Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels

By Lamerson, Samuel | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels


Lamerson, Samuel, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels. By Scot McKnight. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002, 214 pp., $19.95.

Scot McKnight is on the cutting edge of the growing number of scholars in evangelical circles who are doing historical Jesus work. His previous work in the area (A New Vision for Israel: The Teachings of Jesus in National Context [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999]) has been worthy of much study and has raised many new ideas to prominence in the historical Jesus debate. His current work is of an entirely different character. McKnight asks the question "What do we mean when we say that a person is converted?" He attempts to answer this question from both a biblical and sociological standpoint.

Lest some evangelicals worry about viewing conversion as a purely sociological phenomenon, McKnight cautions that he does not "think religion and conversion are simply social factors" (p. 175). He does, however, see value in viewing conversion through the sociological categories of conversion that come from such scholars as Lewis Rambo. These categories are not ends in themselves, but they are carefully sifted through the grid of conversion as it is presented in the NT.

McKnight has written this book, he says, because many of the "orientations to conversion in the evangelical, the Roman Catholic, and the mainline Protestant churches force each person to `tell the same story"' (p. ix). He means by this that the conversion experience that is accepted as the norm by a particular group is often foisted upon members of that group in spite of the fact that their particular experience may have been different. In the introduction, McKnight offers three major orientations to conversion: socialization, liturgical acts, and personal decisions. He argues that all three of these orientations are valid and potentially offer a genuine conversion experience. The problem, as McKnight sees it, is that one of these orientations (and which one depends upon what kind of church one attends) is taken and made normative at the expense of other kinds of conversion experiences. The problem which often occurs, argues McKnight, is that a convert with a different kind of experience is looked upon as quirky at best, if not lacking in a genuine conversion. McKnight sees his book as a "plea for understanding and appreciation" of different kinds of conversion experiences (p. 2). He is simply asking that Christians realize that the conversion story of another may not be exactly like their story, but that those stories that are different are no less valuable.

There are a number of very valuable points in this book. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.