My brother Freddy is not saved

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... the place where I discuss the thinking that went into this article.)

Question: My brother Freddy knows there is a God, and he believes that God is the Creator. He’s not a Christian, though. He doesn’t want anything to do with a God that would kill his own son. So, when we try to share the Gospel with him, he shuts us right down. We continue to pray, and we trust God is at work… especially through the example of our faith-filled mom who recently died of lung cancer.

Instead of going to a hospice facility, my mom chose to stay in her home. I’m a woman, and I and my three brothers agreed to care for her until her passing. We did so for three months, and Freddy witnessed her faith and constant thankfulness to God.

We know that she hoped that Freddy would be saved before she passed, but this didn’t happen. So, we continue to pray for him and his family. My question is, how can we help Freddy with biblical truth through the place where he is the most stuck? Thank you.

Answer: I’m glad to hear that your brother Freddy believes in a God that created the universe. I’m sad to hear that he is tripping over the gospel, though... because he is missing the whole point of creation. God does not need to prove to himself that he can create things. So the question is, why did he bother?

One implication of the creation is that the same God who created the universe wants a relationship with people like us... people who could thumb our noses at him. Freddy already has such a relationship. The problem is not Freddy’s. The problem is one of evangelicalism… of its insistence that everyone needs believe in Christ a certain way — and do it right now! Salvation is a process, processes take steps and steps take time.

Let’s consider where Freddy is right now. Romans 1:18-20 tells us that there is enough information in the physical universe for observers to understand some basic things about God. He is powerful, and he is divine. This is not the same relationship that we have through his Son, but it is a relationship nonetheless. In fact, I see this as a seminal relationship.

Now, I do not want to be insensitive to your culture — but I’m going to walk all over it anyway! Many evangelicals are taught to proactively share the gospel... and no matter what else I say, I am very glad that someone shared it with me. However, most of the people who we will someday meet in heaven never had a Bible... and God saved them anyway. He is taking care of this same business with Freddy too. Freddy might be taking issue with the Bible, God, or how God runs things, but this is not the same as rejecting Christ finally (Mark 3:28). God plays the long game.

Here’s the thing: Freddy has a brain and free will. Right now he is sorting through his options... whether he knows it or not... trying to find the most congruent truth. Jesus Christ is that truth (John 14:6)... and I am sure Freddy has heard that all his life. For that very reason, it may take even more time than others to come to the place of repentance. But God loves an earnest seeker (Hebrews 11:6) ... so my money is on Freddy — Freddy and God,
that is.

But he will never come to grips with God’s sacrificing his Son — either biblically or philosophically — until he sees it for what it is: a sacrifice necessary for our salvation (John 3:16)... a sacrifice he must appropriate for himself to understand it as it is meant to be understood (1 John 5:11-13).

Those of you who have grown up in the Christian culture (with reverence for the Bible and training in doctrine) often miss this important part of Christian development. I think it is healthy for a young adult to deconstruct the faith handed to him by his family... and make it real to himself. His parents might see this as their child leaving God — and be justifiably concerned! But the Christian culture saves no one… while the Christian person saves everyone… everyone who seeks him earnestly (Proverbs 8:17). This includes all who come to him in faith (Ephesians 3:12).

Therefore, it is better to set one’s culture aside to find the truth than it is to masquerade as a Christian to please one’s parents. “Pleasing” one’s parents may sound like “honoring” one’s parents... which is an important biblical command (Exodus 20:12). But doing it wrong is the waste of a life. Jesus wants us to “leave” our parents and our culture and follow him (Luke 14: 26). Why? Because God has no grandchildren. He only has children (John 1:12)... and childbirth is always painful.

Freddy may not be pleasing you or his Christian family and friends right now, but he is on the path to finding or rejecting God. You see, he must find his own path between natural theism and Christian theism — so take this warning: throwing Bible verses on the ground in front of him could be a pearls-before-swine moment (Matthew 7:6). And doing this before the ground is ready to receive the biblical truth has the potential to do more harm than good (Matthew 13:3-9).

Everything I’ve said so far is for your comfort. You have done your job! ... not that our job is ever done. We are always praying for the unsaved people in our circles. Furthermore, we want to be winsome people... salt and light... stability in a confusing and tumultuous world (Matthew 5:13-15). When people ask about our hope, we want to be ready with an answer (1 Peter 3:15).

The one thing we can’t do for them is the thing we’d love to do for them: receive Christ. That’s on them. That being said, I do have two resources that I would like to share with you.

First, I explain salvation on this website’s main page. What makes my approach different is that I do not start by marching someone down the Romans Road... although that road has seen many salvations. My approach is to take it logically from common experience through theism... and this is exactly where Freddy is.

That article is called An Alternative to Death — and it’s a bit of a long read... but so is the process of traveling in logical increments from our common experience to Jesus Christ. Look it over, and if you think it is appropriate for his situation, consider sharing it with Freddy. Click here to read that article.

Second, Reasonable Faith Ministries has several five-minute videos that tackle issues that skeptics bring up about our faith and some that approach our faith extra-biblically. Some of these apply to Freddy’s situation. He has heard all the Bible verses — and is not impressed! These videos cover the same ground using science and logic as a wedge to advocate for biblical and godly truth.

Reasonable Faith Ministries has quite a few of these videos, however... so many so that I have used a whole page of my website to list them. I will give you the link to that page, and you can sample the ones whose titles seem appropriate. At only five or six minutes apiece, the whole page is worth a listen! I am praying for Freddy right now. Click here to go to that list.

Finally, please accept my sympathies for your mother’s passing. Although I acknowledge your mother’s joy at leaving this world of pain and joining Jesus Christ — in ways we earthbound people can only imagine! (Philippians 1:23) — I sympathize with the sorrow of your earthly loss. May God comfort and bless you and your family during this transition. I praise God for the testimony of your mother’s life to Freddy and others.

 

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20220214 A theist does not understand how God could sacrifice his Son).

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)