In today’s church culture, conversion is often understood as a personal decision for Christ that happens at a church altar or an outreach event. However, the biblical text tells a different story. The Rethinking Conversion project challenges the modern understanding of conversion and invites readers to explore the transitional nature of the gospels from the perspective of Old Testament saints.
Theologians often ignore the fact that OT saints, those who came to a saving faith through God’s revelation in the Hebrew Scriptures, would have been everywhere in the gospels. These folks are often not considered “saved” or mentioned in sermons. Modern believers are not taught to see the clues that help identify this unique group of people.
Jesus arrived in the flesh and opened a door that created a theological threshold that all believers would need to pass through. However, there was a huge delayed reaction to the news of the Christ due to the logistics of the first-century.
Before Jesus was born, some people believed in the one true God, and through their devout faith, they had a relationship with God. They believed God’s promise of a messiah that would come and save humanity. These people were saved, but what happened to them once Jesus was born? Did their faith go away? Did they have to start over? The New Testament details the transition of these OT saints from faith in a promised messiah to faith in Jesus, the messiah. The people in the gospels who respond favorably to Jesus are not experiencing an initial faith conversion.
The modern understanding of conversion involves saying the sinner’s prayer or responding to a sermon, but there is little evidence in the Bible to support the emphasis we’ve placed on these methods. The Rethinking Conversion project invites readers to explore the Bible and challenge the modern understanding of conversion.