American’s Christian Epidemic: False Conversion

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I John chapter 3, 4, and 5 have a reoccurring theme: being born of the Spirit so that one can 1. love people with a Godly love, 2. Have faith in Christ/confess Him and 3. Keep God’s commandments.

So there you have it.  A brief summary of I John.  Notice how significant these points are and how they are all possible only through the Spirit’s power effecting the work of God upon men.  I can not say it loudly or clearly enough: only through the Spirit can people be Christians.  Only through the Spirit can people do Christian things, act in Christian ways, and love what Christians are suppose to love.  And this preface leads me to my thoughts for today: false conversions.

We are in a spiritual epidemic in the West that is characterized by false converts.  I contribute the influx of false converts based upon three absences:

  1. The absence of a true Gospel.   The scriptural message of “repent and believe upon the Lord  Jesus Christ” has been replaced at various levels.   I have not the time to go into many specifics right now but I have written about it here.
  2. The absence of the Holy Spirit.  I should be very careful here.  I am certainly not privy to the Holy Spirit’s whereabouts.  Yet I do know from scripture that the Holy Spirit uses the means of the Word and sacrament.  I do know the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ and draws men to Him.  Based upon these principles I would say the “conversions” reported by many churches that do not preach a pure gospel or present the Biblical Jesus by faithfully teaching the scripture are in danger of being Ichabod.  Therefore the followings they have are in large personality or culturally based.  In other words, people attend these churches because of the music, child-care services, donuts, and fellowship.
  3. The absence of humility.  What I mean here is not whither the pastor of congregation are hip or cool or base and plain.  It has nothing to do with style, charisma, or music preference.  I am speaking of a more fundamental paradigm.  Maybe it can be seen by asking this question of the church: is the sermon, service, entire flow of ministry about you or about Jesus.  What is your position with regard to each Sunday sermon?  Are you the main character in the sermon?  Are you the main point of the service?  Does the church service cater to your needs?  Is your position in the ebb and flow of church theology as the main player?   If so, then there needs to be a heaping double dose of humility.   The Bible is not about you.  Salvation is not about you.  The church service should not be about you.  You are not the main player in the story of redemption.  Let me be clear….Jesus Christ is the main character and the story of redemption is centered upon Him.  We are unworthy by-standards who have wondrously received grace and the love of God.  The church should be Christ-centered.   I know there are those who will say, but we are of such a great price to God and He has such a wonderful plan for us and we should help people reach their full potential in God, etc., etc.  The problem I have with that ministry ideology is that it is foreign to scripture.  The so-called, reaching your full potential in God message is not THE message.  It is not the goal.  It is merely a by-product of the main goal: that is to be saved and conformed to the image of Christ.  This can take on the form of earthly suffering, poverty, rejection, betrayal, self-denial, and so on.  How many preachers do you hear that write books about reaching your full potential of suffering, or being rejected, or being persecuted.  NONE.  Yet the Bible is clear in its teaching that Christ followers will suffer, be rejected and persecuted.

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