The last post closed by explaining how the doctrine of the security of the believer serves to keep people in the faith: It is impossible to lose your salvation, so if you supposedly leave the faith, you must never have had faith in the first place. You did not give God a sincere try. So you remain, and try more earnestly. Also, if someone you know leaves, then he must not have been a true Christian, so whatever reasons he gives are obviously invalid. You need not be tempted to leave on his account!
The doctrine originates with verses like this one. Jesus is speaking about his followers (John 10:28).
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Even as a Christian, I had questions about this (Maybe no one will snatch them out, but can they walk out on their own?). And not every evangelical holds this belief. However, for the purpose of this post let’s assume the doctrine is correct: someone like me must never have been a true Christian.
I suggest that this immediately puts the believer in a bind– one that I have never heard any believer acknowledge.
The Bible says that God freely gives wisdom to his children (James 1:5). Jesus also said that his followers are able to “hear his voice” (John 10:27). I’m sure the pastors and elders of my churches prayed daily and earnestly to know God’s will as they led their congregations. Almost by definition, this is a prayer that is according to God’s will, so the Bible promises that God will grant it (1 John 5:14-15 KJV):
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
So now we must ask: Could it really have been God’s will that an impostor (yours truly) was called to teach Sunday School for more years than I can count? Was it God’s will that a secret unbeliever lead youth groups for about ten years? Did God want a fraud to have the lead role in several church plays? How was I able to have earnest, deep discussions with my Christian friends without them even realizing that I was a fake? Why did a woman prophesy when I was in college that one day I would be a pastor? Why didn’t God warn my Christian girlfriend of my false nature when we were seeking God’s will about marriage? How could the pastor who gave us pre-marriage counseling not know that our marriage was clearly contrary to God’s will (2 Corinthians 6:14), even after we all prayed for wisdom?
In short, if I was never a true Christian, then perhaps my Christian friends weren’t either, for they didn’t have the minimal discernment to know that I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. God promises this discernment. Yet not a single one one of my Christian friends was able to hear to his voice. Not a single one.
If that’s true (and it would have to be, given our premise), then how can these Christians have any confidence in their faith at all? They lack the most basic feature of the evangelical faith: a meaningful, useful, guiding relationship with God.
When a Christian is convinced for decades that I, too, was a believer, and he sees me leave the faith, perhaps instead of doubting my faith he should question his own.