I don’t want to repeat What has been said in the link so I seriously encourage you to watch the YouTube video or else you may not get the full gist of what I am saying.
I have confronted the issue many times in discussion with others regarding Christians apostatising. I am firmly in the camp of once saved always saved, that is to say that someone who is a true Christian cannot lose their salvation so even though a Christian may backslide or fall away, a true Christians conscience will ultimately convict them so heavily that they will ultimately repent and return to fellowship.
Conversely Someone who claims faith in Jesus Christ who ultimately rejects Christ’s forgiveness and states explicitly that they have rejected salvation even to the point of denying there is a God in my mind was never truly born again, justified or sanctified in Jesus Christ who atoned for the sins of true believers.
Is that a harsh thing to say? No, I don’t think it is. I think it is entirely fair when one correctly and contextually reads the Bible to say that those who claim faith then deny it completely are not and never were true believers.
Anyone can give intellectual assent or acknowledgment to a belief or an idea without being fully committed to it so that if something else comes along that is more pleasing or appealing to the emotions or their sense of reason that they will completely reject their former beliefs.
That raises the question or discussion as to how or why Christianity is different from other beliefs and ideas. Does intellectual assent to Christianity make faith in that belief real? No!
In Matthew 13:1-23 and Mark 4:1-20 Jesus describes for types of soil that are an analogy for different types of people that come across the Christian worldview. For the purposes of this discussion, we will focus on the last two soils that Jesus describes Mat 13:22 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Mat 13:23 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
For anyone who knows or knew someone that for many years appeared to be a true Christian then either slowly or suddenly walked away from the faith this is a harsh reality it is a real dilemma because for all intentions and purposes their faith appeared real and firm. We’ve probably all known someone who for a time appeared to walk in faith and then question the Bible or those of us who believe in perseverance of the saints when they walk way. This is why intellectual assent is not enough. They will argue that they bore good fruit they understood the theology and had a bible verse in answer to every circumstance… Yes, and so does every devil that fell from heaven.
Martin Iles in the video above talks about the circumstances in which the famous Christians he mentioned walked away from Christianity and a very eerie but familiar theme emerges that I have referred to in response to Atheism; and that is that Atheism is not an objective scientific argument against the existence of God. Atheism is wholly and solely an emotional moral objection that demands for belief in God to be justified or substantiated; death, harm, sickness and evil should not exist.
So, if the above things should not exist for God to be real, then neither should personal responsibility for our actions and self-motivation. Nor should there be consequences for any action such as murder, accidents shouldn’t happen.
Adam was warned that there was a consequence for not obeying God before he sinned that being death. Set aside Eve for a moment, Eve was tempted and deceived. Adam was not deceived; Adam was tempted and Adam sinned knowing full well he was disobeying the one condition of fellowship with God and the consequence that would mean death to him and all mankind.
All the aforementioned apostates in Martin Iles video presentation proclaim the self-same moral objections to Christianity as every Atheist does; they simply took longer to arrive at those conclusions.
In essence their intellectual assent could not hold up under the barrage of circumstances presented to them. So, although they may have adamantly or even vehemently insisted that the paradigm, they formerly held to is true; it is nevertheless not true for them. The weight and pressure of the world eventually prevailed over their previous beliefs so that they bowed to those pressures.
So, now, we return to the question as to why Christianity is different. Christianity is not simply intellectual undemanding or belief; it is supernatural it is spiritually discerned.
Jesus painted a very clear picture of how we understand spiritual things in John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
In John3:5-7 Jesus says “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
IN John3:10-15 Jesus says “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Joh Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
What does it mean to see the Kingdom of God? It means to know the reality that God is real and to understand God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ not just through Jesus sacrifice but God’s plan from its inception, creation, to the return of Christ as prophesied in Revelation.
Further on as part of God’s plan Jesus proclaims Joh 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. Joh 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. Joh 6:39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. Joh 6:40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
This is not my will or your will, this is not simply an intellectual assent to an idea, this is the will of God we are part of God’s intended purpose or we’re not. What I mean here is that either God chose you in and through Jesus Christ, or He has left you to your own devices and destruction. It isn’t us who open our eyes to God’s truth it is the Holy Spirit. Our will is subservient to God’s will and once our will is changed by him, we are then new creations made spiritually alive. We don’t get to choose whether or not we can walk away.
A final question re; my heading is how those who apostasies missed the central emphasis and one of the most defining tenants of Christianity. Is it due to the teaching with which they were won to Christianity? In many cases yes but not in all cases. Some of those mentioned by Martin Iles appear to have been ultra conservative Bible believing and very orthodox as Christians while others mentioned; I am not in the least surprised.
The doctrines and ideas we as humans are all won to are often those things that define who we become. However, it is the miracle of conversion through the Holy spirit that can change us miraculously. Even so, what we are won with is often the most powerful influence on our lives. As Christians, if we remain open and teachable God can guide us into truth in a way that we may not foresee.
I started my Christian walk a long way from where I am today both in terms of my understanding of truth and my views on many theological subjects pertaining to the Bible itself. At times this journey has been both painful and a joy. I wrestle with many of the truths in the Bible that contradict my human experience but in the end truth must prevail.