Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Conversion of Souls

I just received this week's edition of the Spurgeon Baptist Association Weekly Newsletter. Richard Smith's article, THE CONVERSION OF SOULS, PART 24, stated much of what I have been thinking. Here is the first couple of paragraphs.
The professing Church must begin to think of salvation in terms of conversion and not just salvation from hell as the Bible does. Hell is a fearful truth, but it is not conversion. Sinners are saved from hell, but also converted for the glory of God now. The professing Church must repent of practical deism and live before the living God. Deists think that God created the world, wound it up like a clock with natural laws, stood back, and then disinterestedly watched. God did not, they said, take part in daily affairs. That is what the professing Church has done spiritually. Practical deists have taken the Bible as His Word and yet think that God is standing back and watching what human beings will do with it. They think that all that is needed is to teach people for the purpose of intellectual belief. Their theology may say differently, but practically speaking they deny that God is active in conversion.

Practical deists evangelize by quoting Scripture and telling men that they need to make a decision and pray. It is to tell them that the Bible gives the facts and we must make an act of the ill to believe them to be saved from hell. This idea has permeated churches and seminaries. We believe that if we can simply get the information to those listening that we have done our duty.
This paragraph just nails it.
As we can see from the text, God must reveal the truth. He reveals these things by the Holy Spirit, and we might add that the Holy Spirit breathed forth the words of Scripture (II Tim 3:16). No one can really understand the thoughts and things of God apart from the Spirit of God. The Lord teaches His people things that do not come from human wisdom. Simply put, as verse 14 says, the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. It does not matter if the person is a seminary professor or pastor, if that person is unconverted that person does not understand the things of the Spirit of God. A pastor cannot be cool enough and our music cannot be professional or lively enough to teach what the Spirit alone can teach. We cannot be smart enough to teach what the Spirit alone can teach. In other words, we are developing personalities and methodologies in order to get people to say prayers because the Spirit is being withdrawn in our day. If we cannot even understand things apart from the Spirit, then surely we must know that the Spirit of God alone can truly convert people and bring spiritual life to their souls.

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