Disillusioned with Evangelicalism Jun 14, 2012 9:19:46 GMT -5
Post by brianc on Jun 14, 2012 9:19:46 GMT -5
I also once believed that I had committed the unpardonable sin. For a few days, I was completely convinced that I was going to hell. I believed I was going to hell with as much certainty as I ever believed anything, I think. There was no definitive end to that experience; my parents and pastors tried to convince me that I couldn't possibly have committed the unpardonable sin, and it just got old. I don't mean to start the theological debate about that topic, either, I'm just saying that I know the experience.
Not debate, but I'll throw out the discussion real quick. The unpardonable sin can only be the choice not to accept forgiveness, plain and simple. How can a person be forgiven if they refuse forgiveness? So, of course that's unpardonable, because a person isn't accepting the pardon. But at any time in life, the person can accept forgiveness and be saved. It's not as frightening as some churches tend to make it sound. It's just a logical expression of free will and the structure God has setup.
I think I understand the concepts of reproof, conviction, and victory. It's the "inward check" and the supernatural witness that I don't think I have.
Thank you for sharing all of that.
If you are looking for some magical feeling to know you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, then good luck with that. lol There's a lot of fantastical stuff out there that is misunderstood, in my opinion. And I think the enemy uses it to make others feel bad or less important or less "righteous". It's important to understand that Jesus never spoke of some fantastical special feeling we're all supposed to have all the time as Christians. He didn't even say we'd have it at the moment of belief. Do you know why? Because some people have lived fairly pure lives, and when their sins and shame are erased at the moment of salvation, it doesn't make nearly as huge an impact on them. I, on the other hand, had plenty of sins and shame built up, so when I was born again at age 16, I went from rock bottom to cloud nine in a split second and it felt awesome! But I've noticed that with children, especially if they aren't hardly corrupted yet, the experience is rarely this amazing change inside of them. And I believe it's for that exact reason--they're not horribly corrupted enough yet to feel this massive change. I think that's why my mom can't pinpoint when she became saved, because it was very early on. She tells me of one event early on that might have been the event of her salvation, but isn't sure. And so she has this similar struggle you have, from time to time. I never have that struggle, because at age 16, I knew for certain, because the experience was so drastically life altering. Don't gauge your experience from other people's experience or you'll be confused like you are now.
Keep in mind, it's never a good idea to compare your inside to other people's outsides. You only see the outside of others, and you may think, "Well, they've got it all together and they're a good person and they seem like a good Christian. Why am I not that way?" But the truth is, they have all kinds of their own struggles--you just don't see them. That's the kind of environment modern churches create, in my opinion--lots of shame for everyone comparing their inside to everyone else's outside.
That is a good thought. Part of my frustration is that Evangelicalism -- as characterized in my mind -- does not really allow God to be bigger than the Bible.
Thank you. I appreciate the empathy, the encouragement.
That's a key truth. The Bible is not God--God is God, and there is no substitute. We can try to substitute knowledge and the Bible for God, which religion often does, but relationship with God is the only place to actually find truth and fulfillment. It's like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:2 - "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
Religion often misses that. I make blanket statements, but understand that I don't necessarily believe these things about all churches. I'd say I believe them about the majority of churches, though.