I had something planned to post today, but I never got it written.
I was so struck by something I read today that I could think of nothing else.
Since my mind is so engulfed in it, I thought I would write about it.
I had been following a woman’s blog. She writes women’s bible studies, and I thought did a fairly good job of using literal, historical, grammatical interpretation.
One of her posts was about false teaching in the church. In a comment under the post, a young lady explained how she had stopped going to church because of the false teaching in the churches around her, about her difficulty finding a good church, and how she had given up on the institution of the church and was attending in home bible studies instead.
We will give them names for easy of explanation: we’ll call the blogger Mary and the commenter June.
It was obvious that June had thought out her choices and was seeking to align them with scripture. She was still getting together with believers and fulfilling the command in the book of Hebrews to not forsake gathering with believers.
What followed was the most ungracious and unkind (not to mention unbiblical) rebuke of this young women.
According to blogger Mary unless June was doing all these things she was in sin:
1) She needed to be in church every Sunday.
2) She couldn’t substitute any fellowshipping or gathering for church because only a church building would suffice.
3) She could not attend a church that wasn’t part of a hierarchy like a denomination.
4) She needed to understand that the church was a building, not people.
5) Not even a home church or an independent church would suffice because it didn’t have the right kind of ecumenical leadership.
(Just to clarify, none if those 5 points are biblical.)
What Mary seemed to not see — even though it was quite clearly explained– was that this young woman was coming from a place of deep hurt by people in the church. When June tried to reach out to someone who she thought would understand (Mary), she was attacked.
June politely asked if Mary could back up her points with scripture because June thought she was obeying the command in Hebrews.
Mary retorted curtly saying why didn’t June back up her own position and that if June didn’t understand these things she wasn’t saved to begin with so it was a waste of Mary’s time to try to explain.
Now, I think this struck me harder than it normally does because I had come to admire Mary for her ability to explain the truth of scripture in a way I could easily understand.
But, this incident is a prime example that head knowledge is not enough.
You can know a bunch of stuff about God, but if it doesn’t change who you are and how you act, what’s the point?
The book of James says you do well to believe in God because even the demons believe in God and tremble.
Satan knows the truth. So do the demons, but it doesn’t change them.
Our faith should change us.
It should make us different.
God’s will for us is that we mature in Christ and have better character.
This exchange between Mary and June was no different than countless unkind interactions between unbelievers that I’ve seen online.
Understandably, I unfollowed Mary’s blog.
More than her accusations being wrong, her attitude and manner of harsh communication were wrong.
This was not action befitting a daughter of the King.
As I’ve mentioned before scripture has very little to say about the manner in which we gather. It is our American Christian culture that teaches that you must meet in little white buildings with steeples.
The Bible has no such clear commands (except that we continue to get together). We can see what happened in the early church, but that’s not commands.
If we look at the early church, we would see them gathering in people’s homes.
I think many Christians are genuinely unaware of the damage that the organized church leaves in its wake.
I wished I could reach out to this young woman and tell her she’s not alone, but comments on Mary’s blog were moderated, and she stated clearly that she didn’t approve comments she disagreed with.
If I could, I would reach through my computer screen and give June a big hug.
So, I guess this is my response.
The church is full-to-the-hilt of false teaching.
It is hard to find a good church.
If you find yourself in that position, you’re not in sin or unsaved to fellowship in a manner that’s socially unacceptable to American Christian culture.
The bible doesn’t say that.
Our salvation certainly is not dependent upon attending church.
What if you lived in an area with no churches?
Or you were converted and lived in a country with no churches?
What about pioneers who didn’t have churches available?
None of those people are believers because they don’t go to church?
Do you think the underground church in China is worried about if they have the proper ecumenical leadership so that their members can not be in sin and be saved?
What about end times believers who will have no churches because the churches will be controlled by evil leaders?
Those assertions are frankly asinine.
They represent what’s wrong with our modern American Christian Church.
You cannot assume commands where God does not.
And even if you disagree with someone, you should never, ever attack a person who is hurting and looking for help.
June was not a false teacher. She was a hurting sister in Christ who was further damaged in the name of Jesus.
I’m the first one to admit that not everyone who says they’re a Christian is. But neither is it our place to go around saying that other people are not saved.
Scripture says examine yourself. Not go around trying to decide if everyone else was saved.
One thing you’ll never hear me say is if you don’t to X you’re not saved.
It’s not that hard to be polite.
It would be an understandable thing if June had been at all unkind to Mary. (It still would have been wrong for Mary to bite her head off, but it would have perhaps been understandable.)
But June was so polite and so obviously grieving and hurting.
Mary was just adding insult to injury.
I pray we’re wise in our interactions. I pray that we have the eyes to see hurting people and not hurt them even more.
Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, and Christians go around hurting each other in His name.
I’ll never understand this.