Apostasy

They Profess to Know God: Do They Know Him? (Part 2)

Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

Introduction

This is the second of three articles exploring these truths:

  • Those who endure to the end are true believers (first article).
  • Church discipline reveals true saving faith.
  • Levels of growth vary between believers.
  • Life “Baggage” and hindrances can make change difficult.

The goal in pondering these four truths is to better understand what our responsibilities are and are not when striving to make disciples for Jesus. All of us try to discern genuine saving faith among those that profess Jesus Christ in our ministries. But how much can we know if they are true believers? What responsibility does the church have in ensuring genuine faith? If we don’t understand what God’s Word says about certain aspects of disciple-making, we may carry unnecessary guilt and be weighed down with discouragement without good reason.

Let’s consider the second truth:

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They Profess to Know God: Do They Know Him? (Part 1)

Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

The Disciple-Maker’s Challenge

Everyone who seeks to make disciples in obedience to Jesus Christ faces the same difficulty:

We all try to discern whether or not those we lead to profess Jesus Christ have genuinely believed.

None of us wants to give an unbeliever false hope of salvation if they have not yet repented and placed their faith in Jesus. And so, we all face frustration.

Christians try to deal with this problem different ways. Some decide to take every profession of faith at face value. This is especially true if the new believer knows how to answer basic Gospel content questions. Those who deal with the problem this way usually baptize those that profess Jesus as Savior right away. If you question them, they will point to the book of Acts and respond, “We just trust the Lord with the true results.”

Others, genuinely concerned about false professions, seek to be more careful and discerning. They do not give new believers in Christ assurance of salvation until after they have studied the Bible for a while, come to church, have completed a certain number of lessons, or a certain length of time has passed.

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Research: Churchgoers express hope, sadness over leaders who leave the faith

"LifeWay Research asked more than 1,000 Protestant churchgoers how they feel when a person well-known for their work in Christian ministry announces they no longer accept their previous faith.... More than 3 in 5 churchgoers say they hope the former ministry leaders come back to the Christian faith someday" - BPNews

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Why Christians Say “You Were Never a True Christian”

By Jordan Standridge. Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Rhett and Link, former CRU missionaries who have become famous through YouTube, have recently joined the chorus of “former Christians” who feel the need to share their “faith deconstruction” stories for all to hear. They are now agnostic.

As part of their healing process, they are all told to declare to the world their reasons for why being a Christian is wrong. As a result, they are surprised and hurt by Christians who promptly said that they never truly were of us (1 John 2:19).

Their response has been very interesting; they have lamented this by retorting something like “if there ever was a Christian, I was”. Some describe the hurt that it has caused them and they then, in Philippians 3:4-6 style, describe, like a pre-converted pharisaical Paul, all the reasons why they were actually Christians. They described their Christian lives like, “I prayed, I shared the Gospel, I went to church, I read my Bible, I believed the Bible, but then as I met LGBT folks and as I studied evolution, I discovered that the Bible could not possibly be true and therefore Christianity is false.”

This grieves my heart. And perhaps the main reason for this is the fact that most of these “former Christians” love declaring that they were true Christians. This leads thousands of young people questioning their faith and wondering if their heroes could be right. Can I simply stop being a Christian?

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Disheartening Defections

It happened again recently, twice actually. Two prominent Christians renounced their faith publicly. Whenever this occurs, and it seems to be happening with greater frequency, many Christians are affected adversely. Reactions range from simple discouragement and sorrow, to self-questioning, and doubts. “If such well-known Christian leaders no longer believe the gospel, how can I be certain it’s true?”

First it was Joshua Harris, author of the best seller, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” and more recently, lead pastor from 2004 to 2015 of Covenant Life Church, the megachurch founded by C. J. MaHaney in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In July, 2019, Josh announced that he and his wife, Shannon, were separating due to “significant changes that have taken place in both of us,” and shortly afterward, he publicly announced that he no longer considered himself a Christian. Since then, Harris has marched in several Gay Pride parades. It is all very sad, but unfortunately, true.

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