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A hard, honest look at why people are really walking away from church.

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Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are Really Leaving You

Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are Really Leaving You

Being on the other side of the Exodus sucks, don’t it?

I see the panic on your face, Church.

I know the internal terror as you see the statistics and hear the stories and scan the exit polls.

I see you desperately scrambling to do damage control for the fence-sitters, and manufacture passion from the shrinking faithful, and I want to help you.

You may think you know why people are leaving you, but I’m not sure you do.

You think it’s because “the culture” is so lost, so perverse, so beyond help that they are all walking away.

You believe that they’ve turned a deaf ear to the voice of God; chasing money, and sex, and material things.

You think that the gays and the Muslims and the Atheists and the pop stars have so screwed up the morality of the world that everyone is abandoning faith in droves.

But those aren’t the reasons people are leaving you.

They aren’t the problem, Church.

You are the problem.

Let me elaborate in five ways …

1. Your Sunday productions have worn thin.

The stage, and the lights, and the bands, and the video screens, have all just become white noise to those really seeking to encounter God. They’re ear and eye candy for an hour, but they have so little relevance in people’s daily lives that more and more of them are taking a pass.

Yeah, the songs are cool and the show is great, but ultimately Sunday morning isn’t really making a difference on Tuesday afternoon or Thursday evening, when people are wrestling with the awkward, messy, painful stuff in the trenches of life; the places where rock shows don’t help.

We can be entertained anywhere. Until you can give us something more than a Christian-themed performance piece—something that allows us space and breath and conversation and relationship—many of us are going to sleep in and stay away.

2. You speak in a foreign tongue.

Church, you talk and talk and talk, but you do so using a dead language. You’re holding onto dusty words that have no resonance in people’s ears, not realizing that just saying those words louder isn’t the answer. All the religious buzzwords that used to work 20 years ago no longer do.

This spiritualized insider-language may give you some comfort in an outside world that is changing, but that stuff’s just lazy religious shorthand, and it keeps regular people at a distance. They need you to speak in a language that they can understand. There’s a message there worth sharing, but it’s hard to hear above your verbal pyrotechnics.

People don’t need to be dazzled with big, churchy words and about eschatological frameworks and theological systems. Talk to them plainly about love, and joy, and forgiveness, and death, and peace, and God, and they’ll be all ears. Keep up the church-speak, and you’ll be talking to an empty room soon.

3. Your vision can’t see past your building.

The coffee bar, the cushy couches, the high-tech lights, the funky Children’s wing and the uber-cool Teen Center are all top-notch … and costly. In fact, most of your time, money and energy seems to be about luring people to where you are instead of reaching people where they already are.

Rather than simply stepping out into the neighborhoods around you and partnering with the amazing things already happening, and the beautiful stuff God is already doing, you seem content to franchise out your particular brand of Jesus-stuff, and wait for the sinful world to beat down your door.

Your greatest mission field is just a few miles, (or a few feet) off your campus and you don’t even realize it. You wanna reach the people you’re missing?

Leave the building.

4. You choose lousy battles.

We know you like to fight, Church. That’s obvious.

When you want to, you can go to war with the best of them. The problem is, your battles are too darn small. Fast food protests, hobby store outrage and duck-calling Reality TV show campaigns may manufacture some urgency and Twitter activity on the inside for the already-convinced, but they’re paper tigers to people out here with bloody boots on the ground.

Every day we see a world suffocated by poverty, and racism, and violence, and bigotry, and hunger; and in the face of that stuff, you get awfully, frighteningly quiet. We wish you were as courageous in those fights, because then we’d feel like coming alongside you; then we’d feel like going to war with you.

Church, we need you to stop being warmongers with the trivial and pacifists in the face of the terrible.

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John Pavlovitz

John Pavlovitz is a pastor/blogger from Wake Forest, North Carolina. An 18-year veteran of local church ministry, he currently writes a blog called Stuff That Needs To Be Said, and in January is launching an online Christian community called The Table.

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  • Peter

    Thank you John for a voice too little heard :)

    • DougNTexas

      One of the biggest things is the Republication of the Church. Money is now King. Republicans and Church leaders are now joined at the hip. The Church now supports any war any where. Republicans start wars to they can profit off of them. But Jesus was a peace maker. But the current Church does a poor job of showing that side of Jesus Christ. People are out of work, sick and dying, and in dreadful need and all they get from the Church is the Republican mantra of “every man needs to pull up his own boots”. It is shameful. More and more Church members and even Pastors are now members of the local Mason Grand Lodge cause it opens doors to inside prosperity. Forget trusting in God. Trusting in being a Mason is the real way to get ahead in life they seem to think. But money will only get you so far in this life. Money will get you no where in the next life. No matter how much you put in the offering plate, you will still have to stand in line and give a account of your life.The Church has taken its eye off the real prize. That is truly leading people to a real personal life change in Christ. Building bigger building is not the reason for the Church. Jesus and his death on the cross for Our sins and his resurrection out of the grave and soon return from heaven is the real reason for the season. That is what the Church needs to be preaching. “What will wash away my sins, nothing BUT the blood of Jesus. What will make me whole again, nothing BUT the blood of Jesus.” Church that is still YOUR message. Anything else is just tickling your ears.

      • CeeBee1953

        Why are you making this about politics? This article has nothing to do with politics.

        • DougNTexas

          Because politics is very very present in today’s Church. I have heard it myself right from the pulpit. Personally I think there is no place for politics from the pulpit, but that does NOT change the facts. Pastors are the ones who brought politics to the front 30 years ago. Now young people are leaving in droves.

        • bchristian85

          That’s because it has everything to do with politics. The evangelical church in America has become an arm of the Republican Party. If that’s not the case, why is the “Christian” position on issues always the Republican position, even when it contradicts the teachings of Christ?

  • Elaine

    My word John, you have made my day! I love your comment about the other side of Exodus! I actually don’t and haven’t attended or joined a church for I don’t know how long, but I am a dedicated child of God. Love your stuff, please don’t stop, God bless

  • Michelle

    It is so good to know I am not alone in these thoughts. I left the church- I couldn’t stand it anymore. It broke my heart to see the senseless of its obsessions – advertising, light shows, sound systems. It was so cold. I would love to find a body of believers to fellowship with, but … I’m not terribly optimistic.

    • Christmas Joy

      I will pray that the Holy spirit will guide you into the direction that you need to go. You should be extremely optimistic about having the ability to serve the Lord and worship Him. There are brothers and sisters out there for you to gather with.

  • jsexton9

    The Catholic Church’s “Come Home” campaign will have no lasting effect, even if it has a temporary one, unless those in control pay heed to what we read above. And the sad truth is that, in most cases, they will simply write off all positive suggestions as being “anti-Church” and just go on with the same old same old. People may come back. But it will only be a matter of time before many, if not most, of them will walk out again, mumbling something to the effect of “Now I remember why I left”.

  • Pequeñoquiji

    Thank you for your article. As you mentioned, the insiders will turn the deaf ear and go on about their “good christian” business. Many years ago, Johnny Paycheck recorded “The Outlaw’s Prayer” and I have had the opportunity to share it with some of those aforementioned folks. Some, have cried, some laughed and others just looked off in the distance. It is so sad that we have taken Christ out of Christianity. I am amazed at how we look, look and look for the “right” church home … and yet … Jesus waits for us “EVERYWHERE”.

  • SoOverFormalizedReligion

    I left the Catholic church before my confirmation, because of how little women matter in their worldview. I have ovaries, and therefore I am not worthy of a position of leadership? I’m out. I come from a big Irish Catholic family–my mother has 7 brothers and sisters–and of the 19 children and 7 couples, only one couple is still Catholic. Everyone else has split for another church or for private beliefs. The church is just becoming irrelevant.

  • Todd S. Jenkins

    Man, each of these points resonates deeply with me. I’ve been to too many churches who were more interested in appearances than the words of Christ. We attended one for several years whose pastor turned out to be a demagogue. He demanded that we spend money on expensive banner signs for VBS and the food bank instead of making them by hand because he didn’t want to be seen as a low-budget church. He demanded absolute say in every aspect of the missions project and pushed the church to support his personal friends in the field, then rarely made it to meetings and wouldn’t answer questions we needed answered. He openly insulted Catholics in a community with tens of thousands of people from Catholic backgrounds, many right in his own congregation. Then he flat-out lied to the church board about something that had happened in the missions department. The associate pastor (who runs the place now) knew that he had lied but remained silent about it because he believed it was a bigger sin to contradict the guy in charge than to let him lie to the congregation. The worship leader would stop the service and tell people they weren’t worshipping properly, forcing Pentecostal behaviors on them when all they wanted to do was commune with God in their own personal way. I’m still ashamed that I kept my family in that quack-ass building for five years.

    The next church we tried had megachurch ambitions and few principles. Aside from running an expensive private school on campus, that church did literally nothing for the community AT ALL. No food bank, no clothing drive, no toy drive for the holidays, just glitz and show. Then we tried others: one where the pastor railed on and on about how he shouldn’t have to pay taxes to an oppressive government (“give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, anyone?); another whose pastor basically said that anyone who is poor deserves to be poor because they’re all lazy; and several others whose facilities got a regular coat of paint and fancy signs, but never any upgrades so they were accessible to my wheelchair-using son. (One reason we left an earlier church was that our son couldn’t use a bathroom anywhere on campus, and they strung us along for years about upgrading the facilities. They got a big new kitchen and a big office remodel, yet my son had to empty his catheter into a water bottle in the children’s church office. Once I had to help a disabled newcomer in and out of a bathroom stall; I was blessed to assist him but unhappy that he had to endure that embarrassment in the first place.) On and on and on it went: too little Christ, too much agenda that avoided or directly contradicted what Christ Himself taught.

    It was about four years ago that we dropped the church altogether. I decided if I was going to be a Christian, I had to be a red-letter Christian because without following the specific teachings of Christ, that title is worthless. Operating entirely on the words of Christ alone has been a great spiritual relief and has improved our family’s relationship with each other and those around us. There’s little room in Christ’s own words for manipulation and judgment, which is probably why so many churches cling to Leviticus and Numbers when they deal with the world outside their walls. My faith in Christ has never changed, but I actively hate the state of the Church in general and will never return. I’m more than happy to gather together with true believers outside of a flashy building.

    • CeeBee1953

      I feel your pain, Todd. My husband and I were in some really bad churches and were terribly hurt more than once. I almost gave up hope but I knew I needed the fellowship of other believers. I have since found a church home where I am comfortable, but I am not highly involved, too much pain mistrust still lingering to allow myself to get overly involved, but I enjoy the worship services, I think the pastor and others who teach there are Spirit-inspired for the most part and I see them reaching out into the community in many and varied ways. I hope you can find some sort of community of believers at some point. My prayers are with you.

  • Virginia Moher

    This was a great article. Now I wish a woman would write something similar and explain what it feels like from a woman’s point of view. The expectations that the Church places on women are overwhelming but when we come to the Church for help, we don’t get much. The Church continues to live in the past and pretends that women are not holding down full time jobs outside the home.

    • Would love to hear things from your perspective Virginia! You don’t have to figure out THE woman’s point of view – it doesn’t exist – just ONE woman’s thoughts.

      • Mildrianne Clark

        @ Mr. Shogren, I beg to differ. There is a woman’s point of view. There is a woman’s perspective. We do have a place in the body of Christ.

        • GaryS

          I have to conclude that you completely misunderstood me, Mildreanne, or else I did not express myself clearly.

          Of course women have a place in the Body of Christ. Half of the people I train for Christian ministry are women.

          But what I heard Virginia saying sounded like, “all women share a common Woman’s Point of View.” That has hardly been my experience as I listened to the sisters, whose ideas vary wildly.

          Nor would I sit still if someone said there there is a monolithic manly point of view. We are all individuals, that is to say.

    • Clarke Robertson

      Virginia, I do find that there are churches that are less hostile toward women who work outside the home and recognize their needs, though they may be hard to find. The problem I have is that even most of these churches see women having divinely decreed roles that are subordinate to men, both in the church and in relationships. A growing number of Christians, including myself, see this as an error, with the verses commonly cited at restricting women from certain roles in the church and the home taken out of context. I for one like to consider my partner an equal partner. This is one thing I do see driving some people away from the Church.

      • Virginia Moher

        Just speaking for myself, it’s too late for the Church to get me back. I have needs and those needs were not being met by the Church. I was supposed to give and give and get nothing in return but shame and guilt. Enough!

        • Steve

          Just curious, but are you just done with Church, or with the faith as well?

          i agree with you 110% about the unfair burdens many Churches place on their women. Not all of them can be stay-at-home moms. In this day, odds are they’re single moms with 2 jobs who need a little adult- and God-time, or just need to feel *wanted* and not just needed. It isnt fair, and it certainly isnt what i think of as love becoming of a group of believers who claim to emulate the God of love

          (Granted, too, there are many exceptions out there, but they shouldnt be exceptions)

          • Loreen

            Steve and Rueban, obviously not Virginia, my spouse was cheating regularly, church said I had to forgive, he moved in with his lady friend, I had to forgive. Work in the church? Taught 2 classes, did the funeral lunches, worked the food pantry, the homeless week, food drives, sat on committees. A young man was beating his child and abusing his wife, she was told to forgive even as her spouse was sent to jail. Where is the compassion for the woman?

          • Burke

            To forgive is a conscious decision to not hold something against someone weather they ask for forgiveness or not. Forgiveness does not mean you must continue in an abusive relationship. Matthew 6:14-15 explains why we must forgive. If we walk with an unforgiving heart we are not walking in the fruit of the Spirit and we allow the devil access. Also the body of the church (people) with Jesus as the head should be showing compassion for any of their brothers and sisters that are abused and for that manner helping anyone that needs help. Scripture in Hebrews specifically tells us to be kind to strangers. Scripture in Corinthians specifically tells us to help widows and orphans. In all things we must act out of love.

          • musiccitydawg

            That is one place where many Churches don’t understand the difference between forgiveness and restoration. We must always forgive for our own sake. But that does NOT mean we have to maintain relationship with unrepentant or dangerous people. Any Church or Pastor that would recommend staying in those relationships you described does NOT understand the love of God.

          • GrimmEngineer

            A man (or woman) should not put away his spouse except for the cause of fornication. This is a direct teaching of Jesus Christ that is in the new testament. Jesus understands the breaking of the solemn bond of matrimony and what mental damage this does to the relationship, which is why this is the only exception made. Blessed be the woman who can forgive a spouse of this. But yea, unto you is also given permission to leave upon the breaking of this bond. It is a shame that so many Churches don’t even seem to understand the teachings that are right under their own noses.

        • Ruben

          I’m curious what those needs are. What differences between you and men do you see our local churches fulfill and don’t. Looking forward to your reply, Virginia.

          • Dot

            I’m not Virginia, but I would have liked a church a friend of mine attended to not have pressured her into having children, because that’s what women are suppose to do. Pressuring her even though she had Type 1 Diabetes, which had been destroying her body, since childhood. They should have told her to take care of other’s children, so that her children wouldn’t have had to be raised by another woman, since she died having those 2 kids, one who has many physical problems, because of her health problems.

          • happy girl

            I know a pastor who told his congregation that they would go to hell if they didn’t pay their tithes.

          • S. J. Atherton

            Don’t believe you.

          • Dot

            Oh, and then there was the church who pressured single moms who were barely making it on their welfare and child support checks to tithe 10% of those checks, never offering to help feed them or buying their kids clothes. Wanting the mothers to marry the same kind of jerk they divorced in the first place, just to be married.

          • GrimmEngineer

            Tithing should be paid on your INCREASE, not on your gross receipts. If after tabulating your needful expenses and paying those things, what is left over would be your increase. If you are barely paying your bills, then you owe no tithes. THIS is the way of the Lord. If however you voluntarily pay more than a tenth of your increase, then blessed be ye. And if you are a needful recipient of tithes through your church, then also may the Lord bless you. It’s too bad most churches pay themselves (which is against the teaching of the Lord btw) The needful that should be their charge get little of what remains. Find a church whose Pastors/Priests /Bishops are unpaid.

          • Dot

            But this is why people do not want to attend church. My sister decided to leave this church, but she felt she had not right to go to another. I know she should because I know a few, very few churches who truly follow Jesus’ teaching, instead of just worshipping his death. I’m sorry some churches ruin it for all, but that’s what happens, unless other churches aren’t willing to condemn these greedy practices.

          • Rana

            There are good churches. Focus on worshipping the Almighty God, not finding wrong in the church. Find a church where the Word of God is being taught and attend. It only hurts you if you don’t go – Satan wins!

          • Joy Lyle

            I agree! There are many God seeking churches out there, we just hear about the not so good ones. If your heart truly wants to find a good church, God will send you there!

          • Rana

            Creative interpretation!!!

          • GrimmEngineer

            Not really. The law of increase is exactly what was practiced in Jesus’ day. If a shepherd had less flock one year than he had the last, he was operating at a loss, and therefore had no increase. can you imagine if your flock only increased by 5% per year but you gave away 10% of the total flock? Eventually your flock would dwindle away. This would be bad accounting and makes no sense. It is also important to interpret needful things and expenses, not optional luxuries. If you split hairs too much with the Lord, he will split hairs with you. So if your flock increased by 5% and lets say that was 14 sheep, then your tithe would be 2 sheep of your increase, because you always round up in the Lords favor. And also any extra milk gained in excess of the family needs would be tithed too.

          • Joy Lyle

            My late pastor Wendell Thomas said “if you give like you love Jesus it will always be enough.” God knows our heart, he doesn’t need our money, he just wants our heart. When he has that, it all works out, giving, living, loving, etc.

          • justme

            Now you are actively redefining your definitions. In your example, going from 10 sheep to 5 sheep, there is an increase or an income of 5 sheep. That increase IS your entire income (from sheep anyways).

            Saying elsewhere that you only tithe on net and then claiming that to be increase shows a lack of understanding. Do you think anyone is claiming that what you already have and have already tithed on it income for a second time? If you get paid $5 this week and $5 the next week, do you count your 1st week pay again?

            Please examine the heart with which you are approaching these conversations. You appear to be very willingly seeking confrontation, but at the expense of being dishonest. Even in the LDS faith is this how you believe you should act? Does this fall under milk before meat (lying to non-believers in order to convert them)? Do you believe your spirit in these conversations is choosing the right? That you have done all that you could do?

            For if you are seeking contention, then have you not sinned? And if you have, have you done all that you could do and made all of the right choices? Per the LDS faith, your approach is very likely affecting your faiths idea of salvation.

          • GrimmEngineer

            All the costs in maintaining the herd and household are base costs. Sorry, no time to go into it. Have fun.

          • Mary

            Unfortunately where the pastor is unpaid, he is so busy with a paying job to get a salary to provide the basics for his family and make up the slack from the lack of giving/tithing flock that he really doesn’t have time to pastor his flock except to give the Sunday sermon. Like it or not the church has expenses. In the years following the ascension of Christ to heaven, followers of Christ provided the needs of the apostles. We should be doing same now so the pastor can pastor instead of selling coffee to make ends meet.

          • GrimmEngineer

            The LDS church seems to function fabulously. Maybe it’s because we all pitch in? Hmmm….

          • Apologist

            The LDS works well because it is a corporation which owns gigantic business ventures and funds its chapters from its bureaucracy. It also deviates from true scripture and adds its own heretical apocrypha to its teaching. The book of Mormon is a damnable travesty and the actual doctrine of the LDS strays so far from the truth that to call it Christian makes you guilty of, as Jesus put it, “causing one of these little ones to stumble” and would be better to be drowned with a millstone around your neck than to do so. If you can’t agree fully to the Apostles’, Nicene, AND Athanasian Creeds, you are not a true believer in Christ.

          • GrimmEngineer

            Remove the beam from thine own eye, before the mote from thy brothers, that ye may see clearly. Such hate is clearly rooted in evil. Judge a tree by the fruit it bears.

          • GrimmEngineer

            Quick question for you. When Jesus said to his disciples after his resurrection that it was time for him to go because “Other sheep have I that are not of this fold” and he needed to visit them also. So who were the “other sheep” that were were not even “of this fold”? And just exactly how would the resurrected Christ visit them? Much as he visited his disciples? To believe that his disciples in Israel were the only people on the planet he visited is quite closed minded, and clearly contradicted by his own words.

          • S. J. Atherton

            Actually Grimm, we have accurate reports that He’s visiting Moslems. ✨

          • RJW

            Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),
            Gal 1:2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
            Gal 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
            Gal 1:4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
            Gal 1:5 to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.
            No Other Gospel

            Gal 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
            Gal 1:7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
            Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
            Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! That is what the bible says no Book of Mormon needed, when Christ sets you free you are free indeed and will look and assist others with compassion since they received the love of God, and are forgiven on the basis of faith alone.

          • GrimmEngineer

            Do you even know what the Bible is? It is a compilation of different gospels/books/testimonies written by different people separated in some cases by thousands of years and in differing lands. It serves only the arrogance of surety that you would accept only the one compilation (The Bible) and no others. I smile widely in disbelief also knowing that the included gospels of the old and new testament were hand picked and groomed to the tastes of King James by the autocratic servants of the monarchy. Such ignorance to think that it is by any means the complete and only truth. What a total lack of understanding of the origins of the words you and I both hold so dearly. It is as unto an ostrich with it’s head in the sand, what it cannot see must not be real.

          • RJW

            I know. An angle presenting a different gospel from plates by mr smith with no archeological evidence found in the us saving a different gospel does no make it

          • GrimmEngineer

            You know little of what you are commenting about. The evidence is strewn about the Guatemalan and Yucatan peninsulas. One only needs to look. The plates were commanded to be carried for many months and buried where they were in upper state NY. It says this in the book itself, which is a compilation of many authors testimony of what happened. It is becoming more and more clear that these were the pre-mayan peoples.

          • Joseph

            The main reason I am disillusioned with the church is because of the corruption. Nigerian “pastors” peddling the love of Christ, disgraced American tele-evangelist sucking the money out of middle class folks, Catholic and Anglican priests abusing children. I could go on and on

          • RJW

            but the Holy bible says that, I’ll quote let the bible speak for itself. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel [d]contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be [e]accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel [f]contrary to what you received, he is to be [g]accursed! That was written before Mormon plates and it is different gospel altogether based on a false christ whom Mormons say is created and not the Real Christ who cheated the universe man who left his Heaven to become man and died for our sin. Col 1:15-23. To trust in a different christ (one that was created), is no christ at all . And in the end, whoever trusts in the christ instead of the Living Chirst will still be in their sins. Which is why the correct Christ(Deity) not the plate man made one (christ who as created) Is pivotal to where you will spend eternity in heaven with God forever forgiven by Christ(Deity) who paid the price for our sins or hell paying you your sins yourself, without God, forever. Because the created mormon christ can not forgive sin. The mormon may spell the same but eternally different. Christ(Deity said that there is a Hell The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:14-31). as well as a Heaven (
            Luke 23:39-43)

          • GrimmEngineer

            Still sounds like you are taking it wrong. You still seem to know little of what you are talking about because what you are spewing is really confusing. You must have gotten this stuff from some hateful evangelists. I’m not understanding your whole “created Christ” thing. What are you talking about? The teachings of Christ in the book of mormon are almost a perfect mirror of those in the new testament. What makes you think that we don’t believe Jesus Christ is the son of God AND the creator of the universe? We use the Holy Bible AND the book of mormon-another testament of Jesus Christ. Who told you these lies? It really sounds like you don’t even know what the book of mormon says. If you would like to ask some basic questions about our beliefs, then I will answer them for you. But please don’t go by rumor and innuendo, these are the precursors of hate.

          • RJW

            AND? AND? Not confusing at all I know a lot of Mormon there lives look better cleaner than mine they are knowledgable and a lot of good works. they tithe, they go to temple, family oriented, mission oriented, save for disaster planners, they have good works. and the more they have is there ticket too heaven a eventually become a god. The thing is that has nothing to do with sin how good you are. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, God is HOLY and no sin will ever enter his presence. Which is why Christ(DEITY and Man) left heaven to live a perfect life that we Man couldn’t not Christ 100% God and 100% man. His birth He was born of a woman and by Gods Spirit. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27, 34) which make Jesus able to give salvation to those who call on his name by Faith alone and not works. Works will never save anyone because works can not erase sin. Faith in Jesus(Deity and Man) Alone + nothing. = Salvation.

          • GrimmEngineer

            OK, I can’t seem to make sense of your incoherent arguing. I’m not sure exactly what point it is you are trying to argue? And I do not disagree with your words or quotation so please tell me exactly what it is you think you are saying about mormons? Of course everyone sins. Who told you we believe otherwise? I’m not sure what point you are trying to make please be more clear about exactly what point you are saying is wrong? And don’t forget “faith without works is dead”. You need both.

          • RJW

            true. faith. no works no faith, as far savalation goes it in Christ Alone. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but by me. If any man is in Christ he is a New creation Titus 3:5. God gives us the desire to do good works to please Him and gratitude for what he has done for us. We will want to do good works God puts His Holy Spirit into our heart to know him. I pray that He will you insight into this. a a lot of folks have it the other way around. if I do this or if I do that for God then I will I be pleasing to him and have another plus on my side. Salvation is found in no one else their is no other name by which we must be saved. This site explains it better. http://www.needgod.com

          • Savannah Nash

            I don’t understand why LDS would even come to this site. That branch of my family believes they are the only Church because Joseph Smith is the only one who got the right temple plans, the right doctrines and covenants and the best testimony ever from the angel, and confirmed it all with the burning in his bosom that it was the right way. Because all the denominations around were false and displeased God so much he appeared to JS. So if it is indeed the only church, why frequent a site not even talking about the LDS church. Seems strange, the missionaries that have come to my door tell me your Church is growing leaps and bounds, so why are you coming to a website for Church plants, that are not being done by your church. The BOM is not based on Biblical christianity, because remember JS was given the right gospel and doctrine because the current ones were lacking, right. And he had more revelation for going back to taking more than one wife, because that was what was done in ancient days, right? and then there were the special temple garments that added to holy living, right? and not to mention the sealed marriages, which permitted everlasting families, even though NONE of the OT or the NT ever mentioned marriage as a heavenly institution, but that had to be corrected, right, because even the prophets of the OT and the rabbis and the priests missed that revelation somehow. Even though the actual temple ceremony has NO origin in Hebrew culture but in the occult practices of ancient times, that were heathen and paganistic. Messiah never had a brother, in Satan. Satan was a fallen angel, not part of the Godhead, but Joseph Smith wrote that wasn’t a proper interpretation either. Joseph Smith is regarded as a prophet, and yet his status as “prophet” doesn’t align with scripture, so either God didn’t know how to get the job credentials right from the beginning or something is amiss with his calling/vision, etc. The fact is Joseph Smith had a whole different occupation, something quite contrary to ALL scripture. He created a new religion based on some obscure notions, and tried to pawn it off as the new deal. He got quite the following and it is still going. Despite the facts, which is why it baffles most people who haven’t been brought up in the culture. LDS build churches and perpetuate a very large real estate venture adhering to good moral principles. Jesus Christ, Messiah, came to build a Kingdom not of this world, not associated with Kolob, but to have a Bride saved by grace, by HIS shed blood, period. Not rituals, not works, not anything that man can do gets them to the spiritual Kingdom. The Body of Christ is the Bride, the only heavenly marriage happening there. No extra planets, no need for anymore priests as He alone is our high priest. No need to create more spiritual progeny. He did it all on Calvary, and there was NO need of sending an angel to impart anymore instruction, because His last words were IT IS FINISHED…any prophets coming after would TESTIFY to the risen Messiah, not coming with a new plan, new church, new set of rules, new covenants, etc.

          • justme

            Incorrect. Faith is all that is needed for salvation. Jesus died not just for original sin, but for ALL of our sin.

            The LDS concept that after all you can do, Jesus’ sacrifice will pay for the rest is not Biblical. There is NOTHING we as finite beings can do for an infinite God. We can only accept his offer of salvation. All of our works are but as dirty rags so that no man may boast that his salvation comes in any way from his own effort.

            Additionally, the LDS belief that Baptism is required for salvation is not Biblical. If it were, how then did the thief on the cross go to Heaven? For Jesus told him that before this day was done he would be in his father’s presence with him. Either Jesus was wrong (not possible) or the belief that baptism would be required for the thief (or anyone) to go to Heaven is wrong.

            But back to your point, Jesus said you will know a tree by the fruit it bears. A dead tree bears no fruit. A dead faith bears no fruit. But the act of bearing fruit (doing works) is not what makes the kind of tree (works is not what makes a Christian), it is how they are identified. In addition to this, many people also make the mistake of thinking that all works have to be outward. This very egregiously overlooks the most important works, those of growth and change in the believer. Many of these works will not be observable at a casual glance, but only through detailed retrospection and an examination of your past vs your present self.

          • Fedup Pauper

            Amen!

          • justme

            The problem with the teachings of Christ from the BOM mirroring the teachings of Christ from the Bible, is that they actually mirror the wording in the KJV. Consider that the BOM was claimed to have been written many centuries prior to the KJV version, and your previous comments alluding to how little you think of the KJV version, why then is it that the BOM word for word quotes the KJV version? And no, the claim that they both draw from the same source material is not an answer. The BOM for example includes word for word italicized text from the KJV bible. This is text that was added by the KJV translators to clarify passages that did not easily translate into English. In other words, they are additions that had to be added during the act of translation, they were not present in the original text.

          • Fedup Pauper

            Thank you! Truth!

          • Savannah Nash

            and the BOM is constantly being updated by newer revelation, but I thought it was ALL given in the vision so that man could finally have the RIGHT version, wasn’t that the reason for a new testament of Jesus Christ for the Latter Day saints, but evidently JS didn’t get it right either, as it keeps getting revision by the newer church prophets…so WHEN does the world get the FINAL revised version of the other testament if it keeps changing, and being updated by the latest prophet????? and why is it that it CHANGES per the cultural popularities and opinions???? It tries desperately to please the political climate as far as possible. I suspect that soon there will be a new vision/revelation that says homosexuality is a god given right and same sex marriage will be ushered in those temple rites, much as polygomy came and went. First is was sanctioned as what God intended, so the brethren needed to get more wives, then in comes the government sanctioning it illegal for impending statehood, and gee, it went away (mostly) . I won’t touch on the race card, but there again, pressure from the culture played out there as well. I love a religion that just keeps adapting to the social mores, it keeps it all friendly and happy don’t ya think!

          • Pete

            Joseph Smith also tells us that God came from the planet Kollob

          • justme

            The problem with this idea is that Joseph Smith himself claimed that upstate New York was the site of the climatic battle. I understand that since then, as no archaeological evidence is present, the church has revised the location to the Guatemalan and Yucatan peninsulas. The problem this presents though is that Joseph Smith made these claims based on divine revelation and was a prophet (i.e. infallible in these matters). However, the need for revision shows that he clearly was fallible, therefore his claim to be a prophet is shown to be false. The Bible is very clear on this for how we are supposed to test a prophet.

            Additionally, that is not the only instance in which Joseph Smith was wrong when claiming to speak in his role as the prophet. i.e. consider his claim to have found the altar that Adam used to sacrifice on and that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri. Or any number of other issues, claims, doctrines that the church has since had to revise.

          • Savannah Nash

            you can’t bring up such points, because it all depends on revelation of the burning in the bosom as the only evidence of its validity, and really since the elders go to great lengths to create explanations for the lack of evidence it keeps members from searching out untainted sources of truth. Remember everything not coming from Joseph Smith is regarded as false and wrong and not God inspired…EVERYTHING. He alone is right and trustworthy, everyone else that ever lived didn’t get the revelation he was privy to, and so you MUST take his word that the tablets were real, that his historical account is not false or concocted, and even the translation of the Book of Abramham, that can’t be questioned either, even though scholars OUTSIDE LDS are wrong, unknowledgeable, unlearned, and that translation is exactly what he said it was, though NO one in any branch of academia concurs, they are all misled. They are not of faith, they are false, they are crazy, etc. Why because if you are LDS you accept and believe and are convinced that he alone was infallible on such matters. It is JUST that the rest of the world is hateful towards the true church, right?

          • Pete

            And Joseph Smith tells us God came from the planet Kollob, almost spells something else in reverse

          • Warren Norred

            As much fun as it would be to twist this into a “try to reach the LDS member with mere facts”, can we keep this thread to the point of the post?

          • Jenn

            Do you realize that the men who “witnessed” the existence of the plates for Joseph Smith later acknowledged that they’d never seen them with their physical eyes, but rather only with their “eyes of faith?”

          • Fedup Pauper

            LOL. Truth again.

          • tina

            If the church would go back to their Hebrew roots and do God’s things in God’s way there would be a lot less people leaving. We have been set free on Christ and we have freedom in God’s instructions which we hose to follow out of love.

          • trzmp

            Sounds like church in here to me.

          • justme

            The LDS church, in conjunction with BYU, produced a series recently for the 400th anniversary of the KJV. It is called the Fires of Faith and is freely available. It very clearly disputes your ideas that the books were handpicked and groomed to the tastes of King James. If you are LDS then you should know that your opinions on this differ from what your church officially states…

          • Savannah Nash

            Again putting the Church before the WORD. For mercy sake, Jesus, is the WORD, and he didn’t ordain any church to be sovereign…so please if you are LDS, would you PLEASE not harken to the what the “church” states, what it says is approved, but pick up a Bible at the library, if you are so bold get a Jerusalem Bible read it, meditate on it, and ask your Heavenly Father, not your bishop, stake president, or current President, and don’t bother asking the Quorum of 12, go directly to your Heavenly Father in prayer, and if you really want revelation true and accurate, FAST before you do it, after you read the entire Bible and ASK if this is NOT the Holy Scriptures and if they aren’t the truth and the ONLY living WORD of God. The BOM is NOT holy, not GOD breathed or inspired, it is a sad attempt on the part of an UNHOLY con man to counterfeit. Oh that your eyes and ears could receive the revelation that your religions serves man and NOT a Holy God.

          • Jesus is the Head and the church is His body. What happens when the head is severed from the body? Jesus and His church are one. The church is also the bride of Christ. There is so much more. Vine-branches. Shepherd-sheep. Christ-church. Inseparable.

          • Paul

            “I smile widely in disbelief also knowing that the included gospels of
            the old and new testament were hand picked and groomed to the tastes of
            King James by the autocratic servants of the monarchy.”

            The Bible as we know it was actually determined in 325 CE with Constatine and the leaders of the various factions of the Church. King James was the one who got the Bible translated into the KJV as it was before all the other various translations of the Bible came to be.

          • lionsbru

            Wow! Where do you get *this* from? King James had nothing whatsoever to do with determining which gospels were to be included in the New Testament (there ARE no OLD Testament gospels, as the gospels are the story of the coming, ministry, passion & resurrection of Jesus). He only commissioned a translation of the very same books translators had been rendering in English since the beginning of the Reformation (starting with Tyndale, continuing through the very popular Geneva Bible, etc). Nor, for those misinformed by the likes of Dan Brown, did Constantine (or the Council of Nicaea –which he only called anyway, and did not ‘run’) have any hand in determining which books are canonical. The four gospels we have had been recognized throughout the church from very early on (there is strong evidence in the second century).

          • yhoshua

            Wow. Some creative revisionist history being spun there. King James hand picked the books to be included huh? I’ve heard the myth that the Council of Nicaea voted on which books to canonize, but King James? That’s a new one.

            Do some actual historical research. You’ll find that most of the books of the Bible were considered sacred by the early church long before any formal structure or hierarchy was in place to steer them toward selected works. There were a few outliers, but all but a few books of the Bible were regarded as God’s Word by concensus of believers in the first few centuries of Christianity- before Constantine, before Nicaea, before the Roman Catholic takeover and long before King James. It’s amazing how much misinformation is believed without being researched these days…

          • lee

            What a foolish man you are, that you have placed your trust in your intellect. How sad it will be for you on the Great White Throne Judgement, if you do not denouce your pride and arrogance, falling to your needs with a broken and contrite heart, that the one who saves, may receive you into his blossom, remembering your sins no more.

          • Carey Robinson

            It’s sounds like Cynicism to me. I’m part of a church that is nothing like what you described, and I know countless church’s who break the mold you write about. This blog would have been better suited 10-15 years ago. Not to mention your article is more devisive than unifying. I know there are many ineffective churches out there but let’s not lump “The Church” into that category. If your desire is to help, then earn the right to speak into people’s lives rather then Writing about it with the hope that those who need it will read it. I feel this blog merely contributes to a growing group of Christ Followers more interested in the idea of changing the world rather then actually doing it!

          • Seth

            This is an interpretation. For me, I see this as Christ saying, I have other sheep who do not yet know me (not of this fold), but through you I will bring them into the body of Christ. As a calvinist, I see the later part, “they will listen to my voice” as evidence of God’s sovereignty over salvation. This one verse can have many interpretations, so it being the only scriptural evidence for Christ having “other” disciples in other parts of the world is a logically weak argument, not a determination of “closed” versus “open” mindedness.

          • GrimmEngineer

            And what of the baptisms for the dead, which are actually commented on in the new testament. To think as many churches do, that the billions who have lived never even having had a chance to receive the teachings of the Lord, would be damned? How silly would this be? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And also the requirement that any church of Christ would have the required callings of a prophet, apostles, seventies, bishops, elders, priests, teachers and deacons? Will you sweep this aside as well?

          • lionsbru

            Actually, you are mistaken about WHEN Jesus made this statement — you’ll find it in John 10, NOT after his resurrection.

            The answer is rather obvious from the context of the gospels. Jesus is speaking to JEWS and telling them that his sheep will also include GENTILES who believe in him, and ‘Jew and Gentile (Christians)’ will be ONE. This is a central point emphasized repeatedly throughout the New Testament (Acts 10-15 shows us the transition, and Paul frequently explains this reality, e.g. in Ephesians 2-3).

          • Nell

            You are correct.

          • Fedup Pauper

            Thank you, too for your statement on TRUTH

          • Ben Van Vacter

            Too, true. If anyone could have been a Mormon, I could have been one. Fortunately, the Lord took me away from their influence and put me into a bibe believing church. They are a seemingly nice group of people but greatly deceived by Joseph Smith. Unedited history declares what kind of man he was…a deceitful, Scripture twisting, megalomaniac. I am greatly saddened by the deception of so many in the “church” of the LDS.

          • GrimmEngineer

            It is a good thing I was taught not to speak ill of other’s religions. Such is the nature of hate, which we all know the root of. It is a shame so many churches feel it necessary to lash out at other faiths in such an un-christ like manner. I remember when the Baptists showed up at one of our pageants to hold signs and protest against us. We treated them with love and rspect and even gave them food and drink. Then it started to rain and some of our elders set up an awning for them so they wouldn’t get wet. It is amazing how many of them turned their signs around and stared at the words of hatefulness they were preaching. In the face of such kindness and love they were dumbfounded and many of them left that day. Judge a tree by the fruit it bears. Megalomaniac I think not. there have been many lies told and tales twisted, but Jesus commanded forgiveness and love to all, even thine enemies.

          • justme

            Do you forget the opening statement in the BOM? The part that says all of the Christian denominations / beliefs that existed prior to Joseph Smith are an abomination before the eyes of God?

            Please be very clear that when Christians defend our faith against that of the LDS church, we are not attacking you. We are DEFENDING Christianity, the Bible, and God against the aspersions that started with Joseph Smith himself. The LDS church claims that Christians do not have the full gospel and that what they do have in the Bible was corrupted as soon as it was set down in writing. The LDS church claims that Christian beliefs are wrong and that they are the result of a great apostasy.

            It is very dishonest of you to claim that you would never attack another persons religion or beliefs.

          • Paul

            “The LDS church claims that Christians do not have the full gospel and
            that what they do have in the Bible was corrupted as soon as it was set
            down in writing. The LDS church claims that Christian beliefs are wrong
            and that they are the result of a great apostasy.”

            I have long removed myself from going to church because of a couple of different reasons. I do not support the church of the LDS nor fully support the Christian church. If we look at history, Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire in 300CE under Emperor Constatine. In 325, he got the leaders of various factions of some of the branches of Christianity and together, they decided what would put into the Bible and what would be removed.

            Knowing this, the Bible isn’t complete as it doesn’t have all gospels that were written, only those books that the leaders wanted their followers to hear and learn from. Now, I do understand that the early church wanted consistency and that some of these gospels and books did not fall in line with their dogma, the whole story is not being told. Like many history books, the “victor” gets to write them while only certain information from the other side (the “losing” side) is often removed all together.

          • yhoshua

            You’re repeating myth, not history. Constantine legalized Christianity, that’s it. He did not form the Catholic Church- that was Theodisius. Constantine did not control the selection of the books of the Bible- that didn’t even happen at the Council of Nicaea. Read some actual history rather than taking the word of internet rumors and conspiracy theorists. Scripture was considered scripture long before official big wigs were around to influence the matter.

          • Victor Hafichuk

            Only by the Spirit of the Lord can we know what should be considered as inspired of Him or not. There is no other way. Anything can be considered a gospel; anything can be considered as a legitimate component of the canon of Scripture, but what does God have to say? If men don’t know what is inspired of God it’s because they don’t know Him.

          • Savannah Nash

            so why not be Messianic as the early “church” was, they were essentially Hebraic with the belief in Messiah. They didn’t change a whole lot, most kept the feasts.observed the law and Sabbath. I think the house fellowships and gatherings were more in keeping of the true “church”, the Book of Acts is the model for church. Before Yeshua came, you didn’t have church. Jews went to temple. They observed holy days and feasts, and did sacrifice. They went to synagogue or at least the men did, and they learned Torah orally from an early age. They didn’t attend anything like what we know as church. Church is a newer concept, and even before Rome got involved it was nothing like what accounts for church on American soil. Apostacy is the definition of Joseph Smith…he was an apostate in every sense, which makes me chuckle…

          • Michael Wall

            I don’t know if it’s so much that the church picked what was to go in to the new testament , but what was without a doubt is that at the council of Nicea, when Arius lost the debate over the nature of Jesus, anything he had written in support of his view was considered heresy and was destroyed. I think it not a stretch to believe that any historical documents that supported his view would have been destroyed also. This was the established method of the Roman Catholic church. They didn’t hand pick the scriptures, they just destroyed every document that disagreed with them, and it’s not so much that Constantine manipulated the council, it;s that after a decision was reached, he came down with an iron fist against any opposition. He didn’t care about truth so much as he cared about quelling strife in his kingdom.

          • Art Dickinson

            At the beginning of this mess, someone suggested that the discussion would descend into bickering about irrelevant technicalities. And it did. This is why, since I began to think for myself, I have never felt closer to my Creator than when I was in the midst of a forest or a vast desert, deep in meditation, and usually alone.

          • Savannah Nash

            As long as there are individuals. There will be differing opinions. Christians don’t have the market on that, and neither do any other religions, Man can’t agree, our own pride and arrogance will never agree. Americans are taught to be free thinking from early on, much of the other cultures are more conformist than those on our soil. So Art why did you even come on here to look, you already KNEW what you would find. Fess up, I know you knew…blessings on your alone time, may you be enlightened sweetie!

          • I wish I could get even a third of the comments on my blog (pro/con for/against). Alas! Even my blog “followers” have ceased visiting them. Do I have to write provocative articles to get a response from readers?

          • Jehovah’s Witnesses do the same. Judge & condemn every other religion & denomination as false & apostate then whine the moment someone criticizes them.

          • Savannah Nash

            it ain’t just JW’s it is every breathing person, we all have the notion we have arrived at the truth…

          • Savannah Nash

            we are NOT attacking you, we are attacking a man made incredibly concocted scheming man who DUPED people over and over and over again!!! LDS is NOT Christian, nothing about it aligns with Christianity at all. That is not attacking YOU, it is attacking a man who deceived a group of people to follow his dream (which wasn’t BIBLICAL) wrote a book claiming to be another testament. The temple is NOT christian ceremony, it is pagan and taken from heathen philosophies, it is NOT what Jesus Christ wanted as “the” church at all. Look it up, go to library go get books on Masons, and compare the ceremonies. Read anything written about the Book of Abraham outside church approved documents. Nothing Joseph Smith did aligns with the “office of Prophet”, get out your Bible and read what the qualifications of a prophet are/were, and then see if his criteria aligns. Be bold, be brave, and look at the information outside church explanations about what kind of life Joseph Smith actually lived. And then if you want people who were like you, go read some of the stories that put your religion in context and why many have left. Christians don’t hate LDS people they hate that what the LDS religion practices is AGAINST the Bible in so many ways, so they would prefer if the LDS church would STOP saying they are Christian, split off entirely. Stand alone and be their own deal and not try to say they are something, or present that they are something they are NOT. Instead they keep insisting they follow Jesus Christ…The doctrine of who the Mormon Church believes to be Jesus Christ does NOT align with Christianity, it is a different deity all together, and not based at all on the Bible, but a strange man’s vision. That is where the conflict is, not with you personally. If the LDS church would stand alone, and say we have a different take on how to get to heaven and how to live. I don’t think the conflict would be so intense. But to say it is Christian is what bothers people who follow the Bible as the only WAY, TRUTH and life of Messiah, Jesus.

            Joseph Smith is the basis of the religion, his dreams, his books. His life is in OPPOSITION to most everything that a Christian holds dear, and that is why it ruffles the masses. Most of the Christian Protestant denominations only differ on a few points. They don’t practice bizarre pagan ritual, don’t believe in having a temple…Jesus spllit the veil into the HOLY of HOLIES, abolishing the need for a temple, because He lives in the heart, He was the lamb that was slain, He finished it up. No more temple rites, no more priestly activities, ceremony. LDS follow the prophet, you sing, follow the prophet songs. Christianity doesn’t FOLLOW a prophet, we don’t sing songs glorifying John the Baptist, who was a prophet. We sing songs glorifying the LAMB, worshipping the Lamb that was slain. Who cares about a prophet, mere mortal, too limited. I think the LDS would fair WAY better in the eyes of most if they would stand up and say…we really have an alternative religion, we don’t need to say that we are Christian, we are totally different, and they ARE…

          • Savannah Nash

            I am heart sick over how many are duped, why they are duped, and how they continue to be duped. They are wonderful genuine people being led astray and it KILLS me. But if you talk to those who left, or go to exmormon.org or other such sites, and you read what happens or how much they can lose by leaving that religion behind, you just well up in tears for those who do make it out of the “church” and how they have such a hard journey back to faith. The betrayal the deception really harms. But God is real, Joseph Smith’s religion is not, Jesus is Love, the LDS doctrine is NOT. Talk to the missionaries after their 2 yrs, most are so disillusioned. They know they have to basically lie to get mbrs baptized, and once those find out the real behind the scenes religion, they realized what the missionaries told them isn’t at all what the church is about.

          • Fedup Pauper

            Amen! Tell the truth! and SHAME the devil…

          • Kaela

            The Mormon church is also experiencing a great exodus.

          • GrimmEngineer

            That’s interesting considering the growth rate is still several points in the positive direction. Via 3rd party statistics also.

          • monk_87

            It’s essentially because you adhere to your tradition (creed). The ancient Christian churches do that too.

          • Pascal

            Well, it is not the SOLE job of the preacher to pastor the flock. That is the job of the elders (which he may be one of them).

          • Greg Short

            AMEN MARY!!!

          • Edwin

            Mary I am in South Africa and if u don’t have the Lord you will have nothing,churches are also closing doors here because the people are taken a knock with finances and don’t pay tithes .Secondly if the pastor preaches a mess with the Holy Spirit it is very good , and thirdly I believe a church is there to use its gifts to reach out to the people and outside and lost and the church must train them to disciple

          • Victor Hafichuk

            There are only two churches, the true and the false, Do you truly know to which church you are referring? Can you tell?

            http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/the-true-church.htm

          • jozie

            You are what’s wrong with the church…people like you…Tithing for one is un-biblical, Pastors need to get a job like the rest of us…Second, why are people like you convinced they need a Pastor to fulfill their every need? Get your butt out of the pew and start teaching yourself, read your bible!…There are so many things wrong with the church establishment of today..false teaching abounds…cultish like groups from within with those women cicks, and leader positions…why in the world do we need so many ministries..how bout getting out in your own neighborhood for starters..As for the Apostles, they lived a harsh life and gave their life for the gospel, certainly far from Pastors of today who live off the backs of the flock living in cribs in upscale neighborhoods while single parents struggle..Palease, wake up!…Pastors are for newborns who need to hear the gospel, after that there is no more need for a teacher..let the holy spirit be your guide and counselor…Pastors are to be servants not dictators! we all are equals, not one higher then the other, not one lording it over the other…we don’t need buildings, we are the building..stop building buildings that take and take our resources but feed the 5 thousand…feed them the word and give them food and drink! The church is corrupt and crooked and they won’t change bc they love their position’s of authority, they love power and they love money…Where is Jesus in all this? I left your faulty brand of church a long time ago!!

          • Lea Rice

            well said. someone has been reading God’s word.

          • Jan Bowman

            Believers didn’t just supply the needs of the apostles,the entire early church took care of each others needs ,and they didn’t have to be apostles to qualify for help one from another. The scriptures written by the apostles taught them to take care of one another needs, and one of the churches hugest problems is they have become the pastor only church instead of a living organism they became an organisation instead. The care one for another in the church has basically vanished out the door.

          • lee

            Sounds good, but if the living word of God doesn’t support your words, you can’t take it upon yourself and make it a mandate. Has it ever occurred to you that most churches fail financially, because Jesus didn’t call the church to be birth, in the first place? The overwhelming amount of churches in America, are business ventures.
            Men and women attain professional degree, that they may open a church for profit.
            The fact that churches have expenses goes without saying, however, it’s an tired and weak argument. If God birth a church, don’t you believe He will maintain it? Jesus says in Jeremiah 21:23, that they went out and he did not send them. They have run with their message and prophesy, but I did not speak to them. Again, their are many false prophets who have gone out in Jesus name for profit. But also, there are many people who profess to children of God, and has never been “Born Again”, according to John 3:3. Those who are not born again are ignorant to the lies of Satan, for they are still blind, walking in darkness, for it takes a born again believer, who posses the “Holy Spirit”, to discern the truth of God’s word and what has been spoken here in.

          • thippiechick

            Thank you soo much for explaining this. I was always under the impression that my tithe would have to be 10% of all I make and than I was unable to make my housing, food, clothing and transportation cost. I budget as much as I am able yet still unable to do all of that plus 10%. I always wondered how that was to be. Now that I realize it is of the increase..after these expenses have been paid than 10% of what I have I can do that. You do not know how much of a burdon has been lifted. I always felt so bad for not tithing properly that I often simply did not. I always made sure my kids (I am a single mom) have offering and I would put in a love offering but the tith was such a burdon that I could not do and always felt so guilty. GrimmEngineer you will never know what that information has done for me. Thank you

          • Ronald W Robey

            I encourage you to study all the Scriptures that deal with the commanded tithe. If you do, you will find that God never commanded anyone to tithe his or her money to the Temple. You will also find that in the New Testament, tithes were never commanded for, carried to, collected in, or controlled by the Church. God does not want tithe of money, and He never required people living on Gentile soil to tithe.

          • justme

            Your tithe is what you want to give to God. Whatever you do decide to give to him should be given cheerfully and without resentment.

            And remember, it is optional, but this is the only thing that Jesus ever said to test him on. Pray about it, search scripture, and then give what you are led to give. I hope that in turn you will see those storehouses opened up and poured out upon you for faithfully rising up.

          • jusme

            Show me where in the Bible it says to tithe on your “increase.” It plainly says to tithe on your FIRST FRUITS. As far as criticizing a church for paying their Pastor – he not only works for God, but he works for his people. It is only fair that he is paid so that he can provide for his family. Would you work endless hours a day, 7 days a week without an income?

          • GrimmEngineer

            Unfortunately you are all stuck in the now and do not understand the meaning of “first fruits” as used in the bible. Most people didn’t get a paycheck like they do today. Almost everyone produced something. Whether it be cattle, or plants or other goods. So when it came time to pay your tithe it was very often paid in “goods”. Paying with your “first fruits” simply means the finest quality you have produced. When you paid your tithes you gave your best cattle, or sheep, or produce etc. I know it isn’t clear because of the innacurate translations done by many monks in the creation of the King James Bible.

          • justme

            Would you care to clarify how tithing in the LDS scriptures differs from tithing in the Bible (KJV)?

            For example, Alma 13:15 seems to pretty clearly indicate that tithing is from all that you posses, same as the KJV.

            I’m also still confused about why you deviate so strongly from the LDS official stance on the KJV by continuing to denounce it. It is curious that you say the concept of tithing in the KJV “isn’t clear because of the inaccurate translations done by many monks” when many of the passages regarding tithing in the BOM are word for word IDENTICAL to passages from the KJV. i.e. Nephi 24:8 (compare to Malachi 3:8). If the KJV is as wrong as you claim it to be then we are left with no option but to conclude that the BOM is equally wrong, despite Joseph Smith’s claims…

          • Seth

            “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” 1 Cor. 9:14… Also see Romans 10:15…

          • Laura

            Tithing is from your first fruits, not your leftovers.

          • Seth

            It’s also an old testament tradition, that you only see mentioned twice int he new testament, neither as an instruction. My view is this: Old Testament, you owe a tenth of your first fruits to God who has supplied; New Testament, you were bought with a price and every dime, resource, or minute in your possession belongs to God who supplies your needs in order to expand his kingdom and glorify him. Why limit it to a tenth? He’s owed all.

          • Teresa Murray

            To give to the churh is not just monetary. Share your money, time, talents, and resources. It is like any community, you should give as you receive. It shouldn’t be a take, take,take. It is about being in relationship.

          • RN Nutrition

            Its not a monetary relationship… that is not Biblical. You give to God in faith… not out of expectation that you will receive anything in return. God already gave His life for you… He owes you nothing else.

          • david

            This comment shows a lack of scriptural understanding.

          • Aztec01

            Yet you offer no counterpoint. How is anyone to know if YOU have any scriptural understanding? It’s surely not evidenced in your snarky sound bite.

          • John Abolarin

            Tithe is not a tax! It is a free will offering. Those who over the years have learnt to give joyfully don’t see tithe as a burden but account of stewardship. They also know that no one can out give God. If I cannot try God with a tenth of my income I will be deceiving myself to say I can give God 100%.

          • Kelly

            Unless Saint Peter is expecting all of your check. Then “the wrath of God” kills your asses.

          • ACM

            Love this John 😉

          • Ty Str

            John have you not read the Bible lately? We are not to give God any percentage if that percentage is not 100%. have you not heard that we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice? That sounds a lot like 100% to me—– God doesn’t need our nickels and dimes quarters and dollars

          • Darrell Davis

            Everybody seems to forget the second part of New Testament Giving – When people brought their gifts to the church “And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need”. How many times are we supposed to lay our gifts at the “disciples” feet and have them turn their backs when we are in need? The church is always complaining about us not giving when they refuse to hold up their end of the deal.

          • Doug Tozier

            Tell that to someone who can’t even pay their bills.

          • Ronald W Robey

            Tithes were never from firstfruits. Not sure where you heard it was, but wherever you got it from was wrong.

          • Albert Estrada

            Biblical brother, it there !!!

          • Ronald W Robey

            Actually Brother, it is not there. Notice the following two verses…

            Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
            Nehemiah 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

            Notice the firstfruites were taken by the children of Israel to the House of God and into the chambers of the storehouse. But the tithes, they took to the Levites. The Levites, in turn, would take a tithe of the tithe to the House of God into the chambers of the storehouse.

            Tithes and firstfruits were not the same… they were taken to two different places. Also, the Old Testament says tithes were given at the end of the harvest, while the firstfruits were from the beginning of the harvest.

            Please study this out.

          • michele

            You’re on point.. The Levitical Priests were the ONLY ones who collected the “tithe’.. but these pimiping pastors say we’re all High Priest… This is false.. The pastor is not a Levite Priest and has no authority to take the tithe.

          • Sonny Johnson

            If you’re in a church where the pastor takes the tithe, you had best run right out of that church. My Bible says bring the tithe into His store House.

          • penny

            lol.. These modern day con artist pimpsters equate their churches to the storehouse. That too is a lie and false doctrine..First, the word “church” isn’t in the old testament, so to equate a “storehouse” to a church is incorrect. This is just a play on words and a method of deception to trick sheeple into giving. Second, during Old Testament times, a storehouse was just that, a storehouse. It was used to “store” grains, meats, produce, wool, etc…it was NOT a place to take money,….Monetary offerings, if their was such a thing, was given to the Levitical Priests from the TRIBE of LEVI and they took it to the TEMPLE Priest.

          • Ronald W Robey

            Sorry Albert, but it is not Biblical at all.

            Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
            Nehemiah 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

            The children of Israel took the firstfruits to the House of God, into the chambers. But the tithes, they took to the Levites. The Levites, in turn, would take a tithe of the tithe to the House of God, into the chambers.

            It is quite clear that the two, firstfruits and tithes could not have been the same thing. One went one place, the other went to another place.

            Also, firstfruits were nothing more than a basket or handful of fruit from the beginning of the harvest. Tithes were always paid at the end of the harvest.

          • Ronald W Robey

            Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
            Nehemiah 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

            These two verses alone prove that tithes and firstfruits were not the same. They reveal that the children of Israel took firstfruits to the House of God, while the tithes they took elsewhere.

            One might feebly attempt to say that the Levites were at the Hosue of God to receive the tithes from the children of Israel, but the text proves they could not have been. How could they “bring the tithe of the tithe to the House of God” if they were already at the House of God? LoL The argument fails in light of the clear text of the Bible.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            WOW! The author was right on the money, wasn’t he? This entire string of replies and arguments about first fruits, increases, and harvest tithes are EXACTLY the point Pavlovitz was making. You’re arguing the minutia! Do you honestly think that god gives a running rabbit’s rear axle when or what you give as long as you’re doing your best? If you are supporting your family and living a good and honest life, and giving what you can to support the church, then I doubt it matters. Perhaps you all are the problem… ya think?

          • Ronald W Robey

            Hi alethea, I know God doesn’t care what amount we give. He is a God of multiplication. He took a lunch for one small lad and fed 5,000 with it.

            The fact is, if people would just read their Bibles, they might discover that God’s commanded tithes were never of one’s money. And they were never commanded for, carried to, collected in, or controlled by the New Testament Church. The commanded tithes were for the children of Israel only, and then only once they crossed the Jordan and entered into the promised land. Leviticus 27:30133; Deuteronomy 12:1-11; Hebrews 7:5-8

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Who cares? It was stated that a woman’s perspective was different and that her needs weren’t being met. That the church expects so much more from a woman (I have my own story to tell about that). This is the BIG stuff that others are ignoring and so are losing many in their congregations. Pavlovitz’s point was proven by those who posted here.

          • Ronald W Robey

            Oh, I agree. The Church is not listening. Many are leaving for the very reasons Pastor Pavlovitz has written. Sometimes, it is because of a spirit of rebellion, hating all that has to do with God. Other times, it is because the leadership, those who should have a heart of compassion, do not show the heart of compassion to those who need it.

            And so, those who need to feel loved and cared for, often return to the world where they at least had seeming friends.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I was the organist, pianist and soloist at my church by the age of 12. I taught Sunday School when I was 15 and was VERY active in church activities, etc. I expressed to our pastor that I wanted to go to seminary after high school and was promptly told that god didn’t want women to spread the word – that’s was the man’s job. I was told that god had a special place for women in this world and I was doing a great job of it and to stay where I belonged. Within 2 years, I left the church and never went back to it or any other ‘house of worship’. Ain’t agonna happen now, either.

          • Ronald W Robey

            While I am not much on seminaries these days (for either man or woman) because the majority that I’ve researched have became very liberal in their doctrines, that pastor was wrong. There is nothing wrong with a woman getting a religious education.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Well this was WAY back. Here are the passages to which I was referred.
            I Corinthians 14:34
            I Timothy 2:9
            I Timothy 2:11
            I had already read those verses many times, and I saw no connection to the church until the pastor brought it up. After studying it more, I asked him, “If god, who could have chosen to give his son to the world by ANY means, chose to have a woman carry Jesus in her womb for 9 months and raise him with her instruction and guidance, why would god think a woman was unworthy to spread the word from the pulpit?” He had no answer. I saw it for what is was… and still is. As the sharks say… “I’m out.”

          • Ronald W Robey

            Yeah, i know the passages well.

            Pastors take them out of context to teach wrong doctrine.

            Ome only need flip to the 1 Corinthians 11 to prove the pastors wrong. Says a woman can prophesy if her head is covered. To prophecy means to bring forth the Word. A woman can indeed bring the Word. I have heard many a woman butcher the Word, but I have also heard many shuck out the corn when preaching as well.

            And, in the book of Acts, we have the four virgin daughters of Phillip prophesying.

            Women who are educated in the proper way to minister can be just as effective at preaching the Word as any man… if they are Spirit led.

          • Art Dickinson

            Someone earlier in this thread suggested that the discussion would descend into bickering about irrelevant technicalities, and it did!
            I have never felt so close to my creator as when I was in the midst of a desert or forest, deep in meditation, and usually alone. That’s why I am not an attendee at formal services, too many hypocrites.

          • John Abolarin

            Sorry about that Art Dickinson. You see, those ‘irrelevant technicalities’ are the main issues for some people who left the church. It is sad that the church may not be what we hope it should be but with its many problems there are no alternatives to the Church. We should stay back to put the wrong right. Staying in the desert occasionally to enjoy a deep meditation is perfectly okay because Jesus did the same thing but He went back to the temple to challenge orthodoxy. The leaders engineered His death for his effort. We should stay put to right wrong. It could take time. With genuine interest, intention, love, understanding and patient we can get there

          • Savannah Nash

            Art really needs to go back to the forest and let us discuss without his insight

          • John Abolarin

            Ronald, you are absolutely correct!

          • Darrell

            Every believer can prophesy that does not mean he or she is a prophet.

          • Darrell

            There is a difference in prophesying and holding the office of a prophet.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            And, there is someone who says he/she is a prophet? Please, point out that prophet.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            And, your point is?

          • Thomas Everroad

            Every child can tell the truth but that doesn’t make them honest.
            Every fortune teller can say some stuff is going to happen. Doesn’t make them a prophet either. Having grown up a child of a minister who traveled and played music (sort of like the Partridge family) I have heard literally thousands of “prophecies” and many of them were about me in particular. Guess what. Not one has come to pass
            According to several of these “prophecies” I was to do great works for god in my life and be his voice . Guess what….I am an atheist now and was then too. I spend every waking moment trying to save people from religion. Your gods religion. I will not rest until christianity is shelved in the same place as voodoo and people realize that there is not one true god but thousands of imaginary gods . If you don’t think christianity will die out just research how many religions that millions and millions of people used to worship and have now been all but forgotten.
            “Religion was born when the first con man met the first fool”
            -Mark Twain-

          • lana broussard

            What is it to u what we believe. There is absolutely no way you could ever convince me god is not real…i know without a shadow of a doubt he is absolutely real. I know he is real more than I know my parents were real. And if u put a gun to my head right now and gave me a choice…live or die. Say u aren’t sure if he is real. I would die knowing that I’m on my way home

          • Brandon Brasseau

            To Thomas Everroad…..What a poor pitiful place for
            you to be. To be your own god must be hard work. What
            happened to you or what did you see that made you so
            cynical? Just because people have not lived up to your
            lofty expectations does not mean that God does not
            exist. We’ve all been hurt in some way or another…sometimes
            in church and sometimes elsewhere. But God is always
            here. When you are long gone, HE’LL STILL BE HERE>. He does not force Himself on anyone. You don’t sense His presense because He won’t intrude on your space, so to speak.You have pushed Him away and decided because you
            faced uncomfortable things or even mistreatment, that you
            don’t need Him therefore just because you wish Him away,
            He just disappears, in your mind. And that statement about
            religion…I totally agree with what Mr Twain said that religion
            is foolish. But Jesus didn’t come to bring us a religion/He
            came to have a relationship with us. God hates religion
            more than we do. Jesus
            said the greatest commandment of all is to love God with
            all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves. That
            shows that He knows that if we fulfill those two commandments
            we will be fulfilling the first 10 completely. If we love people
            and God we will not steal someones money, we will not
            murder people, we will not have affairs with their spouses.
            The bible says the Lord calls foolish those who don’t
            believe in Him. You’d better watch out whose side you
            are on. Just because there were people you couldn’t
            trust doesn’t make GOD untrustworthy! Nor does it make
            Him nonexistent.

          • Ronnie Tanner

            Thomas, you are right that “Christianity” needs to be shelved, specifically the Christianity which men have contrived and thought up. However, you say you will not rest until “people realize that there is not one true god but thousands of imaginary gods”. How do you know this to be true? Is that not just another religion you are preaching? Aren’t you just an atheistic evangelist at heart? Atheism is just another religion that declares the “no god” to be God. Do you know what you are talking about or is this just your imagination? What you learned growing up was nothing but vain religion. I learned it to. It’s the most horrid of experiences. It’s called Mystery Babylon, and it’s where your parents lived and raised you. I’d say you can be thankful you came to realize that. However, don’t stop there. Do know there is One True God and His Name is Jesus Christ. He isn’t found in men’s churches but by those who earnestly seek Him and turn from their sins with whatever power they’ve been granted. You aren’t innocent and you aren’t free, and as long as you avoid that reality it will only get worse.

            Take a read here.. this is the “Christianity” you are talking about: http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/counterfeit-christianity.htm

          • Carol Null

            You are equating religion and Christianity together….this is false and deception reasoning….religion is always based on man’s interpretation or how he perceives the world around him. Christianity is about a relationship between the Creator and the created, to restore all things back to its original state before sin entered in. Proverbs 14:1 ( A fool says in his heart ( there is no God) I would dare to suggest the even the late Mark Twain can now say without the slightest hesitation…. there is a God, and He reigns over the affairs of men. The Church has committed many gross sins and errors over her long history. but within the body of believers there are still a few who seek God and wish to make disciples for His name sake….if you have been injured in a church setting we ask your forgiveness, and we pray God will open our hearts to receive you in love, and His grace, and that you would give us another chance to undo the harm you experienced while in our midst ….I will pray that God will bring that special person into your life…that you might taste and see how great is the Father’s love…..God bless all of you

          • Savannah Nash

            God will ALWAYS have a remnant, they tried to kill off Israel, it still stands, it will stand and endure until the end…

          • Dora monroe

            I’m really unhappy in my church. People walk all thru the service speak out. One brother must be seen and heard takes.no instruction becomes angry. The church only opens on Sunday. I really.must leave for own spiritual well being.

          • Ronnie Tanner

            You are right, Dora, if you want to live, you must leave the works of men.

            http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/case-for-coming-out-church-system-churches.htm

          • Darrell

            Your opinion does not mean that it is truth. You have not given proof that he is wrong only your opinion.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Darrell, it is up to the person who made the assertion to provide proof, not the listener or the person who disagrees.

            Now, try to follow this… Words, stories, interpretations, verses in books, etc. are not true because that same book SAYS it’s true. That’s like saying, ‘I am Queen because I SAY I’m Queen and you’d better believe everything I say or I’ll see that you are horribly punished!’

          • amy

            God doesn’t but Paul does. That is who we need to question. Why does Paul SO drastically differ from the words of Christ?
            Be thankful you didn’t go…it would have led you so far from the capital T; truth.

          • Michael Wall

            I think you would probably prove his point (if he had one) by allowing his words to deter you from fellowship and/or ministry. I can certainly understand you leaving that church, but you seem to have left all churches. Do you think that pastors are the only ones who can be hyper critical? Perhaps you need to mature before you take up ministry ..

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Michael, I’ve left all churches of any religion. I have read, studied, and researched nearly every doctrine you don’t even know exists. The reason? It fascinates me. Religion has influenced cultures and societies for thousands of years, and vice versa. It is internally diverse and is constantly changing and redefining itself. And, there is absolutely no empirical, or even compelling, evidence that any one of the thousands of dogmas has any truth as to the existence of a god/goddess, yet humans all over the world will aver that only they have the true religion. At best, religions are invented by humans and/or representative of historical fiction. They are passed down according to the beliefs of the parents and the country in which one was born. Born in India? You’d probably follow Brahma and Shiva. Yet, some people cling to those faiths and attempt to elbow their way into governments, schools, personal lives and the lives of our children. The two worst offenders in this respect are Christianity and certain factions of Islam.

            I’m well over 60 years old and have been a student of religion and the psychology behind it now for over 45 years. No, pastors are not the only hyper-critical beings – definitely not. However, there are those critical people who suggest that others mature before they know a thing about that person.

          • John Abolarin

            Alethea I’m sorry that happened to you. Pastors do have a lot of influence for good and sadly some times not so good. Please you may wish to reconsider your stand now that you understand that the reason you went to the Church was not because of the pastor but for God and because you were willing to obey God’s instructions that you should be in fellowship with other believers. It’s possible that the pastor you have in mind has changed his position from what it was and it’s possible that he may not even remember your case. Endurance is a test of our allegiance and commitment to God not to men

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Nope. I’m out. Studied and studied and read and read and I can find no sense of the ‘instructions’ in that black book, or how people have decided to interpret them. A church and religion (not faith) are the biggest money making schemes ever foisted on a believing people.

            Oh, he changed his mind all right. That pastor is dead. And, absolutely NONE of the other pastors/priests with whom I have spoken are any better. I think people have decided to model god after themselves rather than the other way around as is stated in Genesis.

            You can save your breath, John.

          • Michael A. Albert

            I won’t defend what was said to you way back when, Alethea, but what you need to reconsider is what Y’shua/Jesus said in John 3 and your eternal destination! Nothing else matters, Alethea, nothing! In spite of what this article states, there are tons of good churches out there where the people love God and would welcome you. But if your mind is made up about stepping into a church, as you say it is, then it still comes back to John 3. The Bible is the final authority, not man and what he may say. All you need is “that black book” a good set of knees and the desire to cry out to God to open your eyes to what His Word says.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Thank you for your concern Michael. I know plenty about what is said in that black book (I own 6 different versions, and I’ve read all versions out there) and it’s all a matter of interpretation.

            I won’t, and don’t care to, pressure you to see it my way, but it appears that multitudes feel it necessary to advise me on what I ‘need’ and ‘should do’ and what to ‘believe’ and what ‘church to find’. From just my first two posts, which were sticking to the subject, I was PM’d by quite a number of people, including JW, LDS, CC, and numerous denominations of Protestants. Each one told me that THEY knew the truth, THEY were the right church, all the others weren’t true Christians and yadayadayada. People will attend a church where the pastor says what they want to hear and they will find a different one if the pastor’s interpretation doesn’t suit them. Here is a portion of my reply to one person bent on saving me to THEIR particular flavor of Christianity….

            “I’ve talked with Mormons, Buddhists, Shintoists, Wiccans, Pagans, B’nai B’riths, Zoroastrians (yes there such people),
            Catholics, Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, JWs and all other flavors of the Christian church – the pastors, the priests and members of the faith. The Muslims would not speak with me – I’m a woman.

            I’ve read every version, book, chapter, verse, and line in it. I’ve read the Book of Mormon, The Zen of Tao and the Quran. In addition, I’ve read the ancient Hebrew and Greek original writings, translated to English of course. I’ve talked with theologians, atheists, agnostics and professors. I’ve spoken and listened at length to my AmerInd friends and elders. I’ve read nearly everything I can get my hands on about
            religions of all types. I can quote the bible with the best of them, but that’s not the point. I didn’t leave because the pastor discouraged me, I left after two years of intense study (and I mean intense) of the bible and Christianity.

            And, after a lifetime of studying and understanding many of the over hundreds and hundreds of religions in this world, the most belligerent, critical, biased, condemning and violent of them are… the Christians and each one, to a man, each flavor tried to ‘save’ me because THEY are ‘the only church that knows and preaches the truth’! They can’t decide whether a person should be baptized forward or backward, or whether a woman should wear pants and/or makeup, or cut their hair, what underwear to choose, tithe or not tithe, speak in tongues, play with snakes and on and on.

            The kindest, most generous, gracious, loving, supportive, understanding and charitable people? The Wiccans, Pagans,
            Buddhists, Jewish, AmerInds, atheists and agnostics. They have just as much, if not more, morality than Christians.”

            I’ve been to churches, temples and even a monastery. What matters is my relationship with my creator.

          • Thomas Everroad

            You know it’s odd but Not one person has PM’d me to discuss anything I have posted. I wonder why that is?

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I don’t have the foggiest idea, Thomas. The first who contacted me was a JW asking if I’d ever talked with one!
            Perhaps it is because you’re more eloquent than I, or that people are afraid to engage you because you know far more than some of us having been a PK. ??

          • Thomas Everroad

            I think it has more to do with the fact that they are afraid to have their faith shaken. People need to feel a sense that they will never die but live on forever. Fear of ones own mortality is the biggest thing religion has going for it.

          • PaulBCohen .

            There is religion, Thomas, and there is the Truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth, not a religion. With religion you get to keep your life, but with Jesus Christ, you will lose it. Then death (not just physical, but the loss of all things in this life) no longer threatens you because you are crucified with Him and truly free. “Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36 MKJV). More on His ways at http://www.ThePathofTruth.com .

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            And, where do you find the ‘truth’, Paul? The book that SAYS it’s true? The Koran says it’s true, as well.

          • PaulBCohen .

            Jesus Christ is the Truth, Alethea. He is alive, not the Bible, although He inspired it. I only know this because He revealed Himself to me, and I recognized His voice in the Bible. Without Him, all are dead in their sins and unbelief. I was certainly there and He, not a book, brought me out of death and hell.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I was terminally ill with cancer, Paul. I was not and am not dead. Far from it. People will believe whatever gives them the strength and the fortitude to fight. If that was ‘His’ voice for you… cool! It was a Hindu hearing the voice of Lakshmi that gave him the will to fight. It was the power of Quan Yin who saved the Buddhist from death. Do you not see that you BELIEVE it was your god who saved you? But, your god is not the only ‘saving’ or ‘healing’ god? The bible is not the only ‘saving’ or ‘healing’ literature that exists? You weren’t in ‘hell’, Paul. You were sick and were afraid that you would be eternally punished in some imaginary ‘lake of fire’ for any misstep you had ever taken. You have absolutely no idea about the truth, Paul. Neither do I or anyone else living on this earth.

          • PaulBCohen .

            Did you read my story, Alethea? Please do – http://thepathoftruth.com/testimonies/paul.htm, You’ll see I wasn’t scared of eternal punishment, something I wasn’t taught and didn’t believe, but was in great turmoil because of the wrong turn I took. I asked Jesus Christ to settle the matter for me and He did. You can’t argue with that, at least not successfully. You need to carefully consider what you’re hearing because you can’t rightly judge what you don’t listen to.

            “Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”
            (John 8:31-32 MKJV).

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Yes, I read it. And, that is what I believe it is…. a story. I’ve listened to nearly everything anyone has had to say about their faith, and their amazing experiences, and I believe that no one knows the truth about the supernatural. I don’t believe that’s possible. People in other lands, ask THEIR gods to settle the matter and believe that those gods do. THAT is true. Happens all the time. People of Christianity have had near death experiences and see angels, their loved ones, Jesus and heaven. People of Hinduism have had near death experiences, too. And, they see Lakshmi, Ganesha, Shiva, even Brahman. It’s all a matter of what they believe, how they’ve been raised, what they’ve been told.

            Any verses in any religious books can be quoted to support ones personal beliefs – the is MY belief.

          • PaulBCohen .

            If one can’t know the truth about the supernatural, how do you know that your thoughts about the supernatural are true? How can you judge my supernatural experience, or a Hindus’? By your own confession, you can’t definitively say that what I’ve experienced with God isn’t so.

            I know and declare that one can know the Truth, because I know Him. And by Him I can judge the experience of another. It’s not hard or an impressive feat. It’s just a matter of having spiritual eyes to see, which God gives us through Christ. He is the Mediator between God and man, bringing us into the Kingdom of Heaven, His spiritual dwelling place of light and life.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I have not said that my thoughts are true. I have always said that this is what I believe.

            I judged you? hmmm, Here is what you said, “And by Him I can judge the experience of another.” That’s a smoking gun if there ever was one!

            Believe what you wish to believe – that’s hunky dorey – and allow me to do same.

          • RN Nutrition
          • PaulBCohen .

            Of course hell is real, RN. You’re in it right now, a place of darkness without understanding. You have religion, not reality.

            You need to get your own oil. See the link I just gave you to our site – http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/restitution/index.htm, and hear what the Lord says on this matter that you haven’t yet heard.

            Gotquestions can’t give you the oil of God’s truth because they don’t have it themselves. They have some correct knowledge, but nothing from the Tree of Life. See http://thepathoftruth.com/falseteachers/s.michael-houdmann.htm

          • Thomas Everroad

            You are assuming that a book written by fallible humans more than 300 hundred years AFTER this imaginary christ even was to have existed is true. There is no truth in this book. It is so full of contradictions that even the scholars can’t agree on which of the more than 25 versions in existence to trust. so if you want to debate stop using that black book. Let me give you an example of just how ridicules your faith is. Here we have a god who for the first few thousand years had no problem whatsoever (allegedly) performing piles of miracles such 10 plagues on the Egyptians, parted the red sea ( which poses physical challenges in and of itself such as the feet thick muck that covers the ocean floor) , somehow got a million people across it, spent 40 years making a trip that could be done in a few weeks) to the promised land where god instructed them to murder many tribes along the way manna fed them, a pillar of fire at night guided them etc… ALL these miracles were shown to them yet they still fashioned a golden calf the result of which was that god ordered aaron to murder half of the tribe and then later for some reason decided to send his “son” to be slaughtered to wash our sins away but refuses to show himself ever again. YET if you are a thinking person and find all this silly stuff impossible to believe , this same forgiving, loving god will torture you for eternity.
            Then theres the whole “selective” acceptance of scripture in your daily life. Jesus was a communist saying “if someone asks you for money give it to them. If they ask for a loan do it yet He said” Forsake your family, give all you have to the poor and follow me” (paraphrasing of course) which I know that almost no so called christian has ever done.
            There is absolutely no truth in a book that claims the entire universe was created in 6 days ( god was pooped and had to rest on the 7th) when there is undeniable evidence to the contrary.
            You people teach blind faith , child torture and exclusion changing the “interpretation” to suit your own agenda un-apologetically while at the same time claiming to be a loving, accepting club.
            There is no morality in that book that is not commonplace to everyone else who doesn’t believe in it and furthermore you claim that billions of the humans god supposedly created are going to hell simply because they are muslim, buddhist, etc.
            Not one single thing in that book is true. However it has been sold to the uneducated masses for centuries. I weep for the blind masses that have bought this lie. Your life would be so much more fulfilled if you realized that there is no boogie man in the sky who is so fickle and murderous . Personally I would never want to spend eternity with such a god who is subject to destroy you for having an independent thought.
            Death does not scare me. You know why? Because I’ll be dead and gone and won’t even know it.
            Please stop telling people you know what is going on when clearly you do not and for pete’s sake don’t terrorize children with fables of hell fire. That is the most evil thing you could do to a young impressionable mind.

          • PaulBCohen .

            Thomas, “eternal torment” is a lie from Hell. Why do you lie about us, saying we promote such blasphemy? And what sins do you love so much that you feel compelled to impugn your Creator and Savior with lies? The evil you ascribe to Him is a reflection of what’s inside you. You’re being eaten up by your own sins and corruption. Bitter and unrepentant, you lash out at Him by setting yourself on fire in front of a crowd. How smart is that? Read http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/restitution/goodnews.htm

          • RN Nutrition

            a lie from Hell? Please don’t purport to know Scripture with this comment.

          • PaulBCohen .

            I don’t purport – I supply. Read liberally from our website, RN, and get yourself the nutrition of the Scriptures. Here’s the section about God’s declared intention and work of salvation in Christ: http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/restitution/index.htm

          • kas

            Paul, how do you know god is a HIM? Did He tell you that? If he did then you are hearing voices in your head and need a Psychiatrist. If you just read it in the book then you are just a misogynistic douche.

          • PaulBCohen .

            So I hate women because God came in the flesh as a man? That doesn’t make sense, Kas. You’re the one with a hate problem, and it’s killing you.

          • Jody Pussycat

            It’s the biggest marketing scam on Earth created to control people and dominate them into keeping only a small percentage of those in power there AND in turn: wealthy. Most have been indoctrinated by our parents as a young age when we needed food, shelter, comfort to be provided… so this great faith many have (to me) just goes back to wanting to feel that love as a child. Remember how guilty you gelt when younger and lied to your parents for the first time? Now compare that feeling to the guilt you might experience if you start to lost faith in the existence of a higher power.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I think you’re being challenged on here, Thomas. They eventually do, don’t they?

          • PaulBCohen .

            You’re so right in this last sentence, Alethea. I have found our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be faithful in providing what we need. As a young man of 23 moved to Israel, and in the middle of the Negev desert, He sent someone to speak to me about His will for my life and the path I needed to walk on. He also gave me the grace to obey. What a God! Please read my story, http://thepathoftruth.com/testimonies/paul.htm, and help yourself to the bountiful good food He’s given us at this site.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            No thanks, Paul. I’ve read more books about the ‘truth’ than you probably have or even know about.

            NO ONE – not you, me, Pat Robertson, any pastor, theologian, professor, roadside evangelist, street corner bible thumper, etc. KNOWS the truth. We only know what we believe to be true. To think that we actually KNOW what’s going on, is pure arrogance.

            Help yourself to the peace the Buddha has given us!

            p.s. Do you realize that you say you’ve seen someone who spoke to you about your path, but others in similar situations, are told what goddess, or Ganesha, or Mithra, or Zoroaster wants them to do? It’s a matter of preconceived ideas of what is real, correct and desirable.

          • PaulBCohen .

            Of course we can know the truth, Alethea, we were created by Him and made in His image! And it was Him, Jesus Christ, Who answered me, not Ganesha or Mithra or Zoroaster or Buddha. It was no “preconceived idea of what is real, correct and desirable” that gave me life and understanding. It was those things that had left me dead and without hope. The proof of Jesus Christ is that He raises the dead, as with me.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Sorry, Paul. But, I believe that man has attempted to make god in HIS image…. give god a gender, decide that god looks like a Anglo-Saxon, interpret ‘god’s’ words (sorry, I’m smarter than that) as they WISH them to be. If you believe it, Paul – then good on you. But, that you were inspired is no proof… far from it. You weren’t answered by Zoroaster because you didn’t KNOW about Zoroaster. God is who you want god to be. Jesus is he who didn’t come back during the apostle’s time as he said he would. Go for it, Paul. But, don’t expect everyone else to buy your specific brand of supernatural mythology. You can profess all you wish that you KNOW the truth, but if you were honest, you would KNOW that it is your ‘ belief’. Hey, why don’t you ask JC to regrow the arm of a child who suffered a tractor accident? hmmmm.

          • PaulBCohen .

            Your theory doesn’t hold up here, Alethea. You say I made God in my image, basically conjuring Him up using terms and ideas I was familiar with.

            I was familiar with many so-called gods when the Lord called me. Why didn’t I hear from Allah or Krishna or Zeus, for examples? I had been searching and reading different books other than the Bible. So it wasn’t being exposed to things about Christ. In fact, it was unnatural for me to look to Him because as a Jew, confessing Christ would be denying my background and standing in life. It was the last thing I was looking to do. It was so remote from my mind, I didn’t even know I could do it!

            I also didn’t decide to believe in Christ. I simply asked God to make the truth known to me and He drew me to Himself and revealed His identity. He then answered me on many things, not just one, to this very day 37 years later and it hasn’t been my imagination. My imagination doesn’t control external things and events. Imagination doesn’t totally revolutionize one’s life, as mine was changed.

            And I have seen Him do the same with others. We have agreement because we have experienced the same Truth, without man’s intervention or imagination.

            I haven’t seen anyone else changed by any of the other gods as Christ changes, not even close. He is alive, Alethea, and I know Him. Because I have a relationship with Him, I don’t test His power as you suggest, but confer with Him about His will. That is the best and only way for all.

            You will eventually see how He works all things for good, including the child who lost his arm and all other disasters, which men, in their rebellion, have sown for. He promises.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            “He is alive, Alethea, and I know Him. Because I have a relationship with Him, I don’t test His power as you suggest, but confer with Him about His will. That is the best and only way for all.

            You will eventually see how He works all things for good, including the child wholost his arm and all other disasters, which men, in their rebellion, have sown for. He promises.”

            It is your BELIEF that, because of your relationship with him, that he is real. It is your BELIEF that the best and only way for ‘all’, is what YOU believe. (really?)

            Disasters are because people have ‘rebelled’? That men have ‘asked for it’? I don’t BELIEVE that.

          • PaulBCohen .

            Of course you don’t believe you’re a rebel, Alethea. It’s natural for people not to take responsibility for their sin nature and outcome of their sins. That’s another indication that what’s happened to me is a miracle, because I was enabled to confess myself a sinner and to make things right by God’s grace. I’m no different than you – it’s only the grace of God in Jesus Christ that makes me different.

            You have the cart before the horse here. My belief didn’t lead me to the Lord. The Lord led me to my belief. It’s His doing and power. You can argue with words, but not with the power of God.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            OH NO! I’m a rebel! Well, I’m an old one.

            Though I make mistakes and do some things that hadn’t oughta do sometimes, I am not this bad, bad, sinner who must ask for mercy from an invisible friend or agonize and burn and be tortured forever. I believe that concept is religion by tyranny. I believe that I’ve done nothing so bad as to warrant a person to be tortured and killed in the most bloody and gruesome manner that could be used at the time.

            You are most certainly within your rights to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster if you wish – become a Pastafarian if you wish. One either believes or they don’t…. I don’t

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            “But, I believe that man has attempted to make god in HIS image…. give
            god a gender, decide that god looks like a Anglo-Saxon, interpret
            ‘god’s’ words (sorry, I’m smarter than that) as they WISH them to be.”

            This is a direct quote from my post, Paul. Do you see the word ‘believe’ in there?

          • Savannah Nash

            a hardened heart is a closed heart and it refuses to acknowledge truth…and really no one needs to convince anyone…even the rocks will CRY out …God is ALIVE…those that know, KNOW

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Alethea

            The Bible is a dead book to the dead and is without its essence if the reader doesn’t know the Lord. Its true that many men have chosen to make interpretations of the Bible to suit their lusts. I was one of those too before the Lord brought me out of that presumption. Jesus Christ is what its all about:

            Joh 5:39-40 MKJV

            (39) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me,

            (40) and you will not come to Me that you might have life.

            Church and religion have nothing to do with God. You’ll not find one instance in the Bible of believers going to church, participating in the activities you see there today (all ear tickling and entertainment) and everyone choosing a church that suits them. You never hear of believers saying I won’t be going to Paul’s church because it “doesn’t work for me” of to Peter’s, etc. What has changed? Has the world suddenly started loving God whom we killed? He said those that believed Him would be hated by the world. Is this the hatred He was talking about? For evil’s sake?

            The pastors you’ve spoken to are hirelings and aren’t sent of God which is why they model God in their images instead of the other way around. The bible spoke of such as these:

            Mat 24:11-12 MKJV

            (11) And many false prophets will rise and deceive many.

            (12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will become cold.

            2Co 11:13-15 MKJV

            (13) For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

            (14) Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light?

            (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

            This last Scripture seems very applicable to you, Alethea:

            2Pe 2:1-3 MKJV

            (1) But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who secretly will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction.

            (2) And many will follow their pernicious ways, AND BECAUSE OF THEM the way of Truth will be evil spoken of.

            (3) And through covetousness they will use you for gain with well-turned words; for whom judgment from of old does not linger, and their destruction does not sleep.

            Alethea, there’s a true Church, one not visible to the carnal eye and the world. I was deceived by the false for a time because I love lies. The Lord does give strong delusion to such as me but He’s been gracious:

            2Th 2:11-12 MKJV

            (11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,

            (12) so that all those who do not believe the truth, but delight in unrighteousness, might be condemned.

            If we believe lies, its only because we’re liars ourselves. The Lord is just in all He does. I have learnt that those who deceived me were judgement by God toward me and therefore need to be forgiven. The issue is within.

            If you want to know about the true Church, you may read here:

            http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/the-true-church.htm

            Also for true hope, Lord willing, read:

            http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/restitution/goodnews.htm

            I hope you’re not discouraged by what has happened in your past in the search for truth. Consider that the Lord could be providing an opportunity now for the Real thing if that’s what you’re searching for. There’s no membership there. Only the Lord can add to His Church.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I’m not afraid of death without some sort of afterlife – actually, I don’t believe there is an afterlife, so your attempt to ‘save’ me can stop with your first sentence.

          • Simon Mwebaze

            You misunderstood what I said, Alethea. I didn’t mention anything about you fearing death. Why bring that up anyway? Whom are you trying to convince? You don’t need to convince me.

            Secondly, I’m not trying to save you. I can’t and don’t have the power to but the Lord can and will when its your time as with all men.

            So what if you can quote the Bible with the best of them? I don’t see your point. Also, not believing in the afterlife doesn’t nullify its existence just like your lack of belief in gravity won’t change that it exists. You also don’t say whether the truth of the Bible is applicable. Do you know that it isn’t? You value your opinion highly but what good has it brought you?

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Your first verse quote mentions the eternity. I think that when I die I will just be dead and that’s okay with me. The entire premise of Christianity is the promise of the afterlife. Your time with all men – that certainly indicates that there is reward and punishment after one dies, or when the ‘end of days’ is here. Perhaps your disbelief in the Big Bang (?) doesn’t deny its existence. You BELIEVE the afterlife exists but you cannot show me one iota of evidence that it does. Go fish.

            It is not up to me to prove why I disbelieve, Simon. It is up to the one who makes the assertion to prove its truth. Do you not understand that no one can prove a negative. Ball in your court.

            What good has it done me? My opinion, based on a lifetime of study, intense and open minded study, has provided me with freedom – the release of those shackles that kept me from looking around me, ‘seeing’ for the first time, using the brain with which I was born rather than being told that I MUST believe this or that or the other. It provided me with the knowledge and appreciation of what is good and right and how to make a difference without condemning, ostracizing, and marginalizing my fellow human beings. It taught me to recognize the actions that will further a world in which we treasure diversity and LEARN from it, rather than blindly following what a book, comprised of letters and extremely embellished history, ‘instructions’, and conflicting ideas, written by different people, sometimes hundreds and even thousands of years apart, of a certain culture, living in a few hundred square miles of the vast amounts of land on this Earth, who thought it was an abomination to sleep with a menstruating woman. Shall I continue?

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Alethea

            “Your first verse quote mentions the eternity.”

            Is this the verse you’re speaking of?

            Joh 5:39-40 MKJV

            (39) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me,

            (40) and you will not come to Me that you might have life.

            If so, I can’t see where eternity is mentioned. If that’s not the quote, please show me what you’re referring to.

            “I think that when I die I will just be dead and that’s okay with me. The entire premise of Christianity is the promise of the afterlife.”

            You “think” you will just be dead so you don’t know for sure, right? So how do you conclude that there’s no afterlife?

            “Your time with all men – that certainly indicates that there is reward and punishment after one dies, or when the ‘end of days’ is here. Perhaps your disbelief in the Big Bang (?) doesn’t deny its existence. You BELIEVE the afterlife exists but you cannot show me one iota of evidence that it does. Go fish.”

            You make another assumption labeling it as fact by saying “certainly”. Yes, there’s reward and punishment but not necessarily after one dies. We reap as we sow in this life. What do you think all the sickness, accidents, poverty, famine, drought, poisoning with GMOs and flouridation for example, are all about?

            Isa 45:7 KJV

            (7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

            Job 4:7-9 KJV

            (7) Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

            (8) Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

            (9) By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

            Gal 6:7 KJV

            (7) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

            Isn’t all the evil happening around us sufficient evidence from the Scriptures I quote? God orchestrates it all.

            I don’t believe in the Big Bang because it makes no sense whatsoever, even scientifically since its not based on any fact. Do you believe in the Big Bang? If you do, maybe you can prove to me how its true? I am yet to meet anyone who can explain it to me.I am willing to listen.

            “It is not up to me to prove why I disbelieve, Simon. It is up to the one who makes the assertion to prove its truth. Do you not understand that no one can prove a negative. Ball in your court.”

            You’re right, Alethea, on not having to prove why you disbelieve but can you prove what you believe with fact/evidence? Why should I believe that what you say is right? You also make the assertion that many others and I are wrong, how so? You haven’ proven anything except to give your opinion. Ball is in your court as well.

            I have presented some evidence as to what I say is true but I know it won’t matter f the Lord doesn’t give you faith.

            “What good has it done me? My opinion, based on a lifetime of study, intense and open minded study, has provided me with freedom – the release of those shackles that kept me from looking around me, ‘seeing’ for the first time, using the brain with which I was born rather than being told that I MUST believe this or that or the other”

            Open minded study? Have you looked at the links provided or paid attention to anything posted by others? Are you only open minded to that which you agree with? Does that make you open minded? What shackles have you been released from, Alethea? Can you give examples? Wouldn’t it be good for the rest of us to experience what you have by what you have found? What have you been able to see since?

            Nothing wrong with using your brain for the right and not for the wrong.

            I was told what to believe since I was a kid. I grew up in a Protestant home, going to church on most Sundays, which I didn’t enjoy honestly. When I got to high school, I started finding a Christianity that suited me in Pentecostal circles because they were more energetic and entertaining. I got more heavily involved at University until the Lord called me and brought me out of the church systems altogether. He showed me after my obedience by His grace that the churches have nothing to do with Him. He showed me how and why by the Scriptures.

            He gave me to see these things His way (in reality) and not how I would like to see them (opinion). I have had to know I was and am wrong and He alone is right. There’s a place for us to submit and be told what to do. Wouldn’t it be good to be told what to do if its right? If you’re going to jump off a building to your death and someone told you it wasn’t clever or good to do that, would you consider that bad? But God knows all things good and bad so how much better would it be to be told by Him what to do in all things? He knows what’s best for us.

            Mat 7:11 KJV

            (11) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

            Luk 12:24 KJV

            (24) Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

            He also gave His life for us all yet we hate Him. Who does that? No man I know of.

            “It provided me with the knowledge and appreciation of what is good and right and how to make a difference without condemning, ostracizing, and marginalizing my fellow human beings”

            Have you not condemned most of what has been said to you on this blog based on your opinion? Is that good and right? How do you determine condemnation, ostracizing and marginalising? From the example I gave earlier about jumping off a building, would you consider the person telling you it wasn’t good condemning if you didn’t know better?

            The things of God are life and death matters, always, and as I said earlier, we need faith to see things as they are.

            “It taught me to recognize the actions that will further a world in which we treasure diversity and LEARN from it, rather than blindly following what a book, comprised of letters and extremely embellished history, ‘instructions’, and conflicting ideas, written by different people, sometimes hundreds and even thousands of years apart, of a certain culture, living in a few hundred square miles of the vast amounts of land on this Earth, who thought it was an abomination to sleep with a menstruating woman. Shall I continue?”

            How do you determine these actions? I value diversity in any way that it adds value. How do you know I don’t or I am not learning from others? How do you establish I am following a the Bible blindly? I commented earlier that its about the Lord, the Bible is dead without the Lord. Its all about Him and understanding His words in the Bible comes from having a relationship with Him. Paul also told you that, right?

            God doesn’t change with distance, time and is no respecter of persons.

            Mal 3:6 KJV

            (6) For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

            Heb 13:8 KJV

            (8) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

            Act 10:34-35 KJV

            (34) Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

            (35) But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

            Concerning your last comment on menstruation, I won’t get into the details because the thought of it is wrong. What’s the good in that when a woman is suffering cramps, hormonal swings and letting out blood?

            God’s laws don’t make sense to men because we are entirely corrupt. We’re really sick. Thank God that He died for our redemption from our sick sick selves!

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Quote all you like, Simon. I can do that, too. However, I don’t believe what is in the bible is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In fact, I believe the vast majority of the bible is a way to record history, but it’s been greatly embellished and made to get the reader’s interest… the ‘wow’ factor. For example, there were never any walls at Jericho. but saying that there were makes it far more interesting than, “Joshua went into Jericho and killed a bunch of people.” I don’t believe it was ‘inspired’ by a god. If it were, then god added plenty of contradiction and confusion to the mix.

            I don’t believe I was born a ‘sinner’. I arrived here as a rather helpless child and I had done nothing wrong, but someone told me I had because of some female in a mythical garden, who was told by some supernatural entity to avoid the tree of knowledge (evidently it was because ‘Eve’, and subsequently ‘Adam’, were to remain ignorant), even though that supernatural entity that supposedly created these ‘people’ KNEW that those people wouldn’t listen and decided to punish every person thereafter. The entity made a trap to catch them being baaaaad little children so he could send plagues, pestilence, punishment and panic on them. Rather sadistic I think. Oh, and that’s the reason women have labor pains.

            You and anyone else are free to believe that. I don’t. I have done absolutely nothing to warrant the unthinkable torture and atrocious murder of some person who came from that supernatural entity (to save us from those nasty sins), that
            supposedly impregnated some perfect little virgin with himself.

            I don’t believe that a god would contact his most devout servant, Abraham, and order Abe to take his wonderful son away to offer him as a sacrifice to him… just to prove his loyalty. Loyal Abe did so and was poised with the knife to slay Isaac when god said, “Oh, wait! I was just foolin’. There’s a ram in the bushes for you to kill for me.”

            New Testament is full of contradictions.

            Go ahead and believe it! Nothing wrong with that at all! But, don’t expect me to do so.

          • Brandon Brasseau

            Alethea, actually no one has to prove anything to you.
            You are already convinced that there is no afterlife.
            Therefore, you have made up your mind and since you
            are so smart, you wouldn’t believe anything anyone told
            you, even if they had tangible proof. What you don’t
            understand is the concept of faith. God would not make
            it that you or anyone else could automatically get proof
            of an eternal afterlife since He wants us to trust Him
            even when we can’t “see” with our natural eyes. That is
            what faith is all about. No one needs to convince you since
            you obviously think you are above all of that. I do pity the
            person who spent their whole lives discounting the existence
            of an afterlife and then found out after death that the
            very place they spoke so adamently against is the very
            place they would spend their eternity. By then, it’s too late.
            You “think” there is no afterlife. Oh my, to be so unsure yet
            to take that chance. Someone in another comment is
            defending you that we are forcing our opinions on you. But here you are doing the same to
            believers in Christ and believers in an eternal heaven & hell.The reason you can’t believe the scriptures is because you have set yourself against them and become your own
            god. I pray your eyes will be opened because God loves
            you and Jesus paid the price for your sins as well as others.
            But He will not force Himself on you. He will urge you to
            get to know Him but He will not make you love Him. That is
            why He has given us free will. However, He still makes the
            laws and the guidelines for daily living. You may not
            agree with them, but just because you don’t agree doesn’t
            make them any less valid.

          • Mel Lanier

            Simon it’s very disrespectful to

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Mel…how am I disrespectful? Can you show me how?

          • Jody Pussycat

            Simon, Look at you… a lady says “No thank you” and you seem to know what is better for her own life than she does – then because she won’t bend to YOUR WILL – look at how you belittle her? If this is your version of Christianity – then you’re not doing it right. You don’t have the power to do ANYTHING about someone else or make their choices and this is WHY I don’t want to go to your church. Bible isn’t applicable for everyone and there are other points of view. Learn some respect.

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Jody…show me how I have belittled her. Its not enough to just say so. Provide some facts. How about Alethea? Hasn’t she belittled anyone? Are you blind to her posts because you stand with her? Are you being honest, Jody, or just picking the side that is preferable to you?

            How do you know this is my version of Christianity and not the Lord’s? Is that your opinion or is it what God has shown you? If its Him that has shown you, why not show me how I am wrong by the Scriptures? Opinion won’t help in this case…it never does unless its based on truth.

            Jody, you make a lot of assumptions about me. I said I know I can’t change anyone. Did you read my earlier comments carefully or were you more interested in speaking your opinion without considering what I said? Please read my comments carefully before you falsely accuse.

            I don’t belong to a church as you know it. I left the church system in 2012 by the grace of God and He is showing me what the true Church is and in due time, will join me to it, Lord willing, in this life. Its not a Church where one can join themselves, only the Lord adds to it.

            Lastly, the Bible is applicable to everyone because it contains God’s Law and Words. You may not believe it as I said of gravity earlier but that doesn’t matter. Sin brings death and hell which you and Alethea would know you’re in if you believed the Lord. I’m not trying to make you believe this or trying to be disrespectful. I’m stating how it is.

            Just because you don’t believe what the Bible has to say, doesn’t make it void. Maybe you can show me how it isn’t applicable to you, Jody? Can you? Or are you posting your opinion? Can you provide any facts on how it isn’t applicable to you?

          • Jody Pussycat

            Simon I just happened to read the one comment and scanned the rest because I actually live life off the internet. You have a persecution complex dude… if you can’t handle being told to back off by a lady whom doesn’t want you to push your opinions on her. I was standing up for her as it seems you can’t understand when a lady says “No thank you” and as a female myself completely turned off by most churches (not all) for the way they treat women. How church fails women and is misogynistic toward them… is a problem. As a Christian – maybe you could help make the world a better place instead of trying to force yourself on others. Because that’s something a lot don’t seem to understand it is not how you change people;s mind. Lead by example.

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Jody, you’ve only presented your opinion once again. You haven’t considered what I responded to you earlier.

            Pro 18:13
            13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
            it is his folly and shame.
            (ESV)

            If you cared for anyone, you would consider the things said before the Lord and respond with substance but you don’t which only goes to show that you’re here for yourself, Jody.

            How about you put proof to what you’re saying? Will you take the time to read all the comments, consider before God and answer for Alethea and everyone’s sakes?

            Do you care enough to prove that I am persecuting Alethea with facts? Or will you merely accuse?

          • Rita Gilliam

            Maybe it’s time to change churches. I have a phenomenal woman pastor at my ELCA Lutheran church in MN. I wouldn’t belong to a church that discriminates against women, gays, lesbians, transgenders. I find the right ELCA Lutheran church (mind you, some of them are, as individual churches, discrimination), but if you keep searching, you can find one that is accepting and loving of everyone.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            You’re wasting your time trying to ‘save’ me, Rita. I’ve already been approached by multitudes – each claiming that THEY are the ones who know the truth. I’m out.

          • dr nena

            When I first said I wanted to go to Seminary my pastor and his daughter (who was my best friend made fun of me). Once I got there I left after 8 months because my advisor counseled my classmates and I that as future therapists we did not need to work with homosexuals we could simply “choose not to develop expertise in that area” even though our field’s professional organization required that we have training to work with GLBT individuals as a high risk/need group. I thought how unprofessional/unchristian packed my bags and headed back to the Midwest. Now I work with incarcerated felons again you’d be amazed the things that I’ve heard said by supposed Christians about how I’m wasting my time. Then there’s simply the fact that most people in the church especially older females who aren’t clearly bothered by my Doctorate in Psychology are horrified by my MA in Religion. Enough is enough.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Thank you for posting! It is good to hear from someone who has had similar experiences. I feel as if I dodged a bullet when I chose to stay away from seminary. I wish you continued success and happiness! And, poop on the old biddies. 😀

          • Darrell

            (1Ti 2:11) Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection.

            (1Ti 2:12) But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.

            (1Ti 2:13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve;

            (1Ti 2:14) and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression:

            (1Ti 2:15) but she shall be saved through her child-bearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Wow, Darrell! You are one of the types who can make a person RUN from your church and your black book! Stepped on your dick-string with this one!

          • Brandon Brasseau

            I say everyone please stop commenting to Alethea. She
            obviously enjoys the arguing back and forth. Her
            mind is made up and maybe we should all move
            on to constructive conversations. Let’s speak with
            those that have a listening ear. You know there
            are people that aren’t quite sure what they believe
            but will at least listen to others. Apparently Alethea
            is “much smarter” than we are so let’s not bother
            her with our “opinions”. We as true Christians know
            the truth and know the bible is real and there is
            only one true God and one true Savior whose name
            is Jesus. It’s useless to speak with those who argue
            about everything. I say pray for her eyes to be opened
            and for God to show her he loves her and wants her
            to know Him. But please quit arguing with her. She
            doesn’t want the truth, she wants a god that lines up
            with her perceptions, not with truth. The bible says
            she will not believe the truth because there is a veil
            over her eyes. Pray for God to remove the veil.
            She is after all precious to God and Jesus died for
            her sins too.

          • RalphieD

            I upvoted that comment because (at first) I thought you were trying to support Alethea and her point. There sure is some stuff written that says unfair and untoward things about women vs men. All the more reason that this scripture is outdated and not worthy of guiding people’s lives. The examples you’ve cited help make that point.

          • Sara Schmidt

            Alethea, there is a huge difference… the difference between night and day… between participating in certain church activities and following the Lord. It is true that God doesn’t place women in authority over men in the calling of a pastor or teacher; it is not true that He doesn’t wish women to spread the Word in whatever capacity He has given them to do so.

            But first she must be following Him outside the system, which is all falsehood and error. He says to those He would bring to Himself, “Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing.” There is the false church – all those organizations taking His Name and doing their own thing, under whatever names they choose. And there is the true Church, which isn’t found at all in the works and names of men. As I said, they are as different as night and day.

            For more on this, read The Church: http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/the-true-church.htm

            Counterfeit Christianity: http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/counterfeit-christianity.htm

            The Case for Coming Out: http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/case-for-coming-out-church-system-churches.htm

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, Sara. I’ve read your books. I could suggest plenty of books that would enlighten you about the fallacies of your faith, but you probably wouldn’t read them because your ‘belief’ says that would be wicked. You’d prefer to remain ignorant of the world in which you live. Your choice.

            Nothing you’ve said is something that I have not read and studied. Save it.

          • RN Nutrition

            Quit trying to convince those who are not alive in Christ. Share the Good News and stop trying to “convince”. Things of God are nonsense to those who are not in the Spirit.

          • Sara Schmidt

            Who says I’m trying to convince, “RN”? I was sharing the truth I was given to share with Alethea. How do you distinguish between that and trying to convince?

            Besides, it was truth for all, not just Alethea.

            Also, don’t you think that you of all people should try to convince, since you say that those who remain “unconvinced” upon death go to eternal hell?

            I believe no such falsehood, knowing that my Savior is Savior of the whole world – “each man in his order.”

          • RN Nutrition

            I do not believe in convincing… But sharing. Continued argument is futile with the non-believer.

          • RN Nutrition

            Wow… did not take much for you to leave the Church… did it? Your whole point of view based on one Pastor. You sure have a great relationship with the living King.

          • Josh Fields

            The church never hurts anyone. It’s the backslid carnal minded Christians that hurt people. All the above examples of being hurt or let down are not God’s doing. The Church is and always will be pure, perfect, and Holy. Don’t let a backslid Christian that acts according to the flesh keep you from seeing the true beauty and love of Christ and has chaste bride. I suggest everyone find a good spirit filled church and get away from these commercialized businesses that say they are a church. I pray that people will get more concerned about lost and troubled souls instead of arguing about what tithing is. God don’t need your money. He just wants you, and if you want him, you will give because you want to. As far as having expectations forced on anyone…that is a legalistic Pharisee religion. God sets us free and he has 2 expectations. Love him and love your neighbor. All the legalistic preaching is a big contributor to what the author spoke about. The letter killers but the spirit brings life. If you want a good church, find one with the spirit instead of one being run like a business or country club. It breaks my heart to see so many hurt in church and many have never known anything but these detrimental establishments using religion as means of personal gain. Hope all finds the spirit and perfect love of Christ. He never Will hurt you. God Bless

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            The people ARE the church and that church is perfectly capable of hurting people. If god ‘don’t need’ our money, then there’s no reason to go and put money in an offering plate.

          • Josh Fields

            I agree people are the church, but it is only those that are doing God’s will. The outward man is capable of hurting, but the true church is made up of the inward part. The inner man is christlike and carries all the same qualities.The flesh will go back to the earth so that is not the true church. God owns everything and created everything so why would you think that he “needs” your money. The purpose of an offering plate is to freely give whatever one chooses to give for the necessity of the church or people in need. You don’t have to give anything. God don’t require you to give a %. If you truly love him, you will want to help advance the church in anyway you can. But it is not a requirement for his unconditional love.(The Book of Acts teaches us this). I am sorry to hear that you have been hurt and that has caused you to be bitter. It sounds like it was some legalistic Pharisees that hurt you. God never hurt you and never will. I know what it is like to be hurt and shared some of those same feelings. I know have realized that it was the works of Satan that hurt me. Just like Jesus was betrayed by a kiss. That too was Satan. God is love and I pray that you find again the beauty for your ashes. Let go of that bitterness and ask God to heal you. You will be so much stronger and appreciate the suffering that your saviour endured for you that much more. We will suffer persecution, ridicule, and false accusations as we are not above our master. I don’t know you but your posts really touched me and out of a love in my heart for my fellow Christians I sincerely hope that something I have said will help you rediscover the joy of the Lord. I normally don’t involve myself with the trivial arguments on religious opinions as you can see by several post. Your comments hit close to home and felt a need to try to help.We have to let go and forgive those that hurt us to truly be set free. When we hold to those painful experiences to the point we become bitter, we are the ones in bondage. God bless

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Not bitter one little bit. Just know what I hear, observe, and believe. My money and time is better spent giving directly to those who need it and deserve it rather than paying the bills of a church – the mortgage, the insurance, the electricity, water, and gas, the maintenance, the remodeling, the paving of the parking lot, the new pews and hymnals, the salaries of the pastor, secretary, maintenance personnel – and that building sits empty most of the time. Very little of the free will offering goes to those in need. It’s a self sustaining charity.

            No, nothing you have said will ‘help’ me. You feel that I’m bitter because I don’t attend or intend to go to ‘church’. My shackles fell off when I left that mess and I realized what faith truly was. It’s not the church, religion, pastors, music and Sunday School. It’s not the indoctrination of our young to believe that the only way to be a good person is to go to that building and follow everything they say. I’m not the one in bondage.

          • Josh Fields

            Doesn’t sound like an organization I would want to go to either. There are good churches out there. Not all places that affiliate themselves with God have God anywhere near it. I am sorry that I nor anyone else can help you. Its hard to help people when they feel they are above help. I don’t know about you but I need all the help I can get. Church is an important place otherwise Christ wouldn’t have give his life for it. By rejecting his house you intern are rejecting him. I don’t say you are bitter because you don’t attend church. I say you have bitter feelings from your own testimonies and attitude towards anyone that tries to speak anything you disagree with. It appears that you just want to be disagreeable. If you look for the negative you will find it. There will always be imperfection here. Christ never stopped his ministry because he was hurt or because he saw the temple being misused. Instead of complaining and bad mouthing the church, stand up and help to change it. It’s easy to be a critic. Focus your drive and determination in a more edifying way than trying to make others share your pain. It’s impossible to say you love God but yet say his wife is a terrible thing. I will pray that your heart isn’t hardened and God touches you, so that you can see the importance of HIS house. There is a way that seemeth right….

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            If I disagree, I’m bitter? I’m above help? Ah, now comes the criticism because I have beliefs that you don’t share. I’m addressing this article and the starter of this thread, Virginia Moher who, by the way, said that she will not go back to church, either. Have you tried to ‘help’ her?

            I do have very strong opinions and am not adverse to stating them. You must remember that it is not I who began personal responses to others’ posts. I made a general statement saying that the commenters were proving Pavlovitz right by ignoring the real issues and moving straight into the junk of religion. That, for some reason has made the natives restless and they have decided that I must… oh no!… be helped.

            I could easily begin to ‘help’ show how bound up you are yourself, but I don’t feel the need to try to make you come to my way of thinking. Stating opinions – and I most certainly have – is not the same as trying to convert, ‘help’ (that’s funny to me), or save someone by handing out personal criticism.

            It is this behavior that puts me way off organized religion. My faith is deeply personal and very important to me. My relationship with Creator is between Creator and me.

          • Josh Fields

            Not trying to make you do anything. Just stating what is biblically correct. You have your opinions but that’s all they are. I am not criticizing you. If you are allowed to speak your opinions can I not speak mine? I commented on your post only because you initiated a reply to a post of mine. Sorry you felt singled out or threatened. God of the Bible is your creator and if you believe in him you must also believe and accept Christ. If you do not believe in Christ or are not born again of the spirit then everything makes sense to me why you are so combative and bad mouth the church. I will carry this conversation no further as the bible instructs me to avoid foolish questions. “This behavior” is an excuse that people often use when they don’t want to come to the knowledge of the truth. He who exalts himself shall be abased…Pilate didn’t recognize the truth when it stood right in front of him. When we look through carnal eyes we are blind to things of the spirit. Feel free to show me how bound I am because you are obviously so much more knowledgeable than me. Too bad the carnal mind is enmity against God. You can disagree with me, get angry, or even hate but there is only one way to heaven and it’s not through my or your opinions. It is through Christ….Ye must be born again. No birth ever happens without the mother church. Saul Saul why kickest against the pricks? Why try to discourage and hinder everyone that post here because you were wronged at some point? Do you feel better by doing that? Anyways I am sure you will respond to get last word so you will feel like you win….but it’s not about arguing or criticizing or trying to prove the level of one’s intelligence. I will step away now, say what you will, think what you want to think but God’s opinion is the only one that is relevant. Your opinions don’t line up with his word and that is something I will never accept. How can you criticize several people here and the church but yet the first thing you say is stop criticizing me lol….sorry I bothered. One thing about it the word penetrates the heart whether you like or acknowledge it. So I say goodbye finding great comfort that God’s word won’t return void.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I don’t hate you, nor am I angry. And, I’m not trying to ‘win’, whatever that means.

            Please, copy and paste any sentence(s) where I have criticized without being accused of some wrong doing because I stated what I believe.

            Yes, I was wronged way back, WAY back. But, that was over 50 years ago. What I am now is older and wiser.

          • Simon Mwebaze

            What’s the mother church you speak of, Josh? Where do in the Scriptures did you get the idea that you can “accept” Christ? How can we tell you believe? What’s the difference between you and what James says here:

            Jas 2:19 MKJV

            (19) You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble.

            Are they born again by your words above?

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Josh

            Who are these good churches? How do you set the criteria for good and bad churches? By Whom/whom do you establish what are the true and false?

            As for imperfection, is the Lord wrong when He says:

            Mat 5:48 MKJV

            (48) Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

            Joh 17:22-23 MKJV

            (22) And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one,

            (23) I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made PERFECT in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.

            1Co 2:6 MKJV

            (6) But, we speak wisdom among those who are PERFECT; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, that come to nothing.

            2Co 13:11 MKJV

            (11) Finally, brothers, rejoice. PERFECT yourselves; encourage yourselves; mind the same thing; be at peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

            There’s more.

            You end with the Scripture:

            Pro 14:12 MKJV

            (12) There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death.

            How do you know you’re not on it, Josh?

          • There are no such “churches” in my town. All are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.

            And no, I cannot move. My disability keeps me in poverty, unable to work to earn enough to move out of the town to a better location.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I’m sorry your disability has limited you in so many ways, Ronald! I, too, am disabled but am rarely limited as are some. There are many folks in your situation and it’s a rotten shame. Do people come to help you?

          • Neighbors are kind, as far as communication goes… when they see me outside. But the only people that knock on my door are JW’s or Mormons. LoL

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            LOL! Where are the members of your church? Are there none who stop by to see if you need some help, etc?

          • I am not in Church at present. The last Church I was a member of, I had been a member for seven years.

            When God gave me boldness to speak in my community (not in the building we call Church) the truth about tithes as written in God’s Word, the Church had a secret meeting and voted my wife and I out.

            I say “secret” because, although we were members, we were not invited to the meeting to even defend ourselves. We only knew about the meeting after the fact. We received an email two days after the meeting telling us that we were no longer members and were not welcome until we repent of our “unscriptural teaching against the Biblical tithe”.

            The sad thing is, I have Scripture that proves my teaching to be 100% accurate, while their teaching is totally foreign to the Word of God.

            My wife is the only one in the house who is able to drive. And she refuses to go to another monetary tithe-teaching Church. And to tell you the truth, I don’t want to submit my ears to those lies anymore either.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I see… and I don’t blame you. It is behavior such as that which drove me away from any church or organized religion.

          • Marge Brown

            Do you let the Mormons in? try listening to them. At least the do knock on your door, unlike your own prisoners.

          • Marge Brown

            Ronald I am a paraplegic and live alone and can do for myself but
            I have not become bitter and find fault with everything and everyone who is trying to help their fellowman..

          • I don’t find fault with everyone. Only those teach contrary to God’s Word. Those who do, such as tithe-teachers, point one to a false christ and should be exposed as heretics.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Ronald, humbly I say, you believe that anyone who does not see it, or interpret it, as YOU do, is worthy of judgment, are heretics, and blasphemers. I’m sorry you have decided that you and ‘god’ are tight and no one knows as much as does Ronald W Robey. What does the word say about arrogance, false pride and self absorbance? Quote them, oh learned one.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Why is it that if a person has stated their situation and their views on the church, religion, dogma etc., and someone else doesn’t agree with what they’ve said, the word ‘bitter’ comes out? What if others find your beliefs and tenets full of bitterness because they don’t agree with same?

          • PaulBCohen .

            One important thing to add here, Josh. If the Lord or His people do hurt you, it’s only because they speak the truth and that can be painful. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6 KJV). We have all needed to be hurt for the right reason, and God lets us know in advance what must be. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten?” (Hebrews 12:6-7 MKJV)

          • Thomas Everroad

            “A spirit of rebellion’ ? I’ll give you 3 reasons why the church is not listening.
            1: the Church” does not have ears nor a brain and cannot “listen” to anything. The church is a organized group of humans who can’t even agree on which version of the bible is the right one to read.
            2: the church is not there to “listen” it is there to control the people and try to give them a contrived sense of direction , and that all (of course) depends on the personal preferences of the ones that needs the income to complete their lifestyle, build their buildings and support people who would rather be stood up as a “leader” than a servant as the bible demands ( depending on whether you read the old testament or new) It’s all very confusing.
            3: The “church” is nothing more than a club of likeminded individuals and if you are not “like minded” you are welcome to leave for one that is. The “church” is not going to change simply because you need it to. It is going to change for the very reasons this article purports. It’s loosing the “WAR” against becoming extinct. Imagine if the stock market started loosing investors because it wasn’t paying out dividends in this life but reserving them for the next. How many people would still put their money there? Of course the church needs to evolve. People just aren’t as naive as they once were

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Aho, Thomas. Aho.

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Thomas

            Your 3 reasons about the churches are spot on! The churches of men are just that, there for themselves and all they can get from people. It goes much further than that in the spiritual. It’s really terrible but isn’t without cause. God has predetermined things this way:

            1Co 11:19 MKJV

            (19) For there must also be heresies among you, that the approved ones may be revealed among you.

            God keeps those that are His and they don’t believe hirelings because they know the Lord’s voice:

            Joh 10:1-5 MKJV

            (1) Truly, truly, I say to you, He who does not enter into the sheepfold by the door, but going up by another way, that one is a thief and a robber.

            (2) But he who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

            (3) The doorkeeper opens to him, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

            (4) And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him. For they know his voice.

            (5) And they will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.

            You can read more on false Christianity here:

            http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/counterfeit-christianity.htm

            http://www.thepathoftruth.com/falsehoodexposed/true-marks-of-a-cult.htm

            The true Church of God will never change and hasn’t. God is no respecter of persons. Those He draws to Himself (His Church), He redeems from themselves by the cross and brings them into harmony with Him. Truly, we must die to ourselves as Jesus said to live to Him:

            Mat 10:38-39 MKJV

            (38) And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.

            (39) He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.

            A paper that will explain the cross better, Lord willing:

            http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/the-cross-only-death-sentence-will-avail.htm

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Simon, do you not see that Thomas is aware of every verse you have quoted in your post? Do you not see that he finds them full of craaaaaappp?

          • Simon Mwebaze

            What does His being aware of them have to do with anything, Alethea? Because he may think they’re full of crap, does it make them so? Who made you both God to decide what’s crap and isn’t? You’re opinion counts for nothing before God but woe to you for you careless words!

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            You don’t understand the concept of belief vs. knowledge, do you? Does your belief IN them make them true? I’m not god, Thomas is not god and neither are you. God is what you BELIEVE god to be because we’ve never met god… or Quan Yin, or Shiva, or Lilith, or Adam, or Gaia or……. Woe to yourself for not believing in Zeus!

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Alethea

            I have been meaning to get back to you earlier.

            You say,”You don’t understand the concept of belief vs. knowledge, do you?”

            How do you establish that? Do you know that I don’t? Can you prove it with some facts or is that just your opinion?

            “Does your belief IN them make them true?”

            No, it doesn’t. Our opinions mean nothing to God and hold no water in all things. God’s view of things is different/contrary to men’s.

            Isa 55:8-9 MKJV

            (8) For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah.

            (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

            Rom 8:7-8 MKJV

            (7) because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be.

            (8) So then they who are in the flesh cannot please God.

            Only through faith which is a GIFT from Him can we see things His way.

            Heb 11:6 MKJV

            (6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

            Eph 2:8-9 MKJV

            (8) For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,

            (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.

            “I’m not god, Thomas is not god and neither are you.”

            I know that neither Thomas, you (Alethea) nor myself are God. Do you know that you aren’t Alethea? If you do, why do you value your opinion as though its God’s view of things? Why does it seem that your opinion is all that matters? Are you as open minded as you claim? I don’t see your open mindedness.

            “God is what you BELIEVE god to be because we’ve never met god… or Quan Yin, or Shiva, or Lilith, or Adam, or Gaia or…….”

            How do you know that? Are you sure of what you say? Can you show us some facts that God is whom we make Him to be? On the otherhand, I know that idols are what we make them to be. In that case, I would agree with you. Idols aren’t God.

            You admit you haven’t met God, Alethea, so how do you make the assertions you do about Him? How do you have a relationship with the Creator you say by your own words you haven’t met? You contradict yourself.

            How do you know I haven’t met Him, Alethea? Or is this your opinion again?

            I look forward to your response.

          • RalphieD

            careless words?? Nope, just out of line with your beliefs. I can tell Alethea cares very much.

          • Simon Mwebaze

            Hi Ralphie

            Are Alethea’s words not careless according to your beliefs/opinion? How do you judge that they aren’t? How do you know she cares “very much”? By your beliefs?

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Nope. Not careless. Well studied, well read, and well thought out. I have not read only one book, bought what it said, and learned how to barf back up the words when I find a person who does not agree with ‘my true and superior’ dogma.

            Jesus – knocks on door
            Person – who’s there?
            Jesus – it’s Jesus… let me in
            Person – why?
            Jesus – so I can save you
            Person – save me from what?
            Jesus – from what I’m going to do to you if you don’t let me in

          • RN Nutrition

            Where in Scripture are you getting all of this stuff? The Church isn’t listening… it isn’t meeting our needs… ??????? We are the Church!!!!!!!!!!

          • Jody Pussycat

            The Church SHOULD be that way shouldn’t it?

          • JP

            I think it’s right to say that the church needs to look at women’s issues – that is indeed BIG stuff. But I think it’s wrong to say that if people here don’t exclusively discuss that and only that aspect it proves some larger point. The article wasn’t limited to only women’s issues, so a discussion about any of the many points in the article seems appropriate.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Directing my observations to the content of this article – that the trivial seems far more important to the church than the elephant in the room – is not wrong. That is the first thing that occurred on this thread. How to tithe, when to tithe, how much to tithe, who should tithe. All minutia. I’ve seen entire Sundays dedicated to the issues of whether women should be permitted (PERMITTED!) to cut their hair or should wear pants or make-up or whether a person should be baptized backward or forward.

            Just how much time was spent discussing Virginia Moher’s post… you know… the BIG issue… before people dropped it and argued about first fruits?

            When people are searching for a greater knowledge and understanding of god and a relationship with him, to rattle on about these mouse droppings is to fail them in their search. That is what Pavlovitz said, the meat and potatoes of the article, and the power behind his statements. Go ahead and side step it, but that is exactly the point the man made. People are leaving for these reasons.

          • JP

            In my entire life I’ve never heard anyone in any church debating whether women should cut their hair or wear pants. The issues you raised were topical, but so were other issues which is why I responded to your post. To you they may not be issues of importance, but to some they may be genuinely trying to discern God’s will about tithing or other things that to you are trivial. I think the author has just scratched the surface of why people are leaving (and I get it that it’s an blog post and not a book.) I’m glad the article is sensitive to the needs of those that for whatever reason find themselves in the minority view among their own congregation and leave. Why people are leaving (at least in the West – the church is thriving in many parts of the world), is of course way more complex than addressed here.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Well, JP, I have. Sermons on a woman’s place in the church and home are quite numerous.

            Virginia Moher opened up a topic about the church meeting, or not meeting, women’s needs. There were two posts responding to her topic and the tithe issue was raised and expounded upon. On this blog, the issue of tithing IS trivial. Pavlovitz made that point quite succinctly. Here is a woman who has left the church because no one has really addressed her problems. And, she’s stayed away. Isn’t that the point of this blog and her post – looking at the bigger picture?

            Why don’t you address Virginia’s concerns?

          • JP

            Women’s place in the home society, etc. are hugely relevant, as are issues like domestic violence that affect women disproportionally, and that in my view, are not dealt with well in all churches. I was lucky in that I had a pastor who was excellent and compassionate and showed me love and respect in a time where I really needed that. I know from other survivors that is not a universal experience. Those are the type of issues that women are actually dealing with in the faith today, not whether or not they can cut their hair for crying out loud. But pushing those issues forward for discussion, as worthy as that goal is doesn’t mean nobody else can talk about other issues that also affect them personally or that affect the church more generally.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            I did not say that other issues should be ignored. What I am saying is that there is far more discussion about tithing than there is the discussion of women in the church. Virginia’s comments were promptly swept under the rug… which seems to be, according to this article, why people are leaving the church. Their issues are not being addressed. And yes, many denominations have a great deal to say about how a Christian woman should look, dress and conduct herself. That is the trivial stuff of which I am speaking. The church often remains silent when it comes to the spiritual needs of women – focusing instead on the junk.

            Thank you for finally saying something about women’s experiences – including your own.

          • Michael A. Albert

            Well, JP you have been fortunate to NOT have been in those type churches. I have been in them in my early Christian years. Churches full of legalism and condemnation, nothing of which had ANYTHING to do with Scripture other than what was twisted to fit their doctrine! The Church…meaning the people, not a building…is their own worst enemy. Arguing and debating over stupid things that are meaningless! Somewhere along the line Christians got off track. How many denominations do we have now? Funny, but the First Century congregation (there is no word in scripture meaning Church…it is a mistranslation) was called The Way…ONE denomination, so to speak, but one group, one mind, one spirit! And there in lies the problem with today’s denominations! Let me tell you this…I was delivered out of the occult and Witchcraft. I was a card carrying member of the Church of Satan under Anton Levey. We used to love to mock and laugh at Christians for all the reasons that are being posted on here! “If their God is the superior being, then why did he pick such stupid people?” “They have one bible and they can’t agree on what is written in it, yet we have our one bible and EVERYONE agrees on what is written in it! Every member of TCOS agrees on what is written, no matter where you may go in the United States or the world.” “They constantly fight among each other over such minor issues.” “They are constantly hating each other based on the name over their church door!” Etc, blah, blah, blah…
            The fact of the matter is Christians have no clue as to what they look and sound like to non-believers! And Christians wonder why heathens don’t want to come to God or be associated with those who claim to serve Him! Virtually every denomination known today, NEEDS to bring itself into alignment with the Word of God in some form or fashion!

          • RN Nutrition

            Oh my needs aren’t being met….. I’ll quit… sob sob sob… Go to Church and meet the Church’s needs!

          • RN Nutrition

            I love how you say the New Testament Church doesn’t require this or say this and then you quote Old Testament. It’s not our money… it is His.

          • michele

            You are dropping REAL knowledge.. Also gentiles did not pay the “tithe” and there were only TWO occupations that did.

          • Ronald W Robey

            With me, it is not that I do not like to give. It is that I will not financially support any pastor who tells straight-out lies from the pulpit. Many pastors are guilty of lying to the congregation, telling them God requires them to tithe their money, when there is no such command in God’s Holy Word.

            Pastors that teach for doctrine the commands of men do not need financial support… they need to repent of their false doctrine or step down from the pastoral position. Their lying against God and His Word disqualifies them from the sacred office.

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            If they are not qualified for the office and should it ever come about that they are required to step down, there would be at least 50% fewer ‘reverends’ than there are currently.

          • RN Nutrition

            Why would you even go to a church like that? Then financial support of your pastor would not be a problem if you just go to a church where you aren’t being lied to… it seems you people are looking for reasons not to go to church, not to financially support your church, etc… stop this, it is hurting the body of Christ!!! Get to church, a church that speaks true, get involved with edifying instead of destroying.

          • Thomas Everroad

            I thought god was all powerful? What? he doesn’t know how to create his own wealth? Must be a puny god indeed if he needs his worshipers to give him ANYTHING and BTW there is no such thing as a church where you aren’t being “lied to”
            You can’t crack open that black book without immediately reading lies.
            Being a pastor is supposed to be a calling, not a job but just as every passage in that book of fables leads one to the inevitable conclusion that we are worthless with out god every pastor is there to make darned sure we get the message pounded into our heads (for a salary of course)
            Either god is great and doesn’t care about people suffering or he isn’t there at all.
            I hold with the latter.

          • lana broussard

            I find it in treating that you are so angry and untreated in something you don’t believe in. That you spend time arguing about someone who doesn’t “exist” that of itself is contradictory. I do not believe in buddha,or allah,or santa and since i truly have absolute no belief in any of them…I do not spend time reading articles about them…and reading comments about the articles about them…or criticizing or insulting them bc they believe differently. Don’t you see how immature and narrow and ignorant you make yourself look. If u Dont think he is real…why are you so mad at im??? We are content in our “fantasy world” we have hope…and our hope is not of this world. A lot of people who profess Christianity have no clue who Christmas truly was. And they give true followers of Christmas a terrible reputation. But we were never told that Yall would love us. somewhere along the road of your life u obviously were hurt and u blame god and the church. All I can say is I’m sorry. Don’t judge god bc of by people.

          • seeknsanity

            In the Christian world, pointing out the obvious flaw, that belief in God is akin to belief in any of the others you named, is being “angry and upset.”

          • Michael Wall

            I don’t follow your blogs to tell you that there is no real Betty Crocker or that Little Debbie doesn’t really make all those treats.

          • That always leaves me confused too. So many atheists cruise the Youtube Christian videos just to vent their anger & try to make a mockery of belief in God. As you said, why bother??? I agree with your question of Why so angry at someone they don’t believe exists.

          • Savannah Nash

            Pride, they have to have a following, everyone wants to rule the world

          • michele

            Absolutely !

          • cbs phd

            Spot on my friend. Spot On!

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Thanks. I’ve seen so much of it and it saddens me.

          • Edwin

            According to all you say, Alethea, you KNOW the TRUTH. But then you also say IT cannot be known. Or you go a little farther and say both the truth and God are what we believe they are, yet you counter what others believe – contradictory!

            My point is the TRUTH can be known, but so far, it is foreign to you and you are not open to knowing it, not even close. You have made up your mind, and it is your God-given right for now.

            You seem to invite others to share in your agnosticism and are glad when they agree with you. If there is no absolute truth to be known by us, according to your thining, is that an absolute truth? Wouldn’t you consider there’s something else? I think not, for now…

          • Edwin

            Sorry, I meant, “according to your thinking…”
            I’d like to add I see you assume because organized churches are wrong, and they are, it is impossible to find or receive the Truth from another Source. Isn’t this true?

          • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

            Edwin, please re-read my posts. Over and over I state that I do not know the truth, but I do know what I believe – just as everyone else who has posted. No one can know the truth about what happens after one dies… because they aren’t dead and unless you BELIEVE that spirits can contact you, they can’t tell you what happens. If all posters here were honest, they would admit that they have based their beliefs on what is in the bible and what they’ve been taught or whatever other method. But, they don’t, and I don’t, KNOW it to be true. That’s why it’s called ‘faith’ rather than ‘accuracy’

            What’s wrong with thanking someone when they have the cajones to stand up and say, ‘I don’t believe this.’? As the Christians in ancient Rome would stand up and say, ‘I don’t believe in Apollo, I believe …. such and such’, don’t you think that other Christians would say thank you, or well said, or hooray, or something along those lines? Don’t you agree with others and state so?

            I’ve never invited anyone to share in my agnosticism. I’ve invited them to step out of the narrowness and learn about the world they live on. Just as those who have ‘invited’ me, mostly under the idea eternal punishment, to go back to church, believe THIS because it’s true, you’ve made up your mind so you are lost, you just haven’t searched enough and on and on. I’ve studied NUMEROUS faiths and religions… and I base my BELIEFS on what I’ve learned, what I’ve seen, evidence and rationality. I can tell you a bit about how gravity works, I’ve never actually ‘seen’ gravity, but I BELIEVE gravity to be real enough that I decline to stand under an anvil someone is holding up and is ready to let go of. I KNOW the TRUTH that it will be a mite ouchyI BELIEVE that Adam and Eve in the garden and ‘original sin’ is farcical and merely a way to frighten people into submission. I don’t believe that Zeus ever existed. If you would choose to be rhetorical about absolute truth, we could go on for days. No thanks.

            I BELIEVE and see plenty of evidence that you are stuck in the bible, “… unwilling to consider there’s something else.” If you started studying the world’s religions, faiths, dogmas and tenets, do you BELIEVE god will see it as wicked? Stepping over the line thus endangering your soul? That you might receive the TRUTH from another source?

            As far as religions go, I find, and see PLENTY of evidence, that there are similarities between them. For example:

            Christianity… “You don’t believe what I believe and what’s in MY book, and what the TRUTH is, therefore you will not enjoy eternal life in heaven. You will be judged, die and be punished forever and ever! You will suffer for your heresy! You’ve been told and warned”

            Islam… “You don’t believe what I believe and what’s in MY book and what the TRUTH is, therefore you will not enjoy paradise. You will die because I’m going save allah the trouble. You have been judged and will suffer for your heresy! You’ve been told and warned.”

          • Edwin

            Alethea, you mention some good points in your reasoning, and I agree; most people only believe what they have been told to believe. Would you consider that includes you, whether you were directly told or by books and other sources? I mean nobody comes with original ideas; you just grow into a certain way of thinking and believing, by reading and/or experiencing.

            Now according to your definition of faith, you have faith in what you believe, since you acknowledge you don’t know it to be TRUE, but you still believe it. But that is not faith; that’s assumption, even as it is an assumption for you to say I only have my Bible.

            I grew up hearing from the Bible, but as soon as I was in High School, I started to get interested in other subjects and philosophies, several teachings and doctrines of the world such as New Age, Induism, methaphysics, positive thinking, various mentalities and sects within Christianity, UFO’s mysteries, etc.

            All those things left me empty. I only felt there was something else, but I didn’t know what it was. So I thought I needed to become a “true Christian,” the type you describe, and it appeared to work for some time until I discovered it all was a farce, like you rightly have found out, although I’m not sure what experience you had. I even became “a pastor,” thinking I had it made, but thank God, my eyes were opened to my falsehood, not by a book, but by the true Jesus Christ, Whom you think is a myth, and I have been set free from all religious systems who claim to have God with them.

            Christianity as you know it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, except they use His Name for their own gain. I know that first hand. The true Jesus, Who lives and communicates with whom He wants, has never planned to torment people eternally, not at all. Men, however, are bound to destruction, doing their own things, insisting in being independent of their Creator, thus reaping much torment, for the time being and then some.

            But the torment of our race won’t be forever; it has an end, at the appointed time for each person and generation. This world is not all there is. Of course, you won’t believe what I say, but it doesn’t matter. Like I told you, for now, you need to take the stand you have taken, but there will come a time for you to face your Creator, not simply for punishment or shame sake like you surmise, but for reality, final deliverance from your vanity as a mere mortal, and that will happen to each and everyone of us, thank God.

          • RN Nutrition

            The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.

            The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

            Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/tithing-Christian.html#ixzz3PVomlzRx

          • michele

            Exactly… This is the churches “cash
            cow”.. What we see the modern church doing IS NOT scriptural.. Let me
            ask you this… There are only TWO occupations that gave the “tithe”.
            What were they? Did gentiles give a “tithe”?.. Was the “tithe” money?
            How often was the tithe given? Who collected the”tithe” ?. Hosea 4:6..My
            people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected
            knowledge, I will also reject thee”…. Church goers are not studying
            His word for themselves. They rely on the lying pastor to interpret it
            and won’t do what the Bereans did and for this they too shall be judged.

          • ichuck7

            You are the very person this article is talking about. You are right, they are wrong. Well done. Come to church! Here’s our plate of superiority and judgement.

          • Gary Verwoerd

            Tithing and firstfruits aren’t the same thing. I can understand why you’d think that though, as that is what is taught over most pulpits. There are 4 main types of “giving”: firstfruits, tithes, alms, and offerings. Search it out, it’s an awesome study :-)

          • beaker55

            Tithing has nothing to do with money.

          • Albert Estrada

            Laura I find it so funny that folks who obviously haven’t read their Bible like to quote it in ignorance. Grim engineer and Dot, are probably quoting what they’ve heard from other people. I’m a tither, and so many women make up the Church. Men need to step up in it more.

          • RalphieD

            There is a minimum that it takes to cover the basic necessities. It’s irresponsible to your family to give funds away if there aren’t enough to cover the basics first. This is a crucial thing that churches and republicans seem to fail to understand. The same with the tax structure. If the very rich pay a higher percentage on their 2nd million, that doesn’t actually hurt them at all. Might not like it, but their needs are already covered. In your response to GrimmEngineer’s excellent comment, using the word “Leftovers” is an insulting way of chastising the poor. Not WJWD.

          • Drake

            Not technically… Tithing was for the ancient israelites…Thats one of the confusions Christians tend to have today. Christians tithe, when reality is Tithing was apart of an agreement God made with Ancient israel and no one else. That means all of us Gentiles, were never technically “REQUIRED” by law to give 10% of our ( food and grain etc which is what a tithe by law was). In the N.T. we are to give more technically,( because thats the new testament example of giving in Acts:2 (they gave all and no one had need) but….Yeah, Never feel “Required” to “tithe” or give a tenth of your money. We aren’t ancient Israel, and tithe wasn’t really money any-way..Hey i know it’s a hard pill to swallow and i’m not trolling you just wanted to give some perspective.

          • You are incorrect. Read Nehemiah 10:37-38 and you will find that firstfruits and tithes were not the same in the Bible.

            Also notice that in Leviticus 27:32-32, the tithed livestock were the tenth ones to pass under the rod, not the first.

            John Macarthur’s church operates solely on free will offerings.

            Check out this article I wrote several months back. Get your Bible and be as the Bereans. Search the Scriptures to make sure they say what I claim they say.

            What preachers call tithes today is nothing like that which God’s Word says concerning His holy tithe.

            Whose Command Are You Bowing To?
            by Ronald W Robey

            In the days from Aaron to the Apostle Paul, the tithe was only of the crops, flocks and herds. (Numbers 18:21-28; Leviticus 27:30-33) Today, it is taught that God requires our money to be tithed. (There is no Scriptural support for this teaching)

            In the days from Aaron to the Apostle Paul, only the Levites were authorized to receive the yearly tithe. (Numbers 18:24-26) On the third year the tithe was kept in the tither’s city to feed the widows, the orphans, the Levites that were living in the tither’s city, and the foreigner that was visiting the city. (Deuteronomy 14:22-23, 28-29) Every seventh year, there was no tithe required. (Leviticus 25:4,20) Today, churches teach a weekly tithe with no instruction to keep the tithe in your own community, nor is there a rest from the tithe every seventh year. Pastors of the Church teach that the Church can receive it. (There is no Scriptural support for this teaching)

            In the days from Aaron to the Apostle Paul, the tithe was only required of those who owned land on which one could plant gardens or orchards, or breed livestock on. Men who did not own gardens, orchards or livestock were not required to tithe. (Deuteronomy 14:22) Today, the Church teaches God requires all members of the congregation to tithe. (There is no Scriptural support for this teaching)

            In the days from Aaron to the Apostle Paul, only Israelites were required to tithe. (Leviticus 27:30-34; Psalms 147:19-20) The Levites could not accept tithes from anyone who was not of the nation of Israel. (Numbers 18:26) Today, Church members all over the world are told to tithe. (There is no Scriptural support for this teaching)

            In the days from Aaron to the Apostle Paul, firstfruits and the tithe were separate (Nehemiah 10:37-38; 12:44) Today, the Church teaches that tithes and firstfruits are the same thing. (There is no Scriptural support for this teaching)

            In the days from Aaron to the Apostle Paul, the tithe was of the increase of crops, flocks & livestock. (Leviticus 27:30-33; Deuteronomy 14:22) Today, Churches teach that 10% of your paycheck is to be tithed. (There is no Scriptural support for this teaching)

            Contrary to the popular teaching, God is not going to curse you if you don’t tithe your money. Many a preacher will stand behind the pulpit and preach that Malachi 3:8-10 is a warning to their congregations that they will receive a curse if they don’t tithe their money. Since God’s Word defines what the tithe was, how can preachers say it is something different? How can the members of the congregation agree that the tithe is something other than what God’s Holy Word declares it to be? Brethren, the tithe in Malachi 3 was of the crops. God says bring it in the storehouse. The storehouse was rooms encircling the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (1 Kings 6:5-10) And God told the Priests who had stolen the tithes to return the tithes. If they would, He would open the windows of Heaven, (remember the first time the windows of Heaven are mentioned in the Bible? God made it rain upon the Earth) and He would pour out a blessing that the people would not be able to receive. He would rebuke the devourer (the locust) for their sake. Folks, God was speaking of abundance of crops as a blessing for tithing of the crops. God’s tithe was not money then, nor has it ever been.

            Brethren, if you want to please God with your money, give as the Apostle Paul instructed… as you purpose in your heart. (2 Corinthians 9:7) Don’t give grugdingly, but rather willingly and cheerfully.

            But regardless if you give 10% of your money, it is not tithes according to the Word of God. Tithes were only of the crops, flocks, and herds. What you are giving when you give money is a contribution.
            There is not one instance of the Apostle’s teaching the Gentile Churches to tithe their money in the Word of God. As a matter of fact, when the Jerusalem Council met as recorded in Acts 15, the Jerusalem Council wanted the Gentile Believers to be circumcised, AND to keep the Law of Moses.” (v.5) The tithe was one of the laws found within the Law of Moses.

            What did James tell the Council that day? It seemeth good to the Holy Ghost and to us that no greater burden be laid upon the Gentile Believers than these necessary things: to abstain from blood, and from things strangled, and from idols, and from fornication. He ended with “if ye do these things, ye do well.” (vv.28-29)

            One would think that the Holy Ghost would have told James to teach the Gentile Churches that they were to tithe. But according to the Word of God, the tithe was not a necessary thing required of the Gentiles.

            So how are we to see to the financial needs of the Church if we don’t tithe? By giving cheerfully and willingly. Freewill contributions, not of compulsion or necessity. God loves a cheerful giver.

            If you purpose in your heart to give 10% of your money, great! But since God’s Word tells us what the tithe was, and who was required to tithe, your 10% of your money is not God’s tithe. It is a contribution. When God’s Word says His holy tithe is agriculture but the preacher says it is money, God is right and the preacher is wrong.

            The tithe of the congregation was not taken to the Temple/Tabernacle by the people. It was taken to the Levites in the farming communities, who in turn took a tithe of the tithe they received to the Temple/Tabernacle. (Nehemiah 10:37-38) That’s right, only 1% of the original tither’s property went to the House of God,… not 10%. And it was the Levite who was responsible for taking the tithe to the House of God, not the children of Israel.

            Study it out folks. That which is preached as “God’s tithe” today is not the tithe instituted by God. Not even close to that which God instituted. It is totally foreign to the Word of God.

            Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek? Yes, that was prior to the Law. But that does not make tithing an eternal principle. Abram had concubines too. Is that an eternal principle? Abram married his sister. Is that an eternal principle? After all, it was before the Law.

            Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek was not of his own property. That which he tithed he did not consider his own. He told Bera, the king of Sodom, that he had promised God he would not keep any of the spoils of war for himself. So he was not tithing his own property, but the property of others.

            Abram’s tithe an eternal principle? Hardly. That is, unless we are to tithe other people’s property.

            Jacob’s tenth? Not a good example of an eternal principle. Jacob vowed a vow to give a tenth of all that God would give him, yes. But that vow was in context of WHAT God said He would give Jacob. A careful study of Genesis 28 will reveal that Jacob’s vow had to do with land, not money.

            Jacob made that vow with conditions attached. And one of those conditions was not met until nearly 21 years after Jacob made the vow.

            If Jacob’s vow is an example we are to follow, then we can bargain with God. Tell Him if He meets certain demands first, then we will give a tenth of all He has promised to give us.

            A careful and prayerful study of the Word of God will reveal to the reader that the tithe taught today is not what God’s Word says about God’s holy tithe. Preachers are falsely teaching a man-made command as if it is a doctrine ordained by God.

            Matthew 15:9. But in vain they do worship me; teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

          • AyeRolle

            Tithing is an Old Testament requirement, and a New Testament option. And you’re wrong about tithing the net. They gave back to God first. As Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce.” (NASB) Again, this was under the Law (OT).

            However, the New Testament is actually closer to your line of thinking. The instruction we find in the New Testament about giving is voluntary, and based on ability. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” In chapter 8:12-13 Paul writes, “12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality”.

            There should be joy in giving, not compulsion. I would steer clear of any church that demands a tithe.

            I would have no problem with a paid preacher/pastor. I don’t think they should be enriched unjustly, or beyond reason, at the expense of the church, but they do have a right to be paid. The Bible says several times the preacher/pastor has a right to be paid. Read 1 Corinthians chapter 9 for starters. Paul explained the right to be paid, but chose for himself, to not exercise that right.

          • GrimmEngineer

            Unfortunately you do not have access to further scriptural references which clarify these teachings. It’s ok.

          • AyeRolle

            Unfortunately, your “further scriptural references” are hogwash. And it’s not ok.

          • GrimmEngineer

            I love washing hogs.

          • Tony Cota

            The blasphemous book of mormon?

          • GrimmEngineer

            More hate from a supposed follower of Christ.

          • Weegorgeous

            You?

          • Weegorgeous

            Oops. .. and I can’t delete

          • justme

            Did not your founder make the claim that that supposed follower of Christ was an abomination before the eyes of God? Do you not make the claim that that supposed follower of Christ has a wrong understanding? An incomplete gospel? That his Bible is inaccurate? That the KJV specifically (based on your previous comments) is blasphemous and hogwash and cherry picked and …

            But you are the one always telling others to remove the beam from their eyes?

          • justme

            Unfortunately, neither do you. I will pray earnestly that you come to see this. Remember, you should not be afraid to seek out ideas that challenge your beliefs. If your beliefs are true then they will withstand any test or lies.

            That is why so many Christians do actually investigate the claims of the LDS church and examine them against Christian beliefs and scripture. It is a shame that more LDS members do not agree with this. I would urge you, in the privacy of your own home if you like, seek out sites that claim to debunk the LDS faith. If they are wrong, as you think they are, then you should come away from them that much stronger in your own faith and with a better understanding of what misconceptions others have of your faith. You might also learn how to better defend your faith by examining how others are attempting to defeat it.

          • Ronald W Robey

            Both you and Grimm are wrong. Grimm is wrong for teaching God requires tithes. You are wrong for teaching tithes are firstfruits. Nehemiah 10:37-38 reveals that tithes and firstfruits were not the same.

          • Nanny

            I do not agree with your interpretation of the tithe. Scripture tells us 10% as an example. Now, consider the example of the Widows mite in scripture. She gave all she had! Consider that these acts represent acts of Faith. There is a great gift that is
            Received when you tithe even though you don’t see how your budget will cope. Consider that all that you have in this life, is a gift, relationships, family, even a job, are there as gifts from God.
            So, if it weren’t for God, would you have anything? No. So, actually, all He’s asking is that in Faith, you give Him a small token
            Of that back in the form of the tithe. The church is the steward of those tithes. The most important part of the whole transaction though, is FAITH. God knows your needs, even more than you do. I have lived this, my husband and I decided to tithe, regardless of our situation. Not long after making the decision, I
            Was laid off from my job. Talk about a test of faith! But, we never
            Wanted for anything. God keeps his promises! When I was finally
            Called back to work we increased our tithe. I feel that we have received far more than we will ever realize, until we go home to the Lord, and all is revealed.
            Regardless, everything, everything is based on FAITH. Denominations aside, study His word, ask for His revelations as you seek Him with a contrite heart, He will reveal Himself to you. That is the promise He has given each and everyone who
            Seeks Him. I believe God is the only One capable of keeping
            A promise. Mans word is chaff on the wind.

          • GrimmEngineer

            Unfortunately, you do not understand the tithe as practiced for thousands of years. Tithe literally means “tenth.” And yes, I can point to scriptural references for it to be paid on the increase. Do you also think that businesses pay taxes on gross receipts?And yes, the widows mite story is an example to the pharisees who would mock someone who gave so little, yet so much. But first remove the beam from thine own eye before the mote from thy brothers. And if you are paying a tenth of your gross receipts then good for you. Unfortunately this is still bad accounting and not the intention of the tithe. Can you imagine if a business owner had to pay tax on his gross receipts even when operating at a loss?

          • Nanny

            You sir missed the point entirely. Do not quote scripture when you
            Obviously are more interested in touting your know it all attitude. From my prospective, in my experience in my personal
            Walk with Christ, FAITH is all that is required. Test His faithfulness to provide for you on all your needs. The Tithe
            Is one of those things that proves his faithfulness! Be it 2cents
            Given weekly or more, He knows what is in your heart and what your needs are. It is to be from your first fruits, the best you have
            Period! not what you have left over!!!! Give back what you can,
            Prove His Trustworthiness not to let you down, increase your giving, test your Faith, He will never let you down! You will be blessed beyond belief!! What I’m telling you, is what I personally
            Have experienced. God is true to his word. If you truly want to know what he can do, test you faith! He promises never to leave nor forsake us. Try him! Give Him your best. He has already given you His!!

          • GrimmEngineer

            It’s ok if we do not agree. I will respect your opinion with love.

          • justme

            Are you seriously attempting to compare the practice of paying taxes to a government with the practice of tithing?

            The Bible and the BOM (along with other LDS scriptures) very clearly state that tithes should be based on all that you posses.

            If you feel that your god is not worthy of a portion of all that you posses, that is fine. However, as a Christian I know that ALL things already belong to God and come as a gift from Him. Because of this I am not going to be the least bit stingy or resentful of cheerfully giving to His works from my entire gross income. I would also point out that arguing reasons for why you would not tithe on any portion of your income seems to indicate a bit of resentment and ownership over that portion of your income. As a Christian we know that we are to give with a cheerful heart, are there different standards for LDS giving?

            Other than the fact that tithing is mandatory in order to be an LDS member in good standing that is…

          • Jody Pussycat

            Why does God need money? Jesus surely would have been disgusted by Super Churches and politics involved.

          • 10%er

            I don’t know where you get not owing tithes. Even the widow tithed her two pennies. You tithe out of your love for what God has provided to you. You are just the steward – He is the master. He owns it all.

          • GrimmEngineer

            It’s ok for you not to understand. I won’t judge you for it.

          • Tony Cota

            Judge? Who appointed you? God?

          • GrimmEngineer

            The word “won’t” is akin to a boolean NOT. You seem to have an issue with word definitions.

          • Kat

            Grimm, I’m just scrolling through comments …..and you seem ready for a fight. If you are really speaking from s position of love…you should re-read your comments. You are condescending.

          • RJW

            are you a god?

          • GrimmEngineer

            If only you understood the irony of your question.

          • Ronald W Robey

            The widow did not tithe her pennies. Pennies were not titheable.

          • jman

            pretty sure this whole argument on the totally unrelated topic is one of the reasons people are leaving. Also, tithing is based on the law which by the way Jesus fulfilled. No requirement to tithe and that is a legalistic action that brings us no closer to the Lord. HOWEVER, don’t forget God loves a cheerful giver. So keep arguing…forget about grace….keep running the unchurched further away by arguing about stupid “churchy” stuff.

          • Ronald W Robey

            God never commanded anyone in His Word to tithe money to a Church or a Temple. Yet, so many In Churches around the world today are lied to every time the offering plate is passed. “God requires you to tithe your money” is spoken from the pulpit. “If you don’t tithe, you are a God-robber! You are cursed!” Is often shouted to put the laity in a state of guilt and condemnation. Relax Saints of God… Fear not. God never authorized that pastor to speak those deceitful and unkind words to your ears.

            Let’s examine the Scriptures and see what they say concerning God’s commanded tithe, shall we? But first, let us visit two sons of Aaron at the Tabernacle…

            Leviticus 10:1-2 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

            In the above text, two of Aaron’s sons were struck dead because they offered “strange fire” to God upon the altar of the Lord. What exactly was this “strange fire” that they offered that so displeased the Lord? We are not told. But we are given a special insight as to how precise God wants our offerings to Him be.

            Nadab and Abihu had offered something that God had not commanded. Now, one would think, “Hey, at least they were offering something to God. What wrong can be in that?” But God said they offered something that was not commanded.

            A lesson should be learned by all from the reading of the account of Nadab and Abihu. That lesson is, “Do It By The Book”.

            God has given us His Word as an instruction manual. This “manual” tells us what God expects of us as His dear children. If we are disobedient, God’s chastening hand will be upon us. It surely was upon Nadab and Abihu when they offered strange fire upon the altar.

            The manner in which we are to live is laid out for us in the New Testament section of the Holy Bible. Now, please don’t go off on a tangent, saying I don’t like the Old Testament. I do. I cherish both the Old and the New. I read them both and learn from the both.

            But the fact is, the New contains the pattern by which God wants us to live today. Hebrews 8 tells us that in AD 66 the Old Covenant was ready to pass away and that God was bringing us into a New Covenant. We cannot live in the Old Covenant promises, curses, edicts, laws, statutes, and ordinances. God doesn’t expect us to.

            In AD 51, the Apostles met in Jerusalem with the religious leaders of the day. Their order of meeting was to discuss Gentiles who had been recently converted to faith in Christ. The religious leaders of Jerusalem were insisting that the Gentiles had to keep the Law of Moses or they could not be saved.

            The Apostle Peter spoke before them all, rebuking them for placing a yoke upon the Gentile Brethren that neither the Jews of that day, nor their ancestors could keep themselves. Peter told them they were tempting God in their demands. The Apostle James said the Judsizers were overthrowing the souls of the Gentiles.

            At the close of the meeting, James wrote a letter to the Gentile Believers and sent it to them by the hands of Paul and Barnabas, telling the Gentiles that the Apostles had given no such command that they keep the Law. He also sent Judas and Silas with the same words, but not written… they were to speak to the Gentiles, telling them that they were not commanded to keep the Mosaic Law.

            The Mosaic Law was part of an Old Covenant that was soon to pass away. It was given to the Israelites living in the promised land.

            In many Churches around the world today, there is a doctrine being taught that could be called “strange fire”. That doctrine is the monetary tithe requirement doctrine. Pastors will stand in their pulpits and preach from the Old Covenant the command to tithe that was given to Israel. But, they replace the tithe God commanded, an agricultural tithe, with a tithe consisting of money. It no longer is the tithe that God required of Israel. It has become “strange fire.”

            No longer the agricultural tithe that was commanded by God for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai, (Leviticus 27:30-34) it is now a monetary tithe.
            No longer a tithe that was to be given to Levites, to widows, to orphans, to strangers in Israel, (Numbers 18:21,24,26,28; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Nehemiah 10:37-38) it is now given to pastors of Churches around the world.

            The “tithes” were good when God had control of them, but modern-day Nadab’s, modern-day Abihu’s have turned them into a “strange fire” which God never commanded. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Many pastors today are tempting God and putting a yoke upon their congregations that God never authorized them to do. Search the Scriptures. When you do, you will find that God’s holy tithe was never carried to the Church, never commanded of the Church, and never controlled by the Church.

            Pastors would do well to set aside this sin of preaching a strange fire and offering it to God in the Sunday prayers. Seek out what the New Covenant says concerning the saved and their giving. They are not to be coerced into giving, they are not to be made to fear a curse from God. Rather, they should be taught to give simply because “they love Jesus.” Teach them as the Apostle Paul taught the saints and brethren at the Church in Corinth… as they purpose in their hearts to give, give cheerfully and willingly God will be honored more by a loving offering than by “strange fire”

            Do it by the Book

            People, If you insist that God requires you to tithe, that you are being obedient to God and His Holy Word, at least have the decency and respect for God and His Holy Word to do it in accordance to what He has written in His Holy Word.

            When you tithe, don’t take it to a Church in a Gentile land. God never commanded such. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and take it to the Promised Land. ( Deut. 12:1,10-11 )

            When you tithe, don’t give it to a Gentile preacher. God never commanded that. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and take it to the Levite, the widow, the orphan and the stranger (which would include yourself) in the Promised Land. ( Deut 14:22-29 )

            When you tithe, don’t tithe money. God never commanded such a tithe. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and tithe agricultural products that are grown in the Promised Land. ( Leviticus 27:30-33)

            If you insist on tithing, don’t tithe that which comes from Gentile hands on Gentile soil. God never commanded it. Instead, do it by the book, as God commanded, and move to the Promised land Israel so you can cultivate the land and have the tithe that God required in the Mosaic Law.

            But remember…

            .Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

            If you are not going to “Do It By The Book”, don’t try to convince me that you are being obedient to God in tithing. It is just the opposite… you are being rebellious to what He decreed concerning how His Holy tithe was to be observed and kept.

            Maybe it’s best you stop offending in that point of the Law and just submit to God’s will concerning your giving today.

            2 Corinthians 9:6 (KJV) 6 But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

            2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV) 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

            God does not require tithe of your money. Instead, He wants you to give simply out of your love for Him. Not as others dictate, but as you choose in your heart. Give with a willing heart and He will be pleased.

          • JJ

            I believe that tithing can take many forms (e.g. donations to orgs like Red Cross), volunteering (e.g. habitat for humanity, babysitting for a neighbor w/o resources), etc.) I’ve never heard it stated as you’ve done here, but it gives me great comfort. God gave us common sense. No one should tithe (financially) if they don’t have the means to do so. When I was a student (as an adult), I gave in the way that I could (time). It certainly has a monetary value and it is doing the work of the lord (which the church preaches). Thank you for your comment.

          • Danny Watts

            I let my actions and deeds to others for nothing in return speak as my “tithing” like you. I never felt comfortable giving away to someone I don’t really know. Yet alone feeling guilty after, like it was stated in the comments, God doesn’t need your money, he needs you.

          • Ava

            Please tell me how full-time Pastors are supposed to support themselves, even into their 70’s, long after a retirement age??

          • GrimmEngineer

            Hmm, I wonder how we do it. Maybe the same way the that Jesus commanded his Apostles to. They all did other jobs to support themselves and took no monetary gain from preaching the gospel, except receiving a bed for the night or food in their bellies for an evening meal. But never in recompense for the words of the Lord. Those are free. We seem to have no troubles with it in our church.

          • Shannon

            Tithing was actually a religous tax paid for the nation of Israel to function as a theocracy. Today beleivers do not live under such a government and are already burdened in ‘rendering unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s’. The fact is many churches claim we live under the ‘new covenant’ of grace by faith yet conveniently dive into the old covenant to guilt their congregants (sheep) into giving to support buldings, programs and what ever bright new shiny thing that is in vogue by the church at large.

            Rather than tithing believers are under only told to give as they believe (the Apostle Paul). So-called ‘tithing’ is only one reason why I and many others have left the church. They cannot have it both ways: either we are saved by grace through faith alone or we must keep every law perfectly. Unfortunately the church cannot make up their collective mind on that matter.

          • ed

            The scriptures are clear in the teaching of what tithing is for, primarily paid by faith to which he opens the windows of heaven to the those who render what he asks us to do in the Law of Tithe. When we obey any law it is predicated upon the principle of obedience, and as we obey he is bound to bless us, this is the promise. As it is with any commandment. His true church is a church where is leaders, Bishops, Pastors or whatever you may call them, are Servants like his Apostles who served without compensation. I belong to such a church where my Bishop has a family and provides support to them by his skill as a Doctor, I know many who have jobs who serve in extraordinary ways to help the member through their particular circumstances. Because of the true payment of tithe, its resources are dedicated to eh building up of his church for the benefit of man, welfare donations are paid to help those who are in need temporarily till they can get back on their feet. His purposes to feed the physical are provided by those who believe and exercise the faith of his commandments so all may be receivers of the awaiting blessings that are in store in the kingdoms that he has promised to us which are eternal. There is such a church that God has established where he calls Men and Woman to serve him unselfishly, to work in the trenches to bring all men unto Christ. I invite you to learn more of his restored Truths, speak to a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You will learn firsthand how a church is organized to feed his sheep with the inspired programs that meet the many needs currently apparent throughout the world, it is a testament of the truly lead church that is headed by Christ himself.

          • Chris Falloon

            All of our income is from Him, why would we give a portion of our “extra” when He gave it ALL? If you are faithful to give to His storehouses, He will provide.

          • Marge Brown

            The Mormon churches bishops and all teachers are unpaid and give thousands of hours to the congregation in the name of our Saviour

          • kawaii

            And how should the pastor live if he doesn’t get paid? Or how should the pair be expected to devote himself to the work of the church if he needs to work a job just to pay rent and eat?

          • Maria

            Our church workers including pastors do not receive salary or any kind of compensation.

          • etcharrison

            A laborer is worthy of his hire

          • lordblazer

            good ole king james bible talk.. You must be a fan of Shakespeare.

          • Arlington Hayes

            In reply to real Pastor’s pay. I have no problem at all. I’ve worked for the government for years and they took out more than 10% even before I got my check no questions asked. I made great money in my field. However, I never forgot the Lord and his house. Every dollar I’ve earned came from him through the government and other ventures. I’m grateful at the fact he didn’t send me an invoice for oxygen, Peace , Protection, health , sight etc.

          • lee

            The Holy Scripture does not support your words whatsoever.
            First of all, without getting into drawn out detail. The Bible does not mandate tithing nowhere in the New Testament. Has it ever occurred to you, that of the 616 Leviticus laws, tithing is the only law that theee false prophets cling to? On one hand we are saved by grace, and then on the other hand, these crooked uncalled pastors, claim that you must tithe according to the Law, as an act of obedience if we are to be in right standing with Jesus. What foolishness!

          • Janet Witt

            Church is just like everyone else in the world always looking for a handout.

          • Pamela Simmons

            10 % of your income is God’s money. To keep it is stealing. You are to give with a cheerful heart and for that God will bless and take care of his flock. If the church is going by scripture then it’s their place to take care of one of their members not the governments. As far as the marriage goes, if they are living for God and are really listening to him, he wouldn’t give them some one that is not worthy. Prayers for the situations.

          • trudy lavender

            Pamela, How many churches do you know that look after their own, they are so busy looking after others outside the church but the single mother/father and widow is sitting next to them in the church pew and they don’t even know they are battling….

          • justme

            That is a very true indictment of many churches today. We are commanded to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, to look after the widows and orphans. But too often our churches fall short of that.

            However, if “they don’t even know they are battling” then there is a lack of communication on the part of the needy. Is it because of pride? Fear of resentment? Fear of rejection? Needs have to be made known and resources (food banks within the church, counseling withing the church, mentoring within the church – i.e. all examples of connecting within the church) have to be taken advantage of.

          • Kayla

            There’s that judgement. Please re-read the article. Hurting people first need to be/feel heard without the quick judgement and rhetoric. Understanding creates an openess and desire for more. Think about when you share your feelings with a friend or mate. How does it feel when they immediately tell you your feelings are wrong without first hearing your heart? Forgive me if I’m currently guilty of doing the same to you. It’s often how it happens. The greatest of intentions go awry. .. after all the bible does say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Smile.

          • Rachel Taylor Kersey

            10% is God’s money? Where in the bible did it say a percent? Where did it say that God accepts payment for his services? The point is to help others in the community, not have church leaders driving expensive cars. It’s called to ‘serve’ not to get paid to represent the word of god. :(

          • Jackie

            Tithe” means a tenth or 10 percent. 1/10 of a fraction = 10% (Leviticus 27:30-33). Pray about this, just remember that God will use the same measuring stick with us that we apply to Him. Be blessed.

          • Jackie

            Any one who tithes should hold the church accountable in terms of how the money is spent. Financial statements should be presented to members annually.

          • AyeRolle

            The tithe (10%) was a requirement under the Mosaic Law (Old Testament times). We no longer live under the burden of the law, but under grace through faith in Christ. We are instructed to give as we are able, cheerfully. Please see my reply to GrimmEngineer.

          • johnny-5

            100% of your money belongs to God. Everything we have, had, or may yet have, belongs to Him.
            The Old Testament standard was the Tithe (10% of gross); this was to be paid before any other expenses. There were separate offerings also, i.e. the first fruits offering (maybe you had a bumper crop this year, and you give an extra portion out of your gratitude and abundance) – translated today that might be an extra offering from the bonus you received, or the amount of your raise in the first paycheck of the new year.

            The point is that the tithe is part of the law, and when people and churches want to split hairs over it, they reveal themselves to be just like the Pharisees. As with so many other things, its not a money problem, its a heart problem. Wesley had this one right: “earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can”.
            Not everyone can tithe, but everyone (who can read this) can give something. My wife and I give 11.8% of our gross to the local church plus support to other charities. This is after 8 years of marriage – we started at about 0.01%, lol. We started giving a regular amount ($20 a week), then every time we cut an expense or got a raise we would increase it.

          • robert

            The tithe is not as never was part of the Mosaic law, it’s a spiritual principle that predates the law. Abraham tithed to Melchisidek before the law. Jesus mentioned tithing as something that ‘should be done.’ People don’t tithe to their own spiritual detriment. Generally only the mature do it.

          • Ronald W Robey

            Sorry Pamela, but you are wrong.

            Amos 3:3 asks the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”.
            An interesting question indeed. A question today could be asked why so many who claim to be walking with God disagree with His Word? Are they truly walking with God?
            God said in Leviticus 27:30-33 that His holy tithe is agricultural. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            God said in Numbers 18:21,24,26,28 that He gave His tithe to the Levitic tribe of the children of Israel. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            God said in Deuteronomy 14:22-27 that a second tithe was to be taken to a Jewish Feast and eaten by the tither before the LORD God. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            God said in Deuteronomy 14:28-29 that a third tithe was to be given every three years to feed the widows, the orphans, the Levites and foreigners in Israel. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            God said in Nehemiah 10:37-38 that the firstfruits were to be taken to the Temple storehouse in Jerusalem, and the tithes were to be taken to the Levites. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            God said in Psalm 147:19-20 that His statutes and judgments were given to Israel and Israel alone. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            God’s Word tells us in Acts 15:10 that it is tempting God to tell Gentile Believers that they are to keep the Mosaic Law. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            In the last chapter that tithing is mentioned in God’s Holy Word, we are told that the commanded tithe is the same agricultural tithe commanded in the Penteteuch more than 1500 years earlier. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him?
            Are you in agreement and walking with God? or have you rejected His decree and chosen to walk the path of mammon forged by a pastor who has handled the Word of God deceitfully?

          • Rachel Taylor Kersey

            Exactly! I reached out after my divorce(3 kids) & received a payment booklet on day 1.

          • jusme

            If you feel pressured to tithe, then you are not in the Will of God. The Bible plainly says to give to God 10% of our first fruits. If we don’t do that we’re robbing God. I for one don’t want to do that, even if it means I eat less, or whatever other sacrifice I may have to make. The Church is only reminding you to be obedient to God’s Word.

          • AyeRolle

            The Bible “plainly says” that in the OT to those under the Law. We are no longer subject to the burden of the Law, and are under no command to tithe in the New Testament church.

          • S. J. Atherton

            Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe way before the Law.

          • AyeRolle

            It was voluntarily offered. Tithing wasn’t codified until the Law.

          • S. J. Atherton

            Of course. And from his spoils. And one time.

          • Teresa Murray

            Not all churches are the same. Find one that will meet your needs.

          • DanielaSte

            It absolutely sucks that the church that those moms attended to never helped them to focus on their themselves first before even thinking of getting remarried. However, I am proud to say that the church that I attend to does not only help them emotionally, spiritually, but also economically to all of those single mothers that need it. Plus, giving a tithe is not for anyone else, but to honor God of what it belongs to Him. And that is between the man or woman and God. I encourage that we all pray for the churches because as far as I am concern, the church is the people. If people only knows how to complain, then there won’t be no growth and there will be more churches like this good article just described. God bless you and trust in God because people will always failed, but God never fails!

          • hermstersss

            Tithing is supposed to be voluntary and according to what one determines in their heart and given cheerfully. Perhaps a different church is the anser rather than a blanket condemnation?

          • Dot

            I’m a little tired of people saying find another church. I never attended this church. But all I hear are Christians who support other Christians, just because they say they are a preacher or that they claim to be a Christian. Why don’t you Christians start condemning people like this minister who makes welfare mothers tithe, so he can drive a fancy car? TV evangelicals who spew hate and “send me money, and you’ll be saved” jerks. Preachers who want to legally force their religion onto others. Priests and preachers who sexually abuse children while preaching purity from the pulpit. Priests who tell you that mass murderers can be forgiven, but gays will burn in hell forever. Jerks that spew hate and greed in the name of Christianity have given the entire religion a bad name and created more atheists than anyone. Throw these money changers out of your churches, and we could talk. But it won’t happen will it. These people are representing you. Condemn them or you are them.

          • Iolanthe

            Are there any rabbis on this forum to explain this? They’re the only ones I trust with any authority on the subject of tithing and firstfruits.

          • Jim

            I can’t say what you say above didn’t happen, but it is most certainly NOT what most churches do. Your comment is like saying because one black person killed someone, they all must be killers. Think before you post.

          • Pastor Iniobong Davies

            Dot , I tell people if you are having issues with this giving and tithe issues please don’t give beyond your knowledge about giving until you get enough of the word backing your actions. The high emphasis on tithes and offering by so many ministers is selfish. Don’t misunderstand me, giving to God’s work is good, but if pastors will emphasize helping the poor, soul-winning and holy living as they do tithes the world would be much better.

          • Rachel Taylor Kersey

            I will reply. They preach about serving your man (figuratively & litterally), understanding your man, submitting yourself and decisions to your man and so forth. Times has changed, we are expected to be or have to be equal (or larger) bread winners, we should be equal partners in everything from child care, house work, etc. When do they preach to the men about helping out more, understanding a women has had a hard day, being submissive to her direction?

          • DownriverDem

            Well Ruben, women want to be treated as equals because we are equal to you and all men. This would be a great place to start, don’t you think?

          • Ruben

            Well, Downriver, I don’t understand how that’s a need. Being treated as an equal seems like a preference or a value but not a need. Still awaiting Virginia’s reply that I hope would be informative.

          • Donna Longino

            The needs the Church doesn’t address for women:

            1. The need to be viewed as more than an extension of a man. Women are distinct individuals separate from their spouses .

            2. The need to have a voice in leadership. Some women are better leaders than men…the Church fails to recognize this, relegating women to subordinate roles in society and in the Church body.

            3. The need to have the Church stop perpetuating misogyny.

            4. The need to have the Church place as much responsibility on men when it comes to birth control as it does on women. The Church is quick to regulate female sexuality….but rather silent on a man’s responsibility.

            5. The need to have the Church ACT as if women were spiritual equals capable of teaching men as well as women and children.

          • Ruben

            Those are needs? They sound more like preferences or desires.

          • Donna Longino

            May God bless you..and the church.. with more discernment. Needs go far beyond the physical, but I suspect you know that. I’ve outlined a few spiritual/emotional needs in answer to your question. Your inability to acknowledge them as such demonstrates why the church will continue to lose people, verifying the point of this article. The “church ” is often nothing more than a collection of people meeting in a building who lack empathy and fail to demonstrate love. Matthew 22:36-40.

        • GaryS

          With Ruben, Steve and the others, I ask that you please do articulate further on this. It’s info we probably need to hear.

          • Dot

            We’ve been answering the questions above. Another example, a church who forced a young woman not to turn in her father for molesting her, and “forgiving him”, and now he is molesting his granddaughter. Her great aunt turned him in, because she is a teacher and is required to report abuse, but she is shunned now by that part of her family.

          • GrimmEngineer

            Forgiveness is separate from Justice. You can forgive a man for what he has done, but still see him to his justice. If the crime is great and the Law demands recompense, you can still forgive. You can forgive your child for what they have done, while still seeing the necessity of punishment. So are we in the eyes of the Lord.

          • Dot

            But this church didn’t practice justice. They did nothing to protect the victims, except make the creep promise not to do it again. They continue to do this and put pressure on the female victims to keep their mouths shut, because this is the man of the house, and they should follow him. This is one of the reason that sane people have left the church. Get it?

          • GrimmEngineer

            I understand why people left THAT church. Yes. One thing that is important to understand. The Gospel of the Lord is perfect. However, it has been recorded and written by imperfect people. And it is administered today by people who are also imperfect. True perfection of the church of Jesus Christ will not occur until the second coming. We can only try our best to follow with our imperfections.

          • RJW

            Any sin is Great before a HOLY God. Al sin is against Him and he will recompense. God the Son took this punishment for us. Not a jesus he created but God the Son took our penalty. Anyone who rejects this for another gospel of good works. How much more will Gods wrath be on him since he has rejected God only Son, Jesus lived the perfect life we could not. And the died on the cross for us. Isaiah 53. When we trust God be placing our complete faith in Christ alone God the Spirit comes live in our hearts Emmanuel God with us to help us live our lives as we surrender to Him We are forgiven. We don’t need to go to a temple. God the father God the son and God the Holy Spirit are all ONE.

          • A Concerned Individual

            It is terribly disheartening to see some of the arguments that have been taking place throughout the “comments” section of this article. It’s like some people are missing the main point and going right into the judgmental and critical attitudes that this article says are pushing people away. Can we not just all agree that perfect Bible trivia is not the main goal of Christianity? We are commanded to LOVE one another. That does not mean you have to agree with the sins of others. Have people forgotten the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner?” I hoped that reading these comments would bring me hope, as someone who has been a Christian my whole life, but is feeling overwhelmed by the way “Christians” as a whole are treating the people of the world. Instead, I, once again, am ashamed at some of the attitudes being displayed by certain individuals. Do we not realize that the petty attitudes of certain individuals of the Church are attributed to “Christianity” as a whole by those who see them? Arrogance, preference, and hypocrisy are what the world is seeing in Christianity, because that is what we are showing them. I wouldn’t want to join a group like that either, if I did not know any better. We have to stop.

          • diggity

            The problem is that “hate the sin, love the sinner” is not found anywhere in the Bible. Plus, many people equate not supporting sin with condemning the sinner.

            We need to realize that we are all sinners, and that all sin is equally abhorrent to God. It is only man who attempts to put levels upon sin, i.e. my sin of lying is not as bad as his sin of stealing which is not as bad as her sin of ….

            ALL sin separates us from God. We are all sinners. We are all loved by God and needing a savior. We want the sinners to be in the church, those who realize they need a savior. But we need to tell them the truth (in love) about what is separating them from God and them help them.

        • cj

          Cop out

        • Tyler

          Your problem was relying on the Church to help you instead of going to God directly for the help. The Church is dead and the only. Real truth is inthe personal relationship you have with God. The Church is Human and to err is human, so why look to Man for your answers.

        • Rana

          Virginia, I’m very sorry that you did not find God’s redeeming love and encouragement at the church you attended. I’m sorry you weren’t encouraged in the corporate worship of Almighty God. Please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. All churches are not like that. I hope you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior and are daily striving to be pleasing to Him. There is no shame or guilt in doing that.

        • froggzzz

          Al so, maybe a different church, sounds like the one or ones you attended may not be the right fit.

        • Josh

          Of course, meeting personal needs is all church is good for. (Sarcasm)

        • Pastor CSL

          I am lifting you in prayer today. I’m a female pastor and am blessed to have pastored a church for 13 years which was a hospital for the sinners and not a country club for the saints. I’m now assisting with a larger (125 member) church which has the same ideas about ministering. Please don’t give up on all churches. God does have groups where folks take care of one another and above all, love the Lord.

        • Esther Cheever

          I am sorry that the church was not meeting your needs. But if you block the church out, your blocking God out too, because he wants us to go to church. Maybe what you need is to find a different church that is living more like Christ. But just keep in mind that no one is perfect. Not even you. Remember, we dont go to church to compare ourselves to others, we go to church to be a blessing to others and gain a blessing from the sermon. I will keep you in my prayers and also the people who drove you away from the church because of their actions.
          May God bless you, Virginia. I am a 15 year old that was brought up in the church, so i know it can be hard when you clash with others, but just keep in mind what Jesus had to deal with when he was on earth. Here is how he dealt with it, ” Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This should be our prayer.

        • Richard B Evans

          I could never understand how anyone with a slave driven past, to females, to alternate lifestyles, aka, homosexuals, to anyone who can see through the hokey, vigin birth to resurrection, immoral, murderous, genocidal, misogynistic, infanticide, teachings, could follow the bible. Ancient barbaric ideologies need to be left to the past. We are better people than that.

        • Carolyn’s Tips

          Virginia, come to an Episcopal Church, you’ll be glad you did.
          Everyone is accepted, I mean everyone.

        • Teresa Murray

          I am sorry you feel you can never return to church because your needs weren’t being met. I don’t believe the church as a whole should keep you from church, maybe you need to find a church that will meet your needs. Not all churches are the same. Best wishes to you.

        • singularity

          Most of the comments devolved into semantic arguments about tithing and the validity of various denominational methods. I agree with you, Virgina. I won’t be returning to the church either and I think these comments speak for themselves about why that is, wouldn’t you agree?

          • Virginia Moher

            Yes, I agree.

        • KDC

          Seems like a person gets their head biten off if they dare say that the church wasn’t meeting their needs, but it should go both ways, right? I feel like you do anyway. I volunteered for Sunday school but kinda felt like I was more or less a plug in or another face with a church shirt. Hadn’t been there after a while and didn’t hear from anyone as to my absence (mostly work). Just sad I guess… I thought I was somebody there.

        • Terry

          I am sorry for the church and how they have made you feel Virginia. As I see the discussion turn to the rules of tithing and the rest of it, it is just sad. The discussion started because of your hurt. Again, I apologize. I would like to know what needs you are referring to so I can learn how to meet those needs in my church. I am a married man and at times I get stuck in that mindset and don’t understand things from another perspective of life.

          • Virginia Moher

            Here’s an example: my husband had many affairs and when I went to the pastor, all he said was that God had forgiven him. Those affairs destroyed my marriage and broke my heart and that’s what I got. I needed acknowledgement of my pain. That flippant 20 second answer didn’t do a thing for me.

          • Terry

            Oh my gosh! I wish I could erase the words. So sorry Virginia. As a pastor I can tell you that I have said many things I have regretted. Maybe he regrets his words. All I can say is that not all churches or pastors believe like that. I would tell you (I will take flack for this) to kick his butt out (your husband). If you could get past all the emotional wreckage and find forgiveness for him enough to reconcile, great, if not, I totally understand. For my critics I would ask if we should trust our children to a apologetic pedophile? I don’t think so. Things like this need to be handled with extreme empathy and understanding for the person who has been devastated by the actions of another. Hang in there Virginia.

        • Stephen B

          “I have needs” Interesting point of view. Jesus said to seek first His kingdom and your needs will be met. What father when their son asks for bread would give them a stone? My point here is perhaps your needs aren’t there for the church to fulfill. Too many come to church to get something rather than to give something. We are called as believers to present our bodies a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. The challenges we face when gathering with other imperfect humans is part of that sacrifice as we learn to love, forgive and grow as a family.Those leaving the church because the “church” failed them often had unreasonable expectations to begin with. If you are a believer then you are the church.

        • Byfaith286

          Virginia, why does everyone always think that it Is just the churches place to give when they do nothing to give back. People always want to take, take, and take but they should be willing to put back also. Most people that leave a church is the problem, then they go to another church for a while and then leave there, why because they expect everything to be given to them and don’t want to do their part. This is just like a marriage, it is equal, you do your part, the church does their part and everyone is happy.
          You have needs and the church was not meeting those needs, the church has needs, were you meeting the churches needs, think about it and look in the mirror and see where most of the problems come from.

        • Oneil Dippozit Richards

          Leaving the church isn’t a bad thing Virginia., Actually believer are commanded to come out from among them (that is come out from these organization of men posing as the “Bride of Christ” which is the true church)The question i would like to ask you though is this “are you any better off now that you’re out of the church or are you mad as hell at the church and everything else? Churches are not God you know they are just institution set up by men, and people from all over pick and chose the ones they feel more comfortable with. People expect the Church to make them feel better about themselves but the truth is these institution don’t have the truth only God does and since these institution don’t belong to God they can’t have His truth to give to you or any other that seeks or claim to be seeking to find the truth there. IN other words you can’t give what you don’t have.
          If you are giving the faith to do so then you can check out this site Virginia
          Oneil
          http://www.thepathoftruth.com

        • RN Nutrition

          Aww… so in your eyes, the Church is there to meet your needs and if it doesn’t, you are through. How Biblical. The body of Christ, His Church, is designed so that we can come together and worship our King with other believers to hold us accountable. We are to go out into our communities and share His good news… His Gospel. It seems that you are all about your needs and nothing else… “I have needs and those needs were not being met by the Church.” I’m sure that the Church’s needs were not being met by you…. sorry so blunt.

        • lana broussard

          Well the church is made of humans and humans are imperfect and messed up. I’m Sorry they hurt you to the point you feel there is no returning. May I please encourage you to forget about church and maybe just begin to ask Jesus who HE is. Bc I promise you…you will be shocked.

        • michele

          Please study the subject of “tithing”.. This is the churches “cash cow”.. What we see the modern church doing IS NOT scriptural.. Let me ask you this… There are only TWO occupations that gave the “tithe”. What were they? Did gentiles give a “tithe”?.. Was the “tithe” money? How often was the tithe given? Who collected the”tithe” ?. Hosea 4:6..My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee”…. Church goers are not studying His word for themselves. They rely on the lying pastor to interpret it and won’t do what the Bereans did and for this they too shall be judged.

          • Ronnie Tanner

            Michele, do you consider that what you see with your eyes as the “modern church” as the Body of Christ?

          • michele

            When I say “modern” church I mean the church age we are in now and it’s pastors/preachers/ self-titled bishops. These people are suppose to be of the Body of Yeshua The Christ, but they act far from it. His true body of believers are those who follow His way, read His word, search for truth and act according to His word.

          • Ronnie Tanner

            Ok, thank you for explaining. Are you open to considering that what you are describing is simply not the Body of Yeshua, The Christ? If that is the case, and it is, why would these men do anything but be as they are, having nothing to do with The Lord?

            Matthew 7:18-20 MKJV
            (18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
            (19) Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
            (20) Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.

            Do you believe the Lord, The Good Shepherd would give His Own people such as those you describe?

            Jeremiah 3:14-15 MKJV
            (14) Turn, O backsliding sons, says Jehovah; for I am married to you; and I will take you one from a city, and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
            (15) And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

            Do you see the key here? Men who are not right with the Lord are naturally drawn to false teachers, not knowing those that are blind from those that are true.

            The Body of Christ is just that – His Body, and it is alive and well today, just as He is and has always been.

          • michele

            I know that’s where you were going…hence, my stating His true body of believers are those who follow His way, read His word, search for truth and act according to His word. I am clear that these religious leaders are not of Him.

          • Ronnie Tanner

            Michele, those pastors/preachers/self-titled bishops aren’t supposed to be the Body of Yeshua. In fact they have been appointed by God to administer strong delusion to those that do not have a love of the truth.

            2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV
            (9) The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
            (10) and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
            (11) Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
            (12) in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

            On the other hand, God does give true shepherds to those that acknowledge their guilt, rebellion, and disobedience.

            Jeremiah 3:13-15 ESV

            (13) Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD.
            (14) Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
            (15) “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

          • michele

            Thanks, I agree with that, however I didn’t always know and sat under these false teaching until The Most High showed me different and deep inside I knew something was wrong with what these “churches” were saying and doing. Now, I know people who do love The Most High, yet they have not walked into the true knowledge of His word. I only hope The Most High wakes them up, but as for the others, they choose to believe these lying wonders and when anyone tries to point out error or try to enlighten them they say that famous catch phrase “touch not God’s appointed”..I honestly am tired of trying to explain truth to them, from the false teachings of tithing to which day is the Sabbath, to the real name of the Messiah (Yeshua), so I basically stay silent and wait until The Most High directs me

          • Ronnie Tanner

            Michele, can you clear something up for me?

            You say:

            “Now, I know people who do love The Most High, yet they have not walked into the true knowledge of His word.”

            How can one love The Most High yet not walk in the true knowledge of His word?

            Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
            (John 14:23 MKJV)

            The people you are referring to don’t love the Lord. They love another Jesus, a carnal image they have made of Him in their own mind.

        • Ronnie Tanner

          Virginia, what is your course of action now? Have you come to see that which you call the “Church” is not the Body of Christ after all? If so, that is a gift from God. However, where will you go now?

        • etcharrison

          Choice is what every human has.

          Many are called but few are chosen.

        • TEXANONLY

          Then if it is too late for the Church to get you back , then you need to pray more because you are lost. JR

        • 27273100

          I couldn’t agree more, Virginia. After the way I’ve been treated by so-called “Christians”, I came to the conclusion that there is no God for people like me.

          • bill66

            Not only no god for people like you,….. no schools …..or jobs ….or mates, …or friends,….. or respect…. savings… future…. nothing. Nothing for people like you….

          • 27273100

            Keep speaking about yourself. The more you put out, the dumber you look. I don’t *EVER* want to be a christian because I sure as hell don’t want to turn out like YOU.

          • bill66

            If you were religious, you wouldn’t turn out like me…. as I’m not religious.

          • 27273100

            I wouldn’t go anywhere *NEAR your “religion” if your god threatened to kill me. I’m looking at what it’s clearly doing to you. Some “god” you serve.

          • bill66

            You wouldn’t get near my religion… as I have no religion. I have no ‘god’. I serve this country and it’s constitution. I know… it’s hard for someone like you, to be able to grasp someone disagreeing with you… when you so desperately need to think it’s because of religion, but guess what, kiddo, most of the country respects of rights to believe as they wish, even when those beliefs differ from ours. But then…. you’re a bigot.

          • 27273100

            Still lying, I see….too bad it’s not working.

          • 27273100

            That’s the difference: I’m not religious by any stretch because I don’t want to turn out like YOU.

          • bill66

            That makes no sense.

          • 27273100

            It makes perfect sense. I’ll say it slowly so you can comprehend: I’m not religious by any stretch because….wait for it…wait for it…I don’t want to turn out like YOU? Are you getting it now, or do I need to draw a picture for you??

          • bill66

            I already wrote that I’m not religious. How would you turn out like me? You statement makes no sense. You’re an idiot, idiot.

          • 27273100

            The only idiot on this board is YOU…idiot.

          • bill66

            Again, you are so …………………………………… stupid. I mean… just so stupid that it almost defies definition. Stupid is simply the nicest way to tell you what you are.

          • 27273100

            How humble of you to *finally* tell the truth about yourself. Especially how absolutely stupid YOU are.

          • bill66

            is that a “I’m rubber, you’re glue” retort? How cute.

          • 27273100

            Yeah, when you stay stuck stalking me long after I had moved on. You said you were through posting to me, so are you going to keep your promise or not?

          • bill66

            1. I didn’t promise. 2. I’ve decided to just sit here and clown you. I’m showing everyone what a clown you are. I’m going to tell you to find the lie, post it and tell us why it’s a lie, until you run off crying. Clown.

          • 27273100

            Of course you didn’t promise because you can’t keep your word. Was it not YOU who said you can’t continue to post to me? Unless you lied about that, too?

          • bill66

            I’ve decided to wait till you post a lie and tell us why it’s a lie. Do it.

          • 27273100

            Oh, you mean *THIS* one, clown? :

            bill66

            an hour ago

            You’re becoming incoherent. Your writings are becoming scrambled. You’re far to bizarre to continue this. Good bye.

            So, um…*LIE* your way out of this one!! The one who is actually scrambled, bizarre and incoherent is YOU. All you’ve done is SHOW me how much of a liar you *REALLY* are. Still wondering why your lies are not working?? The only one you’re “clowning” is YOURSELF, not me.

          • bill66

            You are becoming incoherent. Your writings are becoming scrambled. You are far too bizarre, but long before this, you wrote I was lying and failed to tell anyone what the lie was or how they were lies. You are a flake and you are a clown. I will continue this until you have to run off to your minimum wage job…. if you even work…

          • 27273100

            What’s the deal? Don’t like taking what you dish out? Once again, caught in another lie. And I will keep calling you a liar, clown, because you keep proving me correct.

          • bill66

            I proved you wrong….. yet again. You just can’t seem to find any lies… and say how they’re lies. Do it.

          • 27273100

            How exactly? The only thing you did was prove me right that you’re a delusional liar — and you’re *STILL* doing it.

          • bill66

            I just told you… but I see you’re dense, so I’ll tell you again. I told you to find the lies, post them and tell us how they’re lies. You didn’t/can’t. You’re unable. You haven’t any reasoning skills or education. If you ask me how again, I’ll copy this and post it as my reply. You said there were lies, but you can’t find them. You lied.

          • 27273100

            You are the dense one, and a dumb one at that. You asked me to post the lie you told and you got what you asked for. Don’t get mad at me because it wasn’t what you wanted to read. What a fun fact to know that you are have no reasoning skills whatsoever. Liars like you never do.

          • 27273100

            Keep deluding yourself.

          • bill66

            Now… here is a promise. I will not write you anymore. You are a bigoted, lying, flaky clown. I know you will not amount to anything and the only home you live in, will be your parents home. You will always be someone’s minimum wage employee. I’ll drive by and toss a buck to you when you’re on the curb….. maybe.

          • 27273100

            LMAO — The only bigoted, lying flaky clown I see in this thread is YOU. You apparently haven’t amounted to anything and LIVES in your parents’ basement or you wouldn’t need to make up lies, now would you? This time, keep your word and stop writing to me.

            But then again…with your track record for lying, I’m not counting on that.

          • 27273100

            I’m just *LAUGHING* at you. Such a nice disclosure about yourself. What’s even funnier is that you’re incoherent and scrambled enough to keep posting to me. So…tell me…how is that minimum-wage job you go to everyday working for you?

          • bill66

            I’m not actually an employee. I am an employer. You are an employee. You will never be an employer, unless you hire a hooker.

          • 27273100

            In your fantasies, you are an employer. Nice try, but you can’t even tell that lie right. YOU will never be an employer, unless you ARE a hooker.

          • 27273100

            What’s wrong? Don’t like what you asked for? Then don’t ask for it, stalker clown.

        • Kassy

          Agree! note to Church/Religions: how about NOT continuing to ignore the DIVINITY of women by constantly referring to GOD as ‘HE’, a male deity when in fact the nature of GOD HAS NO GENDER…right? Omniscient, Omnipresent…ALL THINGS, Universal…right? The role of Women in modern religions effects the entire female population and not in a good way. When the ‘old religions’ which recognized the DIVINE qualities of women, not as a mere honorable mention, but in their practices is brought into any forum, it is something that was defeated, conquered, abolished as ‘her’esy, witchcraft, etc. Modern religions continue the gender war initiated by Papal Law without even realizing it. It goes beyond single motherhood, child welfare and support.

        • Natasha

          Guilt = shame of not living by the rules … So easy to walk away … … People make me laugh, WHO SAID THE CHURCH OR OUR SWEET LIRD JESUS IWES YOU ANYTHING ?????? How selfish if a statement

        • Jim

          The church is NOT there to meet your needs, and it never was or will be! The church is there to proclaim Christ and His salvation!!! What should be your “needs” are reaching out in a serious way (not “WWJD bracelets) with the Word and Christ’s saving grace.

        • Pastor Iniobong Davies

          Virginia, i thank you for your sincerity. I apologize for the numerous problems you may have encountered in your trying to know God more through people who were either to supposed to help you know him more. Never you allow any one to cajole you into giving what you never planned to give in the church. what I mean is that always prepare what you have in mind to appreciate God right from your home and not even on Sunday morning or church service day. with that when youre done giving what you had proposed in your heart right from home, please no matter what anyone says please be bold to acknowledge that God has received your gift of love and never feel guilty if you are not giving more. Finally never you look at Man but God through his word. Man will fail you but Jesus will never.

        • John P

          Since when is the church have to take care of your needs. The church serves and you are part of that mechanism. When you withdraw into self you have taken yourself out of it. This makes for a unhappy person

          • Virginia Moher

            As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too, happiness is in the heart of the individual. I am happy now but, hey, thanks for worrying I may not be. When you say, the Church serves, I have to ask, Serves who? Serves the poor, for instance? Do the poor have needs? If you just want to sit around and chant to God, that’s OK for you but I would rather take care of people’s needs. That’s the opposite of withdrawing into self, by the way.

          • Roger

            Virginia – I really appreciate your thoughts and concerns. I am very sorry for your frustrations. I can tell you that your words are causing me to evaluate myself and my viewpoints. I have been diving into some of the things you have expressed before I read your comments, but now I know this study is very worthy of my time. Church folks do a great job of telling people about God’s love, but we kind of glaze over problems that make us uncomfortable and, quite frankly, the real issues. We’re like, “Jesus will help you – thanks for coming.” Then we move along quickly. How is Jesus going to help? I have been asking folks at my church, “How would you describe how Jesus helps us?” I can’t tell you how many blank looks I’m getting from people who should know the answer to this question. I’m certainly not speaking about anyone on this thread – it’s just what I’ve experienced, and I’m sad to admit, but I’ve been a part of this attitude. NO MORE! I am going to change that and help/serve as many folks as I can. Our church’s VBS is about this very topic this year and I’m excited about it. By the way, there is no way that I could do what I do without my wife’s help. I depend on her and the Lord in all aspects of my life.

          • Virginia Moher

            Roger, thank you. I think you will find that getting out of the church building and doing work for others will uplift you and your fellow helpers in unimaginable ways.

        • Willwinchristy

          If it’s too late for the church to get you back, then you probably never belonged! The church is not just some organization, it is the bride of Christ! There will be struggles and tribulation, but we are to fix our eyes an Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith!the the bride of Christ is made up of many different parts! And all the parts are not perfect but being conformed till that great and glorious day of His return, each part of the body belongs to one another.if you are truly part of the body of Christ, you don’t want to leave! We are one body , the body of Christ! Change to church in a different location, where you feel connected to the body, but don’t stop church!

        • Ted Martin

          “Nothing in return” ? I am an older guy, single, but I was not always old, I have always felt that church pretty much ignored me, oh they might be polite, but still, it was as if, they “did not know what to do with me” . I do not want to be made a spectacle of 😉 but not discarded either.

      • sheree tjung

        Thankyou Clarke. I love your comments. I have been in the Australian church now 30 years and havinge some thoughts on this. First – God told me- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN IS SMALL. BUT WHEN IT IS TAUGHT WRONG IT BRINGS OPPRRSSION.

        Now my thoughts – The praise men seek to get in church they do so by putting down the woman and lifting the men. Also if man is going to lead doesn’t this mean serve???? And when things go wrong the women get the blame. Shouldn’t the leader be responsible when things go wrong????? If he is the provider why does he push the woman into work and try to stop her having children. And sexuality — Women are sexual too but it makes the men uncomfortable so they make diagrams to show why they can’t get sex from their wives. Are they chemically neutered?

        Leadership and headship equals the responsibility and the extra work.

        Having said this. I am praying to know what I am what God says that I am so we can save women from hell. Church should have the answers. I have a husband that I am addicted to. I also have 4 sons one of which will be a pastor soon. Men are fantastic friends and helpers. I thank God for them.

      • BT

        Clarke, I agree that things seem to be a little unfair when it comes to rhetoric about dress. I believe that when men aren’t modest in their appearance (open shirts, gaudy attire, etc.), it should be addressed. Modesty isn’t the issue. There’s actually nothing wrong with it when applied to everyone. The thing is, clothing for women is made more provocatively than clothing for men. Thus, women’s lack of modesty is seen and addressed often. It often isn’t addressed in love, however, which is an issue.
        Also, even if a woman is fully clothed and wearing nothing that is mini or tight, she should feel confident in her body, which is for her husband. (His body is for her as well, as the Bible says;)
        In addition, her emphasis shouldn’t be on her body or sexuality, anyway. It should be on Christ.

      • BT

        In addition, as a Christian, if something you’re doing or wearing is creating an issue and/or distraction from Christ, etc…it is your duty to correct yourself…Not get offended and upset.

        “…no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” Romans 14:13 (KJV)

      • BT

        Sorry, I replied to the wrong person lol.

      • Brouillard

        Not hard to find in my neck of the woods…we have plenty of Episcopal churches. How about if we all try to focus more on the soul than on the outer packaging (gender, color, etc.) Merry Christmas to all!

      • Carole

        I find it disheartening to look at a church website and see only men listed on the leadership team…and sometimes a woman is listed as “church secretary”…it breaks my heart. Knowing what actually goes on behind the scenes (I’m a minister’s daughter and was married to a church deacon before he ran off with a woman he was having an affair with)…the church “secretary” is often the one person holding it all together…but is paid the least and is not invited to the high level meetings and decision-making.

        • GrimmEngineer

          “Paid” is the evil root of this entire problem…

          • big dog 2

            Are you claiming that no one in the organizational structure of the LDS church is paid?

        • Essene

          My, how predictably sexist of you.

      • Justin DeGonia

        I don’t know where you live, but wow you need to find another church. Where I’m from, our little church is a family and LOVE is what we are about. You’ll never hear about the OLD teachings of the woman staying home etc stuff other than maybe in the use of explaining just the differences of then and now. We’re are pretty old school when it comes to church. We have contemporary praise and worship, but that’s about it. You’ll not find all the light and stage shows, instead you find people who love God, and love his people. No humans are prefect and the same for true christians. I pray that one day you find that church of comfort and love as we have! May God truly bless you!!

      • mag00

        I appreciate your devotion to gender equality. The issue I keep having is that the scripture *explicitly* calls for the enslavement and inferiority of women. The texts are often not taken out of context, but many Christians will say this because it helps calm the cognitive dissonance they experience because they believe the Bible is the word of God, yet don’t agree with what it says.

        I would like to know how you think these verses *don’t* call for the inequality and subjugation of women:

        “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man (I
        Corinthians 11:8-9)

        Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)

        “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

      • etcharrison

        Men and Women do have certain roles to fill according to the Bible. If people have a problem with the Bible and God so what? They will have no part of God if they sin deliberately or pick what they want and leave the rest.

      • Cheryl Barrow

        The fact that were still looking at each other from the male female perspective is a problem in its self because He “the creator”Said let’s make “man” in our image and fashion them male and female that statement alone indicates equality. The fashioning represents the reproductive process not the value or importance of one or the other. After all he’s no respect of persons. Nor is he the author of division.

      • Pastor Iniobong Davies

        .Clarke, even though the write up by John is of a greater percentage ok but I will like to remind us that sentiments be removed when looking at this issue. From Adam till now human beings tend to blame others for their woes. I mean so many, who are not serious with anything in life not even in God will catch in on this ‘Yeah John is right!” but we have forgotten that the world today is drifting towards anti God as the bible had said. Yes I know some church leaders helps in fulfilling this prophecy but some are completely not ready for God. On the other issue of women and the church, It is a matter of understanding who you are in God. I Cor. 11:3 read it and you will see that Christ has never contested that position, man has never contested that position, why is the woman contesting it. The truth is that being under mans’ tutelage doesn’t mean the woman is a slave or inferior. NO that is how God ordain things to be. Infact the major reason for the numerous problems in the world today is that we are not following as it were God’s word but we allow humanistic ideologies to take charge

    • Eric Young

      as a church organist for close to 30 years, I’ve seen many of you women catch all the hell. Particularly if you are young and attractive. In an ideal situation, if a young woman wants to get out of a life of prostitution, instead of receiving love, she’s being judged by what she is wearing. And even in some worse situations I’ve seen, being accused of trying to seduce all of the men in church. Who in their right mind would want to even come to a church like that? Instead of loving on this young lady, they’re too busy judging her for what she is wearing.this is one of the problems I personally have with the modesty doctrine. Its erroneous at best. And it teaches young girls at an early age to be ashamed of their bodies, instead of feeling good about it, and confident. You young women are expected to hold down all the duties in the church, yet they fail to see what you do outside of the church on your 9 to 5 jobs. Basically for the most part, women are not appreciated enough in church. Theres is crazy believe that you women have to cover up your bodies, in order to keep men from lusting, which leads to sin, which ultimately leads to death. Which in reality is total nonsense. You are not responsible for what goes on in my mind regardless of what you are wearing, or not wearing.I’m just sick of the legalism that often plagues the more fanatical churches like the Church of God in Christ. Holiness, and hospice dollar denominations. All in the realm known as Pentecostal. and I’m really tired of how the church like to try to frighten people to serve God. So yeah, there are many reasons why people are leaving the church. This article it’s just the tip of the iceberg as to why people are leaving the church and rose and people in church are sitting around wondering why.

      • BT

        Clarke, I agree that things seem to be a little unfair when it comes to rhetoric about dress. I believe that when men aren’t modest in their appearance (open shirts, gaudy attire, etc.), it should be addressed. Modesty isn’t the issue. There’s actually nothing wrong with it when applied to everyone. The thing is, clothing for women is made more provocatively than clothing for men. Thus, women’s lack of modesty is seen and addressed often. It often isn’t addressed in love, however, which is an issue.
        Also, even if a woman is fully clothed and wearing nothing that is mini or tight, she should feel confident in her body, which is for her husband. (His body is for her as well, as the Bible says;)
        In addition, her emphasis shouldn’t be on her body or sexuality, anyway. It should be on Christ.

        • A guy

          wow. You say a body is for a husband. At least you’re nice enough to say it is “also” for her. And you’re so disconnected you assume all women leaving have husbands. News flash–women today, and they’re right to believe it, see their body as their own and no one else’s. They share on their own terms. I pray for you.

          • Jill Stevenson

            but that’s not what the Bible says…which is what BT is stating.

          • Mel Lanier

            Yes and the Bible also says women are dirty and can become clean for two turtles. Hmmm….

          • GrimmEngineer

            Mistranslation by monks…

          • David L

            Which makes the entire racket suspect in every way. There’s nothing about any of these organizations that couldn’t have been mistranslated or otherwise willfully altered so why waste time participating in any of it at all?

          • GrimmEngineer

            And that is why the lord commanded his disciples to record the history and testimonies of his dealings with them. If we have many testimonies from many source gospels or books within the bible (and other sources) then we can see the big overall picture. It’s kind of like the first 4 gospels of the new testament, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. It is 4 different peoples story or view of the life of Jesus. It is 4 different people who saw the same thing but who have different stories that mesh together, sometimes imperfectly. But when taken together you can see the big picture. Jesus knew we were imperfect and that his word might be recorded imperfectly, which is why having his words from different sources helps to clarify things, sometimes greatly. This is also what separates the bible and other compilations of scripture (the book of Mormon has 15 separate books within) from the Koran (Quran) which is the word of a single individual with no other testimony or corroboration whatsoever.

          • skepticall1

            I’m curious how you can claim that we can see the big picture when we look at the first 4 gospels together? According to LDS beliefs, isn’t the Bible corrupt from its earliest origins? Do you not disparage it in many of your other comments elsewhere?

            Why then would the Bible allow you, as a member of the LDS faith, to see anything clearly? If it is as bad as you claim in your other comments, why would you even care?

          • GrimmEngineer

            By combining them. Sorry it confuses you. We us the bible. We just understand it isn’t perfect because of the work of men.

          • David L

            I understand your point, but nevertheless, four corroborated stories are incredibly easy to mistranslate *on purpose*. The council of Nicea, for instance, changed a vast amount of scripture along with introducing an insane amount of dogma all for the purpose of making christians and pagans coexist in some sort of peace. Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice, Easter, etc… The vast differences between the Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic versions of the bible – not to mention the many, many other less-known versions of Christianity – all have a core set of stories intermingled with many additional ones that are/are not canon according to any of the others. To then toss in the Book of Mormon simply contradicts the whole thing even more as it was written long after the rest of the situation was capped off with, “This story is complete and if you add or remove anything to/from it you’re going to hell.”

            I appreciate “peer review” in this case but calling any part of it “mistranslation” and then demanding that not all of it is/could be mistranslated is disingenuous. Either it is perfectly the word of a god, or it is a text that has been susceptible to manipulation by the hand of man since its authoring. There can be no in-between in this and since not a single piece of the original work is still in existence that can be translated without busting out a Dead Language dictionary, there will never be even a piece of the original text to reference for the purposes of translation verification.

          • Keith Chapman

            Turtle doves. As in birds.

          • Jill Stevenson

            can you put up the verse for that statement? I’ve never come across it.

          • Jill Stevenson

            and my comment was referring to the material presented at hand, staying on topic with what the conversation is about, not going off topic.

          • Jody Pussycat

            Leviticus 15:19-30

            And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.

            Leviticus 20:18

            And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

            Ezekiel 18:5-6

            But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not … come near to a menstruous woman…..

          • THE PROUD CHILD OF GOD

            FIRST OF ALL, WE DON’T BELONG TO OURSELVES, WE BELONG TO GOD FIRST PERIOD. SECOND PEOPLE AREN’T GETTING IT. THEY GO THERE TO GET SOMETHING OF GOING TO CHURCH, SHAME ON ALL WHO THINK THAT WAY. YOU ARE THERE TO GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD FOR YOUR LIFE AND ALL YOU HAVE AND DONT EVEN APPRECIATE IT. AND IF YOU KNOW YOUR BIBLE, IT SAYS IN THERE THAT GOD IS NEVER CHANGING. JUST CAUSE THE WORLD LIVES ONE WAY DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOING TO BE THAT WAY IN HEAVEN SO IF YOU WANT TO GO HOME, SHAPE UP AND GET A CLUE, MODESTY IS GOD’S WAY AND FOR THOSE WHO SAY THAT THEY, THE MINISTERS AND PRECHERS ETC. THAT THEY NEED TO GET OUT INTO THE WORLD AGAIN YOU’RE NOT GETTING IT. WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LIVE FOR THIS WORLD OR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT IF YOU WANT TO GIVE YOUR LIFE TO GOD. DENY YOURSELF IF THAT IS YOUR GOAL. REMEMBER THIS IS SATAN’S WORLD NOT GOD’S WE’RE ONLY PASSING THROUGH UNTIL WE ARE CALLED HOME. THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE CHALLENGES WHICH YOU MUST PASS LIKE IT OR NOT. SO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH WHAT CHURCHES AREN’T DOING TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF AND OBSERVE IF YOUR WAY OF LIFE, ACTIONS OR WAY OF THINKING WOULD BE ACCEPTED IN HEAVEN. MY GUESS IS NO. SO QUIT BEING SO SELFISH AND QUIT MAKING GOING TO CHURCH ABOUT YOURSELVES. IT’S ABOUT HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD/JESUS PERIOD AND BRING THANKS TO THE ALTAR AND HEARING HIS WORD. IF YOU CAN’T COMPREHEND WHAT I JUST WROTE THEN YOU WILL NEVER KNOW TRUTH. AS LONG AS THERE’S ACTIIVITY ON EARTH, THERE’S ALSO ACTIVITY IN HEAVEN. AND JUST CAUSE YOUR PRAYERS AREN’T ANSWERED DOESN’T MEAN GOD HATES YOU OR YOU NEED TO GIVE UP ON HIM AND TURN ATHIEST. HE NEVER GAVE UP ON YOU. ONE LAST THING, GOD SEE’S US ALL AS HUMAN BEINGS NOT MEN AND WOMEN. THAT’S EARTLY DONIG, NOT GOD’S. HE HAD A BEAUTIFUL PLAN AND JERKWADE HAD TO SCREW IT UP FOR EVERYONE SO NOW EVERYONE ACTS LIKE A BUNCH OF IRRESPONSIBLE LITTLE BRATS JUST CAUSE THEY CAN’T HAVE IT THEIR WAY. WELL TOUGH, SUCK IT UP CAUSE IF YOU EXPECT TO BE CHIRSTIAN, YOU’RE IN FOR IT. I SUFFER PAIN, SEIZURES AND WHEELCHAIR BOUND AND I DON’T BITCH ABOUT IT OR HIM DONIG THIS TO ME. IT’S CALLED BARRING YOUR CROSS, YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY NOT GETTING IT IF YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS ABOUT WOMENS RIGHTS. ENOUGH WITH THE DAMN RIGHTS, IT’S A CRUEL GAME THE BIGWIGS CAME UP WITH TO SEPARATE FAMILIES WHICH IS ANOTHER SUBJECT AND NOT GETTING INTO IT. YOU SHOULD BE THANKFUL EVERYDAY TO GOD THAT HE EVEN “ALLOWED” YOU TO WAKE UP ANOTHER DAY BECAUSE HE COULD HAVE TAKEN YOU IN OUR SLEEP. SO IF YOU WANT TO GRIP ABOUT WHAT WOMEN AREN’T ALLOWED TO DO REMEMBER YOU HAVE ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE TO LIVE AND THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH. DAMN SPOILED SOCIETY!

          • mopandisi

            I’m not spoiled. I am allowed to complain if I don’t like how I’m beating treated. I respect your experience and your religious choices. Please do the same for me.

          • lovsom2

            You say that people are going to church to get something out of it and we should be there to give thanks to the Lord. If that is true, can’t we praise and worship the Lord at home? Do you think that you have to make an appearance in church in order to pray and worship the Lord? We go to church for guidance and inspiration – if this is wrong than why do we even have churches and/or ministers?

          • lovsom2

            Jeremiah 3:15 – And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding

      • BT

        Sorrryyy! I meant Eric, not Clarke…

        In addition, as a Christian, if something you’re doing or wearing is creating an issue and/or distraction from Christ, etc…it is your duty to correct yourself…Not get offended and upset.

        “…no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” Romans 14:13 (KJV)

      • Charlotte

        I remember attending a church service where the entire message was about our duty women to submit to our husbands. This was in Sunday school, I was in middle school.

        • charlotte

          Correction: our duty as women*

      • Mildrianne Clark

        @ Mr. Young. I was raised COGIC and I do understand some of what you are saying. However, there should be some sort of modesty apparel. When I have worn clothes that were not so modest, I was approached by men of the cloth. There is a lack of love and it is being felt from others who are not so familiar with the doctrine or rule. The church should not frighten people to serve God. What I find usually is that when things like the way 2 dress, or other things that appear to be religious concept is there is a lack of understanding of that word. What people need to know is that one can go to hell for judging. One can go to hell for being self-righteous. Hold your head up my brother and don’t sweat the small stuff.

      • TJ

        Well put Eric. I ‘m in recovery from “church.” The problem is I love The Lord. I hunger for more of God and got beat down in my pursuit of God. The Bible states clearly about not forsaking the gathering of believers together but, whew! I was active in ministry and tried to put ministry behind me and just help people. Now, I am gently being wooed back to fellowship, by God, and I am petrified of making a commitment to a local church again.

      • RastaSister42

        Blessed to your words I was brought up it a Pentecostal Church and when I had my child I attended a COGIC church for 3yrs because I was a single mother everybody was telling me I need to be married dont where this,don’t have male friends, I found myself so depress and I just lost my mom to illness it was hard. I do not attend a church, I am a Rastafarian I been living a natural lifestyle I talk and pray to Jah and it truly is the best for me. I dont shun churches I just dont see me there.

      • jusme

        Excuse me Eric, but I’m a member of a Pentecostal church and I’ve seen nothing like what you have described. Our Pastor teaches the Word – the Bible. We don’t care what you wear, what you look like, where you’ve been, or what your past is. We want you to have a relationship with God. We love everyone and help anyone in need. So, don’t label Pentecostal people like you have in your article!

    • Michelle Forbes

      You are woman. Go ahead and write what you want to say. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Be courageous!

    • Mildrianne Clark

      @ Virginia Moher, God uses the women. Jeremiah said in the last days that the woman shall compass a man. You need to know who you are as a woman. Keep your self esteem up. Know your self worth as a woman. If you have a relationship with God, allow him to give you a peace of mind. Women are doing it all. They are holding down the home and working a nine to five. In some cases 2 full time jobs just to keep end’s meat. Do not allow the so-called church dictate your life.
      If one would really get in this word, and get a concept of what the word is really saying; one would not be so bothered about what the church thinks. One should care about what God thinks. The Lord will judge the church according to its behavior toward mankind. So I encourage you to keep your head up.

      • Tim

        If I understand self-esteem correctly, self-esteem is not a good thing. It has to do with how we see ourselves and because we are all under the curse of sin our minds don’t always think rightly. For instance we often compare ourselves to others, which can make us feel either superior or inferior. God’s own chosen people failed to go into the land that God promised to give them because of an incorrect sence of self-esteem. When Moses sent 12 spies into the land to assess the situation 10 returned and gave this report.
        “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their eyes.” Numbers 13:33
        The “sons of Anak” were Giants. If Israel would have seen themselves as God saw them, if they would have trusted Him instead of their own stinking thinking they would have went in and taken the land that God was going to give them. If people would only see themselves as God sees them, there would not be all these issues you all have been messaging about. God sees people as so valuable that even when man had rebelled against He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. He bought us not with silver or gold, but with something much more precious, His only Son.
        So, what does it matter what others think of you? Realize that you have infinite value because you were bought with the very costly thing there was, the blood of Christ Jesus. And don’t even begin to think you are better than anyone else because Jesus shed His blood for ALL who will put their faith and trust in Him.

    • Avril Brown

      Virgina- Do I KNOW what you mean! I was publicly humiliated in a church for several years. I was accused of so many things that I do not have time to say them all. I was preached at and laughed at by leaders. The only reason I stayed is because the presence of God was there, and in recognition of the fact that the clergy are themselves only human kept me sane. The problem seems ultimately to be twofold: 1. there are people who think they have never sinned, or at least in such a Holy position that they are somehow Holier than others, and 2. SOME of the problems I have faced in churches is from men who were actually in lust and rather than to admit that they project it onto the woman. So wrong. Another problem is that people get their ideology confused with their theology. By that I mean, they want all kids raised by single moms to be raised the same as if they were in two parent households, yet they demand the Moms to work outside the home. They refuse to lift a finger to help in any practical way since, if they were REALLY saved Jesus would take care of their needs. Or at least that is the attitude. Then when anything goes awry, of course it is that sinner single Mom’s fault. God help us!

    • Linda Sealey

      Amen!

    • Sherry Wilmoth

      Virginia, The expectations that the church places on women is taken right out of the culture during the time of Moses and Jesus Christ. I am a student of the Bible – love it – have read it through using a different translation every year for 18 years. Have taught almost every book in it. One thing I have learned is that God works in the culture and allows the people to evolve. He is working in the hearts of people, not the culture. The people who Moses led would never be able to understand the culture that Christ came in to. They went through the hardship of 40 years wondering in the wilderness until all the old culture died. They went through kings, prophets and into captivity to become the people that Christ could come to and he brought a new covenant to the world that met the people where they were in spite of the culture.
      The more I study the Bible, the less I care for “The Church.” It makes me sad – my father was a minister. Through my study, I have outgrown “The Church.” The most vocal are no different than the Pharisees that Christ dealt with. Read Matthew 23:13-15; “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. (Some manuscripts read: You shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, you will be severely punished.) “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites for you cross land an sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!”

      My suggestion to you is study the words of Christ and live by them as closely as you can. WWJD – What would Jesus do? The answer throughout the Bible is in many places but I quote Micah 6:8 “do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

      May God richly bless you in your path.
      Sherry Wilmoth

      • Virginia Moher

        Thank you. That’s what I try to do, follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

    • Mary Ellen

      Our own Pastors’ wives are employed outside the home! We get it. Women need to work, to help support the family – in this day and age it is nigh unto impossible for them NOT to be employed in some capacity whether it is outside the home or whether they work from home. They should not be judged for that – they should be supported and encouraged and have someone alongside them to help them deal with the pressures of job and family – that is another function of the church. The church needs to take a serious look at itself and remember that for which it was begun – are we at all like the Acts church? We must remember we are to be salt and light – our salt has lost its savor, and our lamps have grown dim, and are hidden behind the glitter and the glitz.

    • sean

      Life in general puts demands on women. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge-kSL54Nzs

      • Virginia Moher

        thanks, Sean. I shared this on FB

    • Lee Ebbs

      Wow, really? cause you know the church is there to cater to your every feeling huh? Try reading your bible. If you have “guilt and shame” then the reason is your sin so you can stop trying to blame any one else. You must repent and be born again (John 3) a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)

      • Michael Scott Rash

        You’re a terrible person, and an even worse advocate of Christ. She said nothing about “guilt and shame.”

      • Virginia Moher

        Maybe that’s the crucial question. What is the church there for? Lee, I seriously don’t need the advice you just gave me. In fact, it’s that kind of knee jerk response that drove me away. Where is the love? All I see is judgment and since you are no better a person than I am, where do you get off?

      • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

        Lee Ebbs, you are the type that has made me run – not walk – RUN away from church and organized religion. Try reading YOUR bible and decide if you’re a Christian… which means, of course, a follower of Christ. One who want to emulate Jesus. You ain’t even close, buddy.

    • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

      Virginia, I am so glad that people DID actually respond to your post above. Some of the commenters, though, need a few lessons in humility and Christ-like behavior. I hope you have peace and comfort with your relationship – as do I – without the dogma of church getting in the way.

    • Anna Leighton

      Not so where I have attended.

    • Donna Longino

      I have written my perspective…and would welcome sharing the resulting essay with you. If interested, would you share an email address to which I can forward a PDF?

      I app l aud your comments and hope more women become more vocal about the failure of the Church to include them.

      Donna

    • Simon Mwebaze

      Hi Virginia,

      Have you considered whether you’re fellowshipping in the Church of God or those of men which are numerous? If those at the church that you were part of are believers, how is it they do the things they do and the Lord hasn’t corrected them? Doesn’t the Lord keep His from such acts as the ones you describe? Doesn’t He correct those that are His?

      Heb 12:6-8 MKJV

      (6) for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”

      (7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten?

      (8) But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons.

      Here are some papers that may be helpful in your search, not for a church, but for the Lord.

      http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/the-true-church.htm

      http://thepathoftruth.com/teachings/counterfeit-christianity.htm

      May you consider that the issue isn’t with the churches but within. God is just in all His ways. If we suffer evil, its always good to go to Him and find out why. There’s ever a cause:

      Pro 26:2 MKJV

      (2) As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse without cause shall not come.

      Gen 18:25 MKJV

      (25) Far be it from You to act in this manner, to kill the righteous with the wicked. And far be it from You, that the righteous should be as the wicked. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

      I hope you consider.

    • Simon Mwebaze
    • Jody Pussycat

      And…. if you get divorced in my experience they side with the man. And during a time when you need them most. Sad.

    • Victoria, first and foremost we don’t go to church for people to meet our needs we go to church because God wants us there. He wants us there to make a difference in our lives and in other people’s lives. If the place you are going to does not make you feel like you are a part of the family of God… find somewhere that does. Find a location that allows you to use the spiritual gifts that God has given you. Make sure you are doing what you are doing for affirmations from God, because people will always disappoint you. I left a congregation because I was absent for 5 months and no one cared. They knew that that I have a critical illness and was taking care of a cousin who had stage 4 terminal cancer. Not a single phone call from the minister or ministry leadership team. Not an e-mail of encouragement, and not a sympathy card when my cousin finally died. I wrote to the pastor and told him how I felt. His response was. I can’t read your mind. What do you want from me. I sent a smile as a respond. Then he clarified his position by telling me that the death of his close friend, the death of his mother, and now the death of his wife’s father just left him senseless. However, he ended this e-mail with I can’t read your mind if you don’t tell me what you want I can’t help you. I really didn’t want anything from the church in terms of monetary support. I just needed to know that someone in the leadership of that church cared that i was missing for 5 months,. I am no longer attending that church. I found out that a congregation of the church I attended since I became baptized in London, UK is close to where I am living. I drive an hour away to attend church at that small congregation.

      1.First determine what it is that you are looking for from your church family. Make a long list of those items. Be honest with yourself.

      2. Second ascertain if these desires line up with what the word of God says the purpose of the church is supposed to be.

      3. Third ascertain if you have transferred needs that only God can meet to people. This happens more frequently than we realize.

      4. Fourth determine the strength of your vertical relationship with your Savior. What are your expectations from that relationship? Who moved in the relationship-him or you?

      5. Finally, what were the pressures that you placed upon yourself while you were in your previous congregation? If you served in that congregation why did you serve? Make sure that you are totally transparent with yourself about the reasons why you did what you did? I think that this will be a most revealing self-check for you.

      Many of us go to church for the wrong reasons. It is not supposed to a social club or something that we do on Sunday mornings because that is the expectation.

      I had to ask myself these same questions when after 34 years of marriage my husband committed adultery and decided that he wanted a divorce. I did not want the divorce. I forgave him.. he could not forgive himself. There was no one in leadership in my congregation who could help me with this new phase of my life. I needed counseling and no one was there for me. So, I prayed about it and God sent me to a congregation who helped me to heal. Most pastors cannot handle divorced women. They have no clue what to do with them. Some of them don’t know where to use them in ministry because they think it is a sin to do so. That is there problem not mine. That is there lack of clarity on God’s word not mine. I will not embrace some else’s theology and allow it to cause me to be disobedient to God. http://urnottheonlyone.com/ That is my ministrypage you cancontact me there if you just need an ear. You are not the only one Virginia. I know that.

      God bless!!

      • Virginia Moher

        I have to disagree that we “don’t go to church for people to meet our needs”. Yes, we do. Read your own writing: “I just needed to know that someone in the leadership of that church cared that I was missing for 5 months”. That was a need that you had that involved a person (not God). Women have strictly defined roles in the church as givers. Then we are shamed when we need something given to us like understanding, compassion, just a little tiny bit of attention and recognition. Those things are FREE, and for that leader to say he didn’t know what you needed because you didn’t tell him was bogus. The church system is designed to make men feel good about themselves as leaders and favorites of God; someone way more important and crucial than their wives are. That fulfills a man’s need for admiration and competency. When men cheat on their wives, it’s no big deal, just a little confession and 5 minutes later they are good to go. No need to delve into how the wife feels about being humiliated. I don’t need to “check myself”. I have checked out. The church will never have anything I want until they change how they discriminate against, use and neglect women.

        • The point is I did not stop going to church altogether. I found a place where people demonstrated what James wrote about. Pure religion . . . . is to visit the fatherless ad the widowed. I am a spiritual widow. Refusing to go to church would be in direct disobedience of an expectation of God Virginia. Find a place where you can worship in spirit and in truth. Let them know upfront what your situation is. I did with this pastor and he did not care. So I went somewhere where I was certain that if the fibrolyamgia was out of control and I could not drive myself to church them someone would be there to assist me. I would never stay home from church because of people’s in appropriate behavior. This is the second time that I have had to remove my membership because of a life crisis that no one was willing to address with me. The first time was when I was going through the divorce, The pastor pretended that it didn’t exist. A divorce was not in my radar for my life it came out of left field. Of course I knew my husband was sliding in the opposite direction when he stopped going to church because he was offended by the pastor. But what happened after that I did not expect. I don’t go to church to please any man woman and or child. I go to church to participate i communal worship because my Heavenly Father says that I should.

          I will not attend a congregation where that is not a pleasurable experience. We wrestle against all sorts of evil outside of the body of Christ we should not have to do the same battle within the body of Christ.. The Leadership styles of some pastors in congregations is not for all people. So, my advice is pray about it and find a place where you are comfortable.

    • Mary Carroll

      I think the first problem is each one of us needs to fall in love with ourselves first. I am here for one purpose and that is to love my God with all my heart, mind and soul and to love my neighbor as God wants me to. The love that we are to show to God is appreciating all that He has given us no matter what. Sometimes those rough holes are to help us grow. Loving my neighbor as first someone created by God in His image, caring for them, respecting them. The Church is an instrument that God handed down to us through those that followed His Son Jesus. This instrument gives us the ability to reach out and find the His grace to help us along this path here on earth. When we really use the ability that He gave us to touch our own hearts and the lives of so many other type of people we then can fully process our reward upon our deaths. I am here for one purpose and that is to gain my entrance into His light. I am not delusional. I have been through it almost all of it. Within this process I have learned to forgive those that have overshadowed me and mine by taking my possessions, I have been witness to the lack of love by people who are takers and not givers (not in a monitory way), I have lost the love of my life, I have lost most of what I thought was important only to realize that it really wasn’t what made me me. So as I continue to plug along in this life, I can only say that all is well with God by my side, my faith to hold me up, and hope that one day I can once again be with my love.

    • Jason C. Piecuch

      First comment on this is from a woman “wanting a woman’s perspective”

      The church today is ALL about women, and shaming men….that’s why the men left.

    • Evg Terri Dionne Wooten-Graham

      Good Morning, Virginia! My name is Terri Dionne Wooten-Graham, and I DEFINITELY agree with EVERYTHING you are saying – both in this post, and two posts down! I am MORE THAN HAPPY to share my viewpoint – as a woman whom has LIVED what you are talking about!! My first book that I wrote 11 years ago (amazon.com) is entitled “When the Pastor Dumps You: Going From First Lady to Single Lady!” As a woman, when you do EVERYTHING the church tells you to do, yet the pastor dumps you to find a “dream” girl, anyway; Or, if you are married to someone who is verbally abusive and emotionally cruel – yet that pastor won’t take a stand against horrible behavior on that husband’s part (the “male code”), as a woman – you’re in trouble – and on your own (sigh)! I have just finished my second book, entitled “You are NOT a “toilet:” Learning to see yourself through God’s Eyes!” Here, I take the readers on my journey of allowing myself to be “boo-booed” on (like a toilet), until I allowed the Word of God to penetrate my soul! Although I am an Ordained Evangelist, it has been a journey KNOWING who I am – in Christ Jesus – as a WOMAN! I share in this book the challenges I have had with insecure pastors and a horrible-acting husband (whom NO pastor would take a stand against). God HIMSELF took the time to teach me that Women DO matter to Him! Here is an “excerpt” from my book:

      “Look at some of the other stuff that I had to endure,
      however – My stepfather was a pastor – who molested me, and used to beat me in
      my face, I was married to a pastor who dumped me (and, our kids) to “find a ‘dream’ girl, I have had situations with
      pastors who 1) could not carry a tune in a bucket, yet, they let their ego and
      pride get the best of them, and, as a result – tried to run the choir – with no
      anointing, 2) have called me a “whore” and a “Jezebel” over the pulpit, 3) “dogged”
      me in front of EVERYONE publicly, then called me into the office privately to
      apologize, 4) hid behind “protocol” and being “politically correct” (repeatedly), instead of being a true
      pastor and reprimanding bad and horrible behavior on the husband’s part (this caused me not to feel safe or valued
      at this particular church, in this area, because the message (repeatedly) came
      through LOUD and CLEAR, that as wives – we are not protected at this particular
      church. This taught me to only invite senior citizens and kids – no couples
      whatsoever!!!!!!); {As a side note,
      as I have talked to lots and lots of people – including pastors – as well as pastor’s
      and preacher’s wives over the years, I am finding that 9 out of 10 times (if not 10 out of 10 times) – if pastors
      REFUSE to take a stand against
      horrible behavior on a husband’s part – concerning that wife, it’s because a)
      He’s beating his own wife, b) he’s got the “male code” thing going on (“men gotta stick together – no matter
      what…..”), c) He has a child outside of his own marriage, thereby feeling “un-worthy” of pointing the finger at
      another husband, d) He is afraid the husband will retaliate against him,
      personally – or the church, e) He is afraid that that man will leave the church, and/or f) He has no
      pastoral “b – – – -” when it comes to
      holding another man accountable! In these situations, with these types of
      pastors (AND, I THANK GOD, FOR ALL OF
      THE MALE PASTORS THAT DO NOT FIT THESE PROFILES, WHICH MEANS YOU ARE A HEALTHY
      PASTOR, AND, THE WOMEN (AND, YOUR WIFE) FEEL SAFE AND VALUED IN YOUR CONGREGATION!!!!KUDOS!!), a
      wife or a woman has no recourse, but to draw closer to God, learn His voice for real – and learn to be led
      by His voice, not being sure if the pastor’s “voice” is operating out of the
      concern of a good shepherd, or out of pride and ego, or out of his need to
      control, or out of coercion (I’ve seen
      pastors allow men in the church to disrespect the women, with their response
      being – “I don’t see where he has done anything wrong……”)! I have seen firsthand, and/or experienced firsthand ALL of the above – and I know
      EXACTLY what I am talking about!} 5) Told me they don’t answer to no one
      but God (in my opinion, the most
      dangerous person in the world is NOT the one with all of the guns, but a
      spiritual leader or pastor – with NO accountability!!!); And, 6) I have
      seen plenty of pastors BULLY the people
      of God, causing saints to be afraid to learn
      God’s voice for themselves, for fear of being told that they are “rebellious” or “on their way to hell,” if they don’t (basically) allow the pastor to do all of their thinking for them (For those of you that are dealing with
      those types of pastors, please, please read Ken Blue’s Book – “Healing
      Spiritual Abuse – How to Break Free from Bad Church Experiences!” It will
      change your life, and restore YOUR faith in God, concerning His purpose, and
      good plan – for YOU, on this earth!!!!)!! They will say comments, such
      as “God ain’t said nothing to me, so
      therefore, He has not said anything to you…!” And, don’t you dare question
      any “contrary behavior” on a pastor’s part, because, then, you will hear
      comments like “Touch not my anointed,”
      from those same pastors, who are really saying – “Don’t you dare hold me accountable for my mess, my ego, or my
      wrongdoing – don’t you know God and I are as “thick as thieves,” and, He will
      put you in check, long before He says anything to me, the pastor? God might strike you down with lightning, for daring
      to question or hold me accountable for my bad behavior….!” I know how
      that sounds, but that is the mentality of an un-accountable pastor, walking in the flesh! I have known of pastors who left their first wives, gone out and gotten new wives – and, new congregations! Can you imagine the message that that sends to
      that former First Lady (Check out one of
      my four TV Shows – “Nothin’ Like Church Folk!” where I deal with that topic –
      “What about the Former Pastor’s Wife?” Usually, she has given that pastor the
      best years of her thighs, given him children, made untold sacrifices, and stood
      by his side – who repays her by going out and getting himself another wife, and
      another congregation (sometimes))? I could go on and on, but, I don’t want
      you all to think that all pastors are
      like that, because there are PLENTY of (male) pastors in our churches, who
      treat the women and the wives with the same respect, that they would want for
      their own daughters – from a man!!!!!!! I shared this with you all to let you all know, that I had NO CHOICE but to
      develop a relationship with God for myself, because, there have been a few
      pastors, that I could not trust with
      my soul – at all, so I would cry out to God, and let Him know what I was
      experiencing at different times, and, that I do love our pastors (and,
      have forgiven each one of them – a long time ago)! However, if you deal
      with an insecure leader or pastor –
      who is threatened by the anointing in
      your life – they will make your life hell
      – in “Jesus’ Name,” of course…….!”

      The purpose of this book is to bring
      about accountability and create awareness of the damage we do with our tongues
      and our actions, without necessarily knowing it. This book is also an ADVOCATE
      VOICE for those victimized by those same tongues and actions, and how the Lord
      will bring you through triumphantly – every single time! – “BAM!”

    • Jan Bowman

      Christ did not ask us to follow the church he asked us to follow him. The majority of churches in America are back slid .and have become an organization rather than a living organism. I am so sorry for your hurt sand disappointments .and when it comes to how women are treated in the church. I have had plenty disappointments in that area. However precious I dont follow the church I follow CHRIST!!!! Yet I love the church, even backslid churches because GOD has said he is married to the back slider. God knows how to bring many churches unto repentance. and that will take his righteousness judgments because he said judgment begins in the house of GOD first. Precious dont be bitter or you can become just like the people that hurt you, been there done that. Ask the holy spirit to help you locate a church or a good fellowship where you fit in. The body of CHRIST needs each other and I am certain there is church or a fellowship where you will fit in. God loves you so much and he wants to heal your wounds through a personal relationship with him and that is all that matters , that you find CHRIST in that very liniment relationship with him. JESUS loved women so much, his ministry is full of his way he treated women and well read about how he treated women and let him heal you.

  • Regina

    You need to come to a kingdom hall where everyone gets to open their Bibles and discuss the day’s lesson. Better yet, when Jehovah’s people reach out to you at your own home, how about you ask for a personal Bible study… there is a Biblical reason you are not feeling loved and refreshed by your church.

  • Tim Parker

    Agree with the author. Good stuff. For those who commented below, I would love to know how involved you were in the churches you didn’t like. Did you serve? Did you try to head up the efforts to do the things you said the church wasn’t doing? I understand that new believers aren’t in a position to head up anything but as somebody who works at a “megachurch” the people who are critical tend to be the ones who aren’t involved. Once people get involved they figure out that making the church better is a team effort. The church staff alone can’t solve all of the problems.

    • Cheré Robinson

      I was the minister of music of my childhood church for YEARS (15- 28 years old). I rarely missed a service and for the most part, the church was all I had ever known. New years eve/day? I was at church serving for watch night. During college I would drive 45 minutes (one way) every weekend to get to church to lead Praise and Worship. When I began to get burnt out, my pastor made me feel like it was “my fault” because he had given me all of the Godly tools needed to be successful in ministry. So anything I wasn’t doing was because of my lack of discipline or inability to “listen to God’s voice”. Needless to say, many people have left that church now & while it was a hard decision, many of the items listed in this article I TOTALLY agree with. It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve played the piano or even sang for a church due to the immense stress, under appreciation and manipulation I endured. I love the Lord, but it took me a long time to let go and forgive all the things I went through while serving in a church. I know both sides, and now that I have moved to Florida and found a new church home I am beginning to let down those guards that were built for many years…but if you asked my former pastor I’m sure he’d still tell you it was “in the name of the Lord”.

  • Ed Taylor

    I agree with everything you’ve said, EXCEPT we’ve planted a church that was designed to address all of those things, and young people are “one and done” every time. Too many dirty, homeless people, I guess. I don’t know for sure because no one ever gives us feedback when they don’t come back.

    We are conversational and interactive, deeply missional, and unafraid of questions. We speak in simple, modern language, we love like it matters, and when we say, “come as you are,” we mean it. So if this is what you’re looking for, where are you?

    I’m trying not to be cynical, but it seems to me that everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too. “We want those things, as long as you also have a large, vibrant children’s program, and we want you to welcome outsiders, as long as they are the same kind of outsider as me.” At least that’s how it feels.

    In the 14 months since we planted this church, many beautiful things have happened, and people who feel like you feel are the only ones who stick, but my heart aches every Sunday as Willow and Harvest on either side of me continue to draw thousands and we keep plugging along wondering how we’re going to make it through the year. Not bitter, just sad.

    Addressing all these issues you mention is the deepest desire of my heart, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but where are you?

    • Sheena

      Hang in there! God is at work…just not in the way we always expect.

      • Ed Taylor

        thanks. trying.

    • davegilbertson

      If you are doing what God has called you to do and are following that calling as illuminated in scripture do not be dismayed. Also do not fall into the trap of ‘measuring’ your success in the way the world does. Your field is the hearts, souls and spirits of those you have been entrusted. The fruit of your labor is their spiritual worship, by living out their lives as a living sacrifice to God.

      God’s blessings of peace, joy, grace, and courage to you Ed.

      • Ed Taylor

        Thanks, Dave. Your encouragement is appreciated, and I feel exactly the same. However, it doesn’t change the fact that we are supposedly offering exactly what this post says is missing in churches today, and yet none of the young folks who are leaving the old school are finding their way to us. We have put ourselves out there in dramatic ways, but the response of young visitors to the very thing they are looking for, as I mentioned, is to back carefully out the door and never come back. I want to reach those folks, but it feels like a lot of talk and not much follow through.

    • Ukulelemike

      I feel you, brother. I am in a small town, and our little church keeps plugging along, while seeing the rock and roll church draw people in through entertainment, and another church brings them in according to race. Neither is evangelistic, while we are, yet we lost our building due to lack of funds, because most of our few folks have nothing to give. But as Dave Gilbertson said, if you know you are in God’s will, and are doing things His way, then keep on! If there is one soul hungry for the word, its enough to keep going!
      I was getting very discouraged lately, thinking to step down, but then, a couple came in, and that night, he was born again, and baptized the next week, and it was exactly the encouragement we needed! Now we will train them up as disciples, and let God do the rest. Its HIS church, anyways, He will bring the increase.

      • Ed Taylor

        I hear ya, brother. I am in the third largest city in the nation, and I experience the same thing. But I told my little band of hard-scrabble believers and seekers that I had no intention of going anywhere.

        But I still wonder where this magical holy grail – the dispirited youth – is hiding. Come out, come out, wherever you are! Sometimes it feels like Bro. Pavlovitz and others like him are just putting out a “grail-shaped beacon” (pardon the Python reference).

        Maybe what we need is an article on how to find this mysterious group without selling out and going “Willow-lite” which is what still seems, at least from my perspective, to be drawing them.

    • Dain Q. Gore

      Also, it is happening, and people like Ed are doing…but are we talking about those who are doing something about it or just focusing on those who aren’t?

      http://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2014/08/15/resources-ferguson-racism-today-ultimate-evil-world/

      • Ed Taylor

        Right. And I’m hesitant to pine after the mainstream. I don’t want to sound jealous at all – I’m not. I have NO desire to be the mainstream, but it would be nice, in a town of 76K in the middle of a metropolitan area of millions, if a few of those folks would come out of the woodwork, y’know? But I’ll keep looking…

    • Laura

      went to church that purported to do all these things but was really a more modern, trendy version of all above. They loved each other (the tiny click) so very, very much that they just couldn’t understand why no one else was feeling very loved or committed. Check yourself and see if you’re still holding to “your” idea of what church ought to be and who should be there or if you are listening. You should be able to talk to a new person to know why they came the very first time. If you don’t, you aren’t trying very hard.

      • Ed Taylor

        I talk to every new person. They’re all coming back until they aren’t.

        • Todd Duren

          Ed: I think I understand. I’m a member of a small, progressive UCC plant deep down in the Deep South. I’d like to chat privately and see if we can support each other and keep our hearts out of the ditch. Message me on Facebook, please. Brother in a christ, Todd Duren

          • Ed Taylor

            I think I just sent you a Facebook message.

      • Ed Taylor

        Also, I know exactly what you are saying. Before I launched this church, I visited tons of places just like you’ve described and found these vibrant, growing churches that just looked like chips of the old Willow Creek block. Great preaching. Great music. But I could walk in and walk right back out without anyone even noticing I was there.

        What I see is article after article and book after book about how the young are leaving churches like Willow (and even more the churches that are still living in the 50’s) because they are looking for something authentic. And yet, when they find it, it’s too scary for them.

        We put our money (and our time) where our mouth is – that’s why we have more homeless at our church on Sunday than any other church in town, because when we say we love people where they are, we mean it. We can’t help them the way the big churches can, but we give them community that they can’t fine elsewhere.

        I still believe in what we’re doing, regardless of who comes, but I just want to know how to find these young people that everyone’s talking about. And in the meantime, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s the right thing to do.

    • Mike

      Ed I feel your pain. Ive been there myself. Perhaps a solution would be for you to partner with a larger well funded church who could support you. You could be an outreach ministry of them and find both financial and human resources to help you achieve your vsion of helping those you are called to love. I assure you there are those in these megachurches who are longing to help in a ministry like yours but dont know how.

      • Ed Taylor

        Thanks, Mike. We are actually looking into this. We’re connected with an agency, but their financial support has an expiration date.

    • George

      The theme that is the major obstacle here is that the focus is still on getting folks to come. Jesus was sent and in turn sent His disciples. Nowhere in scripture do we see Jesus giving any instruction for getting folks to come to a building on a particular day of the week. Neither do we see it in the epistles.
      It seems that the concept of church has been institutionalized at the expense of the mission. At what point did it become acceptable to erect a building, institute a business plan, and then provide attractional programming to lure customers inside. Forming a missions department might make folks feel like they are following God’s will, but even this is absurd. God didn’t create the church and then give it a missions department. He initiated the mission and gave it a church.
      During the first 300 years of church history, which saw rapid growth, the members of the body met in homes. There was no CEO Pastor, since Christ was the true Head. There were no children’s or youth ministries, since families were the discipleship center. There was no mission’s department, since to be a follower of Christ meant that you were already on mission.
      The question isn’t “How do we get our folks to take the gospel out of the church walls?” Ther real question is “Who told us there were church walls?”

      • Cindy

        Wow. You’ve hit the nail on the head. We are supposed to be reaching the lost and building Gods church. Not building institutions for people to gather together and zone out for an hour or two so they can say they are a dutiful Christian. In this world we live in, it’s getting harder and harder to really just talk and get to know a person. Build an actual relationship. So, it’s going to be a slow process for those who are truly changing hearts out there and not just growing numbers.

      • Lowpocket

        “At what point did it become acceptable to erect a building, institute a business plan, and then provide at tractional programming to lure customers inside.”
        My guess would be – it started with Constantine when he made Christianity the official religion.

        “first 300 years of church history – no CEO Pastors, youth ministry, etc.”
        The oppression and abuse of the church during this period may be one reason no one thought it a good idea to institutionalize. Personal, familial, community – life and death – SURVIVAL – seems to have been the greater priority. A priority in which “faith” was developed, shared and lived together as it produced and gave HOPE for a future out from under oppression.

        The “MOTIVATION” of “church” participants (comparing past w/ present) seem to be at an extreme disconnect. Of course, the endeavors of those like Ed’s, seem to come the closest in the comparison, as
        many of the people they connect with are desperate for a “hope” that will get them through the present day.

      • Ed Taylor

        We do have every reason to believe that there were still gatherings that looked somewhat like what we do today. Check out the Didache. It outlines early church practices.

        They most likely still got together in larger groups. Jesus expected the Jewish structure to expand to include the outsider – but the synagogue structure was already in place to keep the message pure and to give people somewhere to congregate. This is why he spoke first to the Jew IMO. Then people like Paul would actually be able to reach and address the “church” in Ephesus, which was not a place, but a group of people.

        However, I agree with you in spirit. Not just trying to justify my existence, but I think gathering to get relationships off the ground is necessary in order for the kind of thing you suggest to happen. Especially in today’s society. Unfortunately, all of the things that the author advises against are also natural outcomes of these gatherings.

        Does anyone else feel like they are walking a tightrope?

    • DMA

      Us too! Planted 2 years ago and your comment sounds like one I could have written! I agree with the entire article except I’m not sure I understand some of “come as you are” point in it. I agree, come as you are but we can’t skip the don’t stay as you are and I didn’t get that from the article, that seemed skipped. A commitment to Christ is a new life and unfortunately many people want a Jesus who will let them continue to sin and that’s not who He is and when people profess faith but don’t want to stop sinning we can’t be tollerant of that and neither was Jesus. Love isn’t only accepting people as they are, it’s helping each other to be more godly everyday. Without that change then you may not know Him. 1 John talks a lot about that test of faith.

      • Brian Baldowski

        I think the point is not the initial “come as you are”. If a person comes in as a sinner and then becomes saved that is good. The problem I see too often in church is the rejection of people that are saved but then sin and are not forgiven. I saw a church body ostracize a friend because they dared to get a divorce from an abusive husband. The church, at that moment, should have embraced her instead of leaving her out in the cold. I agree that we should not stay as we are but we also need to be loved as much when we are Christians who sin as non-Christians are shown love.

      • Eury

        Are you saying that to belong to your church I need to stop sinning? You fucking hypocrite. Don’t you get that’s the whole problem? That’s why so many of us want nothing to do with you. My relationship with Jesus is between me and Jesus. You don’t want to help me be more godly. You want to judge me and shape me into your smug, self-congratulatory pious image. No thanks.

        • JimmyJam

          Your Jesus as you say it Does NOT exists except in your own mind. Jesus came into the world to love and help people but also to forgive them of their sins and tell them to go and sin no more. Yes that is a big hill to climb but climb we must. Do I fall down or slip some on the climb up you bet but he commanded us to climb and to help others on this climb not push them down but to help them up not to judge but to tell them of your own struggles and help guide them on their climb up. We all will never reach the top until after we are finished at the judgement seat of Christ. The path is sometimes hard and lonely but with Jesus by my side and what is the final outcome it will all be worth it to be with him forever. I feel sorry for you Eury. I struggle with things in my own mind and it is all I can do sometimes to go to church with all of what I see is going on behind the scenes. Man is sinfull and truly wicked in every way. The Lord walks with believers everyday to guide them to live better love better believe better care better walk better no where does it say we will be sinless but with Jesus & tue believers we will sin less.

        • Alethea Speakman Sche-Brogan

          Aho, Eury. Well said.

    • StrugglingtostayUM

      If you had thousands, you would not be able to give individual care. Hang in there. Help one at a time.

      • Ed Taylor

        I don’t want thousands. I just wonder where all of these young people are. I just want a few :) In the meantime, we will do exactly that.

        • StrugglingtostayUM

          Sadly, the young people (and sadly more and more older people) do not feel the need to attend church. They are drawn to sports on Sunday or any number of other activities.

          • Ed Taylor

            Indeed. I might argue that THAT is what they’re leaving for. Entertain me to death, please. But that would be a completely different article, yes?

    • Brian

      Ed, I hear you brother. We planted a deeply missional church 3 years ago and we have experienced the same thing. Young adults and older adults who tell us they are all about getting messy and reaching those no other church is reaching, then leaving after two weeks because we don’t offer enough for them, have a rocking worship band or coffee bar. Sadly, most people like to talk about being the church and living sacrificially, but when it comes to taking the step, they run to what they know which is usually the local mega-church with the great worship “experience” and free Starbucks.

      As for this article, I don’t buy it. Sure, it all sounds nice, but there are plenty of churches who are seeking to exist beyond a building and Sunday morning performance and most of those churches are struggling or dying because most people SAY they want something different…until it comes time to actually be different.

      Keep the faith brother. We have seen the Lord do some wonderful things and has brought us a few people who really do want to live with purpose. Still struggling, but still hopeful.

      • Ed Taylor

        Brothers in arms. We should create our own Facebook group and call it something like “Missional in spite of indifference” of “Because we must” – We actually have pretty good music and fresh ground coffee, but it’s still a struggle. Blessings.

        • Brian

          Ha ha, we have coffee too and a good worship team. Just no smoke, lasers and professional lighting or staging. Or even a building of our own. I’ve been told we need some of those things in order to grow. I don’t want that kind of growth. As a 17-year youth pastor, the old axiom, “you keep them with what you got them” holds true with all ages. Youre right though…some get it and those saints are truly a blessing.

          Btw, I’d join one of those Facebook pages.

  • Jenell Mahoney

    I hope you’ll try one or more of the congregations in the United Church of Christ. In my congregation, we take seriously the denomination’s “motto”…”No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” Except we add “absolutely welcome!” Ours is a church with young and old, gay and straight, white, Hispanic and black members…we are active in the local Habitat group, serve at the homeless center, take kids to see their incarcerated parents once a year with Get on the Bus, and participate in a local community activist group “Faith in Action.” We sent work teams to New Orleans for five years following Katrina. We have members who have grown up here, ones who have come from conservative churches where they no longer felt welcome, conservatives, liberals and even those whose beliefs include those from other faith traditions as well (Buddhist, Hindu). We are all over the map politically…it’s a lively group! That said, I really resonated with the comments from Ed Taylor (below)…we too are a relatively small church, an “outcast” in a largely conservative area where there are several mega-churches. I often remind myself that Jesus began the transformation of the world with just a small group too…

  • Lori

    Wonderful, clear article. Thank you, thank you for writing it. Less hierarchy, more loving churches exist. Took me a while to find one. But they are messy and hard in a different way. I think, in part, because we are a culture of watchers. We lack many skills in participating. They are also very challenging to keep open. We are used to the “show” to draw our money. Virginia, a women does write about this, Kathy Escobar. Wonderful woman and a friend. You might like her writings. Keep it up John. This is a gift.

  • mary

    Moderation would be a good word of the day in many churches. Over the top volume and visual effects, extremes in politics, refusal to accept those with differing opinions (or insistence those opinions should change), sermons and Sunday school lessons that aren’t well researched and barely refer to God, much less include bible passages, people who say we need to come together on Sundays but then arrive late and rush out the door right after service, these are the things that have frustrated me most. Thanks for an article that let’s me know I’m not alone.

  • davegilbertson

    This letter is heartbreaking on many levels. First and foremost because of your hurt, and your frustration; as you are clearly passionate about Jesus and pursuing what a life marked by that love can and should look like. This letter is also frustrating because the way you have chosen to vent those frustrations. It’s not that some if not all of your complaints are unfounded, but rather that you seem to glibly malign The Bride of Christ, while also distancing yourself from her.

    Who are you if you are a pastor, but do not identify with the church?

    This is not to say that the church in the general sense is not in need of sanctification, she is, as am I, because the church is made up of people on journey with Jesus and people like you and like me. The church will not magically get better if all who are passionately following Jesus with their heart, soul, and mind separate themselves from her. There is a better way. The only way the church will get better is by loving sanctification (which sometimes feels very painful) by Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, and we are the hands and feet of Jesus, so it will come at times not only in ‘outpourings’, but in patient, and long-suffering service. This correction will come in hard talks, anchored by hope, faith, and love. There’s been times that I wished I could leave the church, because of how messy she is, but I cannot in good conscience say that God’s Holy Spirit would be the one leading me away from her.

    I have and likely still do share many of the concerns that you have written about, but I am only in control of my heart and my actions and what I can do to be obedient to what Christ has led me. In short, if I see these frustrations what can I do about that while still being obedient to Christ and living with integrity to myself and God’s word?

    It breaks my heart when I see gifted brothers and sisters feeling that their only option is to leave. I believe there is another way.

    Thank you for sharing your words and your thoughts and I hope my response is received in a spirit of love, and brotherhood, even if it is a touch brokenhearted.

    • CeeBee1953

      Well said, Dave.

    • Kitkat

      Dave, I did leave because of someone who became jealous of the work I was doing. This person continued to spread rumors about me until other people started making accusations of things I didn’t do. No one addressed these other person’s accusations, no one confronted the jealous person, no one addressed the division that was caused by all this. Even though I brought these issues to the pastor and the administration at the church. So for the sake of the congregation I left to minimize the damage that was being done. People started to polarize into the them and us camps. This should not be. Especially in a church, so I left. I was asked by the church council to do the things that I was working on, and yet, this individual couldn’t stand it that I actually finished what was asked of me to do and did it well. I was victimized and the perpetrator was consoled because of her poor self image. I have seen this happen to other gifted people in other congregations. Talented singers, musicians, administrators, etc… all want to utilize their gifts for the benefit of the church only to have to walk away. Why?? Because childish, jealous or territorial individuals feel threatened that someone will get their piece real estate in the church. I tried to go to this individual in love to see what her issue was, and I had insult after insult hurled at me. She gave no rational reason for her behavior and yet nothing was done, no reprimand, no forgiveness, no apology, nothing. Church became a trial for me every Sunday, I no longer enjoyed going because this individual continued her hate towards me. When other people got sucked into this it was more than I could stand. And instead of coming to me to ask what was going on between us, they believed her completely without ever getting my side of the story. And you wonder why gifted people leave the church. There is no church discipline. This person couldn’t forgive me for something I hadn’t done and it was known by others that I didn’t do it. She should have been reprimanded for this, but wasn’t. There are wolves in the congregations but all anyone wants to see is sheep.

  • Cindy

    Whenever I encounter difficulties described in this article, I try to remember that Christians aren’t perfect, but Jesus is. I only disagree with one statement… Don’t demand that the church tolerate you…demand that church love you. That is what we are called to do.

  • Wayne Bones

    Very simple really all the glass churches on TV continually asking for money to build these. Glass and steel pyramids are pushing people away from the local churches…all the fake healing on TV are pushing people away… All the interference in life’s decisions , abortions, gay marriage, assisted death for terminal sufferers is pushing people away…GOD DID NOT MANDATE THE CHURCH TO RUN OUR LIVES! GOD MANDATED THE CHURCH TO TRY AND HELP US TO UNDERSTAND LIFE’S DECISIONS AND KINDNESS…THAT’S ALL!!

    BONES

  • Ukulelemike

    So what you are saying is, “I am in sin, I want to be in sin, don’t correct me for my sin, let me continue in my sin, and just love me for my sin.” Um, yeah, about that, this sounds nice and all, but it isn’t the Bible’s way, and thus, not the Lord’s way. The same Jesus who told us to love one another, also, in love, called Peter “Satan”. The same Peter who was rebuked of Christ, dressed down Simon the former sorcerer for his immaturity, for trying to purchase something that wasn’t his to have in the first place. Sin is sin, and udgment begins in the house of God. A heart looking to stay in sin will have the feelings you speak of here-its called rebellion. Yes, we love one another, yes, we treat one another kindly, but yes, we also must needs deal with sin, lest that little leaven leaven the whole lump.

    • Abby

      No, What he’s saying is “I’m not perfect, I’m hurt, I’m broken, and I need to be loved and as the church, you’re not doing as you are commanded to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”” -Mark 16:15. He’s saying that the church is staying in one place and expecting people to flock to them and then stay. In all reality, we as the church are commanded to go reach people, not expect them to come to us. Show others that we genuinely care about them enough to seek them out and just love them.

    • Patrice

      I don’t think that is what this article is saying at all. Plus, you are assuming the Holy Spirit can’t do the work of convicting of sin so you have to do it? That people have to do it? Even if correction is to be made, a person is more likely to listen to someone who loves them and accepts them. Isn’t that the gentle way the Holy Spirit does it? Isn’t that how Jesus did it? I already get the “holier than thou” vibe from you and that’s exactly what this article is trying to address. I would say take the log out of your own eye first ….

      • Sean

        Patrice, if it was the Holy Spirit was the only one to convict and bring attention to someones unrepentant sin, then why would 1 Cor 5 and 6 talk about putting people out of fellowship and Matthew 18 talks about bringing one who sins to repentance. In order for these to happen it is up to us as the Church to say something first to them to bring them into repentance.

    • TaSaad

      No, what he is saying is the church people forgot that all humans are equal, and church people need to step out of their self-righteousness and become friends, real friends, with the lost and dying world.He is not saying you need to adapt to the ways of world, or to accept the sins of others, but rather to define others as humans not by their sins.

    • plainsaint

      Amen. “User Friendly” churches lack the power of life altering efficacy that only comes through the preaching of the Gospel as contained in the Scriptures. Transformation is necessary for discipleship to exist in reality.

      2 Peter 1:3-11 AMP

      For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature. For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins. Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall. Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      • aphillips

        I would like to see an article/blog describing all that the church is doing to help those in need. The church I attend, houses and feeds the homeless as part of a rotating shelter. We support several missionaries. We support 16 local families with food, utility payments, school supplies and big ticket items (sofas, refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, cars, etc.).We raise money to support a mission that takes care of abandoned street boys in Peru and to help local women and children in need. Yes, we have disagreements. We’re not perfect. And, yes, some judge. But the good outweighs the evil.

        • Sean

          It is not often that we hear of the great things that are happening. It only seems to be people complaining about what they do not like.

      • Just a Christian Dude

        I love some Jesus!

  • Honey

    Very insightful. I would just add this- I visited that duck/ reality tv congregation and saw all kinds of folks welcomed. There are places for the “convinced”, and teaching of plain gospel for the searchers. That church has a very long history of ministering to those in need, whether physically or spiritually. It does not have over the top entertainment, nor use flowery pseudo religious speak. If a reality show brought one curious soul to seek Jesus, it was worth it. There are not ONLY groups out there such as you describe in your article, but I will say these other groups ARE harder to find.
    As well, the hobby store family owners defending their strong beliefs is a battle too “darn small “? How many people need be in a battle for you to consider it “darn big enough”? I do not think the battle of saving babies’ lives is trivial warmongering, but I think that using the term “warmonger” might be considered a “churchy” word to some! I am curious to know if you have left a fellowship for your online ministry, since you speak to the church as though you are not part of it. I am curious about your bloody boots leading you to just online ministry

    • TaSaad

      Is Christianity about defending religious beliefs and dogmas or about showing the lost world the love of Christ? Churches aren’t excluding non Christians from their services, but they aren’t inviting the lost and undeserving out to their Sunday afternoon lunches either. The poor are treated as if they are charity cases, but Christians aren’t really befriending them and treating them as if they are equals. And just because more Christians join the battle for a hobby store than for social inequality does not mean the fight for the hobby store is bigger or more important than the battle over social inequality. You missed the entire point of the article, Honey.

    • Amber Daniels

      wow…you totally missed the point…

    • Brandy Daly

      I’d like to address the Hobby Lobby issue as millennial who has been working to rejoin the church. Have you ever heard the term “pick your battles?” Hobby Lobby decided as a business that it knew better than its employees. The owners of the business believe that certain birth control methods are wrong. However, the owners don’t seem to understand how the birth control works and claimed it caused abortion when it doesn’t. Hobby Lobby said “we know what’s best for you, not your doctor.” That’s where I had a problem. There were tons of Christians backing Chic-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby because of their “religious beliefs” when, at the end of the day, they’re big businesses just looking to make the biggest profits. Instead of focusing on increasing the profit margins of these businesses, why not focus on actual problems? I don’t really care about the religious beliefs of the owners of businesses I shop at. I have too many problems of my own. My friends have their problems. My family has another set.
      I work 2 jobs to pay bills, and still barely make it. I graduated from college to make $12 an hour. The utilities are on, but barely. My friend has to beg for help to feed her child. Another lost her child at 20 weeks because they couldn’t afford prenatal care. We’re tired. We need help that’s not coming. It’s not coming because poverty is our fault. We’re told that if we actually cared or worked, we would be able to buy a car or house or afford to have children. I’ve been at one job for almost 5 years and make $12 an hour. The other pays minimum. My fiance just got promoted and makes $9 an hour. We’re told that we’re not working hard enough. That we’re undeserving. We’re lazy. We’re entitled. We just want what you had. We want the “American Dream”. We want a full time job that pays a living wage. We don’t want to have to go to work with the flu, praying not to get sent home sick because a lost day of work means we won’t eat or a bill won’t be paid. We want to be able to buy a house or start a family. We were told if you go to school, get good grades, and get your degree, and you, too, can have the house and the family and the retirement plan. But that’s not how things work anymore.
      We think differently. We’re more accepting. We have tattoos or piercings and some of us have kids out of wedlock. It’s hard to go to church when you work Sundays. It’s even harder when you finally do make it and you feel the people judging you. You get the stares and the concerned looks because your dress clothes aren’t new or you’re there with a baby, but not the father. My fiance and I aren’t the same color, and we’ve gotten that disapproving look at church.
      Basically, pick your battles. So much money was thrown into those businesses that could have been spent to, you know, actually help people. There’s a church near me with this huge set of crosses out front. I mean, really massive. You can see them from miles away. They light them at night. Since they went up, I can’t see the stars anymore. Every time I see them, I think about how many people they could feed. How many houses they could build. How many kids wouldn’t have to go hungry. Such a waste of money that could have been better spent actually making a difference.

  • Lisa Martinez

    Thank you.

  • D Sims

    “I’ve been waiting for you to step in with this whole supposedly relentless, audacious “love of Jesus” thing I hear so much about, and make it real.”

    I imagine I will be like many on here and say that your thoughts for the most part are very good and true to life in many ways. No doubt you are trying to shake the foundation with the way you write your article but as I am reading it I am asking myself if you yourself are doing what you are wanting the Church to do?
    Are you getting your hands dirty as you describe in this wonderfully written article?

    In our ministry we work in the inner city community every week and have for over a decade and some of what you say is just is not reality in the front line trenches. Oh it sounds good and paints a pretty good picture of a Jesus running around and being relevant with the down and outers, but trust me there is much more to making disciples among the disenfranchised than giving audacious love of Jesus. Making disciples is a long, hard and messy job and most Christians from the young to the old are not ready to take that on in their busy life pursuing the American Dream.

    Finally I would like to remind all of us that the love of Jesus is not just putting up with peoples bad habits and addictions and being satisfied with where they are at for the rest of their lives. The whole truth is God shows His love in His discipline just as much as He shows His love in meeting our daily needs.

    God is seeking growing, maturing men and women who are in the fruit bearing business, all to make Him look good. We as disciple makers must with the Fathers help offer grace, mercy and forbearance with the goal of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Rightly dividing the whole of truth and then living it out ourselves for others to imitate.

    • disgusted

      amen. I just left a really sad situation, so tired of the bell ringing, bible taking, choir singing disciples we are raising up. Just cant stay another day! i feel I’ve finally lost the battle of an honest “Christian” or follower of Christ! We are rejoicing in our church b/c we just got rid of the “EXPENSIVE” copier.

    • Brian Baldowski

      This article is not directed at everyone who is a Christian or runs a ministry. Some people show the love and charity he speaks about daily. But not all, and I would argue a majority do not. It is these people he is addressing. Also, I don’t know much about your ministry, but too often I have seen ministries that do help the down and out but don’t embrace them. I in no way suggest your ministry is one of those. I would ask though, how much fellowship do you have with the people in your ministry outside the times you have services or outside the confines of the building you use? Have you become their friends? Have you brought them to your home or only ever gone to their home? What do you do with them outside the ministry you run? If you have embraced them as friends and family then you are doing the work correctly. However, if you are only going into the area when the facility you run is open and never see them outside the context of the ministry, then I would suggest you rethink they way you do your ministry.

      • D Sims

        No doubt Brian there are people like you describe that will go and volunteer at a food pantry for a day then consider themselves working among the poor. Most everyone locally I know that are doing any kind of ministry their hearts are in it. We cannot be everything to everyone. Even the Apostles said they have to devote themselves to prayer and the Word and need to assign men that are full of the Spirit to work among the widows.
        Jesus Himself said I have to go or else the work of the Father will not be accomplished in the earth as He purposed. It takes all of us. The real problem is only about 20% of the body of Christ is doing 80% of the work. The rest are too busy pursuing the American Dream to be bothered too much with living out Life in Christ. As Keith Green used to sing, they are asleep in the Light.
        As far as this blogger John, I went and read much more of what he has written and I have discovered he is very much in the left ditch as far as his opinions. This is typical human nature, it is very hard for all of us to stay in the middle of that narrow road. We easily end up in the right or left ditch in out thinking. It truly takes a bankrupt heart, discarding our rights and our opinions to allow the Spirit to teach us to righty dividing the truth.

        • Sean

          I would like to mention this about your comment, that 80 percent that is out pursuing that American Dream. They are the many that financially support the people that are doing the 20 percent. If it were not for them we would not have the money to fund these missions and Church Plants.

          • D Sims

            In our Inner City Ministry, actually it is the middle class poor that give the most into the work of Christ among the homeless and disenfranchised per capita. I also think the national statistics on giving confirm this. The wealthy do give and we should be thankful for any and all that anyone gives.
            We still life in a nation where the standard of living is way more than a person really needs. The old slogan is very true, the more we make the more we spend. In Kingdom practice, when God blesses you with more, it is not to increase your standard of living, but rather to increase your standard of giving.

          • Sean

            But we also need to remember, most of the people in this Country are not Saved.

          • D Sims

            Sean, when I was talking about 80/20 breakdown it was in the body of Christ. So many that go by the name of Christian in the western world are spending the majority of their time and money on living for themselves, thus the comment about the American Dream. The rest of the people are just doing what comes natural, it is the Christians that should know better.

  • Phillip Pennington

    Wow. Makes me think of Martin Luther nailing his letter to the church door at midnight. Love this letter. It is at the heart of many believers who admit our struggles and just want to know and be known. Thank you

    • Eric

      Except when Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg, he was challenging sin and calling the church to holiness and biblical worship. This is definitely not that.

      • Nan Roberts

        I think this is that.

        • Christmas Joy

          I think this is that…
          You can’t get away with that! :) You need to explain your reasoning. And that would include how it relates to Luther’s challenge to the “church of his day”.

          • Nan Roberts

            I can’t get away with that? What? No, I don’t have to explain my reasoning, or how it relates to Luther’s challenge to the church of his day. I don’t have to do anything.

  • Tracey

    I only know Christians who are like Jesus…very non-judge mental individuals and very welcoming. It’s sad that you do not. Especially bc you’re a pastor. How sad. Unfortunately, reading what you wrote, I got a sense that you are the center of your world and that your needs are not being met are the priority in your life. My mom always made sure we knew our place. It’s not about me or you, John. And it comes across pretty selfish when you write. Be the change you want to see.

    • Sean

      Hmmm. Seems rather…judgmental.

    • Patrice

      Your response is Exhibit A to “why this article is needed….”

  • Paul Munafo

    Oh My Goodness The Church is not perfect. There are plenty of bad restaurants but i still eat out. I don’t throw them all under the bus, because there are plenty of good ones. When i was saved I was called into the church (not into ministry) and that’s were i have been for the past 34 years. I have missed maybe 15 Sundays in all that time and none of the churches I attended were perfect, nor were the people, nor was the leadership, and nor was the doctrine for that matter. I went called by God into the fellowship of the saints (the imperfect saints mind you) as are all believers who are Born Again in Christ. It’s not about me, its about the call and the will of God for my life.. God saved my soul and delivered me. No church needed to walk the tightrope of my feelings for me to stay. Sure i got hurt and offended and tired, but i was there for the Lord, and I’m in for the haul. If you go to Church for any other reason than Him it’s only a matter of time…you’ll be gone. I’ve seen it. You got problems or issues? Get in a pew faithfully week after week and become a disciple, because that’s what the Great Commission is. That’s the job of the Church to make disciples. Put on your big boy boots and get to it. God saved your soul! You don’t go for fellowship, all though fellowship plays an important part, you don’t go for the worship, although worship is important, you don’t go to be healed although in time you will be.and you don’t go for what the church can do for you, although the church is there to help many times. You go for the Lord, and to be trained as His disciple. If you go for any other reason, when it doesn’t happen you will be disillusioned and leave. When you make Jesus lord that means He makes the rules. If you don’t follow Him how can you say he is Lord? If you leave His Church altogether how can you say he is Lord?

    • Brian Baldowski

      I partly agree with you, but becoming his disciples is not the only reason to go to church. The Bible does direct us to help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to stay strong. The church is not a Horatio Alger story. You need help and support to stay in fellowship with the Lord. We all do. I do agree that if we have our feelings hurt we shouldn’t just leave the church, I have had my share of hurt feelings and they did sting. I didn’t leave the church then. I left when I saw the hypocrisy of a church who professed to love everyone ostracize a friend because she had “sinned” in their eyes. Just because we are saved doesn’t mean we don’t sin anymore. We need just as much forgiveness then as before we were saved. I also, saw a pastor that was willing to ask his parishioners to do something he considered wrong just to help himself. If you as the pastor think it is wrong then it is wrong for everyone in the church. I don’t believe that a pastor is a perfect human. They sin as much as anyone else, but they should also not ask a member of their church to do something they consider morally wrong. I can point to many other examples that I hear on the news and from friends.

    • nonebut Jesus VIew

      Thank you! Although this article has truths in general I see it shared on social media outlets by Church haters, by those who never attend church at all, but dog it every chance they get and drool over articles like this that further their cause of church bashing.

      • Paul Munafo

        Exactly. With all its faults, I Love the Church….so does Jesus

  • iamredeemed

    Ok I will “own” my 47 years as a believer, and I am sure I qualify as one of the people who can’t relate well to people outside the church culture..the problem is…I want to. I can’t seem to bridge the gap between what is acceptance and love for those who are living worldly lifestyles without feeling like I am condoning their choices to disobey God’s Word. I truly recognize that they are spiritually blind and do not see the need for personal holiness. But they shutdown the conversations by their favorite mantra “Don’t judge me”. Jesus does love all of us sinners and did go out to the people…but He also loved them enough to confront their sin and tell them the Truth…that they need a Savior.

    • TaSaad

      If you really want to relate to those outside of the church, start by becoming aware of your own self-righteousness, and humble yourself just a tiny bit. Start by knowing the only thing that separates you from those outside of the church is the redemption of Christ, other than that you are just the same as any other sinner. Come down from your pedestal, then maybe you can follow the in the direction of Christ.

    • Godsgrace

      I was praying for some perspective on this just today. How to truly love without saying that sin is right. First of all, I noticed that although Christ did call out sin while on earth, He never even broached the topic of someone’s sin until He SHOWED them unconditional love (healing, protecting, etc). Because love is an action, not just a little saying to add on to the end of a sentence. And it wasn’t just that His love was an action, He didn’t bring up their sin until THEY knew that He unconditionally loved them. Because it matters whether or not the person actually feels loved. It then occured to me that if every time my husband said he loved me, he ended the sentence with “but I don’t agree with you doing…”, I would never feel very loved. Can you imagine if the only time we were told we were loved was “I love you, but…”. If that’s not a very good way to show love in a marriage, I don’t think it’s a very good way to show it to anyone else. So I think the balance is that love always has to come first, and once a person realizes how precious they are and that they are loved unconditionally by the King, they will be willing to give their sinful choices over to someone who they trust because there is safety in love. I know the more I realize His love for me, the more I trust all those dark parts of my life with Him! That was a great question, iamredeemed! :)

    • Sherry Wilmoth

      I believe most professed Christians don’t know how but “want to.” I worked with homeless and destitute people and I learned “how to.” I learned to put aside my own biases and prejudices and judgments that I had been taught since I was a baby and truly love people without judgment. Just remember – God is the judge. There is not one place in the Bible that says you are. God will judge the sin – you need to learn to love. When you do this – people will come to you because they see God in you through your love. “And they will know you are Christians by your love – by your love – and they’ll know you are Christians by your love!”

  • Wallflower William

    “People don’t need to be dazzled with big, churchy words and about eschatological frameworks…..” Eschatological? That word is the Jesus of big, churchy words. Give me a break John.

  • Kitkat

    I just left my church of 4 years. I hated to leave it, because they are very progressive and the pastor was really great. But someone at the church became jealous of the work I was doing and started to spread rumors about me. This was a supposed friend. I would go to church and this person would do nasty little things to make my life miserable. No one confronted her about her behavior. Others had witnessed her behavior, and yet she was not held accountable for it. She was asked her side of the story and she lied. We tried a meeting and she just called me names and couldn’t give a rational reason for her behavior towards me. In the end I decided it was best that I leave as she was causing division because of it. What should be done in an instance like this. I felt if I couldn’t be forgiven for something I didn’t do, how could I be forgiven if I did do something. I loved the article, but church discipline should also be addressed. I know of people who have been horribly wronged in a church, and yet because of money, bias or influence, the leadership turns a blind eye while other church members are victimized. This is another reason people leave the church.

  • Valerie Chrisitan

    Valerie Christian The Church is not perfect. The people are not that make up all churches. I find the article interesting
    The author writes about churches being judgmental when clearly he is being that way. Sounds like a Divorce to me.
    Instead of trying to make a difference or work things out with the church let’s just quit. I do agree with one comment a reader made. There is a misconception that Worship is about Us, Me, You.
    When in fact Worship is about Christ. Through our Worship we receive the Joy of being in Christ presence and offering ourselves to Him.
    Thankful our Salvation does not depend on a church, it’s critic’s or supporters.
    Thanks be to God!

  • Valerie Chrisitan

    Valerie Christian The Church is not perfect. There is a misconception that Worship is about Us, Me, You.
    When in fact Worship is about Christ. Through our Worship we receive the Joy of being in Christ presence and offering ourselves to Him.
    Thankful our Salvation does not depend on a church, it’s critic’s or supporters.
    Thanks be to God!

  • Steve Russell

    If I could go back and preach at my last church, I think I’d just read this article

  • EthanRogati

    You’re a pastor and you’re talking about the church as if you were outside it?

  • ilona maki

    Dumb ass. Who are these church plants, anyhow? I have a hard enough time being accepted by the non church plants.

    If Jesus told the folks in the gospels to go everywhere and all around, to seek folks,
    I just don’t understand what this whole post is about.

    Everything that Paul wrote about in the NT was about “church plants.” There were no standing churches at that time. So….what’s the problem, or, origin of the difficulties of ‘church plants’ these days? It’s how the early church started….

    • CeeBee1953

      Was your expletive really necessary?

      • ilona maki

        Oops! Prob not. Some of us run around w/a more liberal crowd. :)

      • ilona maki

        Oops. Prob not. Sometimes run around w/a more liberal crowd than others! :)

  • Toni

    A very poignant and interesting article. I agree with most of its points, but I think you’re missing a couple.

    1. Hypocrisy and Judgmentalism.

    In continuing to enforce the ‘anti-sin’, and most especially ‘anti-gay’ philosophies you directly contradict the teachings of Jesus and many verses in the NT that direct Christians to ignore the Jewish Laws listed in the OT – such as Eph.2:15, Gal.2:14, Gal.5:3, and most especially Gal.5:3,4 and Gal.5:14.

    The true Christ Spirit produces fruits “against which there is no law” (Gal.5:22,23). Moreover, “he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery’, ‘Do not murder’, ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not covet’, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law (Rom.13:8-10)”. “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself'” (Gal.5:13).

    2. Cherry-picking of scripture to support that hypocrisy and judgmentalism.

    A Fundamentalist who claims that others must adhere to even one regulation stated in Mosaic Law is bound by the whole of Mosaic Law: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised (a stipulation of one of the Mosaic laws) that he is a debtor to do the whole law” (Gal.5:3). Someone cannot just choose to adhere to one (or some) law and not adhere strictly to all the others, or this would literally demonstrate Pharisaical hypocrisy.

    The very question of whether Christians were to follow Mosaic Law or not, came up in the first century of Christianity among those with a deeply ingrained cultural tendency towards the written decrees of Moses. The so-named Jerusalem Council decided, after discussion, that because non-Jews were following the Lord Jesus Christ, they should be free from following Mosaic Law, and moreover, so should Jews.

    A lot of these things come down to a simple conclusion that many ex-church goers come to – most especially if they truly study the Bible and Christ’s teachings.

    You (the Church) may try your best to follow Jesus, but you are falling very, very short of that goal. It’s going to happen, as we are all human and cannot possibly reach the perfection and sinlessness of the Son of God. But you could try an awful lot harder.

    You (again, the Church) are NOT Jesus, you are NOT God, and you have no right to judge others of their sins, regardless of how bad you think that sin is. YOUR JOB is to unconditionally love all your fellow sinners and not hold them up to an unreachable standard. LOVE them, no matter what, and support them no matter what. That was the truth of Jesus’ teaching and until the Churches reflect that in their reality, beliefs and behaviors, people will continue to leave.

    The Church needs to reflect the unconditional love of Christ and God, but it doesn’t.

    That is why it is failing.

    • Delwyn Campbell

      Really? You think that Jesus came to destroy the Law? When you “love your neighbor as yourself,” you don’t steal from them, you don’t lie to them, you honor your parents. The Law of God is holy, just and good. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” “Why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” but don’t do what I say?” We have been given one directive – “Preach the Gospel to every creature – Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded.” The Lord is the Righteous Judge, and He has made us to be partakers of His divine nature. We know the difference between holy and unholy, between clean and unclean, by His holy Spirit who lives within us. We are not called to be like the World. We are called to declare God’s Word to the world, so that those who hear and repent would come out from among them and be separate. Most of the world will not hear, because they WILL NOT HEAR, not because they don’t understand. Don’t be deceived, what a man sows, is what he reaps. Those who sow to their flesh, seeking to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind, will reap corruption. Jesus said it, and He doesn’t lie. Repent and believe the Gospel.

      • Toni

        I have already “Repented and believe the Gospel” long ago, and it is highly presumptuous and judgmental of you to automatically assume that I have not.

        If you care to understand the basis of my faith and why I posted the things that I did, please read this:

        http://www.christianspiritualism.org/articles/lawrepeal.htm

        If you don’t care to understand, and simply wish to continue raving and judging someone who has a different interpretation and belief of the message of Christ, then you are a major part of the reason why people are leaving the Church in droves.

        Christ’s message was of God’s unconditional love, not God’s conditional judgments. That’s exactly what he criticized the Pharisees for 2000+ years ago. Read Matthew 23 in its entirety and perhaps you will understand more closely what is happening to the Christian Church (again), for what the Church is suffering from is modern-day Pharasaic hypocrisy.

        • Delwyn Campbell

          Dear Toni,
          Repentance is a daily thing, not something that we’ve done “a long time ago.” Jesus and the Apostles preached “Repent and believe the Gospel.” That Gospel was not “God loves you unconditionally,” although He does love us with an everlasting love. Rather, it was that God has, for Christ’s sake, forgive you all of your sins.
          The message, “God loves you and had a wonderful plan for your life,” as nice as it sounds, never fell from the lips of either Jesus or the Apostles, neither was it spoken by the Apostolic Fathers. It is a modern invention, and had ushered in with it all manner of humanistic error. The Reformation was fought over the issue of Justification, not the love of God. The question that each man has to answer is not, “Does God love me?” It is, “How will a man be justified before God?”
          May I suggest that you read Article IV of the Augsburg Confession and its Defense, for a clearer understanding of this issue. It is the issue upon which the Church stands or falls.

          • Toni

            That is your belief and interpretation. Mine differs, as do many others. As a person, I do have to justify myself before God, although I also know that he loves me unconditionally and knows the truth of my heart, mind, and soul. I understand and realize that. However, as the Bible also clearly teaches, I do NOT have to justify myself before any man or woman. Continuing to tell me that I need to repent, even though you know absolutely nothing about me, tells me that you are simply being presumptuous and judgmental.

            I pray and ask forgiveness for my sins every day, but in all honesty, since I love God with all my heart and I do no harm to, and show love to my fellow man/woman, I don’t end up the day with a lot of sins to ask forgiveness for.

          • Delwyn Campbell

            Good, although, even when I am unaware of sins, that does not justify me, for I am so aware of the sin in my members. Thus my daily Confession is not simply of sins, but of sin itself. I do not know your background, but from what you have said, would I be wrong in guessing that you have not been exposed very much to the Small Catechism, written by Dr. Martin Luther? It is available online at bookofconcord.org. It might give you a perspective that you don’t currently express.

    • Delwyn Campbell

      By the way, the only way that the Church could be “failing” is if Jesus were a liar. He said “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” If the Church is failing, you might as well “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we perish.” The only name given under heaven whereby we must be saved is the name of Jesus, and the only thing that He has promised to be with is His Church. So if you leave, you lose.

      • Toni

        I see your point, but you’re missing another way that the Church could be failing. When the leaders of the Church have so perverted and twisted the Bible that it no longer follows the teachings and mission of Christ, people will leave because they can clearly see the hypocrisy in such a message. Jesus came to teach us that God was about unconditional love, and not the angry, vengeful God that the OT portrays. When the Church refuses to show and follow that love, people will leave.

    • Delwyn Campbell

      Further, you condemn the Church for not reflecting the unconditional love of Christ and God, right after you upbraid the Church for judging sin, saying that we are not Jesus, and we are not God.
      You err on both sides here, we are commanded to “exhort, reprove, and rebuke with all patience” by the Apostle Paul, who wrote under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather, expose them.
      Love takes no pleasure in iniquity, but it delights in the Law of the Lord, and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be imitators of Christ, as dear children. When you confess your sins, your pastor will, in love, exercise the the office of the keys of the Kingdom, declaring to you that God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you. If, by contrast, you love sin rather than God, he will proclaim the Law of God in all its severity, so that you would turn and repent. That is his charge concerning the congregation that he has been called to serve in Word and Sacrament. This is elementary stuff, and, since you feel qualified to correct pastors, surely you know these things, right? Why then do you resist the Holy Spirit as He works through Word and Sacrament to stregthen you in the faith? Why would you turn away from the bride of Christ, whom his has placed in the earth, to bring to you these gifts of grace, thus resisting the Spirit of grace?

      • Toni

        I didn’t “condemn” the Church, I simply said these are some of the main reasons people are leaving. If you can’t see the hypocrisy and Pharasaic legalism, then you are part of the problem. I’m obviously beating my head against a dogmatic wall here and I won’t continue this conversation. Have a good day.

  • Roxie Powell

    I skimmed through your post and from what I read, I agree. The only thing I have to say is that we say ‘church’ and mean human beings. All churches are made up of flesh, there will be mistakes made and feelings hurt. God’s word is no longer important to the world because the world has become self sufficient, selfish and inverted. Its not the churches fault, its humans fault. NOT THE CHURCH. God made the church, humans make the attendance. Years ago when the churches/building were full, there were no cell phones, internet, drugs, and extra caricular activities to distract us. There was also a greater need for social skills, human interaction, now we, humans have something called technology. Not stating its bad, just pessimistic about the side affects its creating.

  • Chris Neal

    If you simply: Love God and Love People… Everything else is just a tool to minimise distractions.

  • Thomas Harvey

    Atheists and agnostics read the Bible and cannot in all honesty believe it. When the first story talks abou tlight preceding the sun and water separated from the sky then goes on to bring in a talking serpent as a lead character to place women into subservience, you’ve alienated half your audience before the next chapter. Get rid of the fiction, turn it into a community of social activism for good instead of blame. Ignoring the elephant of Stone age stories wrapped with hatred, violence and misogyny not to metion bigotry and hypocrisy leaves people with a really jaundiced opinion against the church thingy.

  • Monty Hughes

    Yes, many are tired of ‘churchianity’. And the younger generation (18-to-35) are more doers. They want to see action more than a lesson. In my own labors of love (as well as in my research) I see those who “have a belief” primarily avoid churches … and 72% evidently believe churches have little influence on real/major issues in America (Pew Poll).

  • debrockman

    I understand your point, but the church that stops telling people that their pain is coming from their sin is no longer doing its flock a service. Is your family and your life broken because you have cheated, lied, used drugs, been lazy? Is your life a shambles because you choose sin over responsibility? God’s laws are modeled for us based on the laws of nature. We suffer when we choose selfishly. When we choose to degrade our souls we rot. And the church, more often than not these days,
    avoids telling people that there are wrong choices…..and that those choices will bring suffering. We feed first, and we ease suffering. But then we show the injured the source of the suffering….and help them become well. Because God loves us. He wants us to prosper. But our sin keeps us in our misery.

  • Brian Wyant

    Excellent article John I have seen this and at times may have even been a part of it in some ways but even when I have been I knew it didn’t seem or feel right. So I try my best now to do my small part of reaching people where they are and listen and love and as I feel the Holy spirit urge me to speak mentor or guide. Not with an agenda other than to share my hope faith and love for a redeeming transforming merciful God. Love your writings and thoughts John
    church without walls is really Church no band no building no extravagant coffee shops needed.

  • Jonathan Smoak

    I like what you have to say and the words you use to say it although I think it does not go to the fundamental issue. Myself and many I know have left the corporate structure, the American religious club, but that has no baring on our relationship to Jesus. Maybe we ought to be living a life of love and not so worried about what we call “church”.

  • Mike

    You nailed it John. Several years ago I came up with the term “consumer christians.” It was original to me at the time but I’ve since heard it used by others. We’ve turned church into a competative market. Our culture has shaped us rather than the other way around. Like chosing a hotel, new car, restaurant, retail outlet or any other worldly product consumer christians take the “what’s in it for me” attitude. Rather than coming to church asking how they can help they are content to sit and allow others to carry the heavy end of things. We need to get back to communing with God and our fellow believers instead.

  • Tj Scheid

    Dear John Pavlovitz, if that’s the way you feel, brother, then I will pray for you and the people you represent. I would encourage you to watch this video about Christian persecution. I think it is another perspective on the western church. I’ll pray that it reaches you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23NEz3Vc4L0

  • Elavon

    Why not go to the Church that was established on the Day of Pentecost. In Acts, Chapter 2; the Bible tells you to believe, repent and be baptized, and Christ adds you to the Church. In Ephesians, it is stated that there is one Lord, one Faith, and ONE BODY; the body being the Church. We must accepts God’s word. The five items of worship are hearing the word; singing, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, giving of our means and praying. Thank you!!!

  • oldpuppydog

    Some churches are good some are not.Kinda like anything in life. As long as people are involved some will do the right thing some won’t. Remember church is a place were people meet. So saying church you need to do this for me , is not going to happen. If you know what you want start meeting in your home with like minded people. You don’t need a church for GOD to show up. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

  • Nan Roberts

    Oh, thank you for this. I can add that I’m not acceptable when severely depressed, rude, mean and obnoxious. I’m only eligible for unconditional love when I’m nice. If I get rude or pushy or critical, then I get “grace.” Which I figured out must be what I thought was being pretty much completely ignored for several years. Nobody will come after me persistently when I’m like that to find out what’s wrong, or to listen or even to give some hugs. Nope. If I’m rude and blaming then it’s my fault I’m rejected. Yet Jesus never leaves me, even when I’m so mad I kick him in the shins I’m so mad at him.
    Oh, and I can’t point out any of these things because I’m not supposed to judge.

  • Excellent article, especially #1. Why are we so terrified of reading the Bible aloud, praying, or just SILENCE? Let alone regular celebration of the Lord’s Supper with sufficient time to pray beforehand.

  • songbird

    Awe, what an ugly and impatient way to talk about the Body of Christ. We are the best He has to work with at this point. We, too, must mature through our own walk of painful growth through trials and errors into the full stature of Christ. With all her warts, where would the world be without the Church? God Himself, must be the author of what ever we do that truly affects the world for Him? Have some faith – He knows exactly what He’s doing, and He IS RIGHT ON TIME! “For “HE”, Who began the good work in us, “WILL” complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) Most people serving in those highly criticized light shows, coffee bars, etc, are at least showing up and trying to do what they believe might draw people to God… Only He knows their hearts and motives? I have often heard it said – we’re the only army that shoots its own wounded. That is what I hear in this blog. Scolding and guilting the Church (especially by a not-so-new-believer-blogger) coddles and validates a victim mentality in the world and is such a bad witness…spelling division to those outside the covenant. “Guilt sermons TO the Church, don’t work anymore than “guilt sermons FROM the Church, to the lost. It just puts pressure on church leadership to come up with another “new thing” to try and attract people to God. The answer is indeed “LOVE”… But we cannot love those outside the church – which is being purposed here, until we first LOVE ONE ANOTHER. A letter like this DOES NOT BUILD UP, EDIFY, OR UNIFY! NOTHING, but the authentic, supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and LOVE for ONE ANOTHER (John 13:35) will ever reconcile a lost world to the Father. I totally believe we need a program of “attraction, rather than “promotion…but a love letter – recognizing all the beautiful attributes of the Body of Jesus (and there are MANY) might attract more than a scathing letter of rebuke, don’t you think? I want to encourage us all to reread the passage in Ephesians 4:2-16. Verse 13 speaks of the UNITY of the faith among “believers”. Jesus prayed, in John 17:21, that we would love one another (believer to believer before we try and love the lost) “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one…as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. and may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me”. NLT. Maybe another reason they are “leaving”, is that a house divided cannot stand?

  • Many years ago a group called Steely Dan sang something very appropriate and nearly prophetic. They sang “Any world that i’m welcome to – is better than the one that I come from.” I have thought that they were sorts of postmodern prophets writing this back in the 1970’s. The prophets of today are U2 who sing on their new album “Hope is where the door is – when the Church is where the war is.” Church, we need to hear the voices of those outside (and inside) looking for hope. Do we really think (as this post says) that they are just in love with being hopeless? Do we know and believe that “hope” is one of the things the Bible says is a motivating factor for those outside? Check it out – it is in 1 Peter 3:15. The things said in this post were “stuff that needs to be said!” Thanks to John P.

  • Mike

    Enjoyed the article but not sure if a pastor can provide the best experience. It’d be like the CEO of Sony writing about why people don’t like Sony. As a layman, my problem is that many in the clergy believe they are the only ones who knows what’s right and wrong with the church. They speculate about what we, the laity, believe or think. For me, I go to church in order to find Christians I can disciple because they aren’t getting it from the pulpit. You said churches speak in language people can’t understand, my experience is the exact opposite. They try to be so “relevant” that the Bible becomes a commentary on the pastor’s beliefs rather than the basis for what all Christians should believe. They are so afraid of offensive verses that they share only what others would accept. I.e., your comments about love. How about preaching about how Jesus loved His disciples through rebuke? (Rev 3.19,20).

  • malachi

    To be completely honest. In my opinion often times people do not reap the benefits that they believe their supposed to find in the church because they dont commit theirselves and honestly get involved in the church. I myself have felt many ways mentioned in this article at ppints in my past. The thing that helped me the most was trying to get involved and be serious about church despite my opinions about how service was done. I found out that the love was actually there and that when you really get to know those who labor among you that you see their struggles and you find out that there not to much different from you and you do belong!

    • Christmas Joy

      True Dat

  • Godbassist

    TRUE Worship ushers in the presence of God, it do not entertain.

  • tonyc0101

    DANG this is a good article!!

  • Ron Doub

    Very good points, yet like most things this side of glory, incomplete. The crowds left Jesus in his earthly ministry. (John 6:26-70) And they will leave Him in His ministry as the Body of Christ.

  • Laticia Evans Little

    I absolute love this article! I’ve been screaming some of the very same things for years now. I have continually found it hard to be in ministry when we can’t live in our truth in our church organizations. Yes, Jesus loved prostitutes, liars, SINNERS and would come to the defense of anyone that stood against them. Why aren’t all of us (not some of us) who call ourselves disciples following after His teachings? At least once a week I think about leaving my post at my church to start a gathering just for people who want to know Christ….the Love of God. No dogma, doctrine, established theology or even (God forbid) offerings; just encouragement to develop a relationship with the Almighty!

  • Mary Anderson

    bravo!

  • Pam Rasch

    Gave up my need for approval from “the church” and turned to the only true church on Earth, that is to say Nature, created by God perfectly, and from whom all the lessons I need are written on the sky, sun, moon, leaves, even the dirt. Gave up trying to understand the ramblings of imperfect students who never really understood what Jesus was teaching and spread their prejudices and preconceptions, later called “gospel”. Only study the “red words”, they are the only ones I need. Studied and integrated the Tao, which taught me to release my attachments to ridiculous personifications of God, to me the ultimate sin of the “the church”. Finally realised “the church” as the geopolitical force of sickness and death that it is. I mean, if you understand the workings of the human brain and its tendency towards heuristics, the shortcut to “heh, that guy died on the cross for me, so I don’t really have to change myself at all” is not even a big stretch. John, I have felt your pain. Take Jesus into the forest with you and you won’t be in pain anymore. Take others with you and you will know the true measure his power. Peace be with you brother.

  • Mary

    This is awesome. Hoping to connect in a real way with this pastor.

  • Nick de Vries

    The answer is PRAYER, plain and simple, faith filled or even desperate PRAYER. Our little church in Cairns has lost many teens but after a year of dedicated prayer by a faithful few, suddenly we saw increase! WooHoo! To God be the glory!!!

  • Sam Sluss

    Maybe it’s time that we the body of Christ humble ourself and seek God till His presence fills the place and then we will see people saved, healed or what ever their need may be. And we will have enough of His spirit in us they will want to stay.

  • Margaret Stott

    I want to respond to this, but I don’t really know where to start. I’m a church goer, have been since I was in my mother’s womb. But my relationship with Jesus is my own. A relationship that has had its ups and downs as any real relationship will have. I think what bothers me is the part where you say we don’t go outside our building. Spoken like a pastor. I may come to the building on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday I DO go outside the building. Pastors need to get it that those of us who aren’t in “The Ministry” are out there doing, well, ministry. We go to jobs where our co-workers cuss and tell lewd stories and sneer and malign us as we try be tolerant of “where they are.” We show love and mercy. We try to engage these people in relationship. Most of the time it doesn’t do any good, but every once in a while you make a statement that hits a chord in someone’s heart and the next time, they listen a little more intently and with less eye-rolling. I go to a pretty good church that actually does get outside the building–at least once a quarter we do. We have a thing called “Big Life Sunday” wherein we go out on a Sunday morning to retirement homes, and hospitals, and we minister to the poor by fixing their front porch steps or a broken window. But the rest of the time, I sit in the pew and listen to a pastor tell me I’m not doing enough because I like to come to church and enjoy the company of my brothers and sisters and the presence of our great and awesome God, on Sunday–where cussing doesn’t usually happen. No cussing, it’s nice for a change.

  • Trucker

    The vast majority of the followers of god spend the majority of there time shining their armor or fighting amongst each other. (Quote from Mike warniky former Christian comedian) May he who is with out sin cast the first stone. For god so loved the world that he gave his only son that who so ever believes in him will not perish but have ever lasting life. I don’t need four walls to have my faith. I don’t need my designated seat for a sermon. 2 or more belivers congregating in the fellowship of god is a congregation. Be there for all of gods children lost or found and lead them with courage, faith, and love as they need it. God will guide us and help us to do what is right. This is just my view but I believe and that’s what matters. I may be considered by many to be the red headed step child of god but at least I know in my heart wear I stand. I’m sure there are those who may disagree with my views but god gave us the free will to disagree and for that I thank him because he allows us to be who we need to be not what the world says we need to be. Please remember if you beat someone with a club they will follow until the can get away but if you feed someone and treat them as an equal they will walk with you. Be the table and a friend and let god do the leading.

  • John C.

    Another rehashed church bashing article. Yes there are “bad” churches. Most I have seen are reaching out to the communities is real ways. Our church: mens and womens jail ministry, nursing home ministry, food pantry that delivers monthly as well, thrift store, and gives to foreign missions. Has a separate building (costly) for the purpose of reaching those in need. We have Sunday school at the church and small groups that meet at various times in various places. There are multiple corporate outreaches as well as encouragment for individual evangelism. And yes, upgrading santuary, childrens and youth areas too. (Oh those are bad things, forgot.) We are not the only ones doing that in our town either. Article writer, if the church you pastor is that bad then maybe try something else.

  • Absolute, unequivocal agreement.

  • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

    People don’t go to church cause it takes 5 seconds on Google to debunk the talking snakes and impossible stories about the world being 5000 years old. You did it to yourselves church and you allowed no room for discussion. Enjoy your final days the sun is setting on your fairy tale gimmicks.

  • Chris Kramer

    So true! But it doesn’t have to be this way.. The congregation I serve in Central Oregon thrives, but not because of any rock-star, fancy worship or slick preaching. We share 200 cords of firewood every winter with needy neighbors. We move over a ton of food each week into family kitchens through a modest foodbank that never asks for identification. We converted our pesticide based landscaping into an organic food forest to model responsible land use and to feed the hungry. We aren’t particularly interested in anybody’s gender preferences.. and post-church oregonians see these as evidence of a compassionate and relevant mission they are interested in contributing to.
    Of course, the message we share inside the sanctuary on Sunday about following Jesus who challenges church and state, feeds, forgives and heals without copays.. etc. motivates and informs these genuine public choices.
    Sometimes we still use big churchy words, but not to win any souls. We trust God to do that part along the way.

  • Al Burgermeister

    I was a minister in the Church but finally turned away because of all the certainty and judgmentalism and self-righteousness….and the assignment of roles based on gender, sexual orientation, social status and on and on… Then I found Unitarian Universalism….the most open, supportive, socially conscious, environmentally aware, nonjudgmental religious community imaginable. Jesus, the Buddha, Krishna, Abraham, Mohammed….all would feel right at home. Enough with the “Christian” church!! Not interested whatsoever in THAT “in crowd”!!!

  • Guest

    What church language is too difficult? I’ve never heard “eschatology” from the pulpit. Are we to abandon terms like Salvation? Redemption? Atonement? Or heaven forbid the R word–REPENTANCE? Ugh.

  • Mark-John Haug

    ” For the love of God, reach out already”. Well said!

  • Will

    Good thing you have zero evidence to back up your claims that this is why people are leaving church.

  • Horatio Hornblower

    too dramatic, the same old pedestrian attack on the church culture sin certainly has an impact on receptivity. sure the church has problems but there is an arrogance to assume that the church can fix all her problems. there are generations that fall away and then there are generations that experience a move of God; the difference is humility repentance , and God’s out pouring.

  • Leah

    I disagree with the second one…we like to be spoon fed, we have allowed ourselves to be dumbed down, and we just want basics. The Bible has more to it than those few things you mentioned. Yes, of course, talk about love and joy and death, but don’t leave out parts of the Bible because “it might be too much for people or they might not understand.” Explain it to them. I know kids and teenagers that understand deep theology. We need to stop sugar-coating and dumbing down God’s Word. He put it in there, we need to know it. It’s not trail mix…don’t pick out what you like and throw away the rest.

  • Marcus

    So you’re asking messed up, sinful people who come to church because they’re lives are falling apart to act perfectly in God’s love and exhibit it perfectly to the rest of the world? This article does nothing but to make our world more divisive. I’m about as f*cked up as anyone else, but quit making this an us vs them.

  • ChadL

    John, I am bothered by your article. People need to stop blaming the church and start looking in the mirror. I know, I know..sounds harsh in our culture of wanting to be accepted. But what if doctrine does matter? What is social work programming is not the thing that will bring the droves of people to Christ? How many verses in the NT actually point to such efforts as a means to make disciples? Hmmm. Everyone wants to take a pot-shot at the church it seems today. I think this article is filled with gross misrepresentations. The church IS loving and is active in society and around the world. Our local churches are some of the ONLY organizations helping the needy here and abroad without receiving a check for their efforts. Yes, churches can be legalistic, show-oriented, and use jargon that distances people. However, what if the problem isn’t our model or mode. What if its deeper? Why this craze about appealing to and embracing the masses? Maybe people are leaving because we aren’t loving enough. Or, maybe they are leaving because they define “love” as the acceptance of any activity or lifestyle they embrace? Christians, we need to start building up the church, not tearing her down. Yes, there are problems, but there are a lot of good things happening as well. I suggest we start pointing toward and encouraging the positives and stop punching the Bride of Christ in the gut. There are enough out there doing that without Christians joining in.

    • Amber Daniels

      another one to totally miss the point

      • ChadL

        I’d be happy to listen and be corrected if you care to share, Amber.

  • Chris Barnes

    This is an interesting article – one that has aspects which I find myself in COMPLETE agreement, and others where I don’t think I could disagree more. Let me go through his points one by one…

    Fwiw, I am a 51yo who has been a Christian for 46 years now. But I have not attended a church for the past 6 years. So while the author wrote this from the perspective of “why do lost people not come to church”, my view is somewhat different.

    Point 1: completely agree. One of the items that drove us from our previous church was that the “show” was so loud, we literally couldn’t stand to be toward the front of the church. It was physically painful. And then when the comment was made (from the pulpit) “if that didn’t bless you, there’s something wrong with you” …

    Point 2: that might be the case in churches that are very traditional, but I don’t think it has much truth for the majority of churches these days.

    Point 3: Here’s where the author & I part ways. I have come to hold the position that THE PURPOSE of the church is to lift up the body. Outreach is supposed to be a function of each Christian – is it *not* supposed to be a function of the church. And it certainly shouldn’t be one of THE main focuses. Instead, what churches should have is an almost singular focus on INreach.
    I attended the same church that one of the other commenters attends – she points to how wonderful their “Big Life Sunday” is. I point to it as a shining example of just how badly churches misunderstand what their purpose should be.

    Point 4: I agree – but in a different vein. The author points to current event issues. Instead where I think the church FOR DECADES has missed the mark is in trying to label things which are simply choices as sin. Drinking alcohol. Smoking. Dancing. Playing cards. Tattoos. These things are NOT sin. Nor is half a hundred other things that the pious love to look down their noses at.
    Trying to call them sin is basically the same thing the Pharisees did. And it was this group – not sinners – whom Jesus belittled, mocked, and physically beat.

    Point 5 is pretty much an extension of Point 4.

  • Paul Meyers

    Love and Truth, two legs which must work together to walk on any path or work of God. One without the other is corruption. I agree hopping on one leg or the other, even, temporarily is not doing anyone any good (re: bait and switch). Very few people were at the cross when Jesus died in our best view of love and truth perfectly manifest. The broad way and the “few” is a hard thing for me to process.

  • Russ Cutler

    There is an answer for all this. It is found in Christ’s Church which has 80,000 full time missionaries, 1 Prophet, 12 Apostles, true priesthood authority like Peter, James, and John had, is found in nearly every country on this planet, does not have rock shows or speak in words nobody understands. Christ’s true church is on the earth right now and has none of the elements in this article. Christ accepts everybody for who they are and where they are at in life. People are joining this church at the rate of 300,000 per year. See http://www.mormon.org for more info. :-)

    • Amber Daniels

      I have been apart of THAT church and just for the record, they are no different than any other denomination.

      • Russ Cutler

        I’m sad to hear that. People are people no matter the church they attend. Christ’s true church is a lay ministry, and it operates with 100% volunteers. As such, some people will make mistakes, and some feelings will get hurt. But know this, the Doctrine or teachings of the “True” Church are unfaltering, as they came from revelation direct from God to his Prophet. The True Church of Christ does not entertain with bands, loud music or light shows. It is a way of life that demands commitment to get the most out of. I personally devoted 2 years at age 19 to teach people about Christ’s True Church. That experience forged my faith for a lifetime. I’m curious, if any others have left the LDS faith, where then did they find “happiness”? “A religion that does not demand the sacrifice of all things will never have power enough to produce the faith necessary for salvation” – Joseph Smith :-)

    • robert

      Oh you mean the ‘church’ of polygamists that do the vicarious baptisms, deny hell, have an extra ‘Bible’, believe in Atlantis and teach that Jesus and satan were brothers? The ones where Father God had physical children, you can become a god yourself and populate your own planet? No thanks.

  • Curtis

    One of my jobs is worship leader. I try to do this for God’s glory and I make an effort not to trivialize what anyone gives for God’s kingdom. Thanks for dismissing me though.

  • Michael

    Also, I could add to his complaint. We are made for relationship, but when I attend your church you have no singles group and do not plan to add one.
    But you tell me I should be happy without a wife.

    • robert

      I’m single too Michael. I wish you the best. I think you can find a godly wife, but I hope you could be happy in church without one. My present church doesn’t have a ‘singles group’, but every ‘singles group’ I went to in the past was very dysfunctional anyway, so I don’t miss it. I’m sorry for that conflicting message you got. I’m bold enough now to where I’d point that out to the leadership. I was more timid in the past. We all have different experiences, don’t we?

  • Amber Daniels

    I didn’t accept Christ until I was almost 20. I did not grow up in a Christian home. Actually, it was quite the opposite. People like me are coming in from the cold and wanting the love of the Church. Just as we are. Let us grow in God’s timing, not your’s. Understand that we are learning. God will change us how HE wants us to be changed. Not the way that you believe we should be changed. God has changed my heart, and a lot of the ways that I think. What HE has not changed is my personality, which was influenced by my past. I don’t speak “godly”. Yes, to some of us that is actually a language, and it turns people off that don’t know what the heck you are talking about.

    We want real. In your face, I love you no matter what, you are a child of God no matter your views, real. My pastor makes the statement that someone is “so heavenly minded, that they are no earthly good.” This is a very true statement.

    The thing is, is that the Church believes that it is the unsaved person living in sin that is the problem…but they are not the whole problem. It is on both sides. The sin that they “Church” walks around with and does not acknowledge is also part of the problem. When you look down your nose at me, do you really think that I want to listen to the gospel? When you speak with arrogance saying that your daddy, mama, aunt, uncle, grand-daddy, great-grand-daddy (etc) was a preacher so you KNOW what you are talking about….well honey, get off your high horse…you probably don’t know jack!

    WE WANT TO BE LOVED! NOT JUDGED! We are not going to listen to someone that judges us! Even being saved now, and going to church, I don’t like most churches, cause I am still looked down upon because I don’t speak “godly”.

  • Samuel Balmer

    I have read quite a number of these comments in relation to this article – it is very noticeable the lack of scripture and the sharing of personal ideologies. IN BRIEF –
    What characterised the NT church – Acts 11v19-29
    V19 – it was a church composed of ordinary people
    V20 – it was a church of great diversity
    V21 – the hand of the Lord was with them
    V23 – there was evidence that God was at work in people’s lives
    V26 – it was a church of “disciples” – being taught the word
    V27 – it was a caring church in sending relief to others
    Ch 13 v1-3 the church was missional and its leaders in touch with God.
    Let’s share with churches what they can be, in the light of the WORD OF GOD
    BLESSINGS
    Paul – “that which cometh on me daily, the care of ALL the churches.”

  • KP

    I’ve heard it said this way: The Father invited the whole world to an all expenses paid banquet. The “church” is made up of those that accepted the invitation and are willing to be served by Him.

    With that in mind, I’m almost inclined to think that the “church” referred to in this article isn’t the real church at all. It seems awkward to say, but those that are leaving should probably be commended for their obedience. The Father is calling folks away from that institution. It doesn’t fit the family model. This will resonate with some.

    “And they shall all be taught of God…”

  • Jeremiah S. Trewhella

    Yeah, your article is pretty confusing… So what do you want the “church” to do for you again?

  • Brian Nelson

    I disagree with much of this. If you want the real hard truth of why people are leaving, get this free download. Freewonderfulbook.com

  • These are all reasons why people leave a particular church, not THE Church.
    People are as fickle as the some of the churches described here. But in reality, people leave the Church because they’re not truly born again. The true Christian will hit every church in the county to find a good one. The folks who say they have “given up on the church” usually spend more time preaching the “good news” of “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian!” than the Good News about Christ…it’s sheer laziness and arrogance. You aren’t fooling God, get your rear end planted in a Church, and remember, it’s not all about you.
    “Come as you are” churches are either false advertising or preaching a false gospel. For starters, how else can they “come”? God receives you the way you are, but he loves you enough not to leave you that way. And if your “Come as you are church” puts a low value on Bible study, and tells you God isn’t interested in modifying your behavior, you’re not in a church, you’re in a cult. Get your nose stuck in that dusty paper weight you keep on the coffee table so people can see how “spiritual” you are (The Bible) and equip yourself to weed out false prophets and false doctrine.
    A little country church with no lights or screaming guitars, no PowerPoint or hip preacher…a church determined to preach Christ and him crucified, that puts a premium on holiness, encourages regular in-depth Bible study, and admit we will suffer for the sake of Christ, and are not ashamed to plead the blood…these are the ones who see people being regenerated, coming to genuine faith, growing in that faith, and producing the fruit that accompanies salvation. And people who leave because they don’t like being challenged to grow (i.e., “stop sinning”) just don’t get it either…that’s one of the main reasons to go to Church and become an active member. The Church does not exist to validate your ungodly lifestyle. And until you surrender completely to God in Christ you will never know peace or the joy that surpasses all understanding, because you’re still lost as a duck in a snow storm:
    “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (‭1 John‬ ‭2‬:‭19‬ ESV)

  • Lakeea Terrell-Gaskins

    Wow. I loved this article. I have been born again and I attend service , bible study and went to New Life Bible Institute. I “come as I am” and I continue to because I know Jesus. I will probably never look the part of a holliar than thou Sister in the church. My relationship is with God. My faith is in Him. When you really decide what this walk is about… Jesus always used less regular folkss..My Jonah…rebellious and I, my Rehab…Promiious and all, my David…hmmm, my Peter, aggressive and I, my Paul…persecuter and I. This relationship is an individual thing. I have two friends in a church I’ve been in since 2003. I dnt “fit in” with the people but guess what I fit in with God.

  • joan

    Well put! Grew up in very closed church, got divorced (but if I’d change my mind I could still be ‘saved’ in that church’s mind). I for the life of me can’t understand how some church communities miss the part about how God is the only judge. I totally agree that I lost my church but not my faith.

  • Don Mingo

    Ah, shallow . . . I’ve Pastored churches where I sought to be the loving caring talking pastor. Same result. People turn on you when they don’t get their what they want above everyone else’s best welfare.

  • Jess

    I don’t usually throw myself into the crossfire of hot topics, but I’d like to put in my two cents.
    We are all familiar with the articles written about why today’s generation is leaving the Church. Some cite studies and assert that millenials have less interest in religion. Other Christian-focused articles confront churches with 7 Reasons Why People Leave the Church (like this one) blaming churches for being too shallow, being too flashy, being too judgmental, etc. “The church” is providing a service but providing it poorly, so our generation is looking to have its needs met elsewhere.
    In other words, our generation is complaining a lot.
    I think a fundamental question we should ask ourselves when we list our problems with “the Church” is what is our definition of “the Church?” Biblically speaking, every true follower of Christ comprises His body, the Church. That’s us, you guys. We are complaining about US, not just them. We are selfishly demanding that the more mature believers lead us without fail, but then we turn our backs in disgust when they stumble. We call them bad leaders and walk away like spoiled children. We are pointing fingers at ourselves, which is Satan’s primary way to cause division and stir up trouble, keeping our focus off of Christ. This keeps us in a stagnant state of spiritual infancy. Instead of taking part of the Body we are rejecting it and waiting for our pastors and elders to give us a more engaging pastime or better conversation. And we are fickle. First we wanted more drums, more bass, more technology, more pep. Now we are condemning churches for providing what we asked for. Does this sound like any children you might be related to or babysit for?
    “The Church” is not a board of aging deacons and pastors with antiquated ideals; nor is it naive coffee-loving leaders who invest in too many stage lights for worship. It’s not a building or an institution, yet we point fingers as if it’s our corporate office and we are on strike until they treat us better as employees and provide better benefits. I’ll admit that there’s a lot of crap going on in individual churches today that need to change. But our leader isn’t the local building we attend on Sunday. It’s Jesus Christ. If we are really following Him, we need to assume equal responsibility for what today’s Church looks like, and dive in to work with every other follower beside us.
    I’m tired of isolating my generation as “this generation.” We aren’t special. We don’t have it together. We are spoiled rotten and arrogant, when many (not all) of our pastors have been following Christ for years and are doing their best where THEY are at, just like we are trying to do. If we want change, then we need bring it to the table as an ACTIVE member of the Body. Instead of turning up our noses at our church’s ideals, let’s dive in and work WITH them. They are sinners. But guess what? We are sinners too, and we are most assuredly the more immature sinners. We are all seen the same in the eyes of Christ, washed clean by His blood and free of condemnation. I doubt Christ sees age, gender or culture. I’m pretty sure He just sees His children fighting a lot and walking out on each other.

    Stop blaming “the Church.” Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand. And we wonder why the Church is in such a mess? If we see something that needs to be changed, then let’s step up and help change happen. Stop walking out because our pastors aren’t being perfect. One day, we will be in their shoes, and we are going to want grace from the next generation when we mess up.
    I’m not making excuses for the dire mistakes that many churches make. But we are only adding to the problem of shallowness and materialism and judgment in the Body, because we are JUST as important parts of the Body that cause ripple effects. Man up, generation. Take up our crosses and follow our Lord side by side.

  • DrPlokta

    You missed out the most important reason of all, which is all the insistence on this God stuff. I want a church that will teach that God is a metaphor that made sense to our ancestors as a way of explaining the world, but is now best treasured as a historical reminiscence rather than anything with any existence outside our heads.

  • Jlimon

    Where is prayer?

  • j h

    Having been born and raised in church all my life in the same denomination churches are rapidly falling away. We used to have Sunday school, Sunday morning worship, Sunday night service, and a Wednesday night bible study.
    Sadly the denomination I have attended all my life some of there churches no longer have Sunday school, Sunday night service or a Wednesday night bible study. People say we’re too busy for God. Really? Is that the reason why we got rid of Sunday school, Sunday night and Wednesday nights?
    What happen with searching, seeking and following God with our whole body soul and spirit? I truly believe God is going to spit us out of his mouth because we as the church have gone lukewarm towards the things of God as it says in his word.
    When is the last time you heard a salvation message from the pulpit? When is the last time you heard a message on heaven and hell?
    When is the last time you heard a message that smoking and drinking were wrong like it says in the bible?
    When is the last time you heard a message that homosexuality was wrong like it says in the bible? We have so many churches jumping on the homosexuality bandwagon that they must have forgot what god’s word says against it. I agree we need to love the sinner and hate the sin but when the sinner does not repent of his sin then we the church are not reaching them.
    Worship service when I grew up we sang some good old fashion hymns. Now we sing worship songs with a lively band it makes me feel like I’m in a bar instead of church. Some worship services are all about the lights, noise and how loud they can be.

  • Stephen McKerracher

    That has nothing to do with why most people are leaving the church. We are leaving because your faith claims are empty and absurd. There is no reason or evidence to believe any of them, and we see the negative effects of believing those lies.
    That’s why you are having problems demonstrating lies. Because you are basing your lives on archaic ancient lies/mythology. Look at the fruit you are bearing. Don’t look to try and arbitrarily change the fruit… you need a new tree. A tree rooted in critical thinking.
    Which is so sad in this modern age. We actually know enough to live a happy successful life based on what is knowable… religious speculation is not necessary.
    Show one credible reason why I, or anyone SHOULD go back, and I will in a heart beat. But until you answer your http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof, we’ll be living our life outside the church.

  • Stephen McKerracher
  • Vicki Sewell Larson

    This is why I love my church…St Paul Presbyterian. We have a Sanctuary building and another building for Sunday School, nursery, fellowship and CHoir practice and Church office. We have a full kitchen because we love to eat but no coffee pot, just the gallon coffee percolator. It is simple and our minister speaks plainly about God’s love. None of the super church activities.

  • Calvin

    Oh my goodness, someone sent me this article on Dear Church, here’s why people are really leaving you.
    A couple of days ago a bishop said to me that someone had brought in two ladies to the church, but they were wearing pants. His wife later went and purchased dresses for them to wear, but he said that they will not wear them. He also said that if they didn’t put those dresses on that they could not be a part of his church. And in the same sentence said but my main focus is the help save a soul. Oh my God, I could not believe what I was hearing, so I called him later, and told him that I had concerns about what he had said. He denied that he said that. So I continue to tell him that if he is concerned about a persons soul, I didn’t think what a person is wearing should stop them from being a part of a church. He said he had rules, and if anyone did not follow them, they don’t have to come to his church, and he also told me that he was not going to continue to talk to me. WHAT?
    Pastors, Ministers, Bishops, Elders, some of you all have it twisted. Just like a hospital is for the sick, not the well. The church is not for those so called saved people that has been in the church for years, and is still taking up space on a pew every Sunday, you should be strong enough now to get out in the streets, or wherever needed (outside of the church) and help save a lost soul. The church is for the lost, needy, a sinful soul, someone that is hurting, and is tired of the way they are living and that is ready to give there life to Christ. Thank you for writing this article.

  • Extremists

    Main reason it’s not real. How is a belief system going to help. Nobody hafto believe they’re problems because they’re real. And the reason churches haven’t changed much in 29 years is clearly you are not.

  • Theo Morton

    Also, lack of quality theological education of the congregation. The ad-nauseum repetition of praise choruses, for example, lack the depth, substance and power of living theology. Talk about “love, and joy, and forgiveness, and death, and peace, and God” all you want, but if you don’t understand the power of the Redemption, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Justification, Sanctification, Discipleship, etc. — church is just another feel good, self-help group. FOCUS IS ON JESUS CHRIST. Anything less is not Church.

    • robert

      I long to go deeper and to hear messages that are ‘meat.’ I go to a great church but I need avenues to go deeper into maturity and godly character. Too often it’s spiritual candy bars and no meat and green beans. So I hear you on that.

  • TheVirj

    Andddddd…we’re not being open enough to hear and obey the Holy Ghost Who started the church…Having begun in the Spirit we have tried to finish in the flesh. Programs do not take the place of God’s Presence…
    http://www.facebook.com/HolyGhostBook

    http://Www.rodbearer.com

  • Luther Willianson

    People, you are the church. You make it what it is. You have a need, it’s your responsibility to go to the pastor and the elders to seek guidance.

  • Rebecca

    It is unfair to expect Christians/churchgoers to be perfect! We are sinners just like everyone else. We just know we serve a forgiving God. Church is a place where all who are striving to develop their PERSONAL relationship can go and be around others who are attempting to do the same. Not all churches believe the same things. There are numerous denominations and it can all get confusing. I am blessed to attend a church where the pastor is college educated. He used to be an extremely successful attorney. Our church volunteers and supports a rescue mission. Just like finding the right doctor doesn’t happen on the first visit, doesn’t mean you stop going to the doctors. It takes work.

  • Glasslass

    I am a lapsed Catholic and one Sunday decided to attend the local service. The priest preformed some of the mass but what seemed like hoards of people were running around on the altar with guitars strumming and humming. The priest didn’t give the sermon, my next door neighbor gave it, trust me this was not a good thing. Where is my religion? Where is the priest except to act as a firgurehead with other people doing his job.

    I went to a friends church with her recently and once again all the lay people were doing all the speaking. Lady stood up to give the sermon and started castigating the Jewish people and Israel. Ok, so not what I was expecting. When asked after the service if it was that church’s policy she replied “I don’t discuss my personal political views”. Her point of view was not this church’s POV but she is allows to preach a political view and it’s ok. NO its not. I won’t be walking in those doors again
    So God and I have a relationship just without the hype and glitz and guitars. I don’t need your lack of leadership, lack of religious conviction, and general lack of overall being a leader. God and I talk just fine without you in the picture.

  • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

    Cant you all just look at your selves in the mirror and say do I really believe in this because I want to or because I’m scared not to? If you have enough brainpower to log on to a computer and read this then you should be smart enough to admit to yourself the “book of truth” is less likely to have happened then a Superman comic book

  • Chris Hubbard

    I am shocked and appalled that these are the reasons given for people leaving the Church. Why aren’t people just leaving because it is simply incorrect? Or because it is only very loosely based on reality? Or how about because it has no more to offer morally than any mother goose story could provide? In fact, judging by the horrible prejudice displayed by most Christians, I would say it has less to offer. If these are the reasons people are leaving, then all you are doing is saying that people are morons and totally incapable of educating themselves.

  • Travis J. Robertson

    TRUTH TRUTH TRUTH…..

  • happyhannah4u

    This REALLY speaks to me. My youngest daughter just shared it on FB. LOVE TO ALL.

  • Debs

    Fab article john! Spot on…

  • Charles

    I come to church to be served. That’s why the Puritans and Reformers called it a service. It’s where my soul is served by the living God. The Westminster Confession defines the ordinary means of grace as the Word, prayer and sacrament. Through these I connect with the real presence of God. The pastor is a facilitator, a waiter that brings God’s meal so I can eat at the Lord’s Supper, hear the Lord speak and acknowledge, encounter and engage with the real presence of the living God who resides with my soul through the Holy Spirit. John 17:3 defines eternal life as knowing the one true God through Jesus. I hope those who desire to know the one true God are enriched and refreshed at church, have a meaningful encounter and grow in the knowledge of the truth. I hope those who are looking for entertainment or fire insurance are repelled at the service and realize they don’t belong there. May my church continue to be not about the killer bees: bodies, budgets, buildings, the band and bashes, but about building up the body in knowing God, loving God and being an instrument in His hands the other six days of the week. Praise God for the few Christ-centered churches in the midst of our man-centered church culture. If the sermon is about me and not knowing God through Christ – I run, run, run. If a sermon would be just as acceptable at a seminar or social club – I run, run run. If you want an all-about-me feel-good moralistic or therapeutic pseudo-Christianity there are plenty of motivational speakers, like Joel Osteen, that appeal to the masses who want that false gospel. They aren’t leaving that church. But you won’t like my church. You will run, run run.

    • robert

      You lost me at ‘I come to church to be served.’ I stopped reading there.

  • Dave

    I grew up in the church (sadly) and this article misses the mark. Churches are in decline because more and more people see them for the brain washing social clubs they are. Besides that…the masses are waking up to real spiritual truth regarding God/the Universe…that has nothing to do with organized religion. We are all the eyes and ears of God…each pure God experiencing heaven on earth. There is no devil or hell where “sinners” are punished for eternity. And…there is no “savior”. Never was, never will be.

    • Charles

      Nice opinion, but grounded only in your personal preferences. There is sufficient evidence to trust the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself for those who desire to know Him. Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the one true God (John 17:3). Those who desire to know God will find Him. Those that don’t will define their own God as an idol reflecting their own personal preferences, rather than through revelation. Redemptive history is like an artist’s painting reflecting His attributes. Those who desire to know God will have their desire and be with Him forever and be examples reflecting His mercy and love. And those who only want to use God’s stuff and pretend He doesn’t exist will have their desire too being separated from God and serve as examples of His justice and punishment for a lifetime of dishonor (Rom 1:18-32). They will be like a black velvet showcasing the beauty of a diamond. My statements are not based on my opinion or preferences but revelation. If the Bible is not God’s revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ, the Bible says to pity me (1Cor 15:17-19); otherwise I pity you.

  • Zack Clark

    I realize that this comment is public and it will be against what I’m saying in it, but I have not found another way to contact you John, so once you see this, please remove it from the comments. If I had an email or something I would send it to you privately. But here it goes.

    Your statements may be true, but your method does more harm than good. Yes there are problems with the church. But airing it in public does not solve anything. It puts people on the defense, or it starts a venting session. And then people who want to leave the church or have never been in the church see this and it just adds more to the list of reasons to not join the church, because they fight amongst themselves. The church needs to be a united cause. Paul talks about this kind of thing in 1 Corinthians 5. We aren’t supposed to take our problems from within the church and throw it out in front of everyone to see. Because surely someone involved in the church is smart enough to solve these problems (which I think the point of this article is that you have ideas on how to solve it). So I agree with what you’re saying, but you’re hurting the church by trying to help it. Paul wrote letters and addressed the issues in the church, but he sent them to the churches and didn’t post them on the street corner. But people do need to hear these things. And I saw you’re a speaker, so if you aren’t already, I encourage you to talk about these topics when you are asked to speak places. They are extremely valuable.

  • This addresses some of the reasons that I stopped going to church but it has nothing to do with the reason that I stopped believing in God altogether, which is that there are absolutely no good reasons to think that any such critter exists or has ever existed.

    • dan

      So goodness it’s yours all by your self. Pease explain

      • Basically, I became more skeptical. I need a reason to believe more than I need a reason to disbelieve.

        You don’t have to be able to prove absolutely that God doesn’t exist in order to stop believing that it exists. You merely have to realize that there are no good reasons to think that it does exist and that there are some decent rational arguments against its existence.

        To be more precise, I should say that, to the best of my knowledge, there are no good reasons to think that God exists. However, I’ve been rationally examining these issues for a few decades now and I think it’s very unlikely that there are any arguments for God’s existence which I have not already analyzed and found wanting.

        As for meaning, meaning is personal, not inherent. Something has meaning only to the extent that it means something to someone. My life has meaning because it is meaningful to me and to those who love me. That’s the only source of meaning that I need – and, of course, I see no reason to think that there is any other source of meaning.

        In my view, the concept of “eternal justice” is mere wish fulfillment. We have an instinctive sense of fairness* and it’s only natural to object to the unfairness we see regularly. So it goes. The universe has no awareness of you and I, neither any concern for us. That may seem a bit harsh but I prefer a harsh truth rather than a comforting lie.

        _____
        *When I say that we have an instinctive sense of fairness, I’m basing that on scientific studies with chimpanzees and other non-human primates which strongly indicate that they, too, have a “sense of fairness”.

  • CharlieJoe

    Interesting article. “stop evangelizing us, and preaching at us, and fighting us, and judging us, and sin-diagnosing us, long enough to simply hear us …”

    Hey church, be like the rest of the world. Don’t tell us what God says is right or wrong, evil or bad…let us make those decisions, you just need to accept and tolerate us. Hey church, stop fighting us on our sins and choices, stop quoting scripture to us because it makes you sound judgmental…hey church, stop using the bible to show us and tell us that how we are sinful…we just want you to shut-up and listen to us….we want you to accept us, be like us, approve of us. Tolerate us or we won’t come. Cater to us or we won’t come. Change your ways or we won’t come. Be more like the world, or we won’t come.

  • Michelle Forbes

    The last sentence in point #3, ‘Leave the building.’ I have been saying that for YEARS! What about the unsaved outside the four walls?

  • dan

    I would agree if the American church system was the church. It isn’t we only have these kind of problems, because the system has been teaching love without judgment. The reality is yes people have to come as they are but you can’t stay as you are. You have to be reborn! (Not to use church jargon) You have to be intrinsically different than the you that you want to be. Jesus did go after the outcast, but he gave them a decision. Everyone can not follow him, because narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life.

  • Holla Lou

    Ayyyyyyyyy-Men!!!!!

  • Darcy Downing

    Wonderful! Well written and to the heart of God. I truly appreciate your inside insight. I wonder if it’s God’s desire to fix such a thing as today’s church. Where is there room to see His eyes, wonder at His voice, and simply sit with the lover of our souls? https://darcydowning.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/who-do-you-love/

  • keninwi

    I hear what you are saying Virginia. A woman works all week at her outside the home job then comes home and does the mother and wife thing. Then she gets up Sunday morning and flies around the house get kids and husband off to church, so she can come along and listen to a message on how if she loved the Lord more she would give more time to the church for this or that program. There is only one woman who has it worse then you, that would be the wife of a pastor. You know men get much of the same stuff also just in different ways. Here is what I think the cure is. There should be no paid pastors who have all day to sit around and think up church ideas and programs that we should all do to get the approval of good christian, that is handed out by the people who dream up the programs. I bet you if pastors and other church leaders had to spend the whole day working 10 to 12 hrs with drive time before they came home and had to do the father thing and husband thing and then the pastor thing, their messages would be really different and so would their ideas of what a godly christian life is.

  • Lysa J

    I was welcomed into a church congregation where I spent a good deal of time and met a few people whom helped me along the way in joining. However, once my spouse and I filed for divorce: all that help and goodwill left. A nun lied about my behavior in a letter written by her and about me. It never made it to a judge. I got to see it though. I went and dealt directly with her and she told me, “It didn’t have to be so bad.” I complained to the priest in charge – “I am not in charge of the nuns.” It’s all take and no give. I was never once invited or offered any information on divorce groups within the church. I asked the priest whom helped me in the past for guidance – something – anything. He did not return my calls. We had to go to a food pantry for food and luckily another church congregation helped us pay our electric bill one month. My kids were supposed to go to private school there and it will not happen. Ever. They are free to believe what they choose, but I will not enable the church here any longer. I will not give my money to support the hypocrisy.

    Besides the above: go look at what members of your flock say in social media posted online. Some of it is terrible. Awful. You don’t get a free pass because somebody died for your sins. Lead by example. Last week I met up with a priest and I said “So when will women be able to be pastors or when will you be allowed to marry?” He was offended. So start treating your flock equally. Be there for them in and choose not to take sides in personal matters. And, answer all questions honestly. Stop being pricks online. That’s a good start.

    Thing is I know the church I had joined thinks the family I was married to is going to gift them a huge amount of money when the matriarch dies. Sorry suckers. I was the one with the money and you won’t see a penny of it.

  • GaryS

    What part of the country are you in Lisa?

  • Lysa J

    We are in So Cal.

  • Lysa J

    Yes. I can also confirm there are plenty of predators where men in power are having all sorts of sex with congregation members. I grew up attending Baptist services in Bakersfield where the preacher whom married my parents in a big society wedding: was fired for sleeping with someone he was counseling, a woman. “Everyone is flawed” is a copout. To me sleeping with a member of your congregation SHOULD be illegal: like a doctor sleeping with a patient. Christians argue for more church in schools: I argue for more law enforcement in church.

  • Barney and Babs Benson

    Yes my first wife and I split because she was sleeping with a member of our church. I forgave them all. It was hard returning to the church again and seeing everyone look at us afterward. We changed churches. My second wife would like to study to become a minister and I have told her she should. I feel like women are not taken seriously by religious leaders.

  • Sharon Crawford Storck

    so true! I found myself struggling, unemployed, no food, unable top pay utility bill and a single parent. I went to my church for help and was turned down. why? because I lived in the WRONG school zone. they only helped those who live in area 2 AND i LIVED IN AREA 3 SO THEY REFUSED TO HELP ME. MY CHILDREN ALSO GRADUATED FROM A RIVAL HIGH SCHOOL THEY WERE TOLD THEY COULD NOT PARTICIPATE IN SENIOR NIGHT OR BE RECOGNIZED AT CHURCH BECAUSE AGAIN, WRONG SCHOOL ZONE. I LEFT THAT CHURCH, IT WAS IS A MAIN STREAM METHODIST CHURCH. i NEVER KNEW Jesus ONLY HELPED THOSE DEEMED WORTHY OF HELP BECAUSE OF THEIR ZIP CODE. BUT APPARENTLY IN TH E METHODIST CHURCH THIS IS THE CASE AS all OF THEM i ENCOUNTERED HAVE THE SAME RIDICULOUS RULES. YOU MUST LIVE IN THE AREA THEY REPRESENT.

  • Christopher David Eaton

    While there are some things in the article that have some merit, such as the allusion to the corporatation of the American Church, I find this article really misses the point. The point is that in all these failing churches the Gospel is not being faithfully preached and there is absolutely no church discipline. And please, I am really tired of the idea that the church has to meet someone where they are. Yes, Jesus did meet sinners where they were…guess what, He also said he was sent to heal the SICK. He also nearly every sinner He healed to go and sin no more. As far as using dead language…well, that language is the Word of God and it has His power if it is used properly. Just pick up a recent translation and use it, for God’s sake. The author seems to think we can somehow convince the lost…and yes they are LOST and they are SINNERS, to be part of the church ‘group’ without having, in the final analysis, to believe anything….just as long as they feel good that makes everything ok.

  • Colonel Jones

    The author of this blog needs to get over himself as do the rest of you sheep. John, the problem isn’t the church, it’s attention seeker’ s like you! You are one on a never ending list of people who think they’re the first ones who have finally figured it out 2000 years later. When you take shots at the “Church” , you’re taking cheap shots of millions of people you’ve never known or will ever meet. People like everyone else, people who are trying their best, people who are new in areas and just trying to get involved. As a matter of fact, my wife went to a church plant “community church”, and the only thing we’ve been able to get out of it has been an inside joke we share now since not one single soul came and spoke to us except the pastor and his wife (the business owners essentially). Although I really do appreciate the laugh my wife and I share , I don’t feel the need to go blog to the rest of the world how you church planters “ARE THE PROBLEM” .
    I remember an old preacher in a sermon years ago saying, “all these people going around labeling others close minded, actually are the closed minded ones”. How true. So get over yourself! You want to keep blaming the “Church” (whatever you think you mean by that)? Remember, you’re no different than every liberal chaotic agenda since the beginning, always hating and blaming those who happen to be in the position you’re not. We don’t need a savior Sir, that role was already passed out and its not you. And one last thing, whats made you an expert on racism and bigotry, the problem of racism has more to do with white people like you who would rather give lip service to black people by making them think you’re one of the ‘good ones’, when actually you don’t have the guts to speak the truth in fear that you won’t be liked. Oh , and let me add, it’s always been the few! Big churches, work, bars, your precious little community churches….you get snubbed everywhere, most people ARE out for themselves. News flash….everybody’s got a story, get over it.

    • robert

      Nailed it!

  • Danny

    Some great thoughts, thanks for putting the time into writing this.

    So, how do we change?

    I suspect the root of the problem is a little deeper than just trying to change our behaviour…

    Maybe the reason we’re judgemental, dismissive and condescending is because we actually live in fear of a God that we suspect treats us like that. Can we truly transform without reforming our beliefs about the One we call ‘Father’?

  • ReligionisDone

    This article hit the nail on the head in many respects. What it left out was the “wars” being fought by the church are losers. Abortion isn’t going away because you want it to, try to legislate it away and hold protests outside of planned parenthood. If there were a possibility of having the Supreme Court reverse Roe v Wade, abortion will continue anyway, just in back alleys using coat hangers.

    Gays aren’t going away. Call them sinful fags that God hates all you want. They’re not going away. The churches miss these rather critical points time and time again. Hell, the Catholic church is in large part run by a bunch of gay men and they condescend to preach about marriage and childrearing.

    Religion: put a fork in it, it’s done.

  • phil112

    A lot of truth to that, sadly enough.

  • John

    lol we wonder why people won’t stay with the church? We argue all the time like some are doing in the preceding post here( no offense intended, just an observation) Church folks just can’t seem to agree on much and we always must prove our point. Hey, I do it myself far too often I’m afraid. I’ve seen church split after church split over the trivial things and everyone always thinks they are the ones that are right on either side.

    Personally I appreciate this article for its honesty. Of course there are good people leaving the church and good people staying, but the message is being lost in our argumentative ways and our programs to attract fish to our own bowl without our going out fishing for them. Maybe we should preach Jesus message where all are welcomed to trust in him, but also repentance from our own ways. The message of salvation and his plan for his followers to go into the world (yes that includes our neighborhoods as well) and make disciples. A true Disciple will follow the path he sets before them and will, as they grow, realize how little of themselves is really important. There are specific things in the bible that if we would read them without twisting them around to fit our lifestyles, well they would speak to us about how we are to live.

    I’m afraid that most of us Christians *myself again too often) live using a “smoke screen” to both put a holy face on us for others to admire while it also keeps us from accepting truth to change our own lives.

    I have been involved in church all my life until recently when the last church argument caused me to wonder if I want to attend another one. Thanks John p for the honest thought provoking article. Lots of truth in it.

  • Nikki

    Preach it. If anything, I’d say that they attack everything that’s within them, which causes self destruction than what they could be battling what’s a threat outside of the Church. We’re the first to whimper away when paving for others who attack the Christian faith but throw bombs at the folks who want to be part of Christ. How does this make sense let alone put a foundation of what we could represent to the world around us?

  • Tyler

    Dear church, here’s why people are REALLY leaving you:

    1) Advancements in knowledge in the fields of Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Archaeology, Biology, History, and Textual Criticism (among others) has revealed that your holy book inspired by an all-knowing, all-powerful God is internally contradictory, contains many historical inaccuracies, and is completely ignorant of science. It also condones genocide, rape, slavery, and homophobia.

    2) With the advent of the internet and more free democratic societies today than at any previous point in human history, the information mentioned above is able to be accessed by and shared with more people than ever before. Anyone with doubts or curious questions is simply a few keystrokes away from finding real answers that haven’t been obfuscated by centuries of theological doubletalk.

  • Bobby

    So I read this Article and had some good thoughts but then the last part:

    “So yes, Church, even if you’re right, even if we’re totally wrong—even if we’re all petty, and self-centered, and hypocritical, and critical, and (I’ll say it), “sinful”—we’re still the ones searching for a place where we can be known and belong; a place where it feels like God lives, and you’re the ones who can show it to us.Even if the problem is me, it’s me who you’re supposed to be reaching, Church.So, for the love of God; reach already.”

    Let’s take this part “We’re still the ones searching for a place where we can be known and belong.

    I often want to say Dear People: You belong here, but the Lord is asking you to “Go now, and leave your life of sin” and calls you to Conversion and Repentance. Conversion takes a lifetime, but you are never going to be able to find a Church that suits “your life”. Christ gave us a Church and promised us that “the gates of Hell will never prevail against it.” He set up leaders to help govern it in his absence (to you do I give the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, what you bind and loose on earth, will be bound and loosed in heaven) ordering them to “teach them everything I’ve told you”. He said he would send us an “Advocate” to help guide us.

    We (those who are trained, whether it be laity, priest or religious) have been reaching out, and we’ve done so delicately, but people still do not want to leave there lives of sin. So at certain times giving the harder messages with fervor of “flipping tables” is sometimes necessary. People are not going to like it, just like they didn’t like Jesus’s teachings. But spare the rod, and the children will be happy to wallow in sin, because they’ve never been challenged to sacrifice. Just because the Church isn’t your recipe for success, doesn’t mean you can abbreviate “a place” to suit your way of life. As the prophet Isaiah said:

    …Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…

    The Church and her teaching is like a trainer or a Coach. They are there to help you, to guide you, to tell you what to do so that you can grow spiritually. If you don’t go to the gym, your never going to get physically fit. If you don’t go to Church (the gym) don’t receive the sacraments on a regular basis like the Eucharist (taking your supplements), Reconciliation (Therapy or Rehab) Refresh yourself with Church teaching, writings of the saints, Continuing Adult formation/Youth group/Religious Ed (Weight Trainers) you are going to suffer spiritually and became lazy and sinfully obese.

    The Church, who is guided by the Holy Spirit, wants to teach us how to be Spiritually fit, and sometimes we stay true to our diet and some times we don’t go to the gym at all. For some they have never been asked, some are embarrassed to go because of their excess sin. But it requires commitment and dedication on our part. On the Church as a whole. Meaning the entire community. There is a structure, and the structure works. There are some who cause mechanical blowouts in the structure, but you’re going to find that everywhere, like finding a bad trainer at the gym. The Gym is still a gym, but sometimes you get bad trainers.

    But the training is generally the same (speaking specifically for the Catholic Church at least – forgive me, but the Protestant idealism of once saved always saved seems to be like a looking glass you walk in front of, and instead of showing you your true self – the area’s of sin in our lives -, it only shows you a false identity of what you want to look like. Remember – working out spiritually takes an entire lifetime, and your not going to get that body unless you’ve done the work, gone to the gym, taking your nutrition seriously, and until the Good lord says “Well done my good and faithful servant” only then do you make it home. But Jesus always gives us that Hope and the means to get there. We just have to choose to do it.

    So basically we are reaching and inviting. Some of us do it in different ways, and you may need to find a trainer fit for you. But that trainer should challenge you, should work you to the point were you do feel sore, otherwise your not going to grow. There is a ton of return in all this, but sometimes we don’t want to go through the suffering and sacrifice it takes to get there.

    I leave with G.K. Chesterton, my favorite sinner seeking sainthood’s quote “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried” – G. K. Chesterton

    Hoped this helped. It’s not perfect, but fount it was my best way to articulate it.

  • Heygar Horrible

    This is an excellent article. Religion in general has evolved from its inception. My hope is for the religious to accept science as a quest for understanding and enlightenment just like most religions without the underlying control club / curiosity curbing aspects. We are all blessed with curiosity and that is at the core of every discovery we have ever made.

  • chantelle

    How about just going along side God? People don’t need a building to do what’s right or stand up for what’s right. These people that are saying the “church” will lose people if they don’t do this, or they don’t do that. How about the world quit blaming and pointing fingers, and quit waiting for who They think should be standing up for all the right things, and just Stand up for God! Choose His battles,speak His word, be His church for those in need.

  • Esteban

    My take on this article…..who cares…go!!!! Scripture talks about in the last day people will not endure sound doctrine and that will be a great falling away!! This generation has a form of righteousness but denying the power. So, I could care less….get out. Nothing but an apostate anyway!

    • robert

      Your response is confusing. Go!!! you mean to church or away from it?? Who is the apostate? The ones in church or the ones falling away from it?? Amazing how radically differently people see things these days.

  • John Lawless

    Okay since this article put forth an opinion, here is one. One lady stated, “My needs were not being met.” The definition for that position is, anthropocentric. It is important we as 21st century Christians remember (since we have evidently forgot) it is not, have never been and never will be about our needs being met. I propose a different position, theocentric. It is about bringing glory to the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of the Universe (God). God is the central reason we exist. You want to see a change in your life, your situation, and your future ask this question, “How can I bring glory to God who cared enough to send his only Son as my savior?” I spent many years complaining about my needs and what I needed. An epiphany happened one day when I took my eyes off my needs and focused on what I could do to bring glory to God.

  • Ron

    Sell the building and fire the preacher if you want to find out if you are really even the church.

  • Nick

    How is a “church plant” supposed to be apart from the Church? Biblically, we are unified under Christ as one. A church plant being considered aside from the church seems hypocritical to me.

  • Bác Doug Greene

    A well written account done in love. Let the relationship you have with Jesus be so transparent that other’s will see how much you are in love with Jesus and He with you. That is what will attract them to where you worship when invited.

  • Carole

    You are spot on. However, as someone else mentioned, you left out the angle of the mature single divorced woman who feels like an outcast. She wants to get involved but is afraid to walk in the church doors alone. In my opinion, it is agony to attend church as a once married woman. I don’t feel like I fit in…anywhere. And please don’t talk to me about singles groups. Been there done that. We need some kind of new community church where all feel welcome…and not judged.

  • Peter Chan

    Pastor Pavlovitz, you simply nailed it.

  • Courtney

    1. The church (defined in the Bible as the body of Christ – all those who follow him everywhere- that means those not attending organized religion as well) IS where the pointed finger or public spanking needs to be placed. You see, the Church is responsible for what we allow in organized religion. We are responsible for allowing extra-Biblical notions or rules slip past us. We are responsible for not taking continual spiritual inventory and dropping things that are superfluous, bad for the giving budget, or are flat out untrue. Not organized religion. For whiteout the Church, there is no organized “God fearing” religion.

    2. Do places of worship cater too much to the believer and not the unchurched? I have personally been in a church environment in Knoxville where the childcare NEVER learned my kids names. They never greeted me by name. Why? Because they were SO focused on their ministry for drug abuse, divorce, homelessness, poverty, and hunger. Yes they had a phenomenal worship team (Let everything that has breath praise the Lord – Psalm 150:6) Worship is done with talents (instruments) and praise (voices). There are those who would not come to a service without the worship. Worship draws us close to God. It focuses our hearts. Does it need to go on for 30 minutes? At our current church, we worship as long as it takes. If I want God to draw near to me I must draw near to him and I will praise him gladly anytime anyone is willing to sing of his praises with me.

    3. The message. Theology is something I could take or leave until it helps me understand why things Jesus said matter. When I know that the old testament is a story of a people and a prophecy of a man and the New is the story of a man and the fulfillment of the prophecy, I can start to see why things that used to bore me to tears are important. Such as “the son of the son of”. Are there uninspired ministers trying to just keep the faith as they struggle with spiritual writers block? Are there ministers who flat out teach the wrong thing? Are there ministers who work months and months ahead of time to prepare a series or sermon that they pray over time and again hoping that it will make a difference on not just Tuesday but every day of the week? Absolutely.
    When the church feels a minister is missing the mark, they can absolutely share that with him. He needs to know. What they shouldn’t do is abandon him. (Unless he is a false prophet and then let God deal with that lest we not be judged as harshly as we might want to judge the minister.)

    4. Making excuses for why people leave organized religion is a crutch. At the reckoning, we will all be required to make an account for our lives. If we don’t worship or serve the Lord because we couldn’t find a good church, we won’t be able to blame the buildings we attempted to attend.
    If I want change in my worship facility I can BE that change. I can invite other members into my home for a meal and make a real plan to be the hands and feet of Christ where I see a need.

    5. Is it okay for those unsure of what the Bible actually teaches and what Jesus is really calling us to do to be welcome in a worship facility (fancy or otherwise)? Absolutely! Should that person keep attending once they KNOW what the Bible dictates about certain areas of life should they decide those things do not apply to them? No. We cannot halfway follow him. If people want a life changed and they want the Love and Peace and Joy they MUST take the conviction and the death and die to themselves and their selfish desires. They must be willing to be inconvenienced and broken and truly listen when the Bible says something is unwise or flat out wrong. They must be willing to look outside of what they want or how they planned for their lives to go in order to take up their cross daily and follow him (Matthew 16:24-26) They must be IN the Word in order to know when their ministry team isn’t listening to the voice of God or following his good plans and they must be willing to be the change they wish to see.

    My life is far from easy every minute. The stretching and bending to his will over my own is so rough sometimes. The selfish nature in me to do what I enjoy over what he says is a waste of my time or a dangerous path is very strong. The thing that keeps me strong is knowing that he knows (Jesus) exactly how I feel. His own people killed him. Now those same people beg him for life. He’s been hungry, homeless, beaten, poor, tired, humiliated, and without a church that would hear him. He’s been tossed out for being perfectly perfect. Unwelcome for repeating the exact words his Father had already given the people he was coming to save.

    When we don’t like our options for a church facility/ministry we can start a new one (there is no rule that says you can’t read scripture at your house every Sabath (Sunday) with friends and fellowship and get to the real truth behind what we are called to do) or go to the leaders and express what we are feeling.

    6. Claiming that sex, drugs, and the culture isn’t to blame for their own lawlessness and Godlessness is just absurd. We are all adults. Who is responsible for me or my actions? ME! Is the Bible unclear about wisdom and making good choices and self control? Are the commandments unclear? Does the Bible not warn that lawlessness and Godlessness will be rampant? It’s not the responsibility of organized religion. It’s the CHURCH who is responsible and that means every single person alive who claims that Jesus Christ is their Lord (master) and Savior. Wrong is wrong is wrong. Nobody in a courtroom or otherwise is going to let someone say their life fell apart because the building where they attended organized religion wasn’t up to par or perfectly exemplifying the Love of Christ.

    A big fancy article placing blame won’t get anybody to Heaven and it won’t be a good excuse to give to the one who wore all of our sin on himself on a cross while his Father was unable to even look at him.

    Is organized religion sometimes stale, lacking, sad? Sure! Absolutely even. At the end of this life, I must face Jesus. I must tell him why I didn’t feed that homeless person, why I wouldn’t fellowship with people in a church because I thought they thought something bad of me, why I didn’t try to promote change. We are just as responsible for what we didn’t do as what we did do.

    If I don’t go to a church because of their worship style or their words (tell a pastor if you can’t understand him! Tell him! He needs to know!), if I don’t go because I don’t think THEY give enough to the community, if I don’t go because I haven’t decided how I feel about God’s way of doing things and I’m afraid they won’t want me there, if I don’t go because because because, am I really any better than the very thing I’m criticizing? Or, perhaps it’s a good excuse to not have to get uncomfortable?

    When people write things like this with no real “help” plan, are they stirring the pot or making peace?

    Lastly, on Chick Fil A – The Christian community wasn’t being bigots. They were defending discrimination agains what they hold to be true from their scripture.
    The “Church” didn’t get Phil Robertson a show. A&E hired them. (By the Grace of God in my opinion, but nonetheless..)

    Race baiters like the “Reverend” Jesse Jackson aren’t the representative for the “Church”.

    My prayer for anyone who reads that articles is that they ask the Lord to find them a community to worship with where their offering of themselves can multiply. I pray a revival for all who want to fellowship but don’t feel welcome or comfortable. I pray that all who have excuses why they aren’t worshiping will be comfortable getting uncomfortable and go out and be the hands and feet of Christ instead of waiting for an organized facility to come and woo them into feeling at home there. This is NOT our home. Jesus is wooing us. He is our home. Here we are to get with the others like us and go be the example of Jesus to those not like us. That includes a lost or stale or flashy or whatever kind of organized worship facility.

    (sorry if I have typos. Brad says everything I write has them) xoxo

  • Lady leto

    fantastic, i totally and completely agree. As a christian struggling with so many issues, the church just does not seem to get it.

  • It’s a good article. Of course, one of the first steps in reaching the lost is acknowledging that most of us Christians seek to follow a sin free life, but do still occasionally stumble. Unfortunately, those stumbling blocks that we fail to avoid are fodder for those who want to keep on sinning INTENTIONALLY and they use the stumbles as a shield for their purposeful defiance of the Lord. Nevertheless, we still need to realize that our stumbling blocks are stumbling blocks for those who may be watching our walk rather than our talk.

  • sv

    As a former music minister and church goer, I will agree that love is seriously lacking in the church. I have a good friend who says “Church is the only hospital who routinely kills its wounded. ” We have developed into a people who are so competitive. Denomination against denomination, church against church, theology against theology, program against program, Minister against Minister, and congregant against congregant. We have become a people who don’t reflect the one we’re named after in the effort to win some invisible prize. We spread our Christian feathers and enter into useless and often hateful debate. We kill each other to claw our way to the top of some invisible and highly coveted spiritual recognition. Our best tool is to try to discredit the competition. We tell the stories of Jesus and we sing songs and we drag Jesus name through the mud with our ignorance of what his love really looks like. We are obsessed with teaching people how to avoid sexual sin, but little is said about gossip and backbiting. Gossip is a type of murder that is not only allowed, but we create avenues like prayer chains to facilitate and make gossip spiritual. And we stand leaders up and make them confess if they have fallen into sexual sin, but we call gossips intercessors and give them honor and a platform to sin and destroy people. In church, we can’t share our struggles, and we don’t know our temptations are normal, because the blood thirsty gossips are seeking who they may devour. Instead of being able to share our burdens, we are ashamed and fear that we will get knocked off the spiritual ladder and marked for life. And so we find non-church people who don’t look down their nose at our inability to control our “thought life”. We spend a few years out of church and discover that we can put down that false front we put up to protect ourselves from the vultures, and we found a more authentic faith that isn’t motivated by fear or ambition. And when we visit churches or talk with church people, we get sick at our stomachs that nothing has changed. We feel pity. And we don’t want to get caught up again.

  • Kevin

    So on point! Pastors in lofty positions that in their minds are the end all to others opinions, thought or insight are a huge turn off. It’s sad that a person that has been given an incredible position to help others become better people only want them to become what they think is right.

  • Linda Hudson Morris

    Funny, how it is the churches in our community that are helping to feed and clothe the poor students in our neighborhoods. Whose members show up to tutor and mentor students. We have a corporation that encourages it’s workers to also help in Lead to Read programs. But it is the church goers that are helping pay bills to get heat, electricity and water back on, giving food every week, working with Harvesters to give a weekend worth of snacks to kids. Collecting and donating school supplies, coats, gloves and scarves. You only see what you want to see. Those of us in the trenches of the urban neighborhoods see the good being done by caring Christian churches. Come on in….they need all the help they can get

  • Randy

    A man left a comment that basically said the people that feel this way were not ever regenerated, or saved. To this point of view I say that God is the author of love and it is love that regenerates. It regenerates our mentality and our spirit to love in return and there is strong evidence that love even regenerates us physically. If we expect the “church” as an organization to love then it is we that are disallusioned. Love is given by people and it is given by people out where people are. Organizations can help people but they cannot love. Love has to come from people.

    Others are offended that an organizations doctrines are not fiting to their own beliefs. If we are offended by what others say and it draws us further from God then it is within ourselves that we should look. I can disagree with what someone has said without hating them or changing my relationship with God. In fact, it strengthens my relationship with God as I look to him for answers and sometimes it takes a long time to come to grip with issues but God is faithful and patient to teach.

    And to those that speak of the pride and privilage of church memebers remember that the greatest amoung us and those that serve others, Jesus’ words. As James said, true religion pure and faultless before the Father is looking after the orphans and widows and keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world. These are acts of individuals and not an organization.

    In WWIIII the prudential rule was, “when in doubt, win the war” In Gods word the prudential rule is, ” when in doubt, love.”

  • NeoracerX

    Pointing fingers and making excuses ,and complaining are not talking points.

  • GrimmEngineer

    And this is exactly why the people of the church should BE the church. No designated pastor/priest to take our money to support themselves (which is against the teachings of Christ by the way) and that’s the only one who teaches and reads the bible to use. NO. WE are the church. The Priest/Pastor should serve his position as a worthy member of the congregation. In the LDS church we call them Bishops. They are unpaid members of the congregation who are called to the duty for anywhere from one to several years as the needs of the congregation are met. There are many other callings that are filled by other members of the congregation, counselers, teachers, choristers, you name it. All voluntarily and without pay. We support each other and teach and learn from each other and follow the teachings of Christ as laid out upon the holy scriptures. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a group of individuals who set themselves on pedestals above us and fill their pockets in servitude to themselves. Jesus would have words with these people much as he threw the merchants out of the temple for turning it into a market of mockery.

  • Stewart Johnson

    Dear John (and everyone else),

    Please stop scapegoating atheists for the supposed lack of
    morality in our modern age. Most of the finest people I have ever known have
    been atheists. Why? Because we choose
    to be good, rather than being forced to be good by something that supposedly
    told you to be good – or else. Your forced charity does not hold a candle to
    our choosing to be charitable.

    Of course I realize that in your otherwise extremely well-written
    piece here, you’re not blaming us specifically, but you did include us in your
    list of usual suspects. You are thus propagating discrimination against the
    single most persecuted minority in human history: those who do not believe in
    the supernatural.

    But I do forgive you.

  • Scott

    Probably should check the actual stats before a post like this. More people are attending church on a regular basis in America than ever before. The church is the bride of Christ. I’m not too keen on someone slamming my bride. I doubt that Jesus is either.

  • Elizabeth Neely

    we need to encounter Jesus, not church, this is why I love silent Quaker worship, we encounter Jesus, He is the word made flesh. He speaks to us in the silence and through the bible. Shut up and listen, listen for the spirit. God is here, Jesus is right here with us at every moment and in everyplace we are.

  • josh

    Or you write articles and blogs about this topic. This is another one to add to your list.

  • Jeffrey Vickers

    In the book of “Acts” it is written, ” And the Lord added to the church daily those who were to be saved.” My friend, God is the one who adds to a church. We are to be faithful to Him in our lives and our calling. All the “doing ” in the world will never cause God to do that which HE isn’t directing.

  • Scott Ziegler

    Not sure what benefit there is of slamming the bride of Christ. The stats are also not accurate. While weekly attendance is down, the raw numbers of people attending evangelical churches in America is up. Frequency of attendance of all churches is down (largely due to sociological reasons and including non-evangelical groups), but the total numbers of people attending Gospel-proclaiming churches is up. Churches are made up of people, so there will be flaws. But I don’t appreciate people slamming my bride, I doubt Jesus does either. A lot of what is said in this article is pure opinion. Some of the most effective churches that are reaching their communities and seeing lives transformed and healthy growth, are doing many of the things Pavlovitz is slamming them for. That’s exactly what Jesus (and Paul for that matter) told us not to do. We are not to judge others for things that are not in Scripture. This post was painting the whole church with a broad brush, full of judgmentalism and negativity, exactly the kinds of things that if found in a church or a pastor, would drive people away.

  • Scott Ziegler

    Seriously? I wrote a comment twice with reasonable criticism of this article, and you deleted it twice. You will post an article that slams the Body of Christ but when someone adds a comment with sincere criticism of that article, defending of the Body of Christ, you censor the comment? Do you only allow comments that are supportive of your articles? That’s not operating an honest blog. That’s not real dialog.

  • Sharon Sullivan

    Well, I don’t think we should burn down the brick and mortar buildings, Joe… c’mon. We still need a place to “call home.” Someplace for the lost to “go” when they take the initiative – and you’re home, on-line. (sorry!)

    We need only to look at what worked before to keep the Church, not just growing, but thriving:

    “Then the Church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the HOLY SPIRIT. It grew in numbers, living in the FEAR of the LORD” (Acts 9:31).

    (pssst… the Holy Spirit is the missing ingredient)

    I confess, I did find this advice on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x23w6UPpmSY (Youtube: Derek Prince – The Lords Treasure – The Fear of the Lord)

  • Chris

    I’ve been a Christian for over 14 years and recently left ‘church’. I still love Jesus…
    Call me crazy but, it could be possible that the current trend may be the hand of God working on the Church. I personally do not believe that the current Church could fix any of these problems that John writes about. Do you see Christians changing their vocabulary? No way, they are going to hold on to their vocabulary at all costs. Do you see them feeding the homeless instead of going to war over a stupid reality show? While I do believe some well meaning pastors will get on here an say these problems have been fixed in their church, I doubt it. We’ve exchanged a simplistic gospel for lights, show and the american corporate model. Until that changes the Church in america will continue to see the exodus.

  • I mean, those are all very interesting points, but – in general – the mega-churches that fit the picture you describe are actually doing JUST FINE. In fact, most are growing. The churches that are steadily dying are smaller (300 or less), denominational churches. So, maybe that’s why YOU left the church, but as a diagnosis of the problem, the math just doesn’t work. The ONLY churches thriving currently look exactly as you described.

    • robert

      good point, Shannon! The article isn’t well thought out at all. It’s just one guys whiny point of view. Some of the responses here are wiser and better written that the article. Sigh

  • SOTBP Conference

    This is a correct pick lousy battles, unactive in legislative matters, act ‘blessed & highly favored’ on executive & judicial matters, yep too much literature speaking that barely get too the exact point, and they have more unadressed scandal in theirs than putting mine on the scale. What more can be a said

  • ELLIE

    The church has lost it’s way! They allow people dressed like thugs do the worship music, sounds like rap and have “night club” lights and most of the time, they are jumping around like monkeys! What ever happened to order in the church?

  • Vicki Hanes

    All I can say is, “Thank You.” I have been involved in serving the local church for over 20 years and it has come to lack meaning. I know I am part of the problem, but I thought the church was supposed to help me. All I got was the information that I need to be more mature and serving more was the way to maturity. I felt more lonely in church than I did without. It hurt to leave but it hurt more to stay. I’m now trying to redefine church by trying to be community. Praying that this is what God wants me to do.

    • robert

      You sound really sincere and I empathize with your words. I am really sorry that the church ‘let you down.’ At the moment, I’m going to a church that I’ve gone to for almost a year and I really haven’t been pressured to ‘serve’, but I’ve done it a little ’cause I wanted to. Maybe you just got burned out? idk but I’ll say a prayer for you before bed tonight. Thanks for being honest and I with you the best. blessings

      • Vicki Hanes

        Thanks Robert. Yes, the possibility is burnout, but that is partly due to the system that http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2013/april-online-only/seven-things-i-hate-about-spiritual-formation.html?start=2 requires it to “belong.” There seems to be a lack of soul care either provided by the church or encouraged by the church. When Paul wanted to visit a church it was for “mutual encouragement.” I dont seem to be finding that in a “name-over-the-door church.” Maybe I just don’t choose wisely. Almost all the membership agreements should have given me pause. They ask that I believe and do certain things to maintain the unity but the only thing the organization promises is to make sure I’m confronted in love when I get it wrong. I’m not sure those kind of promises said at a wedding between a groom and a bride would make people very confident in their relationship moving forward. I’m not sure why that is acceptable in a church. It is very possible that I have the wrong attitude, but it is also possible that God wants better for me, for all of us.

      • Vicki Hanes

        Thanks Robert. Yes, the possibility is burnout, but that is partly due to the system that requires it to “belong.” There seems to be a lack of soul care either provided by the church or encouraged by the church. When Paul wanted to visit a church it was for “mutual encouragement.” I dont seem to be finding that in a “name-over-the-door church.” Maybe I just don’t choose wisely. Almost all the membership agreements should have given me pause. They ask that I believe and do certain things to maintain the unity but the only thing the organization promises is to make sure I’m confronted in love when I get it wrong. I’m not sure those kind of promises said at a wedding between a groom and a bride would make people very confident in their relationship moving forward. I’m not sure why that is acceptable in a church. It is very possible that I have the wrong attitude, but it is also possible that God wants better for me, for all of us.

  • Stella

    Wow powerful article and much of the reason I did not go to church today. And yet, my heart knows that there are churches that fulfill much of this. I found one that loved me back to life. They were not perfect but they loved my imperfections along with everyone elses. Good people who loved God. I miss them. had to move back home last summer. Boy do I miss them. They really gave me HOPE!

    And that tithing thing… I know this may sound strange… but years ago I had a divine encounter with God who walked me through understanding this principle. In the process he took me from welfare, eviction and poverty—-To owning my own business, multiple real estate ventures, and global travel. if you want to hear the story here is a link to the testimony… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK4xwuQkZE4

  • Ronald Mcwhorter

    You get what you sow ,you get out of church,what you put into it.sow love,you reap love .Sow discord,you reap the same.Church of the Highlands ,where i attend is a life giving church,but even there,personal responsibility is required.

  • Linda Sealey

    All valid points, but number four hits home for me. We are too busy trying to make government do the church’s job to remember to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. I don’t believe in creating entitled people, but there are so many ways to help those who legitimately are going through bad times and trying to help their families. Compassion and mercy are what Jesus preached, not hatred, name-calling, and arrogance.

  • Josh

    It’s clear that this guy has a better knowledge of several churches “issues” and he’s accurate on several points. However, my problem is that we, those complaining from the inside of the religious community, are airing our dirty laundry in the presence of people who don’t realize that their many different kinds da of church and completely opposite points of view. Progressive and dare I say it liberal Christianity is not being heard. Cooperative more universal version of the old old story are the solution to these problem, not religious physical and societal iconoclasm. Unfortunately, articles like this are being reposted by Atheists who propose just that solution, a world without faith.

  • Deb

    I’m sorry, I found this article to have a bitter, biting tone to it. Having been in church ministry many years, I’m aware churches have their faults. They are full of humans. Most churches are doing the best they can. Their leaders are praying, and yes, daring to innovate. I think it is wrong to take a large brush with your criticisms and aim them at all churches. And, by the way, it could be the things you’ve listed are things you don’t like, not necessarily what’s wrong with churches. You have now used your public platform to open the floor to that which is probably most harmful to churches: fault finding based on personal preference. Please remember that if there if “stuff that needs to be said” it needs to be said in love, not in this critical, bashing, sarcastic manner.

    • Jena Perry

      as your response’s connotation implies that you read it with the same tone. Furthermore, proves his point when you choose to respond by deflection and picking of his “flawed” perspective instead of actively listening with empathy. Your fear of churches being generalized because you did when you read this , undermines the message in this essay and is generalizing itself, cause it implies everyone’s reading comprehension is performed in the same fashion like yourself.

  • Jena Perry

    Could’ve sworn Jesus wasn’t big on churches anyway. Love and develop faith however you and your relationship with God deems fit. In the end, it’s your responsibility for your actions, not the churches. Think people have become to comfortable with seeking outside of themselves, instead of turning within and meditation. It’s okay to seek advice, but ultimately, it’s still your decision and only God can judge.

  • TJ

    Wow the commenters really digressed here. I’ll just say amen to your article 110%. So often I feel guilty about my feelings towards church. This article makes me feel at least legitimized that its not just me.

  • StopJudgingOthers

    Tired of seeing so many pastors, preachers putting down and being critical of other churches and pastors and preachers for the way they choose to bring in the people to hear Gods word. Everyone is different and each may choose a different type of church or pastors way of delivering Gods word. Judging others for any reason is NOT ok if you read GODS word.

    • Nathan M.

      Judging is one thing and it is certainly prohibited scripturally. But I don’t know if we need to classify this article as judgement. It is perhaps a corrective. And if we read anything written by Paul, we should know that the church correcting itself, admonishing, encouraging and offering counsel is all normal and healthy for the Body of Christ. Not sure I’d see Pavlovitz as a prophet, but the job of a prophet is to speak the truth. Even if it hurts.

  • ura montal

    She walks into the room and sits next to you at the table. She’s
    the guest of honor tonight at the rehearsal dinner. She’s the bride, and she’s
    pretty, but not perfect. So you tell the whole table about it: her warts, her
    gas, her morning breath, her character flaws, her idiosyncrasies, and the most
    embarrassing moments of her life. You’re the brother of the bride, and tonight
    you’re going to have your fun… until the Groom takes a seat. Then what?

    Let’s extend the metaphor. Your name is John Pavlovitzl, the Bride is your sister
    the Church, and you’ve just spilled most of her weaknesses to all who are
    within earshot. And one day the Groom will sit down.

    I’m sure He’ll see that you meant to be complimentary… most of the time. I’m
    sure that He’ll see you were trying to help. But you hurt her feelings. You
    compared her to some fashion magazine cover that you think she should be, some
    composite-photo-air-brush-job that she can’t possibly be, that you think is
    beautiful–and you made her feel nasty in the process.

    You’ve besmirched her reputation in public, and you think you’re going to win
    her affection? You want her to trust you? You want to bear the ring that she
    will use tomorrow on her wedding day?

    Let’s not trade the hope we have for a Kingdom that is coming for petty
    bickering over kingdoms that won’t last. Let’s not be tools of anyone but our
    King.

  • Amy Williams

    “5. Your love doesn’t look like love.” Love that point and the way you described that. Spot on.

  • Guest

    WOW! Just WOW!
    Speechless…in the best kind of way.
    I think.

    Thank you…

  • Mel

    ….its not about you or us……its all about Jesus! Live like his sacrifice on the cross means something to you. Stop whining about how your precious need arent met….Every need we have can only be fulfilled by him. What about Gods call on your life? When will you be the hands and feet? Pull your weight? If your coming to church cause you need something don’t look to me I’ll just let you down. Keep your eyes on Jesus he will fulfill your needs.

  • ddski

    If Christ dying on the cross for your sins and a home in Heaven isn’t enough to make you stay (as He commanded) than nothing will. If you want to do more… do more.

  • Sam McCombs

    I totally agree with 1-3. However, I don’t really agree with #4. I keep seeing the kind of thinking that goes along the lines of “Because there are bigger bad things, we should ignore the smaller things.”Of course the church should tackle poverty, and freeing people from slavery… and they do. The reason you don’t hear as much about those things is because they are non-controversial. But I also think the church really should support people in the spotlight who are trying to live according to God’s Word, and get attacked for it. It’s not only an attack on Christianity, it’s also disturbingly anti-freedom to see people who don’t think like the world does being threatened like they were. All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

  • Becky

    I do see that the church has become based on “denominational rules” when none of these things will be ask of us at judgement. What will be ask is what have you done for me (not what did the church do for you). Many people complain about what the church did not do for them but in turn …what did you do for the church? That’s where happiness is found to me and that is serving not being served. How much time do we spend feeding ourselves on His word during the week rather than expecting the preacher to solve all problems in a one hour service on Sunday morning. Sometimes…we have to put in effort to become like Christ by studying and serving rather than thinking all responsibility falls on the church. A relationship is based on 100% effort on all involved and our relationship with Christ/church is no different.

  • Brett Michael Martin

    This is why I left, especially #5

  • Kay

    Sorry, but the way this article is written, makes it sound like our churches would grow like mad if we stayed silent on social issues in the world, kept out of the battle for our culture, and allowed gay marriage in our churches. Yes Sirree, that’s the way to grow! Let the world dictate our teachings, so that we can look more tolerant and loving to their sins.
    This pastor is weak and caving to society’s wicked pressure and frankly, I’m sick of weak pastors. I want the black robe regiment of the Revolutionary War times, who were not afraid to proclaim the word of God, and live their faith out in every aspect of their life, including their politics.
    We already have PLENTY of churches who want to stick their heads in the sand and be politically correct. What this world needs is more boldness to stand up for truth, more Bonhoeffers, and more Christ’s strength and courage to say what is not politically correct. Not more woos’ in our ministry leadership and congregations. Geesh. Get over yourself and care about the world enough to speak up and tell them the truth…. watering it down will get you people, but ones who won’t know or fear the one true living God of the Bible.

  • John Isom

    Anyone that things they have the answer is dreaming…..some of your suggestions are very good but saying that applies to all worshipers is naivete…

  • Dominic Zaio

    This was interesting to read because these were all things Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to do all over the world in contrast to what the churches of this world do

  • J Jonas

    Amen to all of this….thank you for your heartfelt honesty….I’m listening and hoping others inside the four-walls do too! I believe there is a place where everyone can be themselves; feeling understood and supported, encouraged. Experiencing kindness and unselfish love from humans who don’t have it all figured out but are willing to let God speak for Himself and let us get out of the way. Here’s to a new year of discovery outside the church!

  • Dominic Zaio

    These are all things Jehovah’s witnesses have been doing for years In contrast to the churches of the world today

    • Nathan M.

      As someone who grew up with a Jehovah’s Witness father, this is a really interesting comment that I kinda agree with. Obviously Witnesses have some serious problems with intellectual honesty and theological discourse, but almost across the board they are pleasant and kind people.

  • Kimberly

    John Pavlovitz, it has been interesting to watch the discussion via the comments that follow this blog post. The problem well illustrated, I think. Your post was thought-provoking for me, as well. Inside and outside of the church I know that I am failing. I’m not afraid of the issue. I am humbled by it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Looking for the solutions

    Such a bummer to see this article generate more hate amongst believers rather than encouragement and uplifting, seems like it just became another place to complain about all that is wrong and wallow in that rather than encouraging positive channge

    • robert

      I don’t really see any ‘hate’ on this thread. Disagreement, yes. But we already knew that, right? If you want to see hate, go to almost ANY youtube video and read the comments. Sickening. I see a lot of sincere people here expressing their widely differing views. Maybe that’s a positive.

  • Julie Russon

    Church for me is a place to fellowship with other believers. I need that to keep me encouraged.

  • Jake Pinon

    Me me me me me me me me. That is all I hear in this article. It’s not what you can do for God and the church, but what they can do for you. If you don’t understand something, look it up. Secondly., God DID NOT say that it would be easy to be a follower. You need to pick up your cross and follow the lord. The problem is you. You are blinded by your own needs to see the greatness of GOD’S message. The message that you are missing….

    • robert

      So true, Jake! Be blessed bro.

  • Denise L. Davis-Whitley

    I am SAVED, & FULL OF THE HOLYGHOST! And so Proud to be in the Lord!! This was an EXCELLENT! article, WOW!! Well put . . . . Touch’e indeed. This was quite refreshing! Thank you soi much for sharing your “Blog thoughts and what you are thinking with you fellow saints.

  • Jassius

    I admit that on the first page I too was agreeing with many items that the author specified, and I continued on hoping that to compliment his many criticisms of the church, there would be an equal effort to offer real life solutions. (“By their fruit you will know them”.) No such attempt was made. There are several items that bothered me in this article and that I do not agree with. Before I list them, I thank the author for his input and for having the discussion open. 1) I have not shared the same “judgmental” attitude in “every” church that I have attended. I wish that the author had made it clear that this is not only not that case in every church, but it is not the case in MOST churches. 2) While he points out that over ALL denominations combined there is a drop off in attendance, in some areas there is quite substantial church growth. 3) Oddly enough the church growth is being experienced in those churches that have not compromised the faith to “tolerate” those who are clearly violating the will of God. And likewise, shrinkage is being experienced in those denominations that have. 4) Around page 2 the author gives the impression that a person’s eternal fate is left entirely in the hands of the church. This is not the case. A person’s salvation is an issue between that person and his/her creator. The church is simply a body of believers who gather together with that common thread. The church is NOT responsible for the soul of another; the person carrying that soul is. This is where we seem to have lost touch with the idea of personal responsibility. 5) The author seems to conclude that most churches do no outreach whatsoever. I will tell you that I have lived in 7 different states and I have never been a part of a church that did not have active and ongoing outreach. 6) The author states that “what happens Sunday morning, doesn’t help on Tuesday afternoon” or something similar. Every church that I have been part of had church on Sunday morning and evening, Wednesday night, Bible study on Thursdays, outreach (some other day), and several other activities throughout the week. Again – personal responsibility. If you don’t want to be a Sunday-only believer…… then don’t be one. 7) To the author and others struggling with their experiences in church: I too have been in churches that I did not feel comfortable in – for one reason or another – but instead of quitting all churches everywhere, I simply drove down the road and tried out another one (and perhaps another) until I found the place that God needed/wanted me to be. It was really that simple. If you are a person who quit God because of a bad experience in church, I say.. keep trying. Did you quit eating after your first bad experience at a restaurant? I pray that God guides you where you need to be. And one more note: We are all lost. You don’t need an awkward tattoo, or an nontraditional past relationship, or a prior drug arrest to be at the point in your life when you understand that God has called you out – we all fall short of the glory of God. And yes Jesus associated with the sinner and the prostitute, but when he did they repented and he sent them away to “go and sin no more”. …. It is my opinion that this post is a negative rant against “the church” as a whole, an attempt to completely circumvent the immeasurable good that most churches do, and overall damaging to any would-be new believer. I pray the author will post a follow-up with greater wisdom than displayed herein.

    • disqus_hjv0AHZHnk

      Excellent!!!!

    • robert

      What you wrote is so much better than the article!! I agree wholeheartedly, and it makes me feel better. Duh, if one APPLIES what he hears on Sunday, he (or she) will live VERY differently the rest of the week! I think it’s called being a doer of the word, and not a hearer only. The author unfortunately appears to be just a whiner (not a ‘veteran’) with no solutions, just a repackaging of the problem. I wish him the best however. Regarding your last sentence, probably he won’t post a follow-up with greater wisdom because he doesn’t possess it. Yet. I hope I’m wrong about that.

  • David

    God is love, and the only place you can find true forgiveness for ANYTHING you’ve done. God hates sin, but does not hate the sinner. He loves all, freely, but will NOT let His blessings flow in your life so long as you do not place your faith in Him to free you from the burdens that sin place on your life. We ALL sin, we ALL will continue to sin. God in His grace and mercy forgives all sin. Now, saying all that, God also tells us to, in not so many words, to be INVOLVED in church. So many people “just show up” and expect, “ok God, here I am, fix me, love me, bless me, touch me, make me feel good”. Well, that ain’t how it works! God desires a relationship with his people, and a relationship my friend, is a two way street. And as in every relationship, the work must be put in. So all I am saying is your only gonna get out of it what you put in. JFK had a famous line from a speech that I will alter a smidge, Ask not what God can do for you, but what you with God can do for others. If you work for God, and do it with the heart of God, you will find what you seek. Church gives all of us the avenue, we just have to decide if we will submit to letting God drive.

  • David Benson

    I couldn’t agree more when he speaks about the contemporary services and attemots to turn church into social clubs

    Here is the problem I have with the article…

  • Tony Cota

    Heck! He’s right! SILLY

  • Home Fried Southern Baptist

    Bigotry and Racism? Not nearly as big of a problem as all the unborn babies being killed in the womb. And where are all these cushy churches with coffee bars? I would like to go see one. Is there one near The Villages, FL ???

  • Brother Amartey

    This, among many others, is why we need revival, and revival is coming and everything that needs to be shaken, will be shaken!!!!!!

  • qwerty

    I’m so disheartened to see that the comments have become exactly what the author was talking about.

  • John Briggs

    Really appreciated this article. I believe it’s spot on. In fact I can identify so clearly with with what John has captured here, I almost feel that I could have written it. In some ways I’ve lived it. I have chosen to distance myself from the organized church after many years of faithful participation. My challenge now is to find a way to ‘be the church’ as Jesus intended. I’m sharing my thoughts and perspectives here: johnhbriggs.com. Thanks for the article!

  • Logan

    Just curious if the author is writing about the church where he serves, or is he simply heaping criticism on the rest of God’s Bride or is he also owning these asserted failure’s. Again, I’ll reiterate two things: 1) this blatant criticism of the Lord’s Body is better stated by or from the pulpit as correction and ecouragement to that Body for their failure, incompetence or concluded ineffectiveness, and 2) the lost and unbelieving and rebelliousness that attend the Church seem to prefer to criticize rather than change…oh lest we forget the lost and unbelieving will NEVER appreciate, accept or understand the Biblical church words we use, IF they don’t first love Jesus Christ. So let’s caution ourselves about concluding that’s the problem. Many unbelieving will listen but never Hear and do and blame God’s Church all along the way…

  • Doug144

    I think the problem is that we are all broken people. and we go to church hoping the church people will fix us but only God can fix us. The church is made of broken/messed-up people just like the one that the article is about. We go to church to commune with God and get support from the others there. Seeing other people that realize they also need God gives us courage and assures us that we are not alone. My #1 rule is to rely on God. Not the church. Not he government. Satin would want us to rely on anything but God.

  • Robt Beowulf

    This is a compelling thing to read. However, it’s not convincing either. It reads as an excerpt of the Gospel Americana and this society has been so effective with presenting new and various ways of worship, church, prayer, traditions and evangelisism in its short history. I am altogether skeptical and think Americans have pumped more heresay into Christianty then 1500 years of the Catholic Church. Good luck.

  • Jason Eden

    John – great article. I have to say, though, as one who recently walked away from the church, a big part of it is that the “disillusioned follower” may well be discovering that there is no reason to actually believe in God, or Jesus as deity, etc. That doesn’t mean we have to give up the whole love ideal – in fact, in some ways, not believing in a supernatural overseer has allowed me to be *more* loving in many ways than I otherwise might have been. It just means we get truly honest and daring with our disillusionment and, like Rob Bell, live a life without such belief and see what happens. Interestingly, the sky doesn’t fall. :) Regardless, though, I love the sentiment in your writing, and believe the entire religious world would be better (and more effective) if they took heed to your words. Best of luck to you in your endeavors!

  • robert

    An 18-year ‘veteran.’ Gimme a break. You could be like 36 and have that much experience in ministry. Doesn’t make you any kind of a ‘veteran.’ Most of this is just stating the obvious, grouping ‘problems’ into nifty paragraphs. There may be a lot of truth in these observations, but that’s all they are. No meaningful spiritual solutions are offered. Just adding to the real problem. Too surfacy.

  • Tonya Allen

    People aren’t leaving the church because of lights, contemporary worship music, new buildings, or pastors
    with big visions to reach the lost and dying culture. If you study churches that are trying to be inviting to people who otherwise wouldn’t come to church, what harm is there in that? It is posts and cynical, narrow-minded bashings like this that is a “lousy battle” and a major part of why lost people don’t want anything to do with church. Geez. Support each other. And do some research. I go to a church like this and have gone deeper with God in the year I’ve been there than in my whole saved life. I’ve seen over 100 people get saved in one year, people delivered from extreme bondage, and no, it wasn’t the coffee or cushy couch; it was Jesus and He’s not too snooty to show up there because He cares and He does WHATEVER it takes to reach the lost. Go study Church of the Highlands which has Easter services where 4,000+ get saved and have grown to over 30,000 and then blog about this divisive nonsense.

  • vickiep

    You obviously haven’t been to Free Chapel. I was received with love, encouraged, and never saw or felt what you are talking about. The anointing of the Lord makes all the difference!

    • robert

      Yes it does! funny how the presence and power of the Lord, the anointing, is never mentioned in these whiny complaining articles.

  • D Waters

    I know that this is true for many places, and that truth varies from place to place as well. For the hurt and longing individual all I can is don’t judge God by the church and don’t judge all churches by one. In most cases there are numerous options for finding a church home. I encourage browsing, not just churches but denominations too. If your ultra conservative, you have options, if your uber liberal you also have options. Find what is comfortable and welcoming for you.

  • Nathan M.

    Most of the ideas presented here are good and worthy of consideration. I would hesitate, though, to say that the church needs to speak in a tongue that outsiders can understand.

    This notion is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes total sense, because for most people technical and exclusive language probably won’t win anyone over. When Jesus wasn’t giving the Pharisee’s a headache, he spoke to other people in language that I would consider both plain and relatable. On the other hand, this mentality, that we have to make Christianity this super-relatable thing, is at least partly responsible for a lot of the other problems in this list. Why have we tried to make awesome Sunday productions? Because people can relate to that. Why have we dressed our churches up as coffee shops and shopping malls? Because people can relate to that. Why have we created a facile Christian “counter-culture”? Because we want people to think that we are just like they are. This striving for relateability has been extremely problematic in Evangelical culture for the past 40ish years.

    But beyond the tension above, I think Christians need to be somewhat realistic about the fact that though there is great simplicity in our faith (faith, hope, and love), there is also immense complexity; yet another paradox in a religion almost overwhelmed by them. If someone asks you seriously why Jesus’ death on the cross takes away his/her sins, then you are going to have to talk to them about complex ideas, covenantal systems, OT iconography, etc, etc. Obviously there are ways to make those heavy concepts approachable, but I don’t think we should pretend that these concepts are anything but exclusive to Christianity and neither do I think we should pretend that we don’t need complex words in order to express these complex ideas. Christianity wouldn’t be the only religious/philosophical system to employ technical terminologies in order to express very exclusive and intricate ideas. I’m not saying we need opaque language and inscrutable ideas about soteriology to come to Jesus, but at some point Christians, anyone who is serious about their belief, are going to have to come face to face with difficult, sometimes off-putting ideas. And if we want to present these ideas, both to believers and non-believers alike, we can gracefully explain the protoevangelium or the nature of progressive revelation in the Mosaic Law. And if you are a Christian, it’s not such a horrible thing to know what a concordance is.

  • robert

    The very title of this article is arrogant and all-knowing. I’m always skeptical of ‘here’s the real reason for this’ and ‘here’s the seven steps to that.’

  • Julian Whiting

    Brilliant and very well written.
    Julian http://www.nestedevents.org

  • Janet

    The thing is…. we are the church, everyone of us – ecclesia…the called out ones. Who are we pointing the finger at? If we are leaving the church…What does that mean? If you are part of the church which you become when you’re born again, then what?

  • ColoradoGirl

    Just chuckling after reading this article, then reading the comments and arguments that followed.. A perfect example of how people’s religion and belief’s somehow make them “right” and give them some moral power to look down on someone who’s views and beliefs are different. Then the whole focus becomes “who’s more right?!” NONE of us comes even close to deserving what God has done for us. Doesn’t matter how you believe about tithing, The Book of Mormon, or anything else. The church is for sinners. We’ve all sinned and come short. Some Sins are easier to see than others.. But my job is to keep looking towards my God who loves me despite all my sins, and to show His love to all around me. If we focused on that instead of getting de-railed by the trivial things that suddenly turn into heated, sanctimonious arguments, we might be able to get out of God’s way and let Him do the work.

  • Pastor

    This is a great article and as a pastor I recognise all these elements. However, I don’t see the people as is reflected in the pastor – congregation picture. I feel like the people. I am also sick, tired and frustrated by the status quo. There needs to be a dynamic where the christians, including the pastor recognise the problem and encourage each other with love and acceptance instead of pointing a finger (ether way). We are all in the same boat!

  • joe

    No… the reason why people are leaving churchs is because they are catching on the the lies, the bible bull shit, and the hypocrisy.

  • jan

    Is Theresa a Dutch version of Thialf article available?

  • jan

    Is it possible to get a Dutch version of this article?

  • Ted Kosta

    I think you all spend to much time thinking about god, spirit, afterlife and infatuated and obsessed with sex and other peoples sex! That you have completely disassociated with humanity and all its complexities, complexities you are quick to judge and condemn, instead of understand and except…you all build monuments (churches) and think its where god is, you all use the word “love” but hate is the action that follows, you all refuse to evolve to modern life but secretly over indulge in hypocrisy and the trappings that modernity…Not one of you including your pastors, preachers, cardinals and popes have ever had direct and clear communication with the lord in 2,000 years not one!!! Yet you all seem the know exactly what god wants, doesn’t want, loves or condemns! None of your teachings incapsulates the whole of humanity and or respect individuals life and dignity, but out right condemning people on differences because of a book written by men that are so easily corrupted and selfishly promote their own ideals above all ells, especially in the absence of a uncommunicative and inactive god! You people are great illuminating beacons of rubbish, you allow someone ells to have power over your personal journey and spiritual development. Those people with there own agendas are corrupting your spirit and misleading you all to do and think and behave in a dehumanising fashion and all in gods name! No wonder god has not once communicated directly with his representatives on earth, my guess is because your all not worthy! True communication with god is a humbling experience, in your living room, backyard, beach, in nature anywhere where you feel a connection, sit yourselves down and meditate (learn to meditate people) allow the god energy to flow through you, connect with it, none of you are connected to your god through honesty and simplicity, you’ve all fallen into the trap of worshiping idols, paying money to pay of your sin’s, and all it does is make church richer! You don’t need scripture to teach you morality or right from wrong, you all know it, its inside yourselves and the answers to challenging issues are also within you and you don’t need some hate mongering preacher to tell you! You should be able to have a conversation with god and come to your own conclusion…I would also like to ad that having an opinion on other peoples choices is rude! What grown consenting people do is not for you to gossip, opinionated or judge, so just mind your own business and have faith that majority of people regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexuality are raised by good and moral people and that morality has been passed down and inherited by the person, the only time it comes into question is when you people label them demonstrable otherwise, up to that point they were good, kind people! Religious institutions with hierarchal pyramid structures are only designed for power and the elevation of people within those structures, god does not live there! God is everywhere but not there! Learn to look within yourselves, learn to see the good in people, learn to respect and honer people, learn equality and humbleness and learn to mind your own businesses.

  • Whaleii

    I’ve said the same thing for years and a church I went to just closed it’s doors for good, but people don’t hear me at all, I guess I have to be a T.D Jakes type to be heard, keep preaching truth my brother!!!

  • this isn’t okay

    And what on earth gives you the moral right to sit there and judge the ideologies and way of live of millions of people around the world. If a similar article was written about any other religion there would have been outrage, yet it’s okay to attack Christians because they’re the old white guys blinded by privilege aren’t they? I’m Christian and I find this article very offensive.

  • thinkitdoit

    Your very first line has a chidlike grammatical error….difficult to take you seriously after that.

  • this isn’t okay

    Also, John Pavlovitz, please stop calling yourself a pastor it’s very hypocritical, and downright confusing. You’re taking advantage of a title you clearly don’t embody to enhance your ‘wildcard factor’

  • Joe T

    Great post…. And then unfortunately I start scrolling through the comments and lose my mind all over again. Most not even related to the content and actually prove the validity of the content…. Most are sick of I’m right and you are wrong…. That’s why we are leaving! If you are struggling with organized religion, as I, even after having been a pastor for over 15 years, I reccomend “Leaving Church” and “Alters in This World” by Barbara Brown Taylor…. Again great blog post!

  • Representative

    Dear Mr. Palovitz,
    As a minister, a female, an African Amerian, a Democrate and a former sinner saved by Grace, I would like to respond on behalf of the Church that I know.
    Firstly, I suspect that the supposed decline in church participation is much like the manufactured crisis of education- an illusion created by those seeking to gain profit by weaving a tapestry of fear. In education, big businesses and politicians waiting with giddy anticipation,salivating at the mouth for an opportunity to break through the glass ceiling that once protected education and dig their paws of greed into the billions associated with education. This was done by pointing the figure of blame at the very people who were seeking to help. With church, what is at stake is the millions of souls longing for spiritual seeking solace in a world of sadness and the the robbers are those with an agenda of distruction hoping to draw sould into darkness. Misery loves company. But, if I understand the longitudinal data, this battle has been raging sins the appearance of the first temple and the result still has not changed- the gates of hell will not prevail.
    Now, lets get to your points. Much like the fudged assessment data associated with education, the fudge numbers associated with church decline leave out the millions of individuals who connect with church through video streaming and podcasts and blogtalks and yes, televangelist! Understand that the Universal Church is bigger than the four walls that you are seeking to contain it to. A decline in those counted as present in the building does not equate to a decline in the universal church of God.
    my antiquated language again. Let me make it plain. Open your ears and heart and you shall understand.
    Next, while there is truth in the need to reach further than the four walls of a building and truely seek the lost, We are silently but stedfastly taking permeating the walls of the world. Check out your facebook page, your instagram, your twitter accounty. We are there in vast number. It may take us a moment to make the shift, but we have until the end of time; we will get there! Oh and by the way, can we please acknowledge that a church is made of people and if those people which to build a grand temple in honor of the God that we server there is nothing biblical that speaks against this (much like you build a comfortable home to live in). Most of us, not all, understand that the greatest temple is the temples of our body that contain the Spirit of God and acts as a living testimony to the greatness of God. And, I must admit many of our counter parts have chosen to wage battle openly on the sinner instead of the sin. That is unfortunate. And, it is also true that we appear silent regarding the bigger issues. Yet, please realize that appearances can be deceiving. Many of us wage war through our prayer lives which have more power than 100000 protesters. Remember the Civil Rights protest were successful because they were supported by prayer.
    Lastly, please understand that we don’t hate you. We hate what sin is doing to you, to us. We love you. When you finally get tired of sin and hate it too, remember that you are loved. We may be bad at showing it but we do love you and will welcome you home. Finally, please do not join the ranks of those who are using the religion as a toool for political gain. Thankfully, most of us can decipher fact from fiction. Glad to know that you haven’t lost faith in God, you just want us to adjust to be more tolerant of sin. Unfortunately, based upon the Word of God, we cannot make that shift and still be called faithful. We can however work on our image, reign in our renagades and keep the porch light on for you when you are ready to come and join us in the the war against evil and help us use better weapons and devise better battle plans. We love you. Love You Always, A Representative From the Body

  • A Representative

    Sorry about the misspellings in my earlier post. Here is a cleaner version of my response.

    Dear Mr.
    Palovitz,

    As a minister, a female, an African American, a Democrat and a former sinner
    saved by Grace, I would like to respond on behalf of the Church that I know.

    Firstly, I
    suspect that the supposed decline in church participation is much like the
    manufactured crisis of education- an illusion created by those seeking to gain
    profit by weaving a tapestry of fear. In education, it is big businesses and
    politicians waiting with giddy anticipation, salivating at the mouth for an
    opportunity to break through the glass ceiling that once protected education
    and dig their paws of greed into the billions associated with education. This
    was done by pointing the figure of blame at the very people who were seeking to
    help. With church, what is at stake is the millions of souls longing for
    spiritual solace in a world of sadness, and the robbers are those with an
    agenda of destruction hoping to draw souls into darkness. Misery loves company.
    But, if I understand the longitudinal data, this battle has been raging since
    the appearance of the first temple and the results still have not changed- the
    gates of hell will not prevail.

    Now, let’s
    get to your points. Much like the fudged assessment data associated with
    education, the fudge numbers associated with church decline leave out the
    millions of individuals who connect with church through video streaming and
    podcasts and blog talks and yes, televangelist! Understand that the Universal
    Church is bigger than the four walls that you are seeking to contain it to. A
    decline in those counted as present in the building does not equate to a
    decline in the universal church of God.

    Next,
    while there is truth in the need to reach further than the four walls of a
    building and truly seek the lost. We are silently but steadfastly permeating
    the walls of the world. Check out your Facebook page, your Instagram, your
    twitter account. We are there in vast numbers. It may take us a moment to make
    the shift, but we have until the end of time; we will get there! Oh and by the
    way, can we please acknowledge that a church is made of people and if those
    people wish to build a grand temple in honor of the God that they serve, there
    is nothing biblical that speaks against this (much like you build a comfortable
    home to live in). Most of us, not all, understand that the greatest temple is
    the temples of our body that contain the Spirit of God and acts as a living
    testimony to the greatness of God. And, I must admit many of our counter parts
    have chosen to wage battle openly on the sinner instead of the sin. That is
    unfortunate. And, it is also true that we appear silent regarding the bigger
    issues. Yet, please realize that appearances can be deceiving. Many of us wage
    war through our prayer lives which have more power than 100000 protesters.
    Remember the Civil Rights protest were successful because they were supported
    by prayer.

    Lastly,
    please understand that we don’t hate you. We hate what sin is doing to you, to
    us. We love you. When you finally get tired of sin and hate it too, remember
    that you are loved. We may be bad at showing it, but we do love you and will
    welcome you home. Finally, please do not join the ranks of those who are using religion
    as a tool for political gain. Thankfully, most of us can decipher fact from
    fiction. Glad to know that you haven’t lost faith in God; you just want us to
    adjust to be more tolerant of sin. Unfortunately, based upon the Word of God,
    we cannot make that shift and still be called faithful. We can ,however, work
    on our image, reign in our renegades and keep the porch light on for you when you
    are ready to come and join us in the war against evil and help us design better
    weapons and devise better battle plans. We love You, Always, A Representative from
    the Body

  • Sherry Wilmoth

    Someone added this site on my Facebook page and I thought it was wonderful. Then I went to the comments and, low and behold, what did I find! The “church” in all its dogma glory. Not love, not compassion, not Grace, just the regular old church. If you want to know what the church should be, just read Christ’s teachings. I’m not a Catholic and never will be, but Pope Francis has it more right than anything I’ve read here.

  • shannon

    Based on everything that I have read above, all of you have convinced me to stay home from church. You all follow different branches of Christianity that were started from different mortal mens interpretation of the Bible,and then scream back and forth at each other about who is right. Maybe the lost sheep are the ones of other religions other than Christianity? Maybe this fighting is another reason why people have left the church? Maybe, all of a sudden, religion is starting to look a lot like different aisles in politics. This is sickening. the article was cool. The comments are pretty horrible.

  • Sean Wilson

    Sounds like you have been hurt..will keep you in our prayers. Jesus is always the answer and he builds his church.

  • Whit

    Here is my opinion……As a woman with 2 children and husband, I have always been faithful to God. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, even filed for divorce this year. But one thing I have learned is that no matter what church I attend, God always takes care of me and my family. For years I struggled thinking that the “church” owed me something until the day I lost my dad! Talk about a wake up call! We are not promised tomorrow. We are all human. Church isn’t about the people, the activities, or even the needs…….it’s about what we as humans can do to have a spiritual walk with Jesus. I was on the women’s committee, praise team, mission committee, but none of that seemed to be what I needed! So I decided to do what God called me to do as a young girl. I started an “OPEN CLOSET” that would help the people in my church and surrounding communities. We collected clothes, shoes, toys, household items, all of which was slightly used. It became something that was suppose to be small, but God had bigger plans for us! Now we help over 100 families….about 300 people! If churches have hurt you in some way, not done what you think it should for you, think about what you can do for GOD! I know that “people” in church often seems to hurt us, but we have to become better at helping ourselves than expecting the church to help us. God has his own timing. We may think we need something but do we actually “NEED” it or want it? We shouldn’t be so quick to judge the church when we aren’t doing anything but downing it. It’s a place to gather, worship, praise God for what he has blessed us with. For the past 5 months I have not been active in my church due to thinking people will judge me for my mistakes. Honestly, I have judged myself because I knew I wasn’t living right and I had to find my way back to Jesus. So today, if you are struggling with something or have a problem with your church, call your pastor or go see him! Many times what you are feeling, your pastor is feeling the same way! Just my thoughts on all this. Have a blessed day!

  • Jamey Baxter

    I am appalled at the tithing arguments made here. Why argue and make statement about you “only having to give back x%”, so that is all you give. It is no surprise that most people with the gift of “gifts” and many with “service” give over and above that. It is amazing when you give off of your gross, that you learn to be more disciplined. Don’t let God be an afterthought “expense”, but make God a top-line priority.

    For those of you who are unemployed – you have the gift of TIME to donate. You are not working, so go be a good steward of your time. Parents using child care or nursery services – you can also give back by serving in those areas, since we all know finances are tight on most young families.Time is something we ALL have, that is by is very definition limited, but do not use to its fullest as a giveable resource.

    On the acceptance of all with love, as Jesus did. YES! However, that love comes with a price, and that price is CHANGE. Jesus didn’t tell the sinners to keep sinning. Jesus didn’t tell the prostitute to stay in prostitution. Jesus DEMANDED change. Jesus didn’t embrace sin. Jesus embraces the sinner and CONFRONTED the sin. I do not think people realize how in-your-face Jesus was in calling out and confronting the sin in people’s lives. No beating around the bush, straight to the point, change your ways.

  • S. Hankins

    Amen. I once was a youth group leader, a children’s chapel leader and a lay person. Until the day the pastor advised me to stay with my abusive husband. That was just the icing on my cake, too many things to list. I am still very much in love with God I just don’t need a frocked human to tell me what is right. I do miss the kids and the occasional spiritual boost but I can do that myself.

  • kellyshops

    I was a single lady for a long time. I didn’t feel like there was a place for me in church. They all expected me to want to teach a Sunday School class. I didn’t. I wanted to fellowship and learn with adults. Also, I had few examples in the Bible of women who were never married with no kids. I couldn’t explain the loneliness I felt in church. I didn’t feel as left out going to a movie or eating in a restaurant alone.

  • devin

    Great job. An accurate summary of what i tell people every time they ask why i dont go to church.

  • Sherry Wilmoth

    I loved this article. The Pastor really gets it! Then I started reading the comments and – low and behold – there was “The Church.” Consumed by petty differences. Just goes to show, people just don’t get Love, Compassion, Grace, WWJD (what would Jesus do). My suggestion is: Study what Jesus said and then practice that. If you do that, you will truly begin to understand what “The Church” should be.

  • Danie

    The “failings” of The Church as you call it is the “failings” of humankind. No matter which church you go to, you will find people with flaws and leaving one for another is pointless! All religions teach you to love God and do kindness to others. Wherever you go if you follow these principles, you are a “good” human being. Period! God knows your soul and your agony in whatever situation. Trust Him and do the best that you can wherever you are. You will find “fault” and “sin” everywhere for none of us are Godly: pastors, ministers, rabbis, etc. .. but all pretend to know the truth and be the best and only. Let God be your judge and theirs but try to do what is right and Your God will know You !

  • Norm

    Good points, but I left because of the lack of honesty among Christians. Nothing like being financially ruindd by good “Christians” to leave a long-lasting bad taste in your mouth. And, the reality is that as long as a crook goes to church and pays his tithes, the church is totally willing to look the other way.

  • Harvey Black

    If all your church offers is a slick production then I would agree with point #1 but rsch church needs to find what God has called them to and then do it. For some like Hillsong that is bands, lights, productions and for some it is just the opposite. The way it is written makes it sounds a little like sour grapes.

  • David Odegard

    Meh. Not a very good article.

  • DV

    Disagree with this article completely. People ARE more interested in sex, drugs, greed, etc. The reason they aren’t going to church is because it makes them feel convicted and contradicts their lifestyle. Believe me. I was a devout Christian for 15 years, eventually lost my faith and became Atheist, and after 7 years have decided to reaffirm my faith and values. I participated in all of the degenerate behavior and came out feeling unfulfilled. There IS an active plot against not only the church, but against the white Christian family unit as well. It has been the most successful structure in human history. Western civilization was built from this unit. People have begun to give in. Evil and degeneracy is winning. Clever people have found ways to make people give in, with fears of being labeled as bigots, racists, intolerant, etc. Dont be afraid to stand up for what you believe. In the end you will be able to say you stood by your values and didn’t give into those who seek to destroy you.

  • David Learn

    I kept waiting for the writer to say something I haven’t said a thousand times already. Never happened.

    And if I’m saying this, and he’s saying this, and other people are saying this …

    There’s another problem.

  • Stormie Kirby

    Satan is love.

    If Satan can’t convince you to live for him, he’s okay with you being a Christian… he actually WANTS you to be a Christian.

    But not the kind of Christian Jesus calls you to be. No, the kind of Christian he’s ok with you being is the one that doesn’t really abstain from much of anything…the one that’s accepting of everyone and everything…the one that has bought into the lie that love is about leaving truth unspoken, about letting people live however they want (because telling them the truth is unkind, and love is kind).

    “Come just as you are” is a popular motto for churches nowadays, and I love it! Because I believe that no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, my God is a God of open arms…a God who says everyone is welcome. But Satan’s plan is for churches to embrace a “LIVE just as you are” motto. He wants you to believe that you can live any way you please and still make it to Heaven, because God is love. (He wants you to believe this because he wants you to spend eternity in Hell with him.)

    Many preachers today are saying, “Look, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Following Jesus is the easiest thing in the world. He loves you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

    And because I love you, I have to tell you the truth…they’re lying to you. Jesus taught that on the other side of a narrow gate, is a narrow way. That’s what it took for you to get saved, it’s even harder to stay saved. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life…”

    If we could all do whatever we wanted (as long as we loved God and others), what would be the point of salvation? As followers of Christ we are called to give up everything, to sacrifice, to rid ourselves of ourselves. In 2014, it still takes living a holy and separated life to be saved.

    Acceptance cannot be confused with love. Yes, God loves us at all times, even when we aren’t deserving (which we never are)…but that doesn’t mean He accepts who we are at all times. Acceptance is defined as agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation. How can we believe or agree with the sin of this world? 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them…” Once we start accepting sin, we start defending sin. We are called to be in the world but not of the world.

    God wants us to love people and to see people the way He sees them. He wants to use us to save this world from total darkness, and bring them into His light. We can only do so by being set apart. Matthew 5:13 says, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savior, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing…”

    We must fight daily to retain our savor, our purity. We must press forward, clinging to our standards of holiness, remembering all the while that we are called to be the light of this world. If in these last days, we lose courage and choose to blend in with the world…if we tell others that living however they want is perfectly okay as long as they go to church and declare Jesus as their Savior, because none of us are perfect and Jesus accepts us for who we choose to be…how are we going to change their lives? We won’t. And they’ll never truly be transformed. And when we stand before God in judgment, their blood will be on our hands.

    Ok, back to this whole “love is kind” thing for a moment. To be kind means to be considerate, helpful, loving. So if I don’t tell people the truth because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, and I in turn cause them to be eternally damned…how have I helped them? HOW IS THAT KIND?? We are called to speak the truth in love, yes, but we MUST speak it. THAT is love… THAT is kind.

    Galatians 5:29-21: Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    You know what that is? Truth. And love. Real love, not Satan’s pseudo love. Satan’s aim is to land you in Hell. My aim is to see you dance on streets of gold.

    We’re humans, and sometimes we are lousy. We are imperfect beings striving for perfection. Paul said, “I press toward the mark.” Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again…” Abraham fell. Noah fell. David fell. Many of our Biblical heroes fell into sin. But they got up and reversed course. They didn’t stay in sin. They didn’t LIVE in sin.

    Along the journey we will make mistakes. We may fall a time or two or a thousand times. Thankfully, His mercies are brand new daily and His grace is sufficient. But we cannot stay in sin. We cannot live a life of sin.

    Romans 12:1-2 (NLT): And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

    Romans 14:12: So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    God is love and loves you for who you are. The thing is, He loves you too much to leave you that way.

    There is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun. Walk uprightly, my friends.

    See full article at http://stormiekirby.virb.com/blog

  • adam

    Please read this and tell me if I’m off base. I’ll share with you one mans reason why people are leaving the church.

    1. Faith is faith and can’t be argued with. I can have faith anything and you can’t argue it because I believe. I believe I can fly! I don’t need to prove my faith anymore than religions need to prove God. My belief is enough.
    2. What would your child have to do to you for you to want to torture them for one second let alone all of eternity, because they lost faith in you as a father?
    3. Considering #2 above, isn’t being a Christian like being in an abusive relationship? Love me or else.
    4. If you are doing something for reward or punishment, you don’t need religion, you need empathy.
    5. Beliefs don’t change facts. Facts should change beliefs. The mountains don’t care if you believe in them in order for them to be real.
    6. Everything is open for discussion. Including religion. Nobody owns a conversation.
    7. You think there is a God and I know there is no God. You’re belief is based on
    faith much like a child has faith in Santa. My knowing is based on empirical
    and provable evidence. Much like reality. I don’t care that your wrong. I only
    get upset when you spend my money on your mistake.
    8. Living my life the way Christians are supposed to instead of the way they do, is the
    best argument for Atheism that I can make.
    9. Taking #8 into consideration, some of the best, caring, loving, giving, philanthropic people I know, have no belief. Why? Because they have to carry their “sins” around on their shoulders every day of their life. They don’t get to “be sorry” for them. They don’t get to be forgiven. So they don’t “sin” like most Christians.
    10. Have you been raised to believe that “sin” is inevitable and part of our human condition? You know, the Adam and Eve story? Wrong.

    11. These are thoughts I’ve had for years. This from a former Christian who’s doing so much more for the world now than I ever did. What changed me? Going into the Army instead of the Seminary. Combat. The human condition. I’d love for someone to answer some of my points without quoting scripture. Scripture was written by iron age man on papyrus, 3rd person through a spirit and then approved by Catholics to be bound in a book.

  • Priscilla Koenig

    We are all sinners who need to be forgiven by God. We ask God to forgive us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross to be our punishment for all the bad things we do to offend God. Once we are forgiven of our sins, do we keep on sinning deliberately and believe God will bless us with this kind of rebellious attitude? Of course not. We get together with other believers to encourage each other not to sin and to help each other to stay in fellowship with God. Does this mean we don’t sin anymore? Of course not because we are still human but the difference is we are sorrowful (or should be) for doing those things that offend God. Sin is not condoned, it is encouraged to be forsaken and repented of. That is what church is all about (or should be). Should the church pretend that sin no longer offends God? Then we are no longer a church.

  • Stormie Dawn Kirby

    Satan is love.

    If Satan can’t convince you to live for him, he’s okay with you being a Christian… he actually WANTS you to be a Christian.

    But not the kind of Christian Jesus calls you to be. No, the kind of Christian he’s ok with you being is the one that doesn’t really abstain from much of anything…the one that’s accepting of everyone and everything…the one that has bought into the lie that love is about leaving truth unspoken, about letting people live however they want (because telling them the truth is unkind, and love is kind).

    “Come just as you are” is a popular motto for churches nowadays, and I love it! Because I believe that no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, my God is a God of open arms…a God who says everyone is welcome. But Satan’s plan is for churches to embrace a “LIVE just as you are” motto. He wants you to believe that you can live any way you please and still make it to Heaven, because God is love. (He wants you to believe this because he wants you to spend eternity in Hell with him.)

    Many preachers today are saying, “Look, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Following Jesus is the easiest thing in the world. He loves you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

    And because I love you, I have to tell you the truth…they’re lying to you. Jesus taught that on the other side of a narrow gate, is a narrow way. That’s what it took for you to get saved, it’s even harder to stay saved. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life…”

    If we could all do whatever we wanted (as long as we loved God and others), what would be the point of salvation? As followers of Christ we are called to give up everything, to sacrifice, to rid ourselves of ourselves. In 2014, it still takes living a holy and separated life to be saved.

    Acceptance cannot be confused with love. Yes, God loves us at all times, even when we aren’t deserving (which we never are)…but that doesn’t mean He accepts who we are at all times. Acceptance is defined as agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation. How can we believe or agree with the sin of this world? 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them…” Once we start accepting sin, we start defending sin. We are called to be in the world but not of the world.

    God wants us to love people and to see people the way He sees them. He wants to use us to save this world from total darkness, and bring them into His light. We can only do so by being set apart. Matthew 5:13 says, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savior, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing…”

    We must fight daily to retain our savor, our purity. We must press forward, clinging to our standards of holiness, remembering all the while that we are called to be the light of this world. If in these last days, we lose courage and choose to blend in with the world…if we tell others that living however they want is perfectly okay as long as they go to church and declare Jesus as their Savior, because none of us are perfect and Jesus accepts us for who we choose to be…how are we going to change their lives? We won’t. And they’ll never truly be transformed. And when we stand before God in judgment, their blood will be on our hands.

    Ok, back to this whole “love is kind” thing for a moment. To be kind means to be considerate, helpful, loving. So if I don’t tell people the truth because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, and I in turn cause them to be eternally damned…how have I helped them? HOW IS THAT KIND?? We are called to speak the truth in love, yes, but we MUST speak it. THAT is love… THAT is kind.

    Galatians 5:29-21: Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    You know what that is? Truth. And love. Real love, not Satan’s pseudo love. Satan’s aim is to land you in Hell. My aim is to see you dance on streets of gold.

    We’re humans, and sometimes we are lousy. We are imperfect beings striving for perfection. Paul said, “I press toward the mark.” Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again…” Abraham fell. Noah fell. David fell. Many of our Biblical heroes fell into sin. But they got up and reversed course. They didn’t stay in sin. They didn’t LIVE in sin.

    Along the journey we will make mistakes. We may fall a time or two or a thousand times. Thankfully, His mercies are brand new daily and His grace is sufficient. But we cannot stay in sin. We cannot live a life of sin.

    Romans 12:1-2 (NLT): And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

    Romans 14:12: So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    God is love and loves you for who you are. The thing is, He loves you too much to leave you that way.

    There is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun. Walk uprightly, my friends.

    Full article at http://stormiekirby.virb.com/blog

    • Steve

      I don’t know that Satan is Love. But at least you don’t have to believe in him in order for him to torture you for eternity. God on the other hand will torture you for eternity if you don’t believe. Kind of like a Dad that says you’re all good as long as you do what your told but’s willing to give you up that nasty uncle down the street that lives in the trailer and will do all kinds of untold horrified things to you if you don’t behave. Nice guy, your God. Sounds like a dysfunctional relationship to me with a bunch of victim psychology wrapped up in it. It must suck to be scared. What would your child have to do to you for you to want to torture them?

  • Stormie Dawn Kirby
  • abbershay

    People are leaving because they are being called out.. this church is not what it appears it follows other names and follows pagan traditions. Yahuah the father and Yahu sha the savior who is the son and is now Yahuah the king is the truth according to the scripture that they claim to follow. Yahuahs name has been removed 7023 times… call on Yahuah

  • Joseph

    The other reason is many of us simply don’t believe in ghosts and demons anymore. We need to drop the stone-aged nonsense.

  • Barry

    Christians are almost as Atheist as I am. Of the thousands of Gods, I believe in one less than they do.

  • Alex

    Ok. Water theology down to the point where nothing is agreed on other than “love others”. Got it. That makes lots of people feel good but does it save souls?

    • Adam

      You’re going on the premise that “souls can be or are” saved. Why does a soul need to be saved? Saved from what? Hell? Think, brother.

  • Mark Neal

    The Christian bible says that the “church” is everyone. To hell with the buildings and their congregations. Find your fellowship among like-minded individuals. They will be your family, if no one else will.

  • LeftthechurchtofindLove

    I just read through nearly all of the comments… I’d love to know, does ANYONE realize that these arguments are EXACTLY what is driving away real people, humans here on earth standing imperfectly in front of you willing to bear it all if we can get some understanding, compassion and love from other real people who are equally imperfect? We’re looking for community, love and grace from the hands and feet of God. Not a lecture. Not an argument about tithing. Not more heated discussions over rules and the right and wrong of how it must look to be the correct Christian.

    Be Love. Let’s start there. That’s what this world needs.

  • Sue Ellen

    One answer- love. God IS love – not a characteristic, HE IS ALL LOVE. and what about JESUS – let’s see – New commandment – Love one another , LOVE YOUR ENEMY. Dear reader you cannot love anyone until you love yourself. JESUS Is IN YOU.
    LOVE HIM with all your heart and be patient, tolerant and caring with ALL others. This is the job of the church to share the love.

  • Michelda

    Wow, this article. I must say is simply amazing. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you! Wow, I’m just speechless.

  • Kelly Smith-Master

    “Your love doesn’t look like love.” Good blog!

  • Marie

    Well said Pastor John :-)

  • Rachel Brown

    Great article. Shame the comments section went and proved the point with a completely pointless argument about tithing. That really showed a depth of compassion and love. Not. Your petty disagreements aren’t soothing any hurts.

  • Beachykeen

    I am an older, divorced woman. I left my home church when the ‘caring’ pastor told me I just needed more marriage counseling to keep my marriage together. The fact that, for all practical purposes, my now-ex husband had completely disengaged from any home or family life (we had 2 older teengage sons) was apparently irrelevant. My sons left because nobody (including the high school pastor) would sit down with them and TALK. They were both told to come home and pray with me. I tried a couple of churches in the neighborhood, but it’s all flashy graphics on a screen, large-band-loud praise music, and (for me) superficial ‘lessons’. I still have my faith, I pray every day – many times – and read my Bible and devotionals. You know what I would REALLY like? A woman’s Bible study at NIGHT. Not a couples study, not a parents study. A Beth Moore study at NIGHT. I work full time, and a Wednesday morning or Thursday morning just is NOT going to work. Both churches I’ve talked to told me that they just aren’t set up for that. So, because I work, I’m no longer married and my boys are grown up and on their own, I’m obviously not worth making time for, for a Bible study. And THAT’S what I hear from the ‘Church’.

  • Shadowspring

    Don’t want the church to care about me! Would love the church to fight real injustice- racism, school to prison pipeline, persecution of the poor, the LGBT community, and women. IF, and that’s a big IF, the church EVER began to give a damn about the people they know ignore at best and hate at worst, THEN I might care about the church again. She’s a greedy whore, that one, who left her first love a long long time ago. I don’t expect to ever be back, after thirty years of pouring my life and my money into that dead end “relationship”. It’s all one way. The church takes, and takes, and hates, and hates. Don’t expect any her to change for me, since she wouldn’t do what’s right for Jesus.

  • John Moir

    Thanks John. At last some rare sense in the crazy church. Here is a revolutionary idea for church leaders to try: fully die to pride, be kind to others, and love others enough to not keep the saving gospel a secret from them.

  • Anette Smith

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and well written article!

  • Catherine Stier Howie

    While raking the Church over the coals seems to be a hip thing to do lately, there are some inherent dangers. To name just two… the Church is the Bride of Christ. The Church is the dearly beloved of God. Be careful when being free with criticism that it is pleasing to God, not needlessly hurting His beloved. Is there error within the Church – of course, because every church is made up of people born after the Fall. And that’s my second point. Every (EVERY!) Christ follower is part of the Church – the Body of Christ on earth – de facto. Therefore, to truly leave, one has to turn his/her back on Christ.

    Where does that leave us then? Unable to exclude ourselves from a living Body that has issues, the onus is on every single one of us to humble ourselves and follow Christ. In doing so, we must love one another. How that is worked out in each group will be determined by the people working out their salvation together. In closing – when we criticize the Church, we indict ourselves. The only option – get busy loving one another. I will most likely not make a difference in the lives of anyone outside the circle of my friends who I know well. So rather than lobbing a bomb into cyberspace with accusations that probably won’t change anyone’s heart or mind, I choose to live the change that needs to happen around me. I don’t see any other way.

  • daddy’s girl

    Thank you, comment section, for providing a very apt example of the reason people flee the church. This squabbling has no good purpose here.

  • Mike Janik

    Thank God I have found Orthodoxy. I agree with much of the above article and it articulates many of the reasons I am stepping out of evangelicalism. If you are wondering if there is more out there, come and see!

  • hollis

    To the author, I am not sure if this is you pouring out you heart or it’s kind of hypothetical in order to get us, the church, thinking.

    If it is the former, I’m really sorry that you were hurt by someone or a group of someones. I want to apologize for people who made you feel not good enough, or snapped at you when they should of just listened to you, hugged you, asked how they could help, and showed you Jesus.

    I heard on the radio the other day that although people are always saying how judgmental Christians are, really it’s just humans in general who are super judgmental. I agree with that statement, but know that we, the church, should put in an extra effort to be loving and supportive to people who are different from us. Even Jesus did that and constantly!

    I think sometimes we’re scared. Maybe we haven’t grown up around drugs or alcohol, so we don’t know what we should do when we are approached by an addict. We don’t what to do when we are approached by a lesbian or an ex-convict, etc. I think we don’t know what we should say, and that scares us. But I think you made an excellent point: you just wanted someone to listen to you. I think that’s the first step to loving people, whoever they are.

    So thank you for sharing your heart with us and please be patient with us. Here’s a secret: we’re definitely not perfect, we’re learning too. 😉

    • hollis

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOg-1JjAdGk

      Here’s a song that perfectly describes the longing of my heart to share with you, to love you when I don’t know how and feel incapable, unprepared, or clueless. I get misty-eyed every time I hear this song because I want so badly to do this, but it is so hard, and I am so flawed and messed up. I am just as much in need of the hope, joy, and healing that only Jesus provides as you are. I know He saved me, and my position as His child is secure, but while I’m here, because I am living in a world full of lust and temptation that I, being human, am still drawn to, I will never be perfect and this whole thing is a process. Sometimes I can only experience victory in Him as I take things day by day, and sometimes even moment by moment. I know I don’t always know how to comfort you, but God does. Please look at Him, not me.

  • Ronald W Robey

    I noticed all the Scripture I posted that reveals that pastors are lying when they say God requires you to tithe your money have been removed.

    Proving one reason many are leaving the Institutionalized Church. Pastors don’t want a congregation of godly people… they want a congregation of gullible puppets. They do not want people to know the truth about tithing and true Christian Stewardship. They do not want Bible scholars, they want blind followers.

    And the blind, gullible, uneducated masses love their false teachings. smh

  • Pastor Don Falata

    In my opinion I think people leave church because we have forgotten about the word of God which is our daily bread but instead we choose scriptures that would feed the wrong we are doing in church. The only time that we would be able to please God is positioning ourselves to His perfect Will. We can only do that by migrating from self to God pleasing. In most churches the most important message is surrounded in giving and offerings. Our big buildings have really clouded us, maybe going back to the synagogues would be positioning ourselves in that Perfect Will of God.

    • Ronald W Robey

      I was voted out of Church in a secret meeting.

      I say “secret” because, though I was a member of the Church for many years, I was not told about the meeting until after it had already convened. I had begun teaching Scriptural truth outside the Church building, not representing the Church name in any way.

      The news of my teaching in my community got to the pastor and a meeting was called. I should have been informed, so I could have defended myself with Scripture. But was not given that opportunity.

  • Gary Verwoerd

    While I don’t want to put this article down in its entirety, as I largely agree with it, I would like to propose an antithesis.
    While on the surface people are leaving because of a lack of love, it is not the correction and exhortation that evidence this lack. It is just the lack of love in it.
    Jesus himself commanded those lowlifes and prostitutes to “go your way, and sin no more”. The difference is when it is done with an attitude of self – righteousness, rather than humility and love. The church needs to stop speaking so much truth, without love.
    If I try to accept a person and all their sin, I’m not being like Jesus. “You were anointed with the oil of joy above your brethren, because you loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” Heb 1:9
    We are commanded over and over to reprove sin. It is like disciplining your kids. If done in love for their benefit, they love you for it.

    In short, I agree that people leave because of the lack of love, evidenced by cliques and disdaining remarks. If the love of God is really present people will be accepted and discipled, not accepted and told to change.
    I really mean good by this, and I hope that any who read this can see my heart. Glory to God

  • David L

    It’s difficult to not sound abrasive in this so I’m just going to put it out there with the disclaimer that I don’t mean to offend the individuals involved: I’m just not a fan of the whole idea.

    As a young(er) person that is just starting a family I have precisely zero intention of allowing my children to attend any form of church or religious “get-togethers” until they are older and I have taught them what religion is historically. I do not *need* to participate. I do not have a desire nor a hole that needs to be filled in order to see beauty in this existence and feel awe when I look around me. My children are incredible and full of life and wonder – I will not be taking that away from them in favor of teaching them that this life is expendable because it’s not the only one they have. Religion has been wielded like a hatchet in an operating room with the inertia of the masses that tout the good and conveniently exclude the bad for millennia and I am unwilling to add to that mass.

    I have never been a fan of any religion because they inevitably teach that there is something better to look forward to after you die, just as long as you act precisely the way they want you to until then. Thanks but no thanks. If this is the one chance we have to exist it should be spent fearlessly and without the weight of “original sin” hanging around ones neck. If there is an omnipotent god that allows us to be born as wretched heathens that are drawn to all of the wrong impulses who then commands that we be well “or else” then I’m not particularly fond of the methodology being employed.

    This article is refreshing in so many ways, but to me they are the illumination of how this vast corporation has finally abused it’s most devout to the point of abandonment. When mankind is taught that it can find solace for its many misdeeds and wicked thoughts in an undeniable-yet-unverifiable being it tends to abuse that invisible absolution. When you are taught that you are expected to do evil – that it is inevitable – and that it’s ok so long as you request forgiveness from something that cannot deny it to you, then you will permit yourself to commit wickedness. So far it is religions that make these vast and incredible claims which is what has pushed me farther and farther from participating in any religion ever again.

    On a side note: the bickering in the comments here is an incredible testament to why religion should recede to the privacy of everyone’s homes never to be brought into public light again. You can’t even agree on the definition of individual words yet there are vast swaths of you that want religion to erode the foundation of the U.S. In favor of making christianity involuntary…

  • Pastor Flathead Tom Iddings

    God Bless you John! You are singing the song the Lord gave us when He started http://www.Brokenchainsbikerchurch.org

  • Ian Llewellyn-Nash

    A helpful introduction to a necessary dialogue that is required- but, please edit out all the assumptions you start off with. You really don’t know what church leaders are thinking,, and you really don’t see what they are seeing John- you assume these aspects- maybe a reflection of your own church history. Many leaders are proactively asking these questions without the fears you cite. Of course, these questions began to be asked many years ago hence the emergence of different types of church expression. So, perhaps the most meaningful question to ask is “God what is it you want to be for me and through me right now that you couldn’t be at any other time?

  • CJ

    I honestly think he should try going to a Quaker meeting. From my own experience with Quakers, everything that he is telling church that he needs that they’re not giving is something that my Quaker meeting has given me.

  • caveloser

    I spent the last hour reading all these posts and I have to say the people posting for the most part are the reason people are leaving the church. The stuff I love is “If you don’t give 10% you are stealing from God.” Really wow. Also everyone thinks they are a theologian and knows exactly what the bible means. The reason so many people are leaving the church is because of being judged none stop. There is only one Judge you have to answer to. I love going to church each Sunday and other holy days. I toss in bucket whatever I choose to. Let me tell you it is no where near 10%. I was raised to love God with your heart and soul (by the church). The never said heart and soul and checkbook. I also enjoy going to random churches and looking and listening. Whenever I go into the mega churches and listen to the power preachers I totally enjoy myself. The ones that have their own tv broadcast to allow the whole world see them and send a check are the most fun. I have to say I truly miss the revivals of the 80’s. Just remember love god and he will love you. He is your only judge and jury. To the pastors that want to be the judged just sit back enjoy the show and keep your money in your pocket. If you want to give money/time give it with your heart not because of guilt “God is free of Guilt”. So if you feel guilty it is not coming from God. Love you all.

  • Mrtyhill

    Dear John,
    Couple of things I’ll mention in regards to your writing. You said that “love doesn’t look like love. ” I hear this over and over by some who have left the church. Many times is sounds something like “My God doesn’t love like that,” or something similar. The truth is that we all get frustrated because we want God to fit into our description of Him. We want Him to accept all the things we do and “meet us where we are,” is just a way of saying that we’re too stubborn to change and are feeling a little guilty about it. Love does not mean acceptance of sin. Love means, ” I forgive you, now go and sin no more.” For you to turn over your life to Christ means a transformation has taken place. It means your heart has changed. It means, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in an auditorium with 1000 people with flashing lights or in a hut in Papua New Guinea. God is there with you. The rest is just the wrapping paper. The goal is for us to change our lives to fit in with God. Not the other way around. At the end of the day, there are good churches and bad churches. As long as they are made up of people, this will be the case. However, I have found that if we focus on our relationship with Christ and growing it, you will find the right church. Churches do amazing things, to say that they aren’t in the trenches tells me you don’t know much. Churches are on the forefront of stopping human trafficking, saving young girls that work in strip clubs and changing the culture to value human life. You say you don’t want to be “preached to,” but that’s exactly what a church is supposed to do. It’s supposed to CONVICT your heart every Sunday, to splash some cold water on our face and help us understand with much urgency that this isn’t about YOU. It’s about God. As long as we keep the focus on our feelings, our needs and our wants we will continue to get frustrated and feel forever thirsty. The problem is not the church, the problem is our expectations of what the church is. It will not fix us, only God can do that. It’s like blaming the teacher because a child refuses to learn. At some point, we realize that free will means reaching out to the hand the reaches for us and doing our part, regardless of the surroundings.

    • audieho

      Spot. On.

  • blueshift

    There is much talk about ‘spiritual but not religious.’ My children would tell you they are in a different category: ‘spiritual and religious….but not republican.’

  • MKulnir

    How does a “church” start in the U.S.? The “officers” register the “church” with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3 organization. So from the get go, it is registered with the government and agrees to a certain muzzling of free speech in exchange for a government perk – tax-free status. And, it adopts a “corporate” structure with corporate language, no matter how small or large the organization. That’s just for starters.

  • Dude67

    “We’ve been praying for you to stop evangelizing us”???!!! How about: “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Or, “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” There are more, but you get the picture.

  • right_in_kentucky

    Interesting read, but I cringed when I came to the part that read: “We see a Jesus in the Bible who hung out with lowlifes and prostitutes and outcasts, and love them right there…”
    This statement is so often-used and with good intentions – but it’s false.
    Jesus DID NOT hang out with hookers, thieves and unrepentant sinners. Make no mistake – Jesus did not shun those in sin – we are all sinners. But when we “hang out” with someone – that infers we choose to spend our time in their company. The people we hang out with are the people we enjoy, whom we choose to spend our free time with and who we share life and interests with.
    So who did Jesus actually hang out with? Jesus was very intentional and deliberate about who he hung out with. In fact, he chose a group of 12 men to hang out with. Now it’s true that these 12 men were also sinners, but they were repentant sinners who had made a decision to “deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus.”
    Yes, Jesus still encountered hardened sinners. But they came to him – he didn’t go and frequent their hangouts. I’ve never read in the Bible where Jesus walked into a tavern or a brothel. He did however embrace the adulteress, dine with the tax collectors and had open arms to meet any sinner who came to Him or sought Him out.
    We must never forget that Jesus is God. God is Holy. Holiness cannot tolerate sin. Holiness repels sin – it’s not drawn to it. I cannot recall reading where Jesus made a habit of surrounding himself with active sinners or frequent places where sinning was celebrated.
    The “Jesus hung out with sinners” theme is used, in my opinion, often as a means to justify a Christian’s flirtation with the world. Christians feel at ease going to the bar or nightclub or casino and tell themselves that Jesus did it. I’m not sure Jesus did do that.
    “To win the world, we have to be in the world,” some will say. Certainly, we are called to engage the world, but we must never embrace it.
    This is not about practicing some arrogant form of self-righteousness. It’s about being obedient and trying to live a holy life. We’re not perfect and we’re going to fail – many times. But let us never justify our failure by pointing to Jesus and saying “We’ll Jesus did it.”
    Again – Jesus didn’t ‘hang out’ with hardened sinners. He chose 12 men who were seeking God to be his inner circle.