Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Reaction: Christian Leader Singer Talks Losing His Faith in God

WAY Nation (Rob Vischer) did an interview with Jon Steingard. Watch it here. And I think everyone should go read Hell's Best Kept Secret.

2:12 Jon answers a question about when he initially decided to follow Jesus. His response is about when he was very young camping with his Dad and his Dad led him in "the prayer." As a teenager he looked back to that moment of praying the prayer as "his moment" of coming to faith. But he says his story never felt like the same experience as other conversion stories of his friends.
2:35 "I wish I had that story." He's talking about how his friends stories would go something like: my life was falling apart, I accepted Jesus into my heart, now everything is better because of Jesus.
3:00 As a teenager though he felt like he was floundering with his faith, he was asked to lead worship. He took that to mean that he had to get his act together and do better. He had to be solid, not going with the flow.
4:00 Real religious moments with God. "I don't know that I've had that." I like this bit--awkward as it may be--in that he seems to be realizing two things at least. 1) I can't build my faith on someone else's faith, someone else's experiences and encounters; 2) Realizing that he has not had any of his own experiences or encounters with God in the past or in the present. That is honest.
5:39 Unplugged from Christian culture and music. Self-aware of hypocrisy. He doesn't want to stand up and pretend to be someone he's not. Getting paid to lead worship--essentially performing as a Christian band--while not actually actually believing in God and doing so as an act of love and service to God...he recognizes that that would be wrong. Maybe he thinks its wrong for a different reason--because he values honesty and wants to be true to himself--but at some level he realizes that its wrong.
6:39 More financially free. Wasn't going to destroy me financially.
7:00 He talks about what broke him and intensified his doubts. At least this reason seems more genuine than the reason given on his instagram post.
9:20 He talks about prayer.
10:00 Trite answers and free will.
10:50 Belief in God as a sweater analogy...and Rob talks about the analogy of belief in God as a PARACHUTE. When did you start to view your belief in God as more of an accessory and less as a necessity. Jon's reaction is key.
12:06 I may have thought about it as more like an accessory--a sweater--than a necessity--my entire life. Some people in the comments...you've never believed...that's possible.
13:00 Avoiding pitfalls of bitterness and anger.
14:00 Some walk away because they've been deeply wounded; wanted his walk away to be fruitful, helpful, kind.
15:30 Open to having his heart changed in the future. Why would I not want to know him...if he's real. I don't believe what my family and friends do. I haven't had those experiences. I'm genuinely looking for the truth. There's no need to be defensive.
16:30 His response of sorts to his fans and friends within the industry.
19:00 It's God's work--it's not my work to go in and...convert you. This is the solution. Here you go. His response...the truth will be the truth no matter what we think...trust in God that he will reveal himself to me.

My thoughts are a bit scattered. But I want to make a few observations here and there.

First, I think parents may be very well intentioned and genuinely hopeful when they try to push and guide a child into the faith by praying a prayer, etc. But that doesn't necessarily always correlate to a genuine, authentic, personal-trusting-believing relationship IN Christ that grows and grows and grows and grows. It may be perhaps best in some cases at least to allow the child to come to faith in his or her own time, making his/her own realizations. I am NOT by any means saying don't instruct the child in the Christian faith, let them discover spiritual truths on their own without any input or guidance or instruction or discussion. I am saying don't assume that because your child knows the words to forty different praise songs that they've made it personal. My sins nailed Jesus to the tree. He took my place. He did this for Me. He loved me. He loves me still. He loved me while a sinner. His grace covers me. My sin was exchanged for his righteousness. Jesus Christ is in heaven praying for ME. Every person needs his/her own encounters with God. There are lessons that have to be lived. Sometimes instructions come before the living. Sometimes the living comes before the instructions. But whether you have had a moment in the distant past or not so distant past, it's not looking back towards YOUR decision or YOUR praying a prayer that means you're saved.

Second, there are four types of people in the world. 1) Those that are unsaved and know it. 2) Those that believe themselves to be saved but that are in fact unsaved. They have a false assurance. 3) Those that are saved and know it. (They can clap their hands). 4) Those that are saved but doubt their salvation. They lack the assurance that God has granted us as believers. But they are just as saved as those that know it.

It is BETTER, a million times better, to come to the realization that you are not really saved though you've lived with that belief perhaps for decades that you are saved...than to realize too late. Jon at least has realized this about himself...it seems like. Though he may not have processed it all.

Third, I want to leave you with a lengthy quote from Hell's Best Kept Secret about the parachute analogy and gospel presentations. It seems that Jon never really got or understood the gospel.

Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first because he can’t see how wearing a parachute in a plane could possibly improve a flight. After a time he decides to experiment and see if the claim is true. As he puts it on he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds that he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact that he was told the parachute would improve the flight, so he decides to give the thing a little time. As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him because he’s wearing a parachute in a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they begin to point and laugh at him, he can stand it no longer. He slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because, as far as he was concerned, he was told an outright lie.
The second man is given a parachute, but he’s told to put it on because at any moment he’d be jumping 25,000 feetout of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on; he doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without that parachute.
Let’s analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers; he was disillusioned and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned it’ll be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again. The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come, and because of his knowledge of what would happen to him without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward those who gave him the parachute is one of heart-felt gratitude.
Now consider what the modern gospel says. It says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” In other words, “Jesus will improve your flight.” So the sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion, puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution. The other passengers mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ, he’s offended for the word’s sake (Mark 4:17), he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered, and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed toward those who gave him the so-called “good news.” His latter end becomes worse than the first—another inoculated and bitter backslider.
Instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning the passengers they’re going to have to jump out of the plane, that it’s “appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). And when a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking God’s Law, then he will flee to the Savior solely to escape the wrath that’s to come. And if we’re true and faithful witnesses, that’s what we’ll be preaching: that there is wrath to come. That God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Why? “Because He has appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness” (verse 31).
You see, the issue isn’t one of happiness, but one of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how happy a sinner is, how much he’s enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). Without the righteousness of Christ, he’ll perish on the day of wrath. “Riches profit not on the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4). Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of salvation, but it’s not legitimate to use these fruits as a drawing card for salvation. If we continue to do so, sinners will respond with an impure motive lacking repentance. Now, can you remember why the second passenger had joy and peace in his heart? It was because he knew that parachute was going to save him from sure death. And as a believer, I have, as Paul says, “joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13), because I know that the righteousness of Christ is going to deliver me from the wrath that’s to come.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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