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Conversion: How God Creates a People (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches)
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Conversion: How God Creates a People

(9Marks: Building Healthy Churches)

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  29 reviews

Does what a church believes about how people become Christians change how we do evangelism? In this concise book, Michael Lawrence explains the doctrine of conversion and helps us consider the relationship between what we believe about how people are saved and our approach to sharing the gospel in the context of the local church. Readers of this book will understand how th

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 30th 2017 by Crossway Books (first published June 2017)
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Ben Robin
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This just might be the best book in this series. Lawrence beautifully weaves together all the threads of local church theology and practice in a typical 9Marks fashion. I highly recommend this excellent book on such an important and relevant topic!
Matt Chapman
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really excellent!
First sentence from chapter one: In the introduction, I mentioned my friend who was concerned that his well-mannered adult children weren’t really Christians. You might say they were nice, but not new—not new creations. His experience raises questions about the doctrine of conversion, as well as what that doctrine should look like in the life of a church. It’s crucial to get both our doctrine and our practices right. Churches should believe that God makes people radically new, not just nice, thr ...more
Jeremiah von Kühn
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Agree with David Wells -- "Down-to-earth, clear, practical, straight shooting, biblically cogent treatment of the nature and necessity of conversion. This is an excellent book." Love how he shows how our theology of conversion drives (or ought to drive) practice. Especially enjoyed chapter 6 (Summon, don't sell: implications for our evangelism) and chapter 8 (Charitable, not chary: the danger of an overly pure church). Chapter 8 was refreshing, especially coming from 9Marks, as some of their guy ...more
Tom Depew
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Highly recommend
Sam Knecht
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, ecclesiology
Conversion is often misunderstood, assumed, or ignored. Yet it is the one and only means by which God makes a people for himself, by which Christ builds his church. Not grasping a biblical understanding of conversion can lead churches to counterintuitive--even harmful--practices.

This book from Michael Lawrence is full of both hard, solid doctrine and soft, messy pastoral application. A wide range of Christians can glean benefits from these 130 pages.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Conversion: How God Creates a People”, by Dr. Michael Lawrence, pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, is one book in the 9Marks series of “Building Healthy Churches”.

I selected to review this book because I’m also reading another book about conversion at the time, and I know these series of books are relatively short, quick reads. That is true of this book, but it is packed full of hard-hitting truth in relatively a brief introduction, 8 chapters, and conclusion.

As the title sugg
Mark Donald
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Biblical conversion is an incredibly important doctrine, which is massively misunderstood, and essential to faithful evangelistic efforts and church life. Michael Lawrence helps clarify a lot of misunderstandings which have plagued churches (perhaps especially in the West). In addition to helping clarify the biblical teaching on being born again, Michael Lawrence helps connect a right understanding of conversion with evangelistic methods and church membership practices. This little book has give ...more
Joshua Lister
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
This rating is really closer to a 2.5. Parts of this book were really good and other parts really bad. Chapter 2, chapter 6, and the conclusion are particularly good sections. Here, Lawrence makes some helpful distinctions along with some shrewd observations about the modern evangelical climate.

Although, some passages were mixed up. Lawrence has no category for covenantal Christians who are either apostate or unregenerate. He consequently struggles to resolve certain tensions that arise in his
Brian Parks
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very good, short survey and explanation of the doctrine of conversion and how it should be understood as impacting not only individuals but also the life and health of the local church. Lawrence does a good job explaining it in simple terms. This book would help any pastor or lay person grow in their faith and discernment. One minor quibble is that the book assumed that the reader might be coming at the issue from a evangelical fundamentalist point of view. (He's probably right in tha ...more
Jon Pentecost
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
The need to be born again is at the heart of Jesus' teaching, and yet so often we fail to seriously consider how this should impact the way we engage with fellow Christians and the church.
Lawrence helpfully walks us through the need for conversion, the nature of conversion, what a converted person should look like in ways that will help any believer grow in their faith. His concluding chapters, on charity towards those professing faith imperfectly, and on the implications of this for our life an
Joshua Reichard
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Over and over again 9Marks hits the nail on the head! This book on conversion will transform the way you view the churches role in conversion, the individuals role in conversation, and God’s role in conversation. Let me bless you with a few quotes and thoughts from this fantastic book. First, conversation is the turning from worshiping something to worship in God. “I don’t know I am alive because I have a birth certificate. I know I am alive because I am breathing.” That quote is in reference to ...more
Will Pareja
If you, fellow church members or leaders are confused about the response to the Gospel (conversion), then this brief book will help you.

For some it will be properly disturbing. And hopefully life saving.

Get a few copies and give them out to people who need to rethink their easy- believism or decisionism ways. Or, give them to people who could bone up on an already good theology of saving faith and assurance.

"Real repentance is being convicted by the Holy Spirit of the sinfulness of our sin— n
Jeff Short
This book is an excellent, brief treatment of the subject. Christians in general wobble between extremes on what conversion is and does in the life of a convert. Michael Lawrence speaks clearly on repentance, faith, change of life, holiness, etc. He treats conversion as the life and death matter it truly is. Lawrence also places conversion in the context of the local church, which is rarely done.

The author has called us to a clearer presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the cost of dis
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very accessible word on a theology of conversion. Too many pastors & churches have a weak understanding and application of what it means to be converted and what true conversion necessarily produces in the life of a Christian. Additionally, Lawrence brings balance to this issue by also writing about how Christians should give charity concerning the authenticity of people's conversion, citing Paul's words in 1 Corinthians and the myriad of issues going on in this church AND yet, he ...more
Doug Connell
Book Recommendation #8
As a father and a pastor, I've never been more challenged by a singular book; Lawrence - using the Scriptures - explains what the Gospel and what it is not AND THEREFORE why conversion itself is such a crucial doctrine to understand. Read it. Test it by the Word. And apply it. ...even better - read it with others and pray for all the ones in your sphere of influence who are not evidencing signs of true conversion. Pray for opportunities to show them the truth of God's Word
Matt Tyler
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Michael Lawrence has written a needed corrective for the western church. The Bible's description of conversion impacts us, our churches, and our evangelism. Lawrence demonstrates that a right doctrine of conversion impacts these areas. This book therefore challenges our theology and our practice.

I'd recommend it for new Christians seeking to grapple with their newfound faith and long time Christians who don't seem to understand that their faith in Jesus necessarily entails change in their faith
Brooks Anderson
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I’ve ever read because of its practicality and thoroughness in defining what it means to be a Christian and a part of a Church.

In a Church culture that promotes decisions, Lawrence lays out what it means to be a disciple, and one does not necessarily lead to the other.

Every church member needs this book.
Doug Payne
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“If conversion is God’s work, and he’s sovereign over salvation, does it really matter how we work out the doctrine of conversion in our life together?” (121) Michael Lawrence has gifted the Church with an answer to that question in this important book. Elders, church leaders, and congregations taking in members should read it.
J.C. Thompson
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great short read

Loved the theological overview but really needed the practical “feet on the ground” application of this theology.

My eyes are now opened and considering how to slow down and walk alongside others more intentionally
Bryan Reeder
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and well written book about Biblical conversion. My thinking was challenged in a couple of specific instances. It's a great reminder about the great commission and the purpose of a healthy church.
Nick Roark
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Shane Williamson
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional and necessary for all pastors and church members. The health of the local church depends on books such as this one.
Connor Anderson
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A necessary survey of the theology and practical results of conversion. His thoughts are definitely needed for the "Southern - United States" churches where cultural Christianity is rampant.
Brandon Siwula
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This a great book on a lost/misunderstood doctrine in our churches today. I have seen firsthand the results of this doctrine lost in non lordship churches and they are very ugly.
Nick Esch
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read not only for every church leader, but for every church member.
Kevin McCarthy
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Things I liked and things I didn't. I liked the focus on grace towards the end. But some of the claims about ways in which our theology of conversion affects our churches needed more defense/explaining. Part of my struggle with this book is probably wrapped up in my own discomfort with the difficulties of assurance.
Michael Abraham
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
There is a lot of confusion with the doctrine of conversion. Lawrence explains it in a simple manner.
Todd Burgett
rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2017
Beckie West
rated it liked it
Dec 06, 2018
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

MICHAEL LAWRENCE is senior pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, OR. He earned a PhD in church history from Cambridge University and an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He previously served as associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church with Mark Dever. In addition to his books, he's con

Other books in the series

9Marks: Building Healthy Churches (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus
  • Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus
  • Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus
  • Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God's Word Today
  • Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God
  • The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ
  • Church Elders: How to Shepherd God's People Like Jesus (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches)
  • Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus
  • Missions: How the Local Church Goes Global
  • Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church (9marks: Building Healthy Churches)
“The Spirit doesn’t simply make me a singular new creation. He makes me part of God’s new creation people. He inscribes God’s rule on my heart, teaching me about love for neighbor and love for my brothers and sisters in Christ especially. He teaches me that my life with God includes a life with God’s people, in the corporate worship and common life of the church. This is why John can say that you’re a liar if you claim to love God but don’t love your brother (1 John 4:20). Or why Paul can say that we, Jew and Gentile, have already been made one new man (Eph. 2:13–16). Regeneration gives us a heart not only for God, but also for God’s people.” 0 likes
“From the garden, to Abraham and his descendants, to Israel, to the church, to the New Jerusalem, God has always worked to save a people for his Son.” 0 likes
More quotes…