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Our Fight Against Eternal Security - Phase 1 - Denial
This Can't Be Happening
As I proceed with my story of our excommunication from church as we had always known it, I will associate our experience with the well-known stages of grief. But since those stages are affiliated with the finality of death, I might perhaps tweak the process a bit.
The next few days, weeks, and months were a mixture of emotions. Denial played a big part, but yet it had to find it's proper place. As Christians, events aren't looked at as the world sees them. In this case, we certainly couldn't deny that this had happened, but we would spend years denying that friends and loved ones could be so cruel.
What we thought would happen, didn't happen. Surely this family of thirty years would rally behind us. Surely there would be phone call after phone call. But there were few. And some, only on the persuasion of others.
One dedicated old friend hung in there for a while. But though her beliefs were the same as ours, we were now on the outside. She was inside. Though many still inside were also in denial and privately questioned the preacher, he had prepared himself for the after-effects and successfully rationalized and calmed and basically compelled the congregation who cared, to believe it was somewhat our fault, if not completely our decision to leave.
The isolation that usually comes with denial is also a bit altered when final death is not really the issue. A mature christian is still very aware of the presence of God in their lives. Still, the feeling was as if our entire family had died. The separation was tough to say the least.
We had been through births and deaths, marriages and celebrations of all sorts. Innermost secrets had been shared with these people and now it would be as if we never existed.
One day my dear husband made mention of what little affect he had been. He had taught and lead most of those years, but now believes his work there was of no affect. He likens himself to a man who is running from a burning building. If you've ever been in that situation, everyone follows suit. When someone yells, "fire!" seats are vacated, the source of the fire is found, and it is extinguished. However, in this case, all stayed seated.
When someone dies, we can deny they are really dead, but must eventually come to the reality that they are finally gone. We denied that a man could have the power to expel a christian from a christian institution, but he did. We denied that those we love could so easily turn away, but they did. We denied that false doctrine would prevail, but it has.
For three or four years before our dismissal, I had been praying that God would never let us stay at one place beyond our ability to make a good difference. I had prayed that he would let us know when the time would be right to move on. What I had hoped was that I would be more effectual in my teaching and testimony. Little did I know, he had other things in mind.
If one person can find comfort in these writings of our journey, it will be worth it all. I know that others who have done nothing wrong, will endure this kind of persecution as the end draws nearer and the way of man becomes more and more wayward.
I don't know how many people have been expelled from a christian institution for the right reason or the wrong reason, but my great concern is for those who have been and are not mature christians. Because so many people feel their place of worship is equal to God, expulsion might feel to them as if they have been sent away from his presence. How do they handle it? What if they committed suicide? What if they gave up and finally turned away from God? The verse that comes to mind here is Luke 17:1, "Then said he to the disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe to him, through whom they come!"