I’m sure you read that title, and you’re like “wha what?” Yes, that’s what I said. If Protestants or Evangelicals want to leave the faith and become a Roman Catholic, we should let them.
Hear me out.
We’ve seen a lot of apostasy in the last several months. From Joshua Harris leaving his Calvinist church to embrace the homosexual community to Marty Sampson, the Hillsong songwriter renouncing his faith, one thing is for sure, the falling away in Scripture is happening and an ever-increasing pace.
They Were Never Of Us
Scripture is clear that we don’t “lose our salvation.” For if we could lose our salvation, then our salvation would not be of grace, but of works. Romans 11:6 says that if our salvation is by grace, then it can’t be of works and it is God Himself who elects us, saves us, and maintains our faith. To lose our salvation would be to lose our faith rendering the work of Jesus on the cross essentially powerless.
So it isn’t that we can once have faith and then lose it. People who appear to have been Christians and then fall away, the Bible says, do so because they were never truly Christians, to begin with.
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 it might become plain that they all are not of us.1 John 2:19
Judge Others By Their Profession
As Christians, part of our profession of faith is our church and denominational affiliation. True Bible-believing churches generally hold to an orthodox profession of faith. But most churches and denominations, even if they don’t have an official statement, carry with it a tradition or other implied set of beliefs — or even worse, lack of beliefs.
By the very virtue of being a part of one of these organizations implies that one holds to the beliefs inherent in them. This is why we don’t believe that Roman Catholics should be treated as Christians — because by being a part of the Roman Catholic Church, we must assume that one holds to the beliefs of the Church, even if they really don’t. While we are told in Scripture that we can judge others by their fruits (Matt 7:15-20), it is also by their profession of faith — including their denominational affiliation — that we are to judge other Christians by (Romans 10:9-10).
On the flip side of this coin, we must assume that if someone who has previously held to the set of basic biblical beliefs in the Evangelical Church — i.e. the Five Solas — then insists on abandoning them for a Church who rejects these beliefs, we must then assume that they are not of us. It’s not that they once believed the gospel and then stopped believing it. It’s that they never believed it.
Let Them Go
The Scriptures command us to purify the church from those who defile it (1 Corinthians 5:13). That not only includes those who practice various sins such as sexual immorality but also includes heresy. Heretics are idolaters. They worship a false God who is built on the foundation of false theology — in other words, they worship a different God. Those who profess faith in a false God should be purged from the Church.
First, we should not try to retain people in the Church who are not true believers. If one insists on leaving — let them go. We may be able to talk them into staying in our building and practicing our religious rituals, but we cannot make them true Christians. By getting them to stay, we are giving them a false affirmation of their faith and we are giving them an affirmation of a false faith. We are telling them that because they chose to stay, they are still right with God, but if you choose to leave, you’re going to be enemies with God. They don’t need to be pleaded with to stay in the faith — they need the gospel of Jesus Christ to change them. And if it doesn’t change them, then they are not of us.
Let them go.