Can you un-ring a bell? Can you get all the toothpaste back into the tube? Can you ever fully take back hurtful words you wish you had not said? Can a man who truly believes in God come to the point where he no longer believes?
Leonardo Blair of “The Christian Post” wrote an article on January 7, 2014 outlining the experiment that was to be undertaken by a man who for more than twenty years preached and believed in God. This story was reprinted by “My Christian Daily.”
He expressed this idea of becoming an atheist for one full year as an experiment to consider if all he had taught and believed was real. For many years he has been associated with the Hollywood Adventist Church. Then in March of last year he was asked to resign his post because of his gay activism.
Ryan J. Bell had been struggling with his faith for some time and expressed his mixed feelings about what the Bible taught about homosexuality. And because of it, he lost his job as the pastor and two other positions.
He was quoted as saying,
"Since leaving my position with the Seventh-day Adventist Church – and even before – I was an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University (APU) teaching intercultural communication to undergrads, and Fuller Theological Seminary, coaching doctoral candidates in the writing of their dissertation proposals.
"Both are Christian institutions of higher learning that have a requirement that their instructors and staff be committed followers of Jesus and, obviously, believers in God. They simply feel they cannot have me as a part of the faculty while I am in this year long process," Bell continued.
He further explained: "So, I'm making it official and embarking on a new journey. I will "try on" atheism for a year.”
“For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result)," he noted.”
Source: My Christian Daily
There is a concern here that he is not declaring that he is an atheist; but is just going to try it for a year. That alone seems to indicate his fear of losing favour with God. That would be like buying a pack of gym and chewing the all the flavor out and then taking it back to the store for a refund.
While he is trying to find himself and his relationship with God, he may very well have studied the Bible from which he preached. The Bible is an anomaly to many. And some use their lack of understanding and confusion to deny it all.
If his experiment is only to find out how atheists and the gay community thinks (and lives) - and if he can still hold on to his faith, then he might very well come to a beneficial understanding that divides people.
But... if he plans to deny God for just one year then he could be in a different situation. Jesus says that those God has given Him can in no wise be taken out of His hand. There is also a scripture that says that in the last days God will separate the sheep from the goats. This day may be a surprise to many who think they are a Christian only to find out they were not.
There are many people today claiming the name of Christ when they don’t have a clue what that means. It is not a familial trait that you inherit from your family. It is not a country club that you join; but a commitment to God through Christ. You become a Christian by acknowledging your sinful state and that you cannot save yourself and you accept the work of Christ on the Cross to be your substitute for the curse of sin which is eternal death.
Then something remarkable takes place – you change. You do not change yourself but gradually you change more and more into the image of Christ and His teachings. If it looks like a Christian, talks like a Christian and walks like a Christian, then they must be a Christian. You may be able to fool others but you cannot fake being a Christian before God.
There is no doubt that this man is struggling and perhaps it is because he has never fully understood or accepted Christ. In the end, Jesus will say to many, “Depart from me because I never knew you!”
Also, Jesus replied when asked about people who deserted Him and He said in 1 John 2:19 KJV “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
You may wish to check out this site that lists many scriptures about people falling away from the faith.
Numerous people today want to ride the fence between being a Christian fully and being a conditional Christian for convenience sake. Mr. Bell could be treading on thin ice and may be a tool in the hand of satan to lead others astray. satan only attacks those he feels has the capacity to lead others to Christ – the rest are already in his pocket and he leaves them to their own devices.
Hebrews 6: 4-6 says: For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
2 Corinthians 11:3 - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Revelation 3:11 - Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
There are many, many scriptures regarding the falling away of mankind. Anyone toying with such an idea as this may be walking on shaky ground. You may find these scriptures helpful. You will find more than fifty such scriptures regarding this.
When the Bible devotes this many scriptures to any subject, it is pretty important.
Note: “We all have doubts and are confused in our walk with Christ and we will never fully understand the mind of God. We become discouraged and downtrodden and feel that God could do something and when He does not follow our command we become angry and strike out against Him. But if we are faithful to confess our sins, He is just and will forgive them. There is a difference in living in sin and committing sins. To deny God is living IN sin, which means we have no relationship with God and have chosen our own way.
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