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Yes, altar calls are very biblical.

Invitation. The dictionary defines invitation as “a written or verbal request inviting someone to go somewhere or do something.”

Altar calls are a form of invitation for those who want to commit or rededicate their lives to God. At the end of a church service, people are invited to go front for serious and significant prayer. I hope your pastor invites people to repent of their sins and follow Jesus regularly.

Unfortunately, some people see altar calls as unbiblical. They make it a familiar point of contention and arguing, far too much at times. That’s what I want to address. Are invitations, including altar calls, a biblical representation of the heart of God?

Here, an article like this would go to different histories on the altar call, when they became famous, cite the recent era examples, and even point out that altar calls are merely a modern western church phenomenon. However, when we look at biblical history that way, we miss the point without going back to the origin of invitations in the Bible.

It’s easy to be blinded by traditions and opinions. One blind spot in many Christian circles is a resistance to altar calls and invitations to follow Jesus. Because of hard stances in well-developed systematic theologies, there is a teaching that says altar calls are not biblical. I respectfully disagree.

The Bible is filled with ‘invitations.’

God invited Adam and Eve into a conversation after they sinned.

Genesis 3:9 (NKJV) “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?””

God invited Noah into the Ark.

Genesis 7:1 (NKJV) “Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.”

God invited Israel to come and reason with Him.

Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV) “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

God invites Israel to come to Him to have their thirst quenched.

Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV) “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.”

Jesus invites the weary to come to Him for rest.

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Jesus invites His guests to the wedding.

Matthew 22:4 (NKJV) “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”‘”

Jesus invites those to the ready supper.

Luke 14:17 (NKJV) “and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.'”

Jesus and The Spirit invite the thirsty to take the water freely.

Revelation 22:17 (NKJV) “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

Altar calls follow a pattern we see clearly in the Bible. Invitations are a part of God’s work in drawing men and women to Himself. God loves to give people a chance to respond to His love, grace, and mercy and often will specifically express an invitation to Himself. We, too, have the opportunity to invite people into a relationship with Jesus.

What are some invitations you can use?

How can I pray for you?

Would you like to come to church with me?

What questions about God and the Bible can I help you with?

I bought you a Bible as a gift, and I invite you to read it together with me.

What prevents you from repenting of your sins and accepting Jesus into your life right now?

Would you like to pray to have your sins forgiven right now?

Invitations are an essential tool in your life to help people decide to follow Jesus. Use them.

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