This post is a text I received from our friend Christy. She lives in the “Bible belt” where everyone is a Christian, you know. She wrote this to me because she is seeing, correctly, that being a victim of domestic abuse does not mean the victim is a Christian. If any of us are going to hear Christ’s voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd (see John 10), then we must be born again. Here then is what Christy wrote in this regard:
So I grew up with that arminianism teaching. It was easy peasy Christianity. Most of my adult life was in the United Methodist Church in North Carolina. Went to the Billy Graham museum like everyone else and was in awe. So I probably was in church for 20 years and never heard the full counsel of God, never heard the depravity of man, the doctrines of grace, original sin, the Kingdom of God, etc.
In 2015, I escaped my abuser and found Christ Reformation Church. I started listening to your sermons and can’t stop! I’m finally understanding the effectual call to saving faith and repentance.
I went through so much anger with the church for not teaching what’s in the Bible. I had no clue. I was so ignorant. Here I was teaching 3rd grade SS, doing VBS, committees, all these dead works. At one point I was doing work for 5 different churches because I was afraid to say “no” to God. Everyone took advantage of me. Church was so much work, it was so hard. It wore me out.
Here I was, I had “accepted Jesus” and thought I was saved. What a crock!!! If God had not sent me a wicked evil “Christian” hiding in the church, to make me question everything, I would still be sitting there in that pew with a smile on the outside, but nothing but a miserable guilty sinner on the inside.
What REALLY got my attention, and this is my point- The teachings that I needed to hear were the foundational ones. The Genesis ones… Original Sin, Pollution, The Fall, The Consequences. I can’t tell you how SHOCKED I was when I first heard you and Martyn Lloyd-Jones tell me that I was born with a polluted evil nature. I wasn’t good. I was guilty and didn’t even have the ability to chose God. WHAT??? That was astounding to me.
I think that a lot (most UMC church for sure) don’t teach total depravity. They don’t lay a foundation of man’s original condition. I’m just wondering how many people out there think they have heard the full gospel, but really haven’t (like I was)? I think most churches think it’s too offensive to teach the Fall. This is soooooo vital. How can you become a new creation when you don’t even know what you changed from?
So my idea for your consideration would be to do a little bible study series that you can point people to (like you to with 1 John) that would be like MLJ “Great Biblical Doctrines”. Except you wouldn’t have to go though the whole bible like he did (he spent 3 years, hehe). Start at the beginning and really hammer the depravity. Go back and listen to how great MLJ teachings were. Funny when you first hear this stuff you are shocked. Then later on you love it so much and can’t get enough. We love hearing how wicked we were because God saved us from the wrath we deserved.–
And there it is. You must be born again. Apart from the new birth, you will not have faith to believe God’s promises. You will not be able to hear Christ’s voice. You will be without hope and without God.