It is no longer news that some Christians are now changing their minds about believing in God. Is it that God has disappointed such folks or is it that the foundation of their belief is faulty? What could make a Christian who has followed Christ for fifteen years or more suddenly deny Christ and say that there is no God?
A retrospective glance indicates that this phenomenon is an age-old one. Even in the biblical era there are people who are manipulated to believe that the world is governed by chance, not by God, and that morality is man-made, not divine. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” This verse in fact occurs in two passages in the book of Psalms (14:1 and 53:1).
My team members and I decided to conduct a survey on ex-Christians in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria and could not believe what we heard as we handed questionnaires to those who stay at home on Sunday mornings. We discovered that many who have been actively involved in the church are no longer interested in the church and some of them have denounced Christ and boldly told us that there was no God.
A man angrily harassed and chased us out of his compound with these words, “You frauds should leave my compound now before I lose control and butcher you guys. Where was God when bandits killed my wife and my children? I have served God with all my heart; I have never missed paying my tithe; I have sowed seed for protection for my household yet your God allowed my family members to be wiped out in a day. Leave my compound because I know that you are here to lie to me and collect my money."
An examination of the statement of this man shows that he has every reason to be angry because of what happened to him. In this case, is it the fault of the man to have denied God? Should we blame God for not saving the man's wife and children? Or should the church where the man worshiped be held responsible for not discipling the man to maturity?
A critical look at what could be responsible for believers’ inability to withstand calamities of life is traceable to “bread and butter messages” in churches today. Sound doctrines are rarely preached and many Christians have been weakened by rosy messages that only make Christians focus on how to find solutions to the challenges of life through God. When expectations are not met, frustration sets in. If this man in Abuja had been told that becoming a Christian, paying tithe and sowing seed do not in any way provide immunity from tribulations and persecution, he would not have denied God.
Fundamentally, many Christians started on a false note. Some us were not told that becoming a Christian attracts challenges and persecution. Many Christians come to Christ to "enjoy their lives" and not to "endure to the end," so when the storms that are associated with following Christ emerge, most people throw in the towel because they are not spiritually and psychological prepared. Because the foundation has been destroyed with lies and promises of trouble-free life in Christianity, even the righteous are found on the road of apostasy today (Psalm 11:3).
Jesus never enticed His disciples with promises of comfort. He was very blunt and told them the conditions that are necessary for following Him: "Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” (Luke 9:23) He also encouraged His disciples to count the cost before embarking on the Christian journey, but today we seem to have forgotten that there are prices to pay for becoming a Christian.
When we hear that some people we know, who were fervent in the Lord, have denied Christ, how do we respond to the news? Some of us will feel disappointed; some will pity them; while some will outrightly blame them and call them names. Some will even say that they were never born again in the first place, otherwise they would not have denied Christ. Whatever we feel, we should realize that no one who has chosen to follow Jesus will on a good day deny Him.
It is obvious that God cannot be blamed for His children denying Him. He is the Omniscient and Omnipotent God and there is nothing He cannot do. Most often He allows us to go through difficulties to test our love for Him. He conceptualized cross experience to reveal His glory to us and to give us the crowns that were prepared for us before the world began. Most Christians find it difficult to understand that there is no crown without the cross.
As I stated earlier, many of us blame the rise in apostasy to the unbalanced diet that comes out of our pulpits. The million dollar question is who is cooking this diet? The cook is the devil. He cleverly manipulates the pastors to abandon the way of the cross and pursue comforts and luxury of the world all in the name of God's blessings. The devil is responsible for apostasy and we must stop him. Christians all over the world should start praying for revival that will bring a change in our pulpits and for restoration of apostate Christians.