Steadfast Media Pick of the Week — The Altar Call

November 8th, 2013 Post by

The Altar Call

While doing some digging in follow up to an earlier Pick of the Week, I found Pr. Jordan Cooper’s podcast on the history of the altar call instructive. It includes a discussion of why Lutherans should avoid this practice.


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  1. David Hartung
    November 9th, 2013 at 14:18 | #1

    Perhaps my experience is limited, but I have never seen a Lutheran church, of any brand, do an altar call.

  2. Elnathan
    November 9th, 2013 at 18:41 | #2

    Good stuff, thanks pastor.

  3. Brian Yamabe
    November 10th, 2013 at 08:57 | #3
  4. T-rav
    November 10th, 2013 at 09:35 | #4

    @Brian Yamabe #3

    This congregation is part of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. (Never heard of it until about 2 minutes ago.)

    Given this, I’m not surprised about the altar call. Emphasis is on the believing and committing of the individual person rather than God working through His means. The denomination has pietism written all over them with quotes like this,

    “The founders of this new denomination were ethnically Norwegian and their concern was that many of the Norwegian immigrants entering the US were Lutheran church members, but not necessarily active believers in Jesus.”

    “The CLB practices “believers membership” which means that it attempts to have all of the members of its congregations confessing believers in Christ and actively engaged in the life of the church.”

  5. Brian Yamabe
    November 10th, 2013 at 09:48 | #5

    @T-rav #4
    Sure, it is the pietistic leanings of Lutherans that leads to adoption of the practice. I was mainly trying to broaden David’s horizons :-). Also, there are pietistic leanings in the “mainstream” synods. I’ll do a little more digging and see if can post an example.

  6. T-rav
    November 10th, 2013 at 09:56 | #6

    @Brian Yamabe #5

    Don’t worry, I know what you were doing. I wasn’t criticizing the choice of example. I was just giving a little more background this congregation’s denominational beliefs.

  7. November 10th, 2013 at 14:57 | #7

    Been there, done that. Yeah… you’re better off without an altar call.

  8. Stef
    November 11th, 2013 at 01:20 | #8

    Best and most moderate view of the altar call I have seen.

    Thanks for the posting.

  9. David Hartung
    November 11th, 2013 at 08:55 | #9

    @Brian Yamabe #5
    Thank you for the example, but it does beg the question of whether or not any of our LCMS churches have adopted this practice?

  10. Brian Yamabe
    November 11th, 2013 at 09:25 | #10

    @David Hartung #9
    There is anecdotal evidence certainly ( and I have heard it mentioned in passing, but I haven’t seen it in person or online. If I ever run across video or audio of the practice in the LCMS I will make it a pick of the week.

  11. Brian Yamabe
    November 11th, 2013 at 09:27 | #11

    @Stef #8
    This was for you. I meant to post it on the other thread but life got in the way so I made sure I would get it out by making it my pick this week.

  12. Brian Yamabe
    November 11th, 2013 at 09:50 | #12

    @David Hartung #9
    If you have the time and inclination, please check out:,%20Practice,%20Practice.mp4

    At about 42:00 it sounds to me like “Lord’s Supper as altar call”, but I’m willing to listen to more charitable explanations.

  13. Michael
    November 11th, 2013 at 11:32 | #13

    My former pastor did a tent revival. Didn’t have an altar call. Might have had happened had all the people attending not been members.

  14. Stef
    November 11th, 2013 at 15:12 | #14

    @Brian Yamabe #11

    Much appreciated and also I now have another website packed with good info to go read!
    Justandsinner is full of good info!

  15. Daniel B.
    November 12th, 2013 at 14:31 | #15

    Pr. Cooper’s website and regular programs are actually worth following. Rarely repetitive, even handed (as in, he’s not an old curmudgeon), and intellectually capable, I make sure to follow justandsinner pretty regularly.

  16. November 13th, 2013 at 12:23 | #16

    Michael :My former pastor did a tent revival. Didn’t have an altar call. Might have had happened had all the people attending not been members.

    Even in the evangelical world (and the Reformed world in particular) there is a movement away from the altar call, and for good reason:

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