The Typical Conversion...

I was reading some old correspondence with a friend and thought I would share this with you.  It is from July 2007:

I was reading Driven By Eternity (John Bevere) this evening and read an insight that I found disturbing and interesting at the same time.  I wanted to share it with you as well.  The excerpt is lengthy, but worth the time to read.  If there are typos, I apologize.  It's 2 AM, so my typing is not at its best.


The gospel we’ve preached has been lopsided with emphasis placed on accepting Jesus by praying a sinner’s prayer.  We confess him as “Lord,” and once done we are saved eternally.  Yet this is not what Jesus teaches.  He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 7:21, NIV).

If we would just listen to His statement without filtering it through years of unbalanced preaching, teaching, writing, and singing on the grace of God, we would see it contradicts our modern gospel.  His words couldn’t be clearer – not everyone who has prayed the sinner’s prayer, confessing Him as their Lord, is going to heaven.  And if they are not going to heaven, there is only one alternative.

Let’s rehearse the typical evangelistic service.  The preacher preaches a “come to Jesus and get ‘blessings’” message.  He tells how Jesus will give us joy, peace, prosperity, happiness, health, heaven, and so forth.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s God’s desire to bless us, but Jesus never used the blessing to entice people to follow Him.  Then after the forty-five-minute-or-so sales pitch, he then asks the audience to bow their heads and asks if they were to die tonight would they go to heaven?  He even encourages everyone to look to the person to their left and right and ask the same question in order to help recruit them.  “If they can’t say yes,” he says next, “take them by the hand and bring them forward.”

As the candidates come forward, songs are sung, such as “Just as I Am.”  In other variations, the audience just claps and smiles with  the instruments playing a jubilant tune for their march forward.

Once all are up front, the minister asks them to bow their heads and repeat a common prayer such as, “Father, I confess I am a sinner, forgive me of my sin.  This day I ask Jesus into my life as my Lord and Savior.  Thank You for making me Your child.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

The audience cheers, the music plays, and the new “converts” go back to their seats, “just as they were.”  Except now they are deceived.  Nothing has been said concerning repentance from disobedient lifestyles, denying their own desires in order to embrace the will of God, and losing their lives for the cause of Christ.  They’ve confessed Jesus as their “Lord,” but there’s been no heart change.  Jesus is now just a part of their lives.  Well let me inform you, the King of kings and Lord of lords doesn’t come into anyone’s life as second, or even first, among rival lovers.  He only comes in as our complete and total King with no person, thing, or activity vying for His place in our hearts.  He must be Lord, which means Supreme Master and Owner; meaning we don’t own our lives any longer.

Think of it, would you marry someone who informed you that they would be loyal to you along with their other lovers but that you would be first?  How much more the King of the universe?  Will He accept a bride who says, “You are first of all my other lovers?”  There is no covenant relationship, no joining together as one.  What deception!

These “new converts” have not allowed the Cross to slay their self-seeking life and make room for the new nature of Jesus to be formed within.  They’ve just bee sold on a better life here and the promise of heaven.  It’s interesting, in many countries of the world where Christians are persecuted, they come to Jesus knowing they are losing their lives.  Today in Western societies we come to Jesus for a better life and Heaven.  But we must lose our lives as well.

Today, many typical Evangelicals in our society live in deception as a result of the type of gospel we’ve preached.  New converts may be energized by their newfound “faith,” participate in Christian activities, attend church, even get involved in an outreach because it is all fresh and exciting.  It’s like being in a new club, trying a new sport, attending a new school, or working a new job.  There’s freshness about it, but they have not done what Jesus commanded all true followers to do, which is to count the cost of following Him and then make the permanent decision to pay the price of their lives given to His service (see Luke 14:27-33).


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