At a Michigan pastors’ conference in November 2008, a Southern Baptist Convention seminary professor spoke on the subject “The Cross and Evangelistic Confidence.” The point of his message emphasized that a pastor need not and, in fact, should not extend an evangelistic altar call.

He contended the evangelistic altar call is not biblical and also argued that extending an evangelistic altar call is tantamount to attempting to manipulate the sovereignty of God. Alan Streett has debunked both these claims in a monograph.

Streett, who serves as the W. A. Criswell Professor of Preaching at The Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, and is a Southern Baptist, wrote his doctoral dissertation on this subject. He demonstrated conclusively that an altar call is historically substantiated, biblically affirmed, and theologically validated.

Incidentally, Streett is a moderate-Calvinist. Streett’s volume has an appendix where he directly appeals to his Reformed brothers not to reject the use of the altar call.

I might also add that in personal conversation with Dr. Louis Drummond before his home going, Drummond told me that during his research in England for his definitive biography on Charles Spurgeon, he found eyewitness accounts of Spurgeon’s occasional use of the altar call after his preaching in the recently unsealed vault containing the archives of the Downgrade Controversy. These accounts, of course, debunk a common myth among Calvinists that Spurgeon never gave an altar call.

Many Calvinists reject the altar call precisely because of their commitment to limited atonement. Although anecdotal in nature, observations confirm that virtually all Calvinists who speak or write against altar calls happen to be high-Calvinists.

David L. Allen and Steve Lemke, Whosoever Will (Nashville: B&H, 2010).