The pastor ends his sermon on how to handle money biblically. The “worship team” comes up the platform and the lights are dimmed. The musicians engage in slow and tranquil music while the pastor approaches the microphone and opens his mouth:
“God has commanded us to handle our money wisely and Biblically. See, the Bible is the only book that will tell you how to live happily and content. And if you are here today without Jesus, this is the moment for you to accept Him into your heart. If you are broke financially and debts overwhelm you, give Jesus a chance. Not only will He help you with your financial bankruptcy, but He will also heal you from your spiritual bankruptcy. You want your sins forgiven, you don’t want to go to hell, you want to go to heaven. Jesus loves you. God loves you just the way you are. If you are caught in drinking or smoking or pornography, don’t worry, God accepts you just like you are! See, you will not find happiness in anything this world promises. There is a God-shaped-void in your heart. Come to Jesus. Matthew 11:28 says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Give him the reins of your heart. Nothing in this world will satisfy you, only Jesus can. You’ve tried everything, even money. Let it all go, just come to Jesus and He will give you true happiness. Now, I am going to ask you one thing, if you want to receive Jesus into your heart today, raise your hand. Don’t be shy, all the congregation is praying, so don’t be shy. Matthew 10:32 says that “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Today is the day of salvation. All you have to do is raise your hand.”
The guitarist strums a few simple chords on his guitar while he sings a Hillsong song. One timid hand is raised. “I see your hand, praise God,” says the pastor. Two more hands are raised. “I see you, and you, praise the Lord,” says the pastor with concealed excitement. Three more hands are raised. “I see you, and you, and you as well. Do not leave without Jesus. Remember, He can come any second now. The rapture can happen any minute now and you will be left behind. Anyone else?”
The pastor waits a few more seconds and no more hands are raised. “Those of you who raised your hand, I want to ask you to please come forward before the altar. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Commit your life to Jesus today. Come forward. Jesus is the answer to all your problems.”
Some of those who raised their hands, with tears in their eyes, rise from their chairs and hesitantly walk forward before the pulpit. The others who also raised their hands, look at each other and think within themselves, “oh well, might as well step forward.” The whole congregation has their hands lifted as they worship and pray to God, others are chewing gum and sitting down, others have their heads bent but are looking at their girlfriends and boyfriends, others are truly worshipping God. Once all who raised their hands have come forward, the pastor addresses them, “you have made a bold decision. God is a gentleman, and He could never force you into accepting Him. You have free will. God has given us free will and it is up to us to accept Him or reject Him. He will never infringe that right we are born with. Now, repeat this prayer after me, “Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I know you came to die for me. Please come into my heart and save me from my sin. I know you love me and you are sad because of my sin. Forgive me, come into my heart. I give you the reins of my heart. In Jesus name, amen.”
“If you repeated this prayer,” continues the pastor, “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE SAVED! Welcome to the family of God! All you have to do now is get a Bible (which we will provide you with after service), attend church regularly, tell others about Jesus and the happiness you’ve found in Him, read your Bible and pray often. It’s that easy to become a child of God! See, christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with God. It is that simple, there is no need to complicate things or theologize. And remember, money is the root of all evil.”
Some of you reading this entry will be offended by what I have written AND by what I will write. Some of you find nothing wrong with the scenario I have previously narrated and some of you don’t see the need for me to write about this. Some of you believe this form of “evangelism” is correct and even Biblical. I realize that my opinions can be offensive to some degree but, this has been very much in my heart for some time and I am deeply disturbed. Altar calls, the sinner’s prayer and decisionism have corrupted the Church so much that the implications are truly universal and far reaching. The implications are fatal and eternal. These will be (I hope) a series of entries regarding the history, development, and implications of altar calls, the sinner’s prayer, and decisionism on Christians’ theology and eschatology; and also on the world’s perception of the church and Christians. But most importantly, I will be dealing with the catastrophic results of these three anti-christian methods of evangelism and why they should not even be considered in evangelism.
I beg you to remain open-minded to what I wish to share with you about this subject. Hold the stones til after you have heard me out. Remember, the only method of evangelism we are to use is that of the Bible, and we will be examining that further in upcoming entries on these series.