an open letter to disenchanted evangelicals

It hurts when people walk away from fellowship with a local church (or house church, or circle of friends) without saying anything. Or worse, when they plant seeds of falsehood in the minds of a few so as to sow doubt based on innuendo. Either way, one day they are present; the next day they fade away. Bewilderment abounds. Yet, who knows the reasoning of the human heart? Who knows, but God?

Maybe they think it is easier this way. But is it really? Do they think they are that unloved and forgotten? Or is it that they wish to be chased, like Lassie who would run back and forth until someone followed him? Indeed, who knows the reasoning of a heart colored with false beliefs or selfish motives? The belief that God is out to get them, or doesn’t even care if they exist. The belief that the church should help justify sinful behavior, rather than recognize that grace and truth operate hand-in-hand to deliver from the bondage to sin. Sometimes it is simply the belief that there is something (anything) else out there better able to meet their needs, not taking into account that God is the only one who can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. Wherever we are.

The exodus of disenchanted evangelicals from local expressions of the church is well-documented in the Western hemisphere. Maybe you are one of those who has given up on the “institutional” church. Or maybe you are thinking about it long and hard. I understand the frustration with some of the things that can happen in a church family, which I would hasten to add are no different than what could happen in a house church, a blood-related family, a multi-site church, or some other form of missional church. We are human. Humans sin because of the first sin of Adam. If you find the perfect expression of fellowship or church, don’t go. It’s an illusion. Your presence will burst the bubble. So will mine. With you and others like me present, it is flawed due to our sinfulness, so long as that is the basis of our evaluation.

I implore us all to remember our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He is the Head of the church. He is the Great High Priest. In him there is no sin. In him we are made righteous. We are saints. Not some quaint notion of do-gooders who follow long lists of culturally expedient rules, but saints whose righteousness is imputed to them based on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Indeed, we are saints who are called to live as God originally intended for us before the foundation of the world. Together, not apart. Whole, not broken. Reconciled, not estranged. Authentically pure, not secretively sinful and outwardly self-righteous.

I know. Church stuff can hurt. And sometimes God does move people out of one situation and into others. I get that. But it will remain an endless cycle until we all commit to this ministry of reconciliation with God and each other through Jesus Christ. Hard stuff. Heart stuff. But necessary if we are really to grow up and become mature disciples of Jesus.

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7 thoughts on “an open letter to disenchanted evangelicals

  1. Glen – I honour and enjoy most of what you write – passing much of it on.

    I am one who has moved every couple of years, been taught much in each Church, made many friends.

    It just so happens that each Church group has had its limited view or done something not right or left important detail from their operations.

    God moves people at His will, for His purpose not the will of an existing group that cling to a particular expression of CHRISTianity.

    Many have remained friends as I have grown under the influence of some other group and have very often been drawn into fellowships independent of any one Church, such as Men’s Groups, groups that focus on strengthening the **Whole Natural Biological FAMILY** politically, groups that have other focus that the local Church either has little resourse or is limited by its focus, say caring for the Mum of broken Families rather than ALL the FAMILY and thus casting DAD out.

    Anyway hope we can all learn from our experience of listening loudly to the Holy Spirit rather than total focus on those who lead a particular local Church.

    Onward – Together – Jim

  2. I came across you post as I followed the link back to your page – I’ve struggled to stay connected to evangelicalism because it has become sold out to everything but Christ…. I could go on and on but if you want to get another perspective there is some of it in a recent sermon I preached at Sanctuary http://sanctuarycov.org/

    later

  3. Thanks for the feedback, folks. I recognize the pitfalls of some local churches as well as some expressions of evangelicalism. The point of my post was the personal aspect of how people often leave worshipping communities in unredemptive ways, more than whether they leave. I wish you all the best as you follow God’s purposes for your lives. Please pray for me as I attempt to do the same.

  4. MarQue,

    I disagree with the statement that “evangelicalism has become sold out to everything but Christ,” implying that every person and every church within the scope of evangelicalism has turned from Christ. I think that it is an unhelpful generalization. I have allowed your comment and your link to remain so that readers can judge for themselves the merits of your opinion if they so choose. Thanks again for participating.

    Glen

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