Thursday, March 26, 2009

Paul, "Called" or "Converted"?

I'm reading through a review copy of Michael Bird's Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message (IVP, 2008), and I'd like to solicit your thoughts on this quote:

Bird writes,
While it has been fashionable in recent decades to say that Paul was 'called' rather than 'converted', we might remember that Paul's gut-wrenching and decisive transformation meant he was indeed swung around 180 degrees. This conversion, however, was not a conversion from one religion to another or from Judaism to Christianity. Paul was converted from the Pharisaic sect to a messianic sect within Judaism. (35)
What do you make of these last two sentences?