While at the church, Pastor David Hoffman made a challenge to his congregation: He dared them to find anyone who was a Christian for a significant amount of time and only in their old age decided to lose their faith.
Debbie took him up on it. She felt confident there were many atheists in that position out there. Surely, at least one.
Through email correspondence, Hoffman laid out the specifics of the challenge (edited here for clarity)
- Find someone who has lived for Jesus Christ for a significant amount of time (40-50 yrs) and is older (70+).
- That person would say that as they look back on their life they regretted their decision to trust Jesus.
- That person would tell young people to not trust Jesus because he doesn’t come through.
Hoffman added (and I quote here):
Believe me Debbie this is going to be a challenge because Jesus is faithful to those who put their trust in him.
Is it a fair challenge? Maybe. There are plenty of atheists who were deeply and sincerely Christian for a majority of their life before coming to their senses. Were they 70? None come to mind. But 40s? That’s easy to find. Still, I have no doubt we can meet this challenge.
Someone else who came to mind was Dan Barker — he wasn’t “just” a Christian, he was a preacher for the majority of two decades. I know two decades isn’t the same as forty years and Dan’s not exactly in his 70s, but it’s still a pretty damn long amount of time. And if you’ve ever heard Dan speak about it, you can tell how much he regrets it. Does he not count, Pastor Hoffman?
If you think you or someone you know fits the bill, you can write to the pastor here. Please don’t send him anything nasty. And please let us know (in the comments) what you write!
Let’s overwhelm him with positive responses from atheists who were “real” Christians for a significant amount of time and came to atheism much later in life.
Let’s see how he responds.