• johned@aibi.ph

When Church Goes Wrong

From an anonymous person on a cults e-mail list.

My name is Brent. Last year my wife and I started attending a new church. It has been a difficult transition for us. The people in our new church are so different from the people we have come to know so well for the last six years in our old church. At times we have wondered if these people love God at all , or are they just acting.

You see, we learned how a Christian should be from our old church. We learned how a Christian should be:

  1. Completely submitted to the authority appointed over them.
  2. Doing all things in agreement with the church, for unity's sake.
  3. Attending church whenever the doors are open, unless given permission to be absent by the pastor.
  4. Having no fellowship with darkness. (Unsaved loved ones) Unless preaching the Word to them.
  5. Willing to forsake all for the vision of the ministry. (Jobs, family, personal choice, etc.)
  6. Willing to back up the leadership, especially the pastor. (Cover up faults and flaws)
  7. Faith in the leadership is a must. (they are Gods ministers, called to lead us)
  8. Ready to proclaim the gospel in and out of season. (The gospel is an offense, so it's not our fault if people are offended!)

Our new church has some different ideas. They talk to each other sometimes without even pointing out each others faults. I guess they don't know that we are supposed to rebuke and exhort each other. Sometimes after service people even ask the pastor to clarify what he said during his message. Maybe they are rebellious or just lack the faith to trust in Gods messenger. One of the strangest things is that the pastor admits he makes mistakes sometimes. I've always been taught that Gods messenger is to be trusted in all things.

My wife sometimes seems like she wants to go back to our old church. Whenever we talk with old friends they say we should too. It doesn't seem like we see our old friends much any more. Our old pastor told us if we left our old church we would be cursed. I think our old friends are afraid they might be cursed as well. Maybe they just think of us as backsliders. That's how we always thought of others who left. Of course there are a few close friends who still say hi when we see them at the store.

We call or exchange email with a couple sometimes. Of course they are just being rebellious, disobedient to their pastor. We always talk of doing "something" together. We never do. We try to keep our distance. We wouldn't want them to get in trouble with their pastor. We can't say much without seeming to be causing division or being troublemakers. We wouldn't want to invite anyone to visit our new church. That would be stealing sheep.

We have been spending more time with our families lately. My mom has even asked me to pray for her. No matter how much I preached to her before she never asked me to pray for her. She always told me to stop trying to push my religion on her. This is a strange change.

My dad is a Christian. Even though I've been taught that He attends a "dry bones" denomination, I can tell he loves us. He always seems to be there for us to talk to lately. I don't know why I never really took him too seriously before. I'm glad he's there for us now.

Our new pastor isn't as forceful as our old pastor. But he seems to have a real concern for us. He seems to smile and nod a lot as he listens to what we have to say. I like that. We're used to a stern gaze and a harsh rebuke. I always ridiculed those "lovey dovey churches". Isn't the Word of God a double edged Sword? A consuming Fire?

I think our new church will do just fine.

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.