When is it ok to leave a church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by tfisher1, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. tfisher1

    tfisher1
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    My wife and I are considering leaving our church for several reason which I will list later, but my basic question is, when is it ok to leave? I keep hearing from some (especially my current pastor) that you should never leave a church unless the pastor is in gross doctrinal error on some matter and refuses to be swayed from his error. Below are some of 'my' issues:
    They are pretty much standard as alot of IFB churches. The first few I would not leave over in and of themselves. Its the whole of things that is causing me to consider leaving.

    1. Our church's music stance is much different than my own. The church stands that CCM is bad, hymns are good. I like some CCM and have no problem being discerning in what myself and my family listen to.
    2. Our church's unwritten code that all women must wear a dress or skirt to church is getting a little old. My wife believes she only does it so people won't look down on her.
    3. The church is very standards oriented. ( the 'higher' they are, the more God is pleased with you, along with everyone else.
    4. Attitude of anyone who is not a "fundamentalist" is a compromiser. We are bible-believing. (and the others don't believe the Bible??)
    5. Very hostile towards Calvinism, and considers those who adhere to the doctrines of Grace to be deceived, foolish, fatalistic....etc... etc... Its not just that we don't agree, its his delivery when railing against it. Very crass, demeaning to good men when he decides to go on a tangent.

    Those are a few of things I'm dealing with. My sister believes I would better be labelled as a NEO-Fundy or conservative Evangelical and therefore that is why I am thinking of moving on. I don't want to be a thorn in my pastor's flesh and don't want to cause him any problems. Yet He constantly preaches that if you leave a good bible-believing church like 'ours', almost every time your family will go down the tubes...You should never leave over "personality" issues etc...only gross doctrinal error.
    Well, I don't know if my issues count as "gross doctrinal error", but I believe in my heart that things will only progress worse if I stay. I don't want to become bitter or cause any derision.

    Any thoughts will help.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Nicholas25

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    I agree with you on the music issue. The Free Will Baptist Church I attend thinks Contemporary Christian music is bad. I disagree and would even say that I get more out of ccm than hymns. The ladies at my church also were dresses to every service. My fiancee would like to wear slack pants, especially in the winter. I told her I don't think it's wrong to wear pants but since the ladies at our church don't, that she shouldn't either. As far as leaving church goes, you will just have to pray hard about it and follow the leading of the Lord.
     
  3. Snitzelhoff

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    When it comes to a soteriological issue like Calvinism, it may be best to part ways, particularly given the hostility your current church has shown toward it. I am not a Calvinist, personally, but it is important to ground yourself in a home church where you can agree with the major doctrines being preached.

    I would also submit that, if a doctrine is made of things like dress code or musical styles, then your disagreement becomes a doctrinal issue, and not merely a matter of taste or personality. In other words, it's not so much that you want to leave because they prefer hymns, but because they believe CCM is inherently "wrong."

    So, for those issues and the attitude of pride that your church seems to exhibit, I would suggest that perhaps leaving and finding another church would be the best course of action for you and your family. However, under no circumstances should such a decision be reached without prayerful consideration of all your options--speaking with the pastor or elders about the issues, for instance.

    Michael
     
  4. rbell

    rbell
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    Tfisher1,

    A central baptist doctrine...priesthood of the believer. It ain't the pastor's job to tell you when it's OK to leave. Sounds like God, through your circumstances, and through the God-given concern for your family, is leading you on.

    Go.

    Your pastor preaches "don't ever leave based on 'minor' issues" because he is insecure, and will probably take your leaving personally. That's not your problem. That's his.

    I don't think you're considering leaving because of skirts or CCM. I think you're considering leaving for two reasons:
    (1) You see the crippling legalism, and it concerns you. You don't want your family coming away thinking Christianity is simply a bunch of "dont's," yelled at high volume with much venom.
    (2) You are uncomfortable with your church's anti-Calvinistic stance. (not getting into a debate here, fellas, just restating his point)

    That's bigger than taste or preference.

    Go.

    Be courteous to the pastor (and I think it's above board to tell him you're leaving), but don't be a bit surprised when you and your family are castigated for "backsliding." Many insecure pastors do that.

    Did I mention...go?
     
  5. Brother Bob

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    Romans, chapter 14


    "1": Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

    "2": For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

    "3": Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

    "4": Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    "5": One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (Whether you stay or leave, you are the one who has to live with it.)
     
  6. Scott J

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    If I were in your shoes, I'd be thinking the same thing. It would be best to bring these things to the pastor first but if his opinions are as strong as they seem to be from your post, it probably won't change anything.
     
  7. Bro Tony

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    Seek the Lord with a heart of pure motives. Listen to His Spirit and do what He tells you no matter what a man says. You are a priest before God, seek Him earnestly and by faith follow Him. If you do that you will be blessed----Remember God never punishes obedience.

    Bro Tony
     
  8. James Flagg

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    With all due respect, I take this question the same way I would take the quesion, "When is it okay to go to Quizno's and get a sandwich?". In other words, it's okay any time you feel like it.

    If you think it's not up to your standards, then depart from that church and don't look back. I would not hesitate were I in your position.
     
  9. lgpruitt

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    If you are in a church that you feel is not meeting your needs as a Christian, then I would prayfully seek another church.
     
  10. Hope of Glory

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    When should you leave? Usually after the closing prayer.

    Seriously, though, the CCM and dress issue can be major doctrinal issues, or not. Do they preach that CCM is evil, in and of itself, and if you listen to it you are being deceived? Or, do they simply prefer hymns? Do they falsely teach that biblically, women are required to wear dresses, or is it just a preference?

    I think you need to answer these questions.

    But, you do have to be persuaded in your own mind. If they are teaching something the is unbiblical, then I would leave.

    As to how soon, it would depend upon how long I had been a member. If I had been a member for years, then I would stay and try to persuade them a while longer. If I had been going for a couple of months, it would be less.

    But, that's just me.
     
  11. Shiloh

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    Most of the time it's not the music or the dress or what have ya. It's a backslidded attitude. In all my years in the ministry I have never heard of any body wanting to leave a church because the standards were not "high" enough. If we really love the Lord Jesus there would be nothing that would offend us. It's a good thing the Lord Jesus didn't have our attitude He would have never gone to the cross.
     
  12. Scott J

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    There is nothing of a "backslidden attitude" in the rejection of arbitrary, man-made standards... even if these particular men think they are "high" or "conservative".

    There are no man-made standards "higher" than those God gave in scripture... nor more "holy"... nor more "conservative".
     
  13. James_Newman

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    Leaving a church is a serious matter that should be well thought out and prayerfully considered. Have you talked to your pastor about the issues that you have with the church? I would not venture to say that everyone who leaves a church for other than serious doctrinal issues goes down the tubes, but I have seen it happen enough times to know it is a danger, even had it happen to myself and my family. The church is not just a place where you choose to go worship, it is the body of Christ. I believe that you are afforded a certain grace that you would forfeit if you remove yourself from the body for the wrong reasons.

    My wife may not agree with all the things I believe, does that mean she can leave the marriage?
     
  14. rbell

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    Sorry, James, likening leaving a church for another body of Christ-following believers to walking out on your wedding vows--that's a ridiculous comparison.

    Furthermore...THE CHRUCH, not your individual meetinghouse, is the body of Christ...you're not removing yourself from "the body" if you change from one church to another (assuming you get involved immediately with a good Bible-believing church). You're simply changing who you meet with.

    And Shiloh's advice is poor. He says,

    "If we really love the Lord Jesus there would be nothing that would offend us."

    **Personal attack removed**

    One further piece of advice I did have...if you change churches, do make sure that you stay away from becoming a permanent "church shopper." Don't give Satan time to get you out of the habit of service and worship.

    They do say to talk with your pastor...and I think that is wise. But be ready for a rough response. If you get venom, give love.

    [ April 25, 2006, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: blackbird ]
     
  15. AresMan

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    The body of Christ is the whole of believers. Going from one localized group to another is not leaving the body of Christ and is not comparable to marriage and divorce. There is no ceremony of vows before God and man 'til death do you part. The issue in this dilemna is optimum service to Christ and relationship with other believers, not that of autonomous authority and broken contracts.
     
  16. James_Newman

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    I'm sure most people would disagree with me, so I can hardly expect to persuade you guys, but I believe that submitting to authority in all its forms is one of the best ways to serve Christ.
     
  17. drfuss

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    One thing that has not been addressed here is: Do you have another church to go to that would better meet your families spiritual needs? If you don't, then you should look around a little before you leave.

    Another question is how long have you been unhappy with your church. If it has only been a couple of months, then wait awhile, things might get better for you. On the other hand, if you have been unhappy for a year or so, then by all means, look around for another church.

    From you post, it sounds like your Pastor tries to exert way too much control over the members. If you have already discussed you concerns with him, don't feel obligated to discuss it with him again, just leave when you are ready.
     
  18. AresMan

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    A man's authority however does not trump the clear commandments of God. If somehow someone was raised in a local congregation since birth that turned out to be an overbearing cult that required strict adherance and obedience without exception and life commitment without the possibility of escape, is that person then stuck there by God's authority? I believe that an elder has authority in matters pertaining to the activities and ministries of his associated local congregation, but the elder does not have authority over the life of any member of the congregation (such as where to go to college, where to work, who to marry, etc.)
     
  19. James_Newman

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    You have to be sure to finish up with 'your not the boss of me, pastor man' ;)
     
  20. Shiloh

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    There are reasons for leaving a church. 1. The preaching of false doctrine. 2. Immorality Other then that? A good rule of thumb is watch where the folks turn up. 9 times out of 10 they turn up at a weaker church.
     

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