Leaving a Church Well (Post #2)

Last post, we heard good reasons someone might leave a local church. These were taken from Earl Blackburn’s book Jesus Loves the Church and So Should You.  

In this second post, I want to share Blackburn’s reasons you should not leave a church, and I am quoting him at length from pp. 133-34:

  • Because you reject hard sayings and teachings of the Holy Bible and their implications . . . Other examples include biblical doctrines that are not palatable, instruction on church discipline, penetrating sermons, Sunday School lessons that seek to address today’s lawless practices, pastoral counsel that people do not want to hear.
  • Because you do not get your way about non-salvific matters (Philippians 2:3).  People often make idols of their own ideas or desires.  The church vote did go the way you wanted.  The pastors/elders or deacons did not do what you thought was best.  “I don’t like they way they did it …”  However, you must remember that the church in not about “you.”  The church is all about Christ! (emphasis in original)
  • Because you are unwilling to deal with personal sin when confronted (Matthew 18:15-17).
  • Because you will not work out personal differences with another brother or sister in a biblical manner (Philippians 4:2).  NOTE: Learn to work through difficulties with brethren in a biblical manner.  Do not run away to another church.  You will only carry your “dirty laundry” with you, see your problems resurface or worsen, and pollute the new church you attend.
  • Because you are under church discipline and you refuse to repent of flagrant sins or doctrines or teachings that caused scandal, division and offenses (see Romans 16:17-19).
  • Because you fail to live the way you should live within the covenant church community and before a watching world (Colossians 3:12-16).
  • Because you love the world more than Christ (2 Timothy 4:9-10) and you wish to return to the things that temporarily gratify the flesh.
  • Because you get angry and reject exhortations.  This often happens when fellow church members carry out exhortations and admonitions through mutual ministry (1 Thessalonians 5:14) or when pastors caution members of carelessness they observe.
  • Because the church does not have all the “programs” you want.  Activities and programs, which can create “busyness” to entertain or occupy children or teens, can easily deter people from the authentic purpose of the church.
  • Because the worship or preaching does not meet your “felt” needs.  Society today is so sensory-oriented and emotionally driven that objective truth is often overrun by subjective feelings.  NOTE: The full-orbed exposition and declaration of the whole counsel of God’s Word is more important than people’s desire for programs or their “felt” needs!  A consistent expository ministry will eventually meet all “felt” needs.
  • Because you are not a true Christian (1 John 2:19).  If you are a church member and come to believe you are not a true Christian, the thing to do is not leave the church, but repent and believe the gospel.  Let the pastor(s) know of your conversion, be baptized as a believer, and then truly join the church.

Well, this list makes me both happy and sad.

Happy because I am in such agreement with it and have been for many years.  This is a truly biblical vision of church cast by the New Testament itself!

Sad because of how few pastors and church members I see and know who embrace this full-orbed New Testament view of the church.  And even sadder by how many people and friends I have known who have left churches for these very reasons.  These very poor reasons.  These very shallow reasons.  These very reasons that mock the Doctrine of the Church as it has been given to us by Jesus Christ and His Apostles.

May God forgive them and us.  May God enlarge our vision of church. May we be given grace to do church in the way that makes Jesus look best and biggest.  Whatever man may say.  Make it so here at Corydon Baptist Church, O Lord.  And begin the work in my own heart!

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