Further Reflections on the Integrity Challenged Warriors – III

 

 

 

 

 

 

Logical Problems

One of the outstanding features of Rebecca Brown’s writings is: a deliberate cultivation of fear. Any observant reader will find that the stories relayed in her books are aimed at sowing the seeds of defeat and unhealthy suspicion.

What many of her readers don’t know is that before she published at all, she had been diagnosed by the medical board – based on their evaluation and review of statements made by her patients – to be suffering from acute personality disorders including demonic delusion and/or paranoid schizophrenia.

A report from Indiana University’s Department of Psychiatry which evaluated Rebecca stated:

“Dr. Davis shared with me his original report suggesting that she was not psychiatrically disturbed, but subsequent information about her religious preoccupations and fears of persecution had made him change his mind, and that he now felt she was psychiatrically disturbed.”

The Indiana Medical Personnel which conducted the interview with Dr. Brown concluded:

“Her beliefs may represent a form of paranoid psychosis, may be a reflection of a brain disease, or may just indicate deeply held eccentric views of religion which she shares with others in her church” (Board Exhibit #1 – Letter to the Medical Licensing Board Administrator from the Indiana University Dept. of Psychiatry, September 17, 1984).

The report in fact “strongly urge[d] that every attempt be made to persuade Dr. Bailey [Rebecca] to undergo a comprehensive physical, neurological and psychotic examination in the near future, preferably on an inpatient basis.”

Perhaps this explains her testimonies of suffering under consistent attacks by Satanists and demonic forces that appear to her virtually daily.

Indeed, many fans of the Yoders share this mindset, as Charles Younts aptly noted: “The young in Christ, the uninitiated, those intrigued by the spectacular, those who believe in the ‘Bump in the night’ evil” will find this pair interesting.

  1. Just like most folks suffering from paranoia, she subtly blames caging incantations for the exposure of her sordid past:

These caging incantations can … turn you against someone who has done nothing wrong at all, leading you to believe as truth all sorts of lies about them” (Becoming, p. 69).

Without denying the reality of occult spells, let’s not forget that the former “bride of Satan” and her sidekick who rescued “close to one thousand people” from hardcore Satanism didn’t remember what a caging incantation was until their claims were exposed as spurious. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

  1. Rebecca and Elaine narrate accounts of being threatened by Satanists; their home being broken into constantly; been shot at; fire bombs wired into their stereo, cars and telephone but neither of them contacted the police (Prepare, pp. 34, 42).

Reading her books you would think every police officer in their state was also part of this conspiracy.

Her third book tells of satanists trying to start a fire on their roof, harassing them in broad daylight with a helicopter; stalking them in Hawaii; coming onto their property at night with black candles and a shotgun, but it didn’t occur to any of these women to engage any juridical or law enforcement agency over these incidents (Becoming, pp. 17, 21, 28, 52).

Even in third world countries, things don’t operate that way.

3. Some terms Rebecca used in her books betray either ignorance and/or deliberate mischief.

a) In her first book, she says Camp Chesterfield where Elaine was allegedly initiated into Satanism was a “witch camp” which had “a satanist church.” But this camp is a Spiritualist camp and it had no satanist church. Its map is even available online.

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the occult knows that there is a difference between Spiritualism, Witchcraft and Satanism. But this woman lumped them all together.

Interestingly, in her fourth book, Rebecca rightly described Chesterfield as a “spiritualist camp” and says it has a “spiritualist church” (Unbroken Curses, pp. 77-78).

Yet in her fifth book, she describes it as having “a very large training camp for witches, and a satanic church” (Standing, 47).

Notice the twist from the noun “satanist” to adjective “satanic.”

b) In chapter 4 of He Came to Set the Captive Free, Elaine said her coven was a large and powerful one having “about a thousand people,” so logically, it must have been vast in occult philosophies and rites for decades.

Elaine says she was solely selected and trained and taught “many secrets that most other high priestesses never know.” But her description of satanic rites are banal and oddly sensational.

If she was truly a black witch (a follower of the left hand path) one would expect her to use classic occult terms like: ceremonies, ritual work, charge, ceremonial magick, grimoires, magick circle, sigils, etc. but she talks about humming, herbs, bugs and candles which are kindergarten level stuff.

A statement she made gave her out:

The purpose of the circle around the pentagram is to keep the demon summoned inside the circle unless you gave him permission to move out of it. The circle is supposed to protect the witch from the demon who comes.”

If she was really into magick, she would have known that it’s the practitioner who has to be stationed within the magick circle for “protection,” not the demon.

4. Still on her first book. Rebecca wrote that Mann-Chan afflicted Elaine with an excruciating chest pain, then she marched her out of the door, ordered her to command that demon to leave and she did.

In another scenario, “Sally” (Sedona) a craft member, allegedly possessed Elaine’s body and attacked Rebecca with a butcher knife.

But in the Closet Witches tape, Rebecca gave a different version:

Mann-Chan surfaced and managed to gain control of Elaine’s body and attacked me and tried to kill me with a butcher knife. And the Lord just gave me instant knowledge that this was a demon” (#2 A).

Either the whole story was a fabrication or she has multiple personality disorder.

5. In Closet Witches, Elaine says she charged at Satan on the night she became a Christian, “You are a liar. I read the tract that Jack Chick put out, The Contract, and that contract I wrote with you is no good because the blood of Jesus is sufficient for all things.”

In the book account, she said she almost wanted to step up and punch Satan in the nose.

Only those naïve about the occult will buy this narration. No one who has truly been in Satanism and newly left it would muster such boldness to bark orders at Satan as Elaine claims. Even Rebecca herself rightly said:

The Christian worker must always understand that the people who are truly coming out of satanism are ruled by fear. FEAR is Satan’s number one tool … It takes time for them to see that the power of the Lord is greater than anything Satan and the demons have” (Becoming p. 245).

On this basis, it’s safe for one to conclude that Elaine wasn’t truly an ex-satanist.

6. In 1998, at a Full Gospel Business Meeting convention held in Atlanta, Georgia, Rebecca said her husband was born into the Rothschild family of England and they had $100,000 death contract placed on his head because he fled from their witchcraft control.

This is interesting, because few years after this statement, Daniel Yoder was called to Washington D.C. and given a national congressional gold medal for leadership. He was appointed by the then president George Bush to a presidential advisory commission.

Does this sound like someone with a death contract hanging on his head? Methinks someone like that would take every precaution to avoid assassination. Just wondering, wasn’t the Bush administration also part of the occult New World order?

7. In Standing on the Rock, she (or Daniel?) wrote:

Because of Daniel’s prior knowledge of Satan’s kingdom, it was a simple matter for him to find out where Satanic rituals and sacrifices were going to be held. He began to travel all over the U.S. to the various big cities to where sacrifices were being held. Then he would break into the ritual, march up to the altar, slap Kai’s Bible down on the intended sacrifice victim … Then he would, with his incredible martial arts skill, proceed to beat up all the head priests and priestesses so badly they would end up in a doctor’s care” (pp. 74-75).

So here we have a man single-handedly breaking into satanic covens and beating up high priests and priestesses with his martial art and none of them had any demonic power to take him out. This plot line would have made Frank Peretti green with envy.

Not to mention that these incidents allegedly took place in the midst of the satanic hysteria that ricocheted through the U.S. in the 80s.

Believe me, the American media would have had a field day with stories of freed satanic sacrificial victims. But none of these folks ever showed up on Geraldo or Oprah. How sad.

Rebecca and Daniel have an uncanny knack for telling sensational, fictitious stories about themselves. The articles on their websites and Facebook page contain similar preposterous tales.

8. In the same book, Rebecca said a powerful leading witch in Massachusetts (probably Laurie Cabot) rallied a worldwide movement against her in 1996 causing thousands of witches and New Agers to send “millions of curses” at her “from around the world every hour of everyday” for over a month (pp. 161-163).

Notice the pattern: the Yoders always love to portray themselves as super martyrs and super heroes almost simultaneously. This is a hallmark of integrity-challenged “warriors.”

9. Some other logical problems with her third book.

a) Hasty generalizations: “all abortions are human sacrifices to Satan” (p. 106). What about spontaneous abortion?

The root of ALL mental illness is self-centeredness … Mentally ill people choose to be mentally ill for the most part.” (p. 138). This is an insult to everyone with mental health issues.

ALL role playing games involve intense visualization which quickly brings the players into contact with the spirit world.” (p. 177). Hmm, nope.

b) How many push pins did Annie the ex-satanist have? Page 32: “One in my leg and one in my hand.” After they were removed, we read, “One-by-one, all the other push pins were destroyed” (p. 33).

Where did the others come from?

c) “You must apply the oil like a tourniquet above the level of the spread of demonic power, and then drive the demons down and out of the extremity” (p. 102).

Is it really necessary to wash demons off our hands with oil? Sounds ritualistic to me.

d) She resorts to manipulating her readers regarding the facts disputing her stories:

If you pass on such ‘information’ and it is really slander, you are sinning. You are  in fact, guilty of shedding innocent blood – murder” (p. 295).

In other words, if you talk about my falsehood, you are a murderer! This tactic works well, but it’s witchcraft.

e) In the Introduction, she said some high ranking Satanists told her :

We really do not have to spend much time or effort in trying to destroy the Christians anymore. They are so busy stabbing each other in the back and destroying each other that we no longer have to worry about them.”

Yet, in page after page, she recounts in graphic detail how Satanists everywhere are ready to attack, poison, torture and destroy Christians, even writing that a satanic research is going on “that makes what was done in Hitler’s concentration camp look like nothing” (p. 105).

Apparently, when she was putting those words into the satanists’ mouth in order to dismiss findings refuting her story (which she termed as “destruction”) she had forgotten the content of her own book.

f) In that same introduction, she wrote:

Lies and false accusations are flying – especially through the Christian bookstores, by letters and word-of-mouth amongst Christians. Not once has anyone printed a newsletter contacted me to find if there might be another side to the story!”

This is an insult to her readers’ intelligence. When you put a material out there in the public and it’s being purchased with public money, it is fair game for criticism, scrutiny, reproof, even ridicule.

If you present some materials to the Body of Christ and discerning Christians examine them and find them full of holes, fabricated tales, inaccuracies and worst of all, unbiblical concepts, the next godly and reasonable thing to do is to publicly admit it, apologise for misleading the people and withdraw that book from circulation.

Alex Malarkey recanted his “visit to heaven” tale and the earth didn’t cave in. To profit from the earnings of falsehood is a betrayal of public trust and an indication of a seared conscience before God and man.

If I publish my personal testimony in the public domain, and it’s investigated and found to be full of lies and brazen errors, I wouldn’t be demanding that people privately contact me for some back story. Why the need for a back story if you have integrity as a Christian writer?

Moreover, Rebecca and Daniel have neither refuted these so-called false accusations nor presented the other side to their stories other than shifting the blame on witches and demons. It’s when one reads outside their books that shocking facts and details about the pair emerge.

Aside that, how many of the people and groups referenced in the Yoders’ books, videos and articles did they privately contact for another side to their stories before putting them out to the public?

It would really do well if this pair recant their errors and lies, apologise to all those they slandered, and pull their books out of circulation.

Until then, I will not recommend any material by Rebecca and Daniel Yoder for young Christians. There are many helpful and balanced Christian materials on spiritual warfare, the occult and deliverance available today, but the Yoders’ works are not one of them.

A Dialogue on Christian Theology

The following was an inbox dialogue I recently had with a friend named Uche on Facebook. We frequently chat on various issues and this is one discussion that I feel needs to be read by other Christians. I have his express permission to publish our exchange.

One of the purposes of Christian apologetics is to help Believers deal with their doubts and others issues they are struggling with in their journey of faith.

This is a conversation that brings out the reason why Christian leaders should ensure that they are feeding their congregation with the solid meat of God’s Word. They should also watch out for wolves in sheep clothing who shipwreck the faith of young Believers with false teachings and reasonings that pit them against God’s Word.

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Uche: I’ve got just one question for now.

Victor: Yes go ahead.

Uche: The Old Testament writers never had a true understanding of our Father in Christ and sometimes mistook his personality with that of an angel. Yes/No.

Victor: No, I won’t call that a lack of “true understanding.” The Hebrew word translated as “Angel” in the OT is malak. When the Lord Jesus manifested to them, it’s rendered as “THE Angel of the LORD” meaning “the Messenger of God,” and He received worship.

This manifestation of Christ is called “Theophany” – before He came in the flesh. But when it was otherwise, it’s rendered “AN Angel of the LORD.” This distinction was preserved in the Revised Standard Version, but not in the King James Version, so it can be a bit confusing. But again, an angel never receives worship

Uche: So you mean God tempts humans. Genesis 22:1 [And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am]?

Victor: God tested Abraham’s obedience. [“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.” NIV]. He didn’t tempt him.

God tested him to know where his loyalty lies, whether he loved Isaac more than Him. And Abraham passed the test. He obeyed God perfectly. Temptation however is different. It’s aimed at leading a person into sin.

But because God is holy – that’s one of His attributes – He doesn’t tempt. Also, the obedience of Abraham modelled and foreshadowed the relationship of Jesus to the Father and the substitute sacrifice He made for us at the cross.

Uche: My version reads “tempt.” Why would a God who has a foreknowledge of everything, knows the beginning and end of the specimen he created still tempt/test them if he knows their end product?

Victor: Sorry what Bible version do you use?

Uche: KJV.

Victor: KJV is not a very accurate translation. I’ve documented that in at least 2 articles (one/two). In fact, if you are going to have a clear understanding of the Bible, you will need to read a modern English Bible. The 17th century [Elizabethan]  English of the KJV has a way of confusing a modern reader.

Now, God has foreknowledge of the future (Acts 15:18) but He is not the cause of what He foreknows. That God foreknows a thing doesn’t mean He made it happen.

Foreknowledge is not the same as predestination. There is one ability of choice God has given man and it’s called free will. Man must choose to obey God. God cannot compel man to love Him or obey Him.

As a teacher, I know which of my students are smart and when I pose a certain question to them, I know they will give a correct answer. But the onus still lies on them.

If they know it and pretend not to, or refuse to study in order to give the right answer, I cannot be blamed for that. Even though God knows the future, He still tests (not tempt!) our hearts.

Uche: You said temptation leads into sin. Test leads to what? Because I know it has two sides. Temptation also worketh patience if rightly approached [paraphrasing James 1:3].

Victor: Tests can either come out positive or negative. Abraham passed the test and He was blessed by God as a result. There’s no promotion without examination.

There’s no servant of God in Scripture that God didn’t test in one way or the other. Even temptation is a reality. When we succumb to it, we sin, but when we stand, we gain more strength. The Bible says God will not allow us to be “tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Again, that James 1:3 you quoted is from the KJV and that’s why you are still being confused. It reads:

“Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (to verse 4, NIV).

Uche: Why will you perform an experiment you already have inference to?

Victor: That’s why it’s called a test. If I wanted to test for the presence of Carbon (IV) oxide in a solution, I know the experiment to conduct and my inference, whether it’s positive or negative. What I get tells me the final answer I need to know.

God uses life’s situations, experiences, challenges and oppositions to test us and try our hearts. He says this to the children of Israel:

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:3-4).

Uche: So you mean Jesus tested Abraham … Vs. 11 and 12 “thine only son from me?”

Victor: Exactly. Read those two verses again

Uche: Hmm. In Job 1:6, what was Satan doing in the presence of God?

Victor: Now, the events of the time of Job is the earliest in history and this was the first mention of Satan. He had access to heaven and could accuse the people of God (see Rev. 12: 9-12). So when the angels were before God, he too was there.

From the use of the term “present themselves before the LORD” in Job 1, it indicates that the angels were in worship (1 Kgs. 22:19-22; Isa. 6; Dan. 4:25-26)

Uche: I thought the name Satan was given to him as a Rebel. Originally = Lucifer? I think I get your point. Are you saying he was a rebel who was still an angel of God. Accusing brethren till God finally cast him down?

Victor: Yes. The name Satan means adversary. Lucifer means “light bearer.” He was an anointed cherub (a higher order of angel) who rebelled and made many other angels to rebel and side with him. He still has access to the heavens until his final casting down to earth.

Uche: Okay. What do you say about the bad/evil attributes about our God in the old testament.

For example when Elijah sent down fire from heaven to destroy those soldiers. Does it mean God is not interested in the salvation of their souls rather than wasting their lives. Is our God capable of doing everything thing including bad things?

Victor: I have a problem with your usage of the term “bad/evil” for God. Sounds like you are sitting as a judge over God (something many atheists do).

Before I answer your question, I must ask you, what have you been reading/soaking in of late?

Uche: Actually nothing, but just the Bible. I’m just confused, it’s looking like the Jesus came in flesh to introduce the real attributes of his father and that the old testament guys were a little bit biased because as I understood the scriptures were initiated to them by the Holy spirit through revelations and visions which they interpreted with their mortal brains.

In summary their definitions of God was a holy, untouchable, fearful and a being that can do virtually everything, but Jesus introduced a Father who is loving and caring and can do only righteous things.

Victor: Your allegation of bias against the writers of the OT and interpreting events with their mortal brains indicate that you have rejected (or rejecting) the inspiration of the Old Testament.

I am certain you didn’t get those conclusions from the Holy Spirit. From the questions you’ve raised so far, the alarm bells keep ringing in my spirit that you have changed – and I mean on the inside – your thoughts are being negatively influenced by something and you need to get rid of it. For your own good; and seek to be reconnected to the Lord.

Now, with that being said. Let me state that there are attributes of God laid out in Scripture: love, mercy, justice, holiness, faithfulness etc. These attributes work together and there’s no justification for isolating one out of the rest.

All through the Bible, we see that God is holy just as He is loving. He created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden but when they sinned, He sent them out.

God in His holiness hates sin and cannot look upon sin no matter how little it is (Habakkuk 1:13). His justice demands that He judges sin wherever it is found.

When the people of Sodom and Gomorrah became exceedingly wicked, He judged them, but spared the righteous Lot and his family. There, we see God’s justice + mercy.

When the world in the time of Noah veered into wickedness, He judged them but spared Noah and his family. That’s His justice + mercy/love.

He judged the wicked nations inhabiting the land of Israel and gave it to His people. But when the nation of Israel committed the same sins, He judged them as well and sent them into captivity.

Yet in all His dealings, we see His justice and mercy side by side. That’s why Genesis 18:25 says God doesn’t destroy the righteous with the wicked. Unto the righteous He shows His mercy and onto the wicked, His judgement.

Uche: I’m forever on the Lord’s side, #Never_Turning_Back. I’ve been changed by Jesus and the change is from the inside, so you need not to be worried about any negative change. Thank you for your answers, you’ve cleared my confusion.

Actually the problem is the new president of my fellowship. This guy blows my head everyday with all these questions, teaching that those are the tenets of the Gospel, and I’m scared because most of the fellowship members have been infected with his doctrines. I now have some truths to see if I can be of help.

Victor: I knew it. I sensed you were receiving some inputs from somewhere. Anyway, I feel sorry for the people in your fellowship and the state of your president.

This is why there needs to be proper accountability and oversight in Christian fellowships.

There needs to be a spiritual cover from mature Christian leaders assessing what is being taught to the members. We live in an age of dangerous doctrines and we all need to be sharpened and grounded in the Word.

Uche: We also have a pastor who is more matured but I guess they are all [nonchalant] …. God help us.

***

Victor: Even when Jesus came, He had to take our penalty justice demanded for our sins so that we could have fellowship with God. At the cross we see the revelation of the justice and mercy of God.

And Jesus – as compassionate as He is – also whipped the people out of the temple, warned against Hell and spoke of His second coming during which judgement would be executed on the unrighteous (see Luke 19:1-23). God never tolerates sin and He will always reward righteousness. There’s no neutrality in the attributes of God.

The major difference between the servants of God in the OT and the NT was that in the former, God used them more as instrument of judgement, but in the latter as instrument of mercy.

In Luke 9:51-56, when the Samaritans refused to accept Jesus, His disciples (James and John) asked if they should command fire to come from heaven and destroy them like Elijah did, but Jesus rebuked them, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

He didn’t deny that Elijah called down fire on his enemies. Nor did He question that the disciples might have been able to do the same. Instead, He reminded them that they were in a period when God was using His servants in a different way.

They were called to be instruments of God’s mercy, rather than His judgement. Just as the Bible presents God to us as our loving Father, it also presents Him as a consuming fire (see 2 Cor. 1:3-5 and Heb. 12:29).

In addition, Romans 11:22 says:

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Again, we see the two sides of God: His sternness and kindness. We must have both in mind in our relationship with God. Both are equally real.

There’s a delusion nowadays that the God of the OT is violent, fierce and harsh but the God of the NT is tender, merciful and loving. This is a form of modern Gnosticism (championed by Marcion in the early church), it’s a deadly heresy that ignores God’s dealings of judgement in the NT e.g on Ananias and Sapphira, Elymas the sorcerer and the execution of God’s wrath on the wicked at Christ’s second advent.

Once Saved, Forever Saved: A Response

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The following was my response to a friend on this blog’s Facebook page. It’s about a controversial doctrine that has raged for decades and divided Christians into two major schools of thought: Once-saved-forever-saved (OSAS).

I believe there are sincere Christians on both sides, but the negative consequences of one side (i.e those who teach that salvation can never be lost) is greater than the other side (those who believe salvation can be lost) hence my stance on this has to be clear.

Hi there, is once saved always saved doctrine is right; that repentance is acknowledging God and turning from idols only and repentance not likewise to sins? I listened to this video on repentance by Steven Anderson [an Independent Baptist, KJV-only preacher] during which these questions arose in me. I can’t believe his preaching via his own interpretation but to some point he just seems to [be convincing].

Let me first address the issue of repentance. There are 8 original words for “repent” in Scripture:

Hebrew

1. Nacham – to sigh, breathe strongly, to be sorry (Gen. 6:6; Ex. 13:17; Job 42:6; Jonah 3:10)

2. Shuwb – to turn back (1 Kings. 8:47; Ezk. 14:6)

3. Nocham – regret (Hos. 13:14)

4. Nichum – compassion (Hos. 11:8)

Greek

5. Metanoeo – to change the mind for the better morally, to change the attitude toward sin.

6. Metamellomai – to regret consequences of sin, not the cause (Mt. 27:3; 2 Cor. 7:8)

7. Metanoia – a real change of mind and attitude toward sin and its cause, not merely the consequences of it (Mt. 3:8, 11; Lk. 24:47)

8. Ametameletos – irrevocable (Rom. 11:29; 2 Cor. 7:10)

The surrounding context of the text will show you if the Bible teacher’s definition is right or wrong.

For instance, in Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist charged the Pharisees and Sadducees to produce the fruit of repentance. It obviously means turning away from their sins; they weren’t idolaters.

Regarding the Once-Saved-Forever-Saved teaching which has stirred much debates among Believers, I will address it rather succinctly:

1. Salvation is conditional. It didn’t just fall on us like cherries. We had to repent and believe the Gospel in order to be saved at some point. For us to be saved, we had to meet its conditions (John 1:12; 3:16; Rom. 10:9-10). Therefore, a person can reject salvation or lose it.

2. Eternal life is a gift. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

This gift was freely offered to us by God’s mercy and we received it solely by faith, therefore, it can also be rejected and the gift can be revoked if a person is no more in Christ Jesus.

3. God gave us free will – the ability to choose, love, serve, seek and come to Him. Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

He also said “These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:40).

In the Old Testament, God also said to His people “Come now and let us reason together…” (Isa. 1:18). Conversely, just as men can come to the Lord, they can also forsake Him. We do not lose our free will when we become saved.

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve” (Jn. 6:66-67).

In the OT, we are told of one “whose heart turns away from the LORD” (Jer. 17:5) and people who forsook the Lord: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me” (Isa. 1:2)

The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him” (Ezra 8:2)

Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water” (Jer. 17: 13b)

They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor…” (2 Pet. 2:15)

The OT alone furnishes us with examples like David who was renewed again after he committed sin (Ps. 51:1-14).

Solomon was once in the Lord as well and experienced His presence, but “his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God” (1 Kgs. 11:4).

Saul is another example of a man who started in the Lord but deviated from His way and eventually died under judgement. God also taught Israel time and again that He would restore them again if they would meet conditions:

Only acknowledge your guilt—you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ declares the LORD. “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:13-15)

Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD, let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains… (Hos. 6:1-3).

If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,” declares the LORD. If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast” (Jer. 4:1-2).

5. In the New Testament, we are taught that we have an advocate with the Father (1 Jn. 2:1-2). This Advocate is not only to procure our sins, but also to restore backsliders to God.

Peter was once converted, confessing Jesus as the Son of God and the Christ, which brings the new birth (1 Jn. 5:1; Mt. 16:16). He even had power to preach and heal and had the Spirit in him (Mt. 10:1-20). Jesus predicted his backsliding and re-conversion (Lk. 22:31-34), proving that a converted man can fall away and still be restored as Peter was (Mark 16:7; John 21:15-17).

Paul taught that God is able to graft men in again (Rom. 11:18-24) and also that even those who have overthrown the faith of others, can come to repentance again (2 Tim. 2:17-26). There are conditions attached to our being in God’s household:

“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory” (Hebrews 3:6).

“We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end” (Heb. 3;14).

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:2)

Paul also taught that backsliders can be reborn again (Gal. 4:19) as well as those who had fallen from grace (see Gal. 3:1-5; 5:4). He also commanded us to examine ourselves and restore those who have gone astray:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Cor. 13:5).

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

If it’s impossible for a Christian to wander away from the Lord, these warnings would have been meaningless and irrelevant.

6. In Luke 15, Jesus taught us that a sheep, coin, or boy could be lost and found again. It would be illogical to argue they could be lost and found but once, or that once being found they could never be lost again.

It would be still more unreasonable to argue that if any one of them was lost and never found again that it was never found.

Again, in Luke 17, as Jesus was speaking of the events of the last days, He warned: “Remember Lot’s wife!” (v. 32). We all know what happened to her. She was rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah but she looked back and became a pillar of salt. She left the city of sin but turned back.

The same can happen to a believer (Demas is another example). Otherwise, the Lord wouldn’t have cautioned us to remember Lot’s wife.

7. In the NT, the Greek word kataleipo is used for those who forsake, abandon, give up or leave the faith or places they had been in (e.g Heb. 11:27, Mt. 4:13, Acts 2:31; Mt. 16:4, 19:5 etc).

The Christian faith is also called the right or straight way (Acts 8:21; 9:11; 13:10). Like I said earlier, one cannot be said to forsake or abandon the straight way if one had not been in it before.

The Greek word planao is used several times to mean “to stray from; wander or go astray” in connection with the Christian faith e.g 2 Peter 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:25; Heb. 5:2; 11:38, 1 John 2:26, Revelation 2:20). A person can escape from the pollution of the world and still be entangled in it again (2 Pet. 2:20).

7. The Bible indicates that people’s names can be blotted out of the book of Life. It means they were previously written in it but were removed when they turned away from the Lord (Rev. 3:5 cf. Exo. 32:33; Isa. 48:19).

In the light of Jesus’ teaching that one can be cut from His branch if one is no longer bearing godly fruit (John 15:2), suffice it to say that a person can start out in the Lord and eventually miss heaven.

Let me add that I believe in the divine preservation of the Believer (i.e. God preserving the Believer in the faith) but that is not the complete picture. God will not preserve us against our wills. We must choose to remain steadfast in the Lord.

From my observations, I would conclude that the OSAS doctrine compels those who adhere to it to approach the Bible in a certain inconsistent, slipshod and incoherent way that does violence to sound biblical interpretation. It also tends to promote a lax living towards sin.