"Saints are made by good conversions."
In this challenging and provocative book, Gordon T. Smith contends that a chief cause of spiritual immaturity in the evangelical church is an inadequate theology of conversion. Conversion, he says, involves more than a release from the consequences of sin--the goal is spiritual transformation. But there is little transformation without a complete and authentic conversion. The key is beginning well.
In this age of false starts and stunted growth, maturing Christians need help reflecting on and interpreting their own religious experience. Christian leaders need to rethink the way that conversions happen. Beginning Well is a catalyst toward this end. Surveying Scripture, spiritual autobiographies and a broad range of theologies of conversion (Protestant and Catholic, Reformed and Wesleyan), the author seeks to foster in the Christian community a dynamic language of conversion that leads to spiritual transformation and mature Christian living. In the process he moves us from a short-sighted "minimalist" view to one that recognizes seven elements necessary for good conversions.
This book--a stirring call to rethink the relationship between conversion and transformation--is a must read for pastors, evangelists, spiritual directors, seminary professors and others who are concerned about the nurture and development of Christian converts, and the nature of authentic religious experience.
1. Thinking About Conversion
2. The Community of Faith the Language of Conversion
3. Autobiography: The Church's Experience of Conversion
4. The Evangelical Experience: A Historical Perspective
5. Models of Conversion in the New Testament
6. Elements of a Christian Conversion
7. Four Internal Actions of the Christian Convert: Intellectual, Penitential, Affective Volitional
8. Three Elements That Support Enable: The Sacramental, the Charismatic the Communal
9. Growing Up Christian: Conversion Second-Generation Christians
10. The Rhythms of Grace