February 22, 2012

Not of Us

I've started typing this post four times, but it just isn't working.  When I have a thought on my mind that I want to post on the blog, I usually like to build up to it a bit before I really get to what I want to talk about.  I like to think that I am taking the reader (if there are any) through the process that led me up to that thought.  Today, I just can't seem to get the words to flow correctly.  So, if you would permit me, I would like to jump directly to the thought on my mind instead of building up to it.

Here it is: What is going on with people who leave the church?

I don't know about where you live, but Danville is full of people who've gone to church at some point in their life, most likely when they were young, but now they don't.  In fact, I've met many who have attended the small church where I am currently the pastor at some point in their past.

What is alarming is how many who will leave the church, but they don't believe that has any implications on their faith or their future destination.  Consider what John has to say about this:
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
(1 John 2:19 ESV)
There are many implications in this passage.  Some of those implications might set you ill at ease.  It should.

Notice, if you would though, the implied benefit for those who stay.  The spiritual reality of those who have left has become plain to us.  In other words, we don't need to be bewildered or even apathetic about those who've left the church.  That is the reaction that many have.  They see their friend or neighbor or relative that used to go to church.  Instead of concern for them, the reactions tend to border on blatant disregard.  I mean, how can you really love someone without being concerned over their eternal state?  If they have left the church, then you have every reason to believe that their souls are in imminent danger and no reason to believe that they are probably fine.  They are in need of our prayers, and if necessary, some doctrinal correction.