The Glory of Converting to Christ Has Nothing to Do with Politics

It's after our conversion that our mind begins to transform to His, & our belligerent will conforms to His perfect mind.

Yesterday I wrote a story about the fascinating and compelling account of former atheist Nicole Cliffe’s conversion to Christ. I found her testimony extremely encouraging, particularly when put against the darkness and hopelessness that surrounds us in a world that thinks politics and power can bring fulfillment. Unsurprisingly there were those who took it as a challenge to bring that hopelessness into her story.

One emailer responded by telling me I should stop picking on atheists (I wasn’t). Another informed me that I clearly hadn’t done my research given that Nicole was not the “kind” of Christian I would like based on my previous writing.

I’m not entirely clear on what that latter response meant, but if I was guessing, I think it would be a reference to this part of her piece that I not only read, but that I recommended everyone read:

“I have been dunked by a pastor in the Pacific Ocean while shivering in a too-small wetsuit. I have sung “Be Thou My Vision” and celebrated Communion on a beach, while weirded-out Californians tiptoed around me. I go to church. I pray. My politics have not changed; the fervency with which I try to live them out has. My husband is bemused by me, but supportive and loving.” (emphasis mine)

Nicole is a writer for Slate, Vulture, and other left-wing publications. Any superficial survey of her writing indicates someone who is comfortable with coarse language and holds views that many other Christians might find objectionable. Without knowing for certain, I’m guessing that is what the emailer was suggesting should have deterred me from writing about her conversion.

If so, all that indicates to me is that the emailer suffers from a fairly keen misunderstanding of what a conversion to Christ is all about. Perhaps a specific example or two would be helpful to illustrate this point:

  • Whenever I address the specific sin of homosexual romantic and sexual relationships, I never encourage Christians to try to convert gay people to straight. I believe we should convert people to Jesus.
  • Whenever I address the specific sin of pornography and fornication, I never encourage Christians to try to convert those with sexual addictions to celibacy. I believe we should convert people to Jesus.
  • Whenever I address the specific sin of greed, I never encourage Christians to try to convert the self-indulgent to altruism and generosity. I believe we should convert people to Jesus.

We shouldn’t be trying to fix people so that they can come to Christ. We should be trying to introduce them to Christ so that He can provide them the only fix that matters and that will truly change them.

Cliffe’s own testimony bears witness to why this strategy is the only wise one for Christians. As I pointed out in my piece yesterday, Nicole herself acknowledged,

“No one could have in a billion years of their gripping testimony or by showing me a radiant life of good deeds or through song or even the most beautiful of books brought me to Christ. I had to be tapped on the shoulder. I had to be taken to a place where books about God were something I could experience without distance. It was alchemical.”

The vilest offender, the most sexually immoral, the greediest miser who surrenders their heart to Christ, follows His plan of salvation laid out in Scripture, is saved – not by anything they have done or earned, but by the grace of God alone. The great Apostle Paul himself was on his way to persecute Christians when he encountered Christ, albeit in a bit more intense fashion than Nicole’s gentle tap on the shoulder.

It is after our conversion that our mind begins to transform to His, our fleshly desires lose their luster in light of what He offers, and our belligerent will conforms to His perfect mind.

It is distinctly possible that Nicole and I will always have points of theological disagreement and political quarrel. I tend to believe that if the Apostles found themselves in occasional conflict, it’s not likely believers today will escape it. And it may be that I will one day find Nicole’s teaching in error with the Word of God, earning her an appropriate and necessary rebuke. I would like to believe she would not deny me the same should it be warranted.

But none of that changes or alters what I wrote about: the glorious and beautiful nature of God melting the heart of unbelief and adopting a once rebellious son or daughter into His inheritance. Those who don’t comprehend that fact need only to experience it.

Comments
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Jack_Krevin
Jack_Krevin

@streiff_is_a_moron : I see your reading comprehension is no better than your ability to spell. As I stated, I gave no preference, either good or bad, to a list of differences which exist within Christianity. So, once again, you are in error. Which is something that occur frequently with you I'm seeing. As for the "Quiverfell movement", something I"m not even sure I've heard of before you mentioned it, that again has no relevance since my point was not about racism in Christianity. Even assuming it is as racist as you say it has no bearing on my argument. As for impotency, much like your obsession with race, I would guess that's more a projection on your part.

WillYams
WillYams

Peter, please, please, please keep writing. Please, please, please keep pointing to Christ. This type of wit wisdom is seldom found in political discussion.

streiff_is_a_moron
streiff_is_a_moron

@alex Wilson - Quiverfull requires a lack of birth control, but is absolutely not about blindly having sex without birth control and seeing what happens, it's about making sure you have lots and lots of babies. It's why we wind up with people like the Duggar's who are on welfare from both the state and from their church community. They cannot afford the children they have, they cannot properly care for the children they have, they had rampant abuse problems. If this were a black family in the inner city, CPS would have taken all of the children before anyone got to 18 or however many Michelle has popped out. It's only white ultra-conservative christians who are involved in the quiverfull movement as well. There are no asian, black, hipanic, native american quiverfull families. None. The main goal is to breed as many "good little christian soldiers" to "rebalance" the population. This isn't some bs I'm spouting, this is their stated objective.

Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson

@MistyBat:

You'll get no argument from me, he entered into what should have been a lifelong commitment with a woman on false pretenses. Had he been honest with her about his struggles prior to their marriage then it wouldn't have been as much of an issue as she would have chosen to go into a difficult situation with open eyes.

MistyBat
MistyBat

Alex, interesting Christian Post article. Trey Pearson's most tragic choice was marrying a woman and having kids with her, making everyone miserable before he finally 'fessed up as gay.