Is there only one way to come to know Jesus- one model for conversion? This book addresses the modern problem of "conversion" through a careful, sociologically informed examination of conversion in the Gospels. Jesus' model of conversion, while realistic, does not conform to any of our popular models of conversion - that is, the socialization model (growth into the faith); the liturgical model; or the personal decision model. This study suggests that elements of all of these models are present within the Gospel accounts and that an informed and enhanced reading of the Gospels should engender appreciation for differences in the contemporary church.
Scot McKnight's careful study of Jesus' relationship with his followers reveals that elements of all three contemporary models of conversion--the personal decision, the sociological, and the liturgical--are present within the Gospel accounts. But because the Gospel narratives themselves are insufficiently explicit to support only one contemporary model of conversion, McKnight suggests that an enhanced reading of the Gospels should engender an appreciation for each of the models in the church today.
Scot McKnight is Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois.
The Sociology of Religion Although everyone comes to Christian faith in
different ways, says religion professor Scot McKnight in Turning to Jesus: The
Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels, conversion stories don't typically
reflect that diversity. In fact, each Christian group "shuffles all oddities
to the side and sanctifies only a certain ordered experience." Drawing on the
personal stories of 19 men and women who embraced the Christian faith across a
wide variety of traditions (mainline Protestant, Catholic and evangelical),
McKnight pleads for "each of us to pause long enough to hear the stories of
all Christians and not just those who frame their stories as do we." This is a
well-reasoned, persuasive call to recognize "diversity" in a rather unexpected
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