Article # one: Intro
Leave or stay?
Leave the evangelical church system (be it denominational or inter- or non-), or stay and make the best of it.
Most likely you have never read a book dealing with this pointed question. (Perhaps such a book has yet to be invented.) Yet surely this issue, cautiously hidden in the hearts of many, should be confronted in print. Surely every issue must be brought under Bible light. And surely those who consider such a move as extreme should, in fairness, examine the rationale of those who do not.
Coming across a christian who does not attend a ‘church’ is becoming less rare, and perhaps will soon be commonplace. Every year hundreds of churches in North America are shutting down due to lack of attendance, and many of those no longer attending church-as-we-know-it are going deeper in the Lord, gathering in homes, having renounced traditional trappings.
The arguments for and against leaving and for and against staying are several, and weighing the matter just might bring to mind a play you have seen years ago:
T e v y e : On the other hand….. (Fiddler on the Roof)
Tevye the milkman was forced to arbitrate between Tevye the traditionalist and Tevye the unconventional father of three unconventional daughters. Just as he was about to come to a firm conclusion, a contrary but reasonable thought would upset his reasoning, and back and forth arguments flew across his distressed intellect. How would much practiced Tevye deal with this thorny issue? Hmmm…..
T r a d i t i o n a l T e v y e : For many, leaving the church system is a first step to abandoning the faith altogether!……………….. On the other hand…..
U n c o n v e n t i o n a l T e v y e : There are some, admittedly few, who have never regularly attended a gospel church, or any church, and their attachment to Christ is far healthier than most. Community unbelief stuffing most evangelical church buildings is contagious and highly detrimental……………….. On the other hand…..
T r a d i t i o n a l T e v y e : We can take comfort there is enough faith and truth in evangelicalism to keep at least most on the straight and narrow and thus assure heaven. Most active apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors as well as those with other gifts operate (admittedly only somewhat) within evangelicalism, and of course only those in attendance can benefit……………….. On the other hand…..
U n c o n v e n t i o n a l T e v y e : Evangelicalism has little resemblance to New Testament writings. It is difficult to be an attendee and not compromise the truths of the Bible……………….. On the other hand…..
T r a d i t i o n a l T e v y e : It is possible to be an attendee and not compromise the truths of the Bible. The local church certainly helps keep one from losing faith altogether……………….. On the other hand…..
U n c o n v e n t i o n a l T e v y e : The local church is a hindrance to the one seeking a deeper life in Christ. Lack of fruit evident in most churches indicates a feeble relationship with Jesus……………….. On the other hand…..
T r a d i t i o n a l T e v y e : The local church does have some good fruit and there is no assurance leaving will bring more fruit……………….. On the other hand…..
U n c o n v e n t i o n a l T e v y e : Jesus reprimanded those choosing tradition over His words. Much, perhaps most, of evangelicalism is based on tradition……………….. On the other hand…..
T r a d i t i o n a l T e v y e : Sometimes Jesus shows up in the services……………….. On the other hand…..
U n c o n v e n t i o n a l T e v y e : Many eyes are being opened, even those who have been in church leadership, to the pitfalls of being attached to the evangelical system……………….. On the other hand…..
T r a d i t i o n a l T e v y e : Most recognized and respected names within evangelicalism strongly advocate staying……………….. On the other hand…..
Well that was fun. We could go on and on. Perhaps it’s suffice to say there are drawbacks and advantages, possibilities and dangers, to both leaving and staying. It is an issue of increasing relevance. It is a subject warranting study. It is the focus of this series of articles.
C h a l l e n g e : Where you interact will help determine the person you will become. Do you remember what has been said in other articles about being submissive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Jesus has a personal path for your personal christianity. You will not find it without sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
P r a y e r : Father, in His name, the precious name of Your Son and our Elder Brother, give us understanding on this most crucial issue, Leave or Stay?. May Your hand be upon this entire series. May only Your words come forth. Thank You, Father. (And hopefully the reader says, “Amen!”)