From a Christian perspective, what is a false convert? A false convert is a person who may outwardly appear to be born again, and a disciple of Jesus Christ, but they have no relationship with our Lord. They are not saved. The false Christian convert may somewhat act like a Christian, talk like a Christian, and do the things that true Christians do, but they do not have eternal life abiding in them. They are spiritually dead and on their way to hell. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). Some false converts are deliberate deceivers, they know that they are not saved, but for some reason they want to masquerade as a child of God. Other false converts are actually very deceived.

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22-23 NIV). Jesus said that “many” would stand before him on judgement day proclaiming their righteousness before him, but this group of people will discover that they were never saved. These lost souls were evidently deceived into thinking that they knew the Lord. But at no time did they have a relationship with him. They were never born again. It is troubling to understand that these people, described as many, were a group of individuals who probably were active in some local church as ministers. If there are numerous people in this group, how large is the crowd of “pew warmers” who think that they are saved but are not? How can this be possible, how are so many people deceived?

There are several reasons why individuals have a false sense of salvation. One of the main reasons is that these people were drawn to “Christianity” apart from the Spirit of God. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44 KJV). It is impossible for anyone to make up their mind to be saved, they must be drawn by the Holy Spirit. People do not choose God, he chooses them. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). And how are we born again? “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5). The new birth is impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit. Please do not get confused, this has nothing to do with manifesting the gifts of the Spirit as some heretical teachings proclaim, that is a discussion for another post. But we need the Holy Spirit to be saved. So, if these people are not responding to God’s Spirit, what are they responding to?

False converts many times have responded to a good Christian message, but that message was not the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is the gospel of Jesus Christ? “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The message of the gospel is that Jesus, Yeshua, died for our sins, was buried, and then rose again on the third day. “God loves you!”, is a good and true message, but it is not the gospel. “Jesus wants to give you peace and happiness!”, is a very true statement, but it is not the gospel. The gospel message includes the reality of individual, and original, sin. The topics of sin, hell, and the wrath of God are issues that the “seeker friendly” preacher avoids at all costs. These preachers are attempting to utilize an incomplete and sometimes perverse gospel to reach the lost. The Holy Spirit will not endorse a false gospel message. Many false Christian converts said yes to a “good” message that was not empowered by the Holy Spirit. False converts are also created by teachers presenting a counterfeit Christ.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). There are many false forms of Christianity that present a distorted Christ. Some of these heretical movements have many teachings that appear to be close to true Christianity. However, they proclaim a false Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witnesses present a false Jesus who they proclaim to be a minor or created god. Mormons present Jesus as the brother of Satan, and their view of God the Father is extremely blasphemous. To deny the full deity of Jesus is to reject him. And according to our Lord, those who reject him as God are going to hell. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). The context of this verse presents the rejection by religious leaders of Jesus proclamation that he is God. A person who follows perverse and false forms of Christianity may actually believe that they are following the Lord. However, they have yielded to a demonic spirit and not to the Spirit of God. How can today’s ministers help to prevent the creation of false Christian converts?

Christians who are not clergy or ministers can help to create false converts by inviting their friends to church without telling them about Jesus, but the majority of false converts are created by ordained or licensed teachers. Preachers of the gospel are less likely to create false converts if they actually preach the gospel to the lost instead of a culturally sensitive message that evades the issue of sin. Many pastors are concerned about filling their pews, so their evangelistic efforts are structured to be inoffensive and loving. These types of messages are OK, but when attempting to bring someone into the kingdom of God, the true gospel must be presented. Jesus cannot be proclaimed as Savior if that proclamation does not include what he is saving people from.  The lost must be told that they are sinners by birth and by practice; and they must understand that they are under the wrath of God and on their way to hell. Ministers must also have 100% reliance on the Holy Spirit because salvation is all of God. The Holy Spirit will not share the stage with a big ego. Ministers who think that their efforts are what brings salvation are just fooling themselves, and their attempts at evangelism are often carnal and powerless. Christians must understand that the Holy Spirit is our power source, and our message of salvation must be empowered by him. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).