Quotes by Carey Hardy
The Holy Spirit is the one who gives assurance, not the evangelist or any other person. We are to help people understand the basis of assurance, but leave the actual assuring to the Spirit.
Concerns related to the altar call:
1. There is no clear biblical precedent or command related to the modern public invitation or altar call.
2. Many today equate “coming to faith” with “coming down the aisle.”
3. There is a danger of giving assurance to those who are unconverted.
4. A large number of people who are “converted” during altar calls fall away.
5. The altar call can be effective in getting people to respond even if a clear, biblical presentation of the gospel and accurate biblical preaching are absent.
6. Scripture already explains how a convert is to make his profession public – baptism and a holy life.
7. For some, the use of an altar call uncovers a lack of trust in the sovereignty of God.
If the walk forward is an outward declaration of an inner-saving decision already made by the hearer in the seat, is this just an “act of witness”? Why then are people told to “come forward to receive Christ”? How is receiving Christ related to coming forward?
The biblical method of focusing on the gospel itself, without props, and allowing God to save whom He wills, when He wills, demands the hearing of the Word. And it demands trust that God will call His elect to Himself according to His own timetable. When the Word is preached, there will be varying responses (Acts 17:32-34). Just be faithful to preach the Word…and leave the results to God. He will save His elect according to His own timing.
The real question is: How powerful is the Word of God? Can it change men from sinners into saints without an extension of an altar call? Will it convict and convert (as God promises), or will we need to add something that helps men “settle it”? You will never be able to do without the invitation system until you are thoroughly convinced of the power of God’s Word (see Rom. 10:14; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23).