Abstract

The present crisis in churches is often addressed by means of pragmatic solutions. However, we contend that the problem is rather a lack of theological reflection. Secularization and pluralism require that churches within Free Church traditions renegotiate their own self-understanding. This thesis is primarily based on a historical analysis of the theological ideas operative in the conceptualization of conversion of youth within the Swedish Baptist denomination Örebromissionen (presently Interact). The analysis demonstrates that conversion over time became perceived primarily as a datable and emotional experience whereas the earlier strive to be different from others in society was replaced by an ambition to be a responsible actor in society, promoting the shared moral values of society among the youth. In light of the analysis, we claim that the Free churches should utilize their resources to give room for a more holistic understanding of the human being that emphasizes emotion, cognition and practices. In conclusion, we argue that such a holistic view challenge present theological education within the Free Church tradition to develop a post-secular competence and a missional perspective.