Wednesday, July 03, 2019

When faith fades

Wesley Huff:

A number of years ago I was participating in an event at a church. It was a beautiful July evening and after my talk in the cool of the foyer as I watched the sun descend into vivid oranges and reds through the window, a man approached me. He shared with me that he didn't necessarily consider himself a believer any longer. He attended the church off and on with his wife, and although he would have identified as a Christian at one point, his fervor for the belief had diminished over the years.

"What would you recommend for me? What advice would you give to someone in my situation?" he asked.

I'd like to take a stab at this:

1. Sometimes faith fades because their initial fervor or conversion experience was primarily social or emotional. Their reasons were very thin, and over the years they made no effort to bolster their reasons. For instance, they didn't no serious reading in Christian apologetics. They were skating until the ice melted under their feet.

2. I'd ask the individual what Christianity meant to him when back when he was fervent. There are churchgoers whose think Christianity is just about avoiding hell when you die, or getting to heaven when you die. They don't stop to consider how many other things are riding on the truth or falsity of the Christian worldview. They act like the good, the true, and the beautiful is detachable from Christianity. They haven't considered how everything of value patches into the Christian outlook. For them, Christianity is or was just an accessory, an add on. They take far too much for granted. 

3. There are churchgoers who plateau early on. They master the rudiments of Christian theology. They listen to shallow, repetitious sermons. They think that's all there is, and it's not enough. They don't go deeper into theology. They don't read good theologians. They don't invest in quality commentaries or exegetical monographs. They stop learning. They stop growing. 

4. Christians need to feed the imagination. Read good Christian poetry. Study great Christian art. Listen to great Christian music. Read good Christian fiction writers. Expand your aesthetic horizons. 

5. There are Christians who fail to integrate their Christian beliefs with other things they care about. They have a compartmentalized faith. There's the explicitly Christian stuff, then there's all the other interests and activities. They fail to see the world through Christian eyes. They fail to interpret their own life through a theological prism. The high-points, low-points, tragedies, disappointments. Things to be thankful for. 


  1. Regarding point 2, the entire reason we are still on this earth (instead of being Raptured into heaven upon conversion) is because we are imperfect works in progress. The short time we have in this life is meant to be used to prepare ourselves for an eternity in heaven - one of constant & endless service, loving our brethren, worshiping & enjoying God, etc.

    WE OURSELVES are the treasure that we are storing up in heaven. And it is no wonder that goats & atheists who have shown over their lifetime that they JUST CAN'T STAND God and His people get shown the door out - it's literally what they would prefer, over spending eternity in close proximity to God and His people!

    (The real hell for an atheist would be worshiping the God he hates.)