Book in Review: Conversion


A friend of mine is a pretty big proponent of the 9marks model of church. While I am somewhat unfamiliar, he gave me this little book entitled “Conversion” for me to wrestle with both the issues and solutions raised within.

Author Michael Lawrence immediately hooked me with the introduction of this book as he writes of an all too familiar occurrence. He tells of a Christian family who had raised Christian children, each growing up in the church and each making individual confessions of faith. The children however, now that they are fully grown, have continued to live a moral lifestyle. They continue to be upstanding citizens and model individuals, and they continue to call themselves Christians. But what they lack speaks volumes: they don't go to church, they don't proclaim the gospel, and they aren't devoted to Christ. It seems that although they have acquired a very utilitarian moralism, they have missed Christ entirely.

I have seen examples like this occur ad nauseam. Children grow up in the church and claim to be Christians, but when they earn independence, their lives lack the very essential Christian fruit that Jesus says the trees will be known by (Luke 6:43-45). Could it be possible that while these kids were sincere when they were young--they were not actually born again?

Lawrence writes in this short and readable book of what is wrong with many of our churches' theology of conversion, and he then graciously provides what I believe to be a sound Biblical approach: Instead of placing our faith in our own sincerity, place it on Christ's work; Instead of emphasizing the gospel's minor benefits (purpose, fulfillment, joy), focus on the greatest benefit: salvation from hell and God's judgment. Lawrence urges us to always keep repentance and belief together like it is in the NT; and when seeking assurance of salvation--point to current evidence of salvation--not to previous decisions.

These are all solid points which make this little book a great read with Biblical solutions. Even if you do not agree with Lawrence fully, reading "Conversion" will force you to look into the Bible and wrestle with the ideas presented. For that reason, read it and pass it on.

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