I have a childhood friend who was raised in the Buddhist religion. Through the years I had made small presentations of the gospel to him here and there. At some point during our friendship, I had begun sharing my knowledge about the church Christ established and why it would be beneficial to become a Christian.
Fast forward a few years later, somewhere along the line, his studies led to him to convert. He obeyed the gospel message while away in the military, being baptized into the church, and became a Christian the way Scripture teaches. I felt glad in my heart that I was able to help in leading a soul to Christ. He had been involved with the faith for several years until one day he decided to denounce his Christian faith and the church. He even took the position to say that he was sure that he could go the rest of his life without attending church and he knows he would still make it to heaven, contrary to what is taught in the Scriptures.
On the occasions we would talk, he would always at some point bring up some type of philosophical discussion about life. Some of his ideas I saw to be contrary to God’s Word and I would point that out but then he would no longer accept Scripture. He even started going to some psychic. The psychic has brainwashed my friend into believing he has had multiple lives, in one of his past lives he was a monk, and even that he was his master in one of his past lives! I found this out through another friend.
Then he separated from everyone, including his family for a number of months. He just recently came back out of nowhere to my place and we caught up a bit. He tells me about how he went to some lady who claims to be able to talk to the angel Michael and he tells her stuff about people and she wrote things about me and another friend by him giving her our names only. I haven’t seen him in so long and I’m just wondering, What happened to you!? How did you become so delusional? I pointed out all the things contrary to God’s Word and tried my best to rebuke him as a brother. I brought the Bible into the discussion hoping to settle everything, but he tries to refute Scripture and is now in full-blown denial of the Bible and has decided to take the pantheist approach to life. He thinks people should take this same approach. He gets mad at me for taking a stand for Christ in saying that he died for our sins, the least we can do is try to live according to his will. He wrote to me saying that he doesn’t need a Shepherd and that he is his own Shepherd and will find salvation on his own. I was blown away. I don’t know what happened to him.
Is there such thing as bringing the Bible up too much in discussions about life? My friend would have me believe there is. He hates when I bring up the Bible so much because I guess he feels convicted sometimes. But this is not my fault. This isn’t my purpose for bringing up the Bible. I do this every time someone brings up a discussion pertaining to life and tries to explain it with the philosophies of men. I simply can’t stand philosophical discussions anymore after learning that the Bible covers every area of living. It’s not that I’m trying to personally attack him and his approach to life but maybe he perceived it that way and I pushed him away. Why is there a disagreement? I thought we both shared the same faith and we could settle things by bringing up the Bible? It troubles me to see people so bent on wanting to do away with God’s law. No one wants to take a stand for Christ. It’s so sad.
As a Christian, is now the time I should withdraw from him? What all does ‘withdrawing’ entail and how should I tell him we need to be separate until he repents? He called me this past Sunday and asked if I wanted lunch and the only reason why I said no was that I was involved in a meeting at my congregation. What would be the best way to deal with this as a Christian?
I really wish you could address every point in this letter that needs to be addressed for the sake of others that may be reading and also for my sake as well as my friends’. I think one day I am going to show him the response you give. If he can pay money to a lady, who doesn’t even know him or me, who claims to talk with angels, and ask her stuff about me so she can sum my personality up on paper, then I don’t see why I can’t ask a minister in Christ about this situation and later show him.
God made each person able to choose his own path of his own free will (Joshua 24:15). But it is hard to see someone you know to choose the wrong path, and even harder knowing that he knew the right path at one time. Still, Jesus warned that there would be different responses to the Gospel.
"Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matthew 13:18-23).
Christianity isn't just about the conversion, the endurance is critical. "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Hebrews 3:14). Your friend was caught in one of Satan's traps. The fact that he has lost all interest in talking about the Bible tells me that he has lost his love for truth. "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). People claiming to have "powers" have deluded him into thinking the truth doesn't exist. And since he would rather believe frauds, God allows him to delude himself.
Withdrawing is the idea of disassociating yourself from people who once lived as Christians but are now back into the world. "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person" (I Corinthians 5:9-11). The purpose is to get the sinner to understand that you don't accept his sins. "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" (II John 9-11).
It isn't that you never speak to the person again, but that the friendly socializing is gone because he has left. The common bond is no longer there. Try to be polite, as you would with anyone, but frequently bring up discussions about his need to return to the truth and passages about why his current beliefs are false. He won't like it, but that is because he's changed and you have remained steadfast.
I appreciate the thorough response. I wish you were able to come down and preach a lesson at our congregation one day. Though I wouldn’t mind going to La Vista sometime in the future to check y'all out. Good to know there are preachers out there that keep it real. You really are blessed. I guess I’ll deliver the message to my friend when the timing is right. Till then, keep up the good work!
I'm glad the information was helpful. All it takes for me to come and preach is for someone at the congregation to ask and arrange a time. And we love having visitors here, so do come if you get the chance.