Church Education Trust

Christian Belief

ST007/9 Conversion



A little must be said concerning conversion as the word has been used in a variety of ways. In general parlance it is used to express the entire experience of initial salvation including justification, regeneration and adoption.

This, however, is a very loose use of the word and is neither the scriptural nor theological use. The word "conversion" merely means "a turning" or "a turning round" or "a turning back".

This also is the meaning of the word in the New Testament which is translated "convert". Often the same word is translated "turn". The following are the references where the word is used. It is always the same root word in the original, though there is a variation of the prepositions used with it. John 12:40; Matt.18:3; Luke 22:32; Acts 26:18; 9:35;11:21; 1 Pet.2:25; James.5:19,20. These references will give an understanding of the use and meaning of the word.

In theology the word is used in the same limited sense to mean the human side of salvation, man's turning to God. There is a difference, however, in the time of conversion between those who are Calvinists and those who are Arminians.

Calvinists, because of their belief in salvation being by decree of God, say that man must be regenerated before he can turn to God. Arminians hold that through the prevenient grace of God man is able to turn to Him and then by faith to be regenerated.

< back to previous page >

©2008 Church Education Trust