The Price of a Proselyte

J. D. Conley
February 16, 2014

The church of our Lord is to be global in it's evangelism, (Mk.16:15). We are "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1Tim.3:15). No one is to be denied the privilege of hearing the gospel preached. Sadly, some of the denominations do a better job at getting out their version of "another gospel," than we do with the one true gospel, (Gal. 1:6-9). Such is a shameful thing to see.

During the time Christ walked the earth, He spoke to some Jewish missionaries who possessed evangelistic fervor. Making converts to Judaism was of paramount importance to them. Jesus told them "Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte" (Mt.23:15). And yet, the Lord was indignant with their efforts prefacing His remarks by calling them "hypocrites." He then ended those remarks by saying "When he [proselyte] is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." A proselyte was a Gentile who was converted to Judaism. A proselyte was considered to be a Jew in the fullest sense. Few Gentiles became proselytes, but the ones who did were fanatical in their conversion, even more so than their zealous converters. This is why Jesus labeled them twice as hellish than the Pharisees who had feverishly sought and taught them. The Pharisees were not trying to lead men to God, but to Pharisaism. Had they been seeking to convert men to God's ways instead of theirs, Jesus wouldn't have said what He did. Obviously, the price for a proselyte was far too high.

As we go out and try to convert others to the gospel of Christ, let us be careful to do just that, and nothing more. The fervor of the Pharisees is to be admired, but their motive is to be despised. We are not to go into all the world, i.e., "compass sea and land," to make a convert for selfish reasons. The church of our Lord is not a sect. In fact, its more of a description than it is a designation. Let the gospel convert people to Christ, not a man. Let the gospel make a Christian, not a "church of Christer." May the New Testament be our only creed and instruction manual with no addendum to it. May we work tirelessly at winning the world for Christ giving all the glory to God. Christianity has nothing to do with self aggrandizement, whereas Pharisaism fed off it. The price for one convert to Christ is never too high, but if they have been led to accept anything less, they're lost and so are we if we're culpable for their warped conversion.