That's the question I asked myself, today, as I left the grounds of the Santa Clarita Superior Courthouse. Chris--a 25-year-old warehouse worker, and Brandon--a 14-year-old freshman in high school: both claimed to be Christians. Both affirmed the gospel. Both agreed that those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will spend eternity in hell. Both affirmed that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Both described conversion experiences. Both attend church regularly. Both read the Bible at least as often as the so-called, average Christian. Neither Chris nor Brandon were arrogant or self-righteous. Neither seemed to glory in their sin.
But with both Chris and Brandon, something just didn't seem right. Their understanding of the way to eternal life seemed to ebb and flow the more Todd and I talked to them. Chris affirmed the need to repent and believe as the first fruits of salvation, yet when I took him through a "3-minutes-to-live" scenario, the best he could do was tell me to repeat a prayer after him. Brandon affirmed that Jesus is the only way to heaven, yet he readily admitted that he was not born again. According to Brandon, he once heard his pastor say that if you believe in Jesus you do not need to be born again.
So, what was the spiritual condition of Chris and Brandon. I don't know. Were they genuine followers of Christ who, because of the newness of their faith and/or the weakness of the teaching and discipleship they are receiving, simply do not know how to articulate their faith? Or, could it be that both Chris and Brandon are false converts--inoculated against the true gospel by the watered-down gospel of the modern church? Are they saved, or do they know just enough Christianese to make them sound saved? Again, I do not know. Thankfully, it is not for me to decide. So, when in doubt, I preach the gospel.
Click here to listen to my follow-up conversation with Chris. And click here to listen to my follow-up conversation with Brandon.
Pray for Chris and Brandon. Pray that they will, in fact, by the grace of God alone, be genuine followers of Jesus Christ, for His glory.
It was another good day of fishing!