The story of the conversion of Paul from an enemy of Christ to the disciple called out of due season is a prominent event in the New Testament. That dramatic change in Paul was prompted not by some preaching, the way current day conversions are supposed to happen, but by a direct visitation by Christ to Paul. In other words, Paul did not become a Christian by following some prescription of divine rituals established by the church. He became a Christ follower because of direct, divine intervention. Paul’s will and Paul’s prior commitment and Paul in general were excluded from his own conversion.
As the apostle chosen out of due season, Paul was converted after the resurrection of Jesus, after Pentecost, after a considerable period of early church history. The other apostles never had a recorded conversion experience either but they were called out to discipleship long before the cross, so theirs could not have been a response to evangelism under the Great Commission.
So one has to accept that Paul’s situation is unique within the scriptures and does not correspond to the traditional notion of what makes one a Christian, namely responding to the preaching of the Gospel in accordance with some church procedure. If Paul could become a Christian by direct, divine intervention, one must ask why anyone else couldn’t be transformed in the same way.
This example case settles the issue of whether God could redeem men by other than the process of the Great Commission. He could and He did. The work of Jesus extended to Paul; and Paul was accepted by God with no prior conditions related to how Paul believed, felt, or acted. Conversion was 100% God and 0% Paul.
All doctrines of salvation which insist that the saved individual must respond in faith to Jesus are soundly refuted by Paul’s conversion. It cannot be said that mankind is necessarily involved in actuating their own redemption through some process of obedience and submission. Prior to the blinding light Paul displayed neither obedience nor submission.
No doubt a lot of folks in our day would be more inclined to embrace Jesus if they experienced him directly rather than through church instruction. Church instruction in righteousness is a muddled mess and reflects too much strife and condemnation to be appealing. People rightly question the indirect message when the results are less than good.
So, yes, let Jesus speak directly to my heart without a human intermediary, and I can be assured that I am actually hearing his unadulterated Truth. Short of that I am just hoping that I am not being led astray by human wisdom, masquerading as divine.