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If I Ever Renounce My Faith

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During the final year of Christopher Hitchen’s life, he warned the public that if a confession of Christ should arise from his deathbed, such news should be disregarded immediately.

“In the event of anyone ever hearing or reading a rumor of such a thing, it would not have been made by me. … No one recognizable as myself would ever make such a ridiculous remark.”

Hitchens knew that the human mind and body grow weary, that convictions ebb and flow, and that neither Atheist or Christian is safe from the delirium of fear.

So with the recent news of Christian pastors renouncing their faith, I would like to make a Hitchens like statement about the future of my own fidelity to Christ.

If, at some point in the future, I renounce my faith in Jesus, then you should know that I am in a state of delirium and that “no one recognizable as myself would every make such a ridiculous remark.”

In other words, you should assume that if I have renounced by faith, then I have gone mad. It is not difficult to hypothesize about possible strains of insanity which could settle upon my soul. I predict that if I walk away from Jesus, then one or more of the following have infected my reason:

I may have lost my mind to the soul piercing love of money.

I may have lost my mind to the seduction of sexual libertinism.

I may have lost my mind to bitterness against Christians who have hurt me.

I may have lost my mind to the weariness of being hated by the culture.

I may have lost my mind to pronounced suffering brought on by my own sin.

I may have lost my mind because I lost my wife or children or something else I love dearly.

So let it be known right now that if I suddenly walk away from convictions I’ve held since childhood, that, no matter what I say at the time, I have not ascended into a higher level of intellectualism or empathy. I have not become a more refined version of myself. I have not ascended at all. I have descended into madness and should not be trusted to walk your dog, let alone be trusted to influence your own Christian convictions. Have pity on me. Wipe the drool from my mouth. Feed me cake and pat me on the head. But do not take me seriously.

Of course, in the event of my future apostasy, I would like for you to pray for me. Plenty of persecuted Christians have returned after initially renouncing. And plenty of prodigals have returned to the feast. If fear has driven me away, pray that a greater fear will draw me back. If sensuality has pulled me away, pray that a greater pleasure will pull be back.

But this is all hypothetical talk about a future I hope never comes. As for today, the scriptures make it clear that we each have have an important role in helping each other keep hold of our spiritual sanity.

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” — Hebrews 3:13

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