The Ballestero Blog

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A Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders

with 22 comments

A Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders

There always seems to be someone who has a rule of thumb on a given subject. According to Wikipedia, “A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation.”

I too have a rule of thumb, which is based on my observation of backsliders for the last 50 or more years.

No one wishes to see any child of God stumble on his or her spiritual journey, or get sidetracked by the temptations of sin. But it happens.

Neither can we feel good when an injury or bitterness removes a brother or a sister from our midst. But we see that happen from time to time too.

After they have left the church and are no longer faithful to God in their attendance or in their heart, what then are their chances for recovery? Only God truly knows.

Since we are dealing with many variables, about all we can do is pray for them and love them.


My Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders?

It’s nothing deep really. It’s so simple because to me it feels very obvious.

Those I Haven’t Seen Make A Recovery:

1. My experience has been that backsliders who leave the church, get bitter, and call their pastor and saints, hypocrites and other names and continue to talk about them in a negative manner.

2. The ones who have problems with standards and holiness and then leave the church saying their pastor is a legalist and does not preach Grace and Love. (If they still wish to go to ‘church’ just find one that doesn’t believe much and go there, while they justify themselves.)

3. Backsliders who say God only looks on the inside of a person and not on the outside.

Those I Have Seen Make A Recovery

1. The backslider who says, I know I am not living right, I don’t even claim to be. But, if I ever get back in church, I know where to go. I’ll go right back to my old home church.

2. The ones who still remain respectful of the church, the pastor and the saints.

3. The backsliders who may have been caught up in the wrong things and don’t attend regular, but they send their tithes in every week.

When It Comes To Recovery, Attitude Is Not Just Something, It’s Everything!


Case In Point

Here are a few comments out of 159 negative ones sent to my blog in the last few days by people who informed me they used to go to an Apostolic Pentecostal Church. These are only excerpts and are posted without names.

I do not allow negative comments on my blog posts as a rule, because I do not use my site for a debate forum. (If someone wants to host a debate forum, let them pay for one, like I do.)

As a rule, when I write anything about dress or standards, there always seem to be some backsliders who say the ugliest things to me.

  • “Do you speak to destroy? Would you be the one that God calls a Viper in the synagogue?”
  • “Perhaps we should all wear burkas?”
  • “You are f****** crazy”
  • “YOU ARE F****** B****** CRAZY!”
  • “You need to start focusing more on Jesus Christ and less on the creation.”
  • “I Never read one time where He disapproved of ANYTHING anyone was wearing.”
  • “I was raised UPC and I can honestly say I am so thankful that God brought me out of that religion.”
  • “You are so consumed by what you look like on the outside you forget to simply love like Christ loves.”
  • “Someone sent me the link to this blog post. I am sorry I read it and will never read this blog again.”
  • “Get over yourself.”
  • “I saw your profile about how much you miss your wife. Why don’t you bring your wife on your evangelistic tours and to your conferences? Then you may not be so bothered about other women’s knees.”
  • “Modesty is a personal issue. Speak of this woman-to woman, among women at conference, special events, etc. But, not from the pulpit. It’s not the place.”
  • “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’re coming across as loathesome and all I can think of to say to you is, “LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL!”
  • “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. A backslider in your opinion, but in mine and the Lord Jesus’, I’m so happy to be saved by His grace and love.”
  • “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? 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. We are not backsliders, we are liberated from man made rules that have nothing to do with holiness! Thank God I am free!!”
  • “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.”
  • “Only God can judge! You are more guilty than the backslider!”
  • “I pray the HOly GHost convicts you of your self rightous. Spirit.”



Maybe now, some may see why I feel like I do on this subject. Yet, every preacher must continually do his best to reach for every backslider and leave the rest up to God and to them.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

Posted in Backsliders

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22 Responses

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  1. Thank you for remaining faithful and being an example of a true Christian. I appreciate the influence your parents, sisters, wife & you have had in my youth & early marriage through Bible class, preaching & fellowship back at our home church as well as numerous conferences around the country. Sis Cheryl Creech Morey

    Cheryl Creech Morey

    April 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

  2. Great article as always elder. We love you at FOC of Puget Sound… and are grateful for true biblical holiness teaching that gives real freedom to worship in spirit and in truth. “Great peace have they that love thy law…” 🙂


    April 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

  3. It was odd that I read the blog and all the negative responses to a very reasonable blog. I was going to reply to it but saw dates back to 2011. I have been so saddened by so many backsliders who I’ve known who seem to live in a delusion.

    I know of some who are living a lascivious lifestyle, committing adultery but when someone ask for prayer on Facebook, they are quick to say, “praying for you”. My question is, where is the fear of God? Do backsliders actually think God overlooks looks their “riotous living” with no repercussions. Reminds of the scripture that can be applied to more than adulterous living…Proverbs 30:20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman;
    she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

    Modest apparel must be preached. Holiness must be lived. Liberated from a clean lifestyle is a deception. There is a sign I placed on my Bible Stand for all to see as a reminder that this Word can make or break a Christian. It is simply “ATTITUDE”.

    I’m with you Elder Ballestero, it was this type of preaching that made the Apostolic church great and grow by the tens of thousands. I, by the Grace of God, want to continue down the Old Paths wherein is the good way!

    Bro Mac

    April 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

  4. Oh,my ,I read the negative coments,they brought tears to my eyes.Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. it is an inspiration to many of us.

    Sis. Iris

    April 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

  5. It’s amazing how these people who hate everything about holiness, separation from the world, and anything to do with Pentecost will take the time to read your blog, KNOWING that you are a conservative minister who preaches a holiness message AND separation from the world. Why do they even bother to respond? Reminds me of the saying, “If you throw a stone at a pack of dogs, the one who is hit, is the one who squeals the loudest.”


    April 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

  6. Just want to say that I am thankful for a minister who still holds a Biblical standard. I was raised UPC and backslid in my late teens. Thankfully, the Lord is full of mercy and grace and brought me back. For those who say they are now free, you have always had free will. Jesus will never force you to follow His teachings. I do not consider myself in bondage, and I am glad to submit to the will of the Master. His return is too soon for me to even consider backing down from the Word. If it was wrong 20 years ago, it is Still wrong. His Word does change. (By the way, the pulpit is most definitely where holiness and modesty teaching should come from. If a woman has a question, she should follow through privately with her pastor or his wife.) So, thank you Bro. Ballestro for having the courage to speak up and tell the truth.


    April 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm

  7. This blog is very sad, but very true. It would seem like after many years of pastoring and seeing this repeatedly I would get use to it, but I can honestly say that everytime a member backsildes they take part of my heart with them. Then to justify themselves they tell things not true, or try to make everyone think they have found the answer for live. Godly rules are like river banks that keep the waters from becoming infested swamps. Standards of righteous living applied to our lives are like gaurdrails that keep us safely on the road.
    Prohibitions started in the garden and will end only at the rapture. To those that love God his commandments are not grievous.. Thanks for sharing this blog and reminding pastors and saints to keep loving them and praying for their safe return.

    Gerald Adams

    April 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

  8. I’ve seen holiness preached with an attitude, and I’ve seen holiness preached in love. I believe it should always be done in the latter fashion, but regardless of the presentation, it is an unchangeable fact that holiness is a requirement to see God. The sweet spirit evident in your writing is one of the reasons I consistently read it, and share it with others frequently. As for which backsliders make it back…your post makes my heart ache because it brings to mind some specific people. I’ve lived for God long enough to know you are probably right…while I desperately pray that for at least a few your rule of thumb will not apply.


    April 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm

  9. How very sad to see these negative posts.

    I am a God Chaser and have been Methodist, Baptist, Nazarine, Charismatic, you name it. None of those changed my life or my heart.

    I am so grateful for the Apostolic religion.

    Everything I do or don’t do, is my thanks to God for leading me to the Apostolic religion

    The miracles I’ve seen far more outweigh any of the standards, which we should be living by anyway as a human being.


    April 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

  10. Bro. Ballestero,
    If our gospel is hid it is hid to those whose mind has been blinded. Keep on preachin’ the truth bro it gets the best results! I am always getting the same comments on my Facebook because I post things pertaining to God everyday instead of yet another angle of my mug.. lok However, for every 1,000 negative responses

    Robert McClellan

    April 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

  11. Bro. Ballestero, I am very appreciative and fully support your blog post on modesty. I also appreciate you allowing my comments on it as well. I read about it when my mother-in-law shared it on Facebook, which I immediately shared as well and subscribed to your blog site. I only wish there were more men of God like you who would publicly take such a stand on the issue. God bless you, my brother in Christ.


    April 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm

  12. Bro. Ballestero, I tried to comment a while back on the blog to which this one is a response; but I think I had technical difficulties. I’m not sure my comment was ever submitted. I merely suggested Hollywood as a reason for why they’re everywhere. I’m sure other factors could be blamed, but I’m not sure any could share more blame. People in the Church have allowed the world into their homes, and it should be no surprise that they have gone the way of the world. When one chooses to be entertained by sin and the appearance of evil, one will eventually tolerate, embrace, and adopt that sin. Simply put, too many so-called Apostolic-Pentecostals have not come out from among the world. Sadly, there are more who are living double lives and will soon reveal their hearts. We cannot sit on the fence.

    Thank you, Bro., for sharing Truth. We need more preachers in this hour who will call out sin and preach repentance with boldness and compassion! God bless you!

    Delbert Tritsch

    April 19, 2013 at 2:13 am

  13. I was shocked and saddened by the negative responses to such positive teaching. I for one am very thankful for Holiness preaching. And for men who preach Holiness. I am free because I CHOOSE to live the way I do. “Whom the Son has made free is free indeed!” Very sad but very appreciated!

    Crystal (Morris) Smith

    April 20, 2013 at 12:07 am

    • Thank you Brother Ballestero for your time in writing this blog. I was 21 years old when Jesus called me and he excepted me. I backslid but never forgot the first day i met him. I am free again, falling in love with him more everyday than anything in my life. Thank you Lord for your HolyGhost power. I am not perfect, but he is forgiving and loves me. I am not ashamed of HIM, I love being his servant, walk and talk his truth. Apostolic is truth, blessed to have a true, committed Man of God, a church bench to sit on three times a week to worship him with people that love him as much as I do. Many are called, few are choosen, how blessed I am to know him and he did not leave me blind and in the darkness. I have a husband that is back slid, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH HIM!!!


      April 20, 2013 at 10:34 am

  14. No Matter where I am in my life or how i feel on things. I always love reading your blogs, they are very enlightening and truthful. I hope God blesses you and your family so much more. You are an amazing follower of Christ. Thank you


    April 25, 2013 at 3:16 am

  15. I loved your blog. As someone who was raised as a upc pk and has a very strong feeling about the subject of standards. I do not attend or follow the faith I do however know that going against the ministry is very wrong, no matter how I feel it is imperative that I never talk ill or poorly about any minister. Ministers have the job and enough stresses that the average person will never understand. Having been hurt by others in my life I’ve learned that I had to take 100% responsibly for my actions and it’s not the church or the ministries fault. Thank you for your post.


    May 4, 2013 at 11:56 pm

  16. Often we humans confuse God’s mercy with God’s acceptance, and not just the backslider I might add. What it really boils down to is obedience.(1 Sam 15:22-23) To obey or not to obey, that is the question. When we want to walk in our own ways any excuse will do.

    Concerning the backslider; I think it is important to remember that hurting people will lash out at others in an attempt to remedy their own pain. Having worn the shoes of a backslider I can tell you this… The church I attend loved me back into fellowship with Jesus. Even after all the bone headed things I did they still welcomed me back with open arms. There are times in a backslider’s life where they will actually respond to the Holy Ghost. It is our responsibility to love and pray for them and be ready to act when the Holy Ghost prompts us.

    TJ Lowman

    June 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm

  17. My heart aches as I read the negative comments…need to pray and continue read God’s Word,so that we may not be misguided by so many voices around!praying for every ministers of God that they may continue to stand for the truth and be Pastors according to Jeremiah 3:15.God bless you more,Pastor Ballestero.

  18. I love your blogs and im sure God is pleased also those who think your wrong apparently aren’t living right and all we can do is pray for the lost

    Sabrina johnson

    April 10, 2015 at 11:23 pm

  19. I am so thankful for wonderful pastors like you and my pastor. I am a backslider who just recently came back to the church. I have never lost my faith, and I am so thankful to know who HE is! I always told others I was a sinner but when I went back to church there was only one place I’d ever go, my home church in Connersville! I always supported my pastor and would never allow anyone in my presence talk negatively about him, his family, or the church! I’ve always said he is one of the greatest men I could have ever had the pleasure to hear preach! I was blessed to be raised there, and to hear so many great sermons, including many of yours in that great house of God! I am so thankful that God led me back to repentance and has brought me back home! His mercy is amazing! I have never questioned the standards or anything my pastor said. My failings were my own not my pastor’s, the saint’s, or God’s! I am just thankful he had mercy on my soul.

    Rachel Armstrong

    July 24, 2015 at 7:50 pm

  20. Under “Those I Have Seen Make a Recovery”. My next door neighbor and I went to our very first Apostolic service in Jan., 1969. She was convicted, I wasn’t. God delivered her from cigs and beer right away. I kept on smoking, drinking. But, I was an ’empty vessel. I had never been indoctrinated even though I VERY OCCASIONALLY attended my parents United Church of Christ. Even tho’ I wasn’t convicted, to watch the COMPLETE change in my neighbor just drew me to her house everyday to listen to her tell all about every service. She had ALWAYS worn the same thing everyday: black knit capris and one of her husband’s white t-shirts. She never wore anything else. We knew each other 2 1/2 yrs. before she AND her husband joined the church. In listening to her and watching them leave for every service for yrs. I became jealous. My husband wouldn’t let me go after that first service. But in 1973 I screwed up my courage and got baptized in Jesus name. Later I got the Holy Ghost, but it did NOTHING against my fear of my husband. I became a RAGING alcoholic for the next 35 years. If the distilleries put out a new one I tried it. My husband got concerned over it, but thought this way was better than the church. Note: He is a TERRIFIC husband; just hates God, but would do ANYTHING for anyone that needed help – if he was able – with no charge. He just hates God.

    On Jy 20, 2014 (a Sun.) I came back. I weep at EVERY service; I cannot help it. I love Him so. I finally became MORE fearful of what I saw in the world than of my husband, but – I still fasted the 4 days before telling him I was going back. God honored my efforts. I’ve never had ANY problem with him since.

    Sydney Heimericks

    March 29, 2019 at 2:07 am

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