Christianity -- Christian Living/Conversion-becoming a Christian


Background - I've been in the 'Holiness Apostolic Pentecostal' church, a NON-Evangelical group, it is Oneness Pentecostal, specifically the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). Our main beliefs are:

1. Acts 2:38 Salvation
2. Must repent (confess ALL sin)
3. Must be water baptized by immersion [ONLY] (rebaptized if done by pouring or sprinkling) in the name of Jesus Christ [ONLY] (repabtized if done in the Trinity) for the remission of sins
4. Must receive the Baptism in the Holy Ghost with the required evidence of speaking in tongues
5. Must have the STANDARDS OF HOLINESS (long skirts to the ankles, long sleeves, un-cut hair, no jewelry, no make-up, must wear hose to worship
6. Not really fully saved until in heaven

I had a witnessing experience from a United Methodist. They quoted to me about salvation, Romans 10:13 - For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. At the moment you call upon the name of the Lord, you experience conversion, you are saved, without tongues, without water baptism, without works. As Methodists, we do not do that. We believe that just the faith statement, calling on the name of the Lord,is required for conversion, without works, tongues, and legalism, and not by our baptism.

The Methodist also said: Romans 10:9-10 - That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

The Methodist also said: YOu must believe, and you must confess, to be saved. Correct?

Do you believe that "CONVERSION" is just another term for "salvation" or "becoming a Christian" or "getting saved?"

I am under the impression that you Evangelicals believe that salvation/conversion occurs when you believe, confess, and call on the name of the Lord like Romans 10:13, even without water baptism. Methodists do believe in salvation (conversion, becoming a Christian) without the essentiality/requirement of water baptism? Correct?

The Methodist also said: "The MOMENT you believe and call on the name of the Lord, you shall be saved, ... is when the conversion occurs? Correct?

Is that really what it means to be Evangelical: instantaneous conversions, faith in a moment, being saved the moment you believe and confess?

I would love to believe like this, this instantaneous conversion of faith in a moment, but how many scriptures are their in the Bible of someone having salvation at the moment of belief, confession, call on the name of the Lord - without water baptism, without tongues, without legalism? Just give the scriptural reference...

Thank You,

Hi Greg, thank you for trusting me with your question.  I will give a short answer for tonight.  If you’d like a fuller answer as to why there are distinctions and seeming contradictions in what different denominations believe, I’ll be happy to address that. Let me know on that one.

First, yes, conversion and getting saved both refer to the same process of moving from darkness to light, from a place of separation from God to a place of being in Christ, and from being dead in sin to eternal life.

Being an Evangelical is an outlook...of choosing Christian evangelism as a way of life, spreading the Good News because it IS such good news!  :)

Christians, particularly those of a Protestant background, believe that salvation comes with the crossing of the line from unbelief to faith in a decision process.  To be saved, we believe, confess, repent, and move from death to life (which begins now and continues into eternity).  Baptism is an outward sign to the community of our identification with Christ.

Those questions answered, here is the main one you appeared to be asking:

According to Scripture, we are saved by God’s grace, through the vehicle of our faith in Jesus Christ.  (Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.)

Evidence that the faith is saving faith (from God’s perspective) is our being sealed with the Holy Spirit.  The Lord knows who is saved in a way we cannot: (2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.")

Each of us as individuals can know the security of the guarantee of the Holy Spirit—even if we do not necessarily see evidence of that immediately in the life of another person or know who the Holy Spirit is at the time of conversion.  It occurs at “having believed”.  (Ephesians 1: 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-- to the praise of his glory.)

Nothing else is required other than to believe in your heart that Jesus is the Risen Lord, repent of your sins, and to confess He is Lord. (Romans 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.)

As for people who believed and instantly had salvation, there are quite a few instances without baptism, the Holy Spirit, tongues, etc.  For tonight, here are a few:

Luke 7:50 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."  In the Greek, the word faith is "pistis" and the word for save is "sozo".  Look at the interlinear Bible online which shows both the Koine Greek and English.

In this next case the word translated “well” is the same word meaning “save.”  Jesus is saying that he was truly healed in an eternal way.  Luke 17:19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."   Again the Greek words pistis and sozo.

Both of these individuals were saved and Jesus said so...before Jesus died, because their faith was like that of Abraham who was also saved before Jesus…and before the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell believers.  (Galatians 3:2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?... :5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? 6 Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.")

Much of what excites charismatics and those from Pentecostal traditions, revolves around the Holy Spirit--and with good reason! I believe the Holy Spirit is the best kept secret of Protestant Christianity.  We diminish Him in unfortunate ways.  My own conversion experience was marked by the Holy Spirit even though I didn't have a name for the event at that time.  I have a link to my conversion on my web site (  I have a high regard for the Holy Spirit.

After Jesus rose from the dead and the Holy Spirit was given, things were a bit different.  For some people like me, it was dramatic.  For others, not at all.  In Scripture after Pentecost, we do see a range of experiences.  I’ll offer more of these tomorrow because you might be particularly curious about Acts 8:14 or Acts 10:44, for example.  That requires a bit more explanation, but I will be happy to offer what scholars say about these, if you’re interested.

Until tomorrow, I hope this down payment on an answer will help toward answering your question fully.

Be blessed tonight,  in Him,
Barbara <><

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Barbara Shafer


Barbara Shafer (Seminary Gal now also at ) I am an Evangelical Christian who is willing to answer faith questions in a thoughtful, researched manner. In particular, my heart`s desire is to assist those who need answers regarding suffering and those seeking to reconcile the Christian faith with the field of science.


I have a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I particularly enjoy apologetics (defense and explanation of the Christian faith) and systematic theology (understanding how the Bible itself supports various aspects of Christian doctrine). Both of these play a vital role in the "nuts and bolts" of evangelism... but the heart of Christian evangelism is love and compassion. A turning point for me was when I experienced the loss of my daughter Julia. Since then, my heart has been to help people who struggle to understand the Christian faith (and those who may be questioning the goodness of God) in light of the problem of evil and suffering. I've been informally answering Bible questions via other Internet avenues for over 10 years- to skeptics and believers alike. Thank you for blessing me with these opportunities.

Master of Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

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