How should I view a vague response to the gospel?

It’s been about a year since our Bible study with Robin, using By This Name. Robin is an older woman who knew a few Bible stories, but not much more. She had gotten deeply involved in spiritism and was dismissive of the Bible for most of her life.

I think it was curiosity and a desire to be informed that caused her to join us for a Bible study. She was a respectful student and we were hopeful as we finished By This Name. When the time came to ascertain her understanding, however, she gave us a somewhat cryptic answer: “Yeah, I agree with all this. It’s what I’ve believed all along.”

Now, there was a part of us that really wanted to assume her answer meant that she had become a believer and we could move into sanctificational teaching. But, we didn’t feel that was actually the case. What should we do?

Here are some factors we had to consider:

  1. Pride. We felt that pride was a stumbling block for Robin. It seemed she wasn’t ready to admit she needed a Saviour.
  2. Teaching. There was one area of teaching that Robin seemed stuck on. She needed more teaching.
  3. Blindness. Robin was dabbling in New Age teaching even during the time we taught her. We underestimated how spiritual darkness poses such a barrier to accepting the gospel.
  4. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s work is unique in each person’s heart. It seemed he was at work, but things weren’t as far along as we had hoped.
  5. Personality. Robin is a deep thinker. She doesn’t make decisions lightly. It wasn’t in her nature to make this monumental life change quickly and without great consideration.
  6. Space. We realized we shouldn’t push her. Robin needed to work through some things and have time for the Holy Spirit to work in her heart and bring her to conviction. She just wasn’t there… yet.
  7. False Assurance. We felt that if we moved on with Robin in the assumption that she was saved, this might give her a false assurance and even bolster the pride already at work.

Robin’s story is still unfolding. Next week, we’ll see how her understanding developed and how it can help us interact with those we seek to reach.

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