Why I Give A Public Invitation by Evangelist Junior Hill

In an article posted at SBC Today, Evangelist Junior Hill explains why he has spent over 50 years extending a public invitation at the close of most of the sermons he has preached. He says, “I do that because I have an intense and burning conviction that it is spiritually correct and biblically commanded.”

Hill says, “While there are some who may honestly and sincerely ask, ‘Where is a public invitation to the preaching of the gospel ever seen in the Bible?’ a far more appropriate and accurate question might legitimately be, ‘Where in the Bible is a public invitation to the preaching of the gospel not seen?’

Excellent question.

Hill asks, “Whether it be Jesus’ conversation with the rich young ruler, Peter’s stirring message on the day of Pentecost, Paul and Silas’ encounter with the Philippian jailor, Phillip’s meeting with the Ethiopian Eunuch, or Paul’s appearances before the Jewish synagogues, all of those encounters end with a report of some kind of response. And I find it intriguing and fascinating to see that the Bible specifically tells us what every one of those responses were. If none of them were even asked to respond, then why do you think the Bible would be so consistent and specific in telling us how they did respond?”

Excellent observation. Hill’s article can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Some may argue that the response is not the issue; it is who is responsible for the response that is the real question here.The gospel message is clear; anyone who believes and repents and by faith trusts Christ will be saved. I have a serious problem with the notion that God requires belief and repentance on the part of the lost person to be saved when it is His effectual calling that is necessary before one can do either. There is no need for a call to repentance in a theological system that presents conversion and new birth as Jesus calling Lazarus out of the tomb. If and when God calls, the lost person WILL respond and until God calls that lost person’s name, he cannot respond. The choice is not man’s to make; that choice belongs to God.

“Peter was there by Jesus’ side when the Lord spoke the parable of the Great Supper, and he surely remembered that the man who had prepared that supper sternly commanded his servant to “… Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

Brother, I am with you. I will continue to present the gospel message that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life so that He could be the sacrificial lamb to pay the penalty for the sins of the world for ANYONE who would by faith, believe that God is everything that He says He is and that God will do everything that He says He will do and that by confessing our sin and our need for a Savior, and repenting of our sin and turning from self to Jesus as our Savior, believing that He rose from the dead so that we could live with for Him today and with Him forever, we can be saved! I will continue to ask people to place their hand in the nail scared hand of Jesus and pray a simple prayer asking God to forgive them of their sin and inviting Jesus to come into their hearts and to save them because God’s word says, “whosoever calls on the Name of the Lord SHALL be saved.” It does not say, “whosoever I call shall be saved.”

AMEN and AMEN. Thank you Junior Hill for your faithfulness to preach the gospel and draw the net asking men, women, boys and girls to respond to God’s glorious message that Jesus saves!

Junior Hill began ministry at 19 as a pastor for 11 years before entering vocational evangelism in 1967, and has maintained a full schedule since then. He is a graduate of Samford University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where in 1995 he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. The author of 17 books, Hill has served as first vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has conducted more than 1,700 revivals and numerous foreign crusades, and is a frequent speaker at pastors’ meetings, evangelism conferences, seminaries and state conventions across the United States.

To book a meeting with Evangelist Hill, go to http://bit.ly/10W7S9f.


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19 Responses to Why I Give A Public Invitation by Evangelist Junior Hill

  1. Amen indeed! I attended a meetig of youth pastors in my county here in texas to discuss see you at the pole. The ministers of other demonimations called the invitation a “baptist cattle call.” This still bothers me so much. Non believers have not prayed before and sometimes just need help or even just an invite. When we pass that up we do a disservice.

    • sbcissues says:

      I agree. Here is the issue at least as I see it. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in His Word; that revelation demands a response on our part. He has also chosen to reconcile the world unto Himself; His reconciliation is His sole initiative but that initiative on His part demands a response on our part.

      The altar call is exactly that; an invitation for the hearer to respond to a gospel presentation that should be both revelatory and reconcilatory demanding a response on the hearer’s part to come to Christ.

      To fail to draw the net is in my estimation unfathomable.

  2. Randy says:

    It’s funny how we are so easily abandoning something that is critical to any Gospel presentation. One of the best books I’ve ever read is “The Effective Invitation” by R. Alan Street. He covers the history of the invitation, and it’s purpose and importance, and even how to handle invitation time. I have a good friend that goes to a very contemporary church and he said the one thing that really bugs him about it is that the pastor does not extend an invitation. They have people available to pray with folks after church, but there is no public altar call.

    • sbcissues says:


      Agreed! The problem is a symptomatic one related to the theological position being taken by an increasing number of preachers in our pulpits today.

      When one’s theological system presents conversion and new birth as Jesus calling Lazarus out of the tomb, there is no reason to have a public invitation. If and when God calls, the lost person WILL respond and until God calls that lost person’s name, he cannot respond. The choice is not man’s to make; that choice belongs to God.

      This is where the SBC is headed if people in the pew do not stand up and speak up and put a halt to this theological influence now being touted by a number of the entities of the SBC.

  3. I fully agree with the need to give invitations. I have been an evangilist for over 40 years.
    Most of my work is done in jails & prisons. I would never proclaim the gospel without seeking
    for decisions! We are called to be Ambasadors of & for Christ. How would we be able to do so
    with out an invitation?
    God bless,
    John Gregory

  4. Bob Wheeler says:

    For the record, here is what the Synod of Dort actually said about the free offer of the gospel:
    “The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.” (Second Head of Doctrine, Article 3).
    “Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure sends the gospel.” (Article 5).
    “And, whereas many who are called by the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in unbelief, this is not owning to any defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly to be imputed to themselves.” (Article 6).
    The proper biblical response to the gospel is not to walk down an aisle, but to be baptized!

    • The piont if the invitation is not that it is only way to the gospel. We are not saying that at all. You are correct in saying that a paerson in response to the gospel shoul be baptized as a declairation of what they have done in their heart. The purpose of the invitation is to give an opprotunity for people to respond to the gospel. Walking down the aisle has no saving value. The author of this article is not saying that the walking has any saving action in it. What we are advicating is givine people the opprotunity to respond. I hope this clears it up for you.

    • sbcissues says:


      “For the record, here is what the Synod of Dort actually said about the free offer of the gospel:”

      You DO UNDERSTAND that there are some who could care less what the Synod of Dort said right?

      Now for your last statement, “The proper biblical response to the gospel is not to walk down an aisle, but to be baptized!”

      I agree that the proper response to the gospel is to be baptized but we can certainly add sanctification to that list as well. Your point does not negate the utility of an invitation following a gospel message.

      Here is the deal. I do not understand the calvinist knee jerk reaction to a public invitation. I really don’t. Calvinists contend that God effectually calls the unregenerate from the dead like Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb and that is the only hope the lost person has. If God does not call one’s name, he CANNOT be saved.

      So given that premise, what difference does it make that we give an invitation for people to repent and to believe by faith that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sin and rose from that all who are willing to believe in Him might also live for Him today and with Him forever? How do you know that this is not a means God uses to call people unto Himself?

      Here is the real bummer in this debate. It is as if you guys believe that giving an invitation limits God’s ability to effectually call someone! If I were a calvinist, the LAST thing I would be arguing about is giving a gospel invitation because it does not matter whether someone does or does not… IT DOES NOT MATTER.

      Now… I have heard some say… it gives the lost false hope. What difference does that make? If God is the only ONE who can save them anyway… and they are not the elect and they are headed for a fiery eternity… what difference does it make that they think they are going to go to heaven… or think anything for that matter… if the only way they can be saved is if God handpicks them to receive blessed assurance?

      Calvinism as far as I am concerned is an abominable theological position.

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        Those who couldn’t care less about what the Synod of Dort said shouldn’t be writing about Calvinism. You have a responsibility to represent your opponents’ position fairly. Speak the truth in love!

      • sbcissues says:

        Bro. Wheeler,

        I appreciate your comment about the Synod of Dort. I do not believe I am obligated to accept the Synod of Dort as an authoritative position to be able to either understand the tenets of calvinism or to expound upon them.

        Speak the truth in love; I believe I was. I did not express any malice in my comment, at least intentionally.

        I simply made a comment with reference to your statement: For the record, here is what the Synod of Dort actually said about the free offer of the gospel:

        I do not see any significance in the validity of their opinion on the subject of the “free offer of the gospel.” I would place no more validity in their opinion on the matter than I would the Founders’ opinion. Basically the two were similar; they were both a group of reformed folk… so what would one expect them to report?

  5. Les Prouty says:

    Hey Bob. It’s been a while.

    “Here is the deal. I do not understand the calvinist knee jerk reaction to a public invitation.”

    I’m not sure I would call our (Calvinists’) reaction “knee jerk.” Most Calvinists I know are all for a public invitation for sinners to come to faith in Christ. I know I am. And all the Reformed guys I know are as well. All the Reformed preachers I know invite sinners to come to Christ in every sermon.

    But what most Calvinists I know don’t do is along with that offer and invitation, they don’t ask the sinner to get out of their row and walk forward. That’s a different thing than offering an invitation to receive Christ, which most Calvinists I know do all the time.

    • sbcissues says:


      My point is simple. If you offer an invitation in the message, what is the problem with inviting those who do make a decision to come and share that decision with the church? In addition to that, what is the problem with asking someone to bow their heads and ask them to repent of their sins and believing that Jesus died on the cross in their place (well… I understand the problem with that statement) and He rose from the dead on their behalf and if they are willing to place their faith in the finished work of Christ God will forgive their sin and make them part of His forever family.

      Remember something; this would NOT be an issue among Southern Baptists if calvinistas had not made it one.

    • Les Prouty says:


      I have no problem in general with asking someone to come forward to share what God has just done in their heart or asking someone to bow their head and confess their sinfulness and ask God to save them. I don’t see it as unbiblical. I don’t do ask people to come forward because I don’t see the need to ask them to come forward. And I’m very aware of the dangers of manipuation (and I doubt that you are guilty of that) in the bowing of the head and praying thing and the invite to come forward. So I don’t ask people to come forward but I do sometimes ask people to bow and pray for forgiveness.

      • sbcissues says:


        That is fine to do it your way but understand there is no need for people to be critical of “walking the isle if they have made a decision to trust Christ.” Understand something; it usually takes more determination to walk down an isle in front of God and everyone in the room than it does to stand in that pew or sit in that seat.

        I was in Brazil several years ago and we went down to the beach and me and my interpreter went and interrupted a group of 25 or so young men playing soccer. They actually stopped their game to listen to what I had to say. I shared an expanded message from John 3:16 and asked them if they would like to repent of their sin and to trust Christ and Him alone to be saved. i extended my hand to this group of 20+ year olds and said… if you would be willing to ask God to forgive you and to save you, I want you to come and take me by the hand… I led the 20 or so that stepped forward in a prayer… noting that the prayer would not save them but that God would for those that truly repented.

        We went to the next group and some of the previous group followed and did the same thing and this time 25 or so came forward. We did 5 groups that day and in all 125 or so young men on the beach prayed a sinners prayer after hearing a gospel presentation. Now, did ALL 125 or so of those young men get saved? Probably not. Did God save some of them that day; I believe He did.

        Could God use the message that those young men heard on that day to touch their hearts at a later time… absolutely. Our job is to till the ground, plant the seed, water the ground and leave the results up to God. I do know this; I believe God told me to do what we did so regardless of the outcome I was obedient. And… I would rather these young men hear a gospel message and step forward to pray than to not have heard at all and not have been given an opportunity to pray that prayer.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob, that’s a great story about your encounter in Brazil. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Bob Wheeler says:

    It is hard to see what the point is of asking someone to walk down an aisle if it is not to psychologically manipulate the rest of the audience. And if people are simply making an emotional decision on impulse they are probably not genuinely converted, and to tell them that they are is to give them false assurance.

    • sbcissues says:

      Bro. Wheeler,

      The reason MOST people bemoan walking down the isle is because they do not believe an individual has the ability to respond to the gospel message apart from God’s supernatural work of regeneration, which is as far as I am concerned is “being born again” and therefore there is no need to invite people to come down an isle to make a “decision to trust Christ.” Calvinism posits that as God’s decision and the result of His effectual calling. If that were true then I would agree with you that there is no point of asking someone to walk down an isle to trust Christ.

      Your argument that it is nothing more than manipulation is weak. Your own statement, “if people are simply making an emotional decision on impulse they are probably not genuinely converted, and to tell them that they are is to give them false assurance.”

      If I were a proponent of particular redemption which I have already addressed with you in another comment stream, I would not care about someone walking an isle or even the manipulation because it would not matter one way or the other. If the calvinist position is correct then if God effectually calls one to salvation THEN he is saved and if God does not effectually call then there is no possibility of conversion. Why belabor the point if that is the case?

      Let it alone! It is as if calvinists somehow think that the altar call is somehow limiting God’s effectual call! What difference does it make if someone has false hope?

      If God is going to save them then it is not false hope and if He is not going to what difference does it make if they go into hell thinking they were headed for heaven? Is that false sense of security going to give God’s effectual call a problem?

      Here is the point that is not hard for me to see at all. Peter must have given some kind of invitation at the day of Pentecost for the Bible says there were 3000 souls saved at that service. They had to identify themselves. The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas “what must I do to be saved” and they shared the gospel with him and he believed because the gospel message demands a response and praise God it does and that is why I believe it is absolutely essential to invite people to respond to the promises of God and the provisions He has given for them to believe and be saved.

  7. Pingback: Why I Give A Public Invitation by Evangelist Junior Hill – scottofsdea

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