True and False Conversion (Everyone Please Read)

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by TheBibleSender, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. TheBibleSender

    TheBibleSender
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    “That is the reason we have so many ‘mushroom’ converts, because their stony ground is not plowed up; they have not got a conviction of the Law; they are stony-ground hearers.”
    GEORGE WHITEFIELD

    Kirk's comment I thought “backsliding” was a common, normal occurrence in Christianity until I understood the reality of false conversions and their prevalence in our churches today. This lesson is a real eye-opener.

    Q U E S T I O N S & O B J E C T I O N S
    “I was once a born-again Christian. Now I believe it’s all rubbish!” When a person maintains that he was once a Christian, but came to his senses, he is saying that he once knew the Lord (see John 17:3). Ask him,
    “Did you know the Lord?” If he answers yes, gently say, “So you admit that He is real and that you are in rebellion to His will.” If he says, “I thought I did!” this gives you license to gently say, “If you don’t know so, then you probably didn’t.” If he didn’t know the Lord, he was therefore never a Christian (1 John 5:11–13,20). Explain to him that the Bible speaks
    of false conversion, in which a “stony ground” hearer receives the Word with joy and gladness. Then, in a time of tribulation, temptation, and per-secution, falls away. If he is open to reason, take him through the Ten Commandments, into the message of the cross, and the necessity of repentance and faith in the Savior.
    Perhaps one of the most neglected concepts in the contemporary Body of Christ is that of true and false conversion.Why it is neglected is a mystery because the New Testament is filled with teachings about the
    subject and gives many examples of false converts. The Scriptures speak of false prophets, false teachers, false apostles, and false brethren. A clear understanding of the subject will help ensure that we are not guilty of preaching a gospel that reaps false converts.
    When Jesus gave His disciples the Parable of the Sower, it seems that they lacked understanding of its meaning: “He said to them, ‘Do you not know [understand] this parable? and how then will you know [understand] all parables?’” (Mark 4:13). In other words, the Parable of the Sower is the key to unlocking the mysteries of all the other parables. If any message comes from the parable, it is the fact that when the gospel is preached, there are true and false conversions. This parable speaks of the thorny ground, the stony ground, and the good-soil hearers—the false and the genuine converts.
    Once that premise has been established, the light of perception begins to dawn on Jesus’ other parables about the kingdom of God. If one grasps the principle of the true and false being alongside each other, then the other parabolic teachings make sense: the Wheat and Tares (true and false), the Good Fish and Bad Fish (true and false), the Wise Virgins and the Foolish (true and false), and the Sheep and Goats (true and false). After telling about the Wheat and Tares, Jesus gave the Parable of the Dragnet:
    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus said to them, Have you understood all these things?
    They said to Him, Yes, Lord (Matthew 13:47–51).
    Notice that the good fish and the bad fish were in the net together. The world is not caught in the dragnet of the kingdom of heaven; they remain in the world. The “fish” that are caught are those who respond to the gospel—the evangelistic “catch.” They remain together until the Day of Judgment.
    False converts lack genuine contrition for sin. They make a profession of faith but are deficient in biblical repentance—“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). A true convert, however, has a knowledge of sin and has godly sorrow, truly repents, and produces the “things that accompany salvation” (Hebrews 6:9). This is evident by the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of righteousness, etc. Judas was a false convert. It would seem that he was an example of the thorny ground. The Bible says of the thorny-ground hearer: “The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
    Some of these professing Christians stay within the church, and they are the ones who often discredit the name of Jesus Christ. Although false converts fail to repent of their sins, they do have a measure of spirituality. Judas did. He convinced some of the disciples that he did truly care for the poor. He seemed so trustworthy that he was the one who looked after the finances.When Jesus said, “One of you will betray me,” the disciples didn’t point the finger at the faithful treasurer, but instead suspected themselves, saying, “Is it I, Lord?” So it’s not surprising that few within the Body of Christ would ever suspect that we are surrounded by those who fall into the “Judas” category.
    However, alarm bells should go off when the church, which ought to have massive clout in society, sadly lacks it when push comes to shove.With our 142 million professed believers, we can’t even outlaw the killing of unborn children. As William Iverson wrote in Christianity Today, “A pound of meat would surely be affected by a quarter pound of salt. If this is real Christianity, the ‘salt of the earth,’ where is the effect of which Jesus spoke?”
    God knows the genuine from the false, and He will separate them on the Day of Judgment.
    F E A T H E R S F O R A R R O W S
    The Bible tells us in Luke 22:47 that Judas led a “multitude” to Jesus. His motive, however, wasn’t to bring them to the Savior for salvation. Modern
    evangelism is also bringing “multitudes” to Jesus. Their motive may be different from Judas’s, but the end result is the same. Just as the multitudes that Judas directed to Christ fell back from the Son of God, statistics
    show that up to 90 percent of those coming to Christ under the methods of modern evangelism fall away from the faith. Their latter end becomes worse than the first. They openly crucify the Son of God afresh.
    In their zeal without knowledge, those who prefer the ease of modern evangelism to biblical evangelism betray the cause of the gospel with a kiss.What may look like love for the sinner’s welfare is in truth eternally
    detrimental to him.
    Like Peter (Luke 22:51), our zeal without knowledge is actually cutting off the ears of sinners. Those we erroneously call “backsliders” won’t listen to our reasonings. As far as they are concerned, they have tried it once, and it didn’t work. What a victory for the prince of darkness, and what an unspeakable tragedy for the church!
    Taken from The School Of Biblical Evangelism book available from www.livingwaters.com
     
  2. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Ever thought about the idea that when the seed was sown Satan came along a took it away? Many times Satan snatches it away because the disobedient christians do not follow up the new believer as Jesus commanded in Mt. 28:19,20.

    Often one expects the new believer to act like a newborn baby and feed itself and live. It would never happen. Newborn babies die and so do new believers. God appoints that task to believers.

    http://www.bibleteacher.org/Dm118_8.htm
     
  3. Sularis

    Sularis
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    If one is truly a Christian - Satan cannot make you die

    Careful how one interprets that parable - to make arguments that the parable never suggests

    The seeds were snatched - before they grew

    If you want to discuss whether or not thorny or stony soil are Christians fine - arguments (Might) be made to that effect - but the satan snatching aint no Christians
     
  4. shannonL

    shannonL
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    I like what I heard an evangelist say one time.

    So many claim to be backslidden when really they never slid foward far enough to start with.

    Some in baptist churches have sat in a pew for years and years and years since the day they made a profession of faith. I think there is a big difference between profession and possesion.

    Gotta be some fruit over all them years somewhere in their lives or they better take another look at their profession.
     
  5. GLC

    GLC
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    Our Baptist churches are reaping the results of an invitation system that encourages folks to walk down an isle during soft music, quickly go through the Roman Road, pray a quick prayer, receive assurance from the Pastor and then immediately present themselves for Church membership. The congregation votes and within 5 minutes, we have ourselves a new church member who may or may not have been truly convicted of sin and converted by the work of the Holy Spirit. The fact that most churches have only 50% or so of the membership active has not served to get us to examine & change our methods. When will we learn?
     
  6. Johnv

    Johnv
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    Regardless of the lesson, it is a fact that backsliding is a common, and, yes, normal occurrence. Anyone who says they have never backslidden from time to time is a deceiver. I certainly have froom time to time, and I'm sure that I will from time to time in the future. For someone to question my salvation or conversion because of that fact is pharisaical to the extreme.

    God knows my heart. Holier-than-thou moral elitists do not. I'll stick with what God promises me over what man thinks of me, thank you very much.
     
  7. bobbyd

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    GLC, you asked when we learn...apparently some congregations are not willing to learn.

    For the last year and a half i have been in a constant battle with the old guard at the church i'm pastoring because of changes i have made to doing baptisms...i don't "lead" anyone to Christ myself during the invitation, and i don't present them before the church for membership when they make a decision either.

    I have been told that as a baptist church we should be baptizing people into church membership as a matter of tradition, and was even told at least once that it is "biblical" to do that.

    And as for the 50% stat you mentioned...we are closer to 25% attendence compared to our full membership rolls.
     
  8. Johnv

    Johnv
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    bobbyd brings up a good point. Baptism is not a scriptural mandate for church membership. We Baptists have elevated baptism almost to the point of legalism by requiring it for membership. However, churches are permitted to decide these things for themselves and I have no problem with a church that makes baptism a membership prerequisite, so long as they discern between baptism for membership being a tradition, not a scriptural requirement. I unfortunately know a few Baptists who think baptism prior to membership is scripturally required.
     
  9. rbell

    rbell
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    Yes, some things must change.
    So, we made our invitation music louder. [​IMG]

    Seriously, we also don't "present" new converts to be "voted on" right after they walk the aisle.
     
  10. bapmom

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    It always bothers me when people try to put their own requirements on what another person's salvation has to look like in order for them to "believe" that other person is actually saved. We ALL have this tendency.

    The only person who can truly know if their conversion was genuine, is that particular person. A preacher in our church recently said "Im not going to stick my nose in another man's heart." I think many of us here need to take closer notice of this.

    Some say backsliding is something that happens, and I agree with him. It doesn't mean the person isn't saved. When we automatically go that route I think we turn people off from listening to us.

    There does seem to be a disconnect in our country between "saved" but not "converted". People get saved, and I think genuinely so. But then we leave them to the "wolves", to go on their merry way all alone. Because they don't automatically change all of their bad habits we assume they didn't mean their profession, instead of offering them the help they need to overcome those sins and strongholds. The pastors don't have time to deal on an individual basis with every single convert. It must be the laymen taking up the work and helping out.

    I know there are people who sit in their living rooms and complain that their church doesn't have some sort of "disciplship class". Well, why not put that energy into visiting newly saved people around your area and discipling on an individual basis? Disciplship doesn't have to be a formal time of training done only during Sunday School.

    It usually looks like something as simple as friendship.

    IMO, the problem is not that we urge people to join the church too soon, or that we have nice music while an invitation song is played. The problem is that the "older" church members sit back and watch the "newer" converts and recent members, and wait to see if their conversion is true or false. They wait to see if that person will stick around. Don't wait! Go make friends! Aren't you more likely to stay around some place where you have friends?

    Let's stop blaming our preachers, our invitations, our "worship style", etc....and just have real relationships with those who are joining, or visiting, our churches.
     
  11. rbell

    rbell
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    Bingo, Bapmom. Every Paul "reach down" and mentor a Timothy. Every Timothy "reach up" and learn from a Paul.
     
  12. Johnv

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    Very true. It's called having a desire for all fruit to be to our taste.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Very well said, bapmom. It becomes even more difficult to tell if a person is saved in a society like Japan.

    The other day Patty and I were having a Bible study with Mrs. S., who made a profession of faith in Christ through my tract back in the spring. However, at this Bible study at one point she said she believed in Christ, and then a while later she said she wasn't sure there was an afterlife. :confused: :eek: :(

    So, will I baptize her? Nope! She also said she doesn't want to be baptized yet--and what is baptism anyway? Does it mean your heart is cleansed? (I had just explained it!) It was one of the clearest cases ever my wife and I had seen of how Satan blinds the minds of people.
     
  14. genesis12

    genesis12
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    I remember so well the couple who attended our church for an extended time period, who were witnessed to in our Bible study group, and who, subsequently, "walked the aisle." The gentleman said he had already accepted Christ and had been baptized by sprinkling. The lady was professing faith in Christ for the first time, but was in such poor health that she did not want to be immersed. The Pastor declined their membership in the church. They left, dissolutioned, perplexed, confused. When the lady died not long thereafter, the Pastor commented that she and her husband had never been saved. I don't know when I've been so heart-broken. After the incident when she "walked the aisle" I ministered to both of them, told her she did not have to be immersed, and received their repeated confession of saving faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. I told the pastor. He still said that they were never saved. The lady, on her deathbed, requested cremation, with her ashes scattered so that no one would know that she ever existed. Her husband complied. God forbid that I should ever stand in the "doorway", refusing to let anyone in, or sit in judgment of their standing before God. God forbid that I should ever lead anyone to Christ, then fail to follow-up.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    That's very sad, genesis12.

    I may get in trouble for this, but I have found no command in the Bible, "Thou shalt be baptized." The only place anyone commands a person to be baptized is when Peter says, "Repent and be baptized..." in Acts 2:38.

    The command in Matthew's Great Commission is not to the individual believer, but to the baptizer. So as the missionary baptizer, I am careful who I baptize (though I don't require a baptismal course). After all, a Japanese believer is coming straight out of a heathen idolatrous society. [​IMG]
     
  16. GLC

    GLC
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    Bapmom: I'm not advocating putting man's standards on someone's salvation. I also defititely agree with the existing member's responsibility to reach out to new converts and new members as friends and mentors. However, don't you think it is important for a person who walks an isle to receive more than 5 minutes of counseling before he joins a Baptist church. Should he not get some idea of what the church believes and what responsibilities come with membership?
     
  17. Mexdeaf

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    If we believe that baptism really means anything then I think we will be careful who we baptize. I do not baptize folks immediately after they make a profession. For one thing we live too far from the beach!
     
  18. bapmom

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    GLC,

    I think if he comes forward to join than he ought to be allowed to if he's been saved scripturally, of course.

    I also think the vast majority of people realize that becoming a member is a form of identifying with that church.

    But isn't that sort of a side-issue here? I mean, we are talking about the "signs" of a true or false conversion.

    My problem is that so many seem to think that if a person doesn't change all their outward problems right away, or doesn't automatically become faithful to church, than they must not have really been saved.

    GLC, I don't think I got that impression from you, it was more of a general statement of observations from this board and from many other places.
     
  19. GLC

    GLC
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    From GLC; Obviously, I meant walk an "aisle", not "isle". It would be tough to walk down an island. Pardon my poor typing.
     

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