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Custom designed cover for Jason Cherry's book The Culture of Conversionism and the History of the Altar Call. Billy Sunday preaching before he gives an altar call

"A historical study showing the shaping influence of the altar call on current beliefs has been long overdue."


How is it that the history of the central methodology of the American church has remained largely ignored, unprobed, and untold? For two hundred years it was the routine of American Evangelicalism to give an altar call at the end of church services. Many people may think they know the history of the altar call. They know it started around the time of The Second Great Awakening camp meetings and they may connect it in some manner to Charles Finney. And yet there has been a gaping hole in American church history regarding the foremost evangelical methodology. This invigorating new history of the altar call fills that hole, describing the cultural and theological context out of which it was born, the individuals who systematized it, and the lasting results that persist in the present day.



★★★★★ "Rooted in solid historical research, The Culture of Conversionism and the History of the Altar Call provides a revealing narrative of the influences which gave birth to the most prominent evangelistic method in America and exposes the influence this method has had on American Evangelicalism in general. Truly, a one-of-a-kind book covering a subject few are willing to tackle but many are needing to hear." 
Joey N. Thompson, Elder at Summit Crossing Community Church in Athens, Alabama


★★★★★ "As a pastor in the local church I often find myself comparing the culture of the church to the Scriptures and I wonder how did we get all the way from the 1st century New Testament church to the place where we find ourselves today. Mr. Cherry has done a fabulous job in answering that question as it pertains to the staple church practice of the altar call. With a combination of faithful historical research and careful theological assessment, Mr Cherry has written a book that not only provides understanding of how the altar call practice came to prominence but also how the church has been shaped by it. This is a book I've been waiting to read for years and I trust that it will be helpful for both the church leader and the layperson as well."
Justin Wheeler, Pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Wylie, Texas


★★★★★ "This book does a great job of drawing connections from early American church history to the present age following a path that has led from the anxious seat straight to the alter call. Americans want to see something big happen and they want to be part of it. We are drawn to men who are dynamic speakers and are able to produce. We want and even demand charisma from our evangelist, but most importantly he must generate results. We can easily measure the effectiveness of the evangelist by counting the number of people who raise their hand, stand, walk down an aisle, and sign a card. The tragedy is we have had whole generations of men and women who were assured they were saved but find themselves "backslidden", unchurched, and for all practical purposes no different than before walking an aisle. As the author states in his epilogue, conversion is only part of salvation and the church ignores a holistic view of salvation at its peril."
Greg Clay, Elder at Summit Crossing Community Church in Athens, Alabama.


★★★★★ "I congratulate Jason Cherry in writing this fine book about the problems with modern evangelistic method. I confess to having a personal interest in this volume, because he uses my book on the same subject ("The Altar Call its Origins and Present Usage") for some of his research. His book is historical, a little theological, but above all it is practical. It is less academic than mine and probably more practical, but he hits on the key issues. As he says, some/many conversions are gradual not sudden, and modern evangelistic method does not usually allow for that. In addition, the twin ideas that we can be converted by "walking the aisle" or saying a "sinner's prayer", are, as Cherry says wrong, For those who are interested in bringing people to Christ this book is a must. ."
David Bennett author of The Sinner's  Prayer: Its Origins and Dangers


Jason Cherry is an elder at Trinity Reformed Church in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as a teacher and lecturer of literature, American history, and economics at Providence Classical School in Huntsville. He graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary with a MA in Religion. His writings have been published at the Salvo Magazine, Evangelicals Now, Biblical Perspectives Magazine, and other publications.



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