There has been a spate of stories in recent times of well-known and respected Christian publicly ejecting their Christian faith and leaving for "greener pastures," so to speak. It's tough. It's tough when you hear that one who was considered to be a believer rejects the Savior you love. It's tough when you are connected in some way to that person -- a follower, a fan, an admirer, something like that -- and then see them drop out. It's tough to see the assault on your faith and the faith and, ultimately, on your Lord.

It has ever been thus, you know. Think of Adam, living in the absolute perfection of a garden and a relationship with God like you and I can only dream about. I mean, God walked in the garden with them. And Adam threw it all out. Think of Noah who spent 100 years building an ark on God's word alone, saving the existence of humans, only to succumb to drunkenness later in life. Consider Abraham whose faith was reckoned to him as righteousness and then lied about his wife being his wife because he was scared. Remember David, described by God as a man after His own heart, going out and committing adultery and murder. Recall Peter who declared he would die for Christ only to run practically in the next breath and deny he ever knew Him. Rejecting God is common among humans.

So, what are we to think? Some considerations.

There is a logical fallacy known as the Genetic Fallacy. This fallacy attempts to deny the truth of a statement based on the originator of the statement. It's a fallacy. In the case of a respected leader who falls, it is essential that we don't discard any value that we gained because they have now fallen. Their rejection of Christ is no reflection on 1) the magnificence of Christ or 2) the reality of the faith. We need to evaluate what they've said, but no more when they've left and no less when they haven't.

We cannot know the future. True believers may stray for awhile. (Consider all the examples I listed earlier.) It is possible that a true believer may fall into sin -- even serious and prolonged sin -- and still return. So we should be careful about assuming that this departure is the end of the story.

We do know that there will be tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30), unbelievers among the believers. They will "go out from us" to show that they were "not of us" (1 John 2:19). Wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:13). Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). In the same way, false teachers and misguided unbelievers may actually seem good and useful for a time. Rejecting their good and useful information because they've rejected the faith doesn't make sense. Paul wrote about his ministry in prison where others were also spreading the Gospel, some out of rivalry and some out of love. He concluded, "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice" (Philippians 1:12-18). Just as Joseph told his brothers, it is entirely possible for false teachers to intend evil and God to intend good (Genesis 50:20).

Scripture is clear about our responsibility. We should restore whom we can (Galatians 6:1-2) and discipline whom we must (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) and reject whom we have to (1 Corinthians 5:9-12; Titus 3:10). (Of course, the primary purpose of the latter -- rejecting those who won't repent -- is the former -- restoration.)

I would note that in no case is "panic" or "lose faith" or the like a biblical response. We should pray, of course. That would go without saying (but obviously needs to be said). But at no time should we despair because even if believers fall, God is still on the throne and He always accomplishes what He intends to accomplish. We should, I suppose, check our own hearts. Is this person whose rejection of the faith an idol? In that case the repentance should be ours.