The Bridge – Another Conversion Story
Posted on April 9, 2010 by under Outreach and Missions,

As HRC explores conversion stories of the Bible and delves into the theological and practical aspects of evangelism, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my conversion story . . .

I always tell folks I was not “Born Again” but “Born Into” (I know the theological issues here!).  What I mean is that I have never NOT known the grace of Jesus Christ.  Like Paul, I was born into the church family, raised in a wonderful Christian family, and educated well from before I could read in the ways of Jesus Christ.  As a child of the church, I was surrounded by people who took seriously their Baptismal promises to help me in my to become a faithful (and radical-my addition) follower of Jesus Christ.  To this day, there is a group of women that pray for me regularly and one phone call would bring in an overwhelming army carrying out their Baptismal promise!

I did go through trials in my life.  I went through times of doubting and wondering.  I remember as a child doing the summer camp thing where I would go have this wonderful spiritual experience and Thursday night would come around and I would ask Jesus into my life.  This was all part of the sanctification process for me.  I believe Jesus was always there, but this was part of my process of moving into a deeper understanding of the relationship.  I was 12 years old spending the week as an actor at a charismatic camp in Brownsville, Texas when I finally understood and I never had to “ask Jesus into my heart” again.  It was my movement from being a child covered by grace through my part in the body of Christ to understanding what Christ’s grace means for me.  At 15 I made my public confession of faith fulfilling the liturgy of baptism, “engaged to confess the faith of Christ, and to be God’s faithful servant until life’s end.”

My high school years were focused on what all high school years are focused on . . . girls.  It was a time of legalism for me where the Bible was taken literally and my faith walk was one of rules and regulations.  This was good.  It kept me out of a lot of trouble!  Then when my sister went into ministry and I entered into college, my faith was challenged again.  I know had to struggle with my literal views of the Bible and how they conflict with the assurance I was recieving from the Spirit that my sister’s call was real and blessed by God.  This led to a humanistic view of life and the Bible, where the Bible was a good book, but if I could not accept it all, I would accept none of it.  By the end of college, the Spirit worked this out with me and I headed for seminary.

My conversion story falls along the theological line of “saved, being saved, and will be saved.”  I was saved once and for all 2,000 years ago.  I was privileged enough to be born into grace through my family and grew into making that faith my own.  I am still being saved as God works in me and changes me and continues to make me who I am called to be.  I will, when I continue my life in glory, be completely saved and be all God has called me to be.  I often wished I could have a really cool conversion story until one day a person with a really cool conversion story said he wished he had mine!  I realized my conversion story is not at one point and time (no, I cannot tell you the time or place when I was saved).  My conversion story started in the womb and will continue beyond the grave.  I am a man who has only known grace and for this I will always be humble and thankful and am assured that my children, no matter where their takes them, will always be in the presence and grace of Christ and will celebrate every time as a new part of their conversion story unfolds.

Until next time . . . Mark