Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 125:498 (Apr 1968)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Is The Altar Call A Sacred Cow?” Le Roy Patterson, Eternity, December, 1967, pp. 15-17, 32.

The author advances the view that the altar call as a part of the worship service of the local church is an ineffective and outmoded carry-over from the past which should be and is being dropped. He hastens to point out that he is not talking about its use in mass evangelism, where it obviously has a place, but its use in the services of the local church. He also makes clear that he is not advocating the abandonment of the invitation, but specifically the altar call.

The decline of the use of the altar call is attributed to (1) its abuse through methods bordering on the unethical, (2) its failure to produce results in the local church, and (3) changing views of younger ministers toward the purpose of the worship services and toward the evangelistic program of the local church. The evangelism of the local church should be carried on in the homes and on the streets in the daily contacts of life by its members, and the Christians should be instructed and encouraged and prepared to do that in the worship services of the local church.

Alternatives to the altar call which the author suggests are: (1) an invitation to come to the pastor’s study (2) an invitation to make an appointment in the pastor’s study or in the person’s home, (3) an invitation to attend a special class. He challenges his readers to use sanctified imagination in their methods of inviting people to consider the claims of Christ and to make a decsion for Him.

“Prescription For Pandemonium,” Robert E. Fitch, The Christian Century, December 13, 1967, pp. 1591-92.

Fitch considers his article “A diagnosis of the moral malady of our time.” It consists of four ingredients, the last of which is the climax—pandemonium. The process begins with Pantagonism, which means “that all relations in society” are engaged in “to-the-death” conflict. The start of Pantagonism came from Freud for the family and Marx for the social order. Now it involves every relationship of life so that each of us is to be suspicious of and to fight with everyone else. When Pantagonism reigns nobody will be allowed to get along with anyone.

The next two steps are Panparanoia with its dual manifestations of delusions of grandeur and persecution complexes and Pantantrum with its vigorous, vociferous, vulgar protest for “instant utopia.”

To paraphrase the old

barbershop song, “Put them all together, they spell…” PANDEMONIUM, “not utopia.” Fitch says, “Pandemonium has two features…the intoxication w...

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