Can an atheist also be a born again Christian?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by RoleTroll, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. RoleTroll

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    If a person believes in God and the Bible with all his heart, and is born again, and later falls away from the church and becomes an atheist, can such a person be an atheist born again Christian?
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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  3. Helen

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    If a person is truly born again, and not just depending on an emotional high from a service or something, then he cannot get 'unborn.' Phil 1:6 states clearly that God will finish the good work He started. That good work is defined in Romans 8:28-30 as being transformed into the image of Christ Himself.

    Once one is born again and adopted into the family of God, that's that. God will raise up the person, disciplining as necessary (Heb. 12), and taking the responsibility for that person.

    It needs to be noted that the born again person has a NEW heart, though, and simply will not continue wanting the life and sin he or she had known before. The born again Christian is headed toward God, not the world, and this becomes more and more evident as that life is lived out.

    Can a sheep stray? Yes, we know that. But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has stated clearly and unambiguously that He Himself will go after that straying sheep and bring it home.

    We are safe with Him.

    A born again child of God cannot possibly be an atheist.
     
  4. RoleTroll

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    That verse tells you what makes one a Christian, not whether one loses salvation. Unless you are suggesting that one who fails to carry out God's commands (1 John 5:2-3) does not love God, and thus loses his salvation.
     
  5. Joseph_Botwinick

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    That verse tells us what are the indicators of a true Christian. Christians will overcome the world, not be destroyed the the doctrines of the world. True Christians would never become atheists. I am not saying you would lose your salvation. I am saying that by their fruits, you will know who truly are Christians and who never had salvation to lose. Understand now?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  6. RoleTroll

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    I think so. So you are saying that a person cannot be confident in his or her salvation until after the fact. If, after living all of life, he does not become an atheist or otherwise show false fruits, then he was a true Christian.

    However, if the person by every appearance is a godly person for 60 years and then becomes an atheist, then he was never a Christian at all, and it was wrong to look at his beliefs and his fruits during the 60 years to determine whether he was a Christian.
     
  7. RoleTroll

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    What about Dan Barker? Would you say that he was never a Christian? If so, then how can anybody be said to be a Christian?

    http://www.ffrf.org/books/lfif.html

    "You probably already know that I have gone through some significant changes regarding spiritual things. The past five or six years has been a time of deep re-evaluation for me, and during the last couple of years I have decided that I can no longer honestly call myself a Christian. You can probably imagine that it has been an agonizing process for me. I was raised in a good Christian home, served in missions and evangelism, went to a Christian college, became ordained and ministered in three churches as Assistant Pastor. During those years I was 100 percent convinced of my faith, and now I am just about 100 percent unconvinced.

    http://www.ffrf.org/lfif/ripples.html
     
  8. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I think so. So you are saying that a person cannot be confident in his or her salvation until after the fact. If, after living all of life, he does not become an atheist or otherwise show false fruits, then he was a true Christian.

    However, if the person by every appearance is a godly person for 60 years and then becomes an atheist, then he was never a Christian at all, and it was wrong to look at his beliefs and his fruits during the 60 years to determine whether he was a Christian.
    </font>[/QUOTE]What does the Bible say? That is the first question. Are you willing to accept what the Bible says? That is the second question. Answer those two questions and you will have your answer.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  9. RoleTroll

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    QUOTE]What does the Bible say? That is the first question. Are you willing to accept what the Bible says? That is the second question. Answer those two questions and you will have your answer.

    Joseph Botwinick[/QUOTE]

    If the Bible sets how to be saved, and a person follows that and he is saved, and the Bible says a person cannot lose that salvation, and if you are willing to accept what the Bible says, then you agree that a person can be both an atheist and a born again Christian simultaneously.
     
  10. Aaron

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  11. Debby in Philly

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    We can never really know someone's heart. Only God can. It may be that this man may have indeed been playing the role all of his life, just as perhaps his parents were. Just doing what was expected of you, knowing the talk, and acting accordingly. If that was the case, then he was never "saved" to begin with, and the atheist is his true self.

    Or it may be that this search for "reason" (I wonder if he has read Francis Schaeffer) is the role being played, that some issue or feeling has pushed him towards. If that is the case, then his born-again soul has been pushed down very, very deep, until its voice is no longer heard. This being true, then God is showing him a great deal of patience, and I pray that his influence on others who have not had the opportunity to respond to the Gospel be silenced in some way. But I am not as patient as God.

    My short answer, one cannot be both. One can play a part, even to the fooling of oneself, but cannot cease to be a child of God, once born.
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    1 John 2:19 tells us that those who go out were never really a part to begin with. They didn't lose their salvation. They never had it.

    1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

    Paul also makes it clear that truly saved people will continue.
    1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
    Colossians 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

    This fellow you cite above moved away from the hope of the gospel. He did not hold fast. Therefore, he is not saved.

    It is impossible to be both saved and an atheist.
     
  13. Johnv

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    I guess the bigger question is: Can a person who has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior later choose to abandon the gift of salvation and walk away from Christ?
     
  14. Trotter

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    Can a person who has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior later choose to abandon the gift of salvation and walk away from Christ?

    Explain how a man can undo the sole work of God, and we'll see. A man does not just "choose" God; he must be drawn by the Spirit, and it is God Who gives the faith to believe.

    So, if an individual is drawn by God, accepts the faith offered and believes, he then becomes a child of God through no power of his own. Question: Just how can this man, through ANY action of his own doing, sever the Father/child relationship with God, when it was (and is) by God's choosing and power that it came to be?

    I have never understood how anyone can actually believe that a mere human being can have the power to literally cast God aside and end that eternal tie. If God is that weak, I'd have to find something else to put my faith in (because He would be too wimpy to hold on to me).

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  15. Ps104_33

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    The Bible says:
    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. IICor 5:17

    Either the individual was never truely a Christian then, or the individual is not truely an atheist now. It is impossible to be both. Something cannot be up and down at the same time. It is like telling someone to go north and south at the same time. Its absurd.
     
  16. Ps104_33

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    I really think that what ravdon is provoking here is a debate between Calivinism and Arminianism. It would be much easier to say that the atheist "lost" or "gave back" the free gift than to try to explain that an avowed atheist is going to walk the streets of gold. Martin Luther supposedly made a statement that a Christian couldnt go to hell if he tried. I dont know why a Christian would want to try. The very word Christian means "little Christs". To go from atheism to Christianity requires a totally different mindset. I think all believers go through periods of doubt in their Christian walk.
     
  17. Johnv

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    Sure he does. God offers the gift. Man must accept the gift. This is not a Calvinism/Arminianism thing.

    The question for the purpose of this discussion is, once man has accepted the gift, can he discard it?
     
  18. RoleTroll

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    The problem with the assertion that anyone who breaks with Christianity was never saved is that it destroys the ability to have confidence in your salvation. If someone like Dan Barker, who was 100% certain in his Christian beliefs for 35 years and preached for nearly 20, was "not really saved," then YOU might not be saved either. You, too, might only think you are saved.

    Remember, Barker's conversion to atheism was merely the evidence that he never was saved, not the cause of his lack of salvation. Thus, you could live your life like Dan Barker was all those years - 100% certain of Christian faith and salvation, and 100% committed to Christ - but not have REALLY been saved, not have REALLY been a Christian.
     
  19. Joseph_Botwinick

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    This is what the Bible teaches and is, therefore, not a problem for me. Maybe it is for you. Believe me, God is not the least bit impressed by anything Dan did for 35 years. Our works and righteousness is but filthy rags in his sight. If Dan rejects Jesus, then he did so in the flesh and was never a Christian in the first place. He will go to hell if he is not drawn to repentance by the Spirit of God.

    Now, I am curious as to whether there is really a point to your conversation here. This isn't about you, is it?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  20. RoleTroll

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    It's about how people come up with doctrines to explain away Bible inconsistencies that, in addition to being self-evidently false, end up causing more harm than good. Telling people that you can never have any confidence in your beliefs or salvation is one example of this.
     

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