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The Generation Of The ‘Saved’ Backslider

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The Generation Of The ‘Saved’ Backslider

Saved backsliders? Yes, although it sounds like an oxymoron, it is a sad commonplace in Pentecostal ranks today. Old fashioned type backsliders that say, “I’m not in church, keep praying for me” are getting harder and harder to find.

Remember the day when you knew someone was backslidden and they knew it too?

Their lifestyle gave them away. Their own actions brought condemnation upon themselves.

  • They smoked and tried to hide it when they saw the pastor coming because they knew they were wrong.
  • They drank alcohol and knew it was wrong.
  • They went to nightclubs and hoped no one would see them because they knew they were wrong.
  • If they went to the movies they looked around first to make sure no one saw them because they knew they were doing wrong.
  • Women cut their hair and felt guilt when members of the church saw them because they knew they had done wrong.
  • Women put on make up and jewelry to look like the world and  knew they were wrong.
  • Women put on slacks and felt ill at ease because they knew they were wrong.
  • They went swimming in public places exposing their bodies and knew it wasn’t right.
  • They got tattoos and tried to hide them from the church folks because they knew they were wrong.
  • They had affairs and their conscience never stopped preaching to them because they knew they were living wrong.
  • If they came to church for a visit, they shook with conviction because they knew they were wrong.
  • They ran to the altar of repentance and begged forgiveness because they knew they had been wrong.

What happened to all of those people? Where have they gone? Has anyone seen them?

There’s a different spirit that backsliders possess today than they did a generation or so ago.

Today they politely listen to you invite them to church. Then they tell you where they are ‘going’ now. They are very happy ‘there’ and they feel good about their choice.

They post pictures of themselves on Facebook and My Space that are almost shocking.

  • Semi nude pictures
  • Tattoos
  • Drunken parties
  • Immodesty
  • Women with cut hair
  • Men with long hair
  • Pictures of their sinner girlfriend or boyfriend.

You get the picture. They have drastically changed and yet feel they are the same spiritual creature on the inside.

When a ‘saint’ posts a comment about a need, the ‘saved backslider’ will jump right in and comment about trusting the Lord. They will tell you they will keep you in their prayers.

They brag about their prayer life, their newfound ‘liberties’ and their love for the Lord.

When they see an Apostolic lady in the mall, they will walk up and say, “Ah, you’re Pentecostal aren’t you? I could tell. I’m Pentecostal too.”

You may look at them perplexed because they look nothing like the Pentecostals you know.

They identify with you, but it is impossible to identify with them. They are not the same. They’ve changed.

Maybe you’ve noticed critical comments online about standards, or pastors, or especially if someone speaks about self-righteousness in the church. They jump all over that and vent their feelings against authority without any reservation.

  • They don’t want to go to an ‘Apostolic Church’.
  • They are saved just like they are.
  • They don’t need an ‘Apostolic Church’ to be saved.
  • They feel acceptance and love now.
  • They want the old saints to be flexible in their thinking and accept them as they are.
  • They laugh and they mock their former life of holiness living.
  • They’re arrogant.
  • They’re defensive of their lifestyle.
  • They’re unashamed.
  • They feel superior.
  • They’re unrepentant.
  • They’re comfortable.

What chance does a backslider have of getting right with God?

I am not an authority nor do I have the final say. But I do have fifty years in the ministry that let me see two basic patterns that backsliders generally fall into.

Category One

The backslider that says, “I’m not right. I’m living in sin, but when I do get right with God, I know where to go. I’m going back to my home church.”

  • There’s hope for this person.

Category Two

The backslider that criticizes the church, the pastor, and calls them all hypocrites and is glad to be ‘free’.

  • There’s almost zero hope of them ever making it back to God.

The word ‘delusion is one of the scariest words in the Bible. When they fail to receive a love for the Truth, God said He would hand-pick a strong delusion custom-made just for them.

He’ll give them something they will believe. A delusion. When they believe a delusion, then damnation awaits. All because they wouldn’t receive a love of the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2Th. 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2Th. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

2Th. 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Backslider! What category are you in?

There’s hope for you if you want to come back to Calvary.

The Father is waiting.

He loves you.

Come back home.

We love you.

We all are praying for you.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 7, 2011 at 11:20 am

Posted in Backsliders

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93 Responses

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  1. Good stuff.

    John Carroll

    March 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

  2. Amen to that, Brother. I have been seeing and hearing that more and more from so called Apostolics!! I plan to share this with the young people at my church. Thank you.

    Teresa Hildebran

    March 7, 2011 at 11:46 am

  3. Elder Ballestero, Can I have permission from you to post this on my web site http://www.apostoliclilfetab.com? I am in Humble Texas where there are more backsliders per capita than any place that I know of…

    God bless you for your well spoken words..

    Michel Heimoz

    March 7, 2011 at 11:59 am

  4. Just wanted to post my husband’s comment from the shared link: “I’m glad there are still men of God like Bro Ballestero who still wield a sharp two edged sword. I know many who have traded their sharp two edged swords in for one much like a nerf swords from the toy dept. The nerf sword may somewhat resemble the real thing but when in battle it lacks the ability to fight off the enemy and his vices. The result is since you can’t fight them off you end up embracing what you once believed to be wrong.” David Chatagnier

    Gina

    March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

  5. Everyone needs to tune in to the BalleSTERIO. This frequency has a clear and certain sound that needs to be heard in times like these.

    Dchatagnier

    March 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

  6. Bro. Ballestero, I hold you in very high esteem and I agree with most of what you have written here. I’m a lost soul. I need Jesus and I’ve been “homeless” for two years now, seeking out a place that holds a good standard based in Biblical truths and has an overall spirit of sincerity. My last attempt was at a church you are familiar with and have preached in. The pastor’s wife told the friend who had repeatedly beseeched me to come there, not to associate with me. That church was my last resort. Who can save the un-savable? I seek relief from my bitterness and love for who I am, yet haven’t found that amongst “God’s people”. Could it be that backsliders don’t run to the altars in church any more because they don’t feel anything but judgment and rejection, even from the very ministry God put in place to head up the charge to win a lost and dying world? I want to be saved. I want my kids to be saved. I cannot, however, go where I’m not welcome. Pray for me because I need and desire Jesus.

    No Name

    March 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    • Sis. I’m going to assume you are a sister instead of a brother. An old pastor of mine once told me and another sister to stay away from our long time friend and sister in the Lord. We did not understand why. But he saw her backsliding coming before anyone else did. He had to protect the two against the one that was falling away. Perhaps that is your situation. I’d like to encourage you to get back in church. You are not going there to please brothers or sisters, or even the pastor’s wife, or I’ll say it, even the pastor.

      If this was your LAST day, would you let a pastor’s wife keep you away from the throne?

      I think not. Some days being Pentecostal is hard, but not nearly as hard as pretending you’re not. It just seems you are on the fence for some reason. Remember that Nike commercial? JUST DO IT!! Come on girl! This relationship is about you and Jesus, not you and anyone else. 🙂 I’m rootin’ for ya!

      Veridical_Angel

      March 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      • I have been Pentecostal for most of my life, so I know the cost it entails. It saddens me to know you were told not to associate with someone who was most likely hurting and needing love, not rejection. Having now been on the receiving end of that rejection, I know it can be the tiny tremor after the earthquake that completely topples the compromised structure. Still, I appreciate your encouragement and wish you all the best.

        No Name

        March 8, 2011 at 3:43 am

    • I would like to reply to your concern and your hurt. As a pastor, my responsibilities are to God, my family, the flock and then to the world in that order. I have often cautioned the saints that I pastor to not associate with those who have strayed from their relationship with God lest their own relationship suffer. The Apostle Paul left an entire “list” of backsliders that the church was not to “company with.” (1 Cor. 5) Our church door is open. The light is on. There’s food on the table and you are welcome to come and receive everything that you need to restore your relationship with the Father, but until that relationship is restored please excuse us for excercising a cautious love. After all, your most pressing need is not the fellowship of a saint but the fellowship of the Father.

      Johnny King

      March 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      • You wouldn’t have liked Jesus very much. He loved hanging out with sinners and spent his ministry showing them love and compassion and was willing to endure the judgement he faced from the self righteous. I understand “marking them that cause division amoung you”, but have been on the end of the rejection and disfellowship because I went to a church that allowed my elbows to show (backslidden, I know….) and at that point you just have to sit back and find entertainment in people’s mentality.

        amused

        March 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      • I was brought up by a wonderful man of God whose legacy lives on in the [United Pentecostal] church he built and many, many people he invested in. I agree, to a point, with what is being said, as I stated earlier, but my Dad, the greatest soul winner I have ever known besides Jesus Himself, would disagree very much so. He took people in that not only had been rejected by the church, but by society itself. Having witnessed firsthand his gracious, sincere, long-suffering Christianity, I find even more appalling the lack of tolerance and mercy extended to a sinner such as myself. Yes, my hair is cut and I color my life with the list of aberrations listed in the original post. I do not, however, flaunt these things to people I try desperately to respect, in spite of their treatment of me, and even make great strides to pin back said cut hair so as to not put an “obstacle in the way of the brethren”. I hunger and thirst for righteousness, yet I’m regarded with near-hatred by some for the sin I did commit when I was in their ranks. Tears stream down my cheeks as I type, for I fear for the salvation of my entire home. As my life life is now in a perpetual state of disrepair, all the time and love I invested in an ungrateful, judgmental church seems nullified by my indiscretion and is not recompensed me. I knew I was nothing without God, but now I feel (feelings are tricky things…) I should know, by the condemning looks and destructives words of the redeemed, I’m worth nothing. I thank you for what you have said, but I’m not someone who falls easily into the two categories of backslider listed by the author. I don’t seek to water down the flock, rather water with them. I will be blogging on this myself and would be honored if you read it. christinabernice.blogspot.com

        Chris

        March 10, 2011 at 2:09 am

    • not every church is like this!! And thank God for it!

      Annon

      March 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      • I’ve come to find that it’s about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve learned to read and study Gods Word for myself too and not just take everyone elses word for what it says. There are many things taken out of context and many things that are for sure 100% non salvation issues that are preached as being salvation issues. There’s such a thing as not having a bad spirit or additude either. Today I have total peace within! Im not bound my the opinions or convictions of others.

        Forrest

        March 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

  7. Sir, the last time I commented here I indicated how much I thought of your blog. The note you have written here is very possibly the first time I have heard or read blunt candor from an apostolic minister in over 10 years if not longer. For that… I say, what a shame.

    Truly, this is one of the most powerful and truth-driven writings I have read in years. Every saint and sinner alike would serve themselves well to read this. Few are the men of God (or claim to be) who have retained steel in their spiritual backbones to stand up and be counted. You my friend, are a loud voice in a dark world… a spirtual giant among men.

    I am NOT a minister, though I am sure you have read many of my candid post on Facebook… screaming for the attention of any who will listen: “get ready… Jesus is coming soon”! Those who are playing Russian roulette with their souls are risking an eternity in the Lake of Fire. Folks, take Bro. Ballestero’s anointed word above to heart… for soon the door will be shut and your time for repentance will be no more.

    God Bless…

    Mark Welch

    March 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    • Thank you for your very kind words. You give me more honor than I deserve. God help us all to be saved!

      mballestero

      March 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  8. This “disease” is taking deadly growth. Some of our younger ministers around the nation preaching are making a satire and a laughing joke of standards of their elders. The joking and making light of their elders and even their fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers are stretched to a vivid imagination. I heard one of the evangelists say when he come back through our churches, he finds himself being bitter because they are still arguing over if a red tie being wrong to wear. I find that very stretched imagination and not quite that true in this age. Why bring that up in a church service in front of new converts and visitors and new saints? Why tell people in the audience that he was so “beaten” when he first got into the truth and they beat him for wearing his shirt tail out while mowing the yard on the church grounds? I find that very hard to believe. He said we ought to all love one another and so forth and so on. But in all that satire and all that making fun and bitter feud about how terrible their spiritual ancestors were, are they really trying to build a background to change their standards to everything okay? yes, in my church that went charismatic in the 70’s, that is only way our pastor could do it and then afterward, take key scriptures and twist them to the church’s own destruction. Right now as i write, there are apostolic well known churches doing a slow turn with the great ship they are in and turn that huge ship in another total direction. It takes a slow turn and not overnight but it does happen. Keep at this because you will receive some flak over this but don’t stop. Too many of us back you!

    Janell and Tom Puleo

    March 8, 2011 at 12:44 am

  9. Elder, you did it again! You put in to words the truth about this very sad condition in our world today! Thank you again for being a voice of truth!
    God Bless!
    dlm

    Bro. Denny Morris

    March 8, 2011 at 1:14 am

  10. Amen. Thank you for this post. It served as a wake up call. I am nearing almost 30 years “in” the Apostolic Pentecostal faith (born and raised in the same church I still attend), and over the past 5 years I’ve noticed a change in my walk with God that I have ignored. It finally hit me when I read this post: I am complacent. I am backslidden. Backsliders also come to church. Backsliders sit on pews, they clap their hands, they teach Sunday school, they run bus routes, and they sing on the praise team. This is not God’s will. I know this. God does not want limp wristed lukewarm in and out Christians. I know this. This blog post has given me new perspective on my walk with God. I need to stop making excuses and do what I know is right. After all, God’s Word explicitly states that if one knows to do right and they fail to do right–it is a sin. If one doesn’t repent of their sins (after receiving the Holy Ghost and being baptized in Jesus’ name and attempting to live an overcoming life) they are a backslider. I don’t want to fall in ANY of these backslider categories and I plan to repent of my complacent ways right now.

    Thank you for writing and sharing these words from God.

    LDC

    March 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

  11. Thank you for this post, sir. The saddest thing of all is that if and when God does send the delusion, because it comes from God, they think it is a revelation! Delusion only appears twice in the whole bible. Once as a plural in the Old Testament and God says “I will choose their delusions…” and again in the New Testament when he does choose. My heart is so heavy for those ‘backsliders’ I know and love; for our redemption is coming and time is running out. My next book is titled, Believers’ Hell ~ The Place we Never Want to Go. With your permission, this post will be included with reference. Love and appreciate your ministry. Thank you. Sister Lyman

    Marthalee Lyman

    March 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

  12. I can’t help but notice how you associate ‘pentecostal’ women with their outward appearance. I can tell you from experience that I have approached some of your women in shopping centers etc & they were so nice until I mentioned that I am also a believer. Every single time, their friendly face takes on a coldness & they can’t wait to get away. I love the Lord with every fiber of my being! I love his presence! Yes, He does fellowship with a ‘backslider’ like me!! I believe that your doctrine is beautiful but your people have an arrogance about them that sickens other christians & the world.

    I would also like to suggest that since your women have to be identifiable on the outside as ‘pentecostal women’ that the UPC demand that their men adopt a certain style or haircut that would ALSO set them apart!! I mean, how do I know if YOU are a pentecostal man??

    Also, I am glad to know that God looks at the heart while man looks/judges the outside!!

    Leann

    March 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    • the coldness you feel, honey is probably grief, not self-righteousness…the holiness standards of women, and men that carry His spirit within come from the revelations of His holiness and our desire to please him; NOT FROM RULES IN A CHURCH. This is the most common misunderstanding Satan has magnified. Your relationship with Jesus is warm and close and precious and none of that is minimized by the grief of those who want you to fly higher. There is a place in God, however, that can only be approached in purity of mind and flesh and that purity only comes from the Holy Ghost…not from a set of rules or the will of man…but from obedience to the call of God to come higher and closer and holier…to become part of the “inner circle” so to speak…and it is for who so ever WILL…the question remains, will you? will I?

      Marthalee Lyman

      March 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      • Seriously, grief? Are you kidding me? I grew up in it, I lived it, I know. Many, if not most, judge people based on their outward appearance. Many look “the part”, attend Church, pray and raise their hands and you have no clue that they are just going through the motions. However, others actually have a relationship with God but because they don’t look “the part” you consider them as backsliders. Trust me I would much rather have the relationship than look “the part”. There is so much more to being saved and a Christian then how I look on the outside. God is relationship not a religion and it’s a shame that it is so easy to judge. I know many of you will be so surprised to see who is walking through those Pearly Gates when that time comes.

        Sam

        March 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      • Grief? I know you and your kind! You are like the white-washed Pharisees Paul condemned! Jesus associated with the sinners…He ate in their homes, and fellowshiped with them because HE LOVED THEM. I have seen your particular group segregate themselves in public work places because (and I quote): “We don’t eat with sinners.” Shame on you!

        I have NEVER heard of grief being associated with “coldness.” If you are moved with compassion as Christ modeled for us, you reach out to others–not shut them out.

        Your air of superiority is galling. Christ brought Himself to the level of those He came to serve. He encouraged His followers to serve. If you aren’t ministering to those who are broken, suffering, in need of healing, food, and clothing, YOU ARE NOT ABOUT THE SERVICE OF CHRIST.

        I fear, however, that any discussion is a waste of time. You are blind because you will not see. You are deaf because you will not hear. You are ignorant because you will not seek. There is no room in your heart and life for revelation because you seek only reiteration.

        My prayers are that God will have mercy on your soul.
        Kathy Woodward

        Kathy Woodward

        March 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      • Bro. B,

        I’m afraid God has already sent a delusion to you. How very sad your post is. So thankful I left this “org” and truly am experiencing God’s Grace. You and others like you are so totally wrapped up in what’s on the outside that you make the Cross and His Sacrifice have null effect. Nowhere in your post did I see anything about SERVING. Serving and ministering to those who really need it. And I’m not talking about teaching them how to dress, but to really humble yourself and SERVE them.

        I’m afraid many UPC members will hear “Turn from me you workers of iniquity” on the great day when they stand before the Lord.

        Annon1

        March 9, 2011 at 7:14 am

  13. Brother B. I fondly recall sermons like this in my history, but what has been bothering me for a long time is the fact that by our culture we have been conditioned to be more concerned with the shame cast upon us by our fellow Apostolics than we are of the omnipresence of Almighty God. I have heard pastors make the statement, “This church is a holy church and thats why I don’t have to preach standards very often.” Of course not, the culture is self regulating, someone will remove their wedding rings baseed on just a long condemning look down a long nose…after all, everyone wants to fit in. How can we call a brother, brother if we are so willing to cast shame upon him so easily?

    No Name

    March 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm

  14. I am stunned that you would post something like this as being anywhere near Christlike. You’re coming across as loathesome and all I can think of to say to you is, “LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL!”

    Teresa Stengel

    March 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

  15. Your influence has changed. I no longer view your opinion as godly or full of grace. It is narrow and full of man’s tradition, more like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. You have lost your edge because your edge denies reconciliation without following your tradition. I have, in the past, equated tradition with the Catholic Church. They have traditions that are not biblical and follow traditions of men such as yours has become. When you can look upon someone on their deathbed confession of belief in Christ, without baptism and speaking in tongues, as Jesus did, and tell them, “Today you will be with the Lord in Paradise,” then you will know and be confident in the full scope of God’s grace. I hope this helps the cause for change within your ranks and reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is my hope and reason for responding. As always, our ministry is about Him and what He has done and nothing about us or what we can do. ~A backslider in your opinion, but in mine and the Lord Jesus’, I’m so happy to be saved by His grace and love.

    Paula Straw

    March 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    • Thank you for your post. I am so grateful for the understanding of who and what our Lord Jesus is and is about!
      Kathy Woodward

      Kathy Woodward

      March 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      • Kathy your response to my post is very sad, I am sorry for any pain or anger it caused you. I meant that the whole walk with God is His business and His alone. The enemy would love to continue division among people of faith, and the grief your post brings only confirms the use of the term in mine…These things ought not to be…both bitter and sweet does not come from one fountain. Please forgive me for causing such anger to surface .. it’s all about Jesus…that is the only issue…His Holiness and our alignment with it because of love. If judging right from wrong should begin at the house of God as Peter says, then that begins with each of us where we live on our knees. Again, I am truly sorry to cause you anger..

        Marthalee Lyman

        March 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm

  16. Ahhhh….. So sad. So very sad. And so very true.

    Johnny King

    March 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

  17. As with most PCers, you would not add my post because it included too much truth and you can’t deal with it….

    Tman

    March 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

  18. We must always remember that LORD is our Judge, and ONLY HE can see the heart. Romans 2:1-11 is a portion of scripture I think most Pentecostal people need to read and memorize. If even Jesus would fellowship with the sinner, who are we to disfellowship the lost? Who are we to even know the heart. Its one thing to be blunt and open about our life styles and have an opinion on the matter, and another thing to be so closed minded. So careful, that your so far from where God has called us to be. If you are not willing to leave the 99 for the 1 who is lost then how can you call your self one of his people. We are all lost, and EVERYDAY its GODS GRACE that saves us. Not you and your opinion’s.
    Im sorry Bro. B, its about time to realize that our generation will do powerful things, in Jesus Name, not because I have uncut hair or wear long skirts. Its because I don’t waist my time in the “Book of Pentecostal Socialism” and other ridiculous traditions. Im standing firm on the word of God.
    And God help us all… We are ONE body and many members… the toes cant see what the eyes do. Does that mean we need to disfellowship the toe?
    There is great division and pride in this blog, I will pray God help us all wake up!

    R.Medrano

    March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  19. Thank you. I will read this to FPC this Sunday!

    Kenneth bow

    March 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm

  20. Bro Ballestero,
    Thank you for you words. They are true and I deeply appreciate you writing on a sensitive subject. I read your blog daily and look forward to more posts.
    God Bless,
    Prayers

    Jenna Peterson

    March 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm

  21. This post is right on the money, regardless of all the negative bashing from so called truth- loving folks. I did not grow up in truth. Half my life I served sin…and was never more grateful to have come a crossed this wonderful Apostolic way. Arrogant we are not…confident we are. We know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness. It boggles my mind why someone would throw this great truth and her beautiful holiness away, and trade this pearl of great price for the worlds bowl of pottage. Thank you Elder…and I’m ashamed at the unkindness of those who spewed such contempt and bitterness on this post…but it is revealing…

    Larry Billings

    March 9, 2011 at 12:13 am

  22. One more thing Elder, and you don’t have to post this, these that hide behind a computer keyboard and write with such dishonor and disrespect do not know you, your love for God, His truth, and for souls. I will tell you…if I did not have truth today and was still searching, I would not have gone their way. We love and appreciate you at FPC. Great peace have they that LOVE thy law, and NOTHING (not even a holiness blog) shall offend them.

    Larry Billings

    March 9, 2011 at 12:43 am

    • I Peter 1: 18-19 (18)Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

      We are not offended by truth, we are offended by the bondage of religiosity that the UPC propagates.
      Kathy Woodward

      Kathy Woodward

      March 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    • Easy with the “their way” business. Pride goes before a fall…

      Chris

      March 10, 2011 at 2:10 am

  23. WOW!!! Bro. Ballestero I read all the responses to this subject you wrote about and all I can say is that you have stepped on some toes, and that makes people unconfortable! It is crazy how much anger a subject like this can bring out in people… Thank you for this, thank you for standing true!

    Miriam

    March 9, 2011 at 2:43 am

  24. I read this and had to smile. I was talking to my dad this morning, and we had to agree that, If Bro. Ballestero is still the same as last time I saw him, then this post, and the retaliating comments, have put a big ol’ grin on his face. I say Bro, you have struck a nerve. 😉 That’s what I like to hear.

    Andrew Mays

    March 9, 2011 at 5:25 am

  25. I was born into the UPC and at a very young age started questioning the practices of the UPC. I never questioned what I felt for God or my experiences with God. I would ask my Dad “why” and he would give me the appropriate “UPC” answer or he would say, I don’t know the answer to your question. I guess my family would be put in the category of the “backslider” based on your article, but the reasons why I left had nothing to do with God or my love for God. I’ve never left God, he is the leader of my life. What I did leave was the UPC organization, a religion, a way of life, that I had serious questions about from a very young age. I have never understood the disassociation of non UPCer’s… if someone is strong in their belief system, nothing is going to sway them to the other side no matter what. The disassociation of people who choose not to be UPC is odd and more in line w/ cult practices. A cult is scared for their members to associate with the “outside” for fear that something will “click” with them and they will see the organization for what it is… this will most likely result in the person leaving the organization. Once someone chooses to leave, they are shunned forever. This is a great way to protect the organization/cult. Most human beings want the sense of belonging and when they are threatened w/ not belonging, it creates fear. Most of us that have left the UPC have done so w/ great fear… fear of the unknown. We didn’t leave beacause we fell out of love w/ God or because we wanted to return to sin. We left because of the questionable practices of the UPC organization. Half of my family is still in the UPC and it is very interesting to me to observe family holidays, reunions, etc. Those who are sound in their UPC belief system, remark on things such as my hair, my hair color, my views on global warming, the outfit that i’m wearing that day etc.., pointing out that indeed i’m obviously not UPC anymore. What they avoid is a conversation about God w/ me, I guess it’s because they don’t understand how I can possibly have a relationship w/ God. Their behavior reinterates my choice to leave the UPC and year’s of research I did before making a scary choice to leave. I love God and he leads my life and no one can take that away from me. They can condemn me for wearing pants or cutting my hair but they can’t take God from me. They can condemn me for a continued thirst for knowledge, but they can’t take God away from me. They can try to shun me and make me feel as though i’m all alone but they can’t take God from me. They can try to make me feel bad for going to the wrong church but they can’t take God from me. This list could go on and on… my conclusion is before judging someone, you have to know the details. You can’t possibly know the details of someone’s life and heart by looking at them. God is the judge and that is why we all must work out our own salvation w/ fear and trembling. We will each be judged by the only one who by law can judge us unconditionally, and that is God. I have been judged by so many of my family members and what is really sad is they don’t really know me. They look at my outward appearance and immediately put me in a “category”. They judge me w/o knowing me. It’s like high school all over again, I don’t quite have the look to “fit in”. What’s great about high school is everyone grows up and when the reunions roll around, the people that didn’t want to include you based on your “cover”, “appearance” etc… now really wants to get to know you and no longer wants to judge, but wants to include you. This is called maturing and continually wanting to learn and advancing. A cult stops a person from advancing past or learning anything different from what it offers.

    Dawn Gibbons

    March 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

    • Dawn, you took the words outta my head/heart and wrote them! God bless You!!!

      CH

      March 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    • hello Dawn i read both bro.b and your note and you seem to be alittle bitter with the UPC and maybe you a good reason but in reading bro. b blogg he never said anything about UPC he said pentecostal ranks now that can be a whole lot of differant oneness churchs and he wasnt judge but talking about how people are no longer asamed and they almost proud of there backsliding ways, you say that theres only one judge and thats God but the bible also say that we need to obey them that have the RULE over you (why?) the BIBLE says a backslider is FILLED with HIS on ways now who RULES over them (self) but i can see you and alot of others who has walk away from the UPC are alway tring to confence other that your still in ghood standing with God and you all say that they judge but in reality you all do but back toi bro b blogg he never said UPC

      jim washington

      March 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm

  26. History has shown that no matter how extreme or ridiculous a leader’s position is, he/she will always have followers giving their voice of approval. This blog saddens me. I pray that some will be enlightened as to the real motive and decide to move on to a higher plane in Christ.

    Wayne

    March 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm

  27. Could the reason backsliders no longer “shake with conviction” when they visit church is because the church is too busy writing blogs, trashing someones blog or trying to score brownie points by praising someone for the blog….. when they should be praying? It’s sad to see the previous generation talking non-stop about “ancient landmarks” and they always come down to outward standards that none of them can back up with the word without stretching a scripture to fit it. Traditions are fine when you recognize them as that and don’t allow them to spoil the gospel of Christ. If prayer, devotion and walking in the spirit were the focus of “ancient landmarks”, the rest of it would fall into place. Even thoough I don’t agree with every point (as is expected when presenting your opinion), I must say I enjoy reading your blog. Although most of the comments on this blog prove your previous blog about “Pompous Pentecostals”

    amused

    March 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

  28. I am a UPC pastor’s kid, was a UPC pastor for years. The sad thing is the opposing views that were expressed will be used to substantiate your twisted defination of holiness. What about the fruit of the spirit? Isn’t that a sign of indwelling Spirit? I agree, grief is full of compassion, not cold response. I used to do the same, my parents were founders of UPC. I would go up to them and tell them I was UPC, and because I have facial hair, would get the same reaction. Live in your own seclusion and delusion, your rejection doesn’t hurt anymore, the acceptance of our Father has produced love for all, yes even including your group. We are not backsliders, we are liberated from man made rules that have nothing to do with holiness! Thank God I am free!!

    Keith

    March 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm

  29. To the person with pain and confussion. There are many pains in life that are deep and seemingly impossible to bear. Child birth, death of loved ones on any level, child raising, abuse, poverty, and list goes on. We are all aquainted with pain, some have an unbelieveable tollerance and others do not. There only two types of people in the world; ones who come out victorious knowing Jesus Christ is more than enough or those who crumble beneath it and drown in dispair and unbelief. Sometimes God calls you to sit in a church that you are unwelcome in because He knows you will be fed what you need to save your soul. It doesn’t set well with your taste buds, like fennel seed in it’s raw form, but you can not heal yourself. Sometimes God makes you stay because your love for Him, is the “salt” that will eventually savor the whole congregation and bring love like they have not experienced in early or later Penticost. It’s in how you see your circumstance, it is all about your choice. For everything, give Jesus the praise, good and bad, and your witness of His grace and mercy will shut the mouths of lions as Daniels belief in Gods saving power during his walk in life. There is no place like home:) And only God can make a church a home for you because we live in a mobile world,” don’t like it, move!” type of society. God bless and keep you. I will pray.

    Christina Brunson

    March 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm

  30. This self-righteousness has got to stop and speaks to the foundation of what is wrong with religion today. The divisiveness. The holier-than-though dogma. It’s not about your beliefs. It’s about your walk, what’s in your heart but it’s about how YOU represent Christ.

    It’s sad, truly, that people believe this nonsense and for me to feel that way, I must, in fact be of a judgmental state of mind, and for that, I sincerely apologize.

    Sir, thank God you are not God.

    “Pictures of their sinner girlfriend or boyfriend.”
    Who are you to proclaim who is and who is not a sinner? I believe God himself reserved that right when he died for our sins. No man. Accurate? A sin is a sin is a sin is a sin in God’s eyes. The bible says that we are ALL sinners, and that does not exclude you or anyone else reading this blog. We are all equal in his eyes.

    It amazes me that self-righteous organizations and so-called “believers” are so hell bent on casted condemnation on those they believe aren’t “saved” without first looking in the mirror and realizing their position.

    It’s sad that religion has come to this because it does no good. If only you could realize the potential of “the church” by omitting the condemnation and focusing on the greater price, but you’re stuck in a room and you’re content being the only ones in it.

    Matt Khoury

    March 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm

  31. Brother Ballestero.

    Thank you so much for your article. My husband is a minister and assists the pastor here in Lanett, Alabama. We have discussed this very issue many times. You have laid it out so clearly. With your permission and the permission of our pastor, I would like to print it out and share it with our church members.

    VENESSA GREEN LAWRENCE

    March 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

  32. Thank for the clear sound of truth! It is so needed today. God bless you! I am so thankful for this kind of teaching, it has kept me over 23 years, and my children and grand children need this clear sound!!! Thank God for a great Pastor in my life! Thank you for loving souls enough to tell it just like it is! Your spot on and you have struck a nerve… Truth does that!

    Denise Billings

    March 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm

  33. You’re a genius elder and have peeled the onion of insubordination and rebellion for all the world to see. This blog has truly revealed the heart of the carnal man. Those that speak of love, do it with such bitter hate and defiance against God’s immutable truth. They also depict and illustrate the very root of a major problem in our society…a total lack of respect and honor. I stand with you on this.

    Larry Billings

    March 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm

  34. Bro. Ballestero
    Although I have never heard you preach in person I listened to a message you preached once. In that message you told a story. Without going into detail, you told a loudly protesting saint “When you throw a stone into a pack of dogs, the dog who barks the loudest is often the one that was hit the hardest.” I very much think this is true for this post. Thank you for taking a stand for what’s right.

    Rachel

    March 10, 2011 at 2:02 am

  35. I’m appalled at some of the rhetoric here. Obviously this was a touchy subject for many, as I’m sure you knew before you posted. I hope that I did not come across as disrespectful or irreverent. Who am I to say who is what and why? I’m not. Please forgive any disrespect. It was not my intent. (I was the first posted “dissenter”, but my name didn’t come through on that for some reason…)

    Chris

    March 10, 2011 at 4:45 am

  36. All I can say is…..WOW!!!! But no matter what….”the Word of God is right, hallelujah to the Lamb!”

    2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (King James Version)

    10 “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    11 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    12 “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

    I don’t want to be deceived, especially by myself! I thank God for the truth!

    Marcella Brown

    March 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

  37. I could not find my category in this blog. I am a “backslider”, however, I do not critisize the church, the pastor was a huge inspiration in my life, and I still love most of the people I left behind. I went to church for 17 years, and the biggest problem for me was that my husband did not follow the rules. I on the other hand did the best I could. I paid my tithes, volunteered wherever and whenever I could, was on time, and went to every service that was held. This was not enough, I was judged and left out because of what my husband would do. He would come in late or not at all. He would not pay his tithes. He was not nice to the pastor or any of the other saints. I went through years of hell because of the embarrassment and humiliation.

    I also witnessed things on the inside that people did that are far from Christianity:

    Men abuseing their wives.
    Molestation
    Fornication
    The younger generation (especially preachers children) partaking in sexual activities.
    Cursing and useing very inappropriate language with people outside of the church.

    This is just a small list of the things I saw and went through in my 17 years in a pentecostal church. A lot of the people in the church would act one way in front of the preacher, and a totally different way when he was looking the other way. It seems like some of the saints believed that as long as they followed dress and hair standards, and paid their tithes they could treat people however they wanted, and act however they wanted when the pastor was not looking.

    These things have left me very confused about this religion. I do believe that what you do on the outside is important, but it is much more important what you do on the inside.

    I am a very “confused backslider”.

    Category Unknown

    March 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    • What on earth does “Whatever others are doing” have to do with your saving yourself. Guess who is in the church? You guessed it, “People!” Where you have people you have people problems. I have never allowed the failure of others in the church, no matter what they were doing, dictate to me my obligation to God, and continual desire to be saved. Believe me, if I looked at all the hypocrites that have come and gone through the church, and guaged the truth on that alone, I would have made my exodus long ago. But truth and salvation is not relegated on what others do, or how they may mistreat you. I know it can hurt, and I know we need to be careful how we treat each other, and what example of lifestyle we portray in and out of the church. But the bottom line is I’m going to stand before God alone, and give an account of everything that’s not under the blood of Christ. Don’t let what people do have so much power over your own desire to be saved. So many have stuck it out through very difficult situations…Hebrews 11th chapter names a few of those folks. You can do it too. Besides this, I’ve got children, a grandchild, and many others that are counting on me to stand and to run this race to the finish line.

      Larry Billings

      March 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      • Mr. Billings, I appreciate your zeal. By what I saw in your reply back to me, you have seen sin on the inside of the church as well. My question regarding this blog is: if there is sin inside of the church as well as the outside of the church, does it really make a difference how it is dressed? I mean does following dress codes and standards make the sin look better?

        Category Unknown

        March 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    • Dear “confused backslider”,
      Wouldn’t you agree that the things you describe could be found in all churches, no matter what denomination? I don’t believe it is just Pentecostals that have these problems, but it’s everywhere. It just seems more obvious in a Pentecostal church because we try to live a clean and seperated life. My pastor has always said that “everything that glitters is not gold, but…gold STILL glitters”. In other words, everyone who comes to church and claims to be a Christian isn’t necessarily true, but Christians still go to church. You can’t judge a church by just a handful of people. When you were going there, you were living the life and doing your best. But were you a hypocrite just because you went there? No. The devil wants to cause people to fail, so that others can point fingers at the church. If people are busy looking at the faults of so-called saints, then they won’t see the goodness of God that draws men to repentance. It’s nothing but a trick of the devil. We are all going to give an account one day for every word and action, even those who may be living a hypocritical life. I just have to give an account for myself and no one else, so that’s what I am going to worry about. All I can do for those other people is pray for them, because the Bible says “and such were some of you, but you are washed and you are sanctified.” I thank God for His mercy on me, and count it a blessing that He has called me to live a holy and seperated life. I do it because I love Him, and I want Him to be pleased with me. Not because anyone makes me.

      Marcella Brown

      March 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      • Marcella, you seem like a very kind person. I do agree that the things that I have described can be found in all churches. However, the blog is asking where are the backsliders that feel bad about the sin that they are in, when they see someone from the church. When I see someone I know from the church, I know what goes on in that church, it is sometimes worse than living outside of the church. Why would I feel bad when I know the sin that goes on, on the inside. I am sometimes more embarressed by being associated with some people on the inside, because of how they act, than I am than being associated with people on the outside. I was judged on the inside when I was doing my utmost personal best, and it was not good enough. So I have come to the conclusion that I have to work out my own salvation for my own peace of mind.

        Category Unknown

        March 10, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    • Dear “confused backslider”,

      Thank you so much for the compliment. The reason it concerns me to hear your problem, is because I have been there before. And I almost let my hurt and bitterness destroy not only me, but my husband and children also. I almost lost my faith and trust in God. But the Lord was merciful, and He helped me to learn something from all of it. I learned that I was focusing too much on people, and not enough on the power of a Mighty God. I learned that forgiveness is not earned…it is a gift. And I still struggle sometimes with the forgive and forget part. Especially the forget. But i found that it is our responsibility to obey God, even when it seems hard and impossible. And it’s His responsibility to take us through it. We have to learn to “let go, and let God”.
      I can see what you are saying though, and I completely understand. I’m not there where you are, and I don’t know anything about the church you are refering to. It sounds like that church may be in a mess, but it’s not my place to judge. It reminds me of a story I once heard about a young man who was the pastor’s son. He backslid because he wanted to try things in the world. Years later, it was said that he told his dad “if I would have waited long enough, I wouldn’t have had to backslide to do what I wanted to do”. It’s very sad what the church world has come to. But the Bible does predict this happening. There will be a “great falling away”, and I believe that is talking about the Laodicean church. But if the pastor of the church you are talking about, is condoning the sin that is going on, (and by that i mean there is known sin on the platform, or things are being allowed and not preached about), then maybe you just need to find a stronger church. The bottom line is…you need a man of God. A real one, who will stand for right and against wrong. I really do hope and pray you find your way. Just pray and ask the Lord, and I believe He will lead you.
      Many prayers for you!

      Marcella Brown

      March 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

  38. Oh boy ,as my mama always said,you opened a can of worms lol.I came out of the world almost forty years ago.My best day in life was being baptised in Jesus name and being filled with the Holy Ghost.Standards were new to me,but, I needed and wanted then in my life.Thank God for a pastor who not only taught being right on the inside,but letting it show on the outside.I still have a pastor who holds to the standards.Thank GOD FOR HIS MINISTRY AND YOURS!!!

    Sis. Iris

    March 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

  39. Bro. Ballestero
    Thank you so much for this! Its sad but also vert true! Im 13 and I’ve been raised in church.. Thank you again I enjoy reading your blog!

    Brooklynn Alexander

    Brooklynn Alexander

    March 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm

  40. Only God can judge! You are more guilty than the backslider! Modesty, not uncut hair or a skirt, is required by God. You spend no time teaching Jesus Name or the Holy Ghost because no one goes on radio or TV with the truth. All the wold knows about us is that we wear a skirt!

    I pray the HOly GHost convicts you of your self rightous. Spirit. I knew you years ago and you were not like you are. Yes, I am and have been for 28years. Apostolic!

    Abigail

    March 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    • What do you think modesty is?

      Rachel

      March 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm

  41. I was raised pentecostal but i do not associate with any denomination now and you gave me proof why i shouldn’t. I think apostolic Pentecostals have Deut 22.5 way wrong and out of context. To think that only apostolic pentecostals are going to heaven is very arrogant. Standards are important but to say pants and cutting hair is a sin, you have it all wrong. If you want to take that verse for what it is, then apostolic pentecostals are sinning to. If women should not wear things that pertain to a man and vice versa, you have to include everything. Not just pants. If you did some research like i did, you would realize that you have the verse all wrong. Consider t-shirts – these too were invented for men and originally worn exclusively by men. The t-shirt was introduced to America during WWI when American soldiers noticed European soldiers wearing them. By WWII, the t-shirt became standard issue in the American military and was quickly introduced into American fashion. Not only were t-shirts originally invented for men, but they were invented specifically for the military. Considering this in light of the true meaning of Deut 22:5, which seems to be forbidding women from wearing the habiliments of a soldier, it would logically follow that a woman wearing a t-shirt would be in much greater violation of this verse than a woman wearing pants. Furthermore, there is no distinction between men’s and women’s t-shirts.

    If clothing history is the sole determining factor of what constitutes clothing that pertains to a man, then t-shirts must be forbidden as well if consistency is to be maintained. It would seem that in practice, however, those that teach that it is a sin for women to wear pants seem to believe that clothing distinctions only apply to what is worn on the legs while ignoring the obvious about other types of clothing commonly worn by women. In order for the teaching to be consistent, the very reasons cited for prohibiting women from wearing pants would also prohibit women from wearing t-shirts, baseball caps, team jerseys, work boots and any other article of clothing historically worn by men. Taking the concept even further, what of the color pink or blue? Should women also be forbidden to wear blue, or should men forbidden to wear pink, as these colors have historically been associated with the opposite sex? How far should this concept be taken?

    Finally, the third argument, which states that God requires a distinction between men’s and women’s clothing and that pants provide little if any distinction, must also be weighed in light of the scriptures. The scriptures, as with most matters, provide a wealth of information on this issue as well.

    It is curious how those that forbid pants on women, based on their idea of separation, never seem to consider the clothing norms in the Bible. Even the most basic study into biblical clothing norms reveals that there was very little distinction between the articles of clothing worn by men and women.

    In Genesis, we find the first accounts of clothing mentioned in the Bible. First, we find that upon recognizing their nakedness, Adam and Eve sewed garments of fig leaves together to cover themselves (Gen 3:7). This is an interesting account in that we find humans attempting to clothe themselves, but obviously God was not pleased with their choices, as later we find that God made new clothes for them. Gen 3:21 records that God made “coats of skin” for them to wear. The word coats in this verse is the Hebrew word kethoneth and means “a long shirt-like garment.”7 Interestingly, Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, chose the exact same word to describe the specific type of clothing that God made for both Adam and Eve. Where is the distinction here? If God chose to make so little distinction between a man’s and woman’s clothes that a single word can describe the specific clothing worn both by Adam and Eve, then who are we to require a greater distinction?

    The two elements of sin – action and intent – must be fully understood before one can label certain behaviors as sinful, and this is where oneness pentecostals get it wrong. Standards focus on the action without fully considering many of the true intentions and motives behind the action. One cannot say that wearing jewelry is a sin, or that women who wear makeup or pants are committing a sin, without first knowing their intent. If a woman wears makeup to entice men, she is in sin. If a woman wears makeup to appear more clean and presentable, where is her sin? If a woman wears pants to be more “manly,” she is in sin. If a woman wears pants to keep warm or to be more comfortable while working in her garden, where is the sin? If a man wears jewelry as a display of his wealth, he is in sin. If he wears jewelry as a display of his faith, where is his sin?

    PC

    March 11, 2011 at 1:55 am

  42. First I want to THANK YOU for posting this it is THE truth.
    Secondly, it is Amazing how many people with the very problem you addresed have posted sooo bodly on ur coments…. Instead of conviction there is only self justification….The scripture comes to mind, IF the righteous scarcly be saved WHERE do the SINNER and the UNGODLY appear…. Lord help us to make it in this end time hour!

    KDU

    March 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

  43. I’ve been raised in this great truth my whole life, and there is no other way I would rather live! These people who are so bitter and want ‘easy believism’ and don’t want to submit to a man that GOD has chosen to HELP lead them to the streets of gold, saddens my heart greatly! It has nothing to do with standards and ‘being a cult’! Give me a break…grow up! And don’t give me this “I’m brainwashed garbage”…I am a grown adult and I can do whatever I want, but I’ve chosen to let a man THAT GOD HAS chosen, lead me in the right direction. I pray you get over that bitterness! ITS NOT WORTH BEING LOST OVER! It’s so sad!
    And what is so wrong with just living right??? Just a question…
    I also don’t understand people who want to change what the BIBLE says! Who gave you that authority? Where and when did He ever say just accepting Him as your personal savior would save you? My BIBLE says you have to repent of your sins, receive the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, & be baptized in the beautiful name of JESUS…You must be reading a different Bible! Oh and that same BIBLE tells me to carry a standard of Holiness… INSIDE AND OUT!! Hmm…!!!
    Thank you Brother Ballestero, our Church and Family respects you very much! GOD BLESS YOU!:)
    ~CMBresina

    CMBresina

    March 13, 2011 at 1:55 am

  44. Oh and one more thing:

    Modesty:
    [mod-uh-stee]

    –noun, plural -ties.
    1. the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
    2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
    3. simplicity; moderation.

    —Synonyms for holiness
    1. blessedness, godliness, saintliness.

    For those who needed a little help:)

    CMBresina

    March 13, 2011 at 3:03 am

  45. Bro. Ballestero,

    God bless you. 🙂 Thanks for the post.

    Jennifer Connell

    March 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  46. Bro Ballestero,
    With all due respect this post seems to contradict an earlier one you wrote about “pompous Pentecostals”. In that post, you advised against judging fellow Pentecostals based on standards. Now you write a post saying that Pentecostals who attend a church with lower standards are basically deluding themselves. This duality is one of many reason I no longer attend church at all. The prevailing attitude in Pentecost today seems to be ” if your standards are lower than mine you are hell-bound and if they are higher you are nit-picking”. Too often I have seen people sneer at someone wearing a wedding band and in the same breath laugh at someone who doesn’t wear a watch. Now for the purposes of posterity, I must disclose that I am an agnostic, that is I don’t believe in God, nor do I discount the possibility of His existence. I used to be a devout believer. I attended a small independent Apostolic church in Louisiana. After joining the Navy I backslid, and through a long drawn out process that is not really related to the discussion at hand I realized I had never really believed in God, but rather was simply “checking the boxes” as it were. I never really felt God’s presence in my life, but i faked it to keep up appearances Given that fact you may wonder why I am bothering to post on this site, given that its really none of my business. This is personal to me, because a dear friend of mine just changed churches. He was a member of a UPC church, and has switched to a church that you would probably refer to as charismatic. His church preaches Pentecostal doctrine, IE. baptism in Jesus name, salvation by evidence of speaking in tongues, but has few if any of the standards of a typical Pentecostal church. My friend did not backslide between churches, he simply changed. At no time did he ” go out into the world” and partake of things such as drinking smoking or watching unclean movies. This was something he prayed about, yes prayed. he feels that it is Gods will that he attended this church. He honestly feels that all the so-called standards of the UPC, and other Apostolic churches are not of God. He was talking to me and asked my opinion ( although i don’t believe in God, I love my friend and do not push my belief or lack there-of onto him). I told him he has a much harder road than I. It’s easy to dismiss me. I simply don’t believe anything He, on the other hand, is metaphorically spitting in the face of a lot of Pentecostals. He is saying that he is just as saved as the rest of you, even though his wife cut her hair, even though he has a TV, even though he listens to worldly music, even though he wears long sleeves, he is still saved. he still prays, he still fasts. he is firm in his faith. He has never had a drink of alcohol or smoked a cigarette. Before he left his church he prayed and fasted for months. I believe, that if there is indeed a heaven its people like my friend who will get it.
    The lady above made some interesting points about standards. Let me expound a bit. Take pants for instance, if a woman wears pants its a sin, they are men’s garments. All pants, regardless of style or cut are men’s. So what happens if I show up at church in a silk pant suit. Long sleeves, not tight, but a woman’s pantsuit. Is that OK? OF course not you would say, that’s not something a man wears. I don’t really need to go any further for you to see the irony. irony I am sure. Now I realize that In the Pompous Pentecostal post you were talking about churches with standards outside the norm of their fellowship, and that things like women cutting hair and wearing pants are pretty standard across the denomination, but how many people give any thought to why these things are wrong? Sure you can quote the scriptures about a woman not wearing mens garments and her hair being her glory, but where does the Bible say, ” don’t cut your hair or wear pants.” It’s simply not there. Now things like speaking in tongues, the Oneness of the Godhead, and baptism in Jesus Name, those things are there, but standard are of man. Jesus, in his ministry, loosened standards. The Pharisees were against him because he was saying that what they were teaching was too harsh. Jesus preached love and was crucified for it.
    If you want to see someone like me saved, show me love. I’m not impressed by your claims that what I am doing is wrong. I’m not scared by your descriptions of hell. I can counter any argument you make about religion. What I can’t counter is love. When someone says “Gibb, I’m praying for you brother”, I can’t say anything, all I say is thank you and i mean it. I may not believe in God, but i recognize sincerity when I see it. I am not seeing a lot of it on this thread of comments. All I see is a bunch of people jumping at the chance to degrade people who don’t believe the same as them.
    I understand what you are saying Elder, I really do. I have no grudge against the minstery, as a matter of fact I have a lot of respect for preachers but I feel that you and many others are missing the point. The Bible teaches love, not judgment.

    Gibb Brown

    March 14, 2011 at 3:26 am

    • Love. .JESUS said they will know you by your love!! I think Gibb you protesteth too much. JESUS does have a hold of you.. HE just wants you to KNOW HIM. All this other stuff is outward appearances. .what is going on in you Is What Is Important. My daughter is homosexual AND Broke My heart.. But In The End For Me, Has Been A Real Blessing! I saw how love no matter who or what was important and that no sin was worse than even those we don’t think of as bad.. like pride or white lies or gossip.. all in GOD’S eyes bad. So Gibb just find JESUS don’t worry about the external.. GOD is only interested on what is on the inside!!

      Sherry

      February 28, 2014 at 8:29 am

  47. Sir, I don’t know you and don’t judge you. I am writing this because I’m sincerely concerned for anyone who would say and believe this. Humbly I must warn you that taking scripture out of context so badly is dangerous. The Word in this instance was not talking about believing in a delusion of being okay with being back-slidden, but talking about believing in the lies of the Anti-Christ. There’s a large difference between the two of those, don’t you think?

    Benjamin

    March 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm

  48. Bro. Ballestero keep preaching the Word of God and posting these blogs. I was a backslidder I had the same attitude the people posting the ridiculous comments they know it’s right and the truth. Always blaming the church for their ignorance. They never got it, so all they do is justify themselves to hid the truth. I thank God I made it back to the church though his grace and mercy. God gave me an understanding and I’ll never turn back I got my mind made up to serve Him till the end. I’m proud to be apostolic.

    Dustin Bresina

    March 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  49. Elder Ballestero I guess you see from some responses that your blog it right on. Someone asks the question “why do the heathen rage?” Because they are heathen very simple. These folks attack because that have passed conviction and are living in condemnation. Thank you for your heartfelt postings that are always a blessing. And to you folks who are trying to defend your apostasy I pray that Lord will extend you mercy and open your blinded eyes. Jude speaks of those “twice dead.”

    Steve Epley

    April 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm

  50. Preach the Word! We still love hearing (or reading) it.

    Apostolic

    April 16, 2013 at 1:28 am

  51. Wow this is good

    Sarah Jones

    April 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm

  52. I love this blog, it is awesome. Thank you, thank you. God bless and continue to use you.

    Dalvina Diaz

    February 27, 2014 at 10:03 am

  53. “They identify with you, but it is impossible to identify with them.” Such a powerful sentence.

    Ryan Scott (@RScottSeattle)

    February 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm

  54. Brother Ballestero, I thank you for being a voice in the wilderness of today, especially when we are quickly running out of time! I read this and I wonder how many in Jesus’ day looked at him and said “you say I have to do what to be saved?” “who says your way is the right way” “we all have different interpretations, who says you’re right?” “stop judging, only Jehovah can judge me”. I guess the many people here that appear to be at the minimum “angry” have never seen these men of God who preach this truth as I have; weeping over the lost, travailing in prayer to the point of being sick for those in their churches who are on the edge. I guess they’ve never seen horrible heavy burden on a Pastor’s heart for their people when they are teetering. I appreciate you and Bro. King and every other man preaching with conviction, loving with a burden and staying the course to glory. God bless you and yours!

    B. Puckett

    February 28, 2014 at 5:37 am

  55. Lots of good points in this piece.. my daughter told me she knew it was wrong but was going to do it anyway. .and went and got married to her best friend. She now has a wife.. and because she’s not dead yet, am holding out for GOD to become more important than this relationship.

    Sherry

    February 28, 2014 at 8:03 am

  56. I am amazed at the people who get on an Apostolic Blog to rant and rave against things they don’t even understand. They quote the Bible calling Apostolics pharisees but ignore what Jesus really said about them and they don’t even understand who these people were. Jesus told them that they were clean on the outside. He also told the Jewish people to do as they tell you but don’t live your life like they do. So obviously what the Pharisees were telling the people was correct. They just were not living it. Not only that but the majority of these men were corrupt. They were thieves. They worked for the Romans. They stole from the temple. There were a few who were upright and righteous Jews such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. It is amazing that people go on and on about outward appearance but ignore what the scriptures say about it. Paul and Peter both told women to dress modestly. It seems to me that obviously they were concerned about outward appearance. They told them how to wear their hair. Paul told the women in 1 Corinthians that long hair is a glory and long hair on a man is a shame so obviously outward appearance was important. Yet they rant and rave about Apostolics but ignore scriptures. It was also Peter and Paul who both warned Christians about fellowshipping with backlsiders but these people choose to ignore these two men and go on and on about Jesus ministry. Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom so yes we are supposed to do what these two men say. Then we had the one talk about death bed repentance using the thief on the cross. Poor example. The thief on the cross died under the law. Jesus had not died nor had he resurrected so the plan of salvation was not in effect. The plan of salvation was given on the day of Pentecost. Then we have those who talk about the grace of God and how it has freed them from the law but they don’t even understand what law Grace freed them from. Ceremonial law not moral law. Yet So called Christians spout everyday that we are no longer under the 10 commandments and ignore Paul’s teaching. They make this ridiculous statement that they follow Jesus without even understanidng what he said. They pick and choose certain scriptures and ignore the rest. How about the statement that says if you love him you obey his commandments. That doesn’t sound like to me we are free from commandments. Who wrote the 10 commandments. Jesus did and whether you are Oneness or Trinitarian that is what is taught. Jesus wrote them.. How about that he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Yet they spout off they follow Christ and Christ only. Then they talk about how wrong it is to separate yourself from backsliders and how according to their thinking that is so not like Jesus. .Jesus only fellowshipped with two pharisees. Nicodemus came to him in the night and he went to Simon’s house. Now would you not consider the pharisees backsliders. Obviously Jesus separated himself from them who were backslid. and sorry but it was Peter and Paul again leaders in the chuch who gave rules about fellowshipping with unbelievers and backsliders. Did not Paul say let not a believer be unequally yoked. Do you think that is in marriage only. Before you attack people read your bible and know it through and through because if you did you would be silent in your attacks. If people really want to understand what true grace is it is the fact that the God of the universe evens bothers with man at all after the sins we commit and the things we do. The Scriptures declare I am the Lord and I change not. So if the Bible is truth why do you think for one minute that the same God who had Moses write all the laws and rules and regulations in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy suddenly change his mind and no longer requires people to live or dress a certain way.

    Ricky Guthrie

    February 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm

  57. I guess all the negative replies just proves the whole article is true

    Tim

    March 12, 2014 at 12:20 am

  58. I’m 56 years old and was raised in a small country UPC. As I sat here reading the blog and comments, I remembered the “old days” as a child and teenager. Back then, pastors and members visited the backsliders, prayed with them in their homes and encouraged them to come to church. There were visitation groups as well. If you were in town and saw someone you knew, you greeted them, talked to them and showed loved to them. The Bible says love one another. People were actually personal friends or relatives of these backsliders. This blog post has made me want to study the Bible and research the scriptures mentioned.

    On to the comment I originally wanted to post and it is in no way meant as bashing. I am a backslider. When I attend my home church, it’s obvious I am not Pentecostal. I don’t blast the fact by the way I dress or by wearing makeup caked on so thick that I look dead. People know because my parents go and have requested prayer for their lost daughter. That being said, for a long time, I didn’t feel comfortable clapping my hands when I was there because I felt some would wonder why I was clapping my hands when I was a backslider. There have been times I have quietly cried because something reminded me of years gone; memories of a prior pastor, someone who had passed away, a childhood friend, an old song I had forgotten or I felt close to God. Then, the congregation may sing a song of worship, raise their hands in worship and I want to raise my hands in worship, close my eyes and maybe let the tears flow. But I don’t. Why? Because all it takes is the pastor or one person seeing it and immediately they come over to pray me through and then are followed by countless others and I feel pressured and frankly, attacked when all I wanted to do was worship God. If that worship turned into receiving his spirit again it means I was receptive and open to it. The minute I feel pressured or attacked, my purpose of simple worship is crushed.

    While I’m sure the pastor and members are trying to help and have no clue some people – backsliders and those who have never been in the church, feel this way, I really think the only time this should happen is when someone goes to the alter. If someone who isn’t in the church is worshiping during the service, the the pastor could easily use the microphone to invite anyone who would like to repent and receive His spirit to come to the alter and offer to pray with them.

    Please know that I am not criticizing, but sharing how I’ve felt. When I’m at home listening to hymns of old or songs such as He Will Be Faithful To The End, it feels so wonderful to be able to raise my hands towards Heaven and feel the presence of God, knowing that no one is watching, and thinking “she’s under conviction” let’s go pray her through.

    I enjoy reading this blog. May God bless you all.

    E.B.

    June 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm

  59. I was a backslider and turned away, and talked bad about the church. But when I made the decisions I did, and got to a certain point. I felt God saying ‘that’s wrong, what are you slug. You need me.” And eventually.. I got so bad that I had to have him again… I needed His help. I got so bad. It’s a dangerous path back sliding. And I know from experience. Once you start back sliding it doesn’t stop until you realize that you’re going to far… And if you don’t realize that you’ve gotten way out of hand… I can tell hype right now, it won’t stop, it’ll only worsen until you repent and try your hardest to be right with God… But what if you’re no longer in the area of your home church anymore?.. Bc I now have a new one and I couldn’t feel more loved… And in good hands..

    Alisha blumenthal

    April 7, 2015 at 8:35 am

  60. I thought I was the only one that noticed this. Wow! Well said.

    Phyllis

    April 16, 2016 at 7:58 pm

  61. Very right! I said it about two years ago if the holiness church keep changing, we would not know them from the world, well here you go, your right about the backslides of the old way and the new way, so sad.

    Yvonne Grimmett

    March 11, 2017 at 11:53 pm

  62. Thank you for this …im sitting in my truck asking,g god to forgive me …o am backslid and know it .to be forgiven and granted repentance sees too good for me , bit I hope if I turn my life around and live holy, perhaps …perhaps god will have mercy upon me.

    Don Campbell

    September 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm


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