The first nine chapters are devoted to the history of the altar starting with the initial altar built by Noah. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, and David all used altars and in different ways. But for the Hebrew leaders the altar symbolized man's encounter with God. Then for the Christian church came the symbolic altar, however, was there and was linked with the persuasive preaching of the apostles and Paul, laying a foundation for later use of the altar in the church. The historic portion continues through the centuries noting the contributions of Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Wesley, Edwards, and Whitefield. Their contributions were not to the use of a public altar, but they were to the spirit of the altar and altar call. It remained for Francis Asbury, Charles Finney, and Phineas Bresee in the 18th to 20th centuries to develop the public invitation and a public altar in conjunction with their evangelistic ministries.
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