Jim Elliff on Altar Calls

This past August 8th, Chris Arnzen interviewed Jim Elliff of Christian Communicators Worldwide on the subject of altar calls on the radio broadcast Iron Sharpens Iron. For any reader who may be unfamiliar, an “altar call” is a ritual appended to the end of a Christian worship service in which sinners are urged to come to the front of the meeting place as a gesture that they are interested in coming to Christ. Usually, the individuals who respond to the altar call are then led to repeat a scripted prayer not found in the Bible. Often, the individuals who pray this prayer are then offered assurance of their salvation on the basis of their sincerity in praying. Jim Elliff mentioned two major reasons that cause him to object to the altar call system: 1. Such a practice is not found in the Bible; 2. Altar calls are notorious for leading to high numbers of “spurious converts”– those who claim to be Christians, but whose lifestyles demonstrate no evidence that they actually follow Christ. Elliff is careful to distinguish between an altar call and an invitation. Every Christian sermon should contain an invitation in which sinners are urged to confess their sins to God, repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ– these things are commanded in Scripture of everyone. A change in geographic location within a building at a given time (i.e., coming to the front of a gathering at the end of a specific worship service) has absolutely nothing to do with such a biblical invitation and such a practice is never commanded in Scripture. The altar call is indeed “strange fire” that has been implemented within Baptist circles all too often. Readers are encouraged to listen to the entire Iron Sharpens Iron interview HERE.

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One Comment on “Jim Elliff on Altar Calls”


  1. Andrew,

    I absolutely love Elliff’s ministry and this interview is another example of the clear thinking that he possesses in this area. The influence of Christian Communicator’s Worldwide was integral in the planting of our church in Greensboro, NC.

    Here’s another recent and excellent interview he had with Chris Arndsen titled “Restoring Those Who Fall” (Church Discipline): http://sharpens.blogspot.com/2008/08/mp3-available-here_18.html


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