How did you come to believe?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thomas Helwys, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Thomas Helwys

    Thomas Helwys
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    How did you come to be a Christian? Was it mainly a studied, rational decision, or did you have an experience of some kind?
     
  2. Zenas

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    You're leaving out a third choice that is larger than the other two combined. For most Christians asking how they came to believe is like asking how they came to know their parents. They grew up believing and there was never a time in their rational thought process that they did not believe. Their understanding of their faith may have increased as they got older but not the basic belief.

    This is a flaw in evangelical thought, that there must be a crisis experience (meaning a turning point) in one's life to be saved.
     
  3. Thomas Helwys

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    Then I guess I am not an evangelical, at least not one that you may be trying to paint into a corner, because even though I grew up Baptist, I fit into that third category.

    And yet when one matures, there must still be some basis for being a Christian, either rational evidence, or spiritual experience, or both. One cannot be made a Christian by birth or ritual.
     
  4. Herald

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    You may be missing the point Zenas was trying to make.

    If a child is brought up in a Christian home there may have never been that "aha" moment he can look back on and say, "That is when I believed." What is important is what the person confesses. Does the person confess (in the spirit of Romans 10:9-10) the facts of the Christian faith? Does their life bear the evidence of a Christian (Ephesians 2:10)? Regeneration and justification take place at a point in time, but they may not occur during a visible "evangelical moment".

    I was raised in a Roman Catholic home. The Gospel was foreign to me. There was a place and time when I remember placing my faith in Christ. However my daughter had a different experience. She was raised in a Christian home and cannot remember a time when she did not believe. Theologically I know there was a place and time when she did come to faith, but since she was raised under the teaching of the Gospel it was not a memorable event.
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I fell off this horse:smilewinkgrin:
     
  6. JonC

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    I agree. It is often expected that one’s testimony be centered around some crisis, which leads some who grew up in the church left with a feeling that their testimony is not relevant (or perhaps even questioning their conversion experience as they are unable to narrow it down to a specific event in time).
    I am one of those who grew up in church, and in learning biblical doctrine. I recall wrestling with issues, and when I was baptized it was because I knew that I had been saved. But I can’t tell you “the hour I first believed.”
     
  7. steaver

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    If only all professing Christian parents would raise their children so well in the Lord from infant up that they would have such a testimony as your daughter. God speed!

    My parents claimed to be Christian, took me to sunday school, but I did not hear the gospel until I was 10, and that was overhearing Billy Graham on a tv special as I was fiddling with something else in the living room. Dad liked to listen to Billy, but dad nor mom ever spoke of the gospel. I guess they thought the church was teaching it, but they weren't, all I can remember is that this dead guy Jesus loves me.

    I didn't have any "experience", but did call on Jesus Christ to save me that night after hearing Billy's preaching of the gospel.
     
  8. steaver

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    My brother went to an independent Baptist church for ten years. He said the main sermon from the pastor of that church was "are you sure you are saved?" . He said different times there were people who had been members there for years break down and "get saved" again at the alter, even the youth pastor of 15 years did one evening. Later the preacher had to reassure the congregation that he was already saved, he just had the Spirit come upon him, guess he didn't want them believing a lost man had been teaching the youth. Another good line was "crocodile tears" , meaning those who came forward and bawled their eyes out at the alter, but walked away unregenerate because they didn't get perfected I guess and went and committed sin again, which usually meant they were missing to many gatherings.
     
  9. Thomas Helwys

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    No, I am not missing his point. I agree with the part about being raised so that one doesn't remember a time when he/she did not believe. That is how it was with me. What I disagreed with was his apparent position that all evangelicals believe a crisis experience is necessary.
     
  10. SolaSaint

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    I promised my wife I would go to church when I joined the Air Force. It was part of a bargain. Little did I know I would hear the gospel for the first time with spiritual ears(heart). I wrestled a little but turned from myself(sin) and towards God and trusted Jesus to save me. I was and still am a changed man with much different desires. Thank God.
     
  11. Herald

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    To be a fair he wrote "crisis experience (meaning a turning point)". Modern evangelical soteriology does look for that "decision for Christ".
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Thanks for the clarifying word "modern":smilewinkgrin:
     
  13. Zenas

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    When I look around and see people who are leading Christian lives, most of them bearing visible “fruit”, they appear neither spiritual nor intellectual. They are laboring in the Lord’s vineyard because that is what they have always done. In the words of William Blackstone, because “the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.” The church is their extended family, the center of their social life, the place where their children will more often than not find a mate. In such a setting your thoughts tend to mirror the rest of the group.

    To be sure there are some who dig deeper and make a rational decision to continue following Christ. These people are sometimes referred to as “intellectual Christians.”

    Others, as you mentioned, have a deep spiritual experience. I have seen these throughout all denominations but they tend to be most evident in the charismatic groups. I have noticed that these people often have an attitude of superiority over “intellectual Christians.”

    I have had a few spiritual experiences but none that were life changing. Therefore, I would have to be numbered with those who have made a rational choice.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    When were you saved Brother Steve, when were you saved???? :laugh:

    Man I hated that & I would of killed anyone who bothered with that nonsense .... but it was my brother, my kin, my blood who came into my house & tried every trick in the book to convert me .... & I mean everything. He was & still is to me a far out religious nut job.... and a few times I let him know it. You know, I was raised up in a Roman Catholic church (and up here/NJ, PA & NY--they are huge). I went every week till my mother died & so therefore I was released from that weird obligation. & you know what, I heard the gospel & even had a NIV Bible to read & I tried to read it but nothin. Went to a coupla these churches my wife dragged me to ....it was for the kids. But when they were raised, not so much.

    At some point my brother gave up..... he had taken the gospel to me & shoved it in my face & nothin. I think it surprised him more than anything else.....here is a balls to the wall IFB Pastor trying to get his brother saved & failing miserably. To add insult to injury, when I lost a child in infancy I got a surprising theology lesson from some of "These Loving Reformed Brethren" about the place of habitation of the child..... Lets review:

    Strike one- Child born outa wedlock
    Strike two- Childs parents not Covenant of Grace/ Bible Believing Christians.
    Strike three- Child had not heard the Gospel & made a profession of faith.

    End Result-Child resides in hell (later modified to .... we just dont know that child's whereabouts....so sorry?!?)

    So for me, that now made me Gods Enemy. I also got to deal with the extra bonus prise of it became the primary motivator for my wifes drinking (and I dont mean milk!)

    Now guess what saved me---maybe about 3 yrs now at 53 YO ???? And I will give you one hint, "It wasn't no Bible Thumping Christian sharing the Gospel with me"

    And its so fresh to me that I can tell you where I was, the temperature (in winter) & where I was going. Yes it was so dramatic, I was knocked off my high horse & made to realize I was a heinous sinner, a lier, a non believer/ atheist (but even they are or were a level higher than my deceptions). Suddenly my true self was revealed to me....and I was disgusted with myself & I greaved. I actually pulled over to the side of the road & cried. And something changed in me that day. Changed my life.
     
    #14 Earth Wind and Fire, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2013
  15. JonC

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    An interesting book on this topic is Turning to God: Reclaiming Christian Conversion as Unique, Necessary, and Supernatural by David Wells.

    I knew that I had read something similar to what was being said here - just took me awhile to remember what it was.
     
  16. DHK

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    My wife was saved at a very early age. She remembers that there was a definite sense of sinfulness, and that it was her mother that led her to the Lord. She was a Presbyterian.
    Our children all made decisions for Christ at early ages. Some in Sunday School, one with the pastor of the church, another with her mother. But they do remember.

    If you ask me, "Do you know if you are married?" (could be--don't know for sure)
    or, "How do you know if you are married?" (I've been married all my life).
    or, When were you married?" (grew up being married).

    This is how people treat salvation today.
    I remember the events of my wedding, the day of my marriage. I can remember the pastor that married us, the one I married, the bridesmaids and the best man, the people who attended, etc. I especially remember the date.

    I also remember the date and time I became a part of the bride of Christ, an event much more important than my marriage to my mate on earth. I remember where I was, who led to me to Christ, even the time. I remember that event very clearly.

    If you tell me you have been a Christian all your life, I would doubt your salvation.
    Salvation is a time when you put your faith in Christ, a conscious decision of turning to Christ and turning from the world and Satan. You may not remember everything about that day, but you must remember that there was a day, such an event in your life.
     
  17. Herald

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    Once again the error of fundamentalism. If I were to take you at your word then I should question my salvation if I cannot remember an exact date and time that I placed my faith in Christ. I used my daughter as an example. She was raised in a Christian home and never walked an aisle, raised a hand, or remembers making a decision for Christ. She was not born a Christian. Certainly there was a time when she came to faith in Christ, but she does not remember that time. But if you were to ask her what she believes she would tell you she believes the Gospel. She confesses the Christian faith and has a lifestyle that backs it up. That is good enough for me.
     
  18. JonC

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    If I understand DHK's comment correctly then it isn't a fundamentalistic statement.

    I also do not know the day, but I do know that there was a day when I was saved. Perhaps I possessed degrees of faith, but not faith unto salvation (God working in my life), for a period of time and this culminated in saving faith. But there was a day when I was saved.
     
  19. Herald

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    It sure seems that way. Or it could be that I reacted strongly against it because that is what I cam out of in. I remember pushing for that decision for Christ. I fear that I may have given more than a few people an assurance of something they did not possess.
     
  20. JonC

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    I see what you mean. I was thinking about it at a different angle (I know I am saved, and there was a point where I was saved but I don’t know that day). But I have also seen pastors push people for decisions, get that decision, and move on to the next prospect.
     

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