Chapter

Defining Conversion

John G. Stackhouse

in Humble Apologetics

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195138078
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834679 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195138074.003.0005
Defining Conversion

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Because apologetics is located within the larger context of Christian mission and conversion, a proper understanding of the nature of conversion is the first crucial step toward defining apologetics. Contrary to the prevalent model of conversion among evangelicals that concentrates on determining whether a person is a Christian or not and then to evangelize him or her accordingly, a new model of Christian mission and conversion is commended in which the goal is the much more comprehensive one of bringing shalom to the whole world. Thus, the mission to individuals is to help him or her become fully converted into all that God wants him or her to be. Conversion therefore is defined as, first, having the binary aspect of being saved or not saved, while acknowledging that only God knows finally who is in which category; and second, conversion involves the whole person and is a life‐long process of discipleship. Given the prevalent power of sin and the radical nature of conversion, the Holy Spirit alone has the power to convert a human being. Thus, the apologist can only bear witness and offer all he or she can to serve his or her neighbor in love, thus transcending the limitations of the stereotypical evangelical mission to get people saved or the liberal mission to do them good.

Keywords: conversion; discipleship; Evangelical; Evangelism; Holy Spirit; liberal; mission; Shalom; sin

Chapter.  7030 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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