Who Are “The Lost”?

Here’s a comment from the Rev. Rick Mason, who was the subject of the recent “Theology on Tap” post. He commented on that thread but I thought I would share his comments here for you to see and respond.

I want to thank all of you for your comments. I am the Rev. Rick Mason of the original Montgomery (AL) newspaper article. I have gained some insights into how to continue to approach “Theology on Tap” from what many of you have said. Believe it or not, one of the questions that is troubling me today is how do we, as Christians, define “the lost”? I think the answer to that question may go a long way toward determining how we approach faith & evangelism.

Just a note on the initial gatherings at the Pratt Pub. We are very excited about the folks who have been taking part. There have been people from both inside & outside of the church who have serious questions about the church & faith. We have had everything from totally unchurched to devout Episcopalians & Calvinists to a recent convert to Hinduism, who commented that after 14 years in Prattville it is wonderful to finally have a place where she can talk about her faith without the fear of being put down.

This is a work-in-progress (as is the faith life itself), so please remember us in your prayers. And thanks again!

Thanks Rick for your feedback and update. So, that’s a good question Rick asks of us. Now it’s your turn. How do you define “the lost”? Or do you?

9 thoughts on “Who Are “The Lost”?”

  1. I am coming to the point in this unending discussion, where I think I am the one who’s lost!I’m an American, Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon Protestant. I have a wife, 2 kids and a white-picket fence (really!). I am compartmentalized and filed away.Yet, when I think about the “lost”, my first response is what is referred to on SCP as a “non-Christ-follower”. So what is a “non-Christ-follower”? One who does not “follow” Christ? One who doesn’t DOo what we think “Christians” should do? I don’t think anyone can truly know since, on some level, we ALL fall short of God’s glory each and every day.So are we all lost? Do some have a better handle on things than others? Or are we all simply at various stages, on “the salvific path”.Personally, I still feel that the whole “choice to believe” has something to do with it, although that looks fuzzier than ever before, for me. It may not be a specific epiphany, but somehow, somewhere, each of us can point to a moment or phase or whatever, where we realized that we had turned a corner toward God (probably when we started considering Him).Or maybe the answer is more simple than that… Maybe the lost are those who have not allowed themselves to be found, yet. I cannot tell if you’re following Christ or not. Only you can tell that. So why should I be attempting to label anyone else, when the only heart I can see is my own???

  2. Interesting thoughts sling n stone.Though I agree that an “out” exists, I believe this issue should be handled with great delicacy. For instance, if a porn star had attended a church service in my former 1st methodist congregation, she would not have returned due to a collective cold reception by the members. No one wants to be an outcast. That is not a delicate way to deal with someone who is confused by sin and wants answers. My suggestion would be that some or even just 1 or 2 WOMEN take her out and talk with her about her life. They should show their concern, and they should be very open-minded. They should express why they believe porn to be detrimental, but they should not do so in a scolding or judgmental way. People outside the church already have a negative view of the church. Some for valid reasons. Congregations are not perfect, so members should approach the porn star with humility and assurance that NO ONE is perfect, and that the church does not expect perfection, only an understanding that porn HURTS people, and a prerequisite agreement that she quit doing it. Truth will yield truth, and perhaps the porn star will then see that the christian church is not a judgmental, pocket-lining institution (or it doesn’t have to be), it is a SAFEHAVEN (and bride of Christ) for people in a world that doesn’t know how not to hurt itself. Just a few thoughts.

  3. Christian church meetings at a pub?…that’s not what he’s doing…he’s not having <>Church<> there…hello?Besides, what’s wrong with Hooters?To answer the question, which is an excellent one…how DO you measure the heart of a person? Are there tangible “evidences” of people who “repent,” “believe,” and are “saved”-all of which are terms from Acts Chapter 2:37-47? Are these “evidences” considered then “works” or are they “responses” of faith to the grace imparted to them? Is our responsibility just to sow and water and not measure? Maybe it is easier to know when it isn’t real than when it is…as the man sleeping with his mother-in-law in 1 Corinthians 5, for example…of course, the Church at Corinth apparently was confused about even that…and Paul had to write ’em, a letter and get them straight…so evidently this problem isn’t a new one…see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 where Paul evidently is helping them with understanding “who is out.” Believe me, I am extremely tolerant and I’m getting clobbered for it, but one point that needs to be made is, there IS an “out”…”not to associate”…(vrs. 9 & 11)…”those who are outside” (vr. 13)…and “remove the wicked man” (vrs. 13). Tough issue that is not so black and white as Granny thought…

  4. A very good question, and one I don’t think you’ll find answered simply and succintly in scriptures (maybe for a reason). Scripturally, it always seems to come back to either <>just<> faith, belief (which some would distinguish from faith), or some combination of faith/belief and works. Oh, and throw baptism in there too- and whether we were dunked or sprinkled. And whether or not God “calls” us to salvation or we “choose” him. And don’t forget the importance of whether or not we can raise the sick, trample the dead without getting bitten, heal our tongues and speak with the animals. I might have gotten some of that confused, but… That’s why I’m going to avoid getting into any type of heavy theology in my answer, precisely because even of the three or four things I listed above, books have already been written discssing them, and yet we’re still asking the question today.My contribution is this: there can be a danger in trying to have a be-all, end-all definition for ‘the lost,’ especially when we define ‘the lost’ in relation to ‘the saved,’ which we usually do. i.e. ‘You’re lost if you’re <>not<> saved.At the end of the day, doesn’t scripture always point to relationship with the Father through Christ? Are we in relationship with Father? If we are, I think that’s really all He’s wanting or asking of us. It’s much more personally subjective than ‘well, you’ve believe and were baptized,’ but at the end of the day, doesn’t all of scripture come back to us coming into a restored relationship with the Father that created us in and through and with Christ?I think there are many that have been baptized, believed, and I would still consider them ‘lost.’ Whether or not they are ‘saved?’ Gee, I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s just about getting people ‘barely over the line’ of requirements to get them into heaven. It’s about relationship with Father, and the eternal life that starts in that relationship here and now – and continues on through eternity.::Chris::< HREF="http://www.ruinedforlife.net" REL="nofollow">RuinedForLife.net<>

  5. by “THE LOST”, are you referring to Marshall, Will and Holly? (and Uncle Jack, Grumpy, Baby, Enik, Zarn, and Chaka?)

  6. greetings… i am new to these parts, but i love this question. The arrogance of the terminology that the church uses sickens me… i hate the inclusive, exclusive nature, and the hell focus of the term “lost” or “unsaved” or any of it. I love what Chris said about being in relationship with the father… what more do you need if you have that?my church would fire me for saying that… oh well.

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