church, life, missions September 20, 2018 Does your church still have an altar and when do you use it? Click to join the conversation with over 500,000 Pentecostal believers and scholars Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected | PentecostalTheology.com SIGN UP to RECEIVE our weekly NEWSLETTERS on PENTECOST PentecostalTheology .com Previous articleWhat is the MOST prominent topic in Systematic Theology for YOU? Next articleDr. Voorhis Books on Kindle! 46 Comments Reply September 20, 2018 Louise Cummings Yes. They can go to the alter. Anytime they wish. Sometimes we have one go to the alter during sing or at the end of the message. We have no set time. As a usual time , it’s T the end of preaching. But we had a young girl that was visiting our church. She was ask to sing a special. While she was we had a lady get up and go to the alter while the young girl was singing. The lady that went to the alter, got saved and was weeping. And prayed. But didn’t disturb the service at all. The young girl just kept on singing. She was singing by sound track. By the time her song was finished. The laggy had already come to the alter, got saved. , she really got blessed. And back to her seat. Before the song was finished. Anytime you feel you should go to the altar at our church. You go. When it God , it never disturbed the service. Reply September 20, 2018 Link Hudson Do you offer sheep or incense on your altar? Reply September 20, 2018 Louise Cummings No way. Only my self. The Old Testament Of offering up sacrifices. It’s dangerous. Some of the Jews or it could be Gentiles. But we give ourselves to God. Can’t do it for anyone else. But I can pray for the. Giving them , decanting them to the Lord , praying God will save them but Hebrews ch. 6! Says after you have believed in Jesus , and tasted of the heavenly gifts. And fall away. It’s impossible to renew them again to repentance. That word falling away doesn’t mean just getting cold in the Lord. Or I would call it backsliding. But it means you have believed in Jesus and decide that’s isn’t right and go back to offering sacrifices again. Of animals , it impossible to renew them to Repentance. What I believe it means. If you go astray. Jesus makes it clear we can repent. I never believed in offering sacrifices. Except Jesus. He did that Himself. Because He loves us. But we give ourself to God. Putting away fleshy desires. Because you have to be in or out. You can’t be sinner and Christian at the same time. Reply September 20, 2018 Link Hudson Louise Cummings my question was to point out we use ‘altar’ different from its meaning in the Bible. Paul and/ir those with him who were under a vow mqy have offered sacrifices in Acts 21-22. I dont think they considered sacrificing to be rejecting Christ. Reply September 20, 2018 Louise Cummings The offering up Animals as they did in the Old Testament. Is wrong. That was fulfilled in Jesus offering up His Blood. No more sacrifices for sin will ever have to be offered. His was Offered once. That’s good through all the ages. No more Sacrifices will ever have to be offered again. Jesus Christ and His Blood was all that was worthy. He will never have to do it again. His Blood was secure for all who would believe in Him. Reply September 20, 2018 Louise Cummings I guess you might have been talking about fasting any those kind of sacrificing. Yes I do believe in that if your body is able to hold up to it. I don’t fast often enough. Or set a day or two of three days to giving yourself to more prayer than usual. That kind of sacrifice. Is good in the sight of the Lord. I believe. Reply September 20, 2018 Varnel Watson There is no altar for salvation and sanctification the baptist church a call for recommitment The ones who were raised baptist dont have a clue what a real Pentecostal altar call is Reply September 20, 2018 Link Hudson Altars in churches aren’t really Biblical. They redefined ‘altar’ away from the Biblical meaning. ‘Altar’ sort of makes sense if the Roman Catholics who see offering the mass as offering a sacrifice. I was asked to fill in at a Missionary Baptist church once. The worship leader made much of having an altar at the front, slapping the woodeen box with carpet on it they’d made. Biblically, though, there is no reason to think we should have an altar in church. And if there were a literal altar, it would be along the lines of a high place, or else an incense altar. Having to go up to a certain altar to pray is Pentecostal tradition (and tradition in other churches), but not a Biblical practice per se Reply September 20, 2018 Varnel Watson Altars in churches aren’t really Biblical? Says who? Oh hold on a bapticostal example coming from Link Hudson Why am I NOT surprised one little bit again ??? Charles Finney began using what we understand as the “altar call” or the “invitation” as a tool by which to proclaim the gospel and compel hearers to repentance and conversion. While few if any of us today use Finney’s “anxious bench,” the altar call remains a standard procedure and a recognized part of a pastor’s evangelistic tool kit in many churches Reply September 20, 2018 Louise Cummings You can make an altar to pray any where. What I mean doesn’t have to be a special made alter. I mean any where you want to pray. It becomes an altar. Because you are talking to the Lord. But a Church without an altar. That’s sad. You invite people to church to worship, and sinners there that’s wants to pray. And you don’t have anywhere for them to pray. You seem to be rooting God out. Or on the other hand. You could ask why do I need God. Please don’t ever say that , questioning God. Everyone needs God. You just don’t need to root him out. Is it a Pharisee spirit you go to church. To be seen of men. Make me up some rules that is easy. Doesn’t cost me much. Oh no please don’t let anyone lift a hand. Some dignitary might be there. If I’m in a worshipping church. Let me get hid. Don’t let them know I’m here. Tell me if you are not serious about God. Please get serious. It will make you feel so much better about God. And yourself too. Reply September 20, 2018 Link Hudson What does ‘Baptist’ have to do with what I wrote about altar calls? I’ve seen a Baptist make a big deal of having an ‘altar.’ My concern is with Biblical Christianity. You know that the altar call goes back (partly) to Finney. I read Methodist revivals could have a ‘mourner’s bench’ at the front, too. So you know it isn’t a first century thing. If “Pentecostal” refers to people who have the experience described in Acts 2, what does being Pentecostal have to do with church furniture arrangements from the 1800’s? In the Bible, there was an altar, something like a giant barbecue area for sacrifices, and an altar for burning incense in the tabernacle and temple, and prior to that, Israelites were to offer sacrifices on altars of earth with unhewn stone. Roman Catholics think of their masses like a repeated sacrifice. So the raised communion table, for blessing the bread and wine was called an ‘altar.’ It was in the front area. Fast forward to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, and you might see a kneeling bench in the front of the church sactuary. In my day, Pentecostals called the area up near the front, steps to the stage– possibly around a table with ‘This in Remembrance of Me’– or maybe not– the ‘altar.’ The meaning is different from both it’s Biblical and traditional meaning. Old timey Baptist churches had ‘altar calls, too’, and I would venture to guess they had them before the Pentecostal movement. So you may be the ‘Bapticostal’ one on this issue. I am not saying it is wrong to gather in a particular place to pray. But we need to realize that certain ways of doing things are tradition, not scripture. Biblical Christianity is not dependent on the existence of furniture arrangements that evolved over time or that did not develop until the 1800’s. We read of a number of references to churches that met in houses in the New Testament. The practice of meeting in a basillica with an ‘altar’ in the front evolved centuries later, and American Methodist, Baptist, and other evangelical practices of having prayer furniture or a prayer area called the ‘altar’ is much later than that. We should not get Pharisaical about tradition. The Pharisees had their traditions and treated them like the Bible, sometimes exalting them above the Bible, and considered people unspiritual for not keeping their man-made traditions. Reply September 21, 2018 Guy Caley An altar? For blood sacrifice? I think Jesus already took care of that. The cross was the final altar we needed. Now prayer benches are a different story. Those we have, use and need. Reply August 17, 2019 Evelyn Amen!!!! No need for altars in the church or anywhere. The early church did not build altars. Reply September 21, 2018 Louise Cummings The Baptist Churches I have been to. I didn’t see an alter. The preacher just stood in front of the church. They called it. If anyone wants to make a decision for the Lord today. And sometimes several would go forward. And shake hands with the preacher. He might say a word or two them. The they went back to their seats. I was raised Baptist until , I Shute I had turned a teenager. Believe me they had alters then. I remember the men getting on one side of the church outside before church started. The women on the other side. You should have heard all those people pray. Then everyone came inside when church started. I have seen those people shout. When they had testimony service. The women would just about preach when they testified. That’s the kind of Baptist. I grew up in. But you never heard that , you were way to young. It settled down before I was a teenager. They just didn’t teach the Holy Ghost. I heard of one Holiness church before we moved to the location of near Tuscumbia Al. It was called Spring Valley Al. They had a Church Of God there. I got started has never mm own going there to church. I got I believe really saved or Sanctified. Then filled with the Holy Ghost. And still in it today. I’ve got family still in the Baptist. But my immediate family has never known anything but Church Of God. But I have never seen churches , Pentecostal , for sure without alters. I don’t know about others. But Church Of God. Has always had alters. Reply September 21, 2018 Jevan Little Yes, most services at the end there is an alter call Reply September 21, 2018 Varnel Watson Link Hudson According to your own denomination the founders of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) recognized the central importance of the altar experience in church and home and made a statement on church and family altar one of their earliest measures. From the 1906 Church of God General Assembly, here is their resolution on “family worship”: “Family worship was considered and the Assembly recommended and urged that the families of all the churches engage in this very sacred and important service at least once a day, and at a time most convenient to the household, and that the parents should see that every child is taught as early as possible to reverence God and his parents, by listening quietly and attentively to the reading of God’s Word and getting down on his knees during the prayer. The pastor and deacons of each church were advised to use their influence and make special effort to encourage every family in the church to engage in this devotional exercise every day” (Minutes of the 71st General Assembly of the Church of God 2006, p. 83). Reply September 21, 2018 Link Hudson Troy Day I spent about one uear in high school going to a COG that had grown due to peope moving into the area that felt more like an evanhelical chirch rather than Pentecostal because my dad wanted to go there Sunday wgile finishing out the Vible Quiz year at an A/G I had attended for 3 yearsm. I have attended attended GBIs which are different in culture and amphasis for maybe 2 or 3 years at times. So I don’t think of COG as ‘my denomination.’ But I do not see ‘altar’ in that qupte. The denomination within the GVI denomination that Pak Niko was one of the leaders of in the early 2000s did use the term ‘family altar’. But the change of the use of the term between scripture and modern Pentecostal usage shpuld not be debatable should it? Reply September 21, 2018 Varnel Watson all AGs I’ve ever been to have altar call and altars All the ones Terry Wiles ever built including Reply September 21, 2018 Link Hudson Troy Day had altars? An RCC communion table? A sacrificial barbecue pit? A this do in remembrance of me? A kneeling bench at the fronyt? Or just steps or an empty area used for prayer. I can’t remember seeking a kneeling bench in an A/G. Reply September 21, 2018 Varnel Watson This is what they say Link Hudson The hunger for revival and personal experience with God that drove the early pioneers of the Church of God was also central to other holiness and Pentecostal groups at the outset of the twentieth century. A singular spiritual quest drew early Pentecostals to altars of prayer and revival. What God gave them there propelled them to the far-flung corners of the world with a spiritual passion to evangelize the lost. There is a special and unique “altar DNA” that underscores the unprecedented international growth of the global Pentecostal Movement. Much of this is captured in my collection of essays from outstanding Pentecostal figures from around the world, issued especially for the recent Centennial observance of the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles (Azusa Street and Beyond: 100 Years of Commentary on the Global Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement — details at http://www.AzusaStreetandBeyond.com). Reply February 9, 2019 Nora Neel-Toney Most churches have taken the altars out. I haven’t seen an altar in a very long time Reply February 9, 2019 Varnel Watson they still have steps leading to the podium though Reply February 10, 2019 Terry Wiles We have an altar area between the pulpit and front rows. We give an altar call for sinners every service and follow that with a general call to prayer and commitment. Reply February 10, 2019 Ron Raylene Raney Sad, most don’t, if I ask you to repent, I might offend you! Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson Link brought an elaborate stone brick clay grill BBQ study on altars but sadly missed the point From the very start of the Bible the altar is a place where men meet with God to be consecrated Just as are the souls under the altar in Rev Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson Troy Day can you show us where the apostles or the earlly church translated this into having a kneeling benchor designated area at the front of a church building calledan altar and used for prayer? Did the early Jerusalem church go to the altar in the temple to get prayed for, kneeling in the blood of bulls and goats, getting run off by the priests? Or getting stoned for going into the holy place to pray by the altar of incense? If the early church met in homes, would a Roman or Jewish home have had church furnishings? Are you in support of having a font for holy water since the temple had a laver? Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson I probably could but do you need me to? http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200903/200903_000_Altar.cfm Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson Troy Day brick clay? Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson Troy Day surely you do not think the “We have an altar verse refers to furniture or a designated meeting place in a 18th-21st centurychurch building. I understand why one would interpret the altar as having spiritual significance but equating it with the area designated for prayer ina modern church building. A teacher of the word who does so and knows better IMO is not being responsible with the word. We seem to have a difference of philosophy. From my perspective it seems that on many issues you think Pentecostalism has it right and you want to be Pentecostal and preserve Pentecostal tradition. My petspective is that the thinkibg of saints in Pentecostal churches should ever grow to be in line with the word of God. Pentecostal beliefs have already changed since the early 1800s- in some cases for the better and in some for the worse. I am not all about slapping Bible verses on Pentecostal tradition and preserving it no matter what. Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson article is by one of your own not our AG… Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson Troy Day ?? Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson see the author of the article Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson A link to a meme….one of my own. I can’t follow you again. One of those inside jokes inside your own mind, I suppose. Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson you never opened the enrichmentjournal link? http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200903/200903_000_Altar.cfm Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson Looking at Hebrews 13, do you really think the author there is referring to ‘altar’ as a metaphor for prayer? 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (NKJV) The brazen altar was a place of animal sacrifice. Notice that ‘For’ and “Therefore’ associating the altar with the sacrifice of Jesus. We benefit from the atonment. How is this a reference to prayer? Prayer is essential, but the use of scritpure seems rather loose in that article. I heard a preacher make much of people being married at an altar, comparing that to the sacrifices in the Bible. When I hear that, I think of the fact that our wedding ceremony we use is not referenced in the BIble, but bears some similarities to the pre-Christian pagan Roman wedding customs, which involved wearing, standing before a priest and stating words to agree to the marriage, with the bride agreeing to take the husband’s name, or the feminine derivative thereof. Jewish customs involved a bride price, a marriage contract, drinking a cup of wine together for the bethrothal, and a wedding party. As far as I know, none of those ancient Jewish customs would have taken place at the golden altar of incense in the holy place, at the brazen altar where the animals were burnt before the Lord…and they would not have had a time machine to transport them to the front of church buildings to be married back then. This kind of preaching seems kind of anachronistic to me, not really based on the teaching of the apostles or anything in the Old Testament. Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson The definition of ‘altar’ keeps changing– from the table for burning sacrifices to the raised communion table to the kneeling bench to the area where the bench used to be. Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson Link Hudson what are you trying to say? do you not believe we have an altar ? Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson Troy Day I am saying we shouldnot make doctrine out of arcitectural and furnitue arrangements that developed in the past few hundred years. Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson Hebrews says we have an altar Revelation says there is an altar What else? Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson Troy Day Do you think he is talking about the steps leading up to a stage that would be called an altar in church buildings throughout a continent far to the west 1700+ years later? Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson with many souls under it? – I dont know, you? Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson Jared Cheshire I brought this post back because of Link Hudson and others raising the question about having an altar in our Pentecostal churches Its a good thing – even our AG affirms it firmly Daniel J Hesse I guess Link may have gone in one of those churches where they dont have an altar but have censer-burners 🙂 https://thereisnews.com/two-altar-boys-was-arrested-for-putting-marijuana-in-the-censer-burner3333/?fbclid=IwAR1klnVcO_gBZluM_oTw5VLjwQS6sbch_8o4P4fdxGKoTMepMBexdvDASn0 Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson Terry Wiles coming to a church near you soon Reply February 10, 2019 Terry Wiles Troy Day the RC has too much on their plate to worry about a little weed Reply February 10, 2019 Link Hudson I went to look inside an RCC camps chapel building once to see and I went to one campus chapel for a friend’s sons funeral once. But the RCC call its communion table an altar. Our ‘altars’ are probably named after the general location of theirs in the sanctuary. Reply February 10, 2019 Varnel Watson true – in some EU and SA cathedrals they have big ol idol statues of Mary too Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. Cancel replyComment * Name Email Website Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.