Do you recognize any of these names?
- Dan Barker _______________
- Warren Buffett _______________
- Bart Campolo _______________
- Winston Churchill _______________
- Richard Dawkins _______________
- Jerry DeWitt _______________
- Matt Dillahunty _______________
- Brad Pitt _______________
- Charles Templeton _______________
- Gene Roddenberry _______________
- Frank Schaeffer _______________
One of the common threads in each of these people’s lives is their abandoning Christianity. Look at these:
- Dan Barker: Former preacher who founded Freedom from Religion.
- Warren Buffett: One of the most successful investors of all time (worth close to $89 billion). Raised Presbyterian, but is now agnostic.
- Bart Campolo: Son of the famous American Baptist Tony Campolo. He is a Humanist Chaplain.
- Winston Churchill: Grew up in the Church of England, but later became an agnostic.
- Richard Dawkins: One of the most famous atheists of our day, Dawkins is famous for his book, The God Delusion. He grew up and was confirmed in the Church of England, but ultimately rejected Christianity because he believes science is more trustworthy.
- Jerry DeWitt: Former pastor of two churches in Louisiana who didn’t like the idea of Hell, so he became an atheist. He has written a well-received book on his journey to atheism and has been featured in many news outlets.
- Matt Dillahunty: Another Southern Baptist turned atheist, he even considered becoming a minister at one time. He has had debates with the likes of Ray Comfort and David Robertson.
- Brad Pitt: Pitt is an excellent actor, even earning two Academy Awards (one for acting, one for production). He grew up Southern Baptist in what is often called the Buckle of the Bible Belt (Springfield, MO), but decided he was somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist.
- Charles Templeton: Templeton became a “Christian” in 1936 and later an evangelist. He helped found Youth for Christ International. After attending the very liberal Princeton Theological Seminary (which used to be one of the most conservative in the U.S.), he became an agnostic. A few years before dying, he wrote Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith.
- Gene Roddenberry: Known best for creating Star Trek, Roddenberry was a successful WWII bomber pilot, commercial pilot, and L.A. police officer. Having grown up Southern Baptist, he decided he wanted to be called a “humanist” instead, and ascribed to his own version of God.
- Frank Schaeffer: Son of the famous Francis Schaeffer (who was known for How Should We Now Live? and A Christian Manifesto), Frank has since rejected the Christianity he claimed to believe and now claims he’s an atheist who doesn’t even know if God exists. He rights books on his political and religious beliefs now.
Starting off well does not mean we will end well. We know that salvation is wholly of God. He enacts it and keeps it in force in our lives. But as we’ve seen, many will be deceived into thinking they’re saved when they’re not, and the most dangerous thing we can do is to take it for granted because once we die, the opportunity to make sure we are “in Christ” is over and we will spend eternity in the presence of the Lord or cast away from His presence into Hellfire.
- Galatians 5:7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
Now, while these stories may seem more distant to us since we don’t know these people personally, they are not much different than the stories of some of the people I grew up with; people who are no longer identifying with Christ. It is when we see people living continually contrary to the Bible that we must go back to square one and give them the Gospel. We must challenge them to evaluate their lives in light of Scripture. That is the only loving thing we can do. Woe to us if we try to affirm their salvation with such unbiblical nonsense as, “God knows their heart”. Yes, God does know a person’s heart, but He also tells us that a person’s heart will be manifested in how he lives. If a person continually does not live for God, then that means he is not Christ’s. It’s as simple as that.
- “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Jesus kept repeating His message to the Pharisees which is His way of emphasizing an important point. In essence, He is saying, “Don’t miss this important truth! My Word is important, and you must follow it in order to be my disciple. A disciple of mine will be set free from sin and death—it’s that important!”
- Are there doubts in mind about Jesus, the Bible, eternity? ________________________________________________________
- If so, pray now to God to give you His confirmation through His Word that He is real and His plan for your life is secure.
- Maybe you’re the type that never doubts your salvation, yet you find you don’t wholeheartedly seek after Jesus. Mental assent of Jesus’ existence and work on the cross is not the same as heart conversion. The demons believe in Jesus but are not saved (James 2:19). What areas of your life need to be corrected so that the hypocrisy is removed and your life will begin to look like Christ’s? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Acts 20:24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
- Paul is talking about getting close to the end of his life. What do you see about this statement?
- How important is his physical life in relation to serving God fully to the end? __________________________________________
- What’s Paul’s main message? ___________________________________________________
- Now, using the Apostle Paul as an example, how should you apply this to your life and your life as a disciple of Jesus? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Day By DayHymn by Richard of Chichester
Day by day, day by day,
O, dear Lord, three things I pray:
to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly, day by day.
Day by day, day by day,
O, dear Lord, three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly, day by day,
by day, by day, by day.