Why is it getting so hard to go to church?

Lately I have been finding it harder and harder to go to church.

When was a kid, we went to Sunday School and then church and went back again for the evening service. We went every Sunday rain or shine (or snow) and to midweek service too. I loved Sunday School and children’s church. In college I joined a collegiate ministry and was involved in Bible studies, prayer meetings, and went to every conference, retreat and training program they ever had. As a young adult I spent two years as a missionary nurse in South America, came back for more training and went to Asia to help with Bible translation. In my early years in Asia, though at first I struggled with language, church was an oasis in the midst of a predominantly non-Christian society. You’d think I would really like church.

But too often nowdays I come out of church feeling upset and wishing I hadn’t gone.

So what happpened?

I think the thing that is most disturbing is what I can only call Bible Abuse.

I am not a world class exegete but even I can see that far too many sermons are somebody’s ideas with some Scripture tacked on it with the whole lot passed off as God’s truth. Some sermons allude, allude, allude but never ever get around to plainly stating what Scripture says. Some take Scripture and come up with jaw-dropping “applications”. Some tell so many stories that any point is lost in the constant shift in story lines. Some preach psychology. Some preach self-esteem. Some preach prosperity. Some preach that we need to do more and work harder and by leaps and bounds give us lists of 6 steps to this, 3 steps to that, 7 principles of the other.

People nowdays seem to be forever imposing stuff on the Biblical characters too. I went to a workshop about how adults learn. I was astonished to be told that Jesus used these methods. Imagine that! Those very methods – that we didn’t rediscover until the 21st century! And they showed a film to prove it! And did you know Jesus was a CEO? Did you know that He was rich and wants you to be rich? And remember Jabez and his magic prayer? But somehow when you read the Bible yourself, it’s not like that at all.

So what is going on? The Bible is treated as if it were a some magic “dust” that you can sprinkle on your talk to give it authority. If you can associate your ideas with the Bible, and tell us that Paul used that method, or better yet that Jesus used that method, then that will make it binding on us. You can be very selective too. Look at all the verses on God’s love – and ignore the ones that talk about His hatred of sin and His justice and holiness. Not only that, you can twist a verse around and tie it in knots and make it say whatever you want it to. With a bit of practice you can even go from “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good” (Psalm 136:1a) to “We must praise God [preferably with modern worship bands] so that He will then be obligated to bless us and give us what we want.”

Is this not Bible Abuse?

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2 Comments

Filed under Bible, Biblical truth, scripture twisting, sola scritura

2 responses to “Why is it getting so hard to go to church?

  1. anna

    I just read the discouragement of one over discouragement from their church. I too have great difficulty in attending church. When i accepted Christ i was so caught up in Jesus..i desired to tell everyone only to find in my church it was advised i didn’t always have to talk about Jesus etc. The first suggestion to me as a new christian was to get busy with ‘doing’. Not learn who i am in Christ..what his salvation entails just ‘get busy working’. As a result my busy work for Christ soon became a snare and i became discouraged over lack of progress as a child of God. I didn’t even learn i was ‘ a new creation in Christ Jesus until years and years went by. It was as if once i accepted Christ..my sins were forgiven up to that point of accepting Christ and then it was up to me to maintain my salvation. I fell badley. But God is faithful and brought me into His truth that ‘for by grace are we saved through faith in Jesus Christ NOT OF WORKS IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD NOT OF OURSELVES LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST…. wE ARE SAVED BY GOD’S GRACE..WE LIVE BY GOD’S GRACE..WE ARE KEPT BY GOD’S GRACE. Finding a church is so difficult that is biblically sound. Didn’t Jesus say in the latter days people would fall away from sound doctirne? This is what we are seeing.

    • endsofearth

      Sorry to take so long to reply, I’ve been out of town – at the ends of the earth in fact! Thanks, Anna. You are right, our salvation is a work of God and nothing we have done or ever will do can add or take away from it. Sadly, though, it seems that many churches today are no longer clearly teaching that. And it’s especially disturbing because in this age of sound bytes and fast paced living people rarely take the time to investigate for themselves what the Bible actually says. People are indeed falling away from sound doctrine.

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