Was this atheist saved?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saved by grace, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. saved by grace

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    I have just finished reading Charles Templeton's book Farewell to God.
    Templeton states that he became a "born again Christian" in 1936 when he asked Christ to come into his heart. He states that at that moment he felt "a radiant, overwhelming, all-pervasive happiness" as he whispered over and over "Thank you Lord. Thank you."
    He became a pastor and in 1945 joined Billy Graham and his "Youth for Christ" movement. He preached for decades across the U.S. and Canada. He became the Director of Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. He trained ministers, lectured in theological seminaires and wrote two books. In 1957 he left the ministry and became an atheist. A belief that he held to his death in 2001.

    Jesus clearly teaches that anyone who denies Him will be denied by the Father. Charles Templeton denied God.
    My question is this: Was he saved? Was his salvation secured the minute he accepted Christ in 1937 or was he condemned to hell for his denial of God?
     
  2. webdog

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    The only one who knows the answer to that is God. Satan is a deceiver and liar. If Templeton was a believer, Satan did his job to a T. His journey away from God began when he saw a mother holding her child on the cover of a Time magazine where the child died due to a lack of rain. Templeton began to view things through man's viewpoint and understanding and spiraled down from there.
     
  3. Ruiz

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    No, of course not. While doubts are a part of Christian life, the denial of Christ shows that he was never a Christian. God said he would complete his good work and never in the Bible does it say to look back to see if you are saved. In I John, we are given many ways to know that we are saved, and none of them says, "Did you have a time when you knew you put your faith in Christ?" No, because that is not a valid test. The valid test is based upon our faith and love of God now, not some past decision.
     
  4. freeatlast

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    He was never saved according to scripture.
    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. Only those who are in a state of abiding are those who are saved.
     
    #4 freeatlast, Oct 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2011
  5. saved by grace

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    Ruiz and Freeatlast, both you agree that he was never saved to begin with but that, seems to me, presents a major problem.
    Since you believe he was never saved to begin with wouldn't that mean that if Mr. Templeton had died in 1937 the very "next " day after he accepted Christ into his life he would have gone to hell since he wasn't truly saved he just thought he was?
    Wouldn't that meant that there is no such thing as assurance of salvation? Wouldn't that mean that no one can know for sure if he is truly saved, he might just "think" he is?
     
  6. preacher4truth

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    I agree with this, as I adhere to perseverance of the Saints. (not necessarily endorsing that he wasn't saved, this story is hearsay, I do not know his heart)

    This abiding? Is this effort? What is it and what is its source?
     
    #6 preacher4truth, Oct 16, 2011
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  7. Jim1999

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    Having known Charles Templeton personally, he was never an atheist. He did become an agnostic after completing studies at a liberal college. On his death bed, he did confess Jesus and His saving grace. He and Billy Graham remained friends throughout.

    Charles was the pastor of the Avenue Road Church, prior to another famous preacher.

    We all experience periods of doubt, but that does not negate our born again experience. Some are more outwardly expressive than others because they are more public.

    Just another problem we face with labels.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. freeatlast

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    Jim a person may doubt their salvation but they can never doubt if God is real after being saved. That is why we call it a personal relationship. Do you think you can doubt that you ever knew your wife? Once we know someone we know them and it is impossible to doubt that they are. I am glad he finally got saved in the end but if he ever doubted the reality of God he was not saved during that time of doubting or prior to it. Like I said I am glad he finally got saved.
     
  9. webdog

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    PLEASE...quit pretending to be God, and stop speaking on His behalf! You have no room to say what people can and cannot doubt to be saved.
     
  10. Ruiz

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    No, there is assurance of salvation. Assurance, however, is not rooted in a past decision, but in a present reality. Never does the Bible say to rely upon a past experience to prove your salvation.
     
  11. freeatlast

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    AMEN! :thumbs:
     
  12. Amy.G

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    Are you saying that when Jesus saved me (30 years ago, in the past), that I cannot rely on that? I can only rely on today? That sure sounds like works based salvation to me.
    I trusted in Christ 30 years ago and I don't believe in all that time He forgot His covenant with me or abandoned me. I was justified ONE time and it was in the past.
     
  13. Tom Bryant

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    I understand what you mean, but what I think is being said is that if ALL we base our assurance of salvation is praying a prayer or walking an aisle without an ongoing spiritual relationship, we may be missing the boat.

    Notice that the person who is growing will not be barren not unfruitful, but the person who is not growing has forgotten his purification from sins. I think he is talking about assurance of salvation that comes from ongoing spiritual growth.
     
  14. Ruiz

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    Not works salvation, but relying upon the directives given in I John. Over and over, John is relying upon present realities in the book. NEVER does he ask us to rely upon a past decision or look to a past decision. That "looking" to a past decision is really a recent invention within Christianity.
     
  15. freeatlast

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    This is why I harp in 1John. The church has been lead down a path that the bible does not teach. We now teach backsliding, which the NT never teaches and in fact contradicts that teaching, but because many believe a believer can return to sinning many reject what the bible says.


    Our salvation is a state we live in and it is verified by how we live in that state each day. It is impossible to be in the state of being saved unto good works and living in the practice of sin at the same time. That is what John is trying to get the church see. It is impossible!

    Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
    Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (practice) sin, because he is born of God.


    So because we live in a state of being saved day by day we have to always look to the present for assurance, not the past.
     
    #15 freeatlast, Oct 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2011
  16. Amy.G

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    Ok, I get what you guys are saying. Sorry I misunderstood.

    I do think there is a difference between being an infant Christian and being a backslidden Christian. The Corinthian church had many babes in Christ and were doing stuff they shouldn't have been doing (I believe in ignorance and immaturity) until Paul corrected them.
     
  17. webdog

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    Based on the dozen years after Templeton's conversion, would you say there was fruit in his life? Clearly he didn't just walk an aisle and do a "repeat after me" sort of thing.

    Also, Amy's correct. If we are relying merely on today it becomes a works based salvation. Justification is an event, a moment in time. We rely on Christ's work and what He promises at the moment of justification.
     
  18. Tom Bryant

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    WebDog,
    I really wasn't replying about Templeton. I have no idea or ability to suggest whether he was saved or not. Thankfully, it's not my job.

    I think we're saying the same thing. I am not saying that getting saved or staying saved has naything to do with works. It's not, at all. What I'm saying is that if a person never shows any fruit, but bases his salvation on some kind of experience, he may not be saved. I think this is the point of James. Not that works saves you, but that works reveal salvation.

    Clearer? I think we both agree, but maybe stressing different points.
     
  19. saved by grace

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    Jim, have you read Templeton's book Farewell to God? . It is clear that when he wrote the book he was an atheist. If fact, an atheist told me to read his book as Templeton has had influence in bringing people into atheism. The last page of his book states : "I believe there is no supreme being with human attributes, no God in the biblical sense but that all life is the result of timeless evolutionary forces....I believe there is no Father in heaven....."
    Can a "born again" Christian who denies God be saved? Can someone who influenced others to become atheists be saved? Maybe he had a death bed confession and maybe he didn't and why would that matter if he was "saved" in 1937. Seems like you are saying his deathbed confession is what saved him. Isn't that a "work?"
     
  20. ituttut

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    If he thought he could save himself, then he thought he could un-save himself.

    If he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation, then he is saved, for Our Lord cannot deny himself.

    Today, if one is saved through the faith of Jesus Christ there is just no way out of the Body of Christ. If not then there is no way to get in.
     

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