A letter from a new friend

This letter was written to Larry, and then forwarded to me as well:John Piper by puritan-monergist

(Larry) It is so strange you mentioned John Piper because that guy has caused me more anxiety than anyone.  I think his whole goal is to make every person on earth think they are not a child of God.  His teachings on Christian hedonism and not wasting our life is the worst law I have EVER heard.  Just when I thought the ten commandments were impossible, Piper comes along with something worse.  I guess God’s law wasn’t enough to drive us to the cross so Piper invented some other stuff to come after the cross.  I guess really the cross isn’t enough.  When I hear him I think that I would prefer either staying in the Arminian camp or just giving up the whole thing and enjoying life and be damned since according to him, I am probably damned anyway.  I try not to mention his name on blogs because some of his followers become seriously angered and I try not to start any internet hostilities but, seriously how can I know I am saved if I am listening to people like him?  I started listening to R.C. Sproul but, now I see that he is teaming with Piper more and more so, I had to get out before I committed suicide.  I just don’t understand why a solid reformation guy like Sproul who has Veith and others contribute to table talk suddenly partner up with Piper and make declarations like he is now a Christian hedonist?  By the way, I have thought about that suicide more than once in the past six months.  I came to the point where I thought if I am going to be damned anyway then I should just speed up the process since I am already in misery so why not just get it over with?

 My question is how can Calvinist like Michael Horton give such hope and team up with Lutherans and the like while people like Piper desire to persuade others that so few will be in heaven, he will know them all personally.  I believe that he thinks that only he and other Calvinist will probably be the only ones there.  I once read an article in table talk magazine where R.C.’s son said that now C.S. Lewis is in heaven, he is a Calvinist.  That is when I called and canceled my subscription.  I was shocked that these guys would imply that Christ himself was a Calvinist.  It was so disturbing and I am still reeling from the shock of it all.  Of course it is amazing that they believe Lewis is with Christ at all since he wasn’t a Calvinist.

 Here is my problem.  I constantly struggle with my salvation.  I hear people say well, if you struggle then that is a sign that you are saved.  So, when I have moments of assurance that begins to freak me out. Because doubt means you are saved.  What???  At this point I am getting really angry and wanting to shout at any evangelical or Calvinist that walks my way.  I see no difference.  These folks are one in the same.  I have heard soooo many times the same thing.  You may think you are saved but, your not.  Or if you struggle with your salvation you are saved.  I have heard John Piper say that if you come to Jesus because you fear hell then you aren’t really saved.  Then, some Calvinist will give some terrifying talk on hell so people will repent and come to Jesus.  So, which is it?  Is there only one reason why people come to the end of their rope and flee to Christ?  If I am terrified of being separated from the triune God and bend the knee to him knowing that only his blood shed for me saves is that or isn’t it enough?
  MacArthur gave a nice little sermon about how even though you believe in Jesus as the one true savior of the world you may still go to hell.  WHAT???  Thanks John I really want to be a Christian now.  Heck a Mormon can give me something better than that!  The problem is that I am not looking for some non gospel or law light types to give me comfort (a la Joel Osteen) No, I don’t want that at all.
  I can say from the law prospective these Calvinist are right.  Unfortunately, i have yet to hear the gospel from any save the White Horse Inn.  Why is that?
I am sorry that this email isn’t filled with more questions; I plan to get to those but, right now I need to rant and scream!  I have to get this out because this anger is consuming me and causing much anguish.  I need prayer to move past my crazy Calvinist Baptist past and not let this forever cause me to leave the church all the while feeling such intense pain.  I am so afraid that I don’t truly believe and it haunts me most days.  I pray and pray but, as soon as I hear some law and gospel in its purest sense some Calvinist from my past will come sit on my shoulder and whisper a thing or two about the lack of my known works.  Thank you for being willing to converse with this stranded Evangelical.  I am going to the Mockingbird conference this weekend in Pensacola and am hoping to hear some refreshing message about Grace.  I have always heard that word but I can be honest and say I have no clue about its means within my life since I grew up in memorial views of baptism and communion and rarely hear the pure Gospel.
I am sorry to have gone on so long but, I hope to have many meaningful conversations with you to come.  I am so grateful to meet someone via internet that has shared in my struggle.
    Thank you,
Any thoughts on Susan’s concerns?

Not progressing in his Christian faith

I know a guy who has been going to our church for 11 years now. He’s a decent guy I guess, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything happening in his Christian life.

He shows up at church just about every Sunday and even manages to come to almost every Bible study and pastor’s class. He receives the Sacrament of the Altar regularly. But I haven’t noticed too much change in him over the course of the years.

He asks questions and makes remarks that hint that he knows what the Christian faith is all about, but then he goes on home and pretty much falls right back into his usual pattern of living.

He still spends much too much time on the computer (blogging and what not), and watches too much T.V. (sports and Andy Griffith re-runs). All the while he could be out looking to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He hardly spends any time at all at the nursing homes, or the hospitals and rarely (ok… never) invites the homeless into his home for meals and so they can clean up a bit, and so he can share Christ with them.

He will go out to the grocery store, or to Wal Mart, or to the Del Taco and not utter one word about Jesus Christ to anyone. I mean hardly ever…at all.

He trys to help his family and friends a bit, but everyone does that…there is nothing Christian in that.

Does he not hear the exhortations of the pastor? Does he not hear the clear teaching of scripture about what he ought be doing as a Christian? I know that he hears them. He is sitting right there in church when the words are said.

If someone were to follow this guy around from right after church on Sunday to right before church the next Sunday, they might have a hard time guessing what religion the guy was outside of the occasional prayer here and there, and the stuff he does blogging.

What’s the solution? Is it to try harder? Is it to take the law more seriously? Is it to listen more intently for the voice of the Holy Spirit? Maybe he needs to re-commit his life to Christ, or just do it (seriously) for the 1st time. Maybe he ought throw out the T.V. and the computer? Maybe he ought get directions to some of the local nursing homes and homeless shelters?

I know this guy pretty well, and I’m not sure what I should tell him.

Any suggestions?

Are there people like this in your church, as well?  


What is a “backslider“?

Are they easy to spot?

Have you ever been one?

How does one stop being a “backslider“?