Henry Mahan

The "invitation" or "altar call" at the end of a service has become such and accepted tradition in today's religion that those who do not sing an "invitation hymn" and invite people to the front of the church to "get saved" are branded with all sorts of names and charges. It never seems to trouble religious people that this "altar call" is nowhere to be found in God's word; that the great majority of those who "come forward" usually "go back" into indifference and worldliness; that coming to Christ is not a physical move at all but a heart commitment to the Redeemer; that the Scriptures present BAPTISM as our public confession of Christ, no "shaking the preacher's hand;" that the gospel is a COMMAND to repent, believe, and follow the Lord in baptism, not a mere invitation. The King of kings does not invite His subjects to obey and believe Him–He commands them!

I preach to you the Word of the living God! In the preaching of His Word the holiness, justice, and righteousness of God are declared. The truth of our fall, sinfulness, and inability is clearly set forth, as is the grace and mercy of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you a sinner? Confess that fact before God, not before me! Do you need mercy? Tell God you need mercy, not me! Do you believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer and righteousness and sin-offering for one such as you? Then settle that issue before the throne of grace, not at the front of the church! Has God spoken peace to your heart in Christ? Do you now rest in Him alone as your Lord and Saviour, your High Priest, and Mediator? Is the old man crucified with Christ, buried, and you are risen in Him a new creature? Then ask the pastor to assist you in believer's baptism that you may declare publicly what God has done for you personally!

Henry Mahan, Pastor
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.

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