+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 36 of 36

Thread: "The New Conversion"

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jon Bemis's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Flintstone GA
    Posts
    1,249
    Post Thanks / Like

    "The New Conversion"

    Christianity Today has a long but very interesting article that discusses the "sea change" that evangelicals are experiencing in regards to views on conversion experiences. The sub title reads: "Evangelicals are undergoing a sea change understanding when it comes to this pivotal moment in the believer's life."

    I found this especially interesting:
    One voice more than any other is sounded in this conversation—that of Lesslie Newbigin, whose theology was shaped by experience in both West and East, as a missioner and then bishop in India. Newbigin argued that conversion is a matter of understanding, ethics, and community—that there is no conversion without conversion of the mind, identification with the reign of Christ, and incorporation into a faith community that is marked by and sustained by its sacramental actions—baptism and the Lord's Supper. Newbigin's fundamental observation and conviction is that the church is not a provider of religious products and services but rather that the church is a people in mission. The church, collectively, is through an active discipleship a living embodiment of the kingdom to which the church witnesses. Thus the church is not obsessed with its own growth but with the kingdom, as it seeks to live the gospel within particular social and cultural contexts.
    Loving God . . . Loving others.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Suburbs of Chicago
    Posts
    2,339
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bemis View Post
    Christianity Today has a long but very interesting article that discusses the "sea change" that evangelicals are experiencing in regards to views on conversion experiences. The sub title reads: "Evangelicals are undergoing a sea change understanding when it comes to this pivotal moment in the believer's life."

    I found this especially interesting:
    One voice more than any other is sounded in this conversation—that of Lesslie Newbigin, whose theology was shaped by experience in both West and East, as a missioner and then bishop in India. Newbigin argued that conversion is a matter of understanding, ethics, and community—that there is no conversion without conversion of the mind, identification with the reign of Christ, and incorporation into a faith community that is marked by and sustained by its sacramental actions—baptism and the Lord's Supper. Newbigin's fundamental observation and conviction is that the church is not a provider of religious products and services but rather that the church is a people in mission. The church, collectively, is through an active discipleship a living embodiment of the kingdom to which the church witnesses. Thus the church is not obsessed with its own growth but with the kingdom, as it seeks to live the gospel within particular social and cultural contexts.
    That not only sounds exactly right to me, but that paragraph is something Paul would have written. I especially like the phrase "identification with the reign of Christ." That phrase is extremely close to my current understanding of conversion. I think Paul would agree.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer, Todd Erickson, Jon Bemis - "thanks" for this post

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jon Bemis's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Flintstone GA
    Posts
    1,249
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    That not only sounds exactly right to me, but that paragraph is something Paul would have written. I especially like the phrase "identification with the reign of Christ." That phrase is extremely close to my current understanding of conversion. I think Paul would agree.
    It sounds exactly right to me as well. Especially this:
    " . . . there is no conversion without conversion of the mind, identification with the reign of Christ, and incorporation into a faith community that is marked by and sustained by its sacramental actions—baptism and the Lord's Supper . . . "
    Loving God . . . Loving others.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California, United States
    Posts
    6,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    That not only sounds exactly right to me, but that paragraph is something Paul would have written. I especially like the phrase "identification with the reign of Christ." That phrase is extremely close to my current understanding of conversion. I think Paul would agree.
    Agreed. Not only "identification with", but "participation in." However, I would have liked to see more of a "shape" discussion in terms of this "reign" and "mission." The Church's mission is to participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and through this give witness to these events, while calling others to participate in the same.

    But, I agree. I think Paul would be a big fan of this.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California, United States
    Posts
    6,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bemis View Post
    It sounds exactly right to me as well. Especially this:
    " . . . there is no conversion without conversion of the mind, identification with the reign of Christ, and incorporation into a faith community that is marked by and sustained by its sacramental actions—baptism and the Lord's Supper . . . "
    This is what the New Testament seems to say to us. Over, and over, and over again.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!
    Thanks Eric Frey, Todd Erickson, Steven Burton - "thanks" for this post

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,213
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    I read the article and could not have disagreed with it more.

    Conversion remains a crisis experience no matter how many want to see it as working your way into it.

    Discipleship should follow, and works should be produced.

    But frankly it was the most un evangelical article, and I don't understand why folks from a revivalist church like the CotN would agree with it.

    Ok, off my soapbox, rant over, sorry for hurt feelings. Just really got my nanny goat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Todd Erickson's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    2,569
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    I read the article and could not have disagreed with it more.

    Conversion remains a crisis experience no matter how many want to see it as working your way into it.

    Discipleship should follow, and works should be produced.

    But frankly it was the most un evangelical article, and I don't understand why folks from a revivalist church like the CotN would agree with it.

    Ok, off my soapbox, rant over, sorry for hurt feelings. Just really got my nanny goat.
    Phoebe Palmer thanks you for your time and dedication.
    Laughing Ryan Pugh - thanks for this funny post

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ryan Pugh's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    New Orleans, La
    Posts
    485
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    Conversion remains a crisis experience no matter how many want to see it as working your way into it.
    I don't think this would sit well with those people in the Church who have always known themselves to be Christian and have always belonged to the Church.
    Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived. - Shane Claiborne
    Thanks Todd Erickson, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  9. #9
    Host Theology Forum Dennis M. Scott's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Windham, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,905
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bemis View Post
    Christianity Today has a long but very interesting article that discusses the "sea change" that evangelicals are experiencing in regards to views on conversion experiences. The sub title reads: "Evangelicals are undergoing a sea change understanding when it comes to this pivotal moment in the believer's life."

    I found this especially interesting:
    One voice more than any other is sounded in this conversation—that of Lesslie Newbigin, whose theology was shaped by experience in both West and East, as a missioner and then bishop in India. Newbigin argued that conversion is a matter of understanding, ethics, and community—that there is no conversion without conversion of the mind, identification with the reign of Christ, and incorporation into a faith community that is marked by and sustained by its sacramental actions—baptism and the Lord's Supper. Newbigin's fundamental observation and conviction is that the church is not a provider of religious products and services but rather that the church is a people in mission. The church, collectively, is through an active discipleship a living embodiment of the kingdom to which the church witnesses. Thus the church is not obsessed with its own growth but with the kingdom, as it seeks to live the gospel within particular social and cultural contexts.
    While I like the definition, isn't it normal that biblical evidence would point to such an identification because the scripture - at least of the OT - was produced, protected and promoted by those who were the gathered church? Were there individuals who did not participate in that context, their "stories" would not; perhaps could not have been, included in the corpus produced by the community.

    Also, the definition seems a little more "excluding" than typical of the community.

    Nonetheless, I like it. Unfortunately, my liking it is rather insignificant.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California, United States
    Posts
    6,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    But frankly it was the most un evangelical article, and I don't understand why folks from a revivalist church like the CotN would agree with it.
    What do you mean by "evangelical"?

    Do you mean: "with a focus on evangelism"? I would contend the article is very much this.

    Do you mean: Evangelical Protestantism? I would contend that this is not desirable in its own right. Instead, our desire should be to be one (John 17) with the whole Church, and also in line with our understanding of Scripture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    I read the article and could not have disagreed with it more.

    Conversion remains a crisis experience no matter how many want to see it as working your way into it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Pugh View Post
    I don't think this would sit well with those people in the Church who have always known themselves to be Christian and have always belonged to the Church.
    I think that a both/and approach is necessary and important here. Salvation - IMO (and RCC, EOC, and AC) - is always our continual transformation into the image of the Son of God, who, for us and for our salvation, was made flesh, lived, died, and was risen to life on the third day, and thus the transformation of our broken selves into the glorified image of the invisible God, whom the Word made flesh has revealed to us in fullness.

    In this "communal" aspect spoken about in the article, crisis can be important. There will be those who "have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," (2Peter 2), and who are on the journey of salvation and now "are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another;" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

    There will also be those who who know nothing other than the life which comes from Jesus Christ, who is life (John 11) and who has the words of life, and who is the bread of life (John 6). They know nothing other than their existence as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5), through their participation in Christ's death and resurrection, and their new life (Romans 6), which was begun for them on account of those who accounted their faith for them (1 Corinthians 15), and had them baptized as infants.

    Discipleship should follow, and works should be produced.
    Are works not integral to our every moment of salvation?
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ryan Pugh's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    New Orleans, La
    Posts
    485
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    I think that a both/and approach is necessary and important here.
    Agreed. Good post.
    Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived. - Shane Claiborne
    Thanks Dennis M. Scott - "thanks" for this post

  12. #12
    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California, United States
    Posts
    6,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    There will also be those who ... know nothing other than their existence as a new creation... baptized as infants.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Pugh
    Agreed. Good post.
    Just wanted to highlight something...
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!
    Thanks Dennis M. Scott - "thanks" for this post

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jon Bemis's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Flintstone GA
    Posts
    1,249
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    I read the article and could not have disagreed with it more.

    Conversion remains a crisis experience no matter how many want to see it as working your way into it.

    Discipleship should follow, and works should be produced.

    But frankly it was the most un evangelical article, and I don't understand why folks from a revivalist church like the CotN would agree with it.

    Ok, off my soapbox, rant over, sorry for hurt feelings. Just really got my nanny goat.
    No hurt feelings at all. I agree for many it is a crisis experience. On the other hand, a couple of the most devoted Christ-followers I know can't remember a time they didn't love God. One has lived 40+ years exemplifying what loving God and others looks like. So while they may have had crisis moments, they can't recall a conversion crisis. Does that make their faith invalid because they didn't follow a formula?

    I think what at least part of what the author was trying to say is that the "crisis experience" so many of us identify with may be experienced differently by some folks today and I think he describes a fuller experience that resonates with me: " . . . there is no conversion without conversion of the mind, identification with the reign of Christ, and incorporation into a faith community that is marked by and sustained by its sacramental actions—baptism and the Lord's Supper . . . "
    Loving God . . . Loving others.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ryan Pugh's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    New Orleans, La
    Posts
    485
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    Just wanted to highlight something...
    I hear ya... I do.

    Although, I was not baptized as an infant and don't remember ever having a real "conversion crisis". Is my faith invalid?
    Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived. - Shane Claiborne

  15. #15
    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California, United States
    Posts
    6,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Pugh View Post
    I hear ya... I do.

    Although, I was not baptized as an infant and don't remember ever having a real "conversion crisis". Is my faith invalid?
    Invalid? Nope. Absolutely not.

    I use the word "normative" when I speak of the sacraments for a reason.

    In fact, if it weren't for my own stupidity, I'd be in the same place as you. I didn't have a crisis experience until I had left the faith and was called back.

    (I should say I never left the faith, nor grace itself, but found myself on the verge of doing so. My "crisis" was an in-faith crisis. However, as I look at it now, I see it as a bit of a "leaving the faith" from the perspective of faith).

    My point was not that without baptism our faith is invalid. My point was that God gives salvation normatively through Baptism, and that in our similar experiences of not being granted this sacrament for years, God was at work in us regardless, awaiting the time when the Church would catch up to what God was doing. After all, it is God who imparts grace, and God who saves in Baptism, not the Church and their water.

    *** I don't say this as being in any way looking down on your pastor as a child (I haven't the slightest clue who that would have been! ). My father was my pastor and did not baptize me until age 10, due to standard anabaptist and zwinglian ideas. We still disagree to this day on sacraments. He's still my best friend, and still the best man of God I know.
    Last edited by Benjamin Burch; April 23rd, 2012 at 12:33 PM.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ryan Pugh's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    New Orleans, La
    Posts
    485
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    *** I don't say this as being in any way looking down on your pastor as a child (I haven't the slightest clue who that would have been! ). My father was my pastor and did not baptize me until age 10, due to standard anabaptist and zwinglian ideas. We still disagree to this day on sacraments. He's still my best friend, and still the best man of God I know.
    I can say the same things about my dad (with exception to the anabaptist/sacraments/disagreeing part... that I know of ).
    Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived. - Shane Claiborne

  17. #17
    Site Manager G R 'Scott' Cundiff's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Somewhere on the road
    Posts
    5,002
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    You might enjoy Keith Drury's "Three models of conversion" - http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/2convers.htm

  18. #18
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    7,161
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    *** I don't say this as being in any way looking down on your pastor as a child (I haven't the slightest clue who that would have been! ). My father was my pastor and did not baptize me until age 10, due to standard anabaptist and zwinglian ideas. We still disagree to this day on sacraments. He's still my best friend, and still the best man of God I know.
    Interesting. I wasn't baptised as a child either. When my elder brother was born, the pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church asked when he would be baptised. My dad said, ask him. Brother said nothing so nothing happened.

    I was baptised at age 20, upon my confession of faith, in the Dutch Reformed Church. Neither of our children were baptised as infants.

    Looking back, I realise I was wrong. Rob Staples helped me see it. In Words of Faith he wrote that the question in the sacraments is, "how does the Church proclaim the gospel?" And it finally hit home that it wasn't primarily about ME and MY faith, it was about the GRACE OF GOD!

    Sometimes you need a couple of years before you see it
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo

  19. #19
    Senior Member Bob Hunter's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    2,320
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    I really liked this article and it reminded me of the some of my dissertation research. I spent some time studying early Christian conversion in the Didache. Conversion in the early Church was a process that culminated with the Eucharist. It required each convert to identify with Christ publicly. Christian community played a large part in mentoring and supporting conversion. In fact, each new convert was assigned a spiritual parent to stand with them as they received the Eucharist for the first time.

    We do talk about salvation in very shallow terms. We ask people to say, "yes" to Jesus or come "get saved." Then there is a "Ask Jesus into your heart." As the article suggests, we need to incorporate linguistic changes into how we talk about conversion. Many Churches/Pastors equate conversion with a decision that is made in a Church service or evangelistic event. When in reality, many of those conversions are not sustained. Some call this "decisional conversionism."

    I found a video that describes the superstition around "asking Jesus into your heart." http://www.vergenetwork.org/2012/04/...us-unbiblical/

    We definitely need to rethink our approach.
    Thanks Dennis M. Scott, John Kennedy - "thanks" for this post

  20. #20
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    8,619
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by G R 'Scott' Cundiff View Post
    You might enjoy Keith Drury's "Three models of conversion" - http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/2convers.htm
    I fit # 3 well. I cannot remember a time in which I did not believe and I was baptized as a baby. It has been difficult growing up in a CotN environment which had anabaptist/zwinglian/revivalistic/converionist beliefs about salvation. Every altar call hearing that if I had not said the sinner's prayer and not gone from darkness to light then I wasn't saved left a load of guilt on me. Thankfully, along the way, God showed me that he brings people to salvation in a variety of ways. Reading Staples' book finally helped to make it all click into place - Grace and nurture from the beginning is my salvation testimony. And thank God I don't have to be ashamed anymore or guilt stricken because my testimony won't conform to someone else's idea of salvation.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov

  21. #21
    Senior Member Steven Burton's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    McKinney, Tx
    Posts
    2,999
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    I like how this got labeled new. I have yet to discover really much outside of philosophy that is really new to the Church as a whole. I have found that there are a lot of things that the Church holds to that has gotten lost over time since the separation of the Church and the growing away from the Catholic/Orthodox Church.
    "Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek."

  22. #22
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bemis View Post
    No hurt feelings at all. I agree for many it is a crisis experience. On the other hand, a couple of the most devoted Christ-followers I know can't remember a time they didn't love God. One has lived 40+ years exemplifying what loving God and others looks like. So while they may have had crisis moments, they can't recall a conversion crisis. Does that make their faith invalid because they didn't follow a formula?

    I think what at least part of what the author was trying to say is that the "crisis experience" so many of us identify with may be experienced differently by some folks today and I think he describes a fuller experience that resonates with me: " . . . there is no conversion without conversion of the mind, identification with the reign of Christ, and incorporation into a faith community that is marked by and sustained by its sacramental actions—baptism and the Lord's Supper . . . "
    My thoughts as a seasoned Christian on salvation, perfection formula, and works.


    I do think "crisis" is the wrong term for many. Scripture speaks in terms of a sincere faith in Jesus. (seek and you shall find), (knock and the door will be opened), (ask and you shall receive).

    What works does one do to have their sins forgiven them? Jesus freely gives to those who open the door and Jesus entered the true Tabernacle by His blood that those who do believe on Him may live. (I know you didn't state works for forgiveness)

    For one who has the Spirit of Christ in them and ponders perfection claimed by some.

    We have everything we need for life and godliness as Peter wrote. (Christ in us)
    Put your faith into action. (practice) Helping others has many forms such as giving someone a drink of water.
    What happens as you help others? God helps you for in the measure you give to others it will be given back to you and the love flows but not from any additional gift that changes our being. (keeping in mind our sins are forgiven, (removed), by the work that Jesus performed/performs)

    Matthew 7:24
    Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

    Matthew 5:14-16 (We can choose to let our light shine anytime we want)
    14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

    Luke 6:38
    Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    2 Peter 1:3-9
    His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
    5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)

  23. #23
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    7,161
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Wise View Post
    I do think "crisis" is the wrong term for many. Scripture speaks in terms of a sincere faith in Jesus. (seek and you shall find), (knock and the door will be opened), (ask and you shall receive).
    Last night I led a Bible study on Luke 5.
    4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.*8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

    If that is not a crisis, I don't know what is. Their whole world went upside down.
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo

  24. #24
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Last night I led a Bible study on Luke 5.
    4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.*8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

    If that is not a crisis, I don't know what is. Their whole world went upside down.
    I believe Peter then had faith that Jesus was the Christ. What about Cornelius or the Eunuch or Lydia in Acts? Are you stating an event as a crisis or the person is in crisis? Faith in Jesus is the key that I see.
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)

  25. #25
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    7,161
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Wise View Post
    I believe Peter then had faith that Jesus was the Christ. What about Cornelius or the Eunuch or Lydia in Acts? Are you stating an event as a crisis or the person is in crisis? Faith in Jesus is the key that I see.
    It's about "metanoia". A 180 degrees turn around. Yes, it is about faith in Jesus. And in this specific story, faith when from respect for a teacher, to the acknowledgement that in this man Jesus, God was revealed. And hence they left everything and followed him. Can hardly get more drastic than this.
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo

  26. #26
    Senior Member Kami Tuenning's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    149
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hunter View Post
    I really liked this article and it reminded me of the some of my dissertation research. I spent some time studying early Christian conversion in the Didache. Conversion in the early Church was a process that culminated with the Eucharist. It required each convert to identify with Christ publicly. Christian community played a large part in mentoring and supporting conversion. In fact, each new convert was assigned a spiritual parent to stand with them as they received the Eucharist for the first time.

    We do talk about salvation in very shallow terms. We ask people to say, "yes" to Jesus or come "get saved." Then there is a "Ask Jesus into your heart." As the article suggests, we need to incorporate linguistic changes into how we talk about conversion. Many Churches/Pastors equate conversion with a decision that is made in a Church service or evangelistic event. When in reality, many of those conversions are not sustained. Some call this "decisional conversionism."

    I found a video that describes the superstition around "asking Jesus into your heart." http://www.vergenetwork.org/2012/04/...us-unbiblical/

    We definitely need to rethink our approach.
    I headed over to the Theology forum to start a thread on definitions of "conversion" and low and behold someone else already had a similar thought path. Over 10 years ago, when I discovered how early seekers/believers were catechized, I was surprised that the "normative" path was through a 3 year long process! The "repent and be saved!" crisis conversions found in Acts were not apparent. One beautiful aspect to my "conversion" path was that it had changed very little in 2000 years. Unlike my Baptist childhood, where you came to an age when you knew you were going to have to 'walk that aisle on the 3rd stanza of the closing hymn" to profess to the church that you "accepted Jesus into your heart", I learned that adult seekers would participate in the Mass through the liturgy of the word. Before the Liturgy of the Eucharist began, these catechumen's were dismissed.

    This is how the RCC still forms it catechumens. RCIA begins in late August with weekly catechesis required along with weekly Mass as a group. The weeknight catechesis was 2-21/2 hours long! We delved into theology that one would receive in college. We were constantly challenged to reflect deeply with what we were presented. At Sunday morning mass, a catechist went forward and the priest offered them the bible, we also came forward and the congregation prayed over us. We were dismissed to another room where we engaged in Bible study and reflection of the Liturgical Readings. This continued until November, when we were asked to make a commitment to go forward in the process of conversion. There is a special rite in the RCC for this. Your sponsor, in the presence of the entire church whose hands are raised towards you, lays hands upon and with the sign of the cross marks your head, your heart, hands and feet and places a blessed cross necklace on you. Before this rite, each catechumen must stand before the church and state your name and what you "ask of this body". The congregation has a response also. The weekly catechism class and Mass continues until a few weeks before Easter, where you then travel to the Bishop and go through another rite of acceptance with your sponsor. Then you must go before the church again for "scruples" and everything culminates on Easter Vigil. Those who are new believers are baptized, confirmed with chrism and receive their first Holy Eucharist. Those who have already been baptized are confirmed and then given Holy Eucharist. Prior to all of this each catechumen will have given there first confession-which is face to face with the priest. After all is said and done-they are fully received into full-participation in the body and thus begins another season of Mystagogia where there is continued mentoring and spiritual formation. I had never been involved in this level of discipleship and according to my family it was transformational. They all saw a peace and wholeness in me they had never seen before.

    I wonder why more denominations do not involve this level of formation before a person is received into the Church. In other churches we have been in, one could simply sign-up. The night of the baptism service you were instructed to come 1 hour early to meet with a pastor or elder to give your testimony and then you are baptized and "saved'!
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer, Todd Erickson - "thanks" for this post

  27. #27
    Regular Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    25
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    I just need to make sure the seven times I got "saved" at church camp are still good...
    Laughing Susan Unger, Greg Farra, Jon Bemis, Kami Tuenning - thanks for this funny post

  28. #28
    Senior Member Greg Farra's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Groveport,Ohio.USA
    Posts
    1,350
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi Anderson View Post
    I just need to make sure the seven times I got "saved" at church camp are still good...
    Sure, as long as you were rebaptized every time!
    'His favorite chair was always a bit wobbly, but he decided that accepting things with their quirks was much more enjoyable than trying to fix things.'
    Laughing Susan Unger, Heidi Anderson - thanks for this funny post

  29. #29
    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California, United States
    Posts
    6,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kami Tuenning View Post
    I headed over to the Theology forum to start a thread on definitions of "conversion" and low and behold someone else already had a similar thought path. Over 10 years ago, when I discovered how early seekers/believers were catechized, I was surprised that the "normative" path was through a 3 year long process! The "repent and be saved!" crisis conversions found in Acts were not apparent. One beautiful aspect to my "conversion" path was that it had changed very little in 2000 years. Unlike my Baptist childhood, where you came to an age when you knew you were going to have to 'walk that aisle on the 3rd stanza of the closing hymn" to profess to the church that you "accepted Jesus into your heart", I learned that adult seekers would participate in the Mass through the liturgy of the word. Before the Liturgy of the Eucharist began, these catechumen's were dismissed.

    This is how the RCC still forms it catechumens. RCIA begins in late August with weekly catechesis required along with weekly Mass as a group. The weeknight catechesis was 2-21/2 hours long! We delved into theology that one would receive in college. We were constantly challenged to reflect deeply with what we were presented. At Sunday morning mass, a catechist went forward and the priest offered them the bible, we also came forward and the congregation prayed over us. We were dismissed to another room where we engaged in Bible study and reflection of the Liturgical Readings. This continued until November, when we were asked to make a commitment to go forward in the process of conversion. There is a special rite in the RCC for this. Your sponsor, in the presence of the entire church whose hands are raised towards you, lays hands upon and with the sign of the cross marks your head, your heart, hands and feet and places a blessed cross necklace on you. Before this rite, each catechumen must stand before the church and state your name and what you "ask of this body". The congregation has a response also. The weekly catechism class and Mass continues until a few weeks before Easter, where you then travel to the Bishop and go through another rite of acceptance with your sponsor. Then you must go before the church again for "scruples" and everything culminates on Easter Vigil. Those who are new believers are baptized, confirmed with chrism and receive their first Holy Eucharist. Those who have already been baptized are confirmed and then given Holy Eucharist. Prior to all of this each catechumen will have given there first confession-which is face to face with the priest. After all is said and done-they are fully received into full-participation in the body and thus begins another season of Mystagogia where there is continued mentoring and spiritual formation. I had never been involved in this level of discipleship and according to my family it was transformational. They all saw a peace and wholeness in me they had never seen before.

    I wonder why more denominations do not involve this level of formation before a person is received into the Church. In other churches we have been in, one could simply sign-up. The night of the baptism service you were instructed to come 1 hour early to meet with a pastor or elder to give your testimony and then you are baptized and "saved'!
    I need to stay away from this darned New Testament stuff, or else I might end up singing Home Sweet Rome sooner or later. Although, to be honest, Home Sweet Constantinople seems far, far more likely for me.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing Kami Tuenning - thanks for this funny post

  30. #30
    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    West Grove, PA
    Posts
    2,225
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    I have to admit that Newbigin has had a profound influence on the way I understand evangelism and the faith community. While I do not resonate with everything he has written, it is primarily due to context.

    I disagree that Newbigin's perspective as stated in this article is at odds with a Wesleyan/Holiness understanding of conversion, even that thread of our tradition that is strongly revivalistic. We have always believed and taught that true conversion results in transformation in community, with right action and connection to other believers for fellowship and kingdom participation as the hallmark. It is only those who understand conversion to be transactional - a one time event between God and the sinner, with no further response or human partnership necessary - who would be uncomfortable with this perspective. Nazarenes, even those who most emphasize crisis, have never believed that.
    "Fully embracing the Gospel, fully engaging the world"
    Thanks Jon Bemis, Susan Unger, Todd Erickson, Ryan Pugh, Ryan Scott - "thanks" for this post

  31. #31
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schutz View Post
    I have to admit that Newbigin has had a profound influence on the way I understand evangelism and the faith community. While I do not resonate with everything he has written, it is primarily due to context.

    I disagree that Newbigin's perspective as stated in this article is at odds with a Wesleyan/Holiness understanding of conversion, even that thread of our tradition that is strongly revivalistic. We have always believed and taught that true conversion results in transformation in community, with right action and connection to other believers for fellowship and kingdom participation as the hallmark. It is only those who understand conversion to be transactional - a one time event between God and the sinner, with no further response or human partnership necessary - who would be uncomfortable with this perspective. Nazarenes, even those who most emphasize crisis, have never believed that.
    I believe salvation comes in an instant that is "Born of God". Washed, sanctified, justified. Our sins are forgiven. (removed)

    Jesus taught that those who hold to His teachings show to be His. So while one can go from death to life in an instant by an act of God freely given there should be "good fruit" produced in a believer. In other words you should be able to perceive their faith by what they state and by their actions. Hebrews 11 gives examples of faith in action.


    Randy
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)

  32. #32
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,213
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Mike--can you name anyone who believes that salvation is a one time event between God and the sinner, with no further response necessary?

    I do believe some see the instititutional church as of supreme discipling importance while others see that as the job of the Holy Spirit.

    But I honestly don't know of any revivalist that EVER taught a one time contact with God and that was it, you are good to go.

    Rather, a one time incident of total regeneration which so transforms the person that good works will inevitably follow.

    You know, the old Methodist/Holiness THOROUGHGOING CONVERSION.

    I would use italics instead of caps but can't get it to work, so not yelling, just emphasizing old terms.

  33. #33
    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    West Grove, PA
    Posts
    2,225
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    Mike--can you name anyone who believes that salvation is a one time event between God and the sinner, with no further response necessary?
    Yes, I can. I know several contemporary preachers in my community, and some who are more nationally known, who believe that the one-time, transactional crisis of "being saved" is all that is necessary - and that further growth into Christlikeness is, while good, not necessary.

    This was the whole argument of several years ago presented by folks from other traditions who were more than willing to defend "carnal Christians," going so far as saying that salvation does not demand Jesus as your Lord, only as your Savior. They separated the two, and argued that the one-time camp meeting experience was not just enough for those who would, at the conclusion of the meeting, go out and get hit by a truck, but was sufficient for everyone. Of course, these are the folks who would argue that we are so far off base, because if you could "lose your salvation," then the one-time crisis event was meaningless.
    "Fully embracing the Gospel, fully engaging the world"

  34. #34
    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Suburbs of Chicago
    Posts
    2,339
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    Agreed. Not only "identification with", but "participation in." However, I would have liked to see more of a "shape" discussion in terms of this "reign" and "mission." The Church's mission is to participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and through this give witness to these events, while calling others to participate in the same.

    But, I agree. I think Paul would be a big fan of this.
    Ben, I like "participation in" as well. Growing up, I could never figure out why every evangelist was trying so hard to make me lost, just so I could get found. My prayer for my children has been that there would never be a day when they would be outside of God's grace. Now that I am older, I think I would change that prayer to, may there never be a day when they are outside of His church. For some, that participation would be a radical change. For me, it was a natural continuation of what I have known from birth.

    This idea of "mission" and aligning with the "reign" of Christ resonates more and more with me.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

  35. #35
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Auburn, CA
    Posts
    3,760
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    I need to stay away from this darned New Testament stuff, or else I might end up singing Home Sweet Rome sooner or later. Although, to be honest, Home Sweet Constantinople seems far, far more likely for me.
    Maybe we can car pool again
    You can be right or you can be in relationship
    Laughing Benjamin Burch - thanks for this funny post

  36. #36
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Clinton, MD (DC area)
    Posts
    545
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: "The New Conversion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    Mike--can you name anyone who believes that salvation is a one time event between God and the sinner, with no further response necessary?

    I do believe some see the instititutional church as of supreme discipling importance while others see that as the job of the Holy Spirit.

    But I honestly don't know of any revivalist that EVER taught a one time contact with God and that was it, you are good to go.

    Rather, a one time incident of total regeneration which so transforms the person that good works will inevitably follow.

    You know, the old Methodist/Holiness THOROUGHGOING CONVERSION.

    I would use italics instead of caps but can't get it to work, so not yelling, just emphasizing old terms.
    In addition to those in other theological traditions who hold this view, it was a common functional view held by a certain slice of Nazarenes. The difference is that the "one time" event was replaced by "two times." Many of the heirs of certain strands of 19th century holiness theology conceived both salvation and sanctification in transactional terms, so that at the second event "the work was done" and required nothing further. (The revivalist tradition, while not teaching this directly, communicated as much by its approach. Even Billy Graham admitted the problem and in his last decades intentionally put in place discipleship programs for local churches as follow-ups for his crusades.)

    The finality of that second crisis experience often translated into various degrees of perfectionism. I recall the older man twenty years ago now who expressed that perspective bluntly but accurately: "I was sanctified 50 years ago and haven't sinned since." The "good works" that followed were often conceptualized as legal requirements related to a range of things, often more focused on certain behaviors such as smoking, drinking, card playing, etc., and even to gender specific issues such as men wearing ties and women wearing pants, than to biblical perspectives on good works.

    Fortunately, that view was not the dominant view in Nazarene circles (it was often geographically limited) and has all but died out except in a few areas. But in varying degrees, and with other contributing factors, it influenced a broad swath of Nazarenedom, and had several deleterious effects that included (1) a lack of emphasis on discipleship and spiritual growth (the CofN has historically had trouble keeping people as they grow spiritually, a problem that continues today); (2) an overemphasis on conversion and crisis experiences; (3) increasing neglect of "social" or compassionate ministries between 1930 and the mid 1970s; (4) development of legalism that sometimes became antithetical to the heart of the Gospel; (5) neglect or outright perversion of classic Wesleyan theological principles; etc.

    Those effects, combined with other potentially detrimental traits of the various strands that made up the C of N, created a context that, in my opinion, contributed to the C of N's slow "coming of age." It also contributed to some of the rancorous infighting and schisms that have plagued our tradition since the early 1960s, and continue today in some of the bitter discord that is a constant background distraction in the church.

    Don’t hear me wrongly. I value the CofN. We're just carrying a lot of baggage.

    Grace and Peace,

    Dennis B.

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts