For the past few weeks I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with a seminary student who is on the threshold of losing his faith. He is in his third year, having first walked through the halls of his school with a burning love for God and a desire to follow Him, and now, three years later he is teetering on the edge of the abyss known as doubt and despair.
In his first e-mail he began by explaining how he’d had zeal for God in his youth, but no direction or instruction in regards to practically living out the Word, being a disciplined believer, and walking the narrow path of faith. Hence the reason he decided to borrow a bunch of money and go off to seminary. He wanted to get to know God, and apparently nobody told him the best way to get to know God is on your knees, in your prayer closet, with your Bible beside you, and a desire to receive.
The reason this young man is on the edge of losing his faith is because what he was taught about God during these past three years made God out to be no more than a magic genie whose singular desire is to bless you, and having fallen on hard times, the young man concluded that God had failed him by not continuing to bless him as He once did.
In subsequent e-mails, as we continued to communicate, this young man said before he’d gotten to seminary, he’d never felt entitled or as though God owed him anything. After three years of being told he was special, and could readily claim all that he desired, he started to believe it, and is now bitter toward God for not meeting his demands.
Honestly I don’t know how much headway I’m going to make – although we keep writing back and forth – because every time, I get the patented ‘I told my professor what you said, and he said you were wrong.’
If I’d given my own opinion on any given matter, I admit there might be a chance of my having been wrong, but all I did was quote scriptures from throughout the Old and New Testament disputing some of his assertions. As such, if I was wrong, then so was the Word of God, and if that’s the case we have far bigger issues to deal with than whether or not God owes us prosperity in this life.
Words have consequences, and what we sow in the lives of others – especially those new to the faith, or those trusting us to feed them the truth of God’s Word – will either bear good fruit or bitter fruit. We will either see the men and women in whose lives we speak Jesus growing in the faith, becoming self-sufficient, reading and rightly dividing the Word for themselves, or we will see them linger in this semi-comatose state for the rest of their lives, having their expectations of what they were told God was dashed and broken upon the jagged surface of reality.
Some men love the notion of having others dependent upon their words, their teachings, or their doctrines. It is those men who nurture and foment dependency upon themselves rather than Christ that we should flee from, and do so speedily.
The walk has never been about a man, a denomination, a tertiary issue, or some other thing overzealous and underworked individuals concoct in the hopes of catching a few more innocents in their web of lies. The walk has always been about Christ, and any man not consistently, joyfully, vociferously, adamantly, and singularly pointing the way to Him, is not one of His ambassadors nor does he have your best interest at heart.
This protracted interaction with the young man has been troubling me for the past few days, reminding me just how easy it is to twist someone’s theology, and as consequence distort the way the see God for themselves. I thought I’d share it if for no other reason than as a cautionary tale, and ask if you would, please say a prayer for him. His name is Anthony.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.