Summary: A look at the history of the 'Alter Call,' and the techniques used to bring about a decision.
Sadly, many in modern-day ministry are unknowingly using Occult language and practices to get their audience to react and respond to their message. The enemy will always attempt to circumvent a sovereign work of God by crafting a cunning counterfeit to cause confusion in Christians. What God intends for good, the enemy’s intent is for evil to prevail. Jesus is the God of the miraculous. He is the same today as He was thousands of years ago and will never change. (See Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8) His anointing and power can come upon the Believer in dramatic ways with supernatural Signs and Wonders to bring healing and reconciliation.
No matter how many religious leaders want to deny that God moves supernaturally today, He still does in spite of their prevalent disbelief. It is because of that fact the enemy will do whatever he can to counter-act a holy and righteous move of God to give the scoffers the armament and ammunition to lead a full frontal assault against those who are actively moving in the supernatural work of Holy Spirit.
Listed below are revealed some of the most common types of deception used today. Please note that I am not saying in any way, shape, or form that all supernatural things that are seen or experienced in the church today have their origins in the demonic. I firmly believe that it is quite to the contrary! However, there is much to be discerned.
Persuasion and manipulation techniques are used by cults, human potential training organizations, businesses, and many militaries of the world. The military uses them to break people down so that they can rebuild them as true soldiers, responsive to every command without rational thought or consideration.
The use of these techniques could be one of the reasons why there is only a ten percent retention rate of those who “accept” Jesus at revival “events.” I have seen both subtle and outrageous manipulation techniques in every size of church and various denominations. I do not believe (or maybe I just don’t want to believe!) that those who are using these techniques were taught directly how to use them. I truly hope it has been more through ignorance of their Occult roots or simply naive learning through observation because of the so-called “successful” results of others. Some examples of Occultic techniques used in ministry are listed below.
Music Ministry Manipulation
Worship and praise music is vital in preparing the heart to receive from God. The Bible recommends that Believers “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name...” (Ps 100:4 NIV) and to “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5:19-20 NIV)
However, music can also be used for evil. One of the classic methods of music ministry manipulation is to use it to introduce hypnotic programming that can generate an “alpha” state of relaxed and suggestible consciousness in a very high percentage of people in the audience. This is done by playing a repetitive beat that is close to the beat of the human heart, which is 45 to 72 beats per minute. Music builds excitement and creates mental involvement.
Pre-Christian cultures considered the drum as one of the most sacred and oldest of ritual instruments. Drums were used as powerful trance-inducing instruments. It is believed that the beating of drums express primal cosmic truth because the first sound a human hears is the rhythmic pulse of their mother’s blood.
In Occultic practice, a message is often given that increases mental tension – usually through fear - in a patterned and paced style similar to the beats of a metronome at the rate of 45 to 60 beats per minute. Persuasion techniques are used in the message to attempt access to the right side of the brain, which deals in images and emotions, rather than the left side of the brain because it is analytical and rational.
Sadly, these same techniques are also used in the church. Gaining subliminal access is done by using a series of body movements (also known as embedded commands) and words so that the brain will shift from left to right. Statements are made that will cause the listener to shout “amen” or unknowingly nod their head in agreement. This reduces the chance that the audience will think about the comments made or when circular logic arguments are used to introduce them to questionable theological or doctrinal beliefs or statements.
A classic revival meeting and deliverance meeting process are to induce guilt and acute apprehension by increasing the tension in the audience. As an example, special music is often played in the background while an “alter call” is given. This is preceded by a verbal barrage of every sin that could possibly be committed to induce a guilt response and reach an abnormal level of anger, fear, excitement, or even expectation.