Schreiner, Wellum, Strachan contribute to latest 9Marks Journal
Southern Seminary's Thomas R. Schreiner, Stephen J. Wellum and Owen D. Strachan each contributed articles to the latest 9Marks Journal, available online. In light of the 2012 Together for the Gospel conference's theme of the "Underestimated Gospel," the March-April 2012 9Marks Journal devotes itself to theme of "The Underestimated Doctrine of Conversion."
Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, writes two articles, "Conversion and the Story of Israel" and "Conversion in the New Testament." The first article discusses how the doctrine of conversion is anticipated in the Old Testament, and the second article explains how the promise of conversion becomes a reality in the New Testament.
"The story of God’s triumph over the serpent promised in the Old Testament (Gen 3:15) becomes a reality in the New Testament," Schreiner writes. "The Old Testament promised a new covenant, a new creation, a new exodus, and new hearts for God’s people. And there is an inaugurated fulfillment of all of these promises through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is proclaimed in the New Testament."
Wellum, professor of Christian theology, discusses the necessity of conversion in his article, "Conversion, God, and the Whole Self." Conversion is necessary, Wellum argues, because of man's sinfulness, God's holy character and how conversion "affects the whole person, and it affects the person as a whole."
"Christian conversion depends on the sovereign and supernatural work of the triune God in people’s lives," he writes. "In conversion, God brings people from spiritual death to life. This enables them to abhor what they once loved – their sin and rebellion against God – and to turn and trust in Christ."
Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College, surveys the history of the American church's understanding of conversion in his essay, "His Arm Is Strong to Save: A Trajectory of Conversion in America." The article highlights influential figures such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham.
"This is not an essay to discuss whether America is a 'Christian nation'," he writes. "Rather, I want to scan the past three centuries of American evangelical history to ask this question: how have Christians in different periods understood conversion and, more specifically, the means of conversion."