Volume. XXIII, No. 9
Sunday, 31 August 2008

From The Pastors Heart: Conversion Intelligent

Is it possible for a person to be converted without knowing why conversion is necessary in Christian faith?  It sounds like a very foolish question.  If a person desires to be converted to Christianity, he or she must understand what he is going to get or to lose.  Conversion is a turning from one to another.  Therefore, there has to be a clear understanding of what is the one and what is another, without which there may not be any turning.  Moreover, if conversion means to turn from sin to God, it becomes clear that a convert must recognize his sinfulness and the necessity to turn to God by faith.  It also means that he must have a clear notion of God.  Otherwise, his faith in God is only unclear, and it is possible that his faith is only self-discovering and of human invention.  There is no objective truth in his faith.  Therefore, conversion has to be intelligent.  The conversion process includes thinking about man, God and eternal destiny, rethinking, doubts, and at times struggles over spiritual matters.  Before a convert is finally able to say, “I believe,” there have to be mental and spiritual processes.  To some people, it seems that such a process is only a one time event.  Thus, when they hear the Gospel message, they want to be Christians immediately.  It is possible that they have thought about themselves, purposes of life, truth, God, life after death, and so on before they heard the Gospel.  They might have lots of questions in their hearts.  When they hear the Gospel message, they may realize that the Gospel answers to all their questions.  Thus, they come to the Lord immediately.  It may be a one time event, which quickly happened in their soul, but there were some preparations in their hearts before.  On the other hand, to some people conversion takes a longer time than the first group.  I have heard conversion stories from various people.  For some people, it took a few decades before their conversion.  They have heard the Gospel message again and again over many years, but they delayed many years until the final surrender to the Lord by faith has come. 

As we think about the intellectual side of conversion, we have one question: “how much do we need to know about the Biblical truth in order to be saved?”  How much knowledge will bring us to Biblical conversion?  This question supports a very important presupposition in Christian faith, or Christian conversion.  Christian conversion or Christian faith is intelligent.  Christian faith is not a blind faith.  A convert must know and understand why he needs Christian conversion.  For example, a Christian convert must believe in Jesus.  Acts 16:31 says, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  In order to believe in Jesus, we need to know who that person is and why we must believe in Him.  Believing in Jesus Christ is not simply knowledge about Jesus.  It includes knowledge about a convert, too.  This knowledge comes from the preaching of Christ according to Romans 10:17.  James 1:18 makes this point clear: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”  The Bible plays an indispensible role in Christian conversion.  Some people may feel like to be converted.  Some people even feel that they have experienced some mysterious events or impressions and conclude that they must have been converted.  However, it is not the case with Biblical conversion.  True conversion must come from the teaching and preaching of the Gospel.  It also means that Christian conversion must come by faith in Jesus Christ.  Thus, there is no Christian conversion outside of Christ.  John 14:6 is a good reminder of this truth.  Jesus Christ in the Bible is the biblical ground of our conversion and salvation.  Thus, all talks or attempts to unite world religions to be one is futile and against the biblical teachings.  If there is only one unified religion, surely it will be a weapon that the antichrist will use against the Church of Christ.  There is no true church outside of Christ.  People do not like this exclusive nature of the Christian message.  The world does not like it.  Surely Satan hates such a message.  Whatever man may say, our eternally unchangeable message is, “Only Jesus Saves.”  The knowledge of Jesus Christ is important for Christian birth and growth.  It means that Christian converts must rely on Christ and truths about Him in the Bible.  Their conversion does not depend on any organization, membership, rituals, or traditions. 

Then, we return to the first question we raised.  “How much knowledge is necessary for us to be saved?”  “How much do we need to know in order to be converted?”  I assume that there may be different answers to this question.  I cannot answer this question in terms of degrees, education levels, the number of years individuals have been exposed to Christian preaching, intelligence, or socio-economic spectrums.  Based on the Scriptures, my best answer can be the following: If we have enough knowledge to convince us that we are sinners and need a new life, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Saviour, that He died for our sins and rose again from the dead, and that He will come again, then we will be saved.  In other words, while the Spirit of God is working in the hearts of people, if we know and believe that we are sinners and need salvation and that Jesus is the only Saviour who died and lived for us, we have all the necessary knowledge and faith for salvation.  In God’s time, by the mercy and grace of God, we will be able to confess our faith for salvation, which is our conversion.  We may be surprised that our conversion can take place by a seemingly inadequate amount of knowledge.  We must remember that conversion is not the end of Christian growth, but only the beginning.  Thus, even if a person has come to the Lord even without an adequate amount of knowledge of the Bible, he must study the Bible diligently to know more about God, His attributes, Christ’s incarnation, His deity and humanity, new life in Christ, church, heaven and earth, and many other things in the Bible.  It must surprise us that God is so gracious to save us even through very little formal knowledge. 

This truth is both a blessing and a warning.  It is a blessing because conversion does not require us to be perfect or even to be mature.  God has removed all the obstacles for our conversion.  Thus, whosoever calls upon the name of Christ and believes in Him shall be saved.  At the same time, it is a warning, too.  Even after we are converted, if we do not continue to grow, false teachers may mislead us to wrong ways.  If we do not grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we may fall into traps of the teachings of the darkness. 

Let me go back to the very fundamental answer concerning the amount of knowledge for our conversion.  I have said that conversion does not require perfect knowledge of the Bible.  It is possible that very little knowledge of the Bible may lead us to conversion.  However, there is one condition.  Whatever amount of knowledge we have before conversion, this knowledge has to be biblically correct, because true teachings of the Bible will produce a genuine faith.  Faith comes from the hearing of God’s Word.  It excludes any arbitrary understanding of the Bible or cultural interpretations of the Biblical truth.  Some cultures may welcome the message of Jesus but within different contexts.  Or, conversion should not be understood as a gradual process, as if there is a little bit of conversion and a bigger conversion.  Thus, a convert moves from a lower level to a higher level of conversion.  It is a false and wrong idea.  Conversion is both directional and relational. A convert turned from sin to God.  Therefore, a convert cannot go in two opposite directions.  A convert belongs to God now.  He is translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.  A convert cannot be in both kingdoms.  Therefore, conversion is not a process.  A convert may gradually grow into maturity, but not his conversion.  I’ll continue to dwell on this topic.


Your Pastor


More Lively Hope




Kitchen Rosters today - Team under Sis Marion Chan on duty.

All members - please read the proposed amendments to our Church Constitution, and if you have any queries please ask any Session member BEFORE the ECM.

Those who have completed their BBK course and intend to seek Baptism, Confirmation & Membership please see Ps Ki or any Session member ASAP.

Evangelism: YAF Sept30in30 starts tomorrow. Those interested in participating please see Sis Clara Sim.

Please note: As next Lord’s Day is Fathers’ Day, The Lord’s Supper will be held on 14 Sep.

2008 BPNYC camp forms and program are available on the YAF Board.

Church Service Roster for Oct-Dec is being prepared. Please let Dn Edwin D’Mello know of your availability or otherwise.

Corrigendum: ECM is on 14 Sep, and not 13 Sep. Apologies for  error.


Looking Ahead

ECM on 14 Sep at 1:30 pm for Amendments to Church Constitution.

Special Lecture on “Creation and Evolution” by Dr Carl Wieland on Friday, 17 Oct 2008. Please keep this date free for this important event and invite your friends.

2008 BPNYC will be held 1-5 Dec 2008 (Melb)


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Adl); Dn David Yeo & family (Perth); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (Munich).

Church activities: Bible Class; BSAG Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; E-Ministry; Ladies’ Fellowship Meeting; Men’s Fellowship Breakfast Meeting; Sparks4Christ; YAF Activities; & Working Bees.

40th Wedding Anniversary: Bro Winston & Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam.

God’s daily mercy, protection & help for us.

Improvement in health: Rev John McKenzie

Family who donated the new DVD player to Church.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan, Dn David Yeo’s mother; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Hans Ziegelmann; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Auntie Oei, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry in Phnom Penh & Kandal Province

Laos Missions - Believers in Laos.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor Ki: God’s guidance for his future ministry.

Pr David Weng: future ministry in Hope BPC.

Journey mercies: Dn Mark & Sis Helen Heah (Melb/S’pore); Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo and family; Bro Joseph Selvanayagam & Sis Connie Mak (Adl); & others travelling

YAF Sept30in30 Evangelism - for salvation of lost souls

Fellowship Exams - Bro Pee-Yau Tan.

Job - Bro Cong Pham

Faith Presbyterian Church - Perth: 9th Anniversary next Lord’s Day.

Sister B-P Churches in Australia & Singapore: Faithful to the Word of God.

For strength & guidance for those under stress with their studies & work.

New church van by end of 2009. For God to provide $60,000.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041