Saturday, November 18, 2006

When is it Time to Leave Your Church?

Dr. John MacArthur has a great post on this subject that I would encourage you to read. One of the biggest points he makes, that I hope will be addressed more in depth, is the one about churches that are willing to tolerate members that are steeped in sin. As Christians we have a duty to lovingly come around our brothers and sisters that are in sin and seek to bring them to repentance. If they are unwilling to repent, and the church is unwilling to practice biblical church restoration (Matt 18), then I have to ask you the same question that Sean Connery asked Kevin Costner in The Untouchables - What are you prepared to do? What if the sin is in the leadership? What if it is smoking or drinking? What if it is a lack of desire to truly adhere to the word of God? How committed to God are you when it comes to what you are willing to accept in your church?

You see, when church becomes a social club it is amazing what people are willing to live with in their Christian lives in order to keep friends and loved ones happy. At first some things will bother you and then you may just accept them as the way it is. I believe a lot of people in this country are attached to their churches for the wrong reasons. As followers of Christ we must be willing to take the stands that honor and glorify Him. We must be unashamedly committed to His word, and His will, even if it means upsetting people - and yes, even if it means leaving that church for one that truly seeks to be God glorifying in all things. The way is narrow (Matt 7:13-14), are you willing to walk the narrow way? Even if at times you have to walk it only with Christ? Soli Deo Gloria!

For the article by John MacArthur click here.

1 comment:

Jenny Freeman said...

I do believe we need to confront sin in the lives of believers, as the Bible says, in love. However, I left a church that had many people on different levels in their walk with God. We all have areas of weakness in our walks. I left that church thinking I needed someplace with more structure, more Bible study, more opportunities to serve. I found a church that offered these things and seemed to love the Lord. However, I also found making new relationships was very hard, and establishing deep, transparent relationships where we could grow in God's grace was even harder. The people at this church were hard to get to know, and were established in cliques disguised as "Sunday School Classes". I found that after eight months my walk with God was deeper, but that was because we had no friends to turn to, and out of lonliness I turned to God. Now that was wonderful that I grew closer to Jesus that way, and I believe God took my mistake of leaving that first church and made something good out of it. However, as I read more of God's word, I began to realize I may have left that first church for the wrong reasons. I think I was bored with my life, and started feeling "spiritually unhealthy" when the Lord may have just been trying to grow in me perseverence. I thought, if I can get away from these people, get in Bible Study, and find ways to serve God, I would somehow become spiritually healthy. However, it is the Holy Sprit who saved me,and He who will sanctify me. It was like I was trying to force God to change me, as quickly as possible.I had no close relationships with other Christians in my new congregation, and I realized that reaching out to and doing "real life, and real struggles" with other Christians, far outweighed my ideas of the "perfect church". Where all people loved you, never sinned, and you just served the Lord in amazing and exciting ways while gaining knowledge of His word.The main thing is we really need to pray before we leave a church, and see if their is not something in us amiss. Even though our church was filled with imperfect people it was filled with imperfect people who loved Jesus, and wanted to grow. I have decided to go back, because I left for the wrong reasons, and I need people who I could be transparent with, and feel safe with as I grow in the Lord.