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When to leave a church (IFB)

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by of_the_rose, Feb 15, 2017.


Should I leave or stay at this church?

  1. Stay

    1 vote(s)
  2. Leave

    4 vote(s)
Random Thread
  1. Hi all, this is a loose continuation of my last post, linked below, about the circumstances at my church.
    If you don't wish to read the previous post for background, in summary:
    My fellow church members and I are expected to pray for 50-80+ people each, every Wed, from a prescribed, rotating list, and we have been told to cease praying for people at times.

    To Pray or not to Pray

    But here is my new predicament. And I am only posting this after speaking with my husband, and other members in confidence...

    I joined an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church, when I married my husband, with great hesitation. I left my former (open brethren) church that I was apart of, to do this. Here are my concerns, and if anyone has ever been in this circumstance, please weigh in and share:

    1. There is a strong emphasis on outward actions:
    (e.g) Required attendance of all 3 weekly meetings (6hours+/week), and when attendance was not perfect due to illness/new baby, I was told that I am to be careful of getting my priorities mixed up, or that I am denying God when I miss church when family is visiting, because "so and so" wouldn't even miss a mid week meeting when their elderly parents came into town to visit, for only short time.

    (e.g2) Expectation of memorizing up to 10 verses weekly and being tested on them, expectation of praying for 50-80+ people/causes each (limited to other baptists), on a scheduled, pre-written prayer list, and it is also encouraged to attend 2-3hour weekly revival meetings.

    2. There is an elitist attitude, yet super small membership:zipped:
    The attitude towards unbelievers and other Christians is persecutory, and lacks love. It is an us vs them attitude. It is very common and accepted to say that other churches, in general, are not real churches, and that our church, really has a handle on things. This is even said from the pulpit. We separate from all other churches, in evangelism, and in fellowship, that are not IFB (and none of the IFBs in our city had "made the cut")
    Yet there are only 11 members, and church "growth" consists of a couple singles who got married to someone who then joined. Been micro small for years.
    It feels stale and suffocating!

    When I spoke to other church members, they either agreed with what was going on, or would be complacent and defeated. I really want to leave this church, because the impression I have after talking to other church members, is that things will never change, and either I adapt to it, or I would have to leave.

    Has anyone been in a church like this?
  2. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
    Matthew 11:28-30
    By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
    For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
    1John 5:2-3

    Are you going to a worship meeting or are you going to a workout or training session?
    A church meeting - psalms and songs, doctrine (teaching from the Word), a testimony or two, communion, prayer line - is
    there for us to be edified, and to promote our joy in the Lord - giving thanks and praise for a wonderful salvation.
    The doctrines and worship of any church ought to be based on the commandments clearly given out by Jesus and
    the Apostles (the epistles) and not legalistic add-ons made by men.

    We encourage our members to attend both Sunday communion services and the Tuesday night meetings.
    But many do not attend both, and many of our elderly members don't drive at night time, and so on.
    People are all different. Some are zealous for the gospel and in their love of the Lord Jesus. Some are more
    needs based and come along more in response to seeking for a healing, etc.
    Some get their knickers in a knot, and stop coming for a while, until either the pastor or a friend counsels them over their hurts.
    And when their issues are sorted out then we see them again more regularly.

    The main thing is not to go around condemning our brothers and sisters (as this is completely unscriptural and not love).
    Rather we tend to visit and followup on people we haven't seen for a while, because there is usually a good reason as
    to why they are absent.

    My church, the Revival Fellowship Australia, is a pretty disciplined fundamentalist Bible (Acts) complying mob; and we have some who
    preach that we are "better" than other churches.
    But self-righteousness is a trap, and with pride comes a fall.
    Most of us have the wisdom to know that when believers move away to another fellowship that their walk is between themselves and the Lord.
    People can leave for many years and then turn up again as they encounter shortcomings in the other choice they made.
    Other churches have strengths we do not have, and we do things better on some points (like divine healing) than others.
    As long as one reads the Bible for themselves and examines all things against the scriptures (NT principally) that is helpful
    for one's walk in the Lord.

    The joy of the Lord is your strength. Your church should be uplifting, helping you to rejoice in your worship and salvation.

    [Note : an Australian expression ... knickers in a knot also said, knickers in a twist. Means getting all uptight and upset over a matter.]
    pookiejr and Br. Bear like this.
  3. Greetings,

    Firstly, it smells like a cult rather than a Church. Stinks like one, actually, from what you have said, @of_the_rose .

    Secondly, is it the only place where Christians in the area can meet and share fellowship? If not, leave now. Of course you must be with your husband, which is right and I encourage you to ask the LORD to open dialogue with your husband and that your husband initiates leaving.

    Of course it would be best for those in your little group to change but it may never happen.
    Pray for them but if possible, leave that place.

    Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you and your husband.

    Bless you ....><>
    Bendito, Sue J Love and Christ4Ever like this.
  4. Sorry Rose, but I've never been to a church like that.......hummmmmmmmmm.........apologies again...yes I have! It's called the Jehovah's Witnesses or in other words a Cult of sorts. Is there such a thing as a cult of sorts? If this church is not one, it sure has the beginnings of one. So, I'm in agreement with Brother Bear.

    You don't say what your husband thinks of the church since he's been going there longer. So, there are some unanswered questions that you both need to be honest about. I'm sure he can probably tell you why he was going there in the first place and was he disturbed about it. Something like...I was going there because (fill in blank) and just never thought about it until you with a clearer eye starting to see under the veneer of what looked like a solid Bible believing church?

    In prayer you both need to seek Holy Spirit guidance in this. God will open and shut doors, even to the church you attend or may wind up attending. That you are concerned is sufficient reason to take it to Him who knows. However, make sure this a jointly done! The covenant of marriage is between your husband, you and God. He must step up and take the lead so it doesn't fall to you to do. You are as a family stronger this way and God will surely in time provide the answer.

    I will pray for you both in seeking and finding His will for your family in this.

    With the Love of Christ Jesus.
    Bendito and Br. Bear like this.
  5. Thanks for your responses. I figured that it would be helpful to have other Christians weigh in for a more unbiased point of view.
    I should have included that my husband is in disagreement with the doctrines of this church, but is hesitant to leave, or even bring it up to the pastor until he can really study the doctrines first, and write a paper/essay to him to really prove himself/his point.
    He said that he would start doing this in late April when he finishes school. He has also missed many meetings due to school (attends once weekly instead of 3+)

    According to our church Bylaws, since we are
    "no longer in sympathy with the church doctrines, and ... if we refuse to rectify the manner"
    our names will be brought up before the church for "dismissal" at the next church business meeting.

    And since we are not attending all 3 meetings...
    "any member who by wilful neglect or deliberate choice fails to attend the regular services of the church for a period of one month, shall have their name placed on a probationary list by the board of deacons (we have one deacon), and shall be so notified in writing."
    and if we fail to resume full attendance, we will be "dismissed from the church roll by a vote of the church."

    So I guess in a passive way, I'm hoping to just get "dismissed."
    There are plenty of other churches that I can fellowship at that wouldn't be so isolated.
  6. But I would counsel a choice based on a love for the Word; an emphasis on living the gospel.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
    But those belonging to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.
    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
    Galatians 5:22-25

    The Lord has set in place a quality control standard by which we can test every Christian , and every Church.
    Br. Bear likes this.
  7. Leave, because Yah commands us in His word to do so - "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." - Revelation 18:4
    We should not attend the Sunday worship at church, because it is not Him whom we worship! The pope of Rome changed the seventh day Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, it was authorized by the Roman Catholic Church.
    Yah never said in His word that we should follow after men and not His Word - "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men", "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." I pray that Yah would bless you with understanding and truth!
  8. Greetings again,

    Thank you for your reply.
    Those people DO NOT OWN YOU (that is, you and your husband). You do not need to get permission from them to leave. Your husband is probably wasting his time even considering writing to them and if he really has to , do so later when you are free from their grip.
    Does your husband know you are communicating with us here at TalkJesus? If so, please pass this on to him.

    You do not ever have to go there. You do not ever have to go there again. You do not need permission from them. They are totally wrong in what they are doing with their ungodly rules and you both should cease from any further attendance. If there is anyone in that small group who you really love, phone them once you have made up your mind to quit playing the group's game and tell them you are not coming back, you love them and they are always welcome to contact and/or visit you. Tell them later if you really want to, why you stopped 'going' there but for now you would be best to keep that to yourselves. If they love the LORD it will be OK between you.

    Grace and Peace to you both in Jesus name

    Bless you ....><>
  9. Many years ago when my wife and I attended our first Protestant church together, we came up against troubles as you have [similar but quite different]. We both recognized there were problems. She was immediately ready to leave, but I like your husband wanted to understand more. Eventually we did leave, but it was not at the first confrontation, but very much later. What we came to understand was that what we really should always want is God's will.

    Is it ever God's will for a person suffer and die? Recall Jesus' prayer in Gethsemene:

    "... O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matt 26:29

    Is it ever God's will for a person to be unequally yoked? Recall the prophet, Hosea:

    "The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD." Hosea 1:2

    When my wife and I were in our situation we knew little of God and of what was written in scripture, but God helped us...

    A good question to ask is: What is God's will for us in this? Sometimes God puts people into situations that are wrong according to what they know or think they know, but He may have a reason for them to be in that place.

    Who would purposely go forth to be crucified? Yet we know that Jesus did just that:

    "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
    No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. " John 10:17-18

    We are not Jesus, but are we not to be working to be like Him?

    "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" I John 3:2

    We probably know something of God's will for Jesus, but what do we know of God's will for ourselves? Should we not want to find out? Would He not let us know what He desires us to do?

    "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
    For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Matt 7:7-8
    Christ4Ever likes this.
  10. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
    Psalm 133:1

    ......the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

    Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
    Galatians 5:22-23

    By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
    Matthew 7:16

    Greetings sister @of_the_rose

    I am in agreement with Br.Bear, you need to get out of this church and away from it's legalistic rubbish

    Fellowship is about worship, praise, celebrating what the Lord has done for us....etc
    A time of love and joy
    A sanctuary away from the world.

    I was once in the brethren (strict). It wasn't until I left that I felt like a noose had been cut from my neck.

    You and your husband don't need to go the LORD and He will guide you to where He wants you to be.

    When to leave is the title of your thread......NOW!

    Keep in touch with us here sister let us know how things are.

    Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
    Romans - 15:13

    pookiejr likes this.
  11. Thanks again for the replies. I know that it has been said that these people do not own us, and that we should not return. But the difficulty is that we do have close relationships with some people there - and we are especially close to the children who admire our infant. So from an interpersonal level, things are fine with most people. They do help us out a lot with our child, and they do show brotherly love -- I just wish that this legalistic religion part wasn't there!

    But for a mini progress update ...

    After praying about this matter a few days ago, and asking for wisdom, I had a dream about this unfamiliar man who was very judgemental towards another man who dressed in "street clothes" and acted delinquently. But one day, when he was helping a brother, he also saw the man laying on the ground in need of clothes. He suddenly had a change of heart, was really moved, and helped him.
    I feel like God was showing me the importance of loving those outside our circle, and not being insular.

    I'll keep everyone posted.
    Waggles likes this.
  12. Yes. Christians are meant to be a testimony to the gospel and love of Jesus (ambassadors to Christ).
    When you read the NT the early Christians were separate and distinct from the pagan heathen world that surrounded them.
    But they did not have closed communities that shunned contact and involvement with non-believers.
    Paul was a tent maker, Lydia a clothes dyer. Believers were part of their communities and witnessed the power and truth of the gospels by
    enjoying the signs and miracles of true faith. Reaching out to others is our great commission.

    11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
    12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers,
    they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
    1Peter 2:11-12
    pookiejr and Br. Bear like this.
  13. Hi There,

    Me and My Wife was in a church that we visited for one service and was made so @ home and they try to get us to join the same day.
    But I just feel to pray about it, Thank The LORD that He gave me the thought for the church was looking like sheep on the outside but also the attendance was 5 times a week and some odd hours with alot of rules and regulations.

    My heart is to write a letter to the church to let the leadership know that you are leaving, no specifics or reasons why you are leaving.
    As for the friends and children, make a Sunday a month available to do something or at home or in the nearest park.

    But remember that Jesus are looking after you and that you as a family has to make the choices.
    Church should be there for laughter and joy for all.
    Like us we are the first,third, fourth and fifth week @ head church and every second week we help out at our other churches.
    every third week we are on holiday for the weekend and we are doing it now for three years and what a joy.

    The thing behind is to follow your heart, to find where you grow spiritual, and in yourself.

    Jesus is the corner stone

    Be Blessed
    pookiejr and Br. Bear like this.
  14. Hello Rose. O yes, I can help. I was the senior Pastor of two IFCA Churches. I graduated from a IFB College in the State of Maine. Was taught by Bob Jones Professors who had moved to Maine to establish a "fundamental" College. The Bible Conferences that I attended were led by Bob Jones and Rodney Bell. I suppose you know all about these things.

    Later, I moved to Massachusetts answering a call to the First Baptist Church in Turners Falls. I led that Church into the GARBC (General Assoc. Of Regular Baptist Churches). It's a long story, and God Himself, through a tough set of circumstances led me out of that legalistic set of practices in either the IFBC and the GARBC.

    I moved back to Maine and started a non.denominational Church in Portland, Maine. It was Baptist in theology and doctrine, but there was freedom from all the legalism I was used to. I relied on Jesus Christ and His Spirit to guide me to what He wanted in His Church, not the teachings of man.

    Your Husband will be reluctant to leave your Church probably, and if so, you'll have to pray a lot for him to move. There are some wonderful Baptist Churches that are independent and Holy Spirit led. Try and find one, and leave the rest up to our wonderful Lord.

    If I can be of further help, just ask. I'd be happy to correspond with your husband if need be.
    pookiejr, Br. Bear and Christ4Ever like this.
  15. Thanks again everyone, for your responses.
    Here is a mini update:
    I spoke with my pastor about one concern (difficulty with the long prayer lists), and he gave a reasonable response. He thanked me for my input, and said that I was the first one to speak up about this, and that he will ask each member privately if they feel the same way. It felt good to get that out in the open. I'd also like to note that all the local churches from my old denomination were added to our prayer list the next day. And During that prayer meeting, I was able to pray sincerely for part of the prayer list, because I let go of the pressure to 'please man' and rather focused on intimacy with Christ.

    So I'm not going to rush anything right now, but rather to continue this dialogue and see where it leads. And this way, when my husband joins in the conversation it won't be so abrupt and defensive. Yet ultimately, if things remain the same, and we remain in our conviction that we are following the preferences/rules of man, then we will peaceably leave.
    pookiejr, Chopper, Waggles and 2 others like this.
  16. I'd say that that is a very good response to a difficult set of circumstances Rose. Praise our Lord. Wait on the Lord is always the way for peace. Always remember this verse....John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."...That peace is only a faith prayer away.

    Not only does Jesus give you His Peace, He always gives you and your husband directions as when to stay, when to go, and where to go, if that's His will.

    May Jesus give you His Grace, Blessings, and Favor.
    Br. Bear and Christ4Ever like this.
  17. Hmm My thoughts are IFB churches are rather insular and legalistic, you are not bound to them. I dont like it when some churches insist you sign something to be a member and then you have to go to them all the time and nowhere else.

    Go where the Lord wants you to go.

    I havent been in a church like that or if I have I didnt stay for too long!!
    Sent from a mobile device
    Christ4Ever likes this.

    How would you be cared for if you don't give your Yes to a church to be shepard, cared, or visited when something happen.
    First as said above that you belong to a church that you feel happy at, let them know that you are part of that church and let them care, pray and guide you.

    I must say that we are in thee most amazing church:
    For the last 5 weeks, week 1 my wife went to labour and it was hard on both of us and the church not only prayed but also visited and brought food and drinks,
    Week 2 to 4 after the hospital, made sure that we had food on the table and met most of our need without asking.

    Is that not something to boast about as a family that you belong to.
    Now if you float from one church to another if something happen, who is going to help you??????

    We have been @ this church from 2007 and is not a church for us BUT FAMILY

    when it go tough the friends are there and went it goes happy they are still there, one support the other
    KingJ and Chopper like this.
  19. I think the problem was OP was feeling stifled at this particular church, nothing wrong with visiting other churches who WILL help in times of need, because God does send help. Its great your church does this, but remember we are ALREADY members of each other no matter what church we go to.

    I dont need to help ONLY members that go to ONE congregation. I have friends that go to all different churches and consider them brothers and sisters if they are in Christ.
    Sent from a mobile device
  20. Updates:

    1. So my husband has started to compose a letter to the pastor and deacons about this matter. All I know about this letter so far is that it mentions how we are not/no longer going to bound ourselves to extra rules/regs/church covenants, and it mentions our beliefs, which do not align with this church.
    He estimates that we can leave there in a month.

    2. I was sent another email from the pastor about how my husband and I should be at all church meetings (3+)
    because the local church is supposed to be "the pillar and ground of the truth" (not sure what that means) and how we should review the content in our pre-marital counselling course that talks about church fellowship, because we have "drifted away from what we once professed." But our church is so micro, that everyone knows how burnt out I am with my infant, and my husband who just finished a rigorous degree (away from home 70+ hours a week). I literally broke down crying I was so tired when I pushed myself to go to all 3.

    I know that people can tell me to just leave, but all I can do for now is a slow fade.

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