Deconversion and The Bible

So we know the bible tells us that whoever leaves from the faith he was never a Christian. Now what part of this is true? So all those who deconverted from the faith werent really christians?

The Bible says no such thing.

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They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us- 1 John 2:19

At the very least, the writer of 1 John seems convinced that anyone who left their congregation was not a true member because no true member would leave. That sounds a lot like the No True Scotsman fallacy but it is an interesting point that can have merit depending on the circumstances. I don’t think it warrants being applied to all former Christians everywhere in every situation.

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Disclaimer: I’m not Calvinist/Reformed.

That doesn’t say that anyone who leaves was never a Christian. These specific false teachers didn’t continue in the teachings of the apostles. They left those teachings. When they left the apostolic teachings, their real intentions were made known. They were teaching things that were not “of God”, and thus not “of us” (they were no longer part of the Christian group). I don’t see any indication that they never followed God ever, but that at some point they left the teachings of God and thus left the community.

This happens. People start out following God, then they change and get into ideas that are not at all Biblical. They were Christians starting out, but then they leave Christ for false teachings.

Galatians 6:1 - Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

James 5:19-20 - My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

I have personal experience here. I strayed from the truth. I became an atheist. Prior to that, I was a Christian and followed Christ. Anyone who says I wasn’t really a Christian needs to worry about their own soul, because how on earth would you know you’re a Christian, if faithful obedience to the gospel doesn’t do it?

I went from believing Christian who was actively following Jesus, to atheist who was clearly no longer a Christian. Then I repented and returned to being a Christian. And I’m very thankful to the patient elder who followed the commandments in Galatians and James above.

One can fall from grace after being saved (Galatians 5:4), but one can also be restored. The whole point of Galatians is to tell them to turn back to the gospel, not following the false teachers who wanted them to become Jews and follow the Law of Moses in order to be Christians. That was a false gospel.

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Not to mention Paul’s Romans 11 discourse warning the “grafted-in” branches about their smug attitudes toward the cut-off native branches … If God could adopt you into the family - how much more can He welcome back the native prodigal son? (my paraphrasing here…) These would be incoherent ramblings on Paul’s part if people cannot fall away.

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That’s the clincher for me. Of course, it’s possible to obey commandments as a matter of duty without actually believing in Jesus, but if someone who has accepted the gospel falls away and suddenly they “were never one of us,” it sounds like revisionist history to me, that can cast suspicion over everyone else and sow insecurity in our own hearts.

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So would God let someone leave from him? He is calling people to him. He doesnt make them go. To respond or not to that call is fine but then leaving from it?

God has given us free will. We can choose to leave. Adam and Eve certainly did.

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Yes, I do believe God is calling people to him. You’re right that he doesn’t make us go, but he also doesn’t make us stay, though he gives us his spirit. I don’t always understand it either, but that’s the nature of free will. If God forced us to love him, we would be robots. I’m reminded of Jesus weeping over the people of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37, emphasis mine):

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

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The Bible does say things like this, though:

      The Christian’s Confidence

How about reading the whole thing…

1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 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 be plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know.

These are not simply people who left Christianity but people who became opponents of Christianity. Furthermore, I think the context is one in which Christians were being martyred. We see this in the talk of love for your brother rather than murdering them like Cain. In this context, I think it is understandable that John doubted that they had an authentic experience.

The whole question of perseverance of the saints is utterly lacking in any kind of faith. Paul says faith does not even ask the question of who is saved and who is damned. But asking if you can lose your salvation as if this was ever something you were owed and entitled to goes way beyond that to something far worse.

Romans 10:5 Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Those making up rules to say they are saved and others are damned are appealing to legalism (righteousness based on law) as a justification for entitlement. But taking this upon themselves in such outrageous arrogance, not only speak for God but to judge for God, can only demonstrate that they do not really believe in God at all. So they feel free to change God into nothing more than a tool of rhetoric for the manipulation of others.

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Well it makes a change from discussing OSAS. IME people leave the faith because God does not match up to their expectations, or something happens that they think God should have stopped. Neither shows a lack of original faith bit it might show a lack of understanding

Richard

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Anyone that leaves demonstrates that their heart has not been transformed. Please reread the list above and tell me which are reversible.

They may have been ‘believists’ and attracted to and affirming Christian doctrine, but they never were transformed. That is why there are such severe warnings in the New Testament, because our hearts can deceive us, and there were those even in the early Church.

Right on.      

Perseverance is a birthday or adoption gift when a person is reborn, adopted. If someone does not persevere, they were never transformed.

May I ask why does this question interest you?

I’m currently an Atheist but used to be a Christian. As part of my experience, I remember doubting my own salvation and fretting over that. This experience, as was explained to me, meant I was a true believer because non-Christians would not worry about being saved.

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This is a Calvinist understanding of the perseverance, but there is the pesky ‘temporary faith’ concept, where you may persevere in the faith for a little bit, but then ultimately fall away and prove you were not a true Christian.
https://www.monergism.com/temporary-faith

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“OSAS” is meant as a pejorative by most who use it, but in fact, it is the truth. Once born, always born; once born again, always born again.

I used to hold a Free Grace view when I was a believer, so I am familiar with OSAS. Calvinism technically supports OSAS, but Calvinism places too strong of an emphasis on the saving faith, where the person, in my past experience, doesn’t doubt OSAS per se, but doubts whether they have the saving faith.

In other words, they don’t doubt that born people are saved, they doubt whether they themselves were born.

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