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Joined: 2010/6/2
Posts: 4
Sask, Canada

 25 Characteristics of the Backslider - Richard Owen Roberts

The following are excerpts from Richard Owen Roberts' book "Revival."

A backslider is a person who was once emptied of his own ways and filled with the ways of God, but gradually allowed his own ways to step back in until he was all but empty of God and full of himself again.

1. When prayer ceases to be a vital part of a professing Christian’s life backsliding is present.

2. When the quest for biblical truth ceases and one grows content with the knowledge of eternal things already acquired, there can be no mistaking the presence of backsliding.

3. When the biblical knowledge possessed or acquired is treated as external fact and not applied inwardly, backsliding is present.

4. When earnest thoughts about eternal things cease to be regular and gripping, it would be like a warning light to the backslider.

5. When the services of the church lose their delights a backslidden condition probably exists.

6. When pointed spiritual discussions are an embarrassment, that is certain evidence of backsliding.

7. When sports, recreation, and entertainment are larger and necessary part of your lifestyle, you may assume backsliding is in force.

8. When sins of the body and of the mind can be indulged in without an uproar in you conscience, your backslidden condition is certain.

9. When aspirations for Christlike holiness cease to be dominant in your life and thinking, backsliding is there.

10. When the acquisition of money and goods become a dominant part of your thinking, you have clear confirmation of backsliding.

11. When you can mouth religious songs and words without heart, be sure backsliding is present.

12. When you can hear the Lord’s name taken in vain, spiritual concerns mocked, and eternal issues flippantly treated, and not be moved to indignation and action, you are backslidden.

13. When you can watch degrading movies and television and read morally debilitating literature, you can be sure you have backslidden.

14. When breaches of peace in the brotherhood are of no concern to you, that is proof of backsliding.

15. When the slightest excuse seems sufficient to keep you from spiritual duty and opportunity, you are backslidden.

16. When you become content with your lack of spiritual power and no longer seek repeated endowments of power from on high, you have backslidden.

17. When you pardon your own sin and sloth by saying the Lord understands and remembers we are but dust, you may have spoken gospel truth, but you have also revealed your backslidden condition.

18. When there is no music in your soul and no song in your heart, the silence testifies to your backsliding.

19. When you adjust happily to the world’s lifestyle, your own mirror will tell the truth of your backsliding.

20. When injustice and human misery exist around you and you do little or nothing to relieve the suffering, be sure you are backslidden.

21. When your church has fallen into spiritual declension and the Word of God is no longer preached there with power and you are still content, you are in a backslidden condition.

22. When the spiritual condition of the world declines around you and you cannot perceive it, that is testimony to your backslidden stance.

23. When you are willing to cheat your employer backsliding is present.

24. When you find yourself rich in grace and mercy and marvel at your own godlikeness, then you have fallen far in your backsliding.

25. When your tears are dried up and the hard, cold spiritual facts of your existence cannot unleash them, see this as an awful testimony to both the hardness of your heart and the depth of your backsliding.

What more powerfully proclaims the need of revival in our day than the backsliden condition of hosts of professing Christians?

May God be glorified and His church edified.

Josiah Audette

 2010/12/30 14:39Profile

 Re: 25 Characteristics of the Backslider - Richard Owen Roberts

the only problem with this post is the actual premise....the word backslide, backsliding, backslider, etc., is never once mentioned in the New Testament.

 2010/12/30 14:50

Joined: 2010/8/24
Posts: 1032


What do you think it means in Hebrew 10:38 when it says

Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Just a small note there.
The word ANY MAN is not in the original text
and the verb "draw back" is conjugated with the pronoun "he".
Also the phrase "shall live" actually says "lives", Or "is living".

The verse literally means:
Now the just lives, or "is living" by faith: but if he( meaning that man that is living by faith ) draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Now, I think the verb "draw back" means to backslide, don't you?


 2010/12/30 16:34Profile


"While we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly".

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

While we didn't have any righteousness at all, Christ died for us, God loved us that He gave His Son Jesus. And then we have this list of exhausting attributes that if we are not doing, were backsliding. Yet while I never prayed to Him, while I never gave to Him, while I never praised Him, He loved me anyways and He died for me.

Every so often I look at my cat and say, "You haven't a concern in the world. You live out your life eating and drinking and lazing about, your more at rest than I am."

And yet it's demanded of me to be holy when I haven't the slightest idea how to be, and yet the sinner is loved by our heavenly Father and Christ died for him and he is not doing anything that is remotely holy, yet God loves him.

 2010/12/30 21:23

Joined: 2009/12/12
Posts: 592


I think the key is heart. The sinner practices sin, enjoys sin, thinks nothing really of sin. The believer, though he often stumbles, pursues righteousness, is broken over sin, etc.


 2010/12/30 23:58Profile

Joined: 2004/4/27
Posts: 498

 Re: 25 Characteristics of the Backslider - Richard Owen Roberts

Great post Thunderson, welcome to sermonindex! Please feel free to do a little intro of yourself in the welcome section of the forum. All those characteristics are true and I'm sure I've experienced them all in some measure at one point or another and I can certainly say it was at that point that I could have been considered backsliden. The key to deliverance is admitting the obviousness of the truth and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict you. In my case I got worn out trying to serve God with my own strength and zeal. Ironically I had to enter into this state first before I could enjoy "the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus". After we have ceased from our own works God can produce the fruit of righteousness in us. It is beyond just a conviction that we are righteous by faith in Jesus alone (although that's a necessary starting point) but it is an experienced righteousness that produces true fruit of the Spirit.


James Gabriel Gondai Dziya

 2010/12/31 0:04Profile

Joined: 2009/2/20
Posts: 494
Celina, Texas

 Re: backsliding?

What Mahoney says is no bologna. Alright it didn't rhyme perfectly but it was an attempt. No really this issue of backsliding is confounding and frustrating. There has been a long debate on the use of this word in scripture and I don't know where that debate is now. I am however concerned with the meaning and definition given the term backsliding that defines the lifestyle of the majority of Christians today. When illuminated by the light of what so many think Christianity represents it is easy to see how this has become such an accepted and common term. In that light it makes perfect sense to create a list of deficiencies for such a word as this. But I would encourage one not to stop there. If we need to cover the great majority of those who find themselves the modern day Prodigal by virtue of the 76.5% of the population in the U.S.A claiming to be Christian, then we are going to need a much more comprehensive list.

76.5% is the polled # by the Barna group. Maybe when we get to 86% we stop murdering millions of babies under the Grand Old Flag that speaks to our uniqueness as a, still by majority, Christian Nation. Those millions of murders don't come by the remaining 33.5% of the poll. It doesn't show a real difference whether claiming Christs name or not. Maybe if we can get the cheap gospel out there a little better then we can elevate the number to an 89% Christian population then divorce will finally drop. Oh yea, there is no difference in the divorce rate whether inside the church or not. We can prove the rebellion of the nation by its deeds. I don't know but maybe there is something to this remnant thing that scripture speaks to? One can go on and on and never see these numbers adding up. Someone needs to stop and say the Emperor has no clothes.

One of the great benefits of sermon index is you can listen to men who have true hearts for God speak truth. Men like (this is to name but a few): Ravenhill, Havner, Redpath, Reidhead, Washer, and Tozer. The list is not comprehensive. If however you are going to listen to these men, then what will you do with what they say concerning the backsliden? This list of men speaks to the remnant saints within the church. Some only see 1% to 2% of the people attending church as reborn. I believe Washer may hold to the largest percentage of the remnant but even his estimation should strike terror in the hearts of all who hear him speak of it. That is if you consider these men credible? I would love to hear someone address these men's discernment regarding this issue. They dealt and deal with backsliding but not according to how it is defined within the church today. Once again if there is a critique to be made then by all means go after the likes of Tozer. Voice your disagreements with what they have taught that is recorded for your benefit on this site. Even in this one's arguments will will not stand the scrutiny of scripture

There is always the possibility of backsliding of the true believer(but we must differentiate this from the backsliding of one who is a false professor who comes to a greater consciece of guilt but still holds on and does not fully surrender his life to Christ). This is one of the main reasons for church discipline and for approaching your brother in love after you have qualified yourself by scripture and in prayer and a broken Spirit of love. You love them and are concerned for others in the body as well. The leaven thing you know can spread quickly! David backslide ( if we must entertain this word to define his actions ) but his repentance was true when faced with the discipline of God. How many sit in pews etc that live life by seeing just how close they can get to the edge without falling in? They live their whole life like that? That is not the heart of one born anew. That is the heart of one that has not been reborn. We must ask for discernment in this age that so easily tries to incorporate light and darkness. The prodigal had been dead and lost! What part of dead and lost do we not understand? Since we establish the word backsliding and broaden its meaning and definition, we might also consider retiring a few that seem to have their definitions modified to where they have drastically lost their meaning as well. Words like dead and lost maybe?

 2011/1/2 18:15Profile

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