The Means of Conversion and what Conversion Means

January 23, 2006

I’ve had a great day of walking around London with friends, seeing an excellent used bookstore, and, most importantly, establishing a friendship with Peter Masters, pastor since 1970 of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle.  For 2 1/2 hours this afternoon, Peter graciously entertained me in his study with conversation ranging widely over the history of the Tabernacle during Spurgeon’s time, his own personal history (including his membership interview at Westminster Chapel with Dr. Lloyd-Jones!), and issues facing the church today.  One long section of the conversation was on conversion.  It was interesting to consider with him what Scripture teaches about the experience of conversion.  Of course, secularlists like William James, describe conversion as the breaking in on the conscious mind of connections long growing in the subconscious.  But as evangelicals we understand there to be a great change, a radical discontinuity introduced by God’s Holy Spirit.  But what Peter wanted to point out was the use of means in producing this discontinuity.  He suggested that many of the Puritans had a better understanding of this than many evangelicals (including Reformed evangelicals) today.   

Dr. Masters was also concerned that associations of different Christians together not undermine what he referred to as "the ministry of warning."  He (correctly, I think) noted that when Christians associate together there is a great pressure against disagreeing.  This, he thinks, is quite dangerous.  NOT that there should not be associations, simply that we must especially guard this ability, in order to faithfully fulfill our ministries.

Much more I could say.  Suffice it to say that I am not aware of having met a pastor of a more evangelistic church than is the Metropolitan Tabernacle.  For that, Spurgeon would certainly be pleased.  And what’s far more significant, we know that God Himself rejoices in the presentation of the gospel of Christ.

May many more conversions come in our churches in Gaithersburg & Jackson, in Louisville & Washington, in London & beyond.

PS–Tim Challies, if you’re reading, someone sent me your entry on my post on the lightness of blogs.  I agree with your response (except where you expressed that I thought all blogs were no more than snacks).  Some blogs serve excellent purposes.  Perhaps to a lesser degree this one.  To a greater degree your own!  (Or Al’s, or Ref21, or GirlTalk).  Keep up the good work.