Thursday, May 5, 2011

When Is It Time To Leave A Church?

Question Received:

Please help. I left my former church after fourteen years because the pastor began teaching false doctrine. And,after visiting numerous churches, I have found a Presbyterian church that has a powerful, spirit-filled women's bible study and preaching that is scriptural, except for these two issues: 1. This church has women deacons and ordained women elders who sometimes preach, in direct disobedience to ITim 2:12 2. Baptism is by sprinkling, not total immersion that is exemplified in Scripture. Their form of baptism may not be an issue, but I am having serious concerns about submitting to leadership which disobeys the scripture, regarding womens' roles in the church. Is this one point reason enough not to join this church and search for another one? I really hoped this would be the end of my seach for a new church. Thank you, Shirl

Question Answered:

Here is a description of a highly commended church, the church in revelation, in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 3:8-13 ESV

"'I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

The church at Philadelphia was highly regarded and commended by Jesus Christ. They were of lower class and no political power but kept His Word and did not deny Him. Christ loved them because they did not lie but bore witness of Him. They had patience and endurance. They received the promise to be kept from the hour of trial and the promise of Heaven. They received from the LORD commendation, no criticism, yet instruction and a promise.

The church has a mission stated in the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:8-20 ESV
8And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

There will not be found a perfect church. A church can have the perfect goals Christ gave them only if they love Him first and foremost. He is the head of the church.

First of all you said the pastor of your former church taught false doctrine. Only you know it. Search your heart and make sure it was not your feelings being hurt or a cultural preference in worship. Were scriptural teachings on salvation, worship or evangelism violated? Was the Bible not regarded as the Word of God? Was false worship being practiced not sanctioned in Scripture? Only you know.

Every church is flawed. I believe most people join a church trusting their church will teach true Bible doctrine. Obviously all fail from small to a great degree. When the Bible is not regarded as truth and Jesus is not regarded as our only hope in Salvation I can tell you to flee.

In my experience with churches once churches adopt liberal stances concerning women in ministry they cannot balance that with an inerrant view of the Bible. Baptism is a big issue in a church and you have to decide about Infant or believer's baptism by immersion tells a lot of what is believed about salvation. Can we have differences with others and all still be Christians? Yes. Again no church is perfect.

In my personal observations of individual churches and denominations, once wrong doctrinal is adopted and leadership adopts the wrong position, theological and biblical problems are almost impossible to correct. If you stay these big problems you listed will not go away. Will you give in to these positions? Would compromising help you or that church? You do not need to be ugly about departing. You can be loving, but from Scripture, you can share your Biblical concerns.
Yes, your local church fellowship shapes you and you help shape it. If these violated biblical principles bother you, you need to find a church who you can follow and serve the Lord with out violating biblical principals.

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