No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: backsliding

That’s it….I QUIT!

My wife was perusing the internet tonight and found an interesting article.  Anne Rice has quit her religion, and is moving on, on her own.  To quote the LA times article… “she announced she had quit Christianity “in the name of Christ” because she’d seen too much hypocrisy”.  The article goes on to talk about religion in a  generic sense, and how people are leaving church because they have become disillusioned with the religion in general.  Now, if you know me…you know that I am not a big fan of the LA Times, but I have to admit, with this article…they have hit the nail on the head.  There are a number of great points to take from this article.

25% of people between the ages of 18-29 do not associate with any particular faith. 

This is a startling statistic.  Having seen firsthand the impact of what a secular college can do to a kid with a mind full of mush…I would have thought this number to be much higher.  And perhaps, in reality, it is.  Especially taking into consideration the second point…

Every day, the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change.

It is hard being a Christian, isn’t it?  You have to stand out in the crowd, you are an alien in this world, and as a result an outcast.  Just for believing in Christ.  Now take this into combination with the fact that everyone has a natural desire to be liked (well not me, but I love being the alien) and you have a recipe for disaster.  It is easier to blend in, to follow the crowd, and to do what feels good than it is to be ridiculed for your actions, and mocked for your faith.  So what do people do who are not grounded in their faith… go with the flow.  Which leads me to the more controversial point…

Many people who call themselves Christian don’t really believe, deep down, in the tenets of their faith. In other words, their actions reveal their true beliefs.

This I believe is closer to the truth.  It gets to a really tough question…can a Christian truly backslide…or are they (were they) ever truly a Christian?  I do have a personal example to draw from in this sense.  Someone I know, attended church until the age of 18.  Went to college, and began to live a life that was contrary to the Word of God.  So the question becomes… was this person ever a Christian?  This topic alone deserves it’s own post, and possibly it’s own debate.  What is clear is that all three of these points are a call for concern to church leadership from all denominations.

The primary question for me…are we preparing our youth to enter a world bent on getting them to deviate from the Word of God?  The statistics will tell you no!  The world will tell you no, and the actions of these “Christian” youths will tell you no! 

I have decided to throw my hat into the ring of education by helping out with the Sunday School at my church.  I am not sure if I can make a difference with these kids, but if I can help prevent one or two kids from following this path….wouldn’t it be worth it? (BTW…my wife hates this cliché)  I think so.  So then the question becomes…what are you doing to help?

What about this Satan Character?

God created everything.  This would include Satan.  Looking at the timeline presented in the Bible we know that Satan and his bunch of rebels were kicked out of Heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve.  Satan was the best and brightest of the angels.  But he had a flaw.  He wanted to be like God – Really, he wanted to BE God.  This naturally caused a rift between God and Satan, and of course God wins.  With Satan, 1/3 of the angels departed from heaven (we know them now as demons).  If we know that Satan fought against God because he wanted to be like God, we can draw some conclusions.

1.  Satan is not God thus,

2. Satan is not Omnipotent (All Powerful) and,

3. Omniscient (All Knowing) and,

4. Satan is not Omnipresent (Everywhere at once). 

These four simple points cover a lot of area.  Because Satan is not God, he cannot know everything that is or will be, and he cannot be with us all of the time and He can (and will be) defeated!

All of these points are critical to gain understanding of our common opponent.  Satan is an aggressive opponent, and knows how to attack people.  This statement implies a level of omniscience.  However, we have already established that he is not omniscient. So how does he know?  I believe Satan is an excellent observer of human behavior.  Let’s be honest – he has had thousands of years of observations to draw from. 

Observation is a highly effective strategy that is often used in business, sports and war.  People are taught to watch for cues that indicate what people are thinking, how they might respond, when to press, and when to lay back and let it ride.  Anyone’s personal experience is limited to maybe 20 to 30 years of active observation.  Satan, though, has all the years going back to Adam and Eve to draw from.  This gives me reason to believe that while Satan is not omniscient he certainly can provide a very educated guess as to how you will respond to temptation. 

While we are all created uniquely, we all are prone to various kinds of temptations which are not unique.   Our mistakes are not the first of their kind in human history.  This is Satan’s tactical advantage over us.  He knows that while we are unique in our creation, our response to temptation is not.  After thousands of years of observation of personality types, and responses, he knows how to trip a trigger and crawl into your life.  There is hope, though… See 1 Corinthians 10:13 While Satan has millennia of experience tripping people up, God, though the Holy Spirit, has been equally practiced at helping God’s people deal with sin… More on this later.

Everyone has their pressure points.  Do you believe that it is a coincidence that the same issues appear over and over in your own life? I never thought about it until recently.  Then it finally dawned on me:  Satan is real, Satan is clever and Satan is a very astute observer. 

The attacks can be sudden, and from out of nowhere.  There can be long pauses between attacks (demonstrating Satan’s lack of omnipresence).  Rest assured, if you are making an impact for God, if you are beginning to grow in your faith, or beginning in your path towards the truth, you will attract his attention and his ire.  This is where understanding your opponent’s tactics will really help you. 

Satan deals in half truths.  He wants to present you an option that appears to be in the nature of the Bible and God’s word.  This is the trick of Satan. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Here is an example.  If you are beginning to grow in your faith, then it is fair to say that you are trying to rid yourself of some bad habits.  Stress is a fantastic way to push people back to a default habit or personality trait.  Apply a little stress, and the normal person will revert.   Let me use examples out of my own life. Things like success are a difficult temptation for me because, while I have my moments, I am not a humble guy.  Another example for me is fear of betrayal.  Satan knows my weaknesses, and knows what I need to see in order to feed my arrogance and paranoia.  But this is not limited just to me!   Satan’s desire is for you to revert.  God’s desire is for you to succeed by becoming more like His Son – See Ephesians 5:1-2

Look at these startling statistics.  The Bible mentions Satan over 180 times, Jesus mentions him 100+ times.  Despite that, 60% of believers believe that Satan isn’t a real living being, but rather a symbol of evil.  The greatest achievement of Satan is to have convinced the world that he doesn’t exist.  Not only has he convinced the world but also believers. 

If you are a believer let me boil it down a little more strongly…You are willing to have faith that Christ was born of a virgin, Christ is the son of God, Christ lived without sin, Christ died on the cross for your sin’s, Christ was resurrected, and God created angels, …Do you really think it is so farfetched to believe that Satan is real?! 

Next time, we will look at specific strategies for defeating this very real and active enemy, but as a preview you may want to take a look at the following passages: James 4:4-7; Ephesians 6:10-18 & Romans 6:6-13.


What is the big deal about the word “rules”?  In the context of God it is a big deal.  As Christians, we are governed by God’s law.  As an atheist you are not.  I see little differentiation between the use of the word law and rules.  In the context of anything, laws are rules that govern how we live.  Some, like my colleague Kevin, would say too much focus on the word “rules” dilutes the relationship aspect of God.  I see it as just the opposite.  Rules strengthen our relationship with God when followed.  Some would also see rules as the reason that atheists, agnostics, or phony Christians would reject God.  That somehow the very utterance of the word “rules” creates strife and causes an atheist to throw their hands up and say “well I no longer believe in God now!”   I find this to be total nonsense. 

It is the existence of rules that cause strife.  No matter what we call “the rules” the fact that we have to live our life according to God’s law is what causes the separation.  Some, like Kevin, would say that we have to blow up the myth surrounding the word rules.  I disagree.  I think that we hold fast to the rules because they allow us to walk in the Word and promise of God.  By trying to speak political double talk about the rules we do not honor God.

 So let’s look at it this way.   As you read the rest of this post feel free to substitute the word rules with any of the following, and see if it doesn’t make sense; law, guidelines, love.

The rules of God are interesting.  The rules of God protect us.  The rules of God define our relationship with Him, and His with us.  If you are a Christian, then God’s rules define boundaries on how you should live your life.  One way to look at it is to say that the rules of God are God’s inevitable truth.  The truths define our relationship with God.  In the same way that your father set rules for you while you were growing up, God has does the same for all of us.  Why would God do this?  For the same reason that your father did: BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU.  It is out love that God defines what is good and what is bad for you.  There will be times when you look at the rules and say “this makes no sense”.  But as most of us find out eventually, God the Father, knows best.  This gives you clear cut direction as to how to live your life.

I think the primary reason anyone will turn their back on God is because of rules.  In the same way you broke the rules of your parents when you were a teenager, you decide that you can do without the rules because you think that they are out of touch. 

For example, how can a Christian rationalize praying to God about whether or not they should move in with their boyfriend/girlfriend?  Perhaps you’re thinking, “Hey, no one gets hurt, so everything is fine.” But the only way to rationalize something like this is by telling themselves that the rules do not apply to them or that God didn’t really mean what He said or, worse yet, to dismiss the existence of God.    If the rule maker doesn’t exist, then the rules aren’t real, right? 

Ultimately, in order to justify a decision like this example, this person has to ignore God in some way. Otherwise, deep down they know that they are going against what He has asked us to do!  A life without God or His guidelines allows you to justify any action you take.  Following this line of thinking leads people to believe that there are no consequences, just the immediate pleasure of being in control, and doing what they want.  This amounts to glorified excuses that allow them to bend and eventually break the rules.  These are the excuses that someone will use to ignor God, defy God, and eventually turn their back on God all together.  The issue may be as minor as lying about taxes, or taking something from work.  They could be as major as sex out of wedlock, living with a boyfriend/girlfriend, excessive drinking, or drug use.  The outcome is the same.

We are faced with decisions every day, and every day the Devil has his victories.  The question then becomes, will you be another trophy for Satan or will you hold your ground?  We lead a hard life because of what is demanded of us.  The secret we know as Christians is that accepting Christ and staying within God’s boundaries leads to an abundant life (cf. John 10:10).  The Devil knows this, which is why  he loves it when we fail (misery loves company – see John 10:10 for this also). 

Today people who fall away from Christ  (backslide) are honored, those who stand by Christ are ridiculed.  Will you be able to hold your ground?  Will you be able to stand with God and his rules?  I am praying that we all will.  Are you prepared?

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