The Public Invitation - Part Two
By Dr. Max D. Younce
Dr. Younce, I was saved several years ago in my home by trusting Jesus Christ as my Savior and have been baptized. In church, our pastor gives the invitation that "If you want to be saved, slip out of your seat and come forward to the front of the church." He makes me feel like I am not really saved, because I have never done this. What are your thoughts on this?
(Part Two) The "public invitation" at the conclusion of the service may go something like this. The pastor may ask, "If anyone is interested in their soul and eternal destiny, please indicate this by raising your hand. When I see your hand, I will pray for you." Then everyone stands and sings an invitation hymn such as "Just As I Am Without One Plea." Those who have raised their hand are urged to come forward to receive and confess Christ as their Savior. Remember, during the sermon, the pastor has preached that "All you have to do to be saved is trust Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith." Now, at the conclusion of the service, the person is asked to raise his hand to be prayed for, then come to the front of the church to receive and confess Christ before the whole congregation.
From first-hand experience, allow me to relate the thinking of the unsaved who are in church that Sunday. Why would the preacher ask me if I am interested in my soul? Since I am in church, it should be evident to him that I am interested in my soul, or I wouldn’t be here. Why do I have to raise my hand to be prayed for when he had previously quoted Romans 5:1? "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." If I have peace with God by faith, why do I have to go to the front of the church? Romans 5:1 says nothing about confessing Christ. Why are we singing "Just As I Am", then wanting me to walk 20 feet to the front? Why are we singing "Without One Plea", when the preacher has been pleading for 15 minutes trying to get me down front?
The unsaved person came to church lost and leaves the church lost, concluding the pastor doesn’t know what he believes. The unsaved person thinks, "First he says I can be saved by faith; then, he says I need to come forward to receive Christ as Savior. This is the untold story of thousands of people who will not come back to church because of this needless practice. I emphasize: the pastor can give the gospel from the pulpit, and the lost can receive Christ where they sit!
Next week, in Part 3, we will examine Romans 10:9,10.