Friday, February 04, 2005

Pastor Paul McCain: Confessions of a back-slider

This story is guaranteed to give you goosebumps!

"After my spiritual rebirth at the wobbly age of 14--amid the cultural wasteland of the 1970s--I clung to such distinctions as if my life depended on it. The Jesus Movement was in high gear and I relished using the lingo that identified me as a participant. When we approved of something, we'd say, "What a blessing!" or "Praise God." When we told each other goodbye, we'd invoke, "God bless."

I even enjoyed that word backslider--taken from Proverbs 14:14: "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways." We had other words for those ex-Christians: they were "strays," and "exes," and "prodigals," and "blotmarks." That last epithet is taken from Revelations 3:5, in which the apostle John describes a vision of Jesus, who says, "He that overcometh, the same will be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life."

The message was clear: to "walk with the Lord" and then slide back from salvation was to embrace a fate even more fiery than the one awaiting those who'd never been saved in the first place."

Update: Be sure to catch JS Bangs comments on this article at Hapax Legomena.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Theresa. What a story. So many things intersect with my experience, as well. I've definitely got those goosebumps. . .


Swansmith said...

After I read this story, I did some more thinking. I've been learning and stretching my faith by reading Confessional Lutheran blogs, among others, including those at blogs4god. I couldn't really understand all the criticism leveled at "evangelicals" until I read this blog. Now I think I get a glimpse at the hurt some of you have suffered in evangelical camps, and I'm very sorry for that.

I couldn't relate, because I have not had the same experience. The teaching I've sat under in evangelical churches has been sound, for the most part, and biblically based--not perfect, and I'm certainly far from perfect, but I haven't been wounded in the same way others seem to have been.

Hopefully I can look at comments and blogs now with a more understanding eye and heart--although a saddened one. I still hope for reconciliation between denominations and a common understanding and worship under the headship of one Lord and his Word, the Holy Bible.


TKls2myhrt said...

Thanks, Suzi. I think it has helped that I'm really trying to express myself better. I am learning to walk away from my anger and look at the whole picture. I made mistakes in my earlier faith walk. Not everyone made the same mistakes I did. Sadly, the same tale can be told from any church perspective, because we attend imperfect churches. It really hurts to hear of people turned off to Lutheran traditions because of a spiritually weak church. It goes both ways...