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One big dilemma in spiritually abusive churches is deciding if and when to leave the church. Does God want people to leave a spiritually abusive church? Can God work through people left in an abusive church? Is there a Biblical precedent for this kind of situation? What does God’s Word say?
a thought says:
Only God can answer the question, “What would God want you to do.” I feel like you are leaving His sovereign power out of the equation with your next sentence, ” Support a man who is not humble…”. We need to seek the Lord and do what He tells us to do. If God happens to say “wait,” we need to trust Him. He is more powerful than this mess and when He is ready, He will act. He may want us at Harvest for what is to come, but then again, He may want us to “vote with our feet.” All I’m saying, is that those still at Harvest need to seek God on this and obey Him.
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I understand this comment because there is a lot at stake for leaving a church. There are many personal ties with long-standing relationships. Some people might want to stay to help others see the light. Another idea is that they may influence the pastor or church leaders to change. But what does the Bible say? Does God want us to stay in an abusive church?
Let’s take a look at God’s Word. Here are some verses to consider as we question if we should stay or leave the spiritually abusive church:
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
In this verse, Jesus is speaking and seems to be implying that our souls are more important than our physical bodies. So, it makes sense that we should make sure our souls are being taken care of properly, doesn’t it?
“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (1Timothy 5:17 NKJV)
This verse shows us the importance of an elder who shares the word and sound doctrine – that elders are held to a higher standard. Should we stay with someone who is defrauding the role of elder and is putting a stain in the Body of Christ by their public and private behavior?
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1)
Again, we see a high standard given for teachers. Would God want us to be supporting what He does not support? Scripture is clear that pastors who do their jobs poorly will have to face eternal consequences. That shows how serious God views the position. Should we not put the same amount of emphasis on integrity and right doctrine in what we allow our ears to hear?
I can assure you there are many people struggling with this situation right now, whether it be at Harvest Bible Chapel or another church. Can we brainstorm some more? Do you believe God would want you to stay in an abusive church or leave? Is there any Biblical precedent to remain in an abusive church? What about those who say they want to stay to be a positive influence to others? I’ve heard of another case where someone is staying in an abusive church to help pick up the pieces once Humpty Dumpty has his great fall. Is this wise? What are your thoughts?
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