re Christians.
  3. The altar call may encourage people to base their assurance of salvation on their decision—a one-time event in the past—rather than on Christ’s work for us and in us.
  4. The altar call confuses “coming forward” with baptism. According to the New Testament, baptism is the way Christians are to publicly profess their faith in Christ (Acts 2:41). The altar call threatens to replace God’s way for Christians to profess their faith.

(This material has been adapted from Paul Alexander’s article “Altar Call Evangelism”)

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