Robert Griffith | 28 January 2023
Robert Griffith
28 January 2023

 

Conversion is one of the key tenets of evangelical Church life. Evangelicals have given a very high priority on the point of conversion in all of their outreach efforts, from traditional revivals to seeker-sensitive Church services to post-modern outreach techniques.

This practise is grounded in theology; it is not only a strategy to entice individuals to the Church. However, a common worry with this perspective is that we would turn conversion into ‘believism.’ You are ‘in’ if there is a moment in time when you are certain that you have accepted the correct doctrines regarding Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection. If not, then we should doubt the certainty of your eternal life.

I’ve noticed that in the West, especially among Christians, we have a tendency to place a lot of value on our beliefs. We regard beliefs almost magically, as if just thinking about something will make it happen. For instance, many people believe that declaring Jesus as their Lord will automatically make Him such.

This is definitely the reason why so many evangelical Churches attach such importance to people coming to believe in Jesus and why the time when sinners raise their hands or approach the altar to confess their faith in Jesus is celebrated so highly. It is frequently believed that this one-time event makes Jesus Lord of their lives permanently.

The truth is that merely acknowledging Jesus as Lord does not transform me into a follower of Jesus any more than believing Kim Jong-un is the leader of North Korea makes me his follower. I would have to give my life to Kim Jong-un and become a North Korean citizen for him to be my leader. Similarly, in order for Jesus to be my Lord, I must submit to Him and become a member of His Kingdom. It is a simple fact that my obedience to Jesus has no effect on the fact that He is the Lord of all creation. Until I choose to surrender to Him as my Lord, His Lordship will have no effect on my life.

According to research, fewer than 4% of persons who raised their hands or answered the altar call reflected any change in their lives many years later, regardless of how emotional they may have been at the time.

I’m not attempting to downplay the significance of beliefs. It goes without saying that you must first accept that Jesus is the Lord of all before you can submit to Him as your Lord. However, acceptance does not equal surrender. You do something in your mind when you adopt a belief. You can only truly give up your life with the power of your will. The decision to surrender can only be made now since the only life you have to give up is the one you’re currently leading.

Therefore, what you think and believe is not the crucial issue. It’s what you ultimately choose to do, moment by moment, based on your beliefs that really matters.