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Changes to Religious Conversion

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Published: Wed, 08 Aug 2018

How have the ideas of conversion changed over time?

Remember to write what conversion is n (this is for me) Conversion has been affected overtime due to many avenues that I will be discussing through this essay. ‘The Conversion of Europe’ is concerned about the conversion of the mass which differs from modern conversions such a Samson Staniforth. I will be illustrating how conversion has changed overtime due to factors such as culture, technology and time which has also changed the meaning of conversion.

The conversion of Europe started in the sixth century, ‘A religion which had grown up in the Mediterranian world of the Roman Empire was diffused among the outsiders whom the Romans referred to as the Barbarians’ (this is a quote but I want it to be a sentence imbedded and leave it red please). The conversion of Barbarian Europe had sufficed a much wider change, a change larger than just a change of belief but cultural change, declaring Christianity was just the beginning. The conversion followed with the Roman and Mediterranean way of life, adopting their value, habits and customs. Fletcher illustrated that during the 5th century, Christianity was seen as more than a religion, and it was seen as a way of life hence impacted all aspects such as authority, law, government, economy, as well as social aspects such as art, food and agriculture. The ideas of conversion had been implemented in all parts of living and had also been what governs law unlike religion today which is perceived as a social personal matter. The Gregorian mission is an example of the conversion process which took part in Kent and other part of eastern England by Pope Gregory I since 601 mentioned by Fletcher. Paulinus, a member of the Gregorian mission who had been sent around by Pope Gregory I to convert people in Northumbria. This was a success as ‘’the royal family had been converted and an archbishopric found at Canter-bury’’, this was illustrates the impact of the Gregorian mission had through preaching Christianity. Modern day conversion narrative such as George Whitfield focuses on a spiritual impact which hones one from evil to a place of grace. Furthermore; Whitfield largely focused on his bad deeds; ‘’I took pleasure in lewd conversion’’ is an example of Whitefield’s sinful past, many who have come across Whitefield’s narrative have assumed that his sins were enhanced to make his conversion seem more dramatic. There’s a couple of factors which

Augustine and the early church conversion. Augustine’s conversion had influenced many modern conversion narratives as he had been a unique experience which had been written in a chronological sense. Pg 17. Hindmash suggested ‘’Augustine’s narrative n the confessions is indebted to the Neoplatonic pattern of the ascent of the soul’’. Augustine’s quest was to achieve union with the God from whom all beauty, truth, and goodness derives, and his crisis of conversion was the crisis of philosopher who could see the nature of the good life in ascetic self-denial and contemplation, but who had not the moral power to achieve it (please can you reword the bit in red its from a book and keep it red please). Augustine’s conversion took place in the early years if 397-8CE, his conversion states his transition from his sinful youth to becoming more virtuous. Quote; ‘I heard a voice from the nearby house chanting…repeating over and over again “Pick up and read, pick up and read.”’, this suggests that Augustine picked up the Bible die to the children chanting and started reading. However, many sceptics may disagree perhaps view this as unrealistic, several people would have investigated out of the window hence why it may be perceived as being exaggerated. Furthermore; many would not assume a child to be one of authority figure hence why the authenticity of Augustine’s conversion is questioned.

Conversion in the countryside

The ideas of conversion had changed overtime for due to many factors, one of which had been where the conversion of Christianity was taking place. The Bishop’s method of conversion in the Countryside was to target landed elites, who held great influence locally pg 40 ‘’to take firm and if necessary coercive action to make peasantry Christian’’, Fletcher is perhaps indicating that the ideas of conversion had been attain in an oppressive state rather than a choice; this had taken pace in places such as Constantinople, Italy, Africa and many more. Furthermore; it is evident that the ideas of conversion were not only changed overtime but they were different within communities of the same time. The countryside is an example of hierarchical control, although not all bishops had carried out the same approach; Martin, the bishop of Tours is one who had taken matters in his own hands and ‘’choos[e] to take direct and personal actions’’.

Paganism had started to become less common overtime which changed people’s idea of God and created a more spiritual way of converting, this can be seen in the Baptism of Edwin from Bed’s narrative; according to this Edwin felt as though – evidence (the conversion of Europe)- this was seen by Edwin who said which was seen in Bede’s narrative: ‘’be-fore he set out on campaign he promised that if God grant him victory he would renounce the worship of idols and serve Christ’’; due to the success of his campaign he sent his daughter to be baptized. Baptism is a symbol of being reborn as a Christian, it is an important ceremony which conveys a lot of spirituality.

Paganism is a reason why

Our understanding and interpretation of conversion had changed overtime due to culture and society –evidence Physiological advancement – the meaning of conversion changed overtime there were more imitations of Augustine’s conversion which demonstrated that what it meant to be Christian during the medieval roman times to what it was in the later centuries have changed

Sampson Staniforth Evangelical Conversion –

Staniforth similarly to Augustine began by describing the pain that sufficed for him before his conversion which was illustrated: ‘but to continue crying and wresting with God, till He had no mercy on me. How long I was in that agony I cannot tell’. Evidently from this, we can perhaps assume from the description that life before conversion had been agonising, this is specifically demonstrated when he mentions; ‘but to continue crying and wresting with God’. Staniforth’s goes on to explain the significance of the conversion to his life as it was a defining moment. The prolonged wait for a sign from God. Hindmash mentions how conversions such as Stantiforth’s have 5 concepts which the story is focussed on: ‘autobiography, narrative, identity, conversion and gospel’. It is evident that modern te ‘p

Sixteenth and seventeenth century

The ideas of conversion have changed overtime which has been demonstrated through the narrative. Hindmash goes on further to speak about the Catholic’s understanding of conversion according to Puritans Thomas Goodwin and Philip Nye. They believed; ‘’England was ‘half reformed’ and they wanted to see a purer church’’pg 33. An example of the rise of conversion narrative which changed the ideas of conversion overtime is ‘spiritual brotherhood’; ‘’ preached the word of God in the same spirit and felt themselves to be members of a brotherhood’’, they ‘’ became a centre of reforming activity, teaching, and training that eventually sent many of them throughout the rest of England and even to the Netherlands and to the New World’’ (can you please rephrase this so it is not a quote and leave it red please). The puritans were described by Richard Baxter as: ‘’affectionate practical English writers’’; this illustrates the power of narrative and frame it was written in; they ‘’fostered spiritual autobiography in part by their stress upon religious experience’’.


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