I’ve noticed a trend lately. Mostly from postings and blogs I’ve seen shared on social media. Gotta love social media.
I don’t have a better term for this phenomenon, so I’m titling it The Anti-Church Movment, or ACM.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t some secular movement. No. It’s an internal movement within the Church itself.
The movement seems to have a few components:
- A component of being hurt by the Church which makes this sentiment OK.
- Questioning of what the Bible really says on certain topics / implying that if you hold to certain teachings you’re not “progressive” or you’re too “fundamentalist”.
- A glorification of the process of finding yourself outside the Church structure.
I could go on but those are some things I’ve observed.
Let’s tackle each point.
If you spend any amount of time attending church you’re most likely going to be hurt by someone or the institution itself at some point. It’s just a fact. Know why? The church isn’t perfect. Know why? Because you go there. That might sound harsh, but it’s true. The church is made up of imperfect people. And in our imperfection, we hurt people.
Now, I’m not talking about abuse that has plagued certain churches. Rather, the hurts that result from being offended or hurt emotionally.
I don’t mean to trivialize what you might have been through. I’ve been through my own share of negative church experiences. But we can’t use those as excuses to abandon the Church or give up on faith in general. You work through those hurts with God’s grace. And He WILL bring healing. I know firsthand. But it can be hard.
Even though it’s hard, it’s worth it. A hurtful experience isn’t worth losing faith and although the church is not equal to faith, I view it as a vital part of our Christian faith.
I won’t spend too much time on point number 2. I think there is enough data out there to illustrate this point. More and more it seems that those who hold to “fundamentalist” beliefs (as if it’s some sort of curse word) are mocked for their views. If not openly mocked there are implications and things hinted at that imply they aren’t with the times.
You’ll hear the phrase “you’re being judgmental” bandied about quite a bit. And while we aren’t to judge those outside the faith, Scripture actually does address judgment in several locations. In fact our model, Jesus put this into practice. He “judged” the woman at the woman he saved that was caught in adultery by telling her to “go and sin no more.”
He was also tough on the religious leaders of the day and the disciples themselves at times.
There is also an element going around that’s existed since Adam and Eve in the Garden. It was the serpent (Satan) that said “did God really say…” He planted the seeds of doubt as to the truth of God’s Word.
We see the same tactic today. There is lots of speculation on different topics as to what God did and didn’t say. I understand there are areas open for interpretation, but there are other areas that are pretty black and white.
It is always imperative to pursue Truth, but we must also be careful not to get caught up in the lies.
As to point number 3, it seems to be trendy to write posts that celebrate the questioning of the Church and the process of finding yourself outside the rigidity of the “church structure” or possibly leaving the church for the foreseeable future.
There are multiple instances of cases in Scripture where someone “fell away” for a time. Operative phrase being “for a time.”
Look at the Prodigal Son. He wastes it all only to finally come to his senses and return home. The Bible doesn’t highlight his “finding himself”, rather it focuses on his return and the love The Father shows at finding His lost son.
Shoot. Look at David. He had an affair, got the woman pregnant and had her husband murdered to cover it up. Talk about blowing it.
But The Word focuses again on his repentance and miraculous return to grace.
Time and time again you’ll notice failure in the Bible, but the focus is not on the falling and subsequent wandering, but instead on the being found.