When You Should Flee Your Church
by Trevin Wax
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the response I’d received from my article in Tabletalk - “Not So Fast” - which basically encourages most people to stay with their congregation during a difficult church situation rather than flee. Based on the notes I’ve gotten, some have misunderstood my suggestion not to be hasty in leaving a church (hence the title “Not So Fast”) as a hard, fast rule against ever leaving a church, no matter what happens.
Are there times when a Christian should not submit to their church’s leadership? Yes. Jonathan Leeman, in his excellent little book Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus, lays out some of those times. He writes:
“All of us, at times, will be called to endure humbly a leader’s mistakes and sins.”
Most of us fit this category, I believe. Called to be patient with other people just as other people are called to be patient with us. He goes on:
“Nonetheless, should you find yourself in a church where the leadership is characteristically abusive, I would, in most cases, encourage you to flee.”
The key word here is “characteristically.” No one should immediately leave a church simply because something or someone in leadership has offended them. But when abuse is taking place, one ought to flee for the following reasons…
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