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Conversion: How God Creates a People

By Michael Lawrence

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How Does Understanding Conversion Shape Ministry?

The way a church operates says a lot about how they believe people are saved. When a church truly embraces the Bible's teaching on conversion, they will call people to repentance and faith—not just one-time decisions, therapeutic healings, or moral lifestyles. 

This short book was written to help churches rightly understand the difference that a biblical doctrine of conversion should make for teaching, evangelism, discipling, membership, and every other facet of the life of a local church. 

Part of the 9Marks: Building Healthy Churches series.


Michael Lawrence

Michael Lawrence (PhD, Cambridge University; MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as the lead pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church.

Product Details

Category: Church Ministry
Format: Printed Caseside
Page Count: 144
Size: 5.0 in x 7.0 in
Weight: 7.77 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-5649-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-5649-4
ISBN-UPC: 9781433556494
Case Quantity: 68
Published: June 30, 2017

Table of Contents

Series Preface

  1. New, Not Nice: The Necessity of Regeneration
  2. Saved, Not Sincere: God’s Work, Not Ours
  3. Disciples, Not Decisions: The Character of Our Response
  4. Holy, Not Healed: Implications for the Christian Life
  5. Distinct, Not Designed: Implications for the Corporate Life of the Church
  6. Summon, Don’t Sell: Implications for Our Evangelism
  7. Assess Before You Assure: Implications for Ministry
  8. Charitable, Not Chary: The Danger of an Overly Pure Church

General Index
Scripture Index


“Conversion is essential and misunderstood. Lawrence understands this and explains what the Bible teaches simply and compellingly. This small book is a big gift.”
Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC

“This discipleship resource has it all—pastoral clarity, urgent relevance, practical brevity, and faithfulness to the Scriptures. Line by line, every chapter contains fodder for significant discussions on what the Word says about evangelism, conversion, and the church. I’m so thankful that Michael Lawrence wrote this book—I’ll be referring to it often.”
Gloria Furman, author, Labor with Hope and Missional Motherhood

“Down-to-earth, clear, practical, straight shooting, biblically cogent treatment of the nature and necessity of conversion. This is an excellent book.”
David F. Wells, Senior Distinguished Research Professor of Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“This is a biblically informed and extremely relevant book for pastors and sheep alike. Michael Lawrence hits the nail on the head when it comes to the conversion experience. Being born again is not the result of a superficial, emotional, and man-motivated prayer. This is a call to re-examine the Scriptures to see that conversion is a divine work from beginning to end, which should be externally evident by the way true disciples live in love-motivated obedience to Christ; by the interest they show in belonging to a local body of believers to whom they are accountable; and by the way they live the gospel in holiness and practice evangelism. Conversion requires repentance, and repentance requires a work of the Holy Spirit. I am delighted to see this book published at this time.”
Miguel Núñez, Senior Pastor, International Baptist Church of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

“In this important book Michael Lawrence outlines the biblical theology of conversion with clarity. The aim here is not to suggest that conversion makes people nice, because it is possible to be nice and not be converted. On the other hand, conversion is not a matter of mere subjectivity, for it is possible to feel converted and not be. Lawrence argues that conversion is an act that begins with God (regeneration) and bears fruit in men (repentance and faith). This overflow of God’s grace not only allows us to repent and believe, but also enables us to be inserted into the people that God created in Christ Jesus. In short, conversion culminates in membership in the local church. I heartily recommend this book.”
Jonas Madureira, Senior Pastor, Word Baptist Church, São Paulo, Brazil

“Real conversion is not a facade of ‘niceness,’ nor does it depend on a decision made once years ago. True conversion is nothing less than rebirth, new creation, and new life in Christ. This book offers a clear and compelling account of conversion, according to the Scriptures. And it shows how essential a right understanding is for the life of every believer and every church. Highly recommended.”
Constantine R. Campbell, Senior Vice President of Global Content, Our Daily Bread

“With theological precision, but with plain and accessible language, Michael Lawrence guides us through the Scriptures to help us understand what true conversion is and what are the fruits that evidence it. This is a book I would like to place in the hands of all members of our church.”
Sugel Michelen, Pastor, Iglesia Bíblica del Señor Jesucristo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

“If there is a subject that Satan has tried to confuse people about, it is the nature of true conversion. What better way to get religious people to land in hell than by letting them think they are converted when in fact they are not? Michael Lawrence has clarified this matter for us by building up from the oft-forgotten truth of regeneration, which is the foundation of conversion. He ends with the practical implications of this truth when held in biblical proportions. His pen is that of a skillful writer, and it oozes with wise pastoral counsel. I highly recommend that those of us who know that we are truly converted should also read this delightful book so as to avoid leading others astray.”
Conrad Mbewe, Pastor, Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia; Founding Chancellor, African Christian University