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Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing

Books that will challenge your current Biblical perspective.
The Fire That Consumes
The Parousia
The Biblical Church
Clinging to a Counterfeit Cross

By Ingrid Schlueter

There is a fascinating book out by Washington Times religion reporter Julia Duin called Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do About It. In the last five years or so, I have heard from countless Christians who are fed up with their choices when it comes to attending “church.” The choices a friend of mine faces in her area are these: an apostate mainline church with a lesbian pastor, a go-go evangelical circus church featuring everything but a trapeze apparatus in the ceiling, (the pastor has a ring in his nose), a stone dead Reformed church comprised of the 24 original founders in various stages of spiritual dessication, a German Lutheran ethnic club along the lines of the Reformed church, a oneness Pentecostal church that gets so wild the police are occasionally called for noise ordinance violations, an IFB (independent, fundamental baptist) church where the women are required to have their hair below their shoulders and where they market their own church-sewn culottes, and a Roman Catholic outpost named after someone called St. Veronica.

My friend’s dilemma is not unique. Even in major metropolitan areas, I have heard the same complaint again and again. “We don’t know what to do. We haven’t changed—the churches have changed. We don’t want our kids growing up thinking these churches are biblically on track, but our other option is to stay home and worship as a family. That gets lonely after a while.”

Quitting Church is interesting in that many of the complaints I have heard and have actually voiced myself are cited in the book. The author even cites the evangelical crossover to Orthodoxy and Catholicism that has occurred in some who are simply fed up with make-it-up-as-you-go, carnival evangelicalism. The lack of substance, the flippancy about holy things, the moronic pastoral behavior (think motorcycle stunts on the platform) have all contributed to a deep dissatisfaction among serious, thinking Christians who want to worship the Lord and hear what His Word says. Some are quitting church altogether. As one sister put it, “The local churches in our area have nothing remotely to do with biblical Christianity any longer. Why would I be a part of that?”

The breakdown of the local church is not just the result of prostitutional, seeker pastors who will do anything to draw a crowd, and it’s not just the result of denominational compromise and the resultant legalism of independent churches out of reaction. The plethora of solid Bible teaching available on the Internet, radio and TV also serves a role in feeding people outside of the context of the local body of believers. Many who are in areas where there is no solid biblical church are able to get taught the Word from pastors who live 2,000 miles away, or on the other side of the world. Fellowship often takes place with other, like-minded believers online who also see the breakdown in evangelicalism and who see the false spirituality that is being created.

None of this is, of course, ideal. It’s tough to take a meal to someone in Akron, Ohio when you live in Detroit. The leadership of a shepherd who knows your family and its needs can’t be replaced by a media figure on an mp3. Communing with those of like faith and love for Christ is tough to do when you communicate through email. But for many, there aren’t any other choices available.

The book also addresses the growth of the home church movement that has sprung up. Of course, marketers and organizations are trying to exploit this and turn home churches into an OFFICIAL movement, with conventions marketing “home church materials”, etc, which completely defeats the purpose. But even home churches need good leadership if they are to complete their function as a church. Home churches don’t last long where there is no clear order established for the teaching of the Word, for worship, for baptisms and the Lord’s Supper.

The problem with the book Quitting Church, is that it covers way too broad of a slice of “Christianity.” The author does not define what “Christianity” really is and therefore lumps in issues in Catholicism with those of Protestant evangelicals, seeker churches with emerging churches and a whole lot in between. She quotes some credible sources, but then quotes heretics like Brian McLaren to make her points. These issues are often as different as apples and oranges. The reason someone might leave a true Bible-preaching church to join McLaren’s emerging bandwagon are very different from why Bible-believing Christians would leave McLaren’s heretical, apostate congregation for a church that preaches truth. Duin makes no doctrinal distinctions whatsoever in her attempts to prove that people are “quitting church.” They certainly are, but for very different reasons sometimes.

I would like to see a book written that addresses the problem of Bible-believing Christians specifically and their difficulty in finding like-minded congregations that are holding fast to the Word of God. There has been a huge sea change that I myself have witnessed in the last 20 years. Churches that two decades ago were preaching the Word, evangelizing and making an impact for Christ in the community are now featuring Elvis impersonators, car shows and the like. These are the churches that bought into the Purpose-Driven mentality that the church must change to be like the culture. This thinking has wrought unbelievable carnage that leaves many Bible-believing Christians standing on the outside with few options for a church left.

What is really needed is another Reformation. Nearly 500 years after Luther pounded in his 95 Theses at Wittenberg, things are grim. The doctrinal chaos and confusion, the inroads of eastern pagan spirituality, the grossly compromised circus churches, the shortage of biblical churches, the apostasizing of once solid seminaries—all of it points to carnal and wayward Christianity. Only a sovereign move of God can change the way things are. In the meantime, believers are findings spiritual food where they can in the middle of the local church famine, and are finding fellowship with other believers who are also well aware of the spiritual state of things. That is all that can be done. We need to watch and pray, because the times are truly dark.


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at last at last
40 years ago I was told by Jesus of this day when the real church would stand up and be heard. I am rejoiceing as this tells us the Jesus soon return. Jesus is preparing His bride and they will not be coming out of the pews of a mega church. They will be those whose whole life will be dedicated to the will of the Father. His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen and Amen
#1 - claudia linse - 03/06/2011 - 23:36
Why I left the Chruch
Good Morning, first .. I am still a believer, I still trust God and am a follower of Jesus Christ. I've been to may prostantant denominations, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian PCA - The most recent and my favorite in many ways. I enbrace "Reformed Theology"

The Church has many functions and is made up of flawed people .. I understand this. Onc function of the leadership of the chruch is building community or facilitating this necessary part of the church.

I see a massave failure in this area and from my own conservations with the leadership .. not much interest in seriously engaging in this area.

The pastors seems more interested in their own immediate family lives, writing their own book, doing outside teaching and lecturing ... vs focusing on facilitating what God has called them to ...in line with their responsibilities.

Their is no training and discussion in my view to guide elders and deacons in what their commitments and responsibilities are ... except to attend meetings and help in the area of "Chrisis"

I realize that we all are responsible for doing our part, but when the Chruch "Leadership" fails to lead, guide, facilitate growth ... in failihng to promote "actively" fellowship - relationships ... and hardly bothers to contact members, encourge them (speaking when people visit, or are regular members or attenders and are not contact by elders/deacons, etc, ... as to why they have not seen them in a while or if a members makes known stuggles and issues .. and makes it clear they are open to dialogue ... yet the pastor, elders and deacons are not interested enough to help, encourge the member/attender and be there to help them work it out ...

This to me is a giant failure of the church ... Pastors are not fulfilling their responsibilities as it is clear that the leaders; Elders and Deacons are not trained and advised what is needed and expected .. other than to attend all the meetings ... because its clear to me ... they "elders/deacons" are not fulfilling their rolls ... or are doing so in a very limited capacity.

I am not saying member can't be involved in these areas ... but with out any encourgement of the community/congergations of the chruch by leadership and example set by the leadership ... the building of community is lacking and the congergation is being left to fend for themselves and essentially starve ... for lack of leardership / encourgement.

The church seems to have more interest in programs and outside outreach .. which are all good, but failing to meet the basic and vital needs of the congergation .. and they (Leadership) wonder why they are not growing .... and appear stagnet.

I have fought this for 7 years now ... I am fed up, frustrated ... and as a result .. I am moving from this area ...

Will things be different in my new location ... maybe not ... but I will have a fresh place to start ... My attitude for the current situation and area is too bruised to repair and I am not interested any longer ..

I quit going to church over 2 years ago ... and I am very frustrated by what I call the failure of the American Church.

Yes ... some of the blame has to fall on me as well, I do not deny that ... but no one is lending me a hand to crawl out of the ditch either ...

Churchosity Sucks

Thanks for the ear
#2 - Darrell - 04/15/2013 - 03:12
I hear you
To the writer of comment #2: I hear you, and can relate completely. More importantly, The Lord hears you. Keep seeking him; He will bring you to where you should be; where you can lean on others and they can lean on you.
The church needs a shaking in this country, but God is still God and He loves us regardless.
#3 - Reverence - 04/16/2013 - 11:23
Retired Pastor 38 yrs.
What has happened to Pastors?they read with no feeling about what they are saying as though it is what someone else said it,and probly did.never anything from God to them.God Please help us.Aman aman and aman.
#4 - Bobby G DUNCAN - 05/04/2013 - 14:03
author
Gotquestions.org says "few young adults believe in Satan." Bishop John Spong admits that "the church has always dangled us between their imaginary Heaven and Hell as a control tactic." Clergy say whoever leaves the church is denying God. They believe church is the embodiment of Christ, but many disagree. Parade Magazine says that 69% still believe in God, but Pew Research found that church attendance plummeted to 18%. The crisis for the church is that we're finding God without it.
Joseph Ratzinger (pope) "quit his first seminary because they conceded that there were two separate and opposing Christianities in the second century. One was the Jewish Christianity of Jesus and the other was the Roman gentile Christianity of Paul. They noted that Paul was indifferent to the teaching of Christ and the opponent of the religion of love He came to announce to the world." Catholic Encyclopedia
The Romans hated Christianity and replaced it with their "Roman Christianity" 300 years after Christ. Jesus' Christianity had no judgment, Satan, Hell, Easter or Yuletide. These were all Roman pagan religion. Young adults are becoming Christian Spiritualists because they're over the ecclesiatical manipulation, but are still pursuing the religion of love Christ came to announce to the world.

Brad O'Donnell, author "Where to Now Saint Paul?"
video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQVyZ74HmiA
#5 - Brad O'Donnell - 06/03/2015 - 15:07
Leaving Church
I sadly have decided to leave Church, even if for only a while. The one I have been attending is so judgemental, so narrow in its outlook, and I am worried I shall finish up like them if I continue to go.
I've been having a tough time lately with bereavement and loss - has anyone shown understanding from the Church? No - they haven't. Anyone interested in me - No. Others who have been supportive are not Church goers. What does that say..........................
#6 - Rosemary - 07/26/2015 - 11:11
Where to Now Saint Paul?
Rosemary, Many are quitting church due to its judgmental character.

When you study early Christianity, you learn that it didn't discriminate and judge others like today. That's because it's a completely different religion from the original religion of brotherly love....Christianity was radically transformed by the Romans when they commandeered it 325 AD.

The pagan world always venerated wrathful, vengeful gods. Christ was the revolutionary who countered that God was not vengeful, but loving and forgiving...and that He only asked us to love and help one another.

When clergy preach that Christ will return as a vengeful god of judgment, they're denying His fundamental covenant of brotherhood. How could a god of love renege on His charter?

History reveals that there was no judgment, Satan, hell, Easter, Christmas, virgin birth, Christmas story, or "son of god" theology in the first 300 years of Christianity... As it turns out, this was all pagan dogma introduced by the Romans when they commandeered the faith in the 4th century. Churches tell us we can only save our souls if we accept this religion and the teaching of Christ...But the church's crisis is that none of this was the religion of Jesus Christ.

âWhen Constantine became Emperor of Rome, he nominally became a Christian â¦but being a sagacious politician, he sought to blend Pagan practices with âChristianâ beliefs, to merge Paganism with the Roman Church. (Roman) Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient Pagan world.â (www.hope-of-israel.org/cmas1.htm)

This is why Bishop John Spong concedes âthe church has always been in the guilt producing control business and dangled us between their imaginary heaven and hell as a control tactic.â

The only way the church can save itself is if it reverts to the original religion of love Christ came to announce to the world.

Brad O'Donnell, author âWhere to Now Saint Paul?â  
video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQVyZ74HmiA
#7 - Brad O'Donnell - 09/27/2015 - 21:22
Re: Where to Now Saint Paul?
Almost everything you said is false:

"Many are quitting church due to its judgmental character."

The truth is, many are quitting the Church because of its lack of judgment. Much of the so-called church is apostate and has so compromised the Gospel that sin has become rampant and therefore many are leaving because they are not being fed with the truth.

Falsehood: "When you study early Christianity, you learn that it didn't discriminate and judge others like today."

Truth: When one studies early Christianity you learn that it held fast to the Word of God in consistently exercising judgment against sin and adhered to the Scriptural mandate to practice Church discipline.

Judging and Discipline in Scripture:

[Jesus said] Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

1 Cor.5:1-5 "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present".

1 Cor. 5:12-13 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Titus 3:10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness

Partial truth: "Christ was the revolutionary who countered that God was not vengeful, but loving and forgiving...and that He only asked us to love and help one another."

Truth: Yes, Jesus taught that we love our neighbor but He also spoke extensively of judgment and never countered that God was not vengeful. The following are Jesus' own words:

Matthew 13:39-44 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Luke 19:27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.

Matthew 3:10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 18:6-9 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

Matthew 8:12 But the sons of the kingdom [unbelieving Jews] will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 22:13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Matthew 24:50, 51 The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Matthew 3:12 His [Jesus']winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Partial truth: "The pagan world always venerated wrathful, vengeful gods.

Truth: Yes, but so does Scripture, 'For we know Him who said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord (Heb. 10:30).

Falsehood: "When clergy preach that Christ will return as a vengeful god of judgment, they're denying His fundamental covenant of brotherhood. How could a god of love renege on His charter?"

Truth: 2 Thess. 2:7-9 "...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power..."

Falsehood: "History reveals that there was no judgment, Satan, hell, Easter, Christmas, virgin birth, Christmas story, or 'son of god' theology in the first 300 years of Christianity..."

Truth: It is impossible to read the Word of God and conclude that there is no judgment, Satan, hell (as defined by Scripture), virgin birth, nativity story, or 'son of god'

Falsehood: "Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient Pagan world."

Truth: Jesus created the Church, Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Falsehood: "This is why Bishop John Spong concedes 'the church has always been in the guilt producing control business and dangled us between their imaginary heaven and hell as a control tactic.'"

Truth: If you are listening to Bishop Spong you are being deceived. "Even the secular press understands the depths of Bishop Spong's denial of Christian truth. The Sydney Morning Herald noted that Spong has denied that Jesus was born of a virgin, that Joseph ever existed, that Jesus performed miracles, that He died for our sins, and that He was raised from the dead. He also denies the deity of Christ and the nature of God as a personal being, much less the only true God. In other books Spong has suggested that the Apostle Paul was a repressed homosexual. More recently, he has joined the chorus of those suggesting that the death of Christ was necessary for the salvation of sinners amounts to 'divine child abuse.'" In other words, Spong, by any objective standard, is not even a Christian.

Scripture: Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." [This fits Spong to a tee]

Partial truth: The only way the church can save itself is if it reverts to the original religion of love Christ came to announce to the world.

Truth: This is true if the love you speak of, as defined by Scripture, is obedience to the will of God.

1 John 5:2,3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother [who does not keep God's commandments].
#8 - James - 09/30/2015 - 15:59
the majority of the church is apostate
i found this ministry, the youtube channel "still small voice", almost 2 months ago, and i found Benjamin Baruch's testimony "the day of the LORD is at hand", on youtube about 2 weeks ago.

the first ministry which is directed at preparing the bride of Christ for the rapture, has helped me TREMENDOUSLY in terms of dealing with remaining sin in my life, that i was largely deceived about and unaware of, and i'm still growing and trying to confess more sins and repent.

before finding Benjamin Baruch's testimony: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P1a6qpA7Fk), it confirmed many suspicions i had about the majority of the institutional church and the American church leaderships being WAY OFF in one way or another, and even though i was quite sinful before and after i became a Christian, i had more than one instance of church hurt myself.

when it comes down to it there are is a massive amount of deception, demonic attack, and catastrophic failure on the part of leadership and laity that has led to the current state of the institutional church in America.

i've had fights with friends about this very subject. I've stopped going to organized churches myself, because i know what is going on is wrong.

the fact is, this is the falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and we have all been guilty of this in one way or another. We cannot obtain reform for this, because the leaderships will not repent of their present distortion of leadership, and they will not relax the reins of power, and they will not share power with other leaders or lay leaders to fix these problems in a truly congregational style of leadership.

Regardless if it happens before or after the rapture, the American church en masse is on schedule for massive suffering and discipline from God over what we have allowed this to become. my best advice for everyone is what i am working to do, which is to become pure and obedient, ready for the rapture.

cast off everything that would hinder you from getting ready for Christ. join us in fasting, mourning, confession, and change of heart, let us becoming loving and obedient for our Savior, so that there will be oil in our lamps when He arrives.
#9 - Louis - 10/12/2015 - 08:09
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