Since I wrote Turning to Jesus I have maintained a regular interest in specific patterns of conversion, leading to my co-authored Finding Faith, Losing Faith where specific patterns were raised to the surface. Our study was on the pattern of why Catholics become evangelicals, evangelicals become Catholics, and why Jews become Christians. To set it all into a different context, I wrote a piece on why Christians abandon the faith — the pattern of apostasy as a kind of (de)conversion.
An observation: the soterian gospel is designed to create one kind of conversion experience and speaks most importantly to one kind of context. Missiologists and conversion theorists know that various people groups — the Messianic Jewish conversion experience is not a soterian gospel conversion experience — have various conversion experiences. This means it is important to drill down to the gospel and let the gospel speak into different contexts. When the gospel is reduced to the soterian gospel it can speak only to one kind of experience.
But I have often wondered about the pattern of Muslim conversion, and here’s a sketch of that pattern by Georges Houssney, and these elements interested me the most:
2. “As a Muslim, did you feel that your relationship with God was based on fear, love, or duty/doing what is required?”
75% said it was based on fear.
40% included duty as a basis of their relationship with God.
5% said that as Muslims they felt that they had been worshiping God rather than duty.
Not one single respondent said that their relationship with God had been based on love when they were Muslim.
3. “What characteristic of God means most to you now?”
75% of the respondents mentioned the love of God.
25% mentioned God’s forgiveness.
4. “What was the major factor in drawing you to Christ?
85% of respondents cited the love of Christians as one major factor.
60% cited it as the exclusive factor.
30 % cited disappointment with Islam.
25% noted that there were other reasons not listed leading to their conversion.
25% experienced dreams and visions, most of Jesus but some various dreams.
15% mentioned the Christian concept of God.
5% cited the Bible as the sole factor in their conversion.