July 19, 2005

Let me make a distinction again, because I’m hearing it enough and it is helping some people to see more of what is going on, it puts much of the critique into a smaller niche, and it frees us up to think more of what is going on.Emergent refers to the official organization (or whatever you want to call it). There was a lot of chat about this when Tony Jones became National Coordinator — and I say good for… Read more

July 19, 2005

The most stimulating discussions I have had over the years in classes and at churches when I am leading a discussion about conversion or about the Jesus Creed “emerge” from this question:What about you, when do you think Peter was converted?Let’s look briefly at the evidence.In John 1 Peter’s brother, Andrew, has heard from John Baptist about Jesus. He fetches Peter and tells him to come meet Jesus who is the Messiah. John tells us that Jesus told Peter right… Read more

July 19, 2005

The most stimulating discussions I have had over the years in classes and at churches when I am leading a discussion about conversion or about the Jesus Creed “emerge” from this question:What about you, when do you think Peter was converted?Let’s look briefly at the evidence.In John 1 Peter’s brother, Andrew, has heard from John Baptist about Jesus. He fetches Peter and tells him to come meet Jesus who is the Messiah. John tells us that Jesus told Peter right… Read more

July 18, 2005

This is perhaps not what you are looking for.By “clean” I mean that Christians often want to tell conversion stories that are clean: I was a sinner and then I found Jesus and now I’m squeaky clean. This kind of story happens sometimes — and I know lots of people like this. So this is one kind of story.But there is another kind of story that is far more normal than the “clean stories” suggest. The fact is that many… Read more

July 18, 2005

This is perhaps not what you are looking for.By “clean” I mean that Christians often want to tell conversion stories that are clean: I was a sinner and then I found Jesus and now I’m squeaky clean. This kind of story happens sometimes — and I know lots of people like this. So this is one kind of story.But there is another kind of story that is far more normal than the “clean stories” suggest. The fact is that many… Read more

July 17, 2005

One of the more interesting features of the Emerging movement (I’m not keen on calling this a “church” until we see some world-wide church structures that encompass the whole) is how it intersects with a fascinating aspect of conversion theory.Conversion theory has concluded that people convert to the Christian faith as a result of an advocate. An advocate is anyone or anything that somehow communicates the gospel to a person at a sufficient depth to lead that person to convert…. Read more

July 16, 2005

People convert to the Christian faith as a result of some crisis, though a word needs to be said about the meaning of “crisis.” Before that, this: the standard form of “crisis” we often see is what is called the crisis of “conscience,” and it is usually manifested in a sense of guilt that derives from sensing that a person has broken God’s law.Well and good, but conversion is more than ridding ourselves of guilt, and redemption is more than… Read more

July 15, 2005

Another “emerging” type book crossed my desk and I want to be an advocate for much of what he says.But first, a clarification: Emergent describes the offical organization of Emergent Village and now coordinated by Tony Jones. Emerging describes the many and varied larger and broader sorts of Christian work going on throughout the entire world. (There is an Emergent – UK.) I have been guilty of equating these two so often that I want to apologize to Emergent for… Read more

July 15, 2005

In this series of reflections based on Turning to Jesus, I want to look today at the various kinds of conversion and then at the context out of which the convert comes.The process of conversion — whether suddenly or gradually — involves the movement from one context (whoever we are and wherever we are) and entrace into another context (“in” Christ, the Church).The context of one’s conversion involves sorting out first the kind of conversion we are dealing with. These… Read more

July 14, 2005

Trying to define conversion in a meaningful way is not easy, so I will go to two major scholars of conversion theory. In doing this, let me emphasize that the scholarly discussion of conversion avoids specific theological terms, so sometimes this can sound a bit clinical and artificial — but I want to emphasize that it isn’t. Conversion is a profound spiritual moment and/or process that, at the same time, can be analyzed on the basis of “what we can… Read more

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