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Feedback archiveFeedback 2002

John Lennon II, again?

Another email from Allan C. from Curran, Ontario, Canada, who gave permission for his full name to be published (see his first published letter and reply, John Lennon II?). His letter is reprinted, with point-by-point responses by Dr Jonathan Sarfati, which we hope will be helpful to him and others.


I was open-minded enough to attend an evangelical church for a year.
Many a Sunday I came out of church feeling worse.
An attack by Satan? I was gettig close to the truth. That is the easy Christian answer.
I understand where you are coming from and I see no harm in you choosing to believe what you believe.
I grew up with a father who said I never wanted you kids.
I was diagnosed as a slow learner at the age of five and told to forget law school or medical school that menial labor was what I would be best suited for. My first job was in shipping and receiving. I believed hat I was told.
Later in life I discovered a tape seminar called Peak Performance by a man named Brian Tracy.
I started to think that what he was saying had some validity to it and i put into practice some of the counsel he was dispensing. I started to feel good about myself for the first time in my life.
I went to an evangelical church and the feelings of worthlessness returned. I was a sinner seperated from God and I did nothing to deserve salvation. It was a free gift.
Christ died for my sins. I was hopeless and helpless without him. That returned me to a state of dispair.
That is why I left. I feel good again.
I pray and I believe in God.

Best, Allan


I was open-minded enough to attend an evangelical church for a year.

By itself that’s a good start. But going to a Church doesn’t make one Christian any more than going to a greengrocer makes one a fruit. The important thing is the answer a person has to the question Jesus Christ asked His disciples, ‘Who do you say I am?’ (Matthew 16:15). Are you open minded to answer this question truthfully?

Many a Sunday I came out of church feeling worse.

I’m sorry to hear that, but emotional experience is not the way to answer that question.

An attack by Satan? I was gettig close to the truth. That is the easy Christian answer.

That’s a possibility, but neither ‘the easy Christian answer’ nor the only possible answer. Certainly the Christian world view is open to the possibility of demonic oppression, but also recognizes that human beings are capable of sinning all by themselves.

I understand where you are coming from and I see no harm in you choosing to believe what you believe.

Actually, it’s very important to believe what is true. After all, you can believe all you like that you have wings and can fly, but this could be very harmful if you thereby see no danger in jumping off a cliff.

I grew up with a father who said I never wanted you kids.

That’s sad. But there are many Christians like that, but they realize that God is the perfect Father, and earthly fathers never come up to that standard although some are much better than others (cf. Luke 11:11–13). Also, the faithful Israelite warrior Caleb who followed the Lord ‘wholeheartedly’ (Numbers 14:24), had to go through life bearing the brunt of parents who gave him a name meaning ‘dog’, at a time when dogs were mangy semi-wild pests, not the loyal servants and pets they can be today.

I was diagnosed as a slow learner at the age of five and told to forget law school or medical school that menial labor was what I would be best suited for. My first job was in shipping and receiving. I believed what I was told.

This is one sad example of the folly of man’s wisdom. Many a person with more severe disabilities has risen above their problems to achieve great things. And even someone doing ‘menial’ labor is still precious in God’s sight.

Later in life I discovered a tape seminar called Peak Performance by a man named Brian Tracy.
I started to think that what he was saying had some validity to it and i put into practice some of the counsel he was dispensing. I started to feel good about myself for the first time in my life.
I went to an evangelical church and the feelings of worthlessness returned. I was a sinner seperated from God and I did nothing to deserve salvation. It was a free gift. Christ died for my sins. I was hopeless and helpless without him. That returned me to a state of despair.

But this is as it should be, because all the above is true. However, there is no need to stay that way, because Jesus provides the way out of this despair. He did what we cannot—bore on the cross the punishment we deserve for our sin (Isaiah 53:10), and in turn His righteousness is imputed (credited to the account) of those who believe (Romans 4:3, Genesis 15:6). The content of belief is the Gospel, as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4:

‘Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.’

But as we see, the good news of the Gospel presupposes the bad news that we are sinners deserving condemnation. We Australians say, if it’s not broken, why fix it? It’s sad that much of what passes for ‘gospel’ presentations fail to present this bad news that we are broken because of sin, which has the basic meaning of ‘missing the mark’ (cf. Romans 3:23). There is no point preaching about Jesus as ‘Saviour’ without saying what we need to be saved from (sin). While it’s impossible for me to comment on your church specifically, it seems that they at least did not shy away from this essential teaching.

That is why I left. I feel good again.

This is a poor basis for judging anything. If you took drugs you might also make yourself feel good (for a while). Conversely, our sense of pain is designed to be a warning system, so although unpleasant it’s essential to have in this fallen world. You also might feel euphoric for a while jumping out of plane without a parachute, with the air rushing past your face, but eventually reality will catch up. Similarly, you may feel good now, but eventually the reality will catch up: ‘it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment’ (Hebrews 9:27). In this case, the only ‘parachute’ is Christ, who is the believer’s Advocate with the Father and the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1–2).

I pray and I believe in God.

As I asked last time:

But which ‘God’? Even the demons believe in one God, and tremble (James 2:19).

Believing that a god exists will not save you. I must remind you, your answer to Christ’s question will be the most important answer you will ever give.

Best, Allan

I pray that you will put your faith in Christ and what He has done to atone for sin. You will then have great reason to rejoice as you are set free from the bondage of sin and death. Then, empowered by the Holy Spirit you could, like the Apostle Paul, say, ‘I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.’ God has used many lowly penitent sinners to achieve great things.

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati


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