A dear friend has told me she’s left her ministry position at the big church here in the city. She said that this church is getting more and more into Christian Progressivism. I can’t make sense of it through Google. Got any insight?
You know, I had no idea about this “Christian Progressivism” either, so I Googled it. But when all the results came up, I immediately thought:
I just don’t have the willpower to read on every “heresy” that comes through the doorway.
But seriously though: it’s likely that your friend was genuinely concerned about the direction of the church and heard some strange things that didn’t vibe, so after much prayer and fasting and Scripture-reading she went to the pastor and elders and leaders and lovingly pleaded with them in tears about their mission. Maybe she made multiple compassionate attempts, all the while not stirring up any of the church members to avoid gossip and praying fervently for the people, and she left on totally good terms.
But it’s more likely that your friend got in a little row with someone at church, got into a little private feud with the pastor in her head, or just heard “grace” from the pulpit and immediately thought they were being progressive — so she determined in her mind that this was enough reason to get the heck out of Dodge because something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Who knows if she talked to anyone about it, except a bunch of other dissatisfied ladies who secretly didn’t like the church budget.
Maybe it’s a bit of both. But really: I’m hesitant to believe this person left because of her stated reasons. If she did, cool. If not, then she has successfully become like every other American church-consumer in our wonderfully spoiled Western society.
I get a little leary of people who say, “Yeah I was attending this church but the pastor said this one thing, so I left.” I mean really? Based on one thing? I can understand if the pastor peed on the Bible or bled out a goat on stage and drank it through a beer hat, but come on: some honesty, please.
People leave their church for all kinds of petty reasons. There can definitely be a legit reason to leave, but part of attending a church is to persevere in collision with God’s people you would normally never hang out with to become a well-rounded individual who embraces diversity. If people are hopping from church to church at the slightest rub of preference, well: that’s not a happy person.
Sometimes I feel like every church conflict could be solved by one or two simple conversations. It’s like watching those sitcoms where for thirty minutes, you’re thinking, “Why don’t he just freaking tell her the truth!”
Sure, those conversations are awkward and even painful, and maybe the atmosphere doesn’t cultivate honesty, but someone has to be the guy to speak up for what is true. And if you leave a church without having tried everything to make it right, I highly doubt things will get better at the next church. We must at least try. When all else fails: then yes, pray for a new start.
I probably did not answer your question very well, but I’ll leave it at this:
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. … 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. … 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
— Ephesians 4:25, 29, 32
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