Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Those That Stop Clinging

It is a burden to me, and to many pastors, to think about those who have an initial outward conversion experience, and then don't follow through. The Freewill Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, Church of Christ, and most other protestant groups might have the easiest explanation: they were truly born again, but now they are not. Baptist have a conundrum in the fact that most of them believe in eternal security in its absolute sense, but need to explain those that "receive the word with joy" but then produce no lasting fruit and endurance. (Matthew 13:20-21)

Theologically and practically there are a couple of things to consider. First, we must know that there will be people who "believe" but don't really believe, in the sense that all Israel is not Israel (Rom 9:6). Secondly we can't fully know, and it's not our job to make the judgment, whether or not someone has been truly born again. If they have truly believed, they will return ultimately. Even though the NT speaks of carnal Christianity (1 Cor 3:1-4), I think that Jesus would delineate a line in there somewhere about the pattern of one's life related to fruit (Matthew 7:17-18). Many passages can be cited as well to demonstrate with good consistency that if one is genuinely saved they cannot lose their salvation. So we attempt to be discerning in our discipleship of people, but only God knows, and only time will tell.

So my main frustrations are these: 1) Believers, including pastors, that think and act as if people who have made some sort of profession, and show no fruit or forsake the faith, are truly born again. At funerals they preach people right into the pearly gates even though their lives have not even demonstrated old things passing away and all things becoming new (2 Cor 5:17). 2) The impact that these so-called believers have upon the church and Christ's reputation. 3) For me, maybe the most painful, the falling away of people that I love dearly in Christ, people that I have such high hopes for, people that initially showed such change and passion. It truly does, and rightfully so, break my heart that people I thought were believers, might not be...I love them.

Not to make a serious subject light, but to use an illustration from Star Wars Episode VI, some of them, even though they have turned away from the light to the dark side, I hope, still have some good in them, and they will someday repent. That is what I long for...

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