by Matt Slick
As a Christian apologist, I sometimes come under attack from all sorts of people in various religious and non-religious contexts. They use whatever they can to insult and mock the Christian faith. In light of this, one of my daughters, Rachael who abandoned the Christian faith many years ago, became an atheist. Since then, she has moved towards theism, per our last conversation. As a result of her not being a Christian, unbelievers will sometimes bring her up and try to use her against me and the Christian faith. Usually, it is atheists who do this, and many of them have been quite hateful in their mockery. But, to be fair, some atheists have been very compassionate and have avoided resorting to using a daughter against her father.
I hold to Reformed theology. There are those within the Christian faith who do not agree with that perspective. Some of the 'anti-Reformed' people will bring up Rachael and mock the Reformed doctrines of election, predestination, and eternal security. Some even ask if the 'evil god of Calvinism' is to blame. To them, I quote Jesus.
- Mark 9:40, "For he who is not against us is for us."
- Luke 9:49–50, "John answered and said, 'Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.' 50 But Jesus said to him, 'Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.'"
I am certainly not against Christ (as carm.org is evidence) and am constantly working to further the kingdom of Jesus. I defend him and promote Him, sometimes at great cost and ridicule.
Let me say...
In the criticisms I have received regarding my daughter, how she was raised, what she has done, and what she has said, I find that not one of my critics, as far as I remember, has ever asked me for my side of the story. They assume the worst and do not seem interested in the whole story.
Nevertheless, let me say that it was not Christianity, or "Calvinism" that led Rachael into her rebellion against God.
As a father who loves his daughter and wants to protect his family, I will not reveal everything that is pertinent to the discussion. There is a lot that people don't know. But, I want to say that she was a good daughter. She was compliant, thoughtful, and a wonder little girl. Her intelligence was obvious at a very early age and I could see the wheels turning behind those young eyes as she grew. Now that she is an adult, she has retained a lot of those great characteristics. I like that about her and I enjoy our discussions when we have them.
To the Critics
But, let me address my critics who emply their caloused approach of trying to use a daughter against her father. Have any of you ever suffered the real loss of children both physically and spiritually? Have any of you buried a child? Have any of you watched another child slip away into spiritual darkness and tried to prevent it, only to encounter failure? Have you ever wondered what you could have done differently? Have you played over and over in your mind a long list of your failures and dragged your own soul through the pain of remembrance on a regular basis? Have you? I have. And, I suspect that those who have also lament over their own "what ifs" and failures would be far more gracious than you. I suspect that is why those who have not experienced such pain are quick to inflict it on others. If any of you, no matter who you are, had to suffer the pain of having a child reject the truth of Christ, there is no way I would blame it on your theology (Arminianism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, Methodism, etc.) and use it as an opportunity to attack you and your theology. I would understand that your pain never abates and your regrets and second guessing, nip at your conscience. Instead, my heart would break with you and I would pray for your child's salvation.
And, just to be clear, Calvinism had nothing to do with my daughter's rebellion. If anything, she was deleteriously affected by my Aspergers - look it up.
Finally, I urge all of you to join me in praying for the salvation of my daughter (and me if you think I am not saved). My wife and I pray that the Lord has great things in store for Rachael and that He would save her and use her life story for his glory. I hope that you would let your compassion and love shine forth and override your hatred. Bend your knees and humble your hearts while you approach the throne of God and ask him to save the daughter of a man whom many rabid 'anti-calvinists' consider to be an unbeliever and a false teacher. Isn't that the Christian thing to do instead of mock and malign? Beg God to save those whom you condemn and in so doing, show the fruit of godliness.
- Matt. 5:44, "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,"
- Col. 4:5–6, "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
- 2 Tim. 2:24–25, "The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,"