7/09/2008                                                                                       View Comments

You were never a real Christian!

By Webmdave

“You were never a real Christian!”

That’s been the constant mantra in my life since 2001. Well, to be more precise, it’s never been my mantra; it is the mantra I hear from the mouths of innumerable zealots who feel duty bound to harangue me about my apostasy.

If I had ever been a “true Christian,” I was told for the thousandth time in a recent argument over the phone with a relative, "it would have been impossible for me to have every left the fold."

Impossible!

Conveniently, for the Christian, there is Biblical support for the “no true apostates” position. The writer of I John emphatically declares,
“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” – Chap. 2 v. 19.

In other words, anyone who leaves the church was never a real born again, blood bought believer.

Of course the writer of Hebrews didn’t see it that way. That writer states quite clearly that “Those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…” (Chap 6, v 4) can most certainly later on decide that Christianity is not for them.

"If I had ever been a true Christian, it would have been impossible for me to have every left the fold." Obviously there has been considerable disagreement among Christians over how to deal with apostates, clear back to very the genesis of the Jesus cult.

My purpose here isn’t to discuss which is the best Biblical interpretation, however. My purpose here is to illustrate the gross contradictions Christians embrace when it comes to dealing with the existence of ex-Christians.

Freewill

Many Evangelical Christians insist that God holds freewill in the highest esteem. Evangelical meetings are all about enticing people to “Make a decision for Christ.” Christians constantly insist that it is the unbeliever’s God-given right either accept or reject the gospel message. The offer is made, but it is up to the individual to turn toward or away from Jesus. These zealots insist that God Himself won’t override a person’s freewill when it comes to letting Jesus come into that person's life.

Once HE has set up shop, though, apparently freewill is over.

Think about it! If no “True Christian™” can ever turn away from Christianity, then what happens to freewill? Do Evangelicals mean to suggest that only the godless possess freewill and believers are stripped of that nicety?

If believers retain full possession of freewill, then believers most certainly have the capacity to change their minds about… well, anything. Right?

Wrong! Believers who state there are no ex-Christians are claiming to be bereft of the ability to leave Jesus. Their wills are held captive and “No one can snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:28.

Once HE has set up shop, apparently freewill is over. Freewill is a right so precious that supposedly even God refuses to violate that right when it comes to deciding to become a Christian, but once a person bends and bows, the right to reject His son is forever denied? In fact, the believer is not only denied the right to change his or her mind, the potential to even consider changing his or her mind is permanently removed?
“For if they had belonged to us, they would have REMAINED with us.”

Clearly, freewill believing Christians have no comprehension of what freewill really means. How could they? Once they were free, but now they are in bondage.

And how was their freewill removed? Why how else? Magic!

The magical power of the Holy Ghost, that same spirit who inseminated a virgin with a male-god version of Himself, is now invading the bodies of believers. While residing there, He so rearranges their genome that deciding to leave Christianity is no longer a possibility!

Yeah. Sure. Whatever.

Here’s a thought. Perhaps the reason the writer of John wrote his scathing denunciation of apostates is because there were so many people leaving his little cult that it was creating consternation among the remaining faithful. The loss of numbers is not something any cult leader wants to see. In just a few words the writer of I John not only marginalizes those deceptive apostates, calling them antichrists, but he bolsters the pride and confidence of those who remain as the “True” and “Faithful” and “Elect of God.” This John guy could have had a nice career in corporate public relations.

Well, if a person is able to make a decision for Christ based on currently available information, then that same person can come to a different decision when more information is acquired. There is no question that people can believe things with heart, mind and soul, devote a lifetime to a cause or two, and then one day figure out that some beliefs were based on erroneous and false information. It happens all the time. It is no different for Christians.

Believing in things that don’t exist or aren’t true are part of being human. Religious belief in all sorts of nonsense is part of being human. The reasonable human is willing and able to admit the possibility of being deceived, mistaken, or just plain stupid. The rational human can decide to be a Christian, decide to remain a Christian, or decide to cease being a Christian. The true human never loses freewill.

If we accept the “no ex-Christian” rhetoric as fact, then the only decisions a true Christian can ever make once having said the “sinner’s prayer” are those you’d expect of a mindless automaton.

What do you think?




7 comments:

lee said...

That god chooses to elect some and "passes" over others is a doctrine that has been around since Augustine and was echoed by Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards. If was considered by Erasmus and Jacobus Arminius to present god as a tyrant and as arbitrary and capricious.

For the "Arminians" god doesn't actually send anyone to hell. The apostate of his own volition "chooses" to reject the gracious offer of god and condemns himself to eternal torment.

The Arminians believe this portrays the justness of god and therefore god cannot be blamed for pronouncing justice over a creation that has "chosen" to reject him.

It sounds nice, except; what do you do with those billions of people who never heard the gospel, or had the opportunity to "choose." Tough S@#t sherlock! extra-biblical interpretations have sprung up in an attempt to explain what god will do with these poor souls. When Creationist argue that evolution is a theory, this is the type of "watch me pull a rabbit out of my butt" guessing that they think scientific theory entails.

For these Arminian christians advocating freewill their doctrine is just as much BS as the Calvinist.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I used to totally believe the No True Christian/No True Scotsman fallacy when I was a Christian. I couldn't understand how someone would truly give up the wonderful thing that I was experiencing called Christianity. I'll be honest, there are times where I almost fall into it with folks who used to be atheists and then became Christians. They were never a true atheist! Then I realize that I'm about to commit the same fallacy I used to be guilty of.

People change, they believe new and different things, it's as simple as that.

Jim Claunch said...

Dave,

Perhaps these Christian people can not accept your decision to be a non Christian from a standing as a Christian because if THAT were possible for you well it might be possible for them. If it were POSSIBLE for a real true certified baptised stamped genuine sure nuff Holy Ghost filled blood bought Christian to defect then OMG that might be a possiblity for them as well which would dash their certainty and security. Fundamentalism, security and certainty are all joined at the hip as a castle secure from the attacks of doubt and the unknown. To attempt to divide this "trinity" is a divorce unthinkable for those married to an eternal security blanket.

I always found it funny that Old time Calvinists deny "free will" from first to last when it comes to the matter of salvation. Modern Evangelicals will agree that people have "free will" to choose to be saved but once saved they are no longer free to become unsaved. Consistent Arminians believe that people have "freewill" to both get saved and to get unsaved. Each theology has its own role for freewill and they are all "Bibilical". Ain't the Bible clear on this one! Go figure. No scientist has ever found the "little man" inside the brain that is the CEO of decisions free or otherwise. Most scientists have see no physical basis for the support of "freewill" or even consciousness as a separate entity. Rather like a lap or a smile it is a physical positioning but not a separate entity. Consciousness itself is an epiphenomenon and an illusion from a strictly physicalists perspective and "free will" is but a subset of that. Many Eastern religions do not see any place for
"freewill", but it does play well as a theory with no support beyond our feelings and a human centered universe. Do we make free choices that are not affected to the point of being determined by greater physical and even unconscious causes? Many have felt we do but has science and reason actually proved that to be a fact? All I know is that when I get hungry I freely choose to eat sooner or later, when I am tired I freely choose to sleep sooner or later. When my family is attacked I freely choose to fight back sooner or later. Free will does not take place in an academic void but in the real world with many other strong forces clashing and it usually is defeated by stronger "free wills". Someone can freely will to win a fight with a professional boxer but alas the result is determined by a greater force. I think you became a Christian because to you with the evidence you had it was the best and logical choice. Later you had more information and you "chose" a different direction. Were you in any way in total control of which information came your way for either decision? With all the information and experience before you at either time would it have been possible for you to "choose" differently? Didn't you each time choose the true,beautiful and good? I doubt anyone is free to actually choose to believe what they know to be a lie. The truth may set us "free" from one perspective but from another perspective we are chained to it and not free at all. I suppose a true Republican could never become a Democrat or a true American could never choose to live abroad. It happens every day.

Loki Neves said...

It's just another tactic to guilt you in to comeing back. They feel that if you think for a second that maybe it didn't work because you didn't do the christian thing right that maybe it will make you try again. Also they say that because than it makes the truth less valid because you have never expierenced the power of there god thats why your against it, because you were evil all along. I hope this makes since it's early and I am sober?

webmdave said...

@Jim C:

I think you pinned it exactly. If this is possible, then it could possibly happen to me!

Pull The Other One! said...

Important rule for Christians No. 137a:

'If a fellow Christian expresses doubt over their salvation, assure them that they are in fact saved!'

Important rule for Christians No. 137b:

'If anyone tells you they are an ex-christian, including the same person mentioned in 137a, tell them that they were never saved!'

TheNerd said...

I agree, Pull the Other One.

On election night, husband likes to joke that he's the person who lost the presidential race. He gets all cocky and says "Well, I didn't really want to win anyway!"

I see Christians saying that about ex-Christians. "They didn't really want to be Christians anyway!"

Nevermind that they believe "Man looks at the outward apperance, but the Lord looks at the heart". They KNOW your heart, and they KNOW you were always a non-Christian all along. Whatever makes them feel better about themselves.