Don’t let the imperfections and injustices of the world (including the Christian world) around you hinder the life and work to which you are called in Christ. If something turns you off in your church or faith community — that’s not God. Anything that moves you further from God, rest assured, is from the Enemy. Don’t fall for it.
This week, Beth Moore announced she was leaving the church denomination she’s long been a part of. At 63 years old, she made this change. On the surface, this may not sound that interesting, but it’s actually a beautiful witness for throngs of people who have become uncomfortable with the words and witness of Christians around them.
I don’t mean to say we should flee our church at the drop of a hat. We are and always will be surrounded exclusively by sinners saved by grace, but there are times in which we can consult God and follow His lead to change.
This also doesn’t mean I think the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) should crumble to demise, but for Beth, it was time to move on. It may be someone else’s calling to help restore and shape the SBC.
Here’s why this all matters: I’ve seen too many people leave their Christian faith or question God because members of the church failed them. Instead of taking a deep look at the structures or specific teachings within, evaluating their disappointment and faithfully pursuing God’s guidance, they just give up.
Beth Moore’s Example
This week, Beth showed us you don’t have to give up. You can be transformed. You can move on to what God has for you next. We know from His Word that this will include Christian community in the form of a church, but there’s no rule book directing you to a specific denomination or church body. We have the freedom to choose
There’s no claim in the Bible that we must be rooted to a certain denomination. There are many to choose from, and we are allowed to change, even after 40 years. Beth knew this would cause a firestorm of news, but she felt it was worth it to make the change publicly.
“I’m gonna serve whoever God puts in front of me,” she said in her announcement. She’s still a Jesus follower. She’s still a faithful servant. She still loves the friends she leaves behind in the SBC. Let her be a shining example to others, whom God may be leading to change. (Note: God may also be leading you to stay and be part of bearing, healing, proclaiming and restoring, so do consult Him and His Word prayerfully before jumping the gun on this!)
In Galations, Paul writes: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”
There is no other gospel. When people disappoint us, we should expect it. If God calls us out of something, we should follow Him, not abandon our faith. We follow Jesus, not Baptists. We follow Jesus, not our Pastor. We follow Jesus, not culture.
Our Christian Calling
The call for the Christian is simple: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” (1 Timothy 6:11).
In all things, humility. In all choices, seek God first. In all faithfulness, it is Him alone we serve. As we make difficult choices about our faith lives, let’s remember to humble ourselves for we are justified through, and only through, His work on the Cross.
When we give up, question our faith in Jesus, or the importance of the Church itself, it’s an easily identifiable tactic of the Enemy. What other choices can we make so as not to let him in? Don’t let the forces of darkness invade your life so easily.
Sometimes it means moving on. But it’s always doing so with Jesus first leading the way for us.