October 03, 2016

Dear Esther,

I am in my early 30s. I was brought to a charismatic church since I was young. You could say I was brought up in a Christian family, although my father does not seem to be one (since I was told we could see whether someone is a Christian or not through his fruits and he has many vices).

We, i.e. my mom, sis and I, have stopped going to charismatic churches but are now in a more fundamentalist, Bible-based church; it’s non-denominational but it leans towards Baptist and Bible-Presbyterian.

Anyway, I’m questioning Christianity as a whole. Ever since I went to university, I started questioning a lot of things. I have overcome many challenges in my life and would love to think that the Lord was the one who helped me overcome them (but did He? Was it Him? I prayed and He answered, but was it just coincidence?).

I just watched this documentary about cults, and I’ve read and people have told me Christianity is just one big cult. Is the Lord real? I seem to have grown distant in my walk with the lord and this could be either hindering my closeness with him or it could be that I am not spending a lot of time with Him that is causing me to feel this way.

I feel I am losing Him… what can I do?

Thank you.

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

Please understand this: Most universities are filled with anti-Christian philosophies and people, working to place doubt into the minds of believers. It is one of Satan’s breeding grounds for atheism and false religions. The Lord Jesus is the truth and the Bible is the Word of God. In fact the Word is God. John 4:1-4 presents the Deity of Jesus Christ:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”

Please read that Scripture carefully again. It is a strong testament to the one and only sovereign God of the universe. He is life itself. Without Him nothing can exist.

We live in such a complex world, and as I have often said, we are living in a spiritual battlefield. Unless we arm ourselves daily with the Word of God we are vulnerable to the wiles of the devil.

I can speak from personal experience. It was when I was surrounded by humanistic philosophies starting in my college years that I, too, started having doubts. I also did not have a very strong biblical foundation to my faith after I was saved—so I was not equipped to recognize the many false teachings. Although I was around Christians a lot.

Plus I attended a very liberal university and had moved away from the few true Christian friends I had in my home town. In other words, it was only by the grace of God that I did not totally fall away from the faith and become a spiritual casualty. I never denied , and always loved Jesus but I did investigate many other religions and belief systems. I was confused, much like you are today.

To add fuel to the fire I had been around some professing Christians that showed themselves to be quite hypocritical, living worldly lives which greatly affected me as far as the authenticity of Christianity as a whole. I was looking at the behavior of people and not the Scriptures. Yes, “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

All the “new” spiritual ideas were quite tempting and appealing to me. After all, the common denominator to all of them is accountability to no one, certainly not a holy God. Our sin nature is that of rebellion. (The New Age philosophies elevate mankind to god status. Some others, like the Roman Catholic Church are so works-oriented that no one ever a chance to earn enough good works to definitively make it into heaven. Idolatry is also a huge problem in false religions.)

Because I was disheartened by the hypocrisy I saw in some professing Christians I was ripe for the picking (Satan’s assaults), which almost always come through some very “nice people.” The only drawback is that these same nice people simply do not think the Bible is worth the paper it is printed on. Satan has many representatives working for him, and most of them are oblivious to how they are being used for the dissemination of evil.

But at that young age, it is easy to be led astray without a strong biblical foundation. Never mind that I had sat in many churches for years and sincerely went through the motions of being a Christian. But I just didn’t totally get it. In time, the Lord healed me (rescued me) from any doubts and certainly gave me a great education regarding the spiritual warfare in which we are immersed.

Rachel, you sound like a very intelligent and sincere young lady. Please take my words to heart: We are living in the time of the prophesied apostasy. We are surrounded and inundated with spiritual lies. It is imperative that we stay in the Word of God or we will weaken our walk with the Lord and sin and doubt can more easily enter into our lives. (You can attest to that right now.)

The apostle Paul was very strong in his appeal to be prepared for spiritual battle as he warned in Ephesians 6:10-20:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints, and on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Regarding your reference to Christianity being a cult as advocated by biblically illiterate people, please know that these same individuals accept everything but Jesus Christ. Some cults do exist within Christianity but true biblical Christianity is not a cult—it is our lifeline to Jesus Christ and to an eternity with Him because of His blood sacrifice on Calvary, and His abiding grace.

It is true that there are many professing Christians who are very weak in their walk with the Lord. In fact, they may not have a “walk” with the Lord at all. But that does not mean the teachings in Scripture false.

The Bible is God-breathed, demonstrating that history was written in advance (prophecy) within sixty-six different books by forty different men over thousands of years; the messages are integrated like no other “holy” book.

The Old Testament was translated from Greek three centuries before Christ was born (the Septuagint version of the Tanakh—the Old Testament). Because many things it describes are depicted so precisely, godless commentators have had to try to late date those books to discredit the veracity of God’s Holy Word. Scripture twisting is a method used by all naysayers; that is another reason why we must diligently study the Bible for ourselves so we are not fooled and mislead.

Let’s explore the importance of gaining spiritual wisdom and discernment.

Even long after we come to a saving faith in Christ we must be very much on guard for questionable and unsound teachings found even within the Christian church. As I said earlier, we are living in the last days when “falling away from the faith”—the apostasy is steadily increasing, just as Jesus foretold. For example, some individuals will try to convince others that emotional “experiences” are credible tests of biblical, spiritual authenticity.

Experience alone, apart from adhering to the accuracies of Scripture cannot be a reliable gauge by which to test the spirits (1 John 4:1). This is the same lie that keeps many New Agers bound to false doctrines. Some spiritual experiences or encounters are God-given and some are not. Satan has a counterfeit deceptive action for many of God’s teachings (2 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 11:14). The devil’s aim is to cause confusion and mayhem and he is doing a superlative job.

Many “sheep in wolves clothing” are deliberately infiltrating the Christian church offering confusing, distorted teachings spanning from the emergent church movement, “contemplative prayer” trends—to “seeker-sensitive” doctrines. They are dangerously compromising the gospel by attacking the very basic, core-truths of Scripture. Substitutes for God’s redemptive work are running awry—propelled by those who do not accept the authority, inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.

Because they do not like or want to accept the truths of the Bible, a deceptive tactic used by some “evangelicals” who compromise the Scriptures is this: They say the true meanings of Scripture are “unclear” in an attempt to appear modest and gain popular favor with their target audience, when in truth they are casting doubt upon God’s inerrant Word.

Jesus Christ came to earth to die—to set us free from our sins—to give us eternal life and to save us from hell. Some people do not want to accept hell as a real place. Yet hell is referenced in the Bible repeatedly—dozens of times—in both the Old and New Testaments. Those who want to rewrite the Bible don’t want to trust God and accept that He knows what is best for them, so they create new doctrines with which that they can feel “comfortable.”

If we are truly born-again, saved—redeemed, regenerated and reconciled through Christ’s blood sacrifice, then the truths of the Bible are our anchor—our blessed shield and hope in a sinister world fraught with power-hungry, greedy takers. The Word of God and prayer are lifelines for the genuine believer.

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth and it abides” (Psalm 119:89).

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You O God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1a).

Praying for spiritual wisdom and discernment is an integral part of one’s walk with the Lord, especially in these last days. This is the age of confusion and spiritual recklessness. The promises of the Lord strengthen us as we go through our everyday lives. His Word is our guiding light. Rachel, it is so important to spend time reading and studying the Scriptures.

The Word of God is our powerful ally in a very chaotic, desperate world. A better world is coming soon for all believers. Hold on to that promise and trust the Lord. It won’t be long now when the cares and concerns of this world are left behind. The apostle Paul recorded the following encouraging Scriptures:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

No other religion or spiritual teaching can say this:

“In Him you also trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory.

Therefore, I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, in the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;

That you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:11-21).

Rachel, everyone has doubts at times, even if for only a moment. Trust the Lord Jesus completely and go to Him now and ask Him to help you come back to Him. He never left you. He is waiting for you with open arms.

“And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

When engaged in a Bible study one way I personally stay in the Word is this: Instead of copying and pasting Scripture from an online Bible, I actually type out the verses from my personal Bibles. How archaic of me! It slows me down a bit but I am better able to reflect on the passages and their meanings. I can’t study that way all the time, but I try to do it as much as I can.

Today everyone seems to be in such a hurry. We must slow down and take in the Word of God so we can grow in our faith and understand God’s precepts and apply them in our daily lives. For that reason I refuse to get a “smart” phone. I would much rather spend time in my Bible and not get caught-up in the trappings of this world. (Although I do use my PC a lot, but mostly for work-related tasks.) Technology is both a blessing and a curse; a blessing when we are mindful of the convenience and benefits of improved communication; a curse when we make some electronic devices our 24/7 crutch.

Rachel, I have confidence in you, that you will get through this lull in your walk with the Lord. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing. Jesus is the best friend you could ever have. He is preparing a special place just for you so where He is, you can be also.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, thereyou may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (John 14:1-4).

And regarding your comment that you would love to think that the Lord was the one who helped you overcome many challenges in your life. You said, “But did He? Was it Him? I prayed and He answered, but was it just coincidence?” Rachel, when you are a blood-bought born-again child of God there are no coincidences. Surely it was the Lord who sustained you and brought you through those challenges.

As sure as I am sitting here one day each and every person in this crumbling and corrupt world will bow their knee to the King of kings and Lord of Lords, and then all the cynics will learn that they are wrong. Sadly for them, it will be too late.

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Rachel, I will leave you with a link to an informative website titled, Is the Bible true?. Please take some time to study some of the articles on the site; there are some good ones that will help you sort out some of your issues.

http://www.2christ.org/bible/

In God’s love,

Esther

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).