Conform or Transform?

Leonard Ravehill one time commented that it often takes him more time to run his car through the automatic carwash then the time most “converts” spend at the alter. I don’t entirely agree with Mr. Ravenhill, but I do see where he is coming from, especially in the nature of conversion. Andrew Walls said in a lecture at St. Colm’s that ” conversion is not about adopting someone else’s pattern of life and thought, however ancient and however excellent, that is not conversion but proselytization… Conversion involves the turning towards Christ of everything that is there already, so that Christ comes into places, thoughts, relationships and world views in which He has never lived before.” I think this is what St. Paul meant when he said ” that if anyone is in Christ, they are new creations, old are gone, behold all things are new.” Conversion is not simply a “death” to all we are, it is a death to our whole way of living and a resurrection into the fullness of that life in Christ! We don’t lose our identity, we have become who we were always meant to be! This is why conformity to religion will never work; this is why church in the West is failing. We are good at making people conform to standards and go through the motions, but not good at leading them to the one who can take them down into the death waters of baptism and have them rise again with Christ in the newness of life. This can only be modeled and walked through alongside. May we be willing to journey with others through transformation, not simply have them conform to our standards. “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Conform or Transform?

  1. rmkocak

    Thanks Joshua for this post, it’s an important distinction and the paradox of our faith. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.” -Mt. 10:39

  2. thefuerstshallbelast

    Good stuff, man. Good stuff.

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