Conversion Confusion

Part 2: False Conversion

By Jim Allen

In my last post, I wrote about people who pray to receive Christ but then continue in life with no apparent change, reverting again to the ways of the world with one foot in church. For one to pray and then go on in life without any hunger for spiritual truth and the things of God is cause for concern. This post will address this "concern" and the impact of just one false conversion on the church.

A false conversion occurs when a person (including a child) does not fully comprehend the basic truths leading to salvation. If people are led to recite a prayer to receive Christ before being led to see their own sinfulness and hopelessness in Romans 3:23, they will not see their need for Christ to save them in Romans 6:23. The single most notable parable about this truth is a story Jesus told about a sower who went forth to sow seed (God's Word) in a field (representing lost humanity). All the people in the parable received the seed (God's Word) gladly, but then soon fell away for diverse reasons. Only a few continued to feed themselves daily on the Word, allowing the seed to germinate and grow deeps roots in the soil of their heart until they were converted from sinner to saint (Matthew 13:3).

Pastors and evangelists who want proof of false conversions would do well to search the Internet using the words, "false conversions." The search results will bring up testimonies from people who were once false converts and did not know it; in fact, they actually thought they were born again and told others of their salvation. Several years went by before these former false converts realized they were still lost in their sin; then, they understood the need to enter into a saving relationship with Christ. Now, they share tearful stories about pastors and evangelists who coerced them to pray and then kept them unredeemed by saying their salvation prayer was the "decisive moment for and proof of" their new life in Christ.

These former false converts posted their heart-wrenching testimonies online as a warning to others about the danger of the salvation prayer. To view the testimonies from four false converts, search for the video entitled, "Powerful Testimonies from Former False Converts."

Fallout from false conversions is no small matter. Aside from those who have been deceived, the problem goes beyond the church because now the world sees false converts as no different from themselves. Steve Gray, senior pastor of World Revival Church said, "We are trying to reach the world when the world does not believe we have been reached!" The world is correct!

Although the world's view of the "true church" is fundamentally wrong, their view is nevertheless undeniable. The number of false converts in the church today appears to overshadow the remnant of true believers, and perhaps the reason for the surprising exodus of true believers from the time-honored institution called church. The woman I mentioned earlier, who left the church, has unsaved family members and friends who witnessed the "charade" of her false conversion to Christ. Now, her family and friends stand persuaded Christianity is just another powerless religion run by charlatans who want the weekly tithe. If one false convert can engender a "negative witness" among so many unchurched family members and friends, think what a church full of false converts can do to a community.

According to Roger Oakland:
The pattern of deceit is quite clear. The serpent that deceived Eve and snaked its way into the sanctuary is still influencing the church today in the same way. By convincing Christian leaders to replace God's Word with an easy path to salvation, pastors and evangelists have unknowingly stepped away from truth. Add a few Babylonian mystical practices that provide touchy-feely sensual experiences in the name of Christ, pseudo "converts" might even believe they actually know Jesus Christ. In actuality, huge numbers of people going to church have never even heard the Gospel! Yet, they sit week after week with a false sense of security that all is well. [1]
The spun-off impact from false conversions is both severe and tragic, serving to discredit the gospel message of Christ and the witness of true believers. The salvation prayer for the "unprepared heart" does nothing to redeem and everything to consign a multitude of unsuspecting souls to a questionable eternity. In short, the salvation prayer is another tool of the adversary and further proof that "unexamined doctrine" will more often than not contain a dangerous mix of "truth and deception."

In my next post, I will write about the reality of true conversions, what the true believer can expect to see in his or her life, and the impact of true conversions on the church.

1. God's Word Shines Light upon End Times Apostasy by Roger Oakland

Conversion Confusion, The Series
Part 1: The Sinner's Prayer
Part 2: False Conversion
Part 3: True Conversion

Image Credit: zen Sutherland; "learning to think outside the book"; Creative Commons

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Published Jun 2011