The road to being an Ex-Christian: How do you get there?

I once said to someone when we were debating the merits of Christianity that ‘being an ex-Christian is not a sign of credibility on the subject matter on hand, but of weakness’. But he disagreed fervently, and looked to convince me that his previous experience with Christianity made him an expert on the subject. To me an ex-Christian is like a Toyota engineer who designed the acceleration and braking systems of the recently recalled 8.5 million vehicles. He can claim to have the necessary qualification and experience to design a safe car, but reality tells us otherwise. So it is with an ex-Christian, he can claim to have been born-again and having had experience with God, but reality tells us otherwise, hence he’s an ex-Christian.

But how does a person go from being a Christian to an ex-Christian? In the parable of the sower, Jesus foretold that there would be two categories of ex-Christians. Let’s look at them in detail:

  • Those who never understood the Gospel

Jesus described this category by saying “when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19). These are the people who were convinced in their minds that they were Christians all along, when they were not. They couldn’t understand that you have to come to Jesus by faith, and not works. They thought being born in a Christian home and raised in a church qualifies one to be a Christian. Their claim to Christianity is based on the number of church services they attended before they de-converted, and the fact that they were saying prayers before meals and bed time. Unfortunately the bulk of people who call themselves Christians fall under this category, and they have no idea that they are not Christians because ‘the evil one snatched what was sown in their hearts’. The sad part is those who fall under this category who are now ex-Christians still don’t know how misguided they were, and as such they think God has failed them. They don’t want to understand that they didn’t have a relationship with God to begin with, so God has never failed them, because they had the proper word of God stolen from their hearts by Satan. Instead of revisiting the form of Christianity they were in, and finding proper Christianity as found in the bible, they would rather hold on to their claim that they were indeed Christians.

I have seen people with Doctorate degrees in Theology, who didn’t even understand some of the most basic truths of Christianity and the bible. I couldn’t understand how that was possible, but Jesus foretold it and we see it happening right under our eyes. Unfortunately for this educated men and women, they think their degrees give them credibility on the subject matter, but it doesn’t because they have never understood what Christianity is all about like Jesus said. (Bear in mind that I’m hoping to finish my M. Th studies in 2.5 years time).

Others were attracted to Christianity because of what they were told it can offer. They needed a financial miracle and they were told Christianity can offer a miracle, and so they gladly accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior. But because their conversion didn’t have root, they were ready to reject Christianity as soon as that miracle didn’t come their way in the way they expected. Some thought Christianity offer a refuge from suffering, and according to them Christians shouldn’t suffer any trials or persecution. But when their children got sick they were puzzled that such a thing can happen to Christian, and so they kicked Christianity out of their lives. For some, they followed Christianity because of some pastor they liked; perhaps the pastor was a faith-healer of some sort. Their faith was in a man, and it collapsed when they realized that their pastor was a fake, when they should have had faith in Jesus alone.

If you fall under this category, then you can be sure that you will find a lot of things wrong with Christianity, because yours was a fake Christianity to begin with and everything is wrong with it for obvious reasons. Don’t be surprised if you are able to write a book refuting this kind of Christianity, because everybody can.

  • The ‘emotional’ Christians

Did you feel like some butterflies were flying under your skin when you committed your life to Jesus? When you were praying afterwards, did you feel the presence of God through some feelings that were too awesome to explain? But then when time goes on those feelings disappeared, and your prayer life was non-emotional anymore. Did this worry you so much that you concluded that you must have sinned against God and He has rejected you? Next thing you knew those feelings never came back, and you are now an ex-Christian?

This is what Jesus had to say about this category of ex-Christians: “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21). Unfortunately for these ex-Christians, they were somehow deceived into thinking ‘feelings’ are an assurance a Christian needs for their salvation. Their salvation only lasted for as long as their strong ‘feelings’ lasted. As soon as they couldn’t get those ‘butterflies feelings’ anymore, they decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. But there’s nowhere the bible said Christians should get ‘butterflies feelings’, even though there’s nothing wrong with them. The bible said we are saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, not anything else. Having never became aware of this truth; people have rejected Christianity and have since dedicated their lives to ‘refuting’ it.

Why do people leave the faith?

In this second category of Ex-Christians, Jesus mentions something very important; He says these ex-Christians fell because trouble and persecution came. What does that mean? It means these ex-Christians never expected their faith to be tested to the limit, that’s why they fell away. Perhaps they had never read about a man in the bible called Job, who was tested to the limits of his faith, yet just when he was ready to fall away God showed up and picked him up. Just like Job, all they needed to do was hold fast to their faith for a set time, and God would have revealed Himself to them. One ex-Christian once said that he had prayed for God to convert his friends, but after praying for weeks he decided to reject Christianity altogether as it was obvious that God wasn’t interested in answering his prayer. Then I asked him who told him that there’s a time limit to prayer? He never answered back, because he could sense that I was going to ask him if there was a possibility that his friends could have been saved a week later had he continued to pray and not reject the faith.

 

Jesus said anybody who wants to be a Christian must count first the cost involved (Luke 14:25-35). But unfortunately some of our ex-Christians missed this very important lesson. They took the road to heaven without realizing that it’s a very lonely road with lots of hardships. They were shocked to learn that they would have lose their friends and some instances their family as well. For some the thought of being rejected based on one’s faith was too much to bear, so they choose to rather keep their friends than keep Jesus. But they should have thought about that in the beginning, and if they did then they could have made an informed decision. I remember sitting in my desk at work going through how Christianity would change my life, and the sacrifices I would have to make, and afterwards I got up and committed my life to Jesus. I knew that my friendships would change, and I would have to never ever engage in sexual immorality again, but I was prepared to go through all that so I can keep Jesus. Perhaps I was blessed because I knew how Christianity was and how my life would have to change, but it’s the same kind of examination that Jesus expects everyone to undertake before we make a commitment to Him. Unfortunately most who are now ex-Christians ignored this very important step through misinformation that they were given, as there are those who preach a persecution-free Christianity that is not reflected in the bible.

Billy Graham describing this examination that Jesus said you should undertake said: Following Christ is a hard, rugged life. There is nothing easy or sissy about it. The moment you come to Jesus Christ you enter into the thick of the biggest warfare in the universe. It is a battle every day. And unless you go out every morning with the Word of God in your heart, you are going to lose this battle. Do you know what Christ means when He says, “I am going to die. Will you go with me?” He means that you are to go back to the high school campus, to the university campus, to your friends, to your community, and live for Him no matter what the cost. If you mean business, you may lose some of your friends.”

 

Now an ex-Christian is a person who took the challenge that Jesus had for him, and threw it back on His face. Now Jesus says to such a person: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”(Luke 9:62). Jesus says ex-Christians are not fit enough for His service, because they were not willing to toughen up and be men about it, but they went back home crying about just how difficult it is to be Christian. Their friends mocked them for being Christian, and all they could do is ask for forgiveness from their friends and pledge to renounce Christianity. This is why I said in one ex-Christians website that being a former pastor with a master degree is not a sign of credibility, but of weakness. I was saying this with reference to John Loftus, whom people claim is the best voice against Christianity as he was a pastor for a couple of years. Well Jesus says John Loftus ‘is not fit for service in the kingdom of God’.

This is why ex-Christians are referred to as ‘return soldiers’ in Christian circles, because they came back crying from war.

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