Over the years I have come across a tremendous amount of people who say that they were once Christians, and these appear to be some of the people who are now the most hostile (even paranoid) against Christianity. Even some of the bands that I used to listen to before coming to Christ are lead by singers that once professed to be believers. For example, some of the lyrics to the Nine Inch Nails songs titled "Terrible Lie" and "Wish" imply that the singer for this band once professed to be a believer. So what went wrong? And why is this kind of thing happening so often? I hope the answer to that will be made clear, not just from the Bible, but also from the very words of those who once professed to be believers! The Nine Inch Nails song titled "Terrible Lie" includes the following lyrics ...
"Hey God, I really don't know what you mean
Seems like salvation comes only in our dreams
I feel my hatred grow all the more extreme
Hey God, can this world really be as sad as it seems?
Hey God, there's nothing left for me to hide
I lost my ignorance, my security and pride
I'm all alone in a world you must despise
Hey God, I believed your promises, your promises and lies"
So in the first part of the lyrics that I quoted here, the singer frankly admitted that he doesn't know what God means, yet he is nevertheless accusing God of being a liar in the second part that I quoted. That is my main point in quoting this. In other words, he never understood salvation in the first place! And I find this to be the case with a number of so called former believers. They may have had a head knowledge of Christianity, but their hearts where never really changed. In fact, the lyrics "I lost my ignorance, my security and pride" show that the singer never understood pride to be his problem. As I explained in my article titled Motivation to Surrender, our pride is so deceitful that it can blind us to the fact that it is our true motive. I have seen this in myself, so I am not saying it to look down on anyone. In fact, this band that I have quoted from here was my favorite band before I came to Christ, partly because I felt that I could identify with the lyrics to some of their songs so well, including this song that I have quoted.
The line in this song that says "I feel my hatred grow all the more extreme" also reveals to me that pride is the real problem here, and here is why: Since love is motivated by humility, this can only mean that hatred is motivated by pride, simply because hatred is the opposite of love. As humility and love go together, so pride and hatred go together. And we are seeing plenty of hatred towards Christians today, as I show in my article titled Unwittingly Proving The Bible To Be True.
I have also come across a number of people commenting on You Tube videos who have said that they are former Christians. I have frankly confronted some of them, and told them why I don't believe that they ever had a firm foundation. One of them responded to me by telling me to "do some research outside the Bible and stop fearing damnation". Of coarse, my response was to tell him that I don't fear damnation, because I have been freed from it - and that is the point he was missing.
I find this same mindset in a number of people who consider themselves to be former Christians. They need to understand that Christianity is not a matter of our own intellect (a "Christianity" based on our own intellect may have been the only "Christianity" that some of them ever knew), but it is a matter of being transformed by the Holy Spirit, by whom true Christians are "sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30). Those who have this do not fear damnation, because they are not working to be sealed unto the day of redemption (See my article titled The Gift of God) - they have already been sealed unto that day!
If someone who seemed to be a believer has come to a point where it is clear that they have rejected Christ, the Bible has an answer for that. It says "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us" (1 John 2:19).
So the reason they go out from us (true believers) is because they were never sealed by God's Holy Spirit. They may have been taught to earn their salvation (and that would explain why they would see Christianity as a fear of damnation), which the Bible tells us is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to [God's] mercy" (Titus 3:5) - but the point they were missing is a relationship with God Himself. Some of them may have only seen Christianity as a religion, and some of them may have only been seeking God through mystical experiences (See my article titled Are You Spiritual But Not Religious?), but they never understood Christianity through a genuine relationship with God as a personal being.
I also believe that the seeker sensitive movement has been responsible for producing many false converts in our day. Joel Osteen has sometimes asked people watching him on TV to pray a sinners prayer after watching one of his non-convicting messages, and he then says, "If you just prayed that prayer, I believe you got saved". There is nothing wrong with saying a prayer, so please understand that is not what I am taking issue with. But I have never once heard Joel Osteen explain the gospel that saves before telling people to say that prayer, and this kind of thing only leads people to believe that the words of a prayer are saving them, as if the words have a magical power or something. What they need to understand is that it is the gospel that saves.
Oswald Chambers once warned lest, in our zeal to get people to accept the gospel, we manufacture a gospel acceptable to people and produce "converts" who are not saved - and this now appears to be happening at an astonishing rate. Many are being convinced by religious leaders that their problem is low self esteem rather than pride, and then many wonder why they fall away! Obviously, they never knew God in the first place, because they never understood that pride is what is separating them from Him (See James 4:6), not lack of self esteem! Rather then teaching us to esteem ourselves, Jesus taught us to deny ourselves in Matthew 16:24 - but those who have lost their so called faith have simply never denied self. While believing that they were once Christians, the "Christianity" that they have been taught is in fact the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches!
And then there is the teaching that faith in God is not rational. Some are apparently trying to persuade atheists to come to Christ while convincing them that it is irrational to do so. They need to understand why faith in God is rational, or they may never have a firm foundation even if they supposedly come to Christ, and I have given reasons why it is rational in my article titled Is Faith In God Rational?
The Overlooked Absolute Proof for Everything, by Dave Hunt (Video)
A Call For Reformation, by Dave Hunt (Video)
A Call For Reformation - Part 2, by Dave Hunt (Video)
How to Keep Teens From Leaving The Church, by Carl Kerby (Playlist on You Tube)
Why Are We Losing Our Younger Generation? By Carl Kerby Jr. (Video)
Legalism or License – Versus – the Greatest of All Treasures, by David Dombrowski
What Does it Mean to Repent and Be Saved? By H.A. Ironside
Seeking And Finding God, by Dave Hunt (Radio Series)
An Urgent Call To a Serious Faith, by Dave Hunt (Radio Series)
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