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There’s No Such Thing as a Former Christian

saved or lost

Like Hotel California, once you are in you can’t get out.

Once you are saved, you can never be lost.

Once God’s hound dog, the Holy Spirit, tracks you down you belong to God forever.

Or so says Charles Smith:

If you scour the world-wild-web for any amount of time using atheism as your search term, you will undoubtedly find pages and pages of sites laced with the famous proclamation, “I used to be a Christian.” While this may be intriguing to the seeker, desiring a glimpse at the testimony of a formerly professing believer turned cynic in hopes of discovering reasons to remain religiously repulsed by Christendom, or possibly the opposite – looking to see if their retroversion experience is sensible – one thing is certain…there’s no such thing as a former Christian.

Cultural Christianity is quite the phenomenon of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries…

After “leaving the faith,” these misguided, false-converts then find their voices in the blogosphere, social sites, chat rooms, discussion boards and every other form of digital media outlet known to man – exhaustively expatriating as many “cardboard Christians” as they can sink their flaw-full claws into. Ironically, if they would spend as much time truly investigating and begging with a contrite heart, “God, please show yourself to me!” they would discover that He is absolutely faithful to do so – and the door the Lord has once opened, can be closed by no man.

These poor misinformed “ex-Christians” were never truly reborn of the Holy Spirit of God. They followed the crowd in church, were dunked under water, consumed crackers and gulped grape juice, sang songs, talked the talk, looked the part, memorized verses and so many other religious acts, but never came to a saving faith found in a relationship with the only begotten Son of God. Like so many of their contemporaries who weren’t led to the foot of the blood-stained cross of Calvary, they never saw their sins in the mirror of the ten commandments and consequently, never realized the magnitude of their debt – owed to a God who, because of His perfect love and justice, must punish sin – and they never saw the spotless Lamb for who He was and is, the ransom payment – the sacrificial substitute – who carried their sins before the Father and said “I will take their punishment.” Their prideful hearts of stone never crumbled under the weight of such a love and therefore, they simply socialized and enjoyed the music and learned to get along. But, of course, anyone who goes through a “phase” knows, it wore off and they moved on and Jesus wept…

Let the reader understand, just as you can’t become unborn once you have evacuated the womb, you also cannot become un-born-again. It is impossible to un-ring a bell, un-cook an egg or un-kill the living. If you are a spiritual seeker, please know that there is no such thing as an ex-Christian and if you want the truth, please look in a good Bible teaching church for assistance. If after reading this you still claim to be a “former believer,” you just do not understand…

While Smith’s argument certainly might apply to cultural or nominal Christians, it falls flat on its face when it comes to people like me, those who were sincere, committed, devoted, sold-out, on fire, consecrated, dedicated, sanctified followers of Jesus. While it is quite easy to dismiss those who never really took Christianity seriously, what about those of us who did? Did I really spend most of my adult life deceived, never having come to faith in Jesus Christ? Only in the echo chamber of Smith’s mind is such a claim possible. The only way he can square his theology with the life of someone like me is to say I never was a Christian, and since theology always trumps reason, Bruce Gerencser never was a Christian.

Look, I understand. I really I do. Christians like Smith can not fathom anyone walking away from their Jesus. Why would anyone want to walk away from J-E-S-U-S, the most awesome God-man in the world, the biggest, baddest God is the entire universe. Why would anyone walk away from a golden ticket to God’s Motel 6? No more pain, no more suffering, no more death…who in their right mind would turn down such an offer?

But I did, others have, and more will continue to do so. Evidently God didn’t want us bad enough to keep us.


  1. Avatar
    Michael Mock

    “It is impossible to un-ring a bell, un-cook an egg or un-kill the living.”

    I admit, I’m having trouble deciphering his syntax; nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that Mr. Smith just denied the Resurrection.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      You raise a good point about his cute little diddy. 🙂 Of course, he will say Jesus was God. But, I thought Jesus while on earth was, in every way, human? Let the theological game begin!

      • Avatar
        Appalachian Agnostic

        Religion logic is like dream logic. I sometime dream that two separate people are one person. I also dream that two contradictory ideas are both true. For example, someone living is also dead, or someone who is five years old is somehow an adult at the same time.Maybe there is a connection between religious belief and the dreaming mind.

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    We are easy to dismiss as false teachers. Using 2 Peter, any ex-Christian is easily explained away.

    It is still funny that no one was able to discern that we were falling away until we outed ourselves. People still think I was deconverted for only a year or so, not knowing I played the game for almost seven years. It was only in the last couple of years that I was fed up with the whole church scene and it began to show.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Spot on, Ian. I was a Christian for most of my life and pastored churches in 3 states for 25 years. Yet, in all that time, coming in contact with thousands of people and having numerous preacher colleagues, not one person ever detected that I was not a Christian. In fact, the problem that some of my former colleagues have is that I was widely considered as a dedicated, committed, sold out preacher of the gospel and now I am an atheist. How can these things be? 🙂 Well, they just are.

  3. Avatar

    “Ironically, if they would spend as much time truly investigating and begging with a contrite heart, “God, please show yourself to me!” they would discover that He is absolutely faithful to do so – and the door the Lord has once opened, can be closed by no man.”

    How does he know we, I, didn’t?! I sure did and it didn’t work…. His comments, and others like them, make me so angry! Every time they say something like: “it wasn’t real: it was all fake, etc.” it just makes my blood boil. Who are they to presume they know what’s going on in my mind?

    I tried to be the best Christian I could possibly be my entire life and prayed constantly, so I think that should qualify. And when I was losing my faith, I definitely asked God to show himself so I could continue being a Christian… The problem was: he didn’t.

  4. Avatar

    Another version of the “No True Scotsman” argument. They never seem to get it. It’s like they are terrified of stepping outside of the bubble, somehow thinking that they will be zapped by lightning or attacked by a guy in a black cloak wanting to choke you to death.

    Little do they know that the bubble their in is as imaginary as the “force”.


  5. Avatar

    It’s not possible to use logic with a person like this.
    It’s also not realistic to try to explain. Easier to just go on with your life and leave him to nature. 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Wibur Right

    Yet another example of denying facts and trying to force reality to fit one’s theory.

    Sane and logical thinkers accept facts and use reality to develop a theory.

Want to Respond to Bruce? Fire Away!

Bruce Gerencser