Crisis’s of faith intrigue me.
Not that I’ve never doubted, questioned or faltered in my faith journey. I’ve battled and struggled along in this Christian life just as many of you have. There can be bright, shining mountaintop days full of hope, promise and deliverance and there can be abysmal, dark, valley nights seething with doubt, distress and depression. And then there are also those normative, numbing, middle of the road days consumed with the hum drum of life (which can often times be the worst of all).
However, I have never ceased to believe. I have never said “There is no God” or “I am an Atheist now.” I was submerged in scripture since my youth; Jesus Christ was always a fact and a fixed point of reference for me and I make no apologies about that.
Thus, I become very nervous when I hear a person who proclaims faith in Jesus say “I no longer believed in God” or “I gave up on my faith for a while” yet now I believe again.
I don’t know what to do with that theologically. I’m not saying it’s impossible to leave and return, nor am I saying a return can’t be legitimate in any circumstance. I just have trouble in light of Hebrews 6
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallenaway, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”
This passage scares me. I don’t fully understand it, yet I see a warning written on those pages that ought to strike fear into our hearts.
What I often times find amazing is what people’s belief looks like when they do return to the faith. Previously they had fundamental issues with God, Scripture and Truth. They wrestled with perceived inconsistencies and issues and found themselves on the other end of the spectrum; on the outside looking in.
Often times when they come back to the faith they change God. He fits into the box that they created for Him. God has to appease them, has to make sense to them in order to earn their belief. He becomes a God they can manage, that society will accept.
Liberalism often times seems to be the last rung on the ladder of faith. People want God yet they want Him to fit within their framework. They want faith on their own terms. I find it amazing how people want to live like unbelievers but just can’t give up on the idea of God. I respect atheists more than those who try to change the Biblical God to fit their whims and wants. At least atheists don’t blur the line for others.
When we remake God in our own image, when we edit scripture I believe that we head into murky swamps and there is a possibility that there may be no coming back.