In the discussions on atheists and their attempts to recruit more atheists, it was stated that many atheists were Christians at one time and then … they found their brains and left the faith. Or at least, that is the implied argument. This is the tactic used by the neo-atheists. They not only want to be outspoken in their atheism, but they also oppose Christianity and paint those in it as being less intelligent than your average yard dog.
But that is not the point of this post. The point is that these atheists claim they were at one time Christians, and now they are not. We must not fall for this line of thinking. Even if they were baptized and made professions of faith, and went through all the motions of being a believer, if they left the faith, they are not believers and never were.
Here is what Scripture says about those who leave the faith: 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
This verse, along with Hebrews 6:4-6, shows us that those who leave the faith have no real hope, and were never really a part of the true believers in the faith. A true believer is one that perseveres to the end of his days. He/She may wander from the faith for a time, but the moment that they renounce the faith is the moment we know that they were not true believers. To renounce the faith and declare yourself an atheist is to become apostate, for which Hebrews says there is no hope.
Let us not be overtaken by the atheist arguments that they were believers and then left the faith for whatever reason. If they were of the faith, they would never have left it in the first place, and they certainly would not have renounced the faith as many atheists do. This is what the Apostle John is telling us in his letter. Those who leave were never truly believers. They were not of the light, but loved darkness more than the light (John 3:19-21).
But What About Their Earnest Prayers?
Some ask this question as well. What about those who were earnest in their prayers and actions, and then leave the faith. We can only say that while those prayers and actions seemed to us to be earnest, God knows the truth of their hearts. Tares always look like wheat and it is up to the Father to separate out the tares from the wheat. Regardless of what it looks like to us, there was no real saving faith in those who leave Christianity. They were never really believers and because of their fruit of apostasy, we can know that they were not believers.
But What About Those Who Were Really Seeking God?
They were not. Remember Romans 3:10ff, There is none who seeks after God. The point is that the atheist may give testimonies of being believers at one point, then coming to some depraved epiphany and leave the faith. They say these things to puff themselves up and to show themselves superior to those who are true believers. Let them. For God hates the proud and is looking for those with true humble hearts before Him. The proud, arrogant atheist has no claim of righteousness and will be judge because of it. Let us not be fooled by their claims and trust in what the Scripture says about them: Psalm 14:1, The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’ While they may claim to have testimonies of being believers and then leaving the faith, they never were true believers.