Do Religious People Need Conversion?

MARCH 05  DO RELIGIOUS PEOPLE NEED CONVERSION? By James D. Burns Should we attempt to convert religious people, or should the gospel be presented only to those who have no religion? Some contend that we should “leave religious people alone” when it comes to attempts at conversion. Let us examine the cases of conversion in the book of Acts as they relate to this question. Were any measures taken to convert the already religious? Those in Acts 2 were “devout men” (v. 5) who had come to Jerusalem, a religious center, for the day of Pentecost, a  religious observance. Truly, they were religious, yet Peter successfully attempted to        convert them to Jesus Christ. The Ethiopian of chapter 8 was religious, having come to Jerusalem to worship (v. 27) and read the book of Isaiah (v. 28). Yet Philip “preached unto him Jesus,” which resulted in his conversion. Lydia, “who worshiped God,” found a place for prayer, a  religious activity, on the Sabbath, a religious day (Acts 26;13-14), yet she was converted to Christ by the word presented by Paul. Saul of Tarsus was zealously religious (see Philippians 3:5-6), yet he was converted to Christ (Acts 9). Centurion Cornelius, although not of Jewish lineage, was a deeply religious man (Acts 10:11), Yet Peter made a special trip to his home to convert him. The masses of Ephesus were devotees of the goddess Diana, yet this did not deter Paul from preaching Christ to them (Acts 19). From these examples we can see that most, if not all, of those in the first century who were converted were religious in some way. Yet inspired teachers did not hesitate to convert them. Any whose religion does not conform to that presented by Jesus Christ are proper subjects of conversion to His way.