The Gospel has as it's primary aim to see lost and sinful man converted. The Scriptures speak in numerous ways of this experience and/or state. Jesus says we are to make converts of all nations in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus tells Peter, "when you are converted..." as He prophesies of his lapse of faith and thrice denial of the Son of God.
The apostle Paul in addressing the Corinthians about various kinds of sinners notes "and such WERE some of you. But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)"
He says to the Romans while we WERE yet sinners God commended His love towards us.
He emphatically declares, "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new."
Do you believe conversion is a necessary occurrence in the life of every individual in order to truly be a follower of Christ?
Have you had a personal experience of conversion in your heart and life? Do you recall a moment when you were yet in your sins and after repentance and faith in Christ were freed from them and granted life, grace, and fellowship with God by His Spirit?
Has the Spirit of God given you that personal inner witness (Romans 8:16) that you are a child of God? a Convert?
You sound NEO-gnostic. Conversion is a life long journy. We are in Christ when we are Baptized (Romans 6). And if you look the Holy Spirit leads people to the Church. To the original body of believers.
The Holy Spirit moved Phillop to see the Ethiopian. The Ethiopian was reading scripture yet he needed help.
The Holy Spirit didn't help the Ethiopian apart from the original body of Believers. In your form of protestantism all you need is the Bible. You believe that the Holy Spirit will give you all of the answers apart from the original body of believers.
In the book of Acts the Roman centurian was sent by an Angel to Peter. And the Holy Spirit filled him. The Holy Spirit waited until he came to Peter. The Angel sent the man to the orginal body of believers. The Angel didn't have him start another church. The Holy Spirit never sent someone to start a different church. If you look they were sent to the Body that Jesus started.
Likewise, if you want Jesus then you will want His Church.
Acts chapter 9:4-5"Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
was persecuting the Church, yet Jesus said he was persecuting Him.
Their is a unity between Jesus and His body.....the Church. Did Jesus make Paul start a new church? No he sent him to see someone else. To the original body of believers.
Just as the True Jesus is both 100% Divine and 100%human....of HEaven and Earth so the True Church is also visible and invisible....of both Heaven and Earth.
Your form of American Protestantism stresses the invisible church. The inner witness......ect. But what good is the invisible witness if you don't have the Church? Which is both physical and spiritual.
Our salvation isn't just the saving of our spirit/soul. It is the saving of the whole man. Soul and Body. Spirit/soul and Body.
Is the True Jesus only spiritual/unseeable?
If not then why do you think the True Church is only spiritual/unseeable?
But in regards to the inner witness. We are united with Christ at Baptism and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at chrismation/confirmation.
When one is awakened they are feeling and understanding the grace that was given to them at BAPTISM. The seed was always there(since Baptism and chrismation/confirmation)
but the person has been made aware of it later in life.
Conversion is not a one time event. Conversion is dynamic.
But to answer your question yes. But conversion is dynamic from faith to faith. And the Church is one whith two dimensions(Heaven and Earth).
I was raised Baptist. I fought in Sunday school a couple times. I fought once at Bible summer camp. And I really didn't understand much about the Faith. I remember my mother forcing me to be Baptized around 5 or 6 years old and I was told to tell the deacons that I believed in the Trinity and that God is Spirit.
Well when I went to see the deacons I told them that God was a Pirate. And they denied me Baptism. I felt bad about it. I said "oh no". I meant to say "Spirit". I recall the Bible story lessons but they weren't deep. they really didn't teach us heavy doctrine about Jesus being God and the Trinity. Maybe they thought we were too young to learn, but they did teach us Baptist distinctives like Baptism being symbolic.
I recall us(kids) playing around in Sunday school. When the teacher would leave we would give eachother the middle finger. Well we had it pointed down because we thought having it pointed down meant it was pointed at the Devil.
In 1987 or 88 I was Baptized. I didn't understand alot of things. But I knew Jesus was Lord and I believed in the doctrine of the Trinity....although I didn't have a firm grasp of the doctrine, but I mostly got Baptized out of pressure from my moms. After I was Baptized I felt different. At that time I thought something bad happened because I use to use people for what they had(NINTENDO and SEGA master systems)
and now I no longer had the desire to use people. ...I thought I wasn't nice anymore. I would beat up the people I use to use. I thought something was wrong with me. Before I would overlook a persons wrong if I wanted something from them. But now I didn't care what they had. I would just beat them up for getting on my nerves or when I thought they were unjust.
In 1990 or 1989 I heard a voice that told me to read these Bible bed time story books on my shelf. I was 12 or 13 at the time.
It was 2 or 3 days before the first day of school and it was nice outside. But I was in my room reading these books. I believed what I read and at the end of the story book there was a prayer and I heard the voice again. It told me to pray. So I did. I told God that I needed a friend. Someone to help me walk the walk.
It was very emotional. I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders. And when school started their was this new kid on the bus. A white guy. And he was a pentecostal christian and alot of people on the bus were making fun of him. And yet he turned the other cheek. He would give his stuff away so I felt moved to help him. I became his friend and I stopped my friends from picking on him.
However, he moved a year later and I eventualy back slid for two years.
It wasn't until I moved to a new Highschool that I started to find other christians who were really fun and active. Both Protestant and Roman Catholic. In my junior year of highschool I was introduced to christian rap by a girl in my art class. Before that time I thought all christian rap was corny. I tried to do one when I was in middle school but I thought it was corny so I stopped. Well I was hooked on christian rap from that day onward and the same girl that gave me the tape introduced me to a christian club that we had in our highschool. It was called B.O.L.D.
Believers of our Lords disciples. And I had a ball. I eventualy left the rap group I was in from my former highschool and started raping at christian rock events near Pittsburgh.
My former friends didn't like it. They thought I left them hanging, but I couldn't rap about the things they wanted me to flow about so I had to leave....and I wanted to leave.
In College I met more people that were christian. After my first two years I no longer was doing christian rap, but I was still involved in production and making beats. But it was around this time that I was introduced to Eastern Orthodoxy.
It's a long story so I'll give you the bloghttp://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/search/label/about%20me