There has been a question in Christianity for almost as long as there has been a Church. What does it mean to be converted? How can one know that those who claim Christ are really His? This has been dealt with many different ways over the centuries.
Many have settled on the conclusion that Christians simply have to believe the claim of conversion made by others. Others, especially in the stricter Reform camps, require proof over time. But, we all have to come down to the reality that none can see the hearts of others.
This question has resurfaced in the churches of Germany.
ARD reports that there has been a significant influx of migrant baptisms. These converts are said to be coming from such places as Syria, Pakistan, and Iran. Ironically these are some of the most dangerous places for Christians to live.
This connection is the very reason that the German government and others are skeptical. There is the fear that these conversions and baptisms are being used to assist these people in receiving their asylum status from the German government.
Those making decisions for the German government on whether to accept applications are now having to determine whether the conversions are honest or not.
The churches themselves are taking some of that burden on themselves by engaging in checks on the candidates before their baptisms. One church required 30 German church goers to testify an applicant was already an active member of the community. Others asked why the candidate wanted to be religious in the first place, and others asked questions requiring a reasonable level of knowledge of the faith, such as “How many days between Easter and Pentecost?”
With the Evangelical churches holding classes and programs before claims of conversion are accepted, there is a greater chance that these claims of faith are real. In the end, whether these claims are real or not, they are being exposed to the truth. For that, we should be thankful.