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Turning to God: Reclaiming Christian Conversion as Unique, Necessary, and Supernatural Paperback – April 12, 2012


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Turning to God: Reclaiming Christian Conversion as Unique, Necessary, and Supernatural + The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World + God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; Repackaged ed. edition (April 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801097002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801097003
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David F. Wells is Distinguished Research Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has eighteen books to his credit, including God the Evangelist: How the Holy Spirit Works to Bring Men and Women to Faith.

More About the Author

David F. Wells (PhD, University of Manchester) is the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as academic dean at Gordon-Conwell's Charlotte campus, Wells has been a member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, a distinguished lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and the recipient of a major grant from the Pew Charitable Trust. The author of numerous articles and books, he has written extensively on postmodernism, open theism, and the history of Christianity in America.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert G. Leroe VINE VOICE on October 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This 1989 book has been recently (2012) reissued with a new introduction by Dr. Wells. The focus is on the biblical doctrine of conversion, which Wells sees as supernatural and unique--the regenerative work of God, and not something that can be produced through self-turning. It is an act of divine creation, causing faith to appear, from which flow repentance and a love of God. Wells does not view conversion as a neat, "one-size-fits-all" formula, but a process in which information about God (the content of the Gospel) is presented to people from divergent backgrounds and applied by the Holy Spirit to their hearts in a saving way.

Wells provides examples of conversion in Scripture, a biblical theology of conversion, with careful attention to the Greek and Hebrew terms used. He show the difference between what he calls "insider and outsider" conversions, viz. from within a Christian setting/culture, and the contrasting unique hurdles individuals from various major world religions face in embracing teachings in opposition to their dogma and culture. He also devotes a chapter to what he calls "materialistic outsiders", explaining the secular position, which is largely the position of Europe and (to a lesser degree) North America, where people find meaning--not in God--but in self. He provides examples of differing perspectives from church history, particularly regarding whether the individual can contribute anything to his/her salvation. Wells disputes the view that certain types of people tend to convert to religious belief--social/psychological profiling--and the casual conversion or "easy-believism" promulgated by some evangelicals.

I think this is an outstanding, much-needed book for anyone in Christian work. In full disclosure, I am a minister in Dr. Well's denomination (the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference) and occasionally chat with him at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
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Format: Paperback
When is a person considered a christian? When someone converts! But what really is conversion? More importantly, what does the bible talks about conversion?

David Wells writes in this perceptive book, many helpful points on what conversion is. It was surprisingly to know that this book was originally published in 1989, and has now (rightfully) been republished again. In this day and age, conversion has often been termed as “the sinnner’s prayers” or “inviting Jesus into your heart”. Such terminology is not only unhelpful, but reflects a rather shallow understanding of conversion.

Wells shows the readers what conversion is first, he defines it as unique, necessary and supernatural. It is supernatural because only God can convert someone, it is unique because conversion denotes not just a mere change in behaviour, but in allegiances, it is necessary because there has been and will never be anyone who’s born a christian. Next, Wells shows from the bible says about conversion. I found the introduction and the first chapter the best part of the book and would certainly be well worth the money for these two sections.

Next, Wells moves on to talk about insiders and outsiders. In the first chapter, Wells shows how within the bible itself, two types of people are converted, those who are more familiar with the bible (Old Testament teaching), the insiders, and those who are not (outsiders). This then forms the basis of how conversion would look like in each of these two groups.

This two sections would take up most of the book. What is very helpful is that Wells provokes the reader to think about what conversion means in each of the groups. Far too often conversion is a blanket term for anyone who’s coming to be a disciple of Jesus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Monica Baebler on September 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If anyone can explain what it means to know Jesus Christ - and what is expected of a Christian and of Christian Behavior, it's Dr. Wells - A must read for lovers of Truth and God
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Format: Paperback
Clear explanation of what it means to "convert" or turn to God. The author also does great at explaining the importance of having an accurate understanding of conversion, and proclaiming the biblical Gospel accurately.
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