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Brad Smith

I so agree with you, that the conversion of Saul was incredible! That indeed shows us that those we may deem untouchable may very well be the most powerful tools yet to be used by God.
However, I have a question for you to honestly consider. In your remark that Saul was now called a brother, there is assumption that this is a direct indication of his conversion. So, the first question is: Are those in Acts 2 who have not yet repented for sending Jesus to the cross, are they brethren in the sense that they are converted in verse 29? Also, what do you consider conversion and salvation to be? Is it a state that a person is still in their sins. If so, then you will continue to have no problem with Sauls conversion leaving him in need of forgiveness. But if a person in conversion is cleansed from their sin, Why does Paul in his account of the same incident in Acts 22, state (after being called "Brother" by Ananias) that Ananias told him to arise and be baptized and was away his sins? Could it be possible that like in Acts 2:29 and 3:17, when those men were called brothers, it was in the Jewish sense, that here too, Ananias was using the term brother in the same way? Dont get me wrong, if you are fully convinced of your belief here, I still regard you as my brother. However, if this in the least makes you take a second look, I am in hopes that your influence will continue to grow as you are sharpened by God's word. Thanks for considering, Brad

Shane Kastler

Hi Brad -- Thanks for the question. My "short answer" would be that the point of the article was not necessarily to pinpoint the exact moment of Saul's conversion, but rather to point out the general fact that he was converted at all. The amazing fact that he went from being a Christ-hating persecutor of the church to a Christ-loving preacher for the church. While the word "brother" could certainly be used in a Jewish sense, like the example you cited from Acts 2, I would argue that Ananias uses it in a Christian sense. Evidenced by the fact that Christ had appeared to both Ananias and Saul; and that the instructions that Ananias gave Saul after addressing him as "brother" were Christian in nature. Once Christ appeared to Saul, it had become evident that Saul's conversion was imminent, and this was particularly true from Ananias's perspective since Jesus told him that Saul was a "chosen instrument of mine" (Acts 9:15). As for the reference to "washing away sins" through baptism, I would see that as symbolic language. Sins aren't literally "washed away" with water; any more than Nicodemus being literally "born again" by re-emerging from his mother's womb. The language is speaking of spiritual realities.
Saul went from being a persecutor to a Christian "brother" by being converted. This may or may not have been true of every Jewish "brother" mentioned in Acts 2:29. But it was certainly true in the case of Saul. That was my main point. Thanks again for the question.

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