Just yesterday, I was telling a friend about what I describe as my “re-conversion” experience—an evangelical re-conversion—that took place some time between my commissioning as a “probationary elder” in the United Methodist Church in 2007—when I was a theological liberal—and my ordination three years later.
I say “evangelical” because I became convicted once again about the complete truthfulness of the Bible. Over time, I came to believe in the infallibility of scripture. Today, I don’t even mind identifying as an inerrantist, since I don’t believe that God’s Word, when rightly interpreted in its context, contains errors.
One thing is for sure: this re-conversion began around the time I started this blog in 2009.
One of several formative events in my re-conversion was reading, in 2009, N.T. Wright’s dense academic work, The Resurrection of the Son of God, which loudly affirms, on historical, linguistic, and theological grounds, the bodily resurrection of Jesus. One question I asked myself at the time was this: If the Bible can be fully trusted in this most important matter, then why shouldn’t it be trusted in other matters?
Given my personal history, I was convicted by the following words from Christian apologist and Oxford mathematician John Lennox on last week’s Unbelievable? podcast. He was giving a lecture about his new book, Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism. I especially resonate with his words about being “intellectually converted” concerning scripture’s truthfulness—because this happened to me! These are not “nice little stories” detached from the “real stuff of life.”
We’re playing religion, ladies and gentlemen, if we think that five minutes looking at scripture is going to get us through life when we’re spending hours and hours developing a professional career. I know there are times of pressure at different times in life, but I do believe we have to wake up and be serious. You cannot influence the world if you’re not inwardly convinced of the truth of these things. And the only offensive weapon we’ve got is the Word of God that we don’t know it; we can’t use it.
And I think we really need, some of us, to be—and I mean this seriously—intellectually converted. Because we have scripture and it’s over here. Nice little stories: Daniel in the Lion’s Den. That’s not the real stuff of life.
And so many Christians… have marginalized scripture and marginalized a daily relationship with God. I mean, can we be utterly blunt? Many people in this audience are probably involved in one kind of Christian work or another. And I start talking to them, and things aren’t too good, and I discover that husbands are not praying and reading with their wives—haven’t done it for years. And if there’s no reality of God in our family life, how can we expect to be attractive to the world? We can’t!