Four Characteristics of a False Convert

Simon

I've never been quite convinced Simon was a false "believer." The same goes for Ananias and Sapphira. They could have been very immature, foolish new believers. We've all seen new Christian take a while to get rid of baggage, and in the process do some incredibly foolish and un-Christian things.

The Scripture doesn't say he was an unbeliever. But, the Scripture does say Simon "believed" and was baptized, and "continued with Philip," (Acts 8:13). That is, until . . . you know.

You can argue he never really believed. But, we should leave room for the possibility he actually was a Christian. It's what the text says. You have the same problem in Acts 15:5 - were those former Pharisees really Christians? The text says they were - just really confused Christians. Just look at Peter's own struggles to ditch his theological baggage (Gal 2; Acts 10:28 - he's wrong about the law there).

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Reading between the lines...

...the article more or less says that if a man is self-centered, then he likely is not saved.  Is, then, self-centeredness the unforgivable sin?  That's not what my Bible says.  If God can forgive murderers like Paul, David, Moses, and others, and if He can forgive adulterers like David, I am at a loss as to how we would conclude that being self-centered would disqualify a man for the Kingdom of God.

In the case discussed by the author, it's worth noting that Simon's response to Peter does not specifically track Peter's accusation; Peter states the reality that Simon has no part in Peter's gifts, and that Simon's heart is not right before God.  Peter does not accuse him of being an unbeliever, but rather of having a wicked heart.  Simon's response pleads that he not suffer what Peter had prophecied.  

Now narrowly/strictly speaking, Peter has not prophecied anything; he has merely noted Simon's wicked heart(unless there's a hint in the Greek I can't see).  But Simon--rightly I believe--perceives that implicit in Peter's rebuke is a set of horrendous consequences for him.  So if I'm reading this right, Simon's repentance may put a lot of our repentance to shame.  He knows the rebuke, he knows the consequences, and he's turning away from it.

Yes, I'm reading this passage very differently from the author.  :^)

Really?

So, the Holy Spirit supernaturally inspired Luke to infallibly record for all people for all time that "Simon himself believed also...", was baptized, and followed Peter in ministry when, in actuality, Simon did not believe, his baptism was a lie, and that the whole purpose of this inspired narrative was to communicate without any sense of clarity what a false conversion looks like?  Can I take my agenda to all Scripture like this? It certainly would make for easier decision-making.

Or, maybe, we should just let the narrative instruct us on what it actually communicated: attempting to purchase a spiritual gift receives the Divine frown in similar fashion to Balaam selling his spiritual gift back in the Book of Numbers.

Lee


▴ Top of page