106 thoughts on ““Another Verse””

    1. Oh dear heavens…the second sermon…it gave me the opportunity to sleep through the first and get the “Reader’s Digest condensed version” in the last 5 minutes of the night. At times I literally had no idea how the sermon ended up on such a rabbit trail till the second sermon tied it all together. ( Kinda like a bad Seinfield episode.)

  1. And, at the end of thy service, thou shalt sing an Invitation Hymn. Thou shalt sing it slowly, stopping several times to exhort the people to come forward and repent of any sin, known or unknown. Thou shalt sing it utterly, from beginning to end. If no one has come forward to confess either known or unknown sin, thou shalt start the song from the beginning until the Holy Ghost has convicted someone to move forth from the pew to the aisle to confess.

    1. HA! “Stopping several times to exhort the people to come forward”. I had forgotten how many invitation songs I’ve been in where the piano played a verse/chorus as the speaker worked the audience for the emotionally vulnerable.

    2. …oh the voice over as the pianist/organist plays through a verse… hypnotically calling for another decision… god needs the extra mental, spiritual, emotional and experiential manipulation in order to get that wavering soul started down the aisle.

  2. i was in an invitation once that was so long one of the elderly women of the church passed out. thankfully the godly ushers of the church escorted this distraction out the back and gave the holy ghost some more time to convict us with

  3. I love it, and yes I’ve felt like singing that many many times during an alter call. I think Bible Conference at BJU was always the worst, though I can remember many camp nights. In fact, strike that, camp was always the worst. It would literally just keep going as the pastor would go on and on trying to get people to come forward.

    Tony, I want mashup of this as the singing while the pastor gives the alter call. That would be funny. The pastor keeps saying, “Just one last verse and then we’ll close if no one comes forward…” And on and on it goes.

  4. The preacher at the “local church” I went to in Greenville on Sunday nights (we all know where I was on Sunday mornings) used to say, “The service closes, but an invitation never ends.” Oh my, how true those words were.

    There are 6 verses to “Just As I Am.” That’s enough time for the Holy Spirit to “convict.”

      1. The longest I’ve ever heard that song go was 24 verses (I hear it went longer, but I left, having worked 3rd shift that morning). The preacher was some kid still in seminary who was filling in because of our pastor’s illness. The sermon was BRUTAL–at least 45 minutes of nothing. After that sermon, and that invitation, that young man was never invited back. Anybody knows you don’t make a bunch of Baptists late for Sunday Dinner!

  5. At least the words were different between verses. The worst (for me) is when it is the same exact four lines that are repeated over and over for half an hour.

    No real difference, really, from repeating over and over Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, Krishna Krishna, etc.

    It is not the words per se but the elevated mental state one reaches by repeating such a mantra…

    1. And yet these same folks probably often rant against the “repetition” in praise and worship music, calling it 7-11 music, never realizing their own hypocrisy. I guess to them, if they approve of it, it’s OK to repeat it endlessly; if they don’t like it, it’s vain repetition like the heathen do.

  6. It gets dangerous if no one goes down front. I recall a preacher losing his temper one Sunday and scolding the congregation for not coming to the altar as he knew perfectly well that there were folks who needed to come forward.

    1. The IFB school I attended when I was young had a seminary attached to it. The seminary students would often come and practice their sermons on us elementary school kids during chapel. More than once I recall the seminary students getting worked up at the end of the sermon because we weren’t all coming forward during the invitation. What they didn’t realize is that we’d all been saved at least 10 times by the time we were in fourth grade.

    1. taken from the Truth in Hymnody comments:

      Another Verse (Just as I am)

      Another verse, we’ve just started 2
      If someone goes forward, then we’ll be through
      I went last time – how about you?
      Surprise – we’re going to verse 3.
      Whoopee.

      Another verse – is this number 3?
      My feet are tired, I have to pee
      If I crack my lids, I just can see
      Oh, man – are we done yet?
      Not yet.

      Another verse, we’re now on verse 4
      So tired that I could sleep on the floor
      How soon until we head for the door?
      Oh, crap – are we done yet?
      Not yet

      Another verse. Forgot there were 5
      My legs are so numb, they don’t feel alive
      This is just one of “three to thrive”
      This week. Are we done yet?
      Not yet.

      Another verse. Here comes verse 6
      I could go for some pizza and breadsticks
      Instead I’m standing here with these hicks
      Is this the end of the set?
      Not yet.

      Another verse. So glad we’re on 7
      At least this song hasn’t got 11
      Hope that this thing isn’t sung in heaven
      Oh crap – it’s back to verse 1.
      Not done.

        1. Does anyone else get the image of an old LP-style record player endlessly spinning as it’s stuck on the end of the record? I can hear it now: kkk-kkk-kkk-kkk-kkk-kkk-….. 🙄

  7. Wow, I just got a bad case of “fundy invitation twitches.” Thanks so much.

    My current (non-Fundy) church doesn’t do invitations. It’s such a relief when we give the offering and then … leave.

    1. Me too, Jenni. “Just as I Am” is a trigger for me; mainly because while Jesus was willing to accept me just as I am, the church was bound and determined to change and “fix” me, six ways from Sunday!

      “This next verse, the piano is going to play quietly while you examine your hearts. There is ONE MORE person who is hearing that conviction! Ms. Pauley, please continue to play. Just one more verse. One more.”

      aaiiiiiiiigghhhhh!!

  8. It’s important to note that even the end of the song is no reason to end the invitation. I remember more than once being asked to “sing that first verse again.” I think once I actually went through an entire song twice, all stanzas*, and started on a third time through before the mog wrapped things up.

    It’s also important to note that sometimes the invitation will be extended for that one weepy person who just won’t leave the altar. God forbid we don’t give this one person fifteen minutes of uninterrupted background music every week.

    * – the church music student in me would like to point out that the first verse of “Just As I Am” is only the first seven words; the first stanza ends at the beginning of the first chorus. There’s not much that makes me want to get uber-picky, but that’s one. 😀

  9. Author(s), commenters, and readers of SFL: please, avoid in your hearts the nit-picking criticism that this entry promotes. Can mocking and satirizing an invitation method enlarge Christ in your heart or make Him attractive to others?

    Don’t you see that on looking down on the elder brother, you take his place and become him? This is my plea: consider how Christ would you have you treat those who have imposed long invitations on others, and those who have sat through it.

    “There is no surer mark of backsliding and falling off in grace than an increasing disposition to find fault, pick holes, and see weak points in others.” J.C. Ryle

    “Nothing serves our pride more than comparing ourselves to those we consider our spiritual inferiors.” Chris Anderson

    1. You fail to see the distinction between mocking an satirizing something’s use and its abuse.

      The manipulative and coercive nature of extended invitations is something that should be mocked and satirized if ever something deserved that treatment.

      1. I don’t agree with the emotionalism of altar calls, either. But berating seems to be an inadequate response.

        Mockery won’t win anyone out of Fundamentalism; in fact, it will probably only strengthen their presupposition that people that have left Fundyland have become bitter and caustic.

        Any child is capable of mockery. It takes an adult to intelligently refute, and to offer solutions.

        1. Any child is capable of mockery.

          Not at the level I do it, thank you very much.

          It takes an adult to intelligently refute, and to offer solutions.

          The folks who are offering this type of commentary are legion. If this was the solution then there would be no fundamentalism left.

          Sometimes people need a jolt to their system in order to see themselves in reality.

          Jesus offered that treatment to the Pharisees. The prophets offered it to the idolaters. Job offered it to his friends.

          I, in my own meager way, offer it to the fundamentalists.

        2. “The folks who are offering this type of commentary are legion”

          Could you point me in their direction? As I said, I don’t agree with altar calls, either, and I’m looking for well-informed refutes and biblical teaching on the subject. Any links, authors, etc. that you can pass along would be appreciated.

        3. Thanks, @Jenni. The Invitation System by Murray (bottom of the first link) looks pretty good. And I appreciated the teacher’s perspective from your blog.

      1. I wasn’t whacking over the head, I was entreating. My point was that looking down your nose is an attribute of elder brothers and Pharisees, not Christ. It’s possible to become so talented at seeing others’ faults that we fail to see our own. Food for thought, that’s all the quotes were meant for. Apologies if it came across as pulpit-pounding…

    2. If God is dealing with someone what need is there for a man made contrivance called an invitation? Is God so weak that He has to have one of His M-O-g to help seal the deal at some so-called altar? This “thing” called an invitation is man-made and extra-biblical, so is the imaginary altar at the front of the auditorium. Scripture says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” not “Come down to the imaginary altar, pray the sinner’s prayer, really, really, sincerely mean it and let the M-O-g validate your salvation experience.”

    3. … “consider how Christ would you have you treat those who have imposed long invitations on others” …

      I suspect Jesus might make fun of them, since that’s how he responded to some of the self-righteous blowhards of his own time.

    4. LD,
      So what is your point?
      Are you saying the invitation is a valid Biblical method of evangelism?

      If not then why should we not ridicule it as an extra-biblical man-made tradition that has become the albatross around the neck of Christianity?

  10. I really enjoyed the video. Back in the late 70s. A church I was forced to attend had invitations that typically went 40 minutes. I think the longest went about 60 minutes.

  11. One time, in a church that I worked in after fundy u, I was a regular soloist, and the pastor wanted ME to come up and sing the invitation song… ALL 45 verses of it.

    So, I had the added joys of toes hurting in my pumps, and being murdered by the looks from the congregation.

    But, he kept saying, “Natalie, please sing another verse…”

  12. I used t woror a ministry that had 3 hour invitations regularly. (Several a week) That is just the invitation, not the sermons –there were usually two sermons before the invitation.

  13. Two true stories:
    When the preacher said, “Let’s sing one more verse”, a man stood up and said, “You’re a liar! You said that that was the last verse!” and walked out.

    When the preacher asked, “Is there someone here who needs to be saved from their sin?” a young lady said in full voice, “I do.”. After the service, more than a few members found it amusing that she didn’t know enough to wait until the invitation started.

    1. Cause in the Fundieverse One can only be saved during the invitation between 11:45am and 12:10pm.
      The Altar is always open (just like Denny’s) except while the Pulpiteer is preaching, he’ll let you know when you may approach and kneel before him

  14. “The folks who are offering this type of commentary are legion”

    Could you point me in their direction? As I said, I don’t agree with altar calls, either, and I’m looking for well-informed refutes and biblical teaching on the subject. Any links, authors, etc. that you can pass along would be appreciated.

      1. Both links obviously very Reformed in their approach to evangelism. So the solution is to be a Calvinist?

        You said the commentary on this is “legion.” Pasting two links doesn’t seem to fit that description.

        Should anyone come across any resources that go beyond a simple 10 second Google search, please pass them on. Thanks.

        1. Sigh. This discussion has nothing to do with being Calvanist or any other “ist”. And Darrell’s point was that all it took to turn up support was 10 seconds.

        2. Pasting two links doesn’t seem to fit that description.

          If you had bothered to click you would have seen that one of the two contains no less than 9 different articles on the topic from a variety of authors.

          So how many would be enough to satisfy you? 15? 25? I turned up 11 different non-fndy articles about the theology involved in altar calls in under a minute. That’s my point. Fundamentalists do not hold to their folly for lack of well-reasoned and thoughtful arguments against their positions. I prefer to take a different approach.

          I’m happy to have a discussion if you’d like, but I have no interest in having an argument If that’s all you’re here to do then I’ll simply bow out.

        3. “9 different articles…from a variety of authors”

          Actually, had you “bothered” to actually click the links, you’d find that several of them are broken and lead to a (somewhat odd) Sovereign Potter site. And I still hold to the Calvinist statement: every article (save the last) specifically claims to be either explicitly Reformed or Calvinist. The very term “monergism” has been associated with Calvinism for years.

          “how many would be enough to satisfy you? 15? 25?”

          Again, six or seven Calvinistic articles against altar calls is hardly “legion.” I’d simply like to see you back up your claims.

          “if [having an argument] is all you’re here to do then I’ll simply bow out”

          I’m not here to argue, I’m here to get resources on a seemingly scarce and elusive subject. In which case you’re about to bow out anyway, because beyond a Google search and a satirized hymn, it seems you have little to nothing academically to offer on the subject.

          Should anyone have any other resources (read: books, sermon series, etc) that are worthy of recommendation, I’d appreciate you passing them on. Thanks.

        4. not sure if you have any intention of actually tracking down a book like this (or if you’re just into arguing, and i mean no disrespect by that), but “The Altar Call: Its Origins and Present Usage” by David Bennett is an excellent treatment and critique of the modern practice of the altar call. It traces the history of the altar call, raises excellent questions about its efficacy and necessity in modern religious circles, and notes how it can be abused. It was (i believe) the author’s doctoral dissertation, or perhaps his ThM thesis. David Bennett is indeed a Presbyterian and possible Calvinist, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the factual content in the book. I did an in-depth review/critique of this book while in seminary.

          http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Altar-Call/David-Bennett/e/9780761818397

        5. Actually, had you “bothered” to actually click the links, you’d find that several of them are broken

          Really?? Which ones? I hit all of them the first time through.

          @lowercasedave Can you offer any Biblical defense for the altar call? or for the invitation?

        6. @mike: thanks for the book suggestion, I put it on my list.

          It’s nice for someone to actually honor my request for further study, instead of hearing “this is a humor blog, don’t expect anything intelligent or profitable from the commenters here.”

    1. I’m not here to argue, I’m here to get resources on a seemingly scarce and elusive subject.

      So you come to a humor site? Bizarre.

      I’ll take it that you start your inquiries into politics and economics with the Jon Stewart show and your ventures into history with Monty Python.

      it seems you have little to nothing academically to offer on the subject.

      You must be a real laugh at parties. Every time someone tells a joke you must jump up and thump them on the head and demand source material on the subject.

      Whatever, dude. If you feel like coming here an announcing that this site by your decree must drop its silly ways and become a place of serious study to have any real value then you’re in for a very great disappointment.

        1. @Clint: I was at a party with family. Some of us don’t live behind our keyboards. btw, what “evidence”?

      1. So first you post a silly video, then offer sources for further study, then say you’re willing to discuss the issue further, then deny me any conversation because this is a humor site.

        btw, I wasn’t interested in any sources at all until you offered a “legion commentary.” Also, I never decreed SFL must shut down: I simply warned about looking down our noses at anyone whose methods we deem inferior.

        And thanks for the semi-vitriolic (and inaccurate) caricature of (what you perceive as) my personality.

  15. The group that sang drove me crazy by not ending words like “not” and “yet” together — it is quite clear (not-t-t) (yet-t-t-t).

    Not sure if this was done as an added stab at some fundy groups I’ve heard that cannot stay together or not — but it was highly distracting to me.

  16. John Williamson Nevin protested the abuses of the altar call back when altar calls were a new thing. Here we are 170 years later, and all of these abuses are still present, and have spawned new ones.

    Here’s the Googlebooks link to his 1843 book “The Anxious Bench” –

    http://tinyurl.com/2fszh5a

    1. @jwnevin: thanks for the book suggestion, I put it on my list.

      It’s nice for someone to actually honor my request for more study, instead of hearing “this is a humor blog, don’t expect anything intelligent or profitable from the commenters here.”

      1. Well this stinks. No one ever told me I had to study anything on SFL. I just come here for the…….wait for it……….humor.

        And the only one making a profit here is Darrell.

        1. @Scorpio: so humor and intelligence are mutually exclusive?

          Actually, the commenters here have been quite helpful. I now have at least three book suggestions (a 19th century sermon and two historical sketches), some online articles, and a teacher’s blog post on the subject that I probably would not have otherwise heard of.

          Just because you confine yourself to “humor only” does not mean the rest of us have to. For some of us, humor (specifically, mockery/satire) is not the end of the road. Most satirists did/do not confine themselves so: ask George Orwell, or Mark Twain.

    1. And, while we’re at it… Can anyone offer any Biblical support/defense for thrones on the stages for the pastors, a painting behind the baptistry, hymn books, anti-PowerPoint, cullottes, using the word “stanza”, and the list goes on.

      It’s a man thing.

      1. I think a lot of those things are fairly neutral (e.g. hymn books). They’re not in the Bible, but except for hardcore regulative principle types, most wouldn’t object to their use. However, a problem occurs when one starts thinking that one is superior for using said object/method, and others who don’t are going to hell. Of course, fundies would never do that… oh, wait…

        1. Precisely. But, I’ve heard preachers go on about PowerPoint and hymn books (yes, hymn books vs. the use of screens), as well as hymns vs. modern praise choruses, and of course, cullottes (sp?). The others that I mentioned were in jest, but if I sat and thought of the things that I’ve heard actually PREACHED on during my years in fundyland, it’d make any person with half a brain laugh.

  17. Wait, I thought we were supposed to be posting in the forum. Perhaps I misread.
    I am intrigued by the alter call discussion. I don’t have a problem with the alter call by itself. But it does seem to have become a fundy machine. I really think there needs to be some sort of punctuation on the end of a worship service- by that I mean some sort of call to action or offer of help/guidance for those interested in more. But this thing with drawn out alter calls, the preacher somberly intoning the need for response, the multiple verses, etc. seems to be out of hand. I recall at fundy u the hushed whispers about some church somewhere that didn’t have an invitation at the end of each and every service.

    1. You’re not going crazy BJUgrad. I see the white piano! I see the white piano! It does exist. It is real. I need to find me an altar quickly to get right with gid.

      Brilliant :mrgreen:

      1. I didn’t even see this white piano till someone in the forum pointed it out. Definitely is a subliminal white piano at that point. I’m not a blanket white piano denier, but that Ordination post definitely didn’t have any piano of any color! 🙂

  18. At the church I grew up in, they were fond of using the song “Lord I’m coming home” during altar calls for some reason. My friend’s dad hated it if we sung more than 2 or 3 verses and would turn to us and sing at the top of his lungs “after this verse, Lord I’m going home”! 😯 :mrgreen:

  19. I confess: as a teenager at Bethel Baptist Church in Schaumburg, IL, I went forward on occasion for no reason other than to help wrap things up. Let’s face it, when the Sunday night service that started at 6:oo has passed 8:00, and you have homework to finish, you take matters into your own hands.

  20. That’s what I appreciate about my church, especially since I’m the song leader. If nothing happens in two verses, done! The only time we broke this rule was because the pastor selected an Isaac Watts tune for the invitation and he thought the lyrics of all four verses was significant. So once in two years we break the rule, and not to beat the people down, I can live with that.

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