Old-Fashioned Altars

benchAlmost all fundamentalist services end with a plea to walk the aisle down to an “old-fashioned altar.” This is usually acompanied by standing with “your heads bowed and your eyes closed. Nobody looking around.” while singing approximately 347 verses of an invitation hymn such as Just as I Am or Jesus is Calling.

In reality, the “old-fashioned altar” is a misnomer since the practice of come-down-front invitations is not that old nor is the front of the church strictly an altar since the only blood that is shed there happens during church business meetings.

Fundamentalists have Methodist camp meetings and the work of evangelist Charles Finney in the 1800’s to thank for the modern day come-down-front invitation. What is not clear is if Finney also fathered the technique of saying “If nobody comes on this next verse then we’ll close the service” (inevitably followed by one more person traipsing down the aisle to the collective groans of everyone who has a roast slowly turning to leather in their oven back at home.)

How did they get people saved before “Just As I Am” was written in 1849? It’s almost impossible to imagine.

10 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Altars”

  1. Tisk, tisk. That’s what I like to see. A fundy like JTR who shakes up the stereotypes, you know? Instead of being spiteful and bombastic, he’s patient and kind with those with whom he disagrees. Thanks for the breath of fresh air.

  2. We can’t judge a guy like JTR. If we former fundies are honest, we’d admit that when we were in it hot-n-heavy we too would have considered a site like this to be the work of the devil, “Bless God!”.

    1. You nailed it, JJ. When faced with Fundy reactions to events or situations, I have often remembered that that is how I USED TO respond to things. It’s amazing what you don’t see from the INSIDE.

  3. Well, the altar-call (if in a general sense) is older, but it was to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus. Oh, but they don’t believe in the Sacramental Union in the Lord’s Supper, as Scripture teaches.

  4. You sure do step on alot of feet by those lead by man to repentance rather than HOLY SPIRIT lead which is the true conversion, not shooting off a God save me prayer with no belief in the heart.

    I’m glad I was saved at home without all the confusion of these idols people have for their salvation….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.