Those of you who’ve ever attended any type of Christian “revival” may well do a double take when you see this video (thanks to James White at Alpha and Omega Ministries).
What do you think? If you had watched this with the sound off, maybe semi-ignored the ethnicity of the older-man, would you have guessed “yeah, Islamic conversion”? For my part, I think I would have assumed this was some youth-conference altar call, maybe complete with a “come to Jesus” sermon and “sinner’s prayer”. In fact, replace every mention of “Islam” with “Christ” or “Christianity” and you have a scene which might just as well be found at the next “Billy Graham Crusade” or local tent revival.
Does this disturb you, as Dr. White asked? I think it should. I think it should for the reasons he mentioned: because if this is the type of “conversion” non-Christians are having, how is a Christian “conversion” different in any substantial way?
Yeah, yeah, leave the “because we’re actually right and they are wrong,” at home. I’m sure they would say the same of us, it’s not valid. Similarly, don’t tell me “because a Christian in this scenario is actually sincere, that boy is definitely not”. Why? Do you know his heart? He looks sincere enough to me.
I think Christians, especially those of a southern Baptist or Pentecostal background, need to be aware of things like this. It certainly seems to me – and I think the statistics will back me up on this – that such “altar call conversions” rarely endure. This is why you see people “re-committing” themselves to Christ, not sure “if the first time really took”. There are folks out there who have been baptized 3 or 4 times, simply because they experience a season of spiritual famine and therefore concluded that they “weren’t sincere enough” last time.
I would love to do a full write-up of my thoughts on this, and at some point I probably will. But for now, time is not something I have a lot of, so I leave you with this thought:
What is the nature of a truly saving faith? Is it allowed to go through dry-spells, experience doubt, and feel abandoned by God at times? Or does a really saving faith by definition mean that you remain perpetually on the same plain of spiritual high you were on the day you “converted”?
More to come…