There is an awful lot of talk these days about why so many people are leaving the church. One of the things we are not discussing as much is why some people are staying. I would like to explore one aspect of that Christian retention.

My friend Derek is a lifelong churchgoer. He is smart, articulate, and has an inquisitive mind. He was raised in a conservative church and spent his college years as an active member of a famous parachurch organization. He even spent a few years in seminary, though he never completed his degree. Derek spent all the way up into his 30s in the loving arms of evangelicalism. Their relationship was not always one of romantic bliss but his conviction in the gospel of Jesus Christ always managed to overshadow his existential angst.

Where did his angst come from? Well, truth be told, that is a complicated topic, but one of his most poignant issues was his loss of assurance. When I say assurance, I am not primarily talking about the popular evangelical phrase ...

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