The number of people that say they are disappointed with evangelical churches has been on the rise throughout the world. They chose to stay away from their denominations, and their reasons revolve around being disappointed with the institution and its people.
Some, after visiting several congregations, throw in the towel, suggesting that the organized church system is in ruins and that it is completely unnecessary to be tied to a church and follow its rules.
In Brazil, this movement has gained strength among millions of ex-members from various denominations. Yet, they don’t feel like they’ve fallen away from the faith. In most cases, their detachment from the church was caused by problems with others. We have come across people who have suffered because of lies, spiritual abuse, wrongful judgment, mistreatments, scandals etc.
I’m going to share my personal experience to further clarify this matter. Soon, I will be completing 30 years as a member of the UCKG and, during this time, I have met thousands of people. Among them, many are sincere and of excellent character. However, I have also come across some with a bad character, who were only seeking their own promotion and glory. I recognize, from personal experience, that this minority does impose certain suffering on other members. But I decided not to allow my faith to be affected by this. I think that running away from church won’t prevent anyone from experiencing disappointments.
How many times have you had a falling out with a family member? But you didn’t exclude yourself from your family because of it.
If in order to protect our faith, we had to live alone and isolated, the Lord Jesus would have given us this example. However, He did exactly the opposite. Even with the corrupt and hypocritical religious system of His day, He was a zealous Jew. He went to the Temple and synagogues. He obeyed the Law, but rejected the traditions. He knew there was no way to influence others if He was not among them. He interacted with all kinds of people, but only a few were real with Him. To avoid disappointments, He taught us that we should not expect much from men because they have flaws.
I learned that when a man of God is on the Altar, he is a Divine outlet for the people. But, once he steps down from the Altar, he is a normal person, with his own personality, strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, people create a “holier-than-thou” identity for others, but they are not prepared to see their flaws. So, they end up scandalized by them and turn away from the church.
Of course, I’m talking about mistakes, because, if it comes to sin, then these people are not apt to be teaching anyone at all. This is why there must be a level of discipline in churches.
You should also understand that just because someone sinned, you shouldn’t allow your faith to be influenced. We must keep our eyes fixed on the Greatest Example, and not commit the mistake of thinking no one else is sincere or cares about blessing others.
If you are reading this and happened to go through a bad situation that caused you to fall away, then I’m sorry. But it would be good for you reconsider your decision and return. Believe that the Almighty can make right all the evil you experienced, and will use this for your own growth.
Think about this: how will He do justice or defend you, if you got tired, gave up or took matters into your own hands?
You may get hurt by others, but this will refine and teach you.
And with regards to the existing rules in the churches, which people often criticize, please understand that they are necessary. Imagine a place where hundreds or thousands of people gather and each one decides to do what they want, how they want and when they want?
When it comes to the millions of men and women that are putting their Salvation at risk by holding on to these thoughts, I want you to understand that I’m not defending the church, because I am aware that the church is not what is going to save you. My goal is to show you that the physical church is essential for you to be corrected, exhorted, encouraged to bear fruits and develop your gifts. Living apart from this communion would be like separating a fish from water, blood from the body, clouds from heaven or Christ from His Church.