We completed part one with the large and looming question of “Who divorces who?” or should it be whom? I’m not a great grammar person. When is it time to call it quits with either your church, your Pastor, or both.
1. Christian Fellowship: The Bible states clearly to not forsake yourself from the fellowship with the saints. But what if the saints are the ones causing you to lose your joy, and drawing you into the black hole of unchristian thoughts and actions? You need to analyze what is causing this and whether or not its something you can overlook or deal with. There is an old joke that says, “People who attend Sunday mornings love the preacher, those that attend Sunday night love the church and those that attend mid week service love the Lord!” This may be a joke, but there are always some truth in these little sayings. If you are finding it difficult, almost impossible, to make yourself attend a church, because being in God’s house is causing you pain, you may need to look for a new church home. Attending the Lord’s house should bring you joy! You should desire to gather close to the Lord every chance you get. The problem with many who are going through the “spiritual divorce” is that it so pains them to be around the other members or the Pastor, that they cannot bring themselves to be in the same room. To a true Christian this is a very, very difficult situation. We are COMMANDED by GOD to not forsake his Church. For some, the pain is so great, they would rather move on than remain in this situation.
2. Respect of Leadership: Pastors, teachers and leaders are brought to their positions, by God himself. We are told by the Bible to respect and follow the leaders placed over us by our loving Father. Is your relationship with your pastor healthy? To have a healthy relationship you need to have the following in place: Trust, Communication, Respect and Obedience.
The problem with a “divorce” is that one or all of these may be lacking between the member, the congregation and the pastor. If you can’t trust, communicate, respect or obey your Pastor, you need to let God work on your heart. If you have prayed, fasted, and tried to deal with all these situations one to one with your Pastor, or through a group, and it still has not been satisfied, you may need to move on. Here on some scriptures:
1 Timothy 5:17 ESV
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Hebrews 13:17 ESV /
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
If you truly, and I mean TRULY have submitted yourself to the Lord and asked for his guidance on this, and he communicates to you that you cannot do this, than it is better off for you to leave than to add to the pain of the divorce.
Here are some other things to consider: These are not my ideas, these are taken from batteredsheep.com, and written by James McBride.
Search The Scriptures
What a church teaches ought to reflect what the Scriptures teach. The source of Christian belief is the Word of God. How does your denomination meet the challenge?
To help you make a wise decision, ask yourself these questions.
Is Jesus Christ preached ? The heart of the Christian faith is Jesus Christ. Attitudes to him range from a dead formalism through to disrespectful chumminess. Yet it’s only through Jesus Christ–his life, his sufferings, his cruel death on the tree–that we are reconciled to the Father. Only through him, through his shed blood, can our loathsome (to God) sin be freely forgiven upon our repentance. Only in him will we enter into eternal life. It’s a personal decision which each of us must take.
Does my church reject clear Bible teachings? Some denominations, even on fundamental issues, cling blindly to tradition. Is this likely to change in your church–even after maybe several centuries of error? Changes, all too often, are away from the truth of the Bible!
Be sure to examine your church’s teaching with the Bible in hand. It’s yourresponsibility to get it right, not the pastor’s who answers for his own error. God’s Word is plain to those who want to understand! For example, have you personally sought out the Bible teaching on heaven–and hell? What about the immortality of the soul? And do you know on which days–weekly and annually–God says, in the Scriptures, He desires worship?
Do I dislike the pastor? We each differ in personality–clashes can occur! But the Christian Gospel promotes reconciliation, and you ought to exhaust every avenue to achieve it. We must seek peace with everyone one in the congregation, as much as is in our power. If there are no channels for reconciliation or there’s an unbridgeable–and unbiblical–gap between leaders and laity, then this, too, must be considered.
Does my church express the spirit of Christ? All too many local churches and even whole denominations are spiritually dead. There’s little chance to express Christian practice or to “grow in grace and knowledge”. A living church will be aserving church showing concern for the spiritual and material welfare of its members and for the world around. It will be a learning church, continually growing in Bible understanding and the training of its membership. It will be an evangelizing church with an active program for taking the Gospel to the world. And it is strong on theethical and behavioral aspects of the Christian faith.
It’s unlikely you will find a church with which you can agree one hundred per cent! And indeed there’s no need to do so. For not all “knowledge” is vital to salvation.
There are, however, vital truths which distinguish the true from the false. Search the Scriptures. Discover what is truth. And wholeheartedly and energetically serve Jesus Christ where He is faithfully taught and expressed.
I hope this blog has given you some things to think about on your own thoughts about the spiritual divorce. I hope some of this gives you hard things to think about, but also, maybe comfort in your own journey.