Sunday, June 03, 2012

In a Faith Denying Environment, Should I Go or Stay?

At my Bible study group recently, the topic came up of a woman who attends a spiritually dead church who had come to know Christ. Someone in our group asked if she should leave that church or stay, and everybody said she should stay.

The reasonable logic was that Christ calls us to be a witness to the world (in this instance, to her very-dead church), and not to withdraw into our own little huddle.

True, very true ...

And yet in retrospect I think that answer is inadequate. I think a proper answer depends on the person.

Are you at least standing firm in your faith in a faith-disparaging environment? Better yet, are you reaching out with the love of Christ in that environment?

If so, it is probably a great thing for you to stay. If you are an evangelist, by all means be one!

Or, do you find yourself hiding your faith and being a bit evasive if people ask about it? ("Well, yeah, sometimes I go to church on Sunday. It's kind of something my Mom expects.")

If so, are you going to change? If you can't honestly say you will change then you should probably get out. For the time being, at any rate, you need a more supportive environment. And I am not just talking about getting out of a dead church. I am talking about getting out of a job, a neighborhood, a city, or any other negative environment.

If you become a just one more worldly Christian then you become just one more reason for the world to despise Christ.

And yes, even if you get out of a destructive environment and into a good one, like my Bible study friends say, you are still called upon to reach out! But if you read the very short Third Letter of John in the New Testament you will find John says (vs 8) that those who support Christian workers are "fellow-workers with the truth." So, do your outreach by supporting a missionary, by giving to Christian relief organizations, by supporting an inner-city outreach, or just by being like Tabitha (Acts 9), who helped the poor by sewing clothes.

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