Matt Slick's daughter: "Freedom is my God now"

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Mark_Smith's picture

but reading the article, she makes it obvious that she never developed a relationship with God. Even at 9 years old she felt like she had to be perfect to measure up. I thought of Martin Luther being mad at the just God who held him to such high standards until the light of Romans 1:16-17 broke into him. To me, the hardest thing for Christian parents (and youth leaders) is to not just teach rules, but to teach the kids to develop their own relationship with God.


The question that caused her to abandon God is a classic one, are the OT law and NT grace consistent? Peter dealt with that (kill and eat!) as well as Paul in 1 Corinthians. Many "atheists" bring it up (i.e. how can Christians eat shellfish or wear mixed fiber clothing???). She apparently never saw that the law's purpose is NOT to make a "to do" and a "not to do" list, but to reveal that we are sinners in need of salvation by grace from a loving God that dies for our sins. No one can keep the law and avoid sin completely. Revelaing that is the law's purpose. As Jonah said, salvation belongs to the LORD, we can do nothing to earn it.

Andrew K.'s picture

This changed one day during a conversation with my friend Alex. I had a habit of bouncing theological questions off him, and one particular day, I asked him this: If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

Alex had no answer — and I realized I didn’t either. Everyone had always explained this problem away using the principle that Jesus’ sacrifice meant we wouldn’t have to follow those ancient laws. 
But that wasn’t an answer. In fact, by the very nature of the problem, there was no possible answer that would align with Christianity.

Wow. I'm rather shocked that this would be a challenge for someone with the training she's had. How can you have such a flattened view of morality? Morality is absolute in essence, of course, but it has relative and situational elements as well. E.g. God is personal, and to disobey his commands is sin. Are we all to go to Nineveh?

There's a special kind of blindness that could even consider such a line of argument persuasive. God must have been nothing more than a static, rational principle to her. Very sad indeed.


Ed Vasicek's picture

So sad!  Her story is probably not unlike that of many others, only she had the truth in greater detail than most. We might argue that she was given TMI and brought up too strictly, but I don't think that was it, primarily.

If her questions were answered, I think many of us believe the outcome would be the same.  It really takes an act of God's grace for us to embrace the God of the Bible.  He is unappealing to the natural man.




"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture


All I could think of as I read this article is that this young woman never made the faith her own. She was borrowing her faith from her parents. They did the "right" things. They taught her the "correct" answers. She accepted them for a while. However, once in college, this false structure was no stronger than a house of cards. She never had her own faith, she had been living her parent's faith. 

I mention this constantly in teen Sunday School - that everybody has to make a decision to make their faith real, not merely a show for their parents who expect them to come to church and be "good" Christians. I wonder if it gets through. Teen are such a tough audience. 

I've never heard of Matt Slick before and know nothing about him. Regardless, this is a very sad story. 



Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

JohnBrian's picture

Lately I've been coming across more people whose parents or grandparents were/are Christians, and yet they have no faith or have abandoned the faith they appeared to have.

It has saddened me.

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Lee's picture

Being in youth ministry for almost 35 years I have had the opportunity to observe many children brought up in very sound Christian homes, many of ministry parents, who have openly and shamelessly left the faith with similar stories.  Same true of vocational ministers.

Almost always, when the dross is removed, there is a long-term moral issue that they have been unwilling or unable to master that they simply quit battling, and turning to agnosticism or atheism (either openly or de facto) is the next easiest step.

Just an observation.



Jay's picture

This story really grieved me when I first read it, and as I've chewed on it,  I wonder how much of it is related to problems in her dad's life and in her upbringing:

After I sat down, he would say, “My daughter knows more about theology than you do! You are not doing your jobs as Christians to stay educated and sharp in the faith.”

Conversation with him was a daily challenge. He would frequently make blatantly false statements — such as “purple dogs exist” — and force me to disprove him through debate. He would respond to things I said demanding technical accuracy, so that I had to narrow my definitions and my terms to give him the correct response...

Obedience was paramount — if we did not respond immediately to being called, we were spanked ten to fifteen times with a strip of leather cut from the stuff they used to make shoe soles. Bad attitudes, lying, or slow obedience usually warranted the same — the slogan was “All the way, right away, and with a happy spirit.” We were extremely well-behaved children, and my dad would sometimes show us off to people he met in public by issuing commands that we automatically rushed to obey...

At this point, my dad was working at a tech job during the day and working in his office, writing and researching, at night. He developed a huge collection of books, with bookshelves that spanned the wall, full of Bibles and notebooks filled with theology...

I ran away from home when I was 17 (due to reasons not pertinent to this post) and went to college the following year...

I don’t know how my dad reacted to my deconversion; I haven’t spoken to him since I left home...

I do not intend to irritate or aggravate the situation, but it seems like there were problems in the relationship when Rachel was a kid, and it seems like her dad was so focused on his ministry that he put his family on the backburner.  I also wonder if he spends his life looking to argue people in the Kingdom and/or 'shame them' into studying harder or working harder or being better instead of patiently teaching them, as 2 Timothy 4:2 says.

I have no basis for any of that, but it seems like there's a lot more going on and under the surface than this admittedly one sided story seems to indicate. 

In any case, it is a tragedy.  Rachel, regardless of her choices, should be able to have a relationship with her dad and has walked away from the faith.  I can't imagine the pain her parents feel.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mike Harding's picture



Very interesting story. Likewise, in every apostate case I have dealt with there has always been an underlying moral issue, usually some form of sexual sin, that has dominated the agenda.  Rachel loves her freedom from feeling guilty over her sexual sin.  This she admits to.  One's morality has a profound influence on their theology.  Ultimately, she needs the regenerating grace of God and the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit.  It sounds to me that her Dad was very committed to his family, perhaps even over zealous at times.  I am sure her parents are inconsolable over this. Her going public with the story only rubs salt in the wounds.  I have a long-time assistant pastor whose son did the very same thing as Rachel. After graduating from our Christian school, receiving a Bible degree at BJU, and nearly finishing his M.Div. at DBTS, he walked into the professor's office and said, "I don't believe in the Inspiration of the Bible anymore".  Behind the scenes, however, a long-term moral failure had been occurring and he knew he had to make a choice.  Like Rachel, he chose an idol that he loved 1000 times more than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob---the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This is tragic in everyway.

Pastor Mike Harding

Chip Van Emmerik's picture


I wondered the same thing, though I also took the one-sided account with a grain of salt. I have never heard of the man, so I have no way of knowing how accurate his daughter's version might be. What I do know is that there is no formula for turning out children, and this woman is completely responsible for her relationship with God regardless of how her upbringing might have been handled by her parents. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ed Vasicek's picture

Lee wrote:

Being in youth ministry for almost 35 years I have had the opportunity to observe many children brought up in very sound Christian homes, many of ministry parents, who have openly and shamelessly left the faith with similar stories.  Same true of vocational ministers.

Almost always, when the dross is removed, there is a long-term moral issue that they have been unwilling or unable to master that they simply quit battling, and turning to agnosticism or atheism (either openly or de facto) is the next easiest step.

Just an observation.


Though one size doesn't fit all, it seems this size fits most:


1. They don't want to live under the moral restraints of God's Word.  Maybe they want to have sex outside of marriage, maybe they are struggling with gay issues, maybe they just want to say that their friends who are gay and sleeping around are okay.


2. The God of the Bible gets in the way.


3. They abandon (as you mentioned -- in actually or practically) the God of the Bible.

"The Midrash Detective"

Julie Anne's picture

One word that is lacking in the story is grace.  It sounded like "it's my way or the high way" as far as enforcing Slick's strict interpretation of doctrine.  How much emphasis was on relationship with Christ vs works and outward appearances?   Was Slick trying to create a carbon copy of himself in his daughter (teaching apologetics at 5 yrs) AND required an adherence to perfect obedience?  Law without grace doesn't work real well.  It will backfire.  


christian cerna's picture

I agree with the points above. It's usually a moral choice. And especially when they are surrounded by friends who are unbelievers. They find it easier to stop going to Church and to just live like everyone else, enjoying the pleasures of the world. If anyone confronts them about their sin, they can claim some form of intellectual difficulty understanding Christianity, as an excuse not to commit fully to the Church and to God.

Those who have received a good upbringing in the Church know that Christianity is an all or nothing religion. They know they can't be lukewarm for very long. Young adults tend to step away from the Church for a time thinking, "I just need to get over this sin before I commit fully" or "I need to get my mindset right before God. I don't want to be a hypocrite".

I know I have gone through this. I knew that God is a holy and demanding God. I knew I couldn't fake my way through Church, singing or praying words I didn't really mean. I thought that would have been adding to my sins- taking the name of the Lord in vain. I didn't deny the faith, or claim to be an atheist, by I just kept silent and didn't mention religion if I didn't have to. I knew my testimony would only hurt the cause of Christ if my friends found out about my faith.