Cautions About Conversion
August 7, 2023

Wisdom from my old friend and colleague, Rev. Rich Bledsoe, on conversion.

People "meet" Jim Jordan, and have the bracing thrill of escaping the flatness of just living and being in the 21st century.

They might take off to the thrilling different world of Eastern Orthodoxy. They experience the thrill of "seeing" in 3 dimensions. Going to India to teach theology some years ago, did that for me.

Maybe they have found a new home. God bless them if this is so. It has some real good in it, and it is another dimension, in a real way. But it may be that their new eyes will also blind them to some other realities.

The east and west developed in some different ways, and the whole of the Bible is still bigger than east and west combined. The east is still largely dim to the judicial elements of scripture and reality, just as the west is dim to elements that the east probably saw more clearly.

The danger of being a convert from one branch to another of the church is the far greater probability that the brightness of all that is now newly seen becomes another "system" that now gives the illusion of having discovered all of the truth, and now seeing everything.

If you grew up Presbyterian, or Roman Catholic, or Orthodox, you are in no danger of thinking your branch of the church is the zenith of truth. That was one thing that immensely impressed me when I recently discovered and read Thomas Oden (who I knew nothing about before reading A Change of Heart) that I would find on the next page, that he had converted to Orthodoxy, or to Rome. But no. He died a Methodist, and it's hard to have stars in your eyes about the Methodist Church.

In a similar vein, converts to Orthodoxy can have all of the charm of the Truly Reformed (TRs). Are not TRs folks who suddenly discover 5 pt. Calvinism, and it is all of the truth?  Even discovering Theopolis could do this.

There is no haven of perfect enlightenment in this world, and since the church is the one place where the flesh is openly revealed and exposed, the church is also, in all its branches, going to be a place of conflict (all churches that have at least a modicum of true faith, will have this built in conflict).

But new converts from one branch to another are liable to think all conflict is with what is left behind, and do a projection trick that actually increases the conflict, but makes the conflicted blind to it. At least for a time. The recently-Reformed and new converts to Orthodoxy have this same thing in common.

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