Question: I am very concerned for a dear friend of mine. She was a minister who loved Jesus very much. This spiritual woman has now decided that Jesus has never existed (she says there is no proof), still believes in parts of the Bible, read info on the Gnostics and said they believed in Jesus and reincarnation, believes we are old spirits that choose the lives we've chosen, and believes there is no right or wrong. She taught me about Jesus and I've only been a believer for five years now. Nothing can sway me from Jesus. I don't know what to say or do when I'm around her. When she starts talking the "stuff" I pretend to be interested. I know even the strong in faith will fall away. I don't understand her belief system and am glad that I don't for fear of believing that way. Just need some guidance on how to handle this because she is not open to Jesus at all. Thank you. God bless you and yours.
Response: It sounds to me like you are handling this situation as well as
anyone could, and I certainly commend you for the firmness of your faith
in spite of this difficult test! There are certain situations where all
we can do is pray, and others where even prayer is not recommended
(1Jn.5:16). Not knowing your friend, it's hard for me to say, but it
does seem as if the best thing you can do for her is to continue to
demonstrate the power and the reality of Jesus Christ through your
Christian walk and witness, to continue to pray for her spiritual
recovery, and to wait upon whatever opportunity the Lord may put in your
path to remind her of the truth.
The last point is one in which, from what you have shared about the situation, circumspection is appropriate. Our Lord's warning about throwing "pearls before swine" is partly because of the pointlessness of the exercise, but also "lest they turn and trample you too". When a person is deep into rejection of the truth, the opportunity to help them out of the pit they have chosen to jump into is usually not something that you or I or any other human being can provide on our own. Such windows of opportunity, when they come at all, generally have to come from the Lord, and are usually the result of a jolt of divine discipline sufficiently strong to snap them out of their spiritual stupor (see the link: "Apostasy and the Sin unto Death").
But ultimately it is all about choice. That is why we are here in this world of darkness - to demonstrate the genuineness of our choices, for or against the Lord who died for us. When a former believer goes so far as to reject the One who bought them, that is generally an indication of a very sad, dreadful, and solid choice, rather than a momentary lapse. No one but God knows the heart of any person. Sometimes we scarcely can tell what is going on in our own hearts! But we have to do the best we can with the wonderful truths of scripture that we have been blessed to read and understand.
My main advice to you would be to continue on the path of your own spiritual growth undeterred. This is unquestionably a test for you and your faith as well - one which you give every indication of handling marvelously, I must say. You know the truth. It's not necessary, and it may be a mistake, to try and fight it out on your friend's new found battleground of Gnosticism and New Age nonsense. If her heart has not hardened past the point of no return, God may give you an opportunity to remind her that Jesus is very real indeed, more real than anyone or anything our fleshly eyes can see, and that, more than that, He is the only way to eternal life.
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge (i.e., Gnosticism), which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.
1st Timothy 6:20-21 NIV
Your faith is a testimony to the power of the truth of God in Jesus Christ. Stand firm in it.
Please also see:
Gnosticism and the adoration of angels (in SR 4)
Gnostics and Gnosticism
Visions of Angels.
Reviling angelic beings.
Peter #27 "Three False Doctrines which Threaten Faith"
Christians Beware: Internet Frauds and the Need for Spiritual Discernment.
Christians Beware (part 2): Internet Frauds and the Need for Spiritual Discernment.
In the dear Lord who bought us, our Savior Jesus Christ.