A rather interesting, but not exactly unheard of, phenomenon of supposedly “Christian” people denouncing their faith has made some news recently, with a former pastor and a songwriter of a popular Christian band both having made public announcements declaring they are no longer Christians. This has led John Cooper, songwriter and lead singer of the Christian rock band “Skillet” (which I was not aware they were Christians, but have downloaded some of their songs in the past) to write a rather lengthy Facebook post calling out the supposed “Christians” for publicly denouncing their faiths.
Cooper began his post: “What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once ‘faces’ of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?) as they announce that they are leaving the faith.”
“I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, ‘I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it. Therefore, I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.’ I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?”
Skipping a little bit, he continued: “As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier. Have they considered the ramifications? As if they are the harbingers of truth, saying, ‘I used to think one way and practice it and preach it, but now I’ve learned all the new truth and will start practicing it and preaching it.’ So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.”
“[A]s these influencers disavow their faith, they always end their statements with their ‘new insight/new truth’ that is basically a regurgitation of Jesus’ words?! It’s truly bizarre and ironic. They’ll say ‘I’m disavowing my faith but remember, love people, be generous, forgive others.’ Ummm, why? That is not human nature. No child is ever born and says, ‘I just want to love others before loving myself. I want to turn the other cheek. I want to give my money away to others in need.’ Those are bible principles taught by a prophet/Priest/King of kings who wants us to live by a higher standard which is not an earthly standard, but rather the ‘Kingdom of God’ standard. Therefore, if Jesus is not the truth and if the Word of God is not absolute, then by preaching Jesus’ teachings you are endorsing the words of a madman. A lunatic who said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.’ He also said that he was alive before Abraham, and to see him was to see God because he was one with God. So why then would a disavowed Christian leader promote that ‘generosity is good’? How would you know ‘what is good’ without Jesus’ teachings? And will your ideas of what is ‘good’ be different from year to year based on your experience, culture trends, [popular] opinion etc. and furthermore will you continue year by year to lead others into your idea of goodness even though it is not absolute? I’m amazed that so many Christians want the benefits of the kingdom of God, but with the caveat that they themselves will be the King.”
There was more to this post, but I think you get the idea. John Cooper is, rightly, calling out the former “Christians” who have “fallen away” from the faith.
The only thing I have to disagree with him on is that these people haven’t “fallen away” from the faith; they never truly had it to begin with.
Hebrews 6:4-6 says: “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
Those who have come to the faith do not leave the faith, and if they proclaim to be Christians one day and proclaim to no longer be Christians the next, they never were one to begin with.
Similarly, 2 Peter 2:20-22 says the following: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’”
There is a significant difference between being ignorant and being wicked. Someone who is ignorant knows nothing of the Lord, not His blessings, nor His character, nor His love, nor His authority. But it is better for someone to be ignorant to the truth than for someone to be knowledgeable to the truth and still deny it. Those are the wicked ones, those who have made proclamations of faith but then make a proclamation to effectively return to sin.
Specifically, the two “Christian” people that are being talked about here are former pastor Josh Harris, who said he was leaving the Christian faith and divorcing his wife, having felt guilty with the way gay people were treated and feeling guilty over what the Bible teaches on homosexuality; and Marty Sampson, who is a songwriter for Hillson United, a Christian band, and who recently said: “I’m genuinely losing my faith… and it doesn’t bother me… like, what bothers me now is nothing… I am so happy now, so at peace with the world… It’s crazy.”
These two were never Christians in the first place. They are of the world and gladly remain with it until the end. The fact that the songwriter said he wasn’t bothered over losing his faith doesn’t surprise or shock me because I would have to believe he had any faith whatsoever in the first place for this to affect me like that. He was never in Christ to begin with. He is clearly comfortable in the world’s sin, has no problem with it, and finds a peculiar delight in it. That isn’t ignorance; it’s wickedness.
These two former “Christians” were never Christians in the first place. But in doing this, they are effectively doing what Christ warned people not to do: be ashamed of Him, particularly in the presence of Man.
Mark 8:38 and Luke 9:26 basically teach the same thing: Mark 8:38: “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Luke 9:26: “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
But Matthew 10:32-33 makes the most damning statement for these two former “Christians”: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
These two are the types of people Christ often talks about, who say “Lord, Lord” but whom Christ never knew. They are comfortable in their sin and even feel a sort of liberation, but what they have done is publicly announce their enslavement to sin and to the devil.
These two former “Christians” are the worst type of sinners: they know perfectly well who is the Lord and who is the Savior, but they deny Him. They know perfectly well and have no excuse not to know who Jesus Christ is, but Christ is not their Lord. Satan lords over them, it’s just taken them this long to essentially admit that.
All Christians know what Christ said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” To understand this and still deny it, following another way, accepting another “truth” and living another life is utter wickedness that does not deserve to exist in the Kingdom of God.
In this, the former “Christians” have signed away their souls to the devil, and upon their deaths, will suffer under him in Hell.
We are saved by grace through faith alone. If one lacks that faith, he or she is not saved. He or she who lacks faith is not saved but will die the first and also the second death, perishing in the lake of fire and sulfur.
Not to mince my words here, but unless Christ really goes into these two’s hearts, the only place they will go is straight to Hell. But as that is Christ’s decision to make, I don’t quite know what will happen to them. One thing is for sure, though: those who embrace the world will perish alongside it.
1 John 2:15-17
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions -is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
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