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#1 Hashe

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 08:57 AM

The other day in church I was listening to yet another altar call. The preacher was telling us that Jesus saves. If we have problems with loneliness then we should come to the front because Jesus saves us from our loneliness. If we have problems with anger that is destroying our families then come to the front because Jesus saves. If we have problems with addictions then come to the front because Jesus saves.

As I was sitting there I started thinking about the concepts of Jesus and salvation. I had recently been studying the Christmas stories in the early chapters of Luke and Matthew. Jesus was born in interesting times. The Romans had control of the area and ruled through their patsy king Herod. Neither was particularly popular and the Jewish masses were hoping for a Messiah to come and save them from the situation.

The religious experts taught that their scriptures prophesised for a Messiah to come and lead their people to world domination. With the uniqueness of the Jewish people and the religious stubbornness these teaches were known throughout the Roman world. There a number of people who rose up and claimed to this Messiah. In Acts 5:35-37 Gamaliel speaks of Theudas and Judas the Galilean rising up, gathering men yet ultimately coming to nothing.

So when Jesus, the real Messiah came, many people didn’t get it. They were looking for a military leader to save them from their circumstances. What they got was a religious teacher who saved them from their sins. This made them so angry that the masses turned on Jesus and called from the Romans to kill him as a political agitator.

As I thought about the altar call, I wondered about the message being given. The message was Jesus saves but I’m not sure it was really about Jesus saves us from our sins. It seemed to be,’ Jesus will save you from your circumstances’. I’m not saying that churches shouldn’t be helping people overcome difficult circumstances. Churches should be in the business of loving people! But what is the message about Jesus that churches really give?

 I reflected on a number of people I knew who had come and gone from different churches. What Jesus did they know? What Jesus did they want? Was he the saviour of their sins? Or did they rather want a saviour of their circumstances?



#2 TrevorL

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 11:54 PM

Greeting Hashe,

Churches should be in the business of loving people! But what is the message about Jesus that churches really give?  I reflected on a number of people I knew who had come and gone from different churches. What Jesus did they know? What Jesus did they want? Was he the saviour of their sins?
The gospel that the Apostles and disciples taught was more comprehensive than saving people from their sins. Consider the speeches in Acts 2 and 3 for example. This is summarised in Acts 8:5,12 as Philip preaching Christ, and this is further explained as preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ. Also when they believed they were then baptised. This appears to be different from an “altar call”. Where or what is this particular “altar” as Jesus alone is the true altar.
Acts 8:5 (KJV): 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Hebrews 13:10 (KJV): We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.


Kind regards
Trevor


 

Edited by TrevorL, 27 February 2014 - 11:55 PM.


#3 Hashe

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 08:02 AM

When I use the phrase 'altar call', I use it as many Christians do as a call to respond to Jesus.

The issue I think is rather that people easily add things to the gospel, that Jesus saves from our problems as well as our sins.

Have you never experienced anybody who has thought this?



#4 TrevorL

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:52 PM

Greetings again Hashe,

When I use the phrase 'altar call', I use it as many Christians do as a call to respond to Jesus.

The issue I think is rather that people easily add things to the gospel, that Jesus saves from our problems as well as our sins.

Have you never experienced anybody who has thought this?

Why I asked about “altar call” is perhaps what I assess as the method used in some churches. Firstly my impression of the term “altar” is where the Catholic Church have a dedicated “altar” and this is the place where they offer the “literal” body of Jesus represented by the bread. This term “altar” is then used from this basis, to represent the front of the church where the priest or minister or speaker gives his sermon or impassioned address.

An “altar call” then can represent the view of some of the evangelical churches that if a person responds to the call of the preacher, comes forward and confesses his sins he will then be saved.

I would like to suggest that this is foreign to Christadelphian practice, as we see the need to preach all aspects of the gospel, as per Acts 8:12, and when an individual believes this and confesses this he is then baptised for the remission of sins. I have never experienced a response in our meetings as a result of one address. Rather we anticipate that preparation for belief and confession of the gospel and the resulting baptism to occur over a number of months at least. I have attended a Baptist Church where a very emotional speaker encouraged his audience to come to the front and accept Jesus. He mainly tried to scare people about the devil and hell, though a workmate claimed that this type of "devil will get you" method has mainly fallen out of use these days.

Salvation is from sins as you suggest, but ultimately a life in Christ is of benefit to overcoming all of life’s difficulties, and finally even death itself. Some of our difficulties will not disappear at the time of salvation, and may even increase. But Jesus promises to give us rest, and he will take and share all our burdens Matthew 11:25-30.

Kind regards
Trevor
 






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