Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Invitation System and the Altar Call

by Peter Ditzel

I am going to ask you to come forward. Up there–down there–I want you to come. You come right now quickly. If you are with friends or relatives, they will wait for you. Don’t let distance keep you from Christ. It’s a long way, but Christ went all the way to the Cross because He loved you. Certainly you can come these few steps and give your life to Him . . .

The words above are Billy Graham’s as quoted by Iain H. Murray in The Invitation System (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1967) 3-4. Billy Graham was certainly famous for using such an invitation. But these words could just as well be those of thousands of other preachers who use basically the same formula week after week: the emotional music, and maybe asking everyone to sing Just as I Am. Then there is the invitation. A preacher may first ask people to bow their heads, close their eyes, and/or raise their hands. But always he will eventually tell them to come to Christ by coming up the aisle. Sometimes the preacher will also call those who want to rededicate their lives to Christ. It’s certainly common enough. But is it biblical? Should we be doing this?

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After more than twenty years, I’m admitting the truth
Hebrews 10:25: What Are We Not To Forsake?

by Peter Ditzel

Collins English Dictionary defines a “sacred cow” as “a person, institution, custom, etc, unreasonably held to be beyond criticism.” Among many Christians, there are sacred cow Bible passages. Hebrews 10:25 is one of them. It states, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

This verse is taken by virtually every church and every elder to mean that we should not stop attending church; that we should be in church every Sunday. Some even take the latter part of the verse to mean that, the closer we get in each week to Sunday, the more we should be exhorting one another to attend church. Many Bible scholars, who I must presume are afraid of upsetting the “sacred cow,” simply will not give an unbiased exposition of this verse.

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November 21, 2007
An Extraordinary Prison Ministry

by Peter Ditzel

Something that makes me thankful, as well as amazing and humbling me, is the way God continues to use our website and literature to help people. We have received letters and emails from people who have left cults after reading our articles, from Christians who have used our website as a learning resource before confronting unbelieving relatives, from missionaries who use our booklets to teach people in far-flung regions of the world, among many others. But the correspondence that stunned and humbled me the most this past year was from a Baptist pastor who is also an inmate in a state prison. In these letters, he tells of his pre-prison life of hypocrisy and sin, his incarceration, his conversion, and how God has now used him, with our publications, to build a church (presently consisting of fifty baptized members and expanding rapidly) that teaches the doctrines of grace in the prison, and the persecution he and the other members face. I found his letters so inspiring that I want to share some excerpts with you. To protect this servant of the Lord’s privacy, I have left out his name and edited out of the letters anything that might identify him, his specific crime, and the prison. I have also, for the sake of readability, made a very few grammatical changes and combined letters.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,

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An exposition of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
The Head Covering

by Peter Ditzel

When I think back to my boyhood and teenage years in the 1950s and 1960s, I recall the effect of what seemed to be an unquestioned practice among women. Looking forward from any pew (except the very front row), in any church (my parents visited a number of churches); my view was that of ladies’ hats, large and small, and sometimes scarves. Women never entered the meeting without their heads covered, just as men universally removed their hats. Was this merely a social custom of the mid-twentieth century? Or does the Bible tell us that women should cover their heads, and men uncover their heads, during meetings of the church?

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