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Monday, April 17, 2006

Conversion Story?

It's been amazing to simply ask people their conversion story. Often, in an environment where people assume the salvation of one another, it can be done in a non-threatening, yet revealing way. Recently, I asked one man to tell me his converstion story. This was his response:

"I heard a message about how Jesus wanted to be my best friend and we sang a song about 'teenager are you lonely.' That's what I needed to hear. I came home and told my mom I was saved because I asked Jesus to become my best friend."

I was left with two questions:

Is that the gospel? Ask Jesus to be your best friend and you're in? Romans 5:10 says we can be reconciled to God even while we were enemies through the death of Jesus. Does that simply mean we just need to desire a friendship possible through Christ? Or, could the context reveal it is so much more than that. Isn't friendship possible only because of justification. Just wanting to be on good terms with God does not establish a person's salvation. Just wanting Jesus to be your best friend (apart from seeing yourself as His enemy due to your sin, repenting of that sin, and trusting Him alone as the payment for your offense) does not ensure salvation. (I wanted so badly to pursue this issue with the person, to find out why they believed friendship was even possible, but the person had to leave due to a time conflict.)

Even if saved, is that a good testimony? I pray that the person really does understand how salvation is possible and that just wasn't expressed in their testimony. If so, however, is there testimony, as presented, really beneficial for a non-believer to hear? There was no mention of sin. (In fact, the person told me they hadn't committed any of the "biggies.") There was no mention of the cross. There was no mention of repentance or trusting Christ alone. Would that testimony benefit a non-believer. What if they don't feel they need another friend? What if they long for a friend, but don't see their own depravity?

I wish we would have had more opportunity together. I desperately want to know if this person understands why God would call Abraham His friend (because he was justified by his faith). I wish I would have had a chance to share my conversion with him. And I pray God would have given me the passion to present the cross, my sin and His redemption He offered within my testimony.

1 Comments:

  • At 5:39 PM, Blogger Gary McDuda said…

    What is the gospel? It's questions like that that drive me nutz. If you got a 100 church planters, pastors, evangelists, missionaries etc. together and asked that question, I think we'd get about 200 different responses. Something that is so integral to our very ministry and yet it seems like we have a hard time defining it.

    Back to the guy who "prayed the prayer" but wasn't bad enough to die...

    I had repeated contact with him after that. I read with him, talked to him, prayed with him, but he never seemed to want to take responsibility for his behavior and his life. He never seemd to "get saved".

    I kept "sharing" with him, yet he never showed any repentence etc. So I keep sharing with him.

    Finally one day he says to me, obviously very frustrated: "Gary, what is it you want me to do????" Interesting question.

    Um...nothing..
    Know Jesus...
    Repent...
    Pray this prayer (again)...
    Be good...

    How do you answer that question?

     

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