I believe the church is splintering for a reason. Something is up. It’s not just fights about carpet color either, it’s about whether or not prayer styles being brought in to church are of eastern root and are biblical or not. It’s about whether churches should follow plans of men like Warren, Hybels and if they should follow men like Pagitt or Maclaren. Are authors like Dallas Willard leading us to a closer relationship with God or into works based faith and pagan practice? It seems like there is a lot of fuzziness in Christianity, a lot of cirlces and rings that overlap. Some churches are just beginning to use these authors, and preach these methods.
In congregations everywhere on Sunday (and Saturday for some) warnings are popping up in the heads of believers. Did the pastor just say that? Really? Is that what he meant? What is this new program? Who is this author? How annoying to hear quote after quote. How annoying, we’re using this term again this week, didn’t we have a sermon over this five weeks ago? I sure wish we’d do a verse by verse study for a change. Does this passage really mean what he says it means? What do they mean I need to practice this way? Is that works? Did they forget something, like we need to repent?
All over Christians are finding themselves lost in the church. What is going on? Why do we feel like we don’t belong anymore? We cannot always put a finger on it, but something is wrong.
Then there is the other side. Some of us have figured it out, and we float from church to church. We are no longer trusting of men’s tongues. We know that when you ask questions, things can be worded in a way that is meant to cause you to stop asking questions about the church and begin asking questions about yourself, your loyalty, your obedience, your willingness to change. We find common ground online with people we do not know, or with distant friends who have gone through this and share a letter or email about their experiences. Pastors have preached strange doctrines, new things have come up, or grandparents pushed out because they wouldn’t reach the youth. Church changed quickly and when people asked what was up, and began to point out error, they were ushered out the door. Some were encouraged to stay a while, but were told their decision to leave was good because they were no longer teachable, no longer with the plan. “It’s your perception that matters really, so going to a new church where your family is comfortable is best.”
So now, these people have to watch out for evil in their own approach. Do they broadcast the problems to the world? Do they share what they know in public? Pride may creep in, and these folks have to watch for it. It’s possible a reactionary church splinter may come off of this.
It is easy to get trapped and tripped in a “we’re better than them.” If *they* are telling lies, and are spreading false Christianity, we are still no better. We are all sinners. However, how do we approach this without sinning? We must speak the truth in love. We must share the Gospel, we must warn others of the dangers. We must watch for evil that wants so much to make us ineffective. The world is watching, the church is watching both apostate and true. Our children are watching. We need to proceed with wisdom. Our mouths need to say what God would have us to say, no more, no less. This is so hard. If ever we needed to pray, to be close to our God, the time is now. Draw near to Him, dear saints, draw near.