Recently, on Facebook, a once firm Reformed Christian has publicly announced his apostasy. He has denied the faith and turned to atheism. His basis for it is that Christianity is illogical. Ironically he came to this understanding through reading a well known Christian apologist Vincent Cheung. The topic of study- logic.
This has shaken up and angered my circle of “friends.” The anger, slander, ridiculing and mocking of the man is baffling. Sure I understand that many unbelievers will use his de-conversion “testimony” as more fuel for their hatred and opposition to Christ but the reactions I’m observing have more to do with the fact that many knew him on Facebook well and feel personally betrayed. It seems, to me, that it has become personal rather than from a genuine concern for the Christian faith. Let me say that insulting the man does not bring honor to Christ nor does it show that one really cares about the state of his soul. Some “friend” we are if we make the situation out to be more about us than the honor and glory of Christ and the concern for unrepentant sinners.
Some (not all) of the responses to him only confirm what has been said before- that the greatest threat to Christianity comes from within it, from those purporting to be Christians and are not; those Christians that behave in an immature manner. The whole situation should grieve us more than anything else. For we know that his apostasy reveals that he never was a Christian and therefore his soul is in jeopardy of damnation. Is that not why we proclaim the glorious Gospel in the first place? Is it not because we know that when a person is outside of Christ they are His enemies and will be consumed by just judgment in the lake of fire? Is it not because we understand that apart from the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, the natural man can never understand the peril of his soul for all eternity without resting in Christ; therefore they will never flee to Christ? And if they do not come to Christ they never will know the greatness, joy, goodness, love, comfort, hope, rest, and glory of God without repentance from sin and faith in Christ and Him crucified. It is only the Holy Spirit that can make such sinners (this includes all believers) understand such truth.
If we know such things and are moved to preach Christ why then are Christians responding to him in, what seems to be, hatred? The main emotion from us should be grief and sadness. I believe a little compassion is in order. Please do not retort that compassion at such a moment is to condone his apostasy. In fact we should be praying that this is only a temporary moment of doubt and not final apostasy. And do not drag me to Galatians where Paul calls the the brethren there “idiots” for putting up with and pondering a “different gospel.” Nor to the situation with Paul publicly rebuking Peter. The situations may have some similarities but are different and the adjectives and nouns used to refer to this gentleman are not synonymous.
We would admit that a denial of the existence of God is sheer idiocy and foolish. In fact that is what Scripture says (Ps. 14:1). We can be harsh and compassionate. But harshness without compassion, in such a moment, is not beneficial.
With that tangent aside I now come to some of my own thoughts upon hearing of this gentleman’s denial of the faith. First, it only brings home the truth of Scripure:
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 it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father (1 Jn 2:19–24).
Apostasy is real. We were warned about it. It should not shake our faith in Christ. Our faith is not in other people’s conversions but in Christ Jesus the Son of God. Ironically, apostasy strengthens my faith in God. It proves that His Word is true and that every thing comes to pass as He declared.
It also proves that no amount of study without the aid of the Holy Spirit can bring a person into the presence of God. Apostasy proves to show that salvation through faith in Christ is a supernatural event. It lies in the gracious and sovereign hand of God. It lies outside of the power of humanity. That is to say no study of God can convert the human soul. It can only be used as a means. One can lock themselves in a room for days upon days and study logic, reason, philosophy, theology, doctrine and so on. Yet at the end of the day, it lies solely in the will of God to reveal Himself to any sinner, just as He declared:
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Co 2:7–16).
This is why it is important to not only continually share the Gospel with unbelievers, even though they may know it and even proclaim it, and even with ourselves on a daily basis. It can be so easy to get caught up in how much we can figure out and explain about God through the study of doctrine and theology but forget that knowledge does not save, Christ does.That is not to say that one can come to Christ apart from knowledge but rather the knowledge itself does not save. All study of God (even that is limited since He is far beyond all comprehension) should lead closer to Him; not away from Him.
As the above passage states, one cannot think themselves to God. God must first act upon the sinner. No amount of the study of logic, or it’s use, can bring one before the throne of glory. Antony Flew is a classic example. A renowned atheist that attempted to use “logic” (rather the illogical understanding of it) and science to disprove the existence of God and who came to a “logical” understanding that a god must exist; therefore he became a deist. Sadly, he died apart from Christ. It seems for all his use of “logic” it could not take him to Christ.
What a clear demonstration that the illogical understanding of “logic” or it’s proper use cannot bring one to the feet of Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can. He may use the study of “logic” but only He can internalize the message of the cross of Christ. Salvation, as the Word of God declares, is of the Lord (Jonah 1:9). Salvation comes only from God. “Logic” does not lead one to Christ, the Holy Spirit does. Perhaps, now we can see why the Apostle Paul declares to the Corinthians:
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Co 2:1–5).
My brethren, apostasy does not shake my faith. For I am ever fixed and gazed upon Christ the Lord of glory, crucified and risen, ascended to the right hand of the Father. Soli Deo Gloria!
For His Glory,