More On “Divorced From The Church”

“My husband took his little family across country to his first pastorate in 1971 and we have pastored many churches since then.  We both grew up in the Nazarene Church and love her dearly, however our hearts are broken over the brokenness of our beloved church.  We have been learning about this new “movement” for several years now and are realizing we are going to have to make a difficult choice.  We have been studying in our home now with other believers, not Nazarenes, although they are welcome to join us.  We are simply going back to the teachings of God our Father, YHWH, from the beginning and are doing our best to know Him more deeply and to follow in obedience the best we know how.  Relying on His Scriptures alone has been more satisfying than ever. We have separated ourselves in order to protect ourselves from any of these false teachings.  God’s Word is Truth, yesterday, today, and forever.  God bless you in your work, we shall keep you in in prayer.” Linda (May 15, 2011)

I received the above email Sunday morning.  It’s not unusual, I get them almost every week, sometimes two or three in one week.  In the two years I have been engaged in this war- and it is war- most of us rarely see the “casualties” or hear about them.  But they are there, and it is happening every day, every week, to many faithful Christians.  They are being divorced from their church by those who are elevating man’s religion and man’s ideas to equality with God’s word.  We must forget what is happening under the radar of all the public debate, and and we must continue to pray for and give encouragement to all who have decided to suffer for Christ’s sake, rather than compromise in exchange for the applause and approval of men.

I was recently interviewed by Eric Barger on Saturday, May 7, on the radio program of Jan Markell’s ministry, Olive Tree Ministries, along with two pastors.  One of them is Pastor Joe Staniforth, who was “rewarded” for standing up against emergent church heresy with the removal of his pastorate, his mission on the border of Texas, and finally, his credentials in the Church of the Nazarene.  (You can listen to my interview on my YouTube channel).  The topic, “Divorced From The Church” was covered in the second hour.  The first hour discussed what Eric describes as the “most dangerous cult”, which is the cult of liberalism (not political) within the evangelical Christian church of today.  Both full hours can be listened to at Olive Tree Ministries radio archive page, look for the May broadcasts.  Jan’s excellent radio program can also be subscribed to as an iTunes podcast.  Eric is now in his 28th year of apologetics, and he travels across the country bringing both warning messages and encouraging reports for Christians who are living in such dangerous apostate times we are in.  He is a good friend and brother in the Lord, and he was very helpful to Concerned Nazarenes when we went down to General Assembly in 2009 in Orlando, Florida.

This topic of Christians “divorced” from their church, which happens very often in the most stressful and unpleasant ways, is not to be taken lightly.  I have received many emails in the last two years from Christians of different denominations, telling me of what happened to them, simply for asking questions and trying to get answers as to why their church was changing.  Instead of getting honest answers, they were labeled as troublemakers, dividers, hateful, or even worse.  At best, they were painted as people who “needed help” and were misguided.  Reputations were smeared, in order to deflect from the real problem in the church.  These stories are painful reminders of what we have gone through, but the totality of these stories barely scratches the surface. Yet you need to understand the consequences of standing for biblical truth, and be willing to deal with any consequence that comes if you are facing false teaching in your church or school.

THESE DIVORCED CHRISTIANS JUST WANTED TO KNOW…

They wanted to know why sermons were no longer focusing on the simple gospel of sin and repentance, the consequence of hell, the shed blood of Christ, and instead messages were filled with quaint stories of human interest, or too much humor, with quotations from mystics and emergent heretics, and a watered down gospel message that centered on “acceptance” and “non-judgmentalism”.

They wanted to know why all of a sudden, their Nazarene church service was starting to resemble a Roman Catholic mass, replete with new rituals, candles, and icons, or even the use of prayer labyrinths.

They wanted to know why was there an emphasis on “practicing the silence” as a way of praying to God, since they could not find anything in scripture that justified “silence” as a form of prayer.  No, it is not supported by Psalm 46:10.

They wanted to know why the Purpose Driven Church and other man written books were supplanting the study of God’s word, and why Bible studies were more about “what do you think this means to you?”, instead of “what does scripture teach us?”

They wanted to know why their pastor no longer (or never) preached about the infallible word of God; instead, they were told that God’s word was infallible “only in matter so salvation.”  And no answer came when they asked, “on what authority do you say that?”

They asked “why do we no longer sing the hymns of old, and instead we are sounding more like the world with it’s rock and roll music”, that often focuses on “me” and how I feel, instead of focusing on praising the only One who we ought to focus on.  It’s all about feelings and experience now, isn’t it?

They even asked their pastors, why do you believe that God does not know everything?  If that is true, why should I trust God for anything, if He does not know everything, and if He does not know the future?  How can I trust the prophesies in scripture, if I cannot trust God and what He says that He will do? How can I trust a God who makes mistakes?

They asked, how can I trust any story written in scripture, when you doubt that Adam and Eve were real people?  Or that God created man from the dust of the ground, as the scriptures tell us, but instead, Adam came into existence after millions of years of death and pain, even though the Bible clearly tells us that Adam’s sin brought about death, pain and sin?  How can that be?

And so they asked the questions.  They pleaded for answers.  They asked for time to explain their concerns, but were denied.  And the more they asked, and the more they insisted on biblical answers, the tolerating smiles faded, the long knives came out, and they were demonized, and characterized as liars, slanderers, and dividers.  Yes, that is the modus operandi of those who do not know the truth, but exchanged the truth for a lie.  It’s not an easy story to tell, but tell it we must.

At my YouTube channel, you will only hear part of our story.  You will hear why my wife, my two children, and me were “divorced from the church.”  You will not hear the details of the pain that it subsequently caused my wife and older son, and how my wife spent three days in the hospital for the stress and pain the “divorce” caused her.  But do not mistake this as an attempt to draw sympathy for me or my family.  However, don’t not think my story is the exception, because it is not, it is one of many.  And I’m sure this story will be labeled as being motivated by hate or revenge, as telling the truth is now called, while hiding or ignoring the truth is now considered a loving thing to do.   The truth is painful for some to hear, but it must be heard, because it is happening everywhere, to Bible believing Christians, and it is wrong.

Yet, there is good news at the end of that short story.  The good news is this: God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him, and we have grown stronger for standing for the truth, and for refusing to compromise to any person, or any denomination.  We do not consider ourselves better than anyone as we tell our story, because all the glory goes to God, and no one else.

What about you, my friend?  Where do you stand?  To whom do you hold unwavering, uncompromising allegiance?  To God, or to man?  To God, or to fellowship with other people?  To God, or to a church building?  To God, or to a pastor?  To God, or to a denomination?  To God, or to your spouse, children, or parents?

Can you at least give yourself an honest answer to the question?

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.