7 Considerations If You’re Planning on Leaving Your Church
Give your pastor a good and honest reason why you are doing so. Don’t leave in a huff of silence. Don’t give a reason that is not the true reason. Your pastor has been your shepherd. Your pastor likely has made sacrifices for you of which you are not aware. It would be cruel and unbiblical to walk out with no explanation or a bad explanation.
You’ve been with your church for a while now. Something is now urging you to leave the church. We will not get into evaluating your reasons. Let’s just say you have made the decision, or you are close to making that decision.
Let’s assume you are not moving to another location. You are leaving your church because you think you should make this exit.
While I do not want to judge you or argue with you, would you consider reading the rest of this article? Would you look at the following seven considerations before you make the decision final?
1. Make certain you have prayed about the decision. It is not a move to be taken lightly. Ask God to check your heart to see if the prompting is His or your own.
2. Ask yourself if you are making the decision because of personal preferences. Perhaps the sermon seemed too long. Maybe the music is not the perfect blend that you like. Still yet, maybe you have decided “you are not being fed” spiritually. That is a common reason given by exiting members. Please know, though, the next church you attend will not meet all of your preferences and desires either. Church membership in its truest biblical form is self-sacrificing and forgiving (see 1 Corinthians 12 and 13).
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The Philosophical and Moral Impotency of Natural Law in Refuting HomosexualityBy Ron DiGiacomo — 10 months ago
Without God’s word, ultimate autonomous virtue leads to defending deviant behavior against conscience. That’s where the world lives today. It doesn’t have a good enough reason to condemn sinful practice without being bigoted, so the world defends what God condemns.
Although all men know by nature that homosexuality is sin, it’s only through Scripture that one can adequately defend the claim. (Natural theology types are free to try sometime.)
Since most people are autonomous in their thinking, it’s understandable why most cannot justify with any consistency and without avoiding arbitrariness, the claim that homosexuality is morally wrong.
Although many straight people still find homosexuality unnatural—unnatural does not imply moral deviance. Even the claim that something is unnatural presupposes a network of beliefs about reality, truth, and ethical standards that cannot adequately be justified apart from Scripture. Whether homosexuality is sin is indeed a worldview question.
Sure, in general revelation there is natural law that pronounces guilt for sin upon all mankind, including guilt for homosexuality. Notwithstanding, natural law can grow increasingly dim in the minds of the ungodly. Yet even when natural law was shining more brightly upon social conscience, it was never to be interpreted apart from special revelation. With the rejection of the Bible, mankind is left to grope in darkness but not in search for moral standards – rather for moral standards that are philosophically defensible in the context of a larger worldview context that should be consistent, coherent and explanatory. On the authority of God’s word, we know it cannot successfully be done, which has been corroborated and verified since the time of creation.
Accordingly, two unhappy alternatives:
Apart from viewing homosexuality through the lens of Scripture, one is left with two unhappy alternatives: (i) a bigoted rejection of homosexuality or else (ii) condoning what is known in conscience to be morally deviant. In other words, apart from Scripture one either can judge correctly yet for sinful reasons, or else violate conscience (and live in moral conflict) by condoning in the name of love, no less, that which is an abomination in God’s sight.
Teach Your Children What the Bible Says About Their BodiesBy Jordan Chamblee — 6 months ago
You were purchased by Jesus Christ, not just your spirit but your body as well. Since they belong to God (doubly because He also created them) it is reasonable and expected that you should dedicate your body to His glory. Among your fellow humans, yes, you have a degree of ownership over your body. But on the highest level of reality, you own not a cell of it. It is completely a possession of God’s, given to you as a gift. You are obligated to obey God with your body. We must teach our children that their bodies were created by God and belong to Him.
The bodies of our children are under attack, and we need to teach them how to defend themselves.
In September 2022, conservative commentator Matt Walsh Tweeted a thread exposing a K-12 school in Tennessee for promoting Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Pediatric Transgender Clinic. Underneath the nice language of “equality” and “acceptance” lies the reality that preadolescent children are receiving cross-gender hormone treatments and reconstructive surgeries.
Cross-gender hormone treatments and reconstructive surgeries are becoming prevalent in children with gender dysphoria. These treatments are irreversible and often lead to the sterilization of children. There is no telling the long-term effects of these treatments.
But even before their parents decide to place them under the scalpel, these children are being bombarded with confusing messages about identity and the significance of their bodies.
Many popular YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and other social media influencers spread the LGBTQ message through their lifestyles or simply by verbally affirming it. Young people face increasing pressure to declare themselves as allies of the “trans community,” and it can be socially dangerous to refrain. Their Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat bios proclaim their pronouns, ranging from the biologically obvious (He/Him, She/Her) to the fantastical (Xe/Xem, Ey/Em, Zie/Zim, Ve/Ver, Ne/Nem).
You may be rolling your eyes, thinking that social media can’t have a real impact on the real world. But as a parent in the 2020s, you must understand something: social media is where your kids spend their time, and it’s where they are being discipled. Social media cannot be shrugged off or dismissed. It is and will remain a powerful force in everyday life.
This attack on the bodies and identities of children has been going on for decades, even centuries, and its effect on our culture will not be thwarted overnight. As Christian parents, we must teach our children what the Bible says about their bodies. Satan whispers many lies to us to pervert our understanding of our bodies, and unfortunately, some of these lies have gained a foothold in churches. Let’s look at some of these lies and how we can instruct our children in biblical truth.
The lie: “You can recreate yourself however you want… you can be your own god.”
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26-27 NKJV).
One of the reasons Satan hates humans so much is because we bear the image of the God whom he sought to become like. It is a possession he could never have, and his existence now is defined by the hatred and anger he bears toward it. Every thought of his mind, every command he gives to his demons, is toward the goal of attacking the image any way he can. And he does.
All around us are voices telling us how we should feel about our bodies.
An Open Letter With A Broken Heart to My Beloved ChurchBy Anonymous — 10 months ago
[Editor’s Note: This is a letter from a member to her church explaining the reasons she left a church she loved after being a member for eight years. We are publishing the letter anonymously to avoid publicly impugning anyone’s integrity and to allow the content of the letter to be read on its merits.]
I pray for God to send a Spirit of healing to work among his church. And that moving forward, there will be a stirring of the Spirit to turn our attention to the condition of our own hearts, rather than to try and discern the condition of the heart of the person sitting next to us. Scripture describes our hearts as stony ground, and God’s Word as a plough. I urge you, as I urge myself: Do not shrink back from Christ’s hand at the plow in your own heart. It is from Him that true enlightenment of the heart (i.e., love) comes, not from humanity, not from cultural sensitivity, or anything else.
To the Beloved at My Home Church,
It is with considerable trepidation that I take this opportunity to inform you, my brothers and sisters, that I have left my local PCA home church. The reasons why I have left are relevant to this collection of essays; therefore, although I am no longer a member among you, I hope I might be given a voice alongside you, to describe my experiences at my PCA church which have led me to this point.
After having been a member/regular attender at this PCA church for close to 8 years, I began seeing a lot of changes in our preaching and worship that seemed to detract from the message of God’s free grace, and instead place more and more emphasis on issues of black and white relations. In particular, I felt a sense of antagonism towards white people coming from the pulpit. Many unfair assumptions were being made about a broad group of people based solely on one physical attribute: their skin color.
I acknowledge that sin can be passed on generationally. However, I put forth that it is from Adam whom I have inherited my flesh. And it’s because of my union with him that sin comes to me. He was the first fruit of death and condemnation and, before I was saved, I was merely a seed after his kind. I know almost nothing of my own “white” heritage; but I don’t need to know whether or not my ancestors were involved in American slavery, or segregation, or racism, to fathom my sin. I already know that I stand utterly condemned under the federal headship of my first parents in the Garden.
This is Truth, and it is irrespective of skin color. Black people and white people are the seed of Adam. We are all guilty. Therefore, based on what I know of scripture, any clamor for “justice” is a fool’s errand. We think we want justice, but if we got what we thought we wanted, we would all stand rightly condemned, with no hope, before a God whose real standard is complete, perfect holiness. Who among white people or black people could measure up to this standard? God’s holiness will not be satisfied with changes in our worship music, the racial demographics of our congregation, or our church’s culture. No; the standard is complete, perfect holiness–nothing less will meet God’s requirements. And His requirements are just.
We all desperately need to hear assurance of God’s grace. His grace for sinners. I don’t want justice for myself, because I don’t want to receive the just penalty for my sins. I don’t want justice for a person who’s been victimized, and I don’t want justice even for a person who is a victimizer. Because I can’t say, “God’s marvelous grace for me, but justice for somebody else.” What we all really need is to hear grace preached; not to be assured of our condemnation but to be assured that there is a covering for our sins in the precious blood of Jesus. We ourselves satisfy none of God’s demands for holiness; but the precious blood of Jesus satisfies them all.
We cannot usher in the Kingdom of God through our own merit, our own agendas, our own efforts. If we, as believers, are truly sensitive to the Holy Spirit of God, then He will teach us how to love our neighbor, black or white. If the leadership of our PCA church feels strongly that the congregation does not love our neighbor, then one must ask: Why not teach us how to become re-sensitized to the gentle whispers and promptings of the Holy Spirit? Why not preach and pray for revival in the Church, and acknowledge the need for a super-natural refreshment that only The Spirit can provide? Why focus on trying to guess whether or not the white individuals at our church are loving enough towards black people, when we could together beseech the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) who alone has the power to move the hearts of men?
When Paul went to Athens, and (supposedly) engaged with the Greeks by using their own culture to reach them, we see that it was not because Paul respected or valued their culture. It was because he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw there (Acts 17:16). This was not the sentiment of a man who felt that all human cultures have something valuable to give, and that a worshipful knowledge of the True God should be based out of a culture comfortable for those Athenians. Paul merely pointed out that their culture acknowledged the True God completely by accident. And he used that observation to open their eyes to their own idolatry-riddled surroundings. That, I believe, is an apt description of all human culture. Culture reflects the idol-prone human heart. And to make culture such a large focus from the pulpit of a church of the Trinitarian God of the Bible leaves so much to be desired.
Now we come to me. I never wanted to cause conflict. So, I sat with my troubles for many years, and attempted to discern if what I was hearing was really true….. was I secretly a racist because my skin is white? After much soul searching and investigating the scriptures, I believe the answer is “no”. I do not feel this is a self-deception. My conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit.
However, I was still hearing preaching from the pulpit which condemned me for this reason. When I tried to express my concerns to people of authority over our worship services, as well as in my prayer group, I received more pushback and more slights against my character. Had I been a stranger among you, I might not have been so surprised or so hurt. But these were people to whom I had made myself intimately known over many years. People whom I considered my brothers and sisters in the most real way possible. Very few took my own conscience, or my own relationship with the Holy Spirit, seriously.
I could have engaged more (as I know some of you are now attempting to do in my absence) to take a stand against the party spirit that is seeping into our PCA church from the surrounding culture. But I am not strong. I do apologize to you, for my weakness and my cowardice. I found I couldn’t stand against even a little persecution and exclusion in my own church. So, under the advice of Godly men who know me and know my limitations, I decided to leave. But this has been a confusing and difficult experience. I can’t stop loving you as my brothers and sisters, and it is hard for me to understand and accept why I can no longer be with you.
If there is no unity in Christ, there is no unity. If some “thing” is destroying our unity in Christ, whatever it happens to be, perhaps pursuing it is not good. Even good things can become idols.
My last words will be of blessing and caution to you. I pray for God to send a Spirit of healing to work among his church. And that moving forward, there will be a stirring of the Spirit to turn our attention to the condition of our own hearts, rather than to try and discern the condition of the heart of the person sitting next to us. Scripture describes our hearts as stony ground, and God’s Word as a plough. I urge you, as I urge myself: Do not shrink back from Christ’s hand at the plow in your own heart. It is from Him that true enlightenment of the heart (i.e., love) comes, not from humanity, not from cultural sensitivity, or anything else. Once our own hearts are broken by the Word, the Holy Spirit will grant us the loving unity with our brothers and sisters that we are longing for.
It is for the Lord to discern the hearts of men…. and when people attempt to discern the heart of their brother or sister on a human level, I can testify from my personal experiences at my PCA church over the last few years: there is a lot of room for error and hurt.
1 Corinthians 4:1-5:
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
I miss you all, and I love you. I am praying for God to comfort you during this difficult time.
With Love in Christ, I Remain Your Sister