Vol.VII No.IX Pg.1
November 1970

Past-Tense Christians

Robert F. Turner

Many years ago a woman became interested in Bible study. Something came up in her life — a chance conversation, the death of a loved one, a rumble in her church — that made her take a hard look at herself, and realize that she had little personal knowledge of Gods will. So, she got in touch with a Christian who had a reputation for knowing the Bible, and the studies began.

Soon she was led to consider the true meaning of salvation in Christ, and non-denominational Christianity, and she agreed to being baptized. I put it this way purposefully, for God must judge how fully she understood and obeyed the gospel of Christ.

But she had the opportunity. She worshipped with the saints for awhile and seemed to grow spiritually. Then, company came, her husband wanted to take a trip, a dozen other things intervened, and her interest cooled. Perhaps the efforts to revive this interest were inadequate — elders and other saints came too late, with too little — but efforts were made, and rejected. She began to resent such efforts as butting into her private life. So, she forsook all assembling with the saints, dropped personal contacts with them and the work of the Lord, and returned to her former worldly affairs.

Now, is this woman a Christian? (That means, is she a follower of Christ, Christ-like? She gives the will of Christ no precedence in her life. She is morally clean, a good neighbor, a welfare worker, etc.; but this is her desire, and is not done because it is Christs will, nor in order to be like Him. (Note Jas. 2:10-12)

She ignores teachings of the Lord which she does not consider necessary. We might charitably remember her past life and say, She was once a Christian! but I regret having to say this — for her sake.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (2 Pet. 2:20-f) My heart aches for the past tense Christian!!