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Culture and Religion

$.02: When is it OK to quit church?

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Chris Sonsken of South Hills Church and founder Church BOOM penned a piece on Fox News that caught my attention on Twitter. It was a good column. Read the article here. The article addressed a Pew Research finding as to why people change churches. There finding as shown by Sonsken are:

  • Sermon quality
  • Welcoming environment/people
  • Style of worship
  • Location

Sonsken does a great job in arguing that there are biblically sound reasons for leaving a church and finding a new one.

1. It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave.

2. It’s OK to leave for family and marriage.

3. It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church.

4.  It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership.

5.  It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.

Sonsken even mentions that unethical practices like abuse are reasons to leave, though not the norm for the majority of church swapping.

The reasons Sonsken gave are no cause for disagreement, and I’m sure his book Quit Church probably better articulates them.

Where I want to add my two sense on the matter is that I disagree with his assessment sermon quality is not a biblical reason for changing churches. The supposition that sermon quality is inherently a result of the person treating church like an object of consumption, as Sonsken suggests is not true. I believe sermon quality is an umbrella term for several reasons for not liking a Sunday message.

Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit. The same pastor who was previously deep enough becomes shallow once there is an offense. It’s incredibly difficult to hear from God in a sermon when we are offended by the person delivering the sermon.

This is true in many cases. A sin that is personal gets preached on and the offended party leaves. I don’t deny this to be the case. But I believe we should look deeper into the current trends of worship and focus on the mission of the church.

18 And 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-21 ESV

The church is to preach the gospel, but people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior is only part of the mission. The Church is tasked with making disciples. The church is meant to teach. Not every follower is at the same level in their spiritual maturity or theological depth. Some churches, larger churches in particular dumb down the bible. In public education, this would be seen as lowering the bar. In church this practice could hold back believers in their growth. Small groups are a way to supplement this, and every church should employ bible study as a means to grow discipleship.

Many churches now are focused on metrics. This can lead to theologically watered down sermons and worship. Why risk offending that person who may leave with a sermon? But if a church is more focused on using a Sunday message to give a motivational speech using an out of context passage, what does it matter if they are doctrinally sound (in their written beliefs)?

There are a lot of heretical churches in America. We have issues like gay marriage to separate the sheep from the goats. But what about the sheep that suck? If a church has the right doctrine but is more focused on metrics than the power of the Holy Spirit, their head is in the wrong place. So it is biblically sound to change churches so that your head to remains in the right place.

That is not treating church like a consumer product. That is treating church like one’s means to grow spiritually, better recognizing the mission of the Great Commission.

That is my $.02 on the matter. I hope I added some meaningful word to this topic.


This post was originally publishd on Startup Christ. Startup Christ is a website for business and theology articles and columns.

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Culture and Religion

How likely is it that a single protein can form by chance?

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How likely is it that a single protein can form by chance

To really answers the question of whether life was created or came about by random chance, we need to take a mathematical look at things. It may be easier to form our opinions based on something we read in a junior high science book, but there really is more to it than the surface questions asked and answered by scientists and theologians alike.

For the faithful, it comes down to faith. For the scientific, it also comes down to faith. Whose faith is more likely to be correct?

Part of the answer can be found in this short video. Those who think there’s no faith associated with scientific theories clearly don’t understand the mathematics behind the science they claim to hold dear.

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Culture and Religion

When will people be forced to apologize for anti-Christian Tweets?

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When will people be forced to apologize for anti-Christian Tweets

There’s a trend that has been growing for some time that is reaching a tipping point now. The trend is this: when someone becomes a big story in the news, their Twitter accounts are scoured from beginning to end in order to find Tweets that offend a particular group or protected class. In many cases, this offended group has been the LGBTQ comunity, such as the recent cases of Kevin Hart and Kyler Murray.

Hart was set to host the upcoming Academy Awards when it was “discovered” the comedian used anti-LGBTQ slurs in the past. He deleted the Tweets and apologized, but still felt it necessary to pull out of the Oscars after so much backlash.

Murray, the Heisman trophy winner, was forced to apologize after reports of his Tweets used the same slurs when he was 14- and 15-years-old.

Bigotry in all its forms is contemptible. But where do we draw the line between actual bigotry and unfortunate uses of words or opinions in the past that have been deemed unacceptable today?

Should President Obama (and for that matter, Hillary Clinton) be demonized by the LGBTQ community, mainstream media, and leftists for their perspectives a decade ago? Lest we forget, both announced sharp opposition to gay marriage when they were running for president in 2008. Which is worse, a potential head of state calling for marriage to be defined as being between a man and woman or a teenager in high school referring to someone as a “fag”?

Democratic politicians are apparently allowed to evolve in their beliefs, but comedians and college football players are not.

Anti-Christian Tweets

Sadly, some of the very people who demonize others on Twitter for using unacceptable terms in the past are the same people who also demonize Christians today. I’ve been combing through Tweets of many of the most outspoken proponents of LGBTQ rights, accusers of Islamophopia, and other anti-bigotry leaders. In many cases, these people who are against bigotry demonstrate their own bigotry towards the Judeo-Christian faiths without being big news stories.

I’m not posting the Tweets here. I will not participate in whataboutism, nor do I condone using someone’s past Tweets to highlight their alleged bigotry. There’s a difference between the militant and inexcusable posts by people like Louis Farrakhan and the posts be people like Murray, Hart, or the anti-Christian posts of their detractors. They might see it as okay to demonize people like Hart and Murray for their Tweets, but I will not participate in Twitter witch hunts on the opposite end of the spectrum. Both practices are wrong.

So the question really isn’t about when we start calling out anti-Christian Tweets. It’s about why we should openly debate each other’s perspectives without being condemned for our own perspectives. If someone Tweets something against the Judeo-Christian faith, I wouldn’t expect the Oscars to ban them from being their host. I would see it as an opportunity to share my own perspectives and hopefully show some who are against my faith that there’s something worth exploring.

Today, if you Tweet something deemed unacceptable by the LGBTQ community, you’re in jeopardy of losing much. If you Tweet something against the Judeo-Christian faiths, the left sees it as acceptable. Social media is the most hypocritical medium around.

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Culture and Religion

9 discoveries that confirm the Bible

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9 discoveries that confirm the Bible

In this extremely interesting short video detailing archaeological discoveries that confirm the historical accuracy of the Bible, the folks at World Video Bible School highlight some amazing evidence. I don’t know much about WVBS, but I can endorse this video itself.

Here’s the first of the 9 discoveries:

The Pilate Inscriptions

In 1961 in an Italian sponsored dig in Caesarea, archaeologists uncovered a stone that had a Latin inscription on it that said “Pontius Pilatus… prefect of Judea.” That Pilate is mentioned in the Gospel accounts on several occasions. You read in John 18:29:

Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

The find verifying the New Testament statement that Pilate was the prefect of Judea.

8 more

All of these discoveries are proper, indisputable archaeological finds. It’s one thing to contest the Bible’s authenticity as the Word of God, though its very presence and the takeaways we can draw from it point the faithful to the truth. However, claiming it as being historically wrong is being debunked regularly.

The authenticity of the Bible as a historical document is no longer a valid argument against it. As more archaeological evidence points to its physical truths, so too should its words and lessons be completely trustworthy to those seeking the truth.

 

 

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