Drafted this on August 17, 2019 after reading several articles of pastors and Christian leaders who had decided to “leave the faith.” This may be old news, per se, but the truth remains the same…
After reading a few articles over the past few weeks, I would like to scream this question to the world… or maybe just make a big billboard for every pastor, lay leader, worship leader, church member and just any person who calls themselves a “Christian!”
What or Who is your faith based upon?
There have been two major articles presented over the past two weeks and countless counter-articles about two Christian leaders who have “fallen from their faith” and have decided the world needs to know it.
Let me give a disclaimer as I begin this post… I understand each of these authors’ claims of feeling doubt, confusion, temptation, anger and loss. I understand their struggle to understand, their struggle to succeed, and their struggle to appease and receive admiration and approval from those around them. So, please, do not read the rest of my post with the perception that I am being cold, calloused or apathetic. I promise you, I am not.
Yet, each time I read these articles, I become amazed, angry, in anguish and eventually, driven to my knees. I am amazed that their “faith” brought them to these conclusions, and I am convinced that each of these men may never have had true faith to begin with, or they have chosen deliberately to walk away from the revelation of their first love.
Please understand, this is not a statement of judgment, but rather, a statement of truth.
If your “faith,” or Christianity, is based in the approval of men and not in the love of Jesus Christ, it really is no faith at all.
If your faith is based in the success that relies on the formulaic affirmation of your pastor, your department leaders or your members, rather than the instruction, wisdom and obedience to the only audience that should be made the main focus (Jesus), than your success has been built on a religion and a group of people whom should never have had rights to that foundation.
This is why I feel so angered by these articles, not necessarily by the faltering of their faith, but more because they have painted a picture of what faith truly is not!
Faith in Christ is a relationship, or at least it should be. It is not all of these things of which each of these men spoke.
It is should never be founded in people, a church, a method, a tradition or an expectation of a performance.
And EVERY time it is, a person will lose his or her faith! Not one time in either of their articles, statements or tweets did they say, “Jesus failed me. Jesus is an awful Lord. Jesus can’t save me, and that’s why I’m falling.” And I believe it’s because they know that wouldn’t be true!
Each of them have forgotten why they got in this thing to begin with, or at least have forgotten For Whom they began. And honestly, I’d like to ask if they actually ever fell in love with Him and the Word He gave us.
Our Christian faith doesn’t come from some man, Some organization, or even from the people who attend that organization, namely the church. If our faith is any faith at all, it comes from the inner struggle of flesh vs. spirit, and our feeding that spirit more. It comes from our seeking scripture, and following up he instructions it gives.￼￼￼
And now, these men have made public statements for all to hear, and many who may be listening will believe because they have similar struggles and feelings and are in a state of confusion, that their faith is nonexistent as well.
￼ There are so many hurting people in this world and so many people who need direction, encouragement, and just simple discipleship in their faith, and scenarios like these only add to the confusion and miss guidance they already have.￼
THIS is why I feel so anguished when I read articles like these.
When leaders are deceived and either fall into “blatant sin,” as we watched happen to so many television evangelists in the 90s, or simply “fall away from their faith,” as we are seeing in this current age, it creates a domino effect for those following and/or whose lives simply intersect at that moment in time.
It is disheartening and almost discouraging to watch as, one by one, more struggling Christians choose to follow these falterings either out of agreement to the confusion or out of surrender to, what appears to be, a release of inner tension to keep on the narrow path they have constructed.
I suppose this is what Christ told us would happen.
I suppose, I really should never be surprised, but my heart is still broken every time I read of a great leader falling from their faith, because a leader is someone who has followers, and those followers always suffer in the fallout.
Those followers may even have more followers who suffer, and what about their own families, especially the children who are all impacted?
It is just heartbreaking and, honestly, can become overwhelming, if we do not focus on Him and remember He is still in control!
He is still on His throne, and He still desires us to deepen our relationship with Him, carry on the purpose He has given us, and fill in the gaps where these leaders may leave a void.
This must remain as our ultimate goal, regardless of which leaders fall into temptation and deception.
Instead of staying in my moments of amazement (shock), anger or anguish, I must be driven to my knees in prayer.
We must all be. We must pray for these who have fallen and who are deceived.
Pray for their realization of the blinders they have chosen to put on, because without this revelation, they will never come back to repentance.
Pray for their removal from those who will stumble and fall behind them.
Pray that these followers will receive new leaders who can guide and help them through this storm.
Pray for the indirect impact on those who are already struggling with a faith that is made to cause us to have wonder, amazement and unanswered questions, because of the Author of this faith is Someone of such Deity that He is altogether wonderful and incomprehensible!
Pray for the children of these men and women, of those impacted, and for those indirectly hit and even those who don’t yet believe. Pray that these children find love that is undeniable, grace that is indescribable and an unfailing hope for tomorrow that can only be found in Jesus Christ!
My apologies for the long blog today, but sometimes, things need to be said, and I do hope it might help someone…
Here are just a few Scriptures I have found that might help us along this journey of leadership and faith…
2 Timothy 4:2-4, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
Acts 20:28, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it springs all life.”
Matthew 18:6, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
James 3:1, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
Luke 12:48b, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
1 Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.“