Conversion in Luke and Paul: An Exegetical and Theological Exploration
Author(s): David S. Morlan
This study explores the conversion theologies of Luke and Paul. For Luke and Paul conversion played an important role in the early Christian experience and Morlan offers a fresh look into how they interpreted this phenomenon. Morlan traverses representative texts in the Lukan and Pauline corpus equipped with three theological questions. What is the change involved in this conversion? Why is conversion necessary? Who is responsible for conversion?
Morlan presents theological and exegetical analysis of Luke 15, Acts 2, Acts 17.16-34, Romans 2 and Romans 9-11 and answers these questions, and, in turn, builds theological profiles for both Luke and Paul. These profiles provide fresh insight into the theological relationship between Luke and Paul, showing significant similarities as well as sharp contrasts between them. Similarities surface between Luke and Paul concerning the centrality of Christology in their conversion theologies. While showing a complex relationship between human and divine agency in conversion, both Luke and Paul understand successful conversion to be impossible without the intervention of an agency outside of the pre-convert.
“This book raised good questions for integrating Romans 2 & 10 into a coherent Pauline doctrine of conversion. Morlan is brave to tread through Rom 10:1–8 and his suggestion that Paul intentionally avoids the word 'repent/return' from Deut 30 is instructive. He also notes that both Luke and Paul appeal to Joel 2:32 in order to demonstrate a proper 'point-in-time' appropriation of salvation, which he calls conversion. Understood on this level, Morlan gives a helpful description of human response in conversion.” —For Christ and His Kingdom