Your God Shall Be My God

Written by Jonathan A. Romain Reviewed By David Smith

Any book dealing with the subject of conversion is likely to be of interest to evangelicals. However, it is important to note that this subject is not dealt with in this volume in biblical perspective but involves instead a study of the way in which people change religions. ‘Conversion’ as used in the title thus has no reference at all to a Christian understanding of the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit but is simply a synonym for movement between religious traditions. The author, himself a Jewish rabbi, asks why many of his fellow Jews forsake their religious upbringing and become Christians? Or why do Hindus become Muslims? Or indeed, what is it that attracts people nurtured in Christianity to Buddhism? And so on.

At first glance it might seem that a book like this has little of importance or relevance to say to those of us concerned with Christian witness in a pluralist society. The author offers as an appendix, a ‘Guide for Those Considering Conversion’ in which, among other things, he suggests that the seeking soul should investigate different religious traditions ‘to find out which has the values and lifestyles that appeals most to you’. Clearly, conversion is viewed here as involving simply a rational choice not that different from the way consumers select items from supermarket shelves and such a concept is indeed far removed from an evangelical understanding of conversion.

At the same time, a book like this is not without value in that it demonstrates the existence of widespread religious longings within Western Society, provides evidence of considerable movement across religious barriers, and presents Christians with the challenge of a culture in which the credibility of the gospels is tied to its ability to change peoples’ lives and provide human hope and meaning. Thus, provided Romain’s work is read at this level, it is not without considerable interest to modern Christians even as they recognise that its description of conversion falls a long way short of the kind of transformation to which they are able to bear witness.

David Smith

David Smith
Covenant Fellowship Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA