LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Monday, September 03, 2007

Evidences of a Backslidden Condition


Backslidden Christians are evident everywhere. They are in the churches. They are in the pews and in the pulpits. They are on the boards and are bored. They serve on committees and teach Sunday school. The backslidden seem to be more numerous than the upright and their influence throughout the world vastly more profound. While backsliders do not all manifest the same traits, evidences of their condition are not difficult to pinpoint. The following characteristics merit our serious attention.
  1. When prayer ceases to be a vital part of a professing Christian's life, backslidding is present .
  2. When the quest for biblical truth ceases and one grows content with the knowledge of eternal things already acquired, there can be no mistaking the presence of backslidding.
  3. When biblical knowledge possessed or acquired is treated as external fact and not applied inwardly, backslidding is present.
  4. When earnest thoughts about eternal things cease to be regular and gripping, it should be a warning light to the backslidder.
  5. When the services of the church lose their delights a backslidden condition probably exists.
  6. When pointed spiritual discussions are an embarrassment, that is evidence of backslidding.
  7. When sports, recreation, and entertainment are a large and necessary part of your lifestyle, you may assume backslidding is in force.
  8. When sins of the body and of the mind can be indulged in without an uproar from your conscience, your backslidden condition is certain.
  9. When aspirations for Christlike holiness cease to be dominant in your life and thinking, backslidding in there.
  10. When the acquisition of money and goods becomes a dominant part of your thinking, you have a clear confirmation of backslidding.
  11. When you can mouth religious songs and words without heart, be sure backslidding is present.
  12. When you can hear the Lord's Name taken in vain, spiritual concerns mocked and eternal issues flippantly treated , and not be moved to indignation and action, you are backslidden.
  13. When you can watch degrading movies and television and read morally debilitating literature, you can be sure you have backslidden.
  14. When breaches of peace in the brotherhood are of no concern to you, that is proof of your backslidding.
  15. When the slightest excuse seems sufficient to keep you from. spiritual duty and opportunity, you are backslidden.
  16. When you become content with your lack of spiritual power and no longer seek repeated enduements of power from on high, you have backslidden.
  17. When you pardon your own sin and sloth by saying the Lord understands and remembers that we are dust, you have revealed your backslidden condition.
  18. When there is no music in your soul and no song in your heart, the silence testifies to your backslidding.
  19. When you adjust happily to the world's lifestyle, your own mirror will tell the truth of your backslidding.
  20. When your church has fallen into spiritual declension and the Word of God is no longer preached there with power and you are still content, you are in a backslidden condition.
  21. When the spiritual condition of the world declines around you and you can not perceive it, that is testimony of your backslidden stance.
  22. When your tears have dried up and the hard, cold spiritual facts of your existence cannot unleash them, see this is an awful testimony both of the hardness of your heart and the depth of your backslidding.

-Richard Owen Roberts

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32 Comments:

Blogger jazzycat said...

Scribe,
Glad you are back. That man in th image looks down and out. Good illustration....

September 03, 2007 10:49 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

I didn't fair too well in this list of 22.

September 04, 2007 6:50 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Scribes,
It's good to have you back. Thank you for sharing this. Mark, me nither, the more and more I am examine myself, the more and more I bow my head. It's like a walk of shame but I am finding as I have been bearing my soul to the Lord and I have asked for His forgiveness I can look up to Him and not look down so much. I am so thankful for His Mercy.

Cristina

September 04, 2007 8:13 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Mark,

This is what concerns me about the FG system that you courageously battle.

Someone commented to you recently that that person had not arrived at having made Christ the Lord over everything in that person’s life.

While I understand the logic, I disagree with the premise of the system that allows it.

Scripture doesn’t admonish us to continue in sin and backslide here and there and that that’s all okay because we can declare him from the hilltops. No! It admonishes us to strive to walk in the Spirit by continually denying ourselves and giving up our selfish, unkind, jealous, prideful ways.

To instead say (as this person did) it’s presumptuous to say that Christ is his/her master is – in my mind – to admit defeat.

Certainly Christ has won the victory, but He also has given us His Holy Spirit and we quench it by not continually repenting as He leads and crucifying our flesh.

It’s the Christian walk. If we want Christ to be our master, we have to let Him. And to not let Him is rebellion against God and sin. Just to declare Him and what He's done from the hilltops while continuing to feed the flesh is unbiblical.

Phew. There. I’ve said it. It’s tough, but Scripture doesn’t say it’s going to be easy.

We don't have to look far back in history to examine the lives of saints who gave it all up for Him, so it's not impossible. Of course we walk in tents of flesh that have the old man sinful nature ever there, but why feed it? Why not instead fight the good fight and encourage other saints to do the same? Walk in the Spirit! Feed Him and not the flesh.

September 04, 2007 10:22 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Susan, you are right. The Reformed position on repentance is that it is NOT a one time experience; but rather the beginning of a life style of repentance. Christ, while speaking to the disciples in the upper room, commended His disciples for calling Him Lord, for so He was. John 13:13. Look at Philippians 3:8 where Paul refers to Him as "my Lord"; yea, look at that whole chapter.

Good points, Susan.

September 04, 2007 10:45 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I found this list rather re-assuring, praise God.

I could only see a couple that applied to me.

Some good food for thought.

God Bless

Matthew

September 04, 2007 10:55 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Susan, you do seem to talk as though Free Gracers think it is acceptable to be worldly and self-centred. It makes me doubt that you really understand our position.

Free Grace advocates emphasise that their are consequences both temporal and eternal for disobediance in the Christian life and their are wondeful and awesome incentives for Christian living.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 04, 2007 10:57 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Matthew,

I'm sure you are correct that there is much I don't know theologically about Free Grace. I haven't read up much on it since what I do read of the system by its advocates on-line is enough to make me realize I don't want to go there.

I *need* repentance. I *need* to be broken. I *need* to crucify self.
What I see on-line written by advocates of Free Grace is not admonishment of Scripture to repent, to turn from the old man, to deny self - but rather embrace the free gift, inherit eternal life, focus on the book of John, etc.

I think it's soft-pedaling Scripture to merely say "there are consequences" to lack of repentance. Jesus didn't say well, if you continue on in your sin, there will be consequences. He didn't tell the adulteress to go away and sin, but sin no more. The call throughout the OT and NT is repentance. Why should it not be preached as loudly today?

I think the system that does not preach repentance as loudly as Christ and the NT authors did serves to indirectly encourage, allow, permit continual sinning or indulgence of self and that is not Scriptural.

What *I* need are words that don't tickle my ears or appease myself. I need to hear the hard stuff so that I can obey and live in obedience, crucify the old man, and walk in the Spirit. That is what I see in Scripture and that is where I need to dwell.

September 04, 2007 11:55 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Just another thought on all this. Today on Rush Limbaugh's program, he made a point that I think can be analogous to our discussion here.

As he was discussing how the media are reporting on the "hypocrisy" of the Republican party, which proclaims family and traditional values while members of the party have recently been accused of less than their proclaimed values (Senator Craig, for example) - he noted that there is no "hypocrisy" noted by the media for Democrats because they don't proclaim the values that Republicans hold dear.

Rush's point was that the Democrats themselves do not feel any need to be held to those values since they do not proclaim them. In other words, without such standards, they don't need to be held to them, if any.

I'm not saying that Free Gracers have no standards; I'm saying that the lack of proclamation and defense of what the Bible itself puts forth (FG continually fights against the Reformers' call to repentance, call to obedience, call to self-denial) - well, it certainly opens a much wider door to the Free Gracer and the non-Calvinist.

When one doesn't go around proclaiming Biblical admonitions, one doesn't necessarily feel the need to be held to them either. It's easier not to heed the call to repent if you're not continually proclaiming repentance. It's easier to appease self if you can just deny that well, "I'm not really perfect serving Jesus as Lord, therefore, I won't proclaim that He is my Lord. That would be hypocritical."

The door keeps opening wider to sin that way. Denying self is hard, but obedience is asked of us by the Lord, and I believe we need to ask Him to grant it to us and continue to sharpen iron, not dull it.

September 04, 2007 12:38 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

Scary list. If it's not scary, you are probably backslidden, or even unconverted.
Difficult to tell sometimes whem one is a genuine backslidden child of God, and someone who has never been a child of God.

I bumped into a brother in Christ, who got divorced, and had all sorts of struggles going on, and I asked him, "Where is the lord in your life at this time?"

He said, "I'm not walking with the Lord right now".

I asked if I could keep him in prayer before the Lord.
He said he'd appreciate it.

Another brother, was going through a similiar thing, and he was blaming everyone for his problems, but he says he is still walking with the Lord.

I didn't say much to this "brother".

I can't judge, but I must say i have my doubts sometimes.

God is the Judge, and I'm to follow Him.

Nice post. Very thought provoking, convicting and helpful.

September 04, 2007 1:38 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Susan, youve made a number of good observations in your comments today. There is much to chew on.
Keep up the good work.

September 04, 2007 2:01 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Thanks, Mark.
I know it's not easy stuff to hear.
It's not easy stuff to write.
But the Bible isn't filled with easy stuff.
And any system that promotes the easy way just ain't biblical.
And people who make choices that avoid the hard path and encourage others that it's just so easy, well, may God have mercy on them and open their eyes and hearts.

September 04, 2007 3:15 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Even self-proclaimed "chief of sinners" Paul was unashamed to call Jesus His Lord.

September 04, 2007 4:40 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

That should read 'his' Lord.

September 04, 2007 4:48 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Susan

"And any system that promotes the easy way just ain't biblical."

Again, I keep seeing these implications from you that Free Grace 'promotes' the easy way.

I do tire of this, Susan. I see little point in discussing matters with you when you continue in this seemingly deliberate ignorance of what your theological opponents say.

If you trouble yourself to read the material that Antonio, HK Flynn, Rose and myself have written, you will find that we have much to say on the accountability and responsibility of Christians to embrace the call of discipleship with all of its costs.

I doubt this will be the last comment I make to yourself, but I feel like making it the last one.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 04, 2007 5:10 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
You said.....If you trouble yourself to read the material that Antonio, HK Flynn, Rose and myself have written, you will find that we have much to say on the accountability and responsibility of Christians to embrace the call of discipleship with all of its costs.

QUESTION: If this is true, why do you not insist that a believer place their faith in the Jesus of the Bible rather than the Jesus of the Koran? Why do you affirm that salvation is possible through a false Jesus? Antonio refuses to answer this question. Do you want to give it a go..........

The single verse of John 3:16 gives the true identity of Jesus. One verse. Yet the person you claim is saved by believing in the promise of Jesus, denies the trinity and affirms the false god Allah. Can you not understand how this insults the triuned God of the Holy Bible? It also leaves you with a foundation built on sand and loose sand at that. Reconsider and recant from this absurdity and then we will talk about free grace accountability and discipleship.

September 04, 2007 5:52 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Thank you all for your comments. The main thrust of the post was for us, as Christians, to examine our hearts to see if we were/are in a backslidden condition. May we humble ourselves before our mighty Lord that we may honor Him in holy obedience.

September 04, 2007 6:02 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

That issue has nothing to do with accountability and discipleship.

It is not acceptable to believe false things about our Lord.

When we bring men and women to Christ, we have a responsiblity to make them disciples. That means teaching them the truth.

A person who has false notions about our Lord cannot be a fruitful or faithful disciple.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 04, 2007 6:05 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

The Lord has disclosed Himself in an erudite fashion per His holy word...a belief in a false "Jesus" creates false converts. I fail to see how one could have the biblical wherewithal to posit such a heretical viewpoint...

September 04, 2007 6:06 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Susan, amen! Ear-tickling is for a people laden with sin that would like to sup at the Lord's table and the table of devils simultaneously save such is impossible.

September 04, 2007 6:11 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...


When we bring men and women to Christ, we have a responsiblity to make them disciples. That means teaching them the truth.


Amen, Matthew!
And that means affirming Christ as Lord over our lives.

September 04, 2007 6:23 PM

 
Blogger only1way said...

very good and excellent post although i do believe that some Christians can bear some of these marks but should not be branded "backslidden". Some Christians go through great seasons of heavy trials that, at times, can make them appear backslidden and want to just give up and die. In 1st Kings 18 Elijah is seen as the great man of God who defeated the prophets of Baal. What a wonder and marvel to the people Elijah was. In chapter 19 we see him running like a scared child from Jezebel, hiding under a Juniper tree and wishing to die. Not much of a marvel anymore. Was Elijah backsliding in his faith and determination in the Lord. No, I just think he was a weary pilgrim who grew faint, weak and discouraged. Sometimes (though not always) children of God can be so tired of the daily, seemingly endless fight that they can appear backslidden when all the while they are just "weary in well doing" and need to be refreshed/encouraged. We need to be careful to not brand Christians like cattle. Galatians 6:1 is a good verse on this.

September 05, 2007 12:41 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

'And that means affirming Christ as Lord over our lives.'

Yes, and I have never said otherwise.

However, it does seem that people use this term 'making Christ Lord' as though it were some magical word.

It is not a very technical term and thus not really helpful.

Better to speak of submitting and yielding to His will. That is far more precise.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 05, 2007 3:15 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"Better to speak of submitting and yielding to His will. That is far more precise."



" for it is God who works in you to will and to do for His good pleasure".

September 05, 2007 6:15 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

John,
Your contributions here are so good. I'm going to post that verse as well (as in another post you cited Daniel) because it's perfect for your point:

"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted." - Galatians 6:1

Very encouraging. The endless battle can be wearisome. Thank God for His carrying the burden and His fighting the fight. When we are weak, then we are strong - in His strength, and His alone. He is so good to us.

September 05, 2007 10:28 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

However, it does seem that people use this term 'making Christ Lord' as though it were some magical word.

It is not a very technical term and thus not really helpful.

Better to speak of submitting and yielding to His will. That is far more precise.


Matthew,

I just don't get this at all. You say that "Lord" is not a very technical term and thus not really helpful.

"God" is not a technical term either, but it is His name and utterly magnificent. I see "Lord" the same way. Thank God it's not "technical." Neither is it "magical." Like Jesus said, not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does His will. Like you wrote, that is submission to His will, but that too can be imprecise.

I do know - as a born-from-above believer - when I am obedient to Him and when I decide to feed the flesh instead. And I am *always* corrected. Do I yield right away? Not always. But more often than not these days, as I plead with Him to not leave me to myself and I beg Him to change my heart toward Him – to love Him as He wants me to and to even to remove my love of a hobby from my life that takes up my time and attention that could be focused on Him – He does it. It’s amazing.

I know He’s my Lord. I don’t just shout from the hilltops that He’s my Savior and I get eternal life. Rather, I live out a daily battle as His bondservant whom He purchased at great price. I know I am not my own and therefore cannot spend my time chasing the wind and worthless things on earth.

Lord is a very helpful term to me. It defines His place next to my own, which is very, very small and only useful as His servant.

I don’t see anyone here declaring that they are ‘making Christ Lord,’ as you put it. Rather, they are declaring that to them, He is their Lord and for that they are exceedingly grateful.

September 05, 2007 11:05 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

"very good and excellent post although i do believe that some Christians can bear some of these marks but should not be branded "backslidden"........is a good verse on this."

Thank you, John.

I was quite bothered, yesterday, by this whole list, but didn't really know how to respond.

IMO, just as a "checklist" of church attendance, Bible reading, praying, etc, does not necessarily reflect the heart of a person and his relationship with Christ, or prove that he is holy/righteous, neither does this "checklist" of things to mark someone as backslidden.

Man, trying to jump thru the hoops of trying to either 'be' righteous or 'not be' backslidden can grow wearisome. Not to mention that the items on either list are merely someone's opinions.

If we're not surrendered and utterly dependent on God for His mercy in enabling to live a holy life, we're sunk.

September 05, 2007 11:24 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Who here believes in "Christian stagnancy"? I would implore you to read Revelation chapters 2 and 3...

We, as Christians, oft exonerate are lethargic walk with the Lord in order to give ourselves a false comfort. Trust me, this list (which is not at all meant to be exhaustive) convicted me of my own apathy toward the Living God.

If the Lord is really Lord, let Him find us so doing, for in so doing we show that we do indeed love Him. Before you cry out legalism, remember...it was the Lord Christ Jesus who said "Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I say?".

(prepares for the backlash...)

September 05, 2007 1:29 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"We, as Christians, oft exonerate are lethargic walk with the Lord in order to give ourselves a false comfort."

Good point.

We need to be walking in the Spirit, and by faith not sight.

We need to walk in the light and truth. We need to walk in love and wisdom.

And the only way this walk can happen is by His grace and power.

We need to exaime ourselves to see if we are living by faith. If it's not faith, then it's works, and if it's works, then there are two possiblities.
1. You will become puffed-up.
2. You will become discouraged.

When we walk in faith, then the Lord is working in us to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Walking by faith can be blood, sweat, and many tears, but christ is with us, and that makes it all worth it.
And He receives all the honor and glory.

September 05, 2007 2:04 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Amen Don...thanks for your input!

**our

September 05, 2007 2:30 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I understand what Gayla wrote with respect to not having a list of to-dos, but when I read this post, my heart immediately lept to what I think is the heart of the matter - which is the heart of the matter.

Do we really mourn when we're not examining ourselves and realizing where we need to put things - under His feet? To His Lordship?

I read this post more as encouragement to keep on keepin' on. Don't give up. Don't get slack. Don't succumb to pressure to accept less than your best for your Lord - who gave His best and all for you.

Scribe, I hear ya. It's not a list of to-dos. It's a reminder of who we need to continue to be for Him. To continually examine ourselves. Yes?

September 05, 2007 4:55 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Yeah Susan...I think you caught the crux of what my original intention was-not giving our Lord less than what He deserves from our lives. The Lord does not desire platitude stalemates to characterize our lives...

Gayla,

I have no quarrel with you, my dear sister...and I wish none. I pray that you would not find my comments as contentious in nature...

Your servant for Christ's sake,
Scribe

September 05, 2007 5:27 PM

 

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