Stanley Jones on Conversion
"Many are converted to church membership, which
is good, but not good enough. ... Others are converted to the hope
of escaping hell and getting to heaven. This is involved in
conversion, but if it is made the end in view of conversion it will
also let you down. If you pursue heaven as the goal, it will elude
you. ... Others still are converted to escape from unhappiness, from
ill-health, from failure. These are included in conversion, but if
the emphasis is on these, they too are inadequate as life goals, for
if pursued for themselves they will slip through your grasping
fingers. They are by-products of something bigger and greater. What
is that bigger and greater?
"In giving this bigger and greater Jesus
Himself was never bigger and greater. With unerring insight He
pointed to the Kingdom of God as that to which the converted are
converted. Conversion, the new birth, is set within the framework of
the Kingdom of God.
"Since conversion converts ot the Kingdom of
God then the area of operation for conversion is the whole of life -
individual and social. Jesus gave the content of the Kingdom when He
announced His manifesto in the little synagogue at Nazareth in the
very beginning of His ministry, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor (the
economically disinherited). He has sent me to proclaim release to
the captives (the socially and politically disinherited) and
recovering of sight to the blind (the physically disinherited), to
set at liberty those who are oppressed ("bruised" - K.J.V.
- the morally and spiritually disinherited, those who have bruised
themselves upon the moral and spiritual laws), to proclaim the
acceptable year of the Lord (or the Lord's year of Jubilee - the
Year of Jubilee in which all slaves were freed, all debts cancelled
and all land redistributed and the nation began on a basis of a
close approximation to equality ...).'
"Here was reconstruction that would remake
the economic, the social and political, the physical, the moral and
spiritual, and the collective. ...
"A living, growing conversion is conversion
taking in greater and greater areas of life. ... Dedication to the
Kingdom ... will bring all life into coherence and goal and give it
a sense of mission. The false division between the secular and the
sacred will be wiped out. The whole of life will be sacred, because
used for sacred ends - Kingdom of God ends. ... Conversion is
conversion to the Kingdom of God.
E. Stanley Jones, Conversion, 1959,