By Brannon S. Howse
The late Francis Schaeffer predicted the American Church would become inconsequential because of a false concept of spirituality. Self-professing Christians would talk about God and proclaim a belief in God while rejecting the God of the Bible—instead following a manmade New Age god.
One of the main reasons we have a crisis—that Christians poll no differently from the world and that students are leaving the Church in large numbers—is that we have an epidemic of false converts within the American Church. Many people call themselves Christians but do not believe in many, if any, of the essential Christian doctrines.
As I said earlier, I discovered I was a false convert when I opened the book of 1 John and noted the signs of a true convert. Fortunately, 1 John 5:13 tells why the book of 1 John was written: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” And what are these things? Here are 1 John’s ten signs of a true convert:
A true convert admits he or she is a sinner. He does not believe he can go to heaven by being a “good” person. He understands his or her total depravity. (1 John 1:8)
2. A true convert lives a life of obedience by keeping God’s commandments more often than breaking them. A true convert is not a habitual sinner. There’s a difference between stumbling into sin and jumping in with both feet. While true converts may continue to sin as part of the struggle with our sin nature, the life of a true convert is marked by a desire to pursue holiness and walk in obedience to God’s Word. (1 John 2:3-6, 3:6, 5:2)
3. A true convert does not harbor hate for his brother but displays forgiveness, love, and compassion. (1 John 2:9, 2:11, 3:15, 4:16, 4:20)
4. A true convert does not love the world or the things of the world, nor the world’s system of evil, ruled by Satan. (1 John 2:15)
5. A true convert proclaims Jesus Christ as the Son of God and defends the exclusivity of Christ in a world of multiple religious systems. (1 John 4:15)
6. A true convert hopes and longs for the return of the Lord. (1 John 3:2-3)
7. A true convert desires to serve and help other Christians. (1 John 3:17, 3:14)
8. A true convert loves being with other believers and hearing the Word taught. (1 John 5:1)
9. A true convert rejects false teaching. (1 John 2:22-23)
10. A true convert remains in the truth and perseveres in the faith. (1 John 2:24)
Proclaiming this truth is one of life’s greatest joys. I’ve experienced this many times when someone recognizes the truth about him or herself and repents. Take, for example, the email below that I received from one of my radio listeners who opened God’s Word, was convicted, and came to a place of godly sorrow that produces repentance unto salvation.
Dear Mr. Howse,
I took your worldview test a few years ago and ranked as a secular humanist worldview thinker. At the time, I got mad at it and mad at your organization. I took the test again just a few weeks ago and ranked as a strong Biblical worldview thinker. I knew I’d changed vastly in recent times, but never how much. I’ve become a new man since those few years back, and I’m happy for it.
I was raised by a Lutheran father and non-denominational Christian mother. I’d always been a strong believer in God’s existence and the salvation found in Christ. However, I realize now that I never really understood it during all of those years. Even though I accepted the Bible as truth, looking back I realize how much I twisted meaning to find what I wanted to see instead of what was there. This “liberal theology” is due a lot, I believe, to the media and societal structure in which we live. I have seen many, many others fall victim to it, as well as false doctrines such as theistic evolutionism.
Thankfully, those misinterpretations are in my past, and I now stand with the real truth in hand.
I attend one of the largest evangelical churches in the Las Vegas area. As I silently observe my college contemporaries, I see that they are like I once was—having a terribly skewed interpretation of God’s Word or in many cases, even worse, they deny the Lord outright. Watching this, along with an even greater passion for the lost, inspired me to begin studying for the ministry. I’d spent about 12 years of my life preparing for and gearing towards becoming an attorney. Now, all I want to do is spread the message of our Lord.
In any case, I just wanted to let you know how much I’ve changed and how much more Biblical I’ve become. Praise the Lord for that.
So remember: your faithfulness to proclaim truth may very well assist someone in passing the true/false convert test once and for all. Stay away from the growing collection of collectivists and other proponents of the coming one-world religion.
And also remember: Only the Gospel!
Copyright 2015 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.