Sunday, April 10, 2011

when was Peter converted?/birth certificate or drivers license?

Josh Ross:

Ongoing Conversion

Words from Scot McKnight:
Conversion is more like a driver’s license than a birth certificate. The difference between the two is dramatic. A birth certificate proves that we were born on a specific date at a given location. A driver’s license is that: a license to drive, permission to operate. If conversion is likened to a birth certificate, we produce babies who need to be pushed around in strollers. If it is like a driver’s license, we produce adults who can operate on life’s pathways.”

In his book The Jesus Creed, McKnight asks this question, when was Peter converted?
1) John 1 when Andrew brings him to Jesus and Jesus tells him that one day he will be named "Rock."
2) Luke 5--after the miraculous catch of fish, Peter falls down at Jesus' feet and says, "Get away from me. I'm a sinner." And Jesus responds by saying, "Do not be afraid. For now on you will be catching people."
3) Luke 9--Jesus asks, "Who do people say I am?" The consensus was: a prophet, John the Baptist, and Elijah. Then Jesus makes the question a little more personal, "Who do you say I am?" Peter responds with the great confession, "You are the Messiah of God."
4) Story of Resurrection--Peter witnesses the death, burial, and the resurrection.
5) Acts 2--after waiting in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit comes in power.
6) Acts 10--this story is just as much about Peter's conversion as it is about the conversion of Cornelius. Not that Peter is being converted to Jesus, but to the mission of Jesus. Both of these men need to be changed for the good news to spread.

My answer to the question is "YES!" 

-The Jesus Creed 10 – Peter: The Story of Conversion, link

 Scot McKnight:

When was Peter…?

The blog has been pretty busy today, so it is about time for me to jump and in and give my two cents worth.
First, I believe that question, which is innocent in itself, assumes what I will call at this point a judicial sense of conversion. That is, there is a point in time when God says “OK, you’re trust is genuine, you can be brought across the line, and the verdict is ‘forgiven’.” Such a judicial sense of salvation is thoroughly Pauline and jumps right at us from the Reformation on. There are some today who want to say that justification is corporate and about “who is the people of God,” and I do “own shares” in that New Perspective [which also is bedevilled by definition problems -- who counts?], but I can’t accept anything less than a fully individual perception that includes a coroporate dimension. But enough of that.
Still, apart from the New Perspective issue, I do think too often we do frame conversion questions exclusively in terms of justification and the judicial sense. It is a dimension of the issue.
Second, conversion is just as prominently and perhaps even more so a relational issue. In fact, I’m willing to say that the relational is primary: it is about God’s embrace of us and our embracing God back.
Third, which means we have to convert the question: I like to think of it this way. Peter began a relationship with Jesus in John 1 (actually, it was outside Jerusalem and probably down by the Jordan) and that relationship grew. Peter’s “conversion” is an ongoing growth in his relationship of loving Jesus, and at each stage when he learned something new he was challenged (as we see in John 6) to continue and deepen that relationship or abandon and go back.
So, when was Peter converted means “when did Peter begin a relationship with Jesus?” I’d say probably at John 1 but perhaps not until Luke 5. The issue is that he continued to love Jesus and it was that love that was jeopardized in Mark 14 and which needed to be rectified in John 21.
If I’m forced into the “judicial” sense and am asked exactly when Peter crossed the line into God’s favor, I would have to say that I don’t know and I don’t think it matters all that much. (Well, it matters but not in what I am discussing.)
And it should be said that an over-emphasis on the judicial dimension retards the relationship (turning into status) and creates the need to make perseverance an additional doctrine rather than one inherent to the status.
It will do us some real good to begin thinking of conversion the way we think of love. We don’t “fall” in love with someone and then say, “Well, now I’ve got the love thing accomplished.” We know that love is something that begins (it kind of unfolds) and then continues or it is not love at all
-Link

 William Willimon:


Luke’s rich collection of conversion accounts warns the church against making
any one pattern or scheme the standard steps for conversion. The turning wrought by
the Spirit takes a variety of forms, leads to a variety of responses, and is context-
specific. Each person is called by his or her own name, so to speak, and dealt with as
the Spirit sees fit. When was Peter converted? When Jesus called him to follow or
when Peter confessed that Jesus was “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20) or when Peter
discovered that he did not, after all, know who was clean and unclean (Acts 10:1–
11:18)? Luke will not let us settle down with one account or one moment. Peter was
literally “on the way” as a member of “the Way.” He resolved to follow Jesus, wherever
that might take him. Surprises greeted him at each significant turn in the road.

David Steinmetz notes that the Protestant Reformers were so convinced that sin
is so deep-rooted in human thinking and willing, that the gospel is so demanding and
different, that only a lifetime of conversion can change us into the new creations God
has in mind for us. The modern evangelical notion that conversion is an
instantaneous, momentary phenomenon is not rooted in the thought of the Reformers
nor, we might add, in the thought of Luke. Even Paul’s dramatic encounter upon the
Damascus road (reported three times in Acts—with significant differences in each
account), required interpretation, reflection, and the confirmation of the community.
Presumably, we never become too old, too adept at living the Christian life to be
exempt from the need for more conversion, additional turning. The Christian life is
akin to the way in which Luke organizes the life of Paul—a series of journeys,
pilgrimages, excursions out into some unexplored territory where all that is known is
the faithfulness of God. Conversion is a process more than a moment.

Conversions in Luke-Acts are stories about beginnings—the beginning of a new
chapter in the life of the church, the initiation of a new mission, as well as the
beginning of a new life for the individual person. Conversion is the beginning of the
Christian journey, not its final destination. Moreover, conversions in Acts are stories
about vocation—someone is being called for some godly work. Conversion is not for
the smug individual possession of the convert, but rather for the ongoing thrust of the
gospel. Finally, conversions in Acts are stories about the gifts of God—God is the chief
actor in all Lukan accounts of conversion. Even the smallest details are attributed to
the working of God. Conversion is not the result of skillful leadership by the
community or even of persuasive preaching or biblical interpretation. In many
accounts, such as those of Philip’s work with the Ethiopian, the mysterious hand of
God directs everything. In other stories, such as the story of Peter and Cornelius, the
church must be dragged kicking and screaming into the movements of God.
Manipulation, strategic planning, calculating efforts by the community aimed at
church growth are utterly absent. Even our much beloved modern notions of “free will”
and personal choice and decision appear to play little role in conversion in Acts.
Conversion is a surprising, unexpected act of divine grace. “By his great mercy we
have been born anew to a living hope …” (1 Peter 1:3b) - Willimon

2 comments:

  1. Hi Dave,
    I don't see another place to contact you, so I'm just going to ask my question here. I am a Christian too and I'm preparing a talk about the Women in the Bible. I'm breaking it up with some riddles, so I'd like a question mark to put on the power point/screen. I like the question mark image on this page: http://davewainscott.blogspot.com/2011/04/when-was-peter-converted-birth.html And I was wondering if I could use it. I'm not making money with the teaching. You can contact me at Bedella.com Thanks, Ellie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sure, it's not mine..i think it was a creative commons or google search

    ReplyDelete

Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!