Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Doctor on Altar Calls

Perhaps the best way in which I can stimulate thought, and give some little help in this matter, is to make the blunt statement that I have not followed this practice in my ministry (to give altar calls). And let me give some of the reasons which have influenced me in that respect. I shall not attempt to state them in any exact systematic order, but here is roughly the order. The first is that it is wrong, surely, to put direct pressure on the will. Let me explain that. Man consists of mind, affections and will; and my contention is that you should not put direct pressure on the will. The will should always be approached primarily through the mind, the intellect, and then through the affections. The action of the will should be determined by those influences. My scriptural warrant for saying that is Paul's Epistle to the Romans chapter 6, verse 17, where the Apostle says: 'God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered you.'

D. Martin Lloyd Jones, pg. 271, Preaching and Preachers


Eilers said...

Nice book, sweet quote!

Anonymous said...

you set out to discourage the exertion of any "pressure" on the will (in my mind I am thinking of things such as emotional praying/music ect. during the alter call). You later, however, describe the will as being influence by the: mind, the intellect, and the affections. Do you not appeal to the intellect of an individual when you implore then to turn from there sins or suffer an eternity separated from God? Or when you reason with then concerning the benefits of living for the Lord. If the intellect is part of the will then should we also forsake intellectual appeals also? How then do we preach?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I did not realize that that was a quote. I am still interested in your response? Also, do you think that Romans 6:17 really has anything to do with what he is arguing for?

Matthew LaPine said...

Anonymous, thanks for your question. As a general rule I do not respond to anonymous comments. Please sign your name and I'd love to interact about this issue.
- Matt

Matthew Cierzan said...

yeah, sorry about the anonymous comment. I am just starting to figure out blogging stuff. I am a friend of Andrew's.

Matthew LaPine said...

Matt, no problem at all. Here's what I would say to your question. I quote the doctor because I do agree with this statement. If you read it carefully he does not discourage speaking to the will, but that it should be approached through the mind, intellect and affections, not directly. So his point is that we should speak to the mind, intellect and affections first. He cites Romans 6:17 for this saying that obedience should be from the heart. I think a great example of this is Titus 3:3-8. A lot of people quote 3:3-7 but leave off verse eight. The passage says,

"3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people."

The point is the gospel (that is the content of the gospel, the information that appeals to the intellect, the implications that appeal to the affections) should be the ground of the will being moved to good works.

So the truth is truth, perceived by the intellect. The truth is beautiful, perceived by the affections. And the beauty of the truth affects the will. The gospel grounds obedience. I could quote more passages, it's all over the NT.

I hope you realize I'm not in to segmenting intellect, affections, and will like this because I think it's not really how our minds work but I do it to make this explanation more understandable.

Hope that helps,

Matthew Cierzan said...

Thanks Matt,

You prove to be much clearer than the "doctor". He has categorical confusion within his description of the human; your explanation helps me understand where you stand on this issue. I really appreciate your assertion that the human(knowledge in particular) is much more complex than three simple categorizations.

Thanks for the reply.