Friday, May 26, 2006

An Argument for Altar Calls ... from parakaleo

The following excerpts were taken from the Christian Index and were written by J. Gerald Harris in February of 2005. It was an article about Keith Fordham, an evangelist, who was nominated for the position of 1st Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention recently.

“The Christian Index recently interviewed Keith Fordham of Fayetteville, who is serving as president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE). The national organization provides networking between churches and evangelists across the denomination.”

“Fordham, a member of Harp's Crossing Baptist Church, addressed the need of using harvest evangelists in revival services.”

“Fordham: I believe it is a Biblical command. Of the 108 times the Greek verb parakaleo is used in the New Testament, five times it is used in conjunction with preaching and means ‘give a come forward, stand by the preacher’ invitation. In Acts 2:40 Peter exhorted [parakalei] the people on the day of Pentecost. He asked those who believed on Christ to come forward and stand by him publicly and 3,000 came. He kept on calling them and they that received Christ were baptized.”

“Furthermore, public decisions bless the church. When people see the lost come forward to give their hearts to Christ it does something to the church that is glorious and unexplainable. When you take the crowd out of a Falcon's game at the Georgia Dome the Falcons are easier to beat. When the church sees people come to the altar it lifts the morale of the church. The people of the church need to know that Jesus is invincible and that He still saves.”

The next few posts will analyze the 110 (not 108) occurrences of parakaleo … don’t worry, each text won’t be analyzed individually. Does parakaleo ever mean to “‘give a come forward, stand by the preacher’ invitation”? This is not going to be a series on altar calls, but on this particular defense of altar calls.

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