Monday, November 28, 2016

Why People Leave the Church


The following is an exchange I had a few months back with a woman named Melissa via e-mail. These kinds of exchanges are fairly regular with a wide variety of people, but all making the same arguments. Receive my tone as even and caring. I want a person to love Christ and His church, which is why I share His word: so they will repent of their sins and through Christ be reconciled to God and to His people. A person will hear the gospel and be broken by it, or they will be crushed under it (Matthew 21:44). There's an omission and edits for grammar.

Mr. Hughes

I read your blog about the disagreement with Pavlovitz. I'm a once-in-a-while church person. The way you attempted to contradict Pavlovitz on why people leave Church is why people leave Church. My interpretation of what you are saying is that if you aren't a 100% believer of "our" beliefs you do not belong "here".  

Everyday people don't feel accepted in one way or another. It would be nice to enjoy a Sunday morning with people that are unbiased and accepting, unfortunately that's not reality. Do individuals or corporations own a Church or does God? It's interesting how people will say "our" Church or "my" Church as if it's something they own or a club they belong to.  

This is why Church Goers become Used to be Church Goers. The disillusionment is revealed & then they wake up and realize they belong to a cult where their true selves aren't accepted.  

I realize the Southern Baptist ways tend to rely on fear and intimidation to "keep its flock in order", but people are smarter than that. They want compassion, understanding and treated with dignity. 

Melissa

Dear Melissa

Thank you for reading the blog, and I appreciate you reaching out and sending me an e-mail. People leave the church because they hate God and they hate God's people. There is no other reason. The blog mentions 1 John 2:19 where the Apostle says they went out from us so that it might become plain that they were never of us to begin with.

Romans 8:7-8 says, "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." We read in 1 Corinthians 1:18 and 2:14, "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."

You're an occasional church-goer because you also don't love God or His people. I pray that you will repent of this and that you will love the body of Christ. You like listening to men like John Pavlovitz because he makes you feel better about your decisions, accumulating for yourself false teachers to suit your own passions (2 Timothy 4:3).

Pastor Gabe

Mr. Hughes

I don't hate God or "his" people. Wasn't I a product of God and doesn't He have a plan for me? Is God only in a structure that is man made? Instead of quoting scripture maybe you should spend more time trying to understand human beings. Humans feel more accepted when one tries to understand their questions and concepts. The minute one starts to "preach the Gospel" I feel alone, threatened and alienated. Follow these words or else... is what I hear. 

Dear Melissa

Thank you again for your reply. I don't understand what you're asking by your first few questions, but let me say that all those who are in Christ, who are part of His church, are His people. It says in 1 Peter 2:10, talking about the church, "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people." And in Titus 2:14, Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

We read in 1 John 3:10, "By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." As it says previously in 1 John 3:8, "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil."

The reason why you feel threatened and alienated when you hear the Bible quoted to you is because your conscience is guilty. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." You feel exposed when the word of God is given to you. Rather than ignore it and try to tell people not to speak the Bible, repent of your sins and desire Christ the Lord.

Jesus said, "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God" (John 3:19-21).

If you don't hate God, then you'll come to the light of His love and mercy as spoken about in His word. But if you hate God, you will hate His word, and will run when you hear it.

Pastor Gabe

Wow!! Just wow. I can't be a part of your world. I guess I must hate people that love God. I should quit my job as a nurse who goes on mission trips to third world countries and join the devil. 

This condescending "Join God and his people or else you're a hateful person" is what drives people away from your kind of Church.

Thank you for your response again. I just wanted a real human discussion with a pastor that had different thoughts than mine and you could not even do that. 

I won't email anymore as I'm sure I'm an insult to your belief system.

"All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2