In the last few years articles keep being written and shared on social media as to why people are choosing to leave their IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) church. Seems almost weekly someone else is posting another person's reasons for their getting out of church or going to some non-denominational church; the whole time pointing the finger at the pastor, preaching, program, and people of these church's for their leaving.
Each posts says basically the same thing: First it's the "to each their own, I don't want to offend anyone, just sharing my thoughts..." You know, you can come across as being judgmental and that is one of the reasons you are upset at these churches. You of course are justified in leaving because you are not judgmental and all these "thoughts" you have about why these churches are wrong are not judgmental at all...right?...well...um.....
Second, you will read the "I don't want to influence anyone in making a decision to leave their church..." Oh, well of course not. Why would someone consider leaving their church after reading about all the reasons why you left your church just like the one they are attending? Makes perfect sense. We will continue...
Next you will read about how the authors "are sure there are pastors who are not like this out there..." Shew, I feel better.
Then the onslaught begins. You will read about the lack of expository preaching, the apathetic worship, judgmental spirit, and true lack of spiritual teaching and knowledge (you know, the kind you get from John Piper). Then the writer of the post, who doesn't want to offend anyone or judge anyone, will give some correction to these churches (in love of course).
Oh man do people love reading this who are either out of church today or find themselves as former IFB attendees. I mean, FINALLY, they are justified in their actions. Then all those who the Devil is trying to get out of church FINALLY have good reasons to leave their church. Well done non judgmental, Christian love endorsing, knowing God deeper brother.
But then we take a step back and look at the whole picture.
First, to be fair, sadly there are some churches that have lost their first love. I pray they can be restored. I read some of these posts about how awful all these churches are and think to myself, "Wow I am blessed to attend my church!" We love preaching from the Word of God and really don't have much of an appetite for the "fluff" preaching. When we sing, it is Christ honoring music sung by believers who sing for one purpose, to worship God. One elderly man who recently sang in our church paused before singing and said, "This is for the Lord, but you are welcome to listen." Spot on brother! Judgmental spirit? I am sure some would like to challenge me on this, but I will get to that. I will just say, a strong stand against sin is not judgmental-it's Biblical. Loving people is Biblical. Speaking the truth in love is Biblical.
We could go on, but let's get to the nitty-gritty. Those who write these posts or share these posts need to stop also and evaluate. First, many who share these things are out of church now. You can read why on those posts and then read their comments "I fully agree," "Spot on article," "Couldn't agree more.." Then we stop and think. We read how Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25). How can you not like or attend what Christ loves? Oh, I know some response: "The church is all believers." Actually no, if you studied the Bible expositionally you would see that there are only local, visible, called out assemblies (John Piper needs to get a little deeper in the Book on this issue). So Christ loves the church, shouldn't you? How can you not attend what Christ loves? Some may say, "But the church I attended was dead, or wrong, or backslidden, or whatever..." Fine, but why aren't you in church today? There sure are a lot of churches out there preaching the truth, and I will help you find one. You see, the problem is not the church, it's you. Can a church go wrong? Sure, it's made up of people. If my local church went the way of the world this weekend and everything right about it disappeared, I'd go to church next Sunday somewhere. You see, I don't go to church for people, I go because Christ loves the church and I love Christ. He said I needed church, so I need church.
Many who post and share such articles about why they have left their IFB church need to ask themselves why they haven't been to church in a years. Let's assume your church you used to attend did go the wrong direction; there are plenty that haven't. So maybe the problem is not just that church.
Those who have left their old church and now attend a non-denominational church or something like, I would just encourage to pray and ask the Lord to lead you and study your Bible. Is what is preached there line up with God's Word? You see, I trust the Holy Spirit will guide the believer to Truth (1 John 4:6). If you are led to error...well...you might want to try spirit or study salvation.
Then to those who are still in a good church, but you like sharing those posts about why people have left the Truth, will you stop and think what you are doing? You may agree with some points (i.e.-I agree we need more expository preaching), but you sharing such things helps no one make the right decisions. You are pointing people away from the truth. If you are burdened for your church, talk to the pastor. If there are unbiblical things going on in your church and you have prayed, spoken to leadership, and nothing is going to change, let the Holy Spirit lead you, but don't post on Facebook why Independent Fundamental Baptist are failing, because there are many that are not. No church is perfect, but there are plenty striving to hold to Truth and honor God. And can I counsel you? Be careful, your eyes are leading you astray.
So I finish with five reasons why I am NOT leaving my Independent Baptist Church:
1. I love the Lord and He loves the church.
2. I need the Word of God preached to me and my church is preaching the Truth.
3. The worship in my independent Baptist church is Christ honoring, flesh denying, and from the heart.
4. The people in my church love the Lord, love His Word, and love each other.
5. Not a Sunday goes by that I have not learned, grown, and fallen more in love with my Lord and His church.